Showing posts with label democratic socialism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label democratic socialism. Show all posts

11 Feb 2019

Marxism Today

Ash Sarkar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: fresh of face - but stale of idea ...


Would you Adam and Eve it? Communism has been given a 21st-century makeover!

Out with the bearded old men calling for armed revolution and in with the fresh faced young women, such as Ash Sarkar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, soft-pedaling their programme of democratic socialism - i.e., an anti-capitalist fusion of feminism, environmentalism, and identity politics.

It sounds fun and sexy. And I'm pleased that both the above claim to be anti-authoritarian. But, unfortunately, there's still something troubling about the fact that they seem so assured of their own ideological positions, their own righteousness, their own woke-utopian visions of society.     

It's troubling too that these intelligent, well-educated women seem so ignorant of - or wilfully blind to - the history of communism in practice: a history not only of abject economic failure, but also of terror, atrocity, and genocide, often carried out in the name of the highest idealism and the promise of a bright new day to come.    


In a sense, when it comes to the question of socialism, I agree with Lawrence; "like most things, [it] has various sides to it", but can ultimately be regarded as the expression of two great desires:

Firstly, there is the "generous desire that all [people] shall eat well and sleep well and fare well all their lives". This we might call the socialism of Love; one that sincerely longs for justice and equality.

Secondly, however, there's the desire to smash everything and return the world to Year Zero. This is what we might term the socialism of Hate; i.e. that which Nietzsche characterised as anarcho-nihilism motivated by ressentiment and the will to revenge.

Lawrence says that a generous model of loving socialism in theory provides the "best form of government". Unfortunately, however, when we examine the historical experience of the last 100 years, we discover that it's the latter - the socialism of malice and misery - that triumphs everytime.    

It's for this reason that we cannot help preferring Trump's America, for all its faults, to any of the totalitarian regimes that still wave the red flag today. As Suzanne Moore says, communism may be hip again amongst certain sections of the population, but until it guarantees individual freedom and the right to dance, then count me out, comrade.  


D. H. Lawrence, 'Epilogue' to Movements in European History, ed. Philip Crumpton, (Cambridge University Press, 1989), pp. 261-62.

Suzanne Moore, 'Communism is hip again - but until it means liberty, count me out, comrade', The Guardian (24 July 2018): click here to read online.