A comment

Here is a comment I made on someone else’s page that I thought might be of interest:

1. To see economic and political processes in the present and future as simply a continuation, with slight modifications, of the past is analytically mistaken and politically counterproductive. A vibrant, open ended Marxism should take into account discontinuities, changing conjunctures, and new phenomena at the national and global level that emerge in the course of capitalist development and modify, not only the conditions for the production and realization of capital, but also class and democratic struggles at the national and global level. Sometimes these modifications are fundamental and thus have deep going programmatic, strategic and tactical implications.

2. To comprehend the evolution and shifts of US capitalism over the past century one has to be mindful not only of its systemic imperative to accumulate capital at the level of the firm, but also to remember that that this law operates within and is greatly modified by a world system in which capitals and nation states compete for political and economic dominance/hegemony. The Golden Age of capitalism, not to mention the turn to neoliberalism, can’t be comprehended outside of this larger context and dynamic.

3. In thinking about the rise of Trump and Trumpism from a strategic and tactical point of view, one has to understand it more as a sharp break than a continuation of past political processes.

4. As for the social/political constituencies that have to be assembled to move down “freedom road,” one has to accent the imperative of political and social alliances/coalitions. Such a view finds confirmation in the writings of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Gramsci, etc., but also is evident in the historical record of the past century. The gravediggers of capitalism and the drum majors of a deeply democratic and egalitarian society are not confined to the point of production. Socialism’s historical subjects – note the plural – are found in various social spaces and animated by a range of social needs and desires that are at loggerheads with capitalism’s imperatives, trajectory, and values.

Joe Manchin?

One has to hope that Republican overreach to suppress and eviscerate voter rights and the force of public outrage and pressure will compel West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin and a few other Democrats in the Senate to support the suspension of the filibuster rule and then the passage of the John Lewis voting rights bill.

What in their analysis

People on the left who express surprise at the progressive political posture and positions of the Biden administration would be well served to consider what in their analysis prevented them from seeing this possibility. Or, to go a step further, this likelihood. I have some thoughts about it, but I leave them for some other time.

An ambitious speech

To find something similar in ambition to Biden’s speech to Congress earlier this week, one has to go back to speeches of LBJ (before the war consumed him and the Great Society) or FDR. Or, to frame it a little differently, the speech positively reconstructed the social compact between the government and the people. In doing so, Biden repudiated another president and ideology of more recent vintage, Ronald Reagan. This speech should find its way into every place where people gather.

May Day

Each May Day has its own specific challenge. As I see it, this year’s challenge for the left is to assist in enacting Biden’s legislative and political agenda. This may not sound very sexy, but the enactment of the Biden agenda will not only bring relief to millions. reinflate the economy, provide a measure of justice, and raise their legislative ambitions, but also position Democrats to increase their  Congressional majorities in next year’s midterm elections. And it is hard to think of anything that is as politically weighty at this political conjuncture. Happy May Day!

Share This