Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Musing on 21st Century Socialism

I've been thinking a lot about what socialism means in the context of modern times. I am radically opposed to the revisionist histories that suggest somehow the current climate is different than in the past. Many of our comrades seem to ache for a past where socialism was an idea that was widely accepted and popular. I continue to search the history books to find when precisely this may have been. In the times of Eugene Debbs, 100 years ago, when the SPUSA was at its apex, Wobblies were being assassinated by capitalists, none of the capitalist press covered socialist or anarchist movements with any credibility, and Debbs himself was jailed while running for president. Then came the Sedition Act, the Red Scare, McCarthyism, etc. etc. etc.

Perhaps things were better in Europe, but somehow I doubt there was ever a mass politics that measures up to the dreams of some. Certainly there is no reason to change politics simply to try to be popular! I often correlate my experience as a Marxist to that of early Protestants and draw inspiration from the author of "The Pilgrim's Progress," John Bunyan. It took hundreds of years for Protestantism to break the stranglehold of Catholic hegemony. Regardless on how good an idea may be, the more revolutionary it is, the more resistance it shall face because it attacks the interest of a larger base of power.

Considering the past 100 years, I think socialism has done pretty damn well!

What does 21st century socialism look like? Well, this advertisement presents a compelling vision. Take a gander: http://www.veninfo.org/

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