Monday, August 3, 2009

Wise Words From a Friend in Answer to Someone, Not Me

“…Oh, for heaven's sake, you can no more have a democratic dictatorship than you can have a square circle. These phrases are logically incoherent. That is why so many Marxists have performed zillions of tricky semantic sleight-of-hand now-you-see-it-now-you-don't tricks in a vain effort to try to make the word "dictatorship" not mean, well, dictatorship. The whole thing should be discarded.

Nor is it the case that democracy is incompatible with capitalism (leave 'real' out of it - it's just a dishonest dodge of the logical issues at stake). It is just an historical fact that capitalists invented modern democracy. Democracy everywhere is imperfect in varying degrees, not because capitalists want it that way, but for a reason given by Kant: "Nothing straight has ever been made from the crooked timber of humanity". To think otherwise is sheer, and idiotic, utopianism.

Democracy in your utopian worker's state would be as deeply flawed in its own way as contemporary democracy is in its. As for politics, all politics in a democracy is coalition politics conducted through negotiations, compromises, and deal-making that results in nobody getting everything and nobody losing everything.

I'm a whole-hearted supporter of workers, trade unionists, co-ops, and sundry reformist/leftist NGOs entering the fray in their own interest. Society andpolitics are constantly in motion, and every reform from the left or the right affects both the rate of social change and the direction of change.

It is a tough slog, with no short-cuts, but over the long haul persistent struggle byall the components of the left will transform the world into a much better one for everybody except the tiny minority of the hideously, obscenely, rich. They will eventually vanish as a class, but of course not as persons. The gap between the most and the least well off will be hugely narrowed.

The thing is not to permit fatigue from the struggle to tempt one into utopian illusions…”.

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