Via Gods & Radicals:
It all started innocently enough. A friend asked me a question on facebook:
“How can you advocate anarchic revolution when your political vision is so far in the minority?”
The underlying premise was a good one: In a country of 300+ million, how can you call for the upheaval of society, the breaking of societal and political bonds, when so few would readily identify as Anarchists/Socialists/Communists/Leftists/Anti-Capitalists/What-have-you? It’s a question often thrown at the Left and unfortunately many haven’t fully wrapped their heads around it.
In a way it’s a watermark. For an ideology or political vision to go from outright dismissal and laughter to being asked to provide real world examples of what would be done if it came to pass is a sign of growth; it is a signal, an omen, that the winds are beginning to blow in our favor and many want to know what might lie ahead. It’s one thing to talk about “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need” but it’s quite another to discuss how restaurants would be run democratically and without profit or what exactly people might “do” on a day to day level in a classless, stateless society.
Still, the question is not an easy one. We could argue that it is the one question that has always plagued and nagged the Left: “Well that’s all good and well, but how do you plan to achieve this? How does such a world become born?” Staunch Marxists rely on a religious belief in the inevitable procession of history, Syndicalists will rail about the need for increased unionization, firebrand Neo-Bolsheviks plot to simply take power and liquidate class enemies, while the newly minted faux-left “Democratic Socialists” will hem-and-haw about passing enough laws to magically change the balance of power.
All of these options present difficult problems. History has been shown to be anything but inevitable (every year since 1914 has been “Late Capitalism”), a worker-owned McDonalds is still a site of exploitation, nobody ever bothers to explain just where all these people ready to kill for the Revolution are to come from, and the ludicrous doctrine of the Sandernistas that the wealthy and powerful will simply submit to higher taxes and the rule of law is so preposterous it’s only response should be derisive laughter.
So, where are we? Where do we go from here? How are we to change the world?
I start first with a question: Whose world?