One can only wonder what Marx, let alone Lenin, would think of the current nature of global capitalism. It has realized their worst nightmares, becoming a system of tyranny and plunder but without a redemptive, revolutionary dialectic.
The radical left has for the last century-and-a-half been guided by Marx’s analysis – and utopian vision – of capitalism, its inherent contradictions and its inevitable supersession by “communism”. That the proletariat could – and would! – overturn the bourgeoisie and the economic system of commodity exchange would be superseded by a world based on social equality, shared wealth and ecological harmony — from each according to his/her ability to each according to her/his need.
Does anyone still believe in this possibility, let alone the critical analysis that fostered it? And, if not, is a radical alternative possible?
Sadly, Marx’s proletariat – the vanguard of the working class – seems vanquished, having disappeared from the historical stage; Lenin’s vanguard party fulfilled its historic mission two decades ago when the once-upon-a-time Soviet Union collapsed, with state socialism superseded by a corrupt mafia syndicate ruling Russia; and Mao’s China has morphed into a giant state-run corporatist enterprise. Insurgent movements in Latin American, Asia or Africa have been either crushed, integrated into the capitalist state or, like Cuba, hold on for dear life.
In the U.S.,…