January 2014


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Kamran Nayeri <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Fri, 10 Jan 2014 16:37:05 -0800
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Dear Carol:

Of course, I would like to sit quietly and let others contribute if they
wish so. But in the interest of making my own point of view clear without
repeating myself here I would draw your attention to an
recently wrote to grapple with what is often treated as two crises--of
society and of nature (ecosphere).

In that essay, I discuss my own view of ecological socialism.  I am
completely in agreement with you about the necessity of some radical form
of democracy (I use the term "participatory democracy"). But at the same
time, democracy itself only provide us with an optimum sociopolitical
structure to discuss and arrive at societal problems/issues including the
shape of the post-capitalist social formation(s).  In other words,
democracy and state power are necessary but not sufficient. We also need to
discuss and adopt some visions of social organization and how to get there
(transition phases). I equate ecological socialism with a set of naturalist
social formations where something like Marx's concept of associated
producers provides its mode of production.

Of course, these are just my current ideas based on a life time of
learning/unlearning and participating in social and political movements. I
am completely open to any other views and would adopt them if they prove
superior to me. The will be ample opportunity as we work our way as a
movement (when there is a movement). However, the history of movements for
radical social change since the advent of modern ideas of socialism is not
very reassuring.

Best regards,


On Fri, Jan 10, 2014 at 4:07 PM, Carrol Cox <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Kamran Nayeri:
> No Mitchel, I did not. It may be an editing issue. But the second group of
> questions are really important to grapple with. We tend to blame everything
> that is wrong on the ruling class assuming that the "99%" or "the
> proletariat" or "the humanity" would take the right decisions and actions.
> But where is the proof for that assumption? Or at least, some historical,
> empirical basis for such claims?
> ---------
> A few observations.
> 1. I agree that the Idea of Progress is false; it is a crucial part of
> capitalist ideology, grouned (I think) in (a) technological 'progress' in
> the 19th-c and (b) the great success of British Imperialism. I don't
> believe
> _either_ Marx or Darwin accepted the Idea, but they were Victorian
> Gentlemen
> and couldn't avoid "progressive" phrases creeping into their texts. Rosa
> Luxemburg was the first Marxist explicitly to deny the concept: Socialism
> or
> Barbarism was not a mere slogan but a serious statement of two realistic
> possibilities. (Barbarism, we now know, is the more likely.)
> 2. "Blame" is not a good verb to bring in to political analysis; it
> substitutes subjective moralism for history. Capitalist relations of
> production generate barbarism _regardless_  of the behavior or intentions
> of
> capitalists. Capitalism isn't evil; it is history.
> 3. Our goal has to be _democracy_, not some specific set of policies.
> Luxemburg in 1898 argued that the final goal was not some vague socialism
> but state power for the SPD. Her statement was limited by actual
>  conditions
> in 1898, but if we substitute Democracy for the SPD, her point is still
> good.
> 4.  And since our goal is Democracy, WE CANNOT DICTATE THE POLICIES WHICH
> THAT DEMOCRACY WILL CHOOSE. For example, the phrase "Eco-Socialism" is not
> acceptable. Perhaps humanity, set free of the shackles of capitalism, will
> choose to live it up for the next couple centuries. That is their choice.
> All we can fight for is to create freedom (some form of direct democracy).
> 4a. So of course there is no proof (or even good probability) that a
> democratic society would make the right decisions. We have no crystal
> balls.
> But we do know that capitalism is destroying us and that within capitalism
> we do not have the freedom even to attempt  alternative organizations of
> human activity.
> Carrol