Friday, March 13, 2009

This Time Around- A Response to Progressives

It is not just"free market" capitalism which has failed us in this current global crisis. It should also be recognized that social democracy has also failed to do what it promised, that is , empower the state to protect it's citizens from the deprivations of capitalism and redistribute it's product equitably. After the last great Global Depression, when laissez faire capitalism proved itself both unstable and brutally savage, social unrest brought upon a compact between governments and markets. Unfortunately for those who still believe a social democratic solution will again save society, I believe history is a lesson in how capitalist ideology will always work to successfully undermine this compact and the Right will forever insist on it's "free markets" until we once and for all bury the profit system.

Opposed to social democracy stands the proud tradition of democratic socialism which always stood by the Marxian tenet that capitalism would end in crisis and that it is the socialists job to organize and articulate the possible forms of the new society which will replace the old. This does not mean a socialist cannot work for pragmatic goals such as pensions or health care within the "shell", only that we must always keep the eventual goal clearly in our minds as we do so. The problem for us to solve is how we divide our energy between the two projects. I also don't think it is necessary to say "this crisis is the definitive end of capitalism" as we explain the values we think would make the new society superior. It might be the next crisis or the next, it might come through a ballot box or it might come through a strike, but eventually the system is unsustainable from the point of profit, from the point of ecosystems and from the point of justice.