Monday, February 3, 2014

Building the future

- As far as you visited post-soviet countries, has such an experience made an influence on you views?

- I've been particularly struck by the failure of the US, UK, and western Europe to learn from the socialist experiments. It's like there has been a deliberate effort to obliterate the experience of trying to build egalitarian societies. Full fledged capitalism, privatization, and all the theft and impoverishment that result from it was unleashed with no regard to preserving the best attributes of the socialist systems. Both materially and conceptually, these countries have been taken over by capitalism and in the name of democracy. Why the rush? Why the attempt to obliterate history?

I think it was because of capitalism's deep fear of the people, its attempt to buy people off with some quick goodies, divide them from one another, and all before people have time to think about what is going on and undertake new political experiments. To my mind, some of the most important work that needs to be done is compiling histories, testimonies, archives of the socialist experience with an eye toward asking what worked and why? Where did problems arise? Too much of that history was totally distorted by the Cold War.

- Could you wish something to our students and left activists who try to oppose neoliberal capitalism?

- Organize. You are stronger collectively. Draw from the communist legacy. Don't fall for trendy anarchist rhetoric that is just another form of capitalist individualism.

- Can you imagine our world in 10, 20 or 50 years? How do you see it?

- You know, at the beginning of the Bush administration, I was lamenting about how bad things were going to be. I had no idea. Reality has been much worse than I imagined -- Guantanamo Bay prison camp, indefinite detention, torture, a security state, the dramatic increase in inequality, collapse of basic infrastructure. The same with Obama -- I knew he wasn't a liberal or a progressive (much less a communist that the Right accuses him of being). But I didn't think he would be the president of the big banks, the savior of Goldman Sachs and the president to attempt to make cuts in the most popular and successful social program in the US, Social Security. Yet I also didn't foresee Occupy Wall Street, which has been the most exciting development on the US left since 1968.

So it's like things get worse, but new possibilities appear. That's what I expect will continue. Inequality will continue to get worse, yet the left will build a new global communist party stronger and more flexible than anything we've ever seen. Our Communist International will exert a counterpower with which the IMF, European Central Bank, World Bank, and others will have to contend. It will unite workers and non-workers throughout the world and make our collective force felt. To paraphrase Mao, everything will be in chaos, yet the situation will be excellent. 
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