By Gabriel Kolko
Does socialism have a destiny on the earth of the twenty-first century? If now not, what's the destiny for innovative politics?
This is a tremendous contribution to modern social and political inspiration written via one of many world's best serious historians. Gabriel Kolko ask the tricky questions on the place the left can move in a post-Cold conflict international the place neoliberal regulations seem to have triumphed in either the West and the previous Soviet bloc. In attempting to resolution this, he interrogates either the origins and improvement of socialist rules and the modern dynamics of the globalized financial system ruled through American army, cultural and political might.
While warding off the enticements of both pessimism or utopianism, Kolko bargains an unique and functional answer concerning the future of a liberal politics.
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Extra info for After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought
Socialist politicians of all stripes tamed and exploited the working class when there were no wars and, for better or worse, capitalism in one way or another co-opted the working class during peacetime. Marx did not count on the way its leaders mediated the proletariat’s anger and thereby mitigated capitalism’s severe social dysfunctions. He ignored migration – even then a mass phenomenon – as an answer to increasing poverty and the industrial reserve army, a vast event which alone would have ruined his essentially mystical as well as idealist Hegelian assumption that there is a collective consciousness among workers which at the critical moment would eventually cause them to act in unison to overthrow capitalism and create a classless society.
They also migrate, and migration’s role was a crucial, obvious phenomenon toward which Marx as well as most of his contemporaries were oblivious. The nineteenth century’s idealization of the masses was no more accurate than to state that they will not act under any circumstances. Marx, like his contemporaries, did not deal with real people, who had emotions, tragedies, pleasures, loves, and hatreds, but with abstract humans who did not exist in reality. After the Paris Commune of 1871 he should have known better.
It had an inseparable overriding logic, requiring one to accept it entirely or not at all. Like all natural law theorists, Marx projected a total organic historical process; not for a moment did he ever consider the possibility of exceptional events, whether political, demographic, economic or whatever, upsetting his presumably natural evolutionary pattern. The future was not a matter of debate, and mankind had only to resign itself to inevitable certainties. Marxism was a whole, integrated creed, a faith, but – exegesis notwithstanding – it was never capable of serving as a continuous and useful analytic tool that changed when circumstances warranted it.
After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought by Gabriel Kolko