Both the Republican and Democratic conventions are now over. It is time for some additional reflections. First, as per the period of McGovern, the rainbow coalition, Jesse Jackson’s attempt to run and now Bernie Sanders, the reformist and populist left is left holding an empty balloon, deflated by promises to build a movement or a political revolution. These promises are nothing other than demagoguery. Some of these people will hibernate till the next election, hoping that we forget this election experience. Some will hop on the bandwagon of other insignificant candidates, still pushing their opportunist/populist political line.
November 15, 2015
Some assert that the Bernie Sanders campaign is helping the struggle to fight capitalism or to construct a combative mass movement. Can anyone explain how this is the case? Did we already forget (as usual), that the Rainbow Coalition had the same ambition? And what happened to that, were no lessons learned by the farce of the Rainbow Coalition? Now some are saying we should now embark on a new scheme to build a mass movement by tailgating a bourgeois politician, a political militant of the capitalist class. To hope that this new quest will give us a different result is ludicrous. This is opportunism at it lowest. Hopping on the Sanders bandwagon in a quest to build a mass movement can only to give the same result already given by the Rainbow Coalition.
How is Bernie campaign helping the genuine progressive movement? To argue that Sanders’ campaign is helping our movement even without a clear political line or coordinated practice among all involved, including Sanders himself, is pure demagogy. So far, there is nothing in Bernie’s rhetoric that gives a hint, even a minute hint, that he is helping our movement.
In the recent debates and forum, Sanders articulated his own brand of capitalist and imperialist line to make US imperialism work better. He appeals to the workers to join the petite bourgeoisie [middle class], to break from conservatism and live peacefully in capitalism. Forget about you being exploited; forget that your labor power is being violently expropriated.
by Jan Makandal
October 24, 2015
The left’s coup de grace certainly did not originate with Sanders. Its degeneration is the result of persistent and long-term opportunism and populism. Bernie Sanders is simply one additional element accelerating the debacle of today’s petit bourgeois radical left, a pertinent effect pushing it into an abyss of its own creation.
This radical petit bourgeois left is expert at quoting dead proletarian revolutionaries, tuning their valuable contributions into verses frozen in time. But they are totally inept at using these quotations as a guide for the future.
They refuse to acknowledge or use proletarian theory (Marxism at its core) as a science. Marxism can’t stand still in time, but is in a constant mode of rectification and consolidation. The insistence of using quotes, making others speak for them, is not a sign of political unity with these previous revolutionaries, but is instead an exemption freeing them from elevating the quotes to a theory which can eventually guide them in their own practice.
For proletarian militants, practice is a validation of theory, whether it proves a theory is incorrect (indicating the need to rectify the theory) or correct (from which follows the need to consolidate). But we can observe that even when these petit bourgeois radical leftists cite quotes, their content is far apart, very far apart from their own political practices. In other words, for them there is no dialectical relation between theory and practice. Instead, these quotes become ossified and inevitably contribute to the stagnation of proletarian theory.
August 5, 2015
Many in the people’s camp, some identifying as progressives, evoke a tactical orientation called “the Duma” to justify their participation in the electoral process. The Duma was the Russian Parliament in which the Bolsheviks saw fit to use the contradictions within the Russian dominant classes to further their political objectives. For the Bolsheviks, though it involved participating in the bourgeois electoral process, this was a revolutionary orientation.
But today this tactic is not revolutionary in the least.
Experiences, both direct and indirect, are not to be duplicated or memorized. They are to be learned from to guide upcoming experiences, other social practices. Revolutionary experiences either consolidate or rectify theory. The Duma experience was specific to the reality of Russia, a tactical line in a revolutionary project. Even though it was correct at that time and place, it’s a mistake to attempt to duplicate it now in another social formation where the material conditions, the subjective and the objective conditions, are totally different.
Some elements of the subjective conditions: