By Gabriel Kolko
Does socialism have a destiny on this planet of the twenty-first century? If now not, what's the destiny for revolutionary politics?
This is an incredible contribution to modern social and political idea written by means of one of many world's major serious historians. Gabriel Kolko ask the tough questions on the place the left can move in a post-Cold conflict global the place neoliberal rules 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 principles and the modern dynamics of the globalized economic climate ruled by means of American army, cultural and political might.
While averting the enticements of both pessimism or utopianism, Kolko bargains an unique and useful answer in regards to the future of a liberal politics.
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Extra info for After Socialism: Reconstructing Critical Social Thought
But highly elegant doctrines, whether religious or secular, which pretend to explain human destiny become extremely misleading if their very obscurity requires an act of faith to justify them. Residues of ignorance are inherent in the very limits of knowledge, and such blindness will always risk creating profound errors unless we struggle constantly to overcome it. This means that a lack of comprehension must never be accepted passively, and it must never be necessary to regard a theory as a sacred and mysterious truth.
3 The legacies of socialism Organizational successes, and failures The decades immediately after Marx’s death in 1883 were years of great socialist organizational and political successes in various European countries, seemingly vindicating his ideas and the movement devoted to them. Power became the fascination for all socialist parties, whether Leninist or Social Democratic, just as it was for the bourgeois parties, and their common practice reﬂected this obsession. There were many reasons for socialism’s failure which cannot be attributed wholly to its lack of intellectual signposts, but the absence of a relevant theory was crucial; its exploitation by ambitious people was another critical factor, one about which Marxist litany was utterly silent when realistic guidance would have been helpful – even if not decisive.
The substance of this sustained, profound controversy is inﬁnitely less important than the very fact it occurred and, above all, the manner in which it was resolved and the ulterior motives of Bernstein’s critics: Karl Kautsky, Rosa Luxemburg, and the men who ruled the SPD. The party was politically increasingly successful, its full-time bureaucracy was burgeoning, and it had scant reason to subject its Marxist creed to a critical dissection. Discipline was more important to the party’s leaders than clarity, and Bernstein – his commendable goals notwithstanding – was scarcely the thinker to illuminate the exceedingly complex reality facing it.
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