Paul Le Blanc interviewed on revolutionary socialism today
Full interview here, but an extract:
How might a revolutionary Marxism of the 21st century differ from what we saw in the 20th century?
Lessons and developments of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries will certainly need to be integrated into the Marxism of our time. As already indicated, these include learning from the devastating dead-ends and sterility both of Stalinism and social-democratic reformism.
Related to this, there has been a general tendency toward dilution and erosion of internal democracy in the labour movement, the expansion of bureaucratized hierarchies that have disempowered workers within their own movement, alienating them from their own organizations. The Marxism of the present century will need to wrestle with and help overcome such realities. A genuinely revolutionary democracy, and a radical conceptualization of freedom (which includes the freedom to disagree, as Rosa Luxemburg emphasized) will have to be restored and emphasized as being at the heart of any genuine Marxism.
The changing nature of the working class will also have to be factored into the Marxism of our time. It is bigger, more occupationally diverse (particularly with the dramatic proletarianization of “professions” and state employment), more clearly influenced by different racial, ethnic, gender and sexual identities, and more intensively “globalized”. Cultural challenges will also be inseparable from twenty-first century Marxism, for example: dealing with the complex corruptions of popular cultures by capitalism; developing a multi-faceted labour-radical subculture that will nourish conscious resistance to oppression and exploitation; struggling for broad, diverse, free cultural expression for all.
One of the greatest challenges facing us is the erosion of conditions allowing for what has been called “the thin film of life” on our planet. The environmental damage generated by more than two centuries of unbridled industrialization and “generalized commodity production” will not be easily halted or reversed. It is crucial that such ecological awareness and sensibilities and commitments become a salient feature of the Marxist project from now into the future.
What is required in defining the necessary qualities of twenty-first century Marxism, however, is the engagement of new layers, younger layers, of critical-minded activists, who will draw upon their own experiences and insights to define and develop what the Marxism of the future must be and do. To accomplish that, one naturally must know something of what comrades like Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky actually had to say...