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Thu Jun 16, 2016, 09:17 PM

Envisioning a modern, democratic, peaceful, and green socialism

Americans are considering alternatives to a system run by and for the 1 percent. They are taking an interest in socialism, a word that has meant a great many things to activists, trade unionists, politicians, and clergy around the world over the last century and a half. The article below is one of a series on socialism, what it can mean for Americans in the 21st century, and how we might get there. Other articles in the series can be found here.

(Socialism) is for us not a state of affairs which is to be established, an ideal to which reality [will] have to adjust itself. We call (socialism) the real movement, which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.

-- Karl Marx, in The German Ideology

The historic presidential campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders has tapped the smoldering resentments of millions toward Wall Street domination of politics, extreme wealth inequality, widespread economic insecurity, and institutionalized racism and sexism. Sanders has also stimulated a wide-ranging discussion about what he calls "democratic socialism" and the need for a "people's revolution."

From the Cold War until now, the American people have been denied the right to discuss socialism in the public arena. But these discussions have now forced their way to the surface. The idea of socialism is something that must be thought of in ways different from the formulas we on the left may have relied upon in the past.

Era of transition

A revolutionary reorganization of society to one that is people-centered, democratic, peaceful, and in harmony with nature is necessary if humanity is to survive and flower. Some hold the view that social revolution will be precipitated by a general strike or an implosion of the economy. The old ruling class will be overthrown and the working class will hoist the red flag.

In my view, a socialist revolution is not an episodic event, nor is it inevitable. It is the product of a complex and contested process, a transition orchestrated by real people consciously and creatively shaping their conditions of existence to make their lives more livable, secure, enjoyable, and meaningful.

Its realization will span an era of multiple stages of radical systemic, economic, political, social, and cultural change that addresses urgent and concrete needs. And it will certainly be an ongoing process. No one can predict exactly how this process will unfold or what the new society will ultimately look like. One thing is certain though - there are no blueprints for either. The process differs in each country depending on its unique set of circumstances, challenges, histories, and traditions.




Great article from the always terrific John Bachtell, National Chair of the Communist Party USA.

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