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Mon May 11, 2015, 03:33 AM

Chomsky 'the spectrum of acceptable opinion'

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Reply Chomsky 'the spectrum of acceptable opinion' (Original post)
Ichingcarpenter May 2015 OP
F4lconF16 May 2015 #1
rogerashton May 2015 #2
F4lconF16 May 2015 #4
rogerashton May 2015 #5
olddots May 2015 #3

Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2015, 04:45 AM

1. THIS!

This is the ultimate result of the two party system, and the reason Bernie Sanders still leaves me nervous.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #1)

Mon May 11, 2015, 06:00 AM

2. As Marx observes,

"Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past."


Stick with DU, F4lconF16 -- we need your ruthless skepticism, and I mean ruthless "in a good way." Nevertheless, that is one of the reasons to support Bernie: coming from where we are, he seems to be capable of shifting the range of "acceptable opinion," bringing words like "socialist" and "political revolution" into the discussion.

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Response to rogerashton (Reply #2)

Mon May 11, 2015, 05:50 PM

4. I was discussing that with one of the guys from the ISO the other day.

I made that exact point, and he countered with this idea:

The problem is, even if he can get the debate to shift slightly, he is still limiting it to capitalism. He's repopularizing the idea that we can somehow affect meaningful change by voting in a system that can't and won't respond to that. When he moves into the main debate arena, he will be limited even further by our media and the terms of the capitalist system.

Sanders may well make the idea of "socialism" more acceptable. But the real problem with it is that he's limiting the discussion while making it appear he isn't. I don't think we need more misinformation out there.

The deradicalization risk of Sanders is a problem as well. There is a good chance the Democratic Party is going to attempt to co-opt his movement, and if he doesn't make it through the primaries, those people that supported him (and he himself) will almost certainly throw his weight behind Clinton, which is a dangerous thing. We need those people to be radicalizing, not giving in.

It will be just as much of a problem if he does win--those that supported him are going to be quite disappointed when they realize he is not going to solve much. They are, in my opinion, more likely to simply withdraw from politics again rather than radicalize. I want to see the energy and frustration behind his movement be channeled into external movements like BLM rather than see it wasted and dispersed within the system. The Democratic Party is where social movements go to die.

But yes, I do think he may at least make the term "socialist" more acceptable. I'm just not convinced that we as socialists should support him--we know that there is no way to change the system from within the system, and we cannot allow the debate to be limited within a capitalist frame.

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Response to F4lconF16 (Reply #4)

Mon May 11, 2015, 08:30 PM

5. Hey, man, I was speaking to YOUR point

which seemed to argue that Bernie would remain within the "spectrum of acceptable option" pre-2012. Not so. "Socialist" and "Political revolution" were not at all within that spectrum. Today they nearly are, thanks to Bernie.

Now, you are quite right, of course, to say that TALKING about socialism will not make socialism. But talking about socialism will make more people aware of the possibilities that various socialist positions (including anarchism) have discussed. And shifting the "spectrum" to get people talking about socialism and political revolution is one step, just one, in the right direction.

Frankly, I'm a Fabian socialist. Like all Fabians, I fear violent revolution, because I'm pretty sure the fascists will win, and if not the fascists, then the "Stalinists." I believe ISO is a Trotskyist group. Do I need to say that I don't think Trotskyism -- however honest, intelligent and authentic -- is on the right track? Perhaps we don't exactly agree what socialism is, in every detail. Can we agree on workers' power? Can we consider whether we will move toward workers' power more rapidly by supporting Bernie than not? I think we will.

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Response to Ichingcarpenter (Original post)

Mon May 11, 2015, 10:12 AM

3. those words ring true more everyday


The inconvenience of convenience .

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