Utopianism v. Radical Democracy

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Sun Jun 11 16:29:25 MDT 1995


At 2:30 PM 6/11/95, Justin Schwartz wrote:

>It has a clear meaning, but not one we like. "Abandon telelogical visions
>of social change" means that Leo and other RD reject the idea that there
>are any immanent forces in our society pointing towards socialism, or
>which might lead to the overthrow of capitalist production relations.
>"Seek to realise the democractic possibiloity in each historical moment"
>means that RD deny that there;'s anything structurual in our sort of
>society (indeed, for Laclau & Mouffe, it makes no sense to talk of sorts
>of society) blocking democracy: the problem is is simply constraints of
>somne unbdetermined sort on democracy itself, and the expansion
>ofdemocracy is something that is brought about by local struggles in alll
>areas--the economy has no special centrality in this way of thinking. In
>somne versions of RD, the goal of state power is explicitly eschewed as
>corrupting.

You're confirming my worst fears. This is nonsense, empty of any meaning.
What is "democracy" in this sense? It seems to be a synonym for the warm
fuzzies. I think I understand why Jim O'Connor said that the 4 pages on
historical materialism in L&M's HSS were the worst 4 pages ever published
on anything.

I suspect that people who say things like this about "the economy" have an
excessively narrow conception of what an economy is. I also suspect that
people who say such things are themselves rather comfortable, materially.

Doug

--

Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
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