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

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 Henwood
[dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax

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