[Marxism] Fwd: Lessons from a road trip down Route 1917 | SocialistWorker.org

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Dec 22 08:57:07 MST 2017

THE MOST important lesson I learned is that most young people interested 
in socialist revolution as a means to banish capitalism and save the 
planet today don't reflect the same truism of previous generations of 
the left--that a person's attitude toward 1917 told you a lot about how 
they approached trade unions, national and racial liberation, gender 
equality, imperialism and so on.

Today, I think we have to say that 1917 has faded as a political 
touchstone--to, in my mind, a dangerous point.

Some would celebrate this. Connor Kilpatrick and Adaner Usmani do so in 
their article "The New Communists" in the new issue of Jacobin magazine. 
They proclaim that "it's time to stop worrying about old answers to old 
questions" and start worrying about "the ones working people are asking."

They heap scorn on revolutionary socialists who have fought to survive 
neoliberalism to the best of their abilities. Apparently, the sum total 
of the international left's efforts--tens of thousands of people from 
France to Argentina, from Mexico to South Africa, from Brazil to Greece, 
from Pakistan to the U.S.--is nothing more than an unhealthy proclivity 
to "fantasize" about the working class' potential to overturn the 
"advanced capitalist societies and sturdy, capacious states" against 
which we struggle.

Now I am usually generous with political opponents. But this conclusion 
doesn't even pass the smell test. Despite portraying themselves as 
prophets of the new, Kilpatrick and Usmani have advanced a rotten old 


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