[Marxism] Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of Radical Politics | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Jul 20 07:43:55 MDT 2018

The left internationally has been stuck on the horns of a dilemma for 
quite some time now. When radicals take state power but fail to abolish 
private property, internal contradictions eventually catch up with the 
government and dash the hopes initially placed in it—Syriza in Greece 
and Chavista Venezuela being prime examples. With Cuba and North Korea 
as relics of the “communist” past, there are few on the left that 
consider them as models in the way that large parts once did fifty years 
ago, even more so when both hold-outs are now moving rapidly toward a 
Chinese-style economy. Just this week, there was news that Cuba will now 
recognize private property under a new constitution.

Despite such discouraging tendencies, radicalism persists mostly as a 
result of the assaults on living standards the capitalist system 
imposes. As part of an ongoing project to analyze the renaissance of 
social democracy in the United States, rebranded by the DSA, Jacobin and 
the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party as “democratic socialism”, I 
decided to read Richard Seymour’s “Corbyn: The Strange Rebirth of 
Radical Politics”. I knew little about Corbyn except what I learned from 
the Guardian, The Nation and the usual leftwing websites that were as 
breathlessly enthusiastic as they were about the Sanders campaign.

As someone who has lauded Seymour’s books in the past, I delayed reading 
his 2016 Verso book because his Lacanian turn, while satisfying his own 
intellectual agenda, left a Freud-hater like me cold. I am happy to 
report that his book on Corbyn vintage is Richard Seymour and necessary 
reading for those grappling with the question of whether capitalism can 
be reformed.


More information about the Marxism mailing list