Nuevo Socialismo, eco-política y crítica radical / Javier Biardeau

New Socialism, Eco-Politics and Radical Critique

“Living their death, dying their life” (Heraclitus)

The modernity-postmodernity debate crosses the possibility of rethinking and renovating socialist principles, transforming the landscape of the vocabulary of progress, modernization and development. New socialism entails escaping the traps of developmentalism.

The socialist imaginary is living through a profound deconstruction of its foundations [desfundamentación], which impedes us from thinking from any epistemologically privileged place, sentencing “laws of history” in the name of “the” “modern” socialism. Neither Engels, nor Kaustky, nor Lenin can serve anymore to assure that a certain stratus of intellectuals is epistemologically privileged with access to the course of a “natural process” of history. One day the Darwinian premises in the very mechanics of blind wills within socialism will dissipate.

The “objective truth” and the “laws of history” no longer accompany the proletariat in the triumphal march over capitalism, liberating the “productive forces” from the obstacles in the ancient “relations of production,” from all the inertias of a stale “juridico-political superstructure,” with its corresponding “ideological forms.” Absolute silence regarding capital’s “destructive forces.”

Bureaucratic socialist thought of the Soviet type buried all the revolutionary principles that had been accumulated by the struggles of libertarian thought, by the radical movements that defied the logics of domination. The “domination of nature” is not foreign to bureaucratic socialism, to its “engineering of the soul.”

The deep causes of the disasters of bureaucratic socialism are too palpable to keep taking speculative bites from that laminated rationality of progress. There is no possibility of swindling societies with a publi-propagandistic presentation of “21st Century Socialism.”

What happens when revolutionary enthusiasm is left without ideas, without concepts, without categories? We must take seriously what it means to construct alternatives to capitalist barbarism, to its “political realism and pragmatism,” to its “principle of returns.” Despotic collectivism is paved with campaigns of “reeducation of intellectuals,” with the “control of social incidents,” with the “monitoring of dissidents.” There is not a correct geometry of socialism, just as there isn’t one in the natural world.

Without the creation of multitudes that vibrate in resonance with the possibility of living in full sensorial, affective and aesthetic existence, there will be no revolution.

To not question these small tyrannies of the spirit, would be to allow for any variety of “Soviet Marxism” to be the true “virus worm” that takes over the strategies of emancipation.

The matter at hand is that no one discusses what is important (Which socialism? Which development? Which quality of life?), nor do they take on a core debate with concrete political consequences. If what is important is to build counter-systemic alternatives, to provide consistency to a socialist debate (at the moment it is neither socialist nor a debate), without creating a masquerade for State capitalism, for developmentalism with leftist gestures, for the very productivism, consumption and standard of values that annihilate the life of the planet.

There will be no collapse whatsoever of capitalism, nor a more or less inevitable triumph of the proletariat, nor the dismantling of all dogmatisms in the aesthetic, cognitive and ethico-moral field if there is not a radical critique, if each person does not take charge of the heavy bundle of “common sense,” of the frozen “shared beliefs” that threaten the life of the planet.

There will be no possibility of making the characterization of a socialist project advance by using the old concepts that were left stamped in the manuals of an eschatological Marxism. There will be no radical critique without knowing about the polemic between modernity-postmodernity-transmodernity. There will be no new socialism without assuming an epistemological, aesthetic, ethical, affective revolution that shakes the spiritual foundations of a civilization in ruins.

Translator’s Note: A slightly longer version of this text in the original Spanish was published online in early April.

{ Javier Biardeau, El Nacional, 25 April 2009 }

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