I was up at 4am today, way too early, to watch MSNBC’s Way Too Early Program in order to learn if Bernie Sanders’s Matrix Revolutionary Generation had done a good job beginning the revolution in Iowa. We are slowly acquiring an understanding of what Sanders is proposing and being called a democratic socialist is a beginning. This Wikipedia entry says that “The Democratic Socialists of America defines democratic socialism as a movement to eliminate capitalism by evolving a ‘social order based on popular control of resources and production…’, however, the definition of ‘popular’ remain elusive.” I can only assume that the definition of ‘popular’ is less elusive now. I am not going to address the other interesting aspects of this Wikipedia definition but cut to the chase and address “What does it mean to be a revolutionary in facing today’s crisis?”
The Marxism 2009 Conference sponsored by Counterfire was held after the financial crisis of 2008 and some of the Socialist/Marxist big guns debated and discussed another crisis of capitalism. There were two presentations on “What does it mean to be a revolutionary today?” Alex Callinicos led off by presenting a general view about what implementing a revolutionary strategy requires – I found myself seeing Sanders often being described. Slavoj Zizek then continues with an analytical presentation of the thinking processes involved. A question I have coming from the end of Zizek’s very stimulating presentation is “Bernie are you only interested in dusting the ball of the Capitalists? Or are you preparing to cut them off?” David Harvey presents a dynamic 7-point framework for understanding the change process required to manage the evolution of capitalism to one possibility, the empathic civilization, that Jeremy Rifkin outlines. As a democratic socialist, Bernie, are you thinking along these lines?