Wednesday, August 1, 2012
What is radical liberalism?
Radical liberals are the non-revolutionary left. They sometimes call themselves Greens, labor, liberal, socialist, communist, anarchist or some ideological subset of human identity; but they never advocate for social revolution. As a plus, many radical liberals advocate reforms of the system of wage labour which give some of the collective product of labour, including some labour time, back to the producers of the wealth of nations. Sometimes radical liberals even advocate for national liberation. Specifically though, radical liberals never advocate for a change in the mode of production and exchange.
Marx and Engels were social revolutionaries who advocated the abolition of the wage system, common ownership of the collective product of labour and production of wealth for use, with its distribution based on need e.g. communism. The defining characteristics of a social revolution are rooted in a change in the mode of production and exchange. Radical liberals content themselves with advocating reforms of the rule of Capital; but never the total obliteration of Capital as a social relation. They typically advocate a fair wage system with social justice and usually call it, 'being realistic'. With their political pragmatism in hand, they barrack for good rulers to replace evil rulers and, never for a free association of producers, democratically managing the whole the collective product of labour. The self-described anarchists and Communists amongst them sometimes advocate for an equality of wages, not the abolition of the wage system. Some radical liberals calling themselves libertarian socialists advocate for worker owned cooperatives to replace corporations with the aim of restoring fairness and social justice to the marketplace for commodities through genuine competition between enterprises of wage-slaves engaged in self-management, not an end to commodity production and sale and distribution of socially owned use-values on the basis of need.
Radical liberalism dominates political, social and cultural discourse on the left. With their identity politics in hand, they dream of ending racism, sexism, ageism, classism etc. while promoting environmentalism to achieve social justice under the rule of Capital. For radical liberals, changing the mode of production is an out dated way to approach social justice, one which smacks of bureaucratic State socialism.
Radical liberals may talk of revolution; but they haven't got a clue about what a social revolution from class dominated to classless society would entail in terms of sublating the capitalist mode of production, although many of the more reactionary amongst them advocate a return to pre-capitalist modes of production. Radical liberals do not realise that the commodity itself is the building block of class ruled society. As the history of human social relations has demonstrated, the commodity undermines any attempt to maintain equal political power between all men and women.
Social justice will never be achieved under the rule of Capital. Capital is inherently a system of generalised commodity production with unequal political power between men and women of differing classes and even within those classes, as individuals within classes are stratified with varying dynamics of dominance and submission. Social justice means equal political power between ALL men and women or it remains an meaningless abstraction. Thus, the search for social justice via radical liberalism remains a mirage, an echo from the last stages of philosophical Idealism, the epoch of the revolutionary bourgeoisie.
I have met a lot of nice Stalinists, Trotskyists and anarchists but, I'm not one of them.