I was into the mutualist notion of gradualism, building dual power institutions slowly in order to supercede the state/capitalism at a later point, but I have more and more returned to the the Marxist convictions of my youth when it comes to revolution. I now see that gradualism as coming from a place of defeat. Like Curtis talks about, the left in defeat became afraid of power, and all power, even mass power, became conflated with authority.Dr. Medulla wrote: ↑03 Oct 2017, 2:52pmOn my ride this afternoon, I started listening to Louis Menand's The Metaphysical Club, about the birth of pragmatism in the late 19th c. I'd listened to it once long ago and read it for my US history field six years ago, but starting Brad Snyder's The House of Truth, about the intellectual shift from progressivism to liberalism in the early 20th c, I was reminded of this one and decided to revisit. Anyway, I was struck by this comment by the fervent abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison on the slavery question: “the experience of two centuries [has] shown, … gradualism in theory, is perpetuity in practice.” No, Hillary and Barack, don't nod so vigorously like that, you're missing the point.
I guess I am in some ways back to Monthly Review-style soft Maoism, except I still agree with anarchism against the centralizing Leninist tendencies of Marxism--maybe now I think electoralism is a legitimate tactic, and that there would be a state after revolution, but I think the "withering away" needs to be hurried along by mass democratization rather than party dictatorship, as the latter has been shown to lead to counterrevolutionary suppression of the working class and ultimately capitalist restoration. I think I have come around to the idea that a lot of leftist debates are in the pejorative sense academic for the moment and should be set aside in the interest of unity.
I mean I even support popular fronts with liberals to oppose fascism, although a good share of liberals seem more interested in allying with conservatives unfortunately.
I know my remarks are tangential to your point, and on that subject I will say that incrementalism seems to be a myth. Those gains came from recognizing the demands of mass movements and compromising in the interests of the ruling class. But the wonkish notion of incremental gains as technocratic tinkering, those kinds of means-tested programs are so easy to undermine and roll back, while bold universalist programs have staying power, as do gains backed by mass movements in general.
I feel like I am rambling so I will stop. It's hard to write coherently on the phone.