13 July 2010

Socialism in one country and reformism

The issue of ‘socialism in one country’ is an old question and became a somewhat inevitable one after the foundation of the Soviet Union. Unless the USSR was to be engaged in constant war with all the suffering that would involve, some sort of socialism in one country was necessary. To me the idea that any meaningful progress is dependent on a world revolution in which all existing social conditions are abolished before the Promised Land can be ushered in is a religious-like fiction.

My thinking, as a reformist, starts somewhere else. Socio-political conditions at any point in time are what they are and any given situation hold the possibility of improvement. However to move things forward progressives need three things.

First, they need to analyse and understand the society they live in. Nobody can steer a car if they can’t see the road.

Second, they need a measure of what constitutes progress. For me that means the expansion of personal and civil liberties plus an increase in the social product flowing to ordinary working people.

Third, political change does not come out of thin air, but can only come about through political organisation. Thus agents of change are required.

The three tenets of progress are like a stool. Take one away or have one shorter than the others and the stool topples over.

No comments: