Left and Right

A Refreshing Discussion from the Serious Hard Left

This is a really interesting discussion between two Marxist-Leninists that actually gets into a range of important questions. I’m not sure of their specific affiliations. Caleb Maupin is a former member of the Workers Worker Party who is now a journalist for Russia Today, and appears to be a generic Marxist-Leninist who supports the model developed in China by Deng (which many hardliners consider revisionist). Jason Unruhe runs the “Maoist Rebel News” YouTube channel, but he has said he is no longer a Maoist, and describes himself as a Third Worldist. They discuss the difference between actual Marxism and “cultural Marxism,” Soviet economic development, why SJWs aren’t real “socialists,” race relations and economics in South Africa, the various intellectual and historic arguments for socialism over capitalism, the libertarians vs. Marxists debate, neoliberalism, social democracy, how liberals have abandoned the antiwar cause, why the Trumpians are better than McCain and the neocons, the Communist interpretation of the of the demise of the Soviet Union, the role of fascism and how fascists borrowed from Communism, present day Communist countries, the situation in Venezuela, etc.

These guys remind me of the old guard Communists I used to hang out with during my time as an activist against the US war in Central America in the 1980s. I do not and have never subscribed to the Marxist-Leninist ideological framework, but it’s interesting to hear a perspective on the condition of the supposed “Western Left” from actual hard leftists. I could offer my own predictably idiosyncratic interpretation of the Communist experience within a historical perspective. I largely agree with the anarchist or left-Marxist position (and the position of Murray Rothbard during his New Left phase) that the Communist revolutions in the East were the Eastern world’s equivalent of the bourgeois revolutions in the West in the 18th and 19th century. Only these revolutions occurred within a Marxist ideological framework (largely because Marxism had already replaced liberalism as the dominant revolutionary ideology among intellectuals), and within the tradition of Eastern despotism rather than Western liberalism. The Communist revolutions took place in feudal agrarian rather than industrial capitalist societies, so the big question for Communist regimes was the matter of how to achieve industrialization. I tend toward the idea that the surviving Communist states have done so largely by adopting a variant of Lenin’s New Economic Policy, i.e. using capitalism as a means of economic development. This is certainly the route that China, Vietnam and Laos have pursued, and Cuba and the DPRK seem to be headed in that direction. In other words, Communism was largely a historic transitional phase between feudalism and capitalism in Eastern agrarian societies, and a number of places in Asia and the Global South. It might be possible to include non-Leninist forms of socialism from outside the West in this paradigm as well (e.g. Baathism, Nasserism, Third International Theory, African socialism, etc).

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