Left and Right

Going Deep on Socialism

Welcome back to KK&F, where we’re confronting capitalism with sociologist and leftist thinker Vivek Chibber. We’ve brought him on the show to discuss everything from what it means to be a socialist, why we can’t take our eye (and our organizing) off of electoral politics, what role incrementalism should play in our politics, and much more. Watch here:

First, the hot-button question: Will social democracy lead to its own destruction? Dr. Chibber says yes. In this episode, we talk about the improvements to our current ways of living that social democracy would bring. But Dr. Chibber takes lessons from history — even recent history, looking at developments in the Nordic countries during the last decades of the twentieth century — to reveal the rollback of social programs and the welfare state, as well as the rise of the far right. It’s our purpose to wage class struggle for greater control over and improvement of our lives. This is an invitation to consider what political and economic systems would bring lasting security for working people — whether that looks like what we’d call market socialism, social democracy, or constitutional direct democracy (we’re calling that Kyleism).

The share of our organizing that should focus on electoral politics is hotly contested on the Left. According to Dr. Chibber, it’s essential to acknowledge how the change we agitate for at the grassroots level can be stymied or stalled by hostile bureaucracy and establishment feet-dragging. If we intend to take on our opponents through the democratic channels of our government, we’ll need comrades in the halls of power — those who will bring a working-class agenda to the floor for votes, and those who won’t pursue a directly antagonistic agenda to stop our voices from being heard. In other words, electoral organizing isn’t at all isolated from other forms of protest and political work: it can provide support to those other avenues that go beyond ballots and elections, and a powerful Left will be able to balance these efforts together.

We hope you enjoy this episode of KK&F. Remember that you can listen to this conversation as a podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Pandora, and more.

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