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Crisis Culture and the Waning of Revolutionary Politics

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Author(s): Steven Best

Journal: International Journal of Inclusive Democracy
ISSN 1753-240X

Volume: 3;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 3;
Date: 2007;
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Keywords: revolutionary politics | revolution | capitalism | radical | antisystemic | Left

ABSTRACT
Since the election of George Bush in 2000 (and his re-election in 2004), the tragedy of 9/11, the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, and ever more indicators of human-induced global climate change, the crisis in the social and natural worlds has sharpened considerably. The deterioration of society and nature demands a profound, systematic, and radical political response, yet in recent decades Left opposition movements have grown weaker in proportion to their importance. As the globe spirals ever deeper into disaster, with all things becoming ever more tightly knit into the tentacles of global capitalism, and as oppositional voices propose programs of reform and moderation at best, there is an urgent need for new conceptual and political maps and compasses to help steer humanity into a viable mode of existence. Karl Marx's 1843 call for a "ruthless criticism of everything existing" has never been more pressing and profound than in contemporary times of predatory global capitalism, neoliberalism, the World Trade Organization (WTO), the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the demise of social democracies, the police states of George Bush and Tony Blair, the assault on liberties and the criminalization of dissent, species extinction, rainforest destruction, resource wars, and global warming.Given the advances of capitalism and the cooptation and retreat of radical politics, it is urgent that genuine oppositional viewpoints be kept alive and nurtured in intellectual, public, and political forums. When one considers the paucity of radical viewpoints that still survive, the project of Inclusive Democracy immediately comes to mind as one of the few, if not the only, coherent and comprehensive theoretical and political frameworks for systemic social change. Inclusive Democracy aims to develop a radical theoretical analysis of -- and political solution to -- the catastrophic social and environmental impact of the market economies spawned by Western capitalist nations. This approach is inclusive in two senses. First, it seeks to transform all realms of public life, economic, political, legal, cultural, educational, and so on. Second, it aims to incorporate a wide diversity of social voices (or at least those legitimate expressions of difference not dedicated to ending difference and democracy by imposing authoritarian, elite, and fascist systems onto others) into revitalized public spheres. It is a form of radical democracy in its synthesis of classical Greek and libertarian socialist outlooks, a perspective that seeks to abolish all hierarchies and dissolve power into confederated local direct, economic, social and ecological democracies.

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