Frank Deeb searches for answers to the question of the future of socialism – Friday

In fact, this text was completed – but then the war came. The war has changed everything, pushing the questions that were fundamental and forward-looking yesterday into the second row: the coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis, and social inequality. Famous political scientist and devoted Marxist Frank Deeb has published a book in which he attempts to explore another question: Is there a future for socialism in the twenty-first century, that can provide answers to the crises of that time?

No time for dogmatists

The 80-year-old, who believed that Russia’s attack on Ukraine was hardly possible, was pessimistic even before the outbreak of the war: “Puracts who want to replace true analysis with faith in historical laws have been disappointed over and over again,” Deby wrote. , who worked as a professor in Marburg from the early 1970s until 2006. Depp, who had reached a chair in political science through the student movement in West Germany as a Marxist, came through Herbert Marcus. Reason and revolution for political science. Like his former mentor Wolfgang Abendroth, political scientist and resistance fighter of the Third Reich, he was and remains close to the labor movement and the left wing of trade unions. It is possible that the proximity of the working class to this reality contributes to the fact that the author takes a sober look at the “third wave” of socialism that many had hoped for. In order to get out of the “early embryonic stage”, it is necessary to renew the basic economy, that is, the renewed socialization of important goods, production processes and services in the hands of the public – infrastructure, energy, medical care and living space. On the other hand, it is necessary that all those who combine “identity politics” and “class issues” should unite. So far, the confrontation of “identity against class” or “class against identity” has impeded the “formation of a mass of social, political and cultural forces” capable of challenging the rule of global financial market capitalism.

The unrecognized problem: the fight against homophobia and racism, for example, as justified, does not shake the foundations of capitalism. Liberal governments everywhere attest to this, especially in the United States, where Democrats present themselves as an anti-racist party — without upsetting the economic status quo. The same applies to the German Green Party. Depp says that successes in the struggle against homophobia and racism or for gender equality can “fit seamlessly into notions of modernizing capitalism (…) without changing the economic basis of class society”. In other words, whether a black person or a lesbian woman heads a large corporation instead of “white men” has nothing to do with the shareholders. The same is true of the policies of the Green New Deal – capitalism can go green without shaking its core.

But the war changes everything: in light of the Ukraine war, the question is how capitalism will develop. Depp acquired the book in 2013 totalitarian capitalism Introduction, in which he points out the dangerous tendencies of “erosion of democracy” by neoliberal market radicalism. Déby now writes that the “ruling bloc” will by no means leave the square without violence if the left’s protests intensify. Right-wing populist movements, which around the world also represent their choice of “authoritarian” capitalism – ideologically supported by nationalism and racism – also represent violent anti-socialism and anti-communism, have already given “a foretaste of the coming violence by a right-wing radical gang”. If you look at France, where the populist radical Marine Le Pen garnered more than 40 percent of the vote, the scenario is not unrealistic.

In a conversation conducted after the outbreak of the war, Depp now adds: “What we are witnessing now is a reshaping of the West, in which the countries of Eastern Europe will play a leading role in shaping an aggressive course toward Russia.” At the same time, in Germany, for example, “the new wave of rearmament is strengthening conservative forces. Now they say: We will now propagate everything that has not yet suited us: basic peaceful positions, the primacy of the environment over the army. Thus, the moral fixation leads to morality on war into a conservative reform of internal conditions.” In the book itself, Depp’s critique of socialism falls short in some places. As an experienced scholar writes extensively here, the pointed font is sometimes missing, as well as the wonderful, spontaneous humor that characterizes Depp’s lively, committed lectures. However, the book’s great added value likely came from two sources: the vast body of knowledge and resources of the author, whose multi-volume work Magnum was published in the 2000s. Political thought in the twentieth century Foot. The other source of “added value” for reading, in the best sense of the word: the deep inner value system of a truly unretired university teacher, who continues to work vigorously and adheres to the basic tenets of Marxism. devoid of belief. This is how it looks in socialism No Marxist professed through. But it is persuasive and decisive.

socialism. Birth and rise – contradictions and decline – prospects Frank Dib VSA-Verlag 2021, 368 pages, €29.80

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