Marxists Just Wait for the Revolution Rather than Address the Issues of the Here and Now

This is manifestly not the case. As I have argued earlier, Marxists fight constantly for change and reform which benefit the working class in the short-run under capitalism (for example, Marxists are centrally involved with work in trade unions agitating for better wages) with a vision of socialist transformation in the longer term (increasing class consciousness in the unions is part of this process). As Marx and Engels 1847 [1977], p. 62) put it:

The Communists fight for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, they also represent and take care of the future of the movement.8

The Respect Coalition has this dual aim, combining reform (bullet point 2: ‘the fight against’) with a revolutionary vision (bullet point 2: ‘the ultimate abolition’ and bullet points 1, 3 and 4):

• The organisation of society in the most open, democratic, participative, and accountable way practicable based on common ownership and democratic control

  • • The fight against, and ultimate abolition of racism, sexism, and all other forms of discrimination on the grounds of religion, disability, age or sexual identity. Defend a woman’s right to choose
  • • The abolition of all forms of economic exploitation and social oppression
  • • The promotion of peace and a system of global and national justice that provides protection from tyranny, prejudice and the abuse of power (Respect, the Unity Coalition, undated, p. 3)

However, there is no illusion that getting into power in the local and national capitalist state will create socialism, but it does provide a space to spread the message. As Respect’s MP George Galloway put it:

We don’t believe that the world can be changed in town halls and in parliament, but we believe that town halls and parliaments can be used to build a mass movement of people that will change things in this country for the better (Galloway 2006).

The choice is not between life in the neoliberal global capitalist world or a return to Stalinism, but between the anarchic chaos of capitalism and genuine world wide democratic socialism. There is a burgeoning recognition that this is the case from the mass global movements against globalization and in the growing anti-neoliberal politics throughout Latin America, from the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Bolivia, from Argentina to Brazil. There is also growing support for some Marxist parties in Europe, such as the Die Linke in Germany, the Portuguese Bloco Esquerda the Dutch Socialist Party, and the Red-Green Alliance in Denmark.

 
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