The Present in History, 2021


William K. Tabb


In The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon, Karl Marx observed that class struggle can create circumstances and relationships that make “it possible for a grotesque mediocrity to play a hero’s part.” Donald Trump can be viewed as one such grotesque mediocrity, inflated to “heroic” proportions by his reactionary followers. Unwilling to accept defeat, Trump attempted to seize power after losing the 2020 presidential election. His claim that victory was stolen from him by massive fraud, and his effort to encourage states under Republican control and his vice president to give him the office—all possible within the formal rules—set an ominous roadmap for Republican strategy in 2024.

The job of socialists is to engage with public policy from a class perspective, informed by a Marxist understanding of contemporary capitalism, not to reform it, but to abolish it. There is support for the kind of non-reformist reforms that are needed. The Democratic Party of necessity has moved left. It is the job of the left to push it further in ways that reveal the contradictions of capitalism as a system, most importantly explaining all that must change for a Green New Deal to succeed and make the planet safe for all living things. The change required is beyond capitalism. This suggests, as Noam Chomsky does, that “Marx’s old mole is right beneath the surface. If there’s an opportunity to think about it, to recognise the possibility that you don’t have to be subject to a master, you can run your own life, you can run your own enterprises, that keeps coming very close to the surface.” The old mole of revolution is coming “very close to the surface,” in a world where capitalist crises have become more frequent and the system has lost legitimacy in the eyes of so many, in which the center does not hold, and socialism or barbarism becomes a realistic choice.


For a full read of this brief, click here or on the picture to download the pdf file.


   Site Map
   Contact us
HomeResourcesDemocracy Best PracticesThe Present in History, 2021
Bookmark and Share
 Democracy — Best Practices