Communism Doesn’t Know How

The New Discourses Podcast with James Lindsay, Episode 31

At the heart of communist and communistic thought is faith in a kind of historical trajectory toward utopia that’s driven by social alchemy. There are many reasons why this fails in practice, but the simplest thing to say is that communism fails because communism doesn’t know how communism will succeed. The fundamental belief driving communists is that once enough people become true believers that the communist utopia lies on the other side of certain social changes, a perfect society will manifest. How? Because they will. The details aren’t meant to be known or told; they’re meant to be figured out. This is in exact alignment with the historicism in Marx’s dialectical materialism: once we get capitalism out of the way, we’ll enter a worker-managed system (socialism) that can start figuring out how to make the state redundant to its purposes, at which point a stateless improvement of the same will emerge and the communist utopia (and end of History) will emerge. On this episode of the New Discourses Podcast, James Lindsay gives an example of how a contemporary police abolitionist activist has made almost exactly this same argument perfectly explicitly and walks you through how you can spot it for what it is. Join Lindsay for one of his more important discussions.

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