Hello, /leftypol/. Today I'd like to talk to you about socialism, its hyphenation into many variations (eco-socialism, feminist socialism, libertarian socialism, democratic socialism and all the rest of the socialisms), the purpose of these X-socialisms and why we should ultimately move away from them. To me, socialism refers to the socialist mode of production while communism refers to the communist society, just to define the terms.
In the socialist movement, people might ask the question: "What kind of a socialist are you?" Being symptomatic to the variety of different socialist political identities and, in practice, a new kind of tribalism and identity shopping we see today (like the hipster socialists we are both online and offline/"IRL"), the nature of this question and its implications need to be addressed. These adjectives serve as identifiers for the "good" and "bad" socialisms in our minds, resulting in the segregation and division of parts of the socialist movement and ideology we may not agree with, causing splits and infighting among us.
Why do I call these socialist schools of thought, these X-socialisms (X being any adjective such as "democratic" or "libertarian") for lack of a better term, half-socialism? Because they imply the inadequacy and insufficiency of socialism alone to solve the issues contained by the adjective (women's liberation, democracy, freedom, environmentalism and the rest) and so it's implied socialism requires the other half in form of the adjective. Additionally, the end result of this dilutes the socialist part of each hyphenated socialism, causing them to be literally "half as socialist" compared to just socialism itself.
Here is an example: eco-socialism (AKA green left and red greens), a very popular socialist school of thought in Europe originating from the new left and being represented by the European United Left-Nordic Green Left European parliamentary group and its predominantly demsoc member parties. What is this in practice? It is a parliamentary and reformist socialism, seeking to build socialism through parliamentary reforms in capitalism. But what socialism is there, when the eco-socialists only want a highly regulated and taxed welfare state with social justice and emphasis on concern for the environment (a noble cause which, too, in practice is reduced to ethical consumerism and pushing the responsibilities and duties to the working class).
Where is the socialism in eco-socialism? Nowhere, as it turns out, all the while with a socialist mode of production in place and the abolition of capitalist production, socialism alone would materially reach the goals of environmentalism easier, better, harder, faster and stronger than any "eco-socialism" and most other "green" movements and ideologies. Despite this, eco-socialism contains in it the implication that socialism by itself doesn't care about the environment, or even worse, is for environmental destruction in order to reach its goals. Other X-socialisms contain similar baseless accusations: libertarian socialism implies socialism to be unfree, democratic socialism implies socialism to be undemocratic, all the while both have in practice and materially resulted in no more freedom or democracy than socialism by itself.
Why should we still hold onto these half-socialisms? What is their merit, if this is what they do? It is a matter of direction of the ideological transformation of individuals as well as the recruitment and radicalization of non-socialists into socialists in the following form:
Non-socialist political identity X --> X-socialism --> Socialism
This is how it is supposed to go. The half-socialist's transformation into a (full) socialist is a necessary step in the formation of a highly functioning and united socialist movement. This has not been the direction we have gone towards in history, however. Socialism itself has degenerated and gone backwards into a series of disunited half-socialisms fighting against one another and competing in the "free market of ideas" of capitalist society. Overall, we have not progressed or gone forward.
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