False Hope in the Left
The recent victory of the left's candidate in the presidential elections of Bolivia and the leftist radicalism of Chavez in Venezuela in the recent years have created a false hope in the revival of the left. I should note that the old ideological currents such as Islam after thousands of years, from time to time, because of various historical reasons, come back to life, and at times because of the vacuum of powerful alternatives, they are even accepted as the way for the future of society; yet it is a mistake that these revivals make us believe that these obsolete currents to offer the solution to the problems of our current society and to map our future.
The left just like Islam will always have some supporters who will advocate the various "democratic," "reformist," or "futurist" versions of it, but it is a mistake if we think that the reformed versions of the left will be more successful than their old version. In fact, it is the other way around. For example, the left that believed in dictatorship of the proletariat had a specific understanding of freedom and democracy which in the framework of proletarian democracy was opposed to the bourgeois democracy and they recognized the Communist Society as its ideal, the same way that liberalism, depicted its intended democracy based on private property and recognized the Capitalist Society as its ideal. Now the democratic left in the last few decades has borrowed the democracy of liberalism, while it does not recognize capitalism as its ideal, and therefore does not much believe in its own political alternative.
For some leftists similar to the supporters of many religions, it is very hard for them to intellectually start thinking anew. Also some other supporters of the left want to justify it as long as they themselves were inside the left, and it is not easy for them to say that their belonging to the leftist movement in the past and the years of advocating the left as the path of the future of humanity had been a mistake and usually think the left has become obsolete the time that they have abandoned it, whereas we know people like Karl Popper even before the World War II said exactly what majority of Iranian intellectuals acknowledge about the left today, and it has been the Iranian intellectual movement that had been behind. Actually, as I will note below, the left, years before the fall of the Soviet Union, had been ended, and it is astonishing that the still the Iranian intellectuals do not want to leave aside this ideology.
Let me before anything else, to emphasize that my words do not mean that I do not support social justice. Actually, quite the opposite, exactly because it is proven that the left is not the way to social justice, there is the need to go *outside* of the leftist current, and if any leftist current like the Islamist currents wants to show these critiques as opposing the poor and the deprived classes of society, the interested readers can refer to further explanations in my paper on Alternative Income [http://www.ghandchi.com/427-AlternativeIncomeEng.htm] and judge for themselves.
Why do I say that the left was ended long before the fall of the Soviet Union. In the recent history, Communism was after the destruction of capitalism and its spearhead, the United States. Karl Popper in his “Lessons of this Century”, published in 1997, has a good expose of this topic. Popper notes that the main argument of Marx’s Capital was that “capitalism cannot be reformed, but can only be destroyed; if one wishes to have a better society, it must be destroyed” [Lessons of this Century, P.19]. Regardless of all the reforms in capitalism, this tenet of Marxism, remained part of the ideology of leaders of Soviet Union, till the end of Soviet Empire.
Then Popper notes the Cuban Crisis of 1962 and Soviet’s possession of the H-bomb when for the “first time Soviet Union had ever the possibility of destroying the United States” [Ibid., P.23], nonetheless, the Soviets backed down in the 1962 Cuban crisis, and Popper notes that “the Soviet Union lost the Cold War at that point, when there was an attempt to destroy America. That was when the only remaining idea of the Marxist regime failed; it was the beginning of the decline that led to the general collapse” [Ibid., P.23]. “But after 1962, they went on producing bombs, all the time knowing that they couldn’t use them. That was the absolute intellectual zero point” [Ibid., P.28].
The perspective to destroy the West, became such an integral part of the Soviet brainwash of its population. Gorbachev noted this phenomena when he saw the need to make the Soviet people *normal*. Popper writes, “Only with Gorbachev do we find a man who realizes that he has to change the fundamental assumption of the whole of Russian politics, that they are the people whose mission it is to destroy capitalism- that is, America. Gorbachev has actually been several times to America and seen the reality there; he wants to show his understanding of a free people which is not aggressive towards Russia but hopes that Russia will come to her senses. And Gorbachev made an important statement when he said I want to make the people of the Soviet Union a normal people …You see, Gorbachev’s merit was to have understood that his people was not ‘normal’ whereas the American people was. The attitude is really quite different in America; they do not all the time have this horrible game in their mind.”
The left has been ended for years and it is now time that the progressive Iranian intellectuals who have known this reality for years, instead of going back and repeating the nostalgia of the left, to throw out the leftist shell and to clearly side with the futurist intellectual and political currents and to create futurist organizations.
Sam Ghandchi, Editor/Publisher
May 6, 2006
Text in Persian