From Nicaragua: Letter to the Left

From Envio magazine via Mirada Global:

I don’t doubt the existence of a future for the left, but their future will not be a linear continuation of their past. Defining what the lefts have in common equals answering the question: What is the left?


The left is a combination of political positions that share the ideal that all human beings are equal and are the supreme value. This ideal is questioned every time there are social relations where power is unequal, that is, when there is domination. In this case, some individuals or groups satisfy some of their needs by transforming other individuals or groups into means to satisfy their needs. Capitalism isn’t the only source of domination, although it’s an important one.

The different ways of understanding this ideal has provoked several divisions. The main ones have stemmed from opposing answers to the following questions: Can capitalism be reformed in order to improve the fate of those that are dominated, or is this only possible beyond capitalism? Must the social struggle be conducted by one class –the working class- or by different classes or social groups? Must the struggle take place within the democratic institutions, or outside these? The State, in itself, does it have a relationship of domination, or can it be mobilized to fight against relationships of domination?

Read the rest here. Also available in Spanish.

Tim Reidy


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John Barbieri
5 years 11 months ago
Interesting article.
Unbridled capitalism is certainly dangerous.
Yet, I can't think of any society that was better off after a leftist government came to power.Both ideologies seem to bring about some of the worst in us. In the case of capitalism: unbridled greed. In the case of the left: repressive authoritarian regimes. 
Mixed public and private systems seem to keep both bad tendencies in check.
It is well to remember that ''utopia'' means ''nowhere.''
Tom Maher
5 years 11 months ago
David Smith (#2)

This article does not seem to have any current economic or political foundation. It seems the left is just anti everything without any core reason to exist.   A free floating belief system very strongly held that something is wrong but lacks solutions that can be implemented in the real world.  

Hopefully the left is not going to try for communism 2.0 or socialism 2.0 which will fail  just as miserably everywhere.  But I know of people who fervently believe that communism of the 20 th century really wasn't a valid experiment in socialism even though commusim was  prevasive for over half a centry in so many cultures and nations all of whom with the exception of Cubas and North Korea rejected commusim and adopted its arch-rival capitalism.  Leftist do not seem to want to accept the  results of this massive, multi-decade worldwide experiment.  

Nations like India that rejected socialism and adapted captialiism and benefited are of no interest to the left.  But capitalism like any working system can always be adapted and improved on infinitely.  As an economic and political system capitalsim  works over time and space while socialism fails.  It would make sense to begin with captialism and not try to invent a brand new utopian economic system that is just another attemp to revive socialism.

But you are right leftist need for government control such as socialism is a deeply held belief independent of the proven filure of socialism as viable  economic and political system.  


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