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Alt Fails – Pragmatism Key

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Alt Fails – Pragmatism Key

The alternative’s demand for political purity only helps capitalism. Even if they win some risk of a link, we have to begin with the world we have, not the one we wish we had.

Bryant 12—professor of philosophy at Collin College (Levi, We’ll Never Do Better Than a Politician: Climate Change and Purity, 5/11/12,
However, pointing this out and deriding market based solutions doesn’t get us very far. In fact, such a response to proposed market-based solutions is downright dangerous and irresponsible. The fact of the matter is that 1) we currently live in a market based world, 2) there is not, in the foreseeable future an alternative system on the horizon, and 3), above all, we need to do something now. We can’t afford to reject interventions simply because they don’t meet our ideal conceptions of how things should be. We have to work with the world that is here, not the one that we would like to be here. And here it’s crucial to note that pointing this out does not entail that we shouldn’t work for producing that other world. It just means that we have to grapple with the world that is actually there before us.¶ It pains me to write this post because I remember, with great bitterness, the diatribes hardcore Obama supporters leveled against legitimate leftist criticisms on the grounds that these critics were completely unrealistic idealists who, in their demand for “purity”, were asking for “ponies and unicorns”. This rejoinder always seemed to ignore that words have power and that Obama, through his profound power of rhetoric, had, at least the power to shift public debates and frames, opening a path to making new forms of policy and new priorities possible. The tragedy was that he didn’t use that power, though he has gotten better.¶ I do not wish to denounce others and dismiss their claims on these sorts of grounds. As a Marxist anarchists, I do believe that we should fight for the creation of an alternative hominid ecology or social world. I think that the call to commit and fight, to put alternatives on the table, has been one of the most powerful contributions of thinkers like Zizek and Badiou. If we don’t commit and fight for alternatives those alternatives will never appear in the world. Nonetheless, we still have to grapple with the world we find ourselves in. And it is here, in my encounters with some Militant Marxists, that I sometimes find it difficult to avoid the conclusion that they are unintentionally aiding and abetting the very things they claim to be fighting. In their refusal to become impure, to work with situations or assemblages as we find them, to sully their hands, they end up reproducing the very system they wish to topple and change. Narcissistically they get to sit there, smug in their superiority and purity, while everything continues as it did before because they’ve refused to become politicians or engage in the difficult concrete work of assembling human and nonhuman actors to render another world possible. As a consequence, they occupy the position of Hegel’s beautiful soul that denounces the horrors of the world, celebrate the beauty of their soul, while depending on those horrors of the world to sustain their own position. To engage in politics is to engage in networks or ecologies of relations between humans and nonhumans. To engage in ecologies is to descend into networks of causal relations and feedback loops that you cannot completely master and that will modify your own commitments and actions. But there’s no other way, there’s no way around this, and we do need to act now.

Alt Fails – Rejection Not Enough

Lack of specific action means the alt will fail

Jones 11—Owen, Masters at Oxford, named one of the Daily Telegraph's 'Top 100 Most Influential People on the Left' for 2011, author of "Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class", The Independent, UK, "Owen Jones: Protest without politics will change nothing", 2011,

Today, as protesters in nearly a thousand cities across the world follow the example set by the Occupy Wall Street protests, it's worth pondering what happened to the anti-globalisation movement. Its activists did not lack passion or determination. But they did lack a coherent alternative to the neo-liberal project. With no clear political direction, the movement was easily swept away by the jingoism and turmoil that followed 9/11, just two months after Genoa. Don't get me wrong: the Occupy movement is a glimmer of sanity amid today's economic madness. By descending on the West's financial epicentres, it reminds us of how a crisis caused by the banks (a sentence that needs to be repeated until it becomes a cliché) has been cynically transformed into a crisis of public spending. The founding statement of Occupy London puts it succinctly: "We refuse to pay for the banks' crisis." The Occupiers direct their fire at the top 1 per cent, and rightly so – as US billionaire Warren Buffett confessed: "There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." The Occupy movement has provoked fury from senior US Republicans such as Presidential contender Herman Cain who – predictably – labelled it "anti-American". They're right to be worried: those camping outside banks threaten to refocus attention on the real villains, and to act as a catalyst for wider dissent. But a coherent alternative to the tottering global economic order remains, it seems, as distant as ever. Neo-liberalism crashes around, half-dead, with no-one to administer the killer blow. There's always a presumption that a crisis of capitalism is good news for the left. Yet in the Great Depression, fascism consumed much of Europe. The economic crisis of the 1970s did lead to a resurgence of radicalism on both left and right. But, spearheaded by Thatcherism and Reaganism, the New Right definitively crushed its opposition in the 1980s.This time round, there doesn't even seem to be an alternative for the right to defeat. That's not the fault of the protesters. In truth, the left has never recovered from being virtually smothered out of existence. It was the victim of a perfect storm: the rise of the New Right; neo-liberal globalisation; and the repeated defeats suffered by the trade union movement. But, above all, it was the aftermath of the collapse of Communism that did for the left. As US neo-conservative Midge Decter triumphantly put it: "It's time to say: We've won. Goodbye." From the British Labour Party to the African National Congress, left-wing movements across the world hurtled to the right in an almost synchronised fashion. It was as though the left wing of the global political spectrum had been sliced off. That's why, although we live in an age of revolt, there remains no left to give it direction and purpose.

Alt Fails – Totalitarianism

Marxism has historically led to genocide

Jeffrey T. Kuhner, assistant national editor, The Washington Times November 30, 2003
The 20th century will be remembered as the bloodiest century in history. A major reason was the 1917 establishment by Vladimir Lenin and his Bolsheviks of a Marxist regime in Russia. The Soviet Union was the epicenter of a communist empire that, until its disintegration in 1991, spread doctrines of economic collectivism and class struggle to almost every part of the globe. From Eastern Europe to Africa to Latin America to Asia, hundreds of millions suffered the brutality of Marxist-Leninist dictatorships. Now, if some in Washington have their way, the memories of the countless victims of communism will be remembered. Led by its courageous president, Jay Katzen, the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation [] is seeking to erect a monument in D.C. dedicated to those who perished under Marxism's murderous reign. Their goal is to have the Memorial Monument built by October of next year. A monument is desperately needed because, sadly, communism's crimes risk being forgotten. Lenin's project resulted not only in unprecedented economic and ecological destruction, but more importantly the greatest system of mass murder ever invented: More than 100 million individuals were killed at the hands of communist regimes. Yet many Western academics continue to deny or downplay the full extent of communist atrocities. It is common on many campuses in the United States to hear that Marxism-Leninism, unlike its totalitarian twin, fascism, was a benevolent ideology that sought to impose universal peace and social justice - that it was a good idea gone bad. Nothing could be further from the truth. From its inception, communism sought to forge a new order based on genocide and mass murder. Lenin set the precedent, followed by subsequent Marxist regimes, that to establish a revolutionary proletarian state, entire categories of humans needed to be systematically wiped out: the bourgeoisie, kulaks, counterrevolutionaries and intellectuals who refused to follow the Bolshevik line. The totalitarian essence of Lenin's vision was that it sought to erect the perfect society by imposing one-party rule and smashing all dissent and opposition. Recent history has been littered with Lenin's evil offspring - Josef Stalin, Mao Tse-tung, Josip Broz Tito, Ho Chi Minh, Pol Pot, Nicolae Ceausescu, Fidel Castro. The atrocities committed by these dictators need to be remembered not only to honor the dead but because they reveal the seminal lesson of the past century: Utopianism leads to totalitarianism; the road to Utopia goes through Golgotha. The millions slaughtered by communist regimes were not accidental byproducts of misguided policies, but central to the Marxist project.

Alt Fails – Totalizing

Total rejection of capitalism fragments resistance – the perm solves best

J.K. Gibson-Graham, feminist economist, 96, End of Capitalism
One of our goals as Marxists has been to produce a knowledge of capitalism. Yet as “that which is known,” Capitalism has become the intimate enemy. We have uncloaked the ideologically-clothed, obscure monster, but we have installed a naked and visible monster in its place. In return for our labors of creation, the monster has robbed us of all force. We hear – and find it easy to believe – that the left is in disarray. Part of what produces the disarray of the left is the vision of what the left is arrayed against. When capitalism is represented as a unified system coextensive with the nation or even the world, when it is portrayed as crowding out all other economic forms, when it is allowed to define entire societies, it becomes something that can only be defeated and replaced by a mass collective movement (or by a process of systemic dissolution that such a movement might assist). The revolutionary task of replacing capitalism now seems outmoded and unrealistic, yet we do not seem to have an alternative conception of class transformation to take its place. The old political economic “systems” and “structures” that call forth a vision of revolution as systemic replacement still seem to be dominant in the Marxist political imagination. The New World Order is often represented as political fragmentation founded upon economic unification. In this vision the economy appears as the last stronghold of unity and singularity in a world of diversity and plurality. But why can’t the economy be fragmented too? If we theorized it as fragmented in the United States, we could being to see a huge state sector (incorporating a variety of forms of appropriation of surplus labor), a very large sector of self-employed and family-based producers (most noncapitalist), a huge household sector (again, quite various in terms of forms of exploitation, with some households moving towards communal or collective appropriation and others operating in a traditional mode in which one adult appropriates surplus labor from another). None of these things is easy to see. If capitalism takes up the available social space, there’s no room for anything else. If capitalism cannot coexist, there’s no possibility of anything else. If capitalism functions as a unity, it cannot be partially or locally replaced. My intent is to help create the discursive conception under which socialist or other noncapitalist construction becomes “realistic” present activity rather than a ludicrous or utopian goal. To achieve this I must smash Capitalism and see it in a thousand pieces. I must make its unity a fantasy, visible as a denial of diversity and change.

Alt Fails – Transition Wars

And, capitalist elites will resist, causing global war

Harris, Atlanta Writer, in ‘2 [Lee, Policy Review, December, p3(13) The intellectual origins of America-Bashing]
This is the immiserization thesis of Marx. And it is central to revolutionary Marxism, since if capitalism produces no widespread misery, then it also produces no fatal internal contradiction: If everyone is getting better off through capitalism, who will dream of struggling to overthrow it? Only genuine misery on the part of the workers would be sufficient to overturn the whole apparatus of the capitalist state, simply because, as Marx insisted, the capitalist class could not be realistically expected to relinquish control of the state apparatus and, with it, the monopoly of force. In this, Marx was absolutely correct. No capitalist society has ever willingly liquidated itself, and it is utopian to think that any ever will. Therefore, in order to achieve the goal of socialism, nothing short of a complete revolution would do; and this means, in point of fact, a full-fledged civil war not just within one society, but across the globe.

Alt – AT: Neolib UQ

Neoliberalism is not declining in Latin America – It’s flourishing.

Petras, professor of sociology at Binghamton University, 2010 [James, Latin America: Roads to 21st Century Capitalist Development,]
Over the better part of the present decade, Latin American stock markets have boomed. Overseas investors have reaped and repatriated billions in dividends, profits and interest payments. Multi-national corporations have piled into mining, agro-business and related sectors, unimpeded and with virtually no demands by local regions for ‘technological transfers’ and environmental constraints. Latin American regimes, have accumulated unprecedented foreign currency reserves to ensure that foreign investors have unlimited access to hard currencies to remit profits. The decade has witnessed unprecedented political and social demobilization of radical social movements. Regimes have provided political and social protection for foreign and national investors as well as long term guarantees of private property rights. Nary a single regime in the region, with the unique exception of Venezuela, has reverted the large scale privatizations of strategic economic sectors implemented by previous neo-liberal regimes in the 1990’s. In fact the concentration and centralization of fertile lands has continued with no pretense of land or income redistribution on the policy agenda. While bankers, and investors, overseas and nationals, celebrate the economic boom and more importantly express their positive appreciation by investing billions in the region, leftist pundits claim to find a “resurgent left” and write of one or another version of 21st century socialism. In particular many prominent and widely published Euro-American progressives and leftists intellectuals and pundits have badly served their followers and readers. Commentaries based on jet flyovers provide glowing reports of Latin America’s march to the left and national independence. Such accounts lack any empirical, historical, analytical or statistical foundation. Writers as diverse as Chomsky, Tariq Ali, Wallerstein, who have never conducted any field research below the Rio Grande at any time or for that matter consulted major investors reaping billions in today’s Latin America have become instant experts on the social and political nature of the regimes, the state of the social movements and current economic policies. It seems as if Latin America is fair game for any and all Western leftist writers who can echo the political rhetoric of the incumbent regimes. No doubt this secures an occasional official invite but it hardly serves to clarify the most striking socio-economic features of the current crop of regimes in Latin America and their sharply defined development strategies. A wealth of data based on extensive field interviews, statistical studies published by international development agencies, reports by economic consultancies and business and investment houses, as well as discussions with independent social movement leaders provides ample documentation to argue that Latin America has taken multiple roads to 21st century capitalism, not socialism or anything akin to it. In fact one of the great success stories celebrated by the business press, is the marginalization of socialist politics, the general acceptance of “globalization” by the leaders of the political class (from the center-left rightward) and the de-radicalization of the intellectual/academic elite who wage battle against neo-liberal phantoms while providing populist legitimization for the politicians of 21st century … capitalism. Twenty-First Century Capitalism: Continuities and Changes Investors, speculators, multinational corporations and trading companies from Asia, Europe, North America and the Middle East have, in recent years found virtue and value in the economic development policies pursued by recent Latin American leaders. In particular, they applaud the new found political stability and economic opportunities for long term, high rates of profits. In fact Latin America is looked at as an outlet for profitable investments surpassing those found in the unstable and volatile markets of the US and EU. Twenty-first century capitalism (21C) as we know its operations in Latin America overlaps in some of its major features with the multiple variants of 20th century capitalism. 21C has embraced the “open market” policies of the late 20th century neoliberal model; it has, promoted agro-mineral exports and importation of finished goods similar to the early 20th century colonial division of labor. It has borrowed from the nationalist developmental strategy, policies of state intervention to ameliorate poverty, bailout banks, promote exporters and foreign investors. As in most ‘late and ‘later’ developing capitalist countries, the state plays an important role in mediating between agro-mineral exporters and industrial capitalists (national and foreign) in some of the larger countries like Brazil and Argentina. Unlike earlier versions of liberal and neo-liberal capitalists which, in the first instance dissolved pre-capitalist constraints on capital flows and later labor and welfare demands constraining capitalist exploitation, current heterodox liberal (or “post-neoliberal”) regimes attempt to harness and co-opt labor and the poor to the new export strategy. In part, 21st capitalism, can pursue “free market” and welfare/poverty policiesbecause of the favorable world market conjuncture of high commodity prices and expanding markets in Asia. Increased activity by the state in regulating capital flows and “picking winners and losers”, promoting agro business over small farmers, exporters and large retail importers over small and medium producers and retailers – highlights the compatibility, indeed the importance, of state interventionism in sustaining the “free market” agromineral export model. While some sectors of capital complained about potential deficits and rising public debts resulting from increased state spending on poverty programs and in raising the minimum wage, in general most capitalist view the current version of “statism” as complementary and not in conflict with the larger goals of expanding investment opportunities and capital accumulation.

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