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Why is there no socialism in... well... anywhere?

By Michael J. Smith on Monday March 5, 2007 12:53 AM

Carrol Cox, a person whose stuff I always read with pleasure on lbo-talk, recently wrote:
As an ex-weatherman, ex lrs-member said to me back in '92 (explaining why he would vote for Clinton) "I would like to win for a change." Understand, that slogan doesn't mean "I want to achieve this or that goal" but merely "I want to win" just to say I won. Some of my former lrs-comrades in Chicago had sincerely hypnotized themselves into the belief that "Daley represented the progressive wing of the bourgeoisie."

Except for those widely separated times when capitalism really badly wounds itself the opposition (whether revolutionary or reformist) is going to lose -- and it will lose even worse if it hypnotises itself into thinking that it could win if it only had another strategy or only didn't make this that or the other mistake.

The job of leftists is to keep trying and losing trying and losing until their trying occurs at one of those times when capitalism has wounded itself. If they don't keep up the fight (without illusions of some new trick of winning) they won't be prepared when victory is possible.

The major fact of the post-war period up to and including the present is the enormous strength of capital. Part of that strength is creating the illusion of correctible weaknesses or errors on the left, so in trying to correct those irrelevant errors leftists stop being leftists.

I guess it's a little perverse of me, but in all sincerity I find this comforting. I'm not being snide here. "Keep trying and losing" -- well sheeit, that I know how to do.

Comments (5)

"Fail again. Fail better". Samuel Beckett.

(The extended quote: "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better." from Worstward Ho)

owen paine:


father dearest :

is that a hip short hand
league for revolutionary struggle ??

Carrol Cox:

"is that a hip short hand for league for revolutionary struggle ??"

Hip? HIP??? Me hip? How ridiculous. I graduated 60 years ago this June from a midwestern small-town high school. Me hip? Don't be silly. As of 1954 I even had a top-secret clearance as an Air Force staff sergeant attached to NSA!!!

But yes, LRS is as you guess. (I'm saving keystrokes as tennis elbow forces me to two-finger typing.)

Carrol Cox

owen paine:

comrade cox:

greetings from the east

you are an inspiration to us all

here at

stop me before i hip it up again

for what ever that's worth


What an elegant statement by Ms. Cox.

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