An interesting interview here with Yanis Varoufakis.
Now although I do admire Varoufakis, especially for his excellent attack on Postmodernism described here, I see some very troubling points here about Marxism.
Varoufakis says that Marxism is libertarian in some sense, and it is true that Marxism’s ultimate aim was a stateless, utopian paradise. But (as far as I can see) that is not the sense in which Varoufakis calls himself a “libertarian.” For Varoufakis goes on to say that his “libertarian Marxism” is compatible with a belief in the state, which, he says, is “crucial.”
I find these views deeply confusing.
First, why even associate yourself with Marxism at all when all attempts to put Marxism into action lead to mass murder and authoritarian nightmare states? At some point, one has to face the truth that if this is all that real-world Marxists have been able to do, their system stands utterly discredited by the hard evidence of empirical reality. If you do not advocate the abolition of private property, the nationalisation of all industry and a command economy, then why even call yourself a “Marxist”?
Worse still, Varoufakis thinks that “social democracy” has been discredited by modern neoliberal parties like New Labour. I disagree profoundly. Unlike Marxism, post-WWII left-wing parties put their social democratic vision into practice in the West, and it was the most successful system we ever had. And social democracy essentially takes its economic platform from Keynes – not Marx. Radical Keynesian social democracy is the true democratic “socialism,” if one chooses to use that troublesome word.
New Labour and other neoliberal left-wing parties were a betrayal of a social democratic ideology, and there is no reason to regard such neoliberal parties as anything but recent interlopers, charlatans and impostors. And say what you like about them, their evil doesn’t even come close to the horrors of Stalinist Russia or Soviet communism.
The neoliberal left has not discredited social democracy but only demonstrated the need for remembering what its core economic principles should be: a strong heterodox Keynesian or Post Keynesian economic theory.
Also, as I have argued here, it is a profound mistake for people on the left to just smear Britain’s UKIP as “racist” instead of carefully analysing what their policies are and intelligently responding to them.