4 Responses

  1. Jeff White December 21, 2011 at 1:49 am |

    So how is that “ignoring capitalism to death” working out so far, Shane?

  2. Shane H December 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm |

    Yeah Trainer is a utopian – what we need to do is construct a revolutionary vanguard party and seize state power – then all will be well. Anything less betrays your support for the capitalist system.

    Transition Towns is a diverse global movement of 1000s of people thinking about how to build a better society – of course of lot of their thinking is confused and muddy thats the nature of movements of ordinary people who are trying to change things.

    Those involved in Leninist politics are a tiny group of people who are sure they have ‘the’ answer even though there has never been a successful revolution in an advanced capitalist country. Utopian indeed.

  3. Jeff White December 18, 2011 at 11:33 pm |

    Trainer’s response presents an absurd disconnect between his analysis and his prescription for action.

    He assures us that the first 250 pages of his book clearly identify the capitalist system as being the direct cause of the problems that are likely to destroy us, and he poses “some kind of ‘socialism'” as the answer. But the last two chapters, he tells us, propose a strategy that deliberately avoids confronting the capitalist system and its coercive state, and retreats instead into the rank utopianism of the Transition Towns movement.

    With a straight face Trainer tells us we should “ignore capitalism to death” while developing “local communities that don’t operate according to capitalist principles”. Evidently we can wish capitalism away without ever attempting to dispossess it of its massive wealth and power. He calls this “classic anarchist ‘prefiguring'”. I call it a recipe for failure.

    David Pepper, in his book Eco-socialism: From Deep Ecology to Social Justice correctly notes:

    Anarchistic prefiguring strategies that attempt to marginalise capitalism sound seductive, but experience has shown that they usually result in the marginalising of the countercultural marginalisers themselves, who have ignored or underestimated or refused to confront the material basis of the hegemony of prevailing capitalist ideologies.

    Or as Eric Kerl of Chicago put it:

    All of these proposals to make a “revolution” without actually challenging the state are radical sounding, but are based on the acceptance of the state — the very institution that possesses the monopoly of coercive means necessary to maintain capitalist social relations.

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