Monday, 19 May 2014

Thoughts on Reformism.


  • Reformism is the idea that you can use the existing order to change it, to somehow make it far better or somehow emancipatory. It's like saying if you change the wheel on a broken car it will somehow work fine. It's deluded thinking, deeply mistaken yet the system is happy for it to go on and encourages it either knowingly or not.
  • Reformism is possibly liberal thinking Par Excellence.
  • Reformism tends towards telling you to obey laws.
  • Reformism says vote instead of doing direct action.
  • Reformism says elect a politician or party instead of revolution.
  • Reformism wants to slowly gradually alter the system whereas revolution is final definitive very disruptive full of upheaval and probably violent.
  • Reformism does not end the passivity or lack of autonomy of oppressed people  infact it further encourages it and tells them this is the only way to make things better.
  • Reformism says give decisionmaking to hierarchy ,to politicians, to political parties (Representative Democracy) instead of empowering ordinary people to make decisions about their own lives in a direct democracy without the state or capitalism(Anarchism)
  • Reformism ensures the smooth uninterrupted functioning of the existing order and it's oppression.
  • Reformism favours law. Anarchists say law is either customs we'd favour anyway or just protection for the rich and powerful and other oppressors.
  • Reformism is different from supporting reforms. You can support reforms but not be reformist. Reformism supports reforms and that is all whereas a revolutionary must support reforms but still aim for revolution beyond those reforms. Anarchism would take 10% but still demand 100% and never stop till we get there.
  • There's two types of reforms. There's good reforms which come from grassroots pressure, that are concessions from those in power when they fear revolution or erosion of legitimacy etc and empower the oppressed to move further to revolution. Bad reforms come from above and are handed down to the oppressed- bad reforms disempower by maintaining or extending existing oppression.
  • Good reforms e.g. the NHS, Welfare state, anything which puts decision making back into the hands of ordinary people and/or helps them resist the evils of capitalism better.
  • Bad reforms - carbon tradeoffs, tuition fees, market solutions to climate change, Nationalization(because it's just a shift from private capitalism to state capitalism) Anything which is oppression sold as progress.
  • Reformism is a kind of defeatism or pessimism, an internalizing of "there is no alternative"
  • Reformism is not just non revolutionary. It operates to hinder and short circuit revolutionary thinking and revolutionary movements. Reformism is a barrier and poison to revolution.
  • Reformism is legitimate anger co-opted to work in the interests of the system to continue existing oppression with minimum tinkering or change.
  • Reformism is safe, unscary, exactly what the system wants you to think. It is the system's preferred ideology(especially in representative democracy) Reform is representative democracies officially sanctioned means of social change.
  • Reformism locates the problems of existing society in specific politicians/politicial parties/policies/laws etc. It points to and blames westminister or the Tories or Neo-liberalism as the problem instead of see these as expressions of the deep seated fundamental flaws inherent to existing society's structures and values. Even Marxism has a clearer understanding
  • Reformism is mystifying, a distraction and a diversion. It's liberal, atomized i.e. it sees the problem as 'bad apples'  e.g. in the police or government - instead of seeing how these people are just acting in ways which the system incentivizes them to act and has a tendency to encourage.
  • Reformism is a safety valve to channel dissent into accepted acceptable safe routes. The existing system likes this very much because it does not fundamentally change or disrupt the system and can be used to give legitimacy to existing or even planned forms of oppression.
  • Reformism is oppression sold as progress.
  • Reformism is the idea the system has lost it's way. It places the blame in vague ideas of greed or bloated banking sector. These are symptoms not the root causes. Reformism is not radical- it does not go to the root.
  • Reformism says it is realism and revolution is utopian but reformism protects and maintains the existing order while claiming to do otherwise. It is deeply dangerous, deeply confusing, deeply mystifying and illusionary.
  • I think Gramsci's ideas about Transformo seem pretty sound.
  • Chomsky is right to say that the idea that the Soviet union was Communist or Socialist is a gift to capitalism because it makes it seem like they win by default.
  • Reformism closes the window on alternatives to existing society by telling you to work to change the logic of existing society assuming it can be changed but the tendencies within it are too strong to be altered.
  • Either you approach existing society as a reformism already, full aware of that fact or you enter into it as a revolutionary but come out a reformist. The system does not permit revolution to be offered as a solution to it's problems. It could not and would not argue for it's own destruction.
  • Fear is part of the ideological state apparatus. It keeps us in line therefore fear is probably the most oppressive thing there is. Those with power love fear because fear protects power.
  • The logic of existing society is reformism. So it encourages voting and prefers representative democracy to revolution which gives it an apparent legitimacy. Existing power tells you to get involved with political parties, that the problem is who is in power or what laws are in places or what policies there are. Existing power wants you to offer naive unrealizable solutions like " get money out of politics " or "transparent government" etc. That is all part of the ideological state apparatus, the mind games it plays to keep us all oppressed.

No comments:

Post a Comment