Tuesday, September 27, 2005


: : .

People are always calling me a utopian - someone who will always reject any actually existing movement as too impure for my own vision, etc. etc. put him in the box, file him neatly away under starry eyed dreamer (harmless variety). Yackety yackety.

Now, I was reminded about this listening to a radio adaptation of Huxley's Brave New World - I remember reading that dystopia, and thinking, well, it doesn't sound too bad. Compared to the nightmare of 1984 Huxley's dystopia is relatively benign, it doesn't rely on torture or brute force, just ultra tech social control. I mean, not that I would want to live tehre, but I recognised were I born in that dystopia, I doubt I would object - obviously, because the whole point of it is that it is designed for cohesion andthe internalised accetance of the caste system by the population.

Dystopia works on the simple premise, not like now. Not me. Negating key aspects of our identity so we are repelled by the mere thought of having to live under it. Unlike disaster stories, or what have you, the flaw is that you or I never would, we'd never enter those situations. Unless you posit some human core that rubs against the dystopian constructions. In which case, you immediately render the dystopia impossible.

Obviously, one persons utopia is another persons dystopia. Utopia ityself is built around not me, unlike me. A rejection, in this instance, of the bits I don't like about I. Utopia is nowhere, and I cannot be in nowhere.

Put another way, unless you can look about you, at you NOW and can see those bits of the world in your schemes for political change, for you in the future, then you are being utopian. Or dystopian, to taste.

I consider that I can see my world around me, the streets of London in socialism. I can see methods and practices here and now that I want to emphasise to build socialism. Socialism, though, isn't an abstraction, a template to which I aspire and to which I judge the world and find wanting. I don't reject the Russian revolution because it was impure, nor Venezuela or America or Cuba. What I do, though, is have a set of positive things I want to see happen, and life in Venezuela, America and Cuba are different from those ideas I want to see put into action. Equally different.

The concrete proposal to abolish the wages system as a direct and conscious goal is not utopian.


Blogger DespairToWhere said...

What do you think of the idea that socialism should be unapologetically utopian? Think Norman Geras makes a convincing case here

2:44 PM  

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