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Michael Lebowitz and Marta Harnecker: 21st century socialism -- the strategy of the left and the Latin American experience

Part 1: Michael Lebowitz.

December 13, 2010 -- Thessaloniki, Greece -- Socialist Project/LeftStreamed -- Marta Harnecker and Michael Lebowitz were invited by the N. Poulantzas Institute and Transform magazine to present lectures on “21st century socialism: the strategy of the left and the Latin American experience”.

Part 2: Marta Harnecker.

Read a Google English translation of their interview in Greek.

[Marta Harnecker is the author of Ideas for the Struggle. Michael Lebowitz's latest book is The Socialist Alternative: Real Human Development.]


Libertarian left Marxism

What Michael Lebowitz outlines was a well-developed stream in 20th-century Marxism associated with council communism of Anton Pannekoek,Otto Rühle, Herman Gorter, Sylvia Pankhurst and others. Paul Mattuck in Germany and the U.S. It is the left libertarian Marxism that Chomsky has often referred to. Lenin wrote a book in 1920 about it, characterizing it as an ‘infantile disorder’ nebbich. Here a map of that libertarian Marxist territory:
Marxist autonomism also closely related:

Socialisme ou barbarie in France ( ) also in several of its stages is clearly an analogue. It takes the same phrase from Luxemburg’s JUNIUS PAMPHLET (1916) which Michael ends his talk with. Speaking in Greece, Michael could well refer to socialisme ou barbarie, since its guiding light initially was the Greek left Marxist Cornelius Castoriadis. Another Greek left Marxist, Nicos Poulantzas, also worth rereading.

All this should flow into any ‘reinvention’ of the vision of libertarian socialism in our century. Lebowitz should refer to it rather than centering on the Bolivarian Revolution in capitalist Venezuela as some kind of shining sole example. It is important yet perhaps of questionable CONCRETE relevance to advanced industrial societies and the building of anti-capitalist movements inside the European Union.

The major new left party in Germany, DIE LINKE ( ), is a prime example of a new powerful radical left socialist party building a movement and using the electoral arena to do it, inside Europe’s major capitalist economy. Some of what they're doing & thinking: \

DIE LINKE provides an exciting paradigm for building an anti-capitalist movement and party countering the sham of social democracy in Europe’s heart. Yet few American socialists seem to be paying DIE LINKE much attention. Most of course don’t know German. Maybe time to learn.

DIE LINKE is also the major national formation inside the EL, the European Left, which recently held its 3rd congress: Alexis Tsipras of Synaspismos (Greek new left current) is one of its vice-chairs. At the congress Dec. 5, it approved its new AGENDA FOR A SOCIAL EUROPE: Here many of its new motions:

One can rightfully ask what Michael might think of the EL, and DIE LINKE. Of course, the EL is trying to actually improve the concrete lives of concrete workers and the millions of unemployed and underemployed across Europe, and not just talking in academic generalities about full development of the individual. That means fighting for more of the people’s voice & worker participation and control, more social and economic justice, inside advanced capitalist states, here & now.

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