Let us discuss a year zero for theory.
One of the many problems of the left today is the quasi-religious reverence in which figures from the past (and more to the point, their theories) are held. Instinctively, the left sets its compass by the writings of Marx and Lenin, usually with a good dose of Stalin and Mao, and with a sort of sense of kinship with Hoxha, Tito and the rest. Beyond the year 1985 one will scarcely find a left wing figure who attracts anywhere near such universal approval. (Find for example the debate as to whether China is the world's foremost pragmatist socialist state, or just the epitome of capitalist recuperation.)
The practical problem this raises is that in order for one's analyses to be taken seriously, the perceived need is to root them in the analysis performed by historical figures, not in economic reality or in usefulness for practical organizing. As soon as it is published there will inevitably be a sophist looking for ways in which it fails to accord with Marx instead of whether it truly accords with reality so that he can "debunk" your theory by appealing to the dead hand of a great man.
It can be a point of little contention that Marx was right about a great number of things - whether you want to say 40%, 60%, 80%, 95%, or 99% is of little importance. The problem is that it is an all but inevitable conclusion that he was also wrong about some things, or simply did not comment enough. The same is true to varying degrees about every other major historical figure, all of whom are dead, none of whom were seers
. They had great insight, but those that followed have tended to be more like priests than fellow analysts.
And so the slogan: Abandon Marxism - Uphold Marx! (Which could be reframed for all figures: Abandon Leninism - Uphold Lenin!, Abandon Maoism - Uphold Mao!)
By which we mean a theoretical year zero: Drop everything you know and perform an analysis of conditions as they stand from scratch. Do not cross-check how it aligns with existing socialist theory, only cross check how it aligns with reality or aids in practical organization. By such a process, rigorously applied, the truth in what historical figures wrote will inevitably bubble to the top while whatever was false or neglected will be safely abandoned, no longer able to crop up again and again because an atheist bible studies lecturer was clout chasing.
There is a secondary advantage: Such a task is dry and borPost too long. Click here to view the full text.