I've been thinking about the dynamic that capitalism gives to contemporary western society. What is the mechanism with socialism? Is a socialist society inevitably more static, less innovative without the pressure for novelty (recognising how wasteful this often is)? What are the plausible models for innovation outside the market?
Socialism will be an intentional human creation. It will not emerge gradually of its own accord to replace capitalism. Nor is it at all inevitable that the creation of a Socialist society will flow from the overthrow of capitalism.
In this context we must recognise that the establishment of Socialism is going to be difficult. The creation of a peaceful world without gross inequality of wealth, and those inequalities of power and status that this brings, will be a dramatic and deeply unsettling enterprise.
It will not be a straightforward exercise in transfer of property and power but requires the creation of a new type of society. It requires meticulous planning, with clear rules, but within a system that has the capacity to learn and adapt. So it cannot be totalitarian.
Not only will this process be at all times fought by the forces Socialism has defeated but it will hampered by the human instinct to cling to the familiar, and by the myriad possibilities for corruption. There will, in turn, be the temptation to dictatorship ‘for the greater good', to adopt terror-full means to achieve ends whch they cannot justify.
As has been observed before, the simple equation of conservatism with ideological support of capitalism is wrong. The conservative impulse, both among elements of the wealthy and, especially importantly, the poorer classes, can reflect a deep hatred of capitalism.
Conservatives should be reassured that in a socialist society those institutions which contribute social value will be upheld, protected from the relentless tendency of capitalism to monetarise, cheapen and undermine all that it can.
In their lives will be a new stability, for they too will be able to plan. They will be able to develop more meaningful lives knowing they have a degree of material stability and autonomy presently enjoyed only by the wealthy.
The act of proclaiming that a society is communist, draping it in red and decorating it with Marx and Engels, does not mean that the society is in fact communist.
Communism is not a matter of political choice; it is the material result of a certain set of conditions. Without those conditions, communism will not come into existence and no amount of wishing can make it so. As it becomes increasingly evident that this is the case, the natural reaction of those in leadership, both the sincere and the cynical, is to resort to lies, repression and terror.
During and after a revolutionary - which does not mean violent - change of power it is unreasonable to expect the revolutionaries to honour those institutions that have betrayed the people, protect those institutions which have been the tools of their repression, or to respect those institutions which foster counter-revolution.
At the same time, it is foolish in the extreme to try to suppress every institution in which the capitalist class has some interest; being parasitic in its nature, there are many institutions which, though corrupted, serve a valuable role and can be redeemed.
The governance of the UK resembles democracy in much the same way as the Baseball World Series resembles an international sporting competition.
With all the lamenting of Britain leaving the European Union, the EU is portrayed as a sanctuary of sanity and decency in a mad and bigoted world. There were some elements of truth in this, but increasingly the EU was a powerful force for neo-liberalism.
Given the EU's comprehensive regulations embedding capitalism into its structure and forbidding State intervention, it is quite likely that the introduction of Socialism into Britain would have required leaving the EU.
Yet imagine a newly formed Socialist government trying to leave the EU. There would have been uproar and opposition from all sides (including the liberal left and many left-leaning social democrats) and vested interests that could easily destroy the government.
This critical step of leaving the EU has now been taken, for the wrong reasons certainly, but it does make the introduction of Socialism that little bit easier.
In abandoning socialism, even social democracy, you have cut yourselves adrift from your heritage, values and language. As parliamentary politics lurches further right into the darkness of neoliberalism you find have no vocabulary and no ideals of your own. The Tories define the linguistic, philosophical and political ground on which you will fight or, more accurately, from which you will retreat. Your words, your priorities and even your policies are borrowed from them and reused on their terms.
Surely, at some point even you have got to decide it's time to fight, that you can shift no further to the right, that it's better to be risk defeat with integrity than to risk victory with your opponent's policies. When will that be? Where is that point at which you decide you can demean yourselves no further? What aspect of the rubble that used to be our society will induce you to rally?
Why do you found a political party? Is it simply to get power? No, if that was the reason you'd join an existing party to use as a platform. At best you'd try to influence it 'from within'.
No, you found a political party to campaign and argue for ideals in which you believe that aren't being represented by existing parties. The idea that public opinion is unchanging and unchangeable, and political parties have to manoeuvre round it, is bizarre. It's worth noting that the Tories certainly don't believe this - but it suits them that so much of Labour does.
'In the real world', four little words that have long been the comfort of the powerful in the protection of their established corruptions and vested interests.