Being one of the more thoughtful bloggers to engage me in this cyber spatial discourse, I want to provide an equally thoughtful response to your questions regarding my ideology and viewpoint and also thankyou for the somewhat rare , civil tone of your comments. It would seem at first blush that we have fundamental disagreements as to what constitutes "progress"in terms of historical development and human social conditions but this may be decieving, may in fact be more a product of labels and symbols and terminology than real opposition.
Your basic question has to do with my obviously radical beliefs and how I might effect changes given the modern "realm of necessity" and it's seemingly insurmountable blockages to the revolutionary project to which I subscribe. Somebody recently said "praxis is now an enigma".Yes indeed, the last seventy years has seen the movement for an international workers party eviscerated , due to some terrible mistakes in both theory and action. On these points the Left owes everyone a huge apology and a reckoning of those mistakes in detail is in order. Stalin was a tyrant, probably "evil", though I struggle somewhat with that word. Ho Chi Mihn, Mao, Nasser, and all the other "leaders" turned dictator or ideologue , teaches us something of the razors edge separating revolutionary struggle from fascist despotism. Some even attempt to include Hitler and Milosevich in the panapoly of discredited socialist leaders, a fine piece of propoganda, if false. I understand any distrust of the Left carried over from this last, brutal, blood spattered century.
But this notion of "dustbin of history" is to me an unscientific way of approaching past epochs and within each of the struggles these figures represent there is a matrix of cause and effect requiring a great deal of study and analysis before they are relegated to a place, much less a dustbin, in history. As Edward Said and others have taught, controlling the dominant narrative is the highest expression of imperialism, once our minds have been colonized the power has been projected without a shot having been fired. This is where the more modern concept of "The Spectacle", best expressed by Debord, comes into play with the New Imperialism and it's imperative to translate over-accumulated capital into some type of "fix". All of this to say, there is much modern theoretical work going on right now, much of it very exciting. There is a great deal of organizing and agitating going on right now, in areas such as global justice, human rights, environmental justice etc. There are many struggles against various forms of oppression going on right now, there is a huge global peace movement and all these factions are beginning to make linkages between themselves and the structural and systemic roots of their various causes, many of which, as Marx astutely pointed out, are economic in nature. In other words, we aint goin in no dustbin.
As to the question ,"what is to be done" or as you put it , what small changes can we hope to effect, knowing that we cannot overthrow capitalism overnight. Though you wouldnt know it by reading mainstream media, socialists are everywhere. There are still trade unionists who know exactly what the struggle is about, there are many more who still need to be organized. We have a long and proud tradition with many heroes but the schools don't teach it, the radio doesnt play our songs and the tv news won't mention our activities. General Electric owns NBC. (you get the point) Though sectarian factionalism plagues the movement, there are many parties and organizations, Communist, Socialist, Maoist , Marxist-Leninist etc.. who educate and demonstrate and are building a student movement, there are brilliant scholars and intellectuals working to adapt theory to contemporary issues but most importantly there is a mass groundswell of moral indignation at the denigration of basic liberal values which so many people around the globe believe exemplify the progress of mankind. For these well meaning "progressives", militarization, vast inequalities in opportunity and huge disparities in wealth are causing them to question bourgeois "democracy" and question authority, priveledge, wealth and power. What I do is constantly and at every chance possible point out to people the basic contradictions and immoral aspects inherent within the capitalist system and point them ,depending upon their development, to resources where they can learn more, to areas where they can become active and to likeminded comrades where they can find solidarity. Although I realize "liberal reforms" and electoral politics are a shadow game, they provide a space where i can interact with my fellow citizens and try to educate. For example, I worked on the Kerry campaign in several states and some local campaigns here in Montana knowing full well those figureheads are just part of the Spectacle but taking every opportunity to discuss capitalism with all the good liberals I meet. Lenin spoke of the unwillingness of Marxists to engage in the "realm of necessity" as "Left -wing infantilism" . Marx did not try to predict when the "rupture" of capitalist forces would occur, he did teach us to be ready and what signs to look for.
So what is a Libertarian to do in these times? Do your candidates hope to control the power of corporations? Do you hope to cut military spending? The few Libertarians I know who can articulate their views seem to have a great deal of faith in Friedman and the Market but at least they havent been bullied away from a vision of a better world. Call it idealistic or Utopian if you like, the courage to dream is diametrically opposed to the fear- based world view so in vogue now and is at the core of a humanistic spirituality so needed on our planet.