On the one hand, I get really irritated with many modern “apolitical” hippies who have absorbed so much neoliberal individualism that they think all of the world’s problems can be solved with positive attitude and good vibes – they are removed from all socio-political reality and tend to float in a bubble of economic privilege. On the other hand, I’ve become kind of disillusioned with much of the left’s resistance to adapt to different material conditions – we are not going to win over the working class of today with 1917 larping and newspapers heavy with Marxist jargon (at least in much of the Western world, which is what I can personally speak for). I make these complaints both as someone invested in hippie/raver subculture and as a leftist committed to world transformation beyond class society; the merging of these two traits was a driving force behind this blog, as I wanted to help reinvigorate a cultural-political connection that’s been seemingly dormant for decades (and is only starting to revive as of recently with the solarpunk movement).
It’s a real shame that Murray Bookchin came down so hard on what he described as the “mystical” elements of environmentalism and feminism, because I feel as though an aesthetics revival is overdue on the left – especially within social ecology. Not everyone gels with the “mystical” vibes that Murray was criticizing (most won’t, in fact), but to categorize all cosmic yearning into the same box as the aforementioned neoliberal hippies is a tad reductionist. There are those of us who crave story, purpose, color, and other such “mushy” shit in our worldviews; there’s nothing inherent to anti-capitalism that demands that we rid ourselves of these cravings. In fact, I can’t stress enough that they are intensely useful to the cause.
I’ve gone into more detail on this topic in a @leftist-daily-reminders post that outlined my support for a “dual power” tactic – we need to create parallel institutions for the people of the world to pour their support into, adapting the language and aesthetic choices to the given area. I also support intentional communities that try to break away from society and consciously present an alternative to laypeople. The class struggle should always be firmly about putting power into the hands of the people, and that will mean diversity in the details. Diversity in the details, united in anti-capitalist purpose. I’m not suggesting that we revitalize a solarpunk/Starhawk aesthetic where it doesn’t apply – just that there are many places where it will apply and that we on the left need to be more open to a unified front with it. Rather than coldly refusing to engage with any positive visions for the future (”The socialist society of the future will be built by the people of the future; we shouldn’t anticipate the details.”), we need to be enthusiastic in our visions for the post-capitalist future. After all, how else are we going to get the people on the train without a clear picture of the destination? (or at least a relatively clear picture of the destination, beyond just “communal control over the means of production”)