What is it that defines communist politics from the politics of the rest of the left? This blog argues that communist politics are a politics of negation; a movement to abolish the present state of things.
Political debate often tends to quickly polarise into simple binaries. This is perhaps even more so online. Mainstream politics has its liberals/conservatives and left/right; radical politics has its anarchist/Marxist and reform/revolution. Almost invariably these dichotomies are false ones, obscuring the subtleties of the debate and leading to endless circular slanging matches with the protagonists becoming evermore entrenched.
However there is one pairing I’ve often found useful; that of distinguishing between leftist politics, and communist ones. This is not to use ‘leftist’ as a slur, as many (generally North American) post-leftists and primitivists are wont to do (as indeed are Trots with ‘ultra-left’), but rather as a political term to distinguish between the politics that characterise ‘the left of capital’ – Trots, union bureaucrats, NGOs – and the communist movement.