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Mohsen Abdelmoumen: You call yourself an « old school socialist ». Can you tell us why?

Prof. Mike Davis: Hm, ‘old school Socialist.’ I suppose I’m making three claims. First, socialism – the belief that the earth belongs to labor – is my moral being. In fact it is my religion, the values that anchor the commitments that define my life. Second, ‘old school’ implies putting in work year after year for the good cause. In academia one runs across people who call themselves Marxists and go to lots of conferences but hardly ever march on a picketline, go to a union meeting, throw a brick or simply help wash the dishes after a benefit. What’s even worse they deign to teach us the ‘real Marx’but lack the old Moor’s fundamental respect for individual working people and his readiness to become a poor outlaw on their behalf. Finally, plain ‘socalist’ expresses identification with the broad movement and the dream rather than with a particular program or camp. I have strong, if idiosyncratic opinions on all the traditional issues – for example, the necessity of an organization of organizers (call it Leninism, if you want) but also the evils of bureaucracy and permanent leaderships (call it anarchism if you wish) – but I try to remind myself that such positions need to be constantly reassessed and calibrated to the conjuncture. One is always negotiating the slippery dialectic between individual reason, which must be intransigently self-critical, and the fact that one needs to part of a movement or a radical collective in order, as Sartre put it, to ‘be in history’. Moral dilemnas and hard choices come with the turf and they cannot be evaded with ‘correct lines.’

full: https://mohsenabdelmoumen.wordpress.com/2018/04/12/prof-mike-davis-there-was-once-a-generation-of-lions/
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