Prabhat Patnaik on the dialectics between reform and revolution

The current problem with the Indian Left, and in this term I include all sections of the Left, from the so-called “parliamentary Left” to the so-called “revolutionary Left”, is in my view, its lack of appreciation of the dialectics between “reform” and “revolution”... By the dialectics of reform and revolution I mean the following: revolution is the denouement of a persistent demand for reform on the part of the people which the system cannot accommodate. Therefore pressing for reform and mobilizing people around a demand for reform is not “reformism”; it is itself a revolutionary task. The problem with social democracy which is avowedly “reformist” is not that it asks for “reform” instead of “revolution” but that, being avowedly “reformist” it tailors and limits its demand for reform only to whatever the system can agree to. It does not ask for reforms that push the boundaries of the system.

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