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英文解釈の思考プロセス 第185回


今回の題材は、2017年6月26日付の The New York Times 紙に掲載された、Bhaskar Sunkara 氏によるエッセイ、Socialism’s Future May be Its Past  ”社会主義の未来は過去の教訓にあるのかも知れない” です。ロシア革命から100周年となる本年、そのロシア革命の歴史的意義を考察する The New York Times 紙に連載中の Red Century の一部です。全文の和訳はオリジナルの次にあります。

The Opinion Pages

Socialism’s Future May Be Its Past


Bhaskar Sunkara


One hundred years after Lenin’s sealed train arrived at Finland Station and set into motion the events that led to Stalin’s gulags, the idea that we should return to this history for inspiration might sound absurd. But there was good reason that the Bolsheviks once called themselves “social democrats.” They were part of a broad movement of growing parties that aimed to fight for greater political democracy and, using the wealth and the new working class created by capitalism, extend democratic rights into the social and economic spheres, which no capitalist would permit.

The early Communist movement never rejected this broad premise. It was born out of a sense of betrayal by the more moderate left-wing parties of the Second International, the alliance of socialist and labor parties from 20 countries that formed in Paris in 1889. Across Europe, party after party did the unthinkable, abandoned their pledges to working-class solidarity for all nations, and backed their respective governments in World War I. Those that remained loyal to the old ideas called themselves Communists to distance themselves from the socialists who had abetted a slaughter that claimed 16 million lives. (Amid the carnage, the Second International itself fell apart in 1916.)

Of course, the Communists’ noble gambit to stop the war and blaze a humane path to modernity in backward Russia ended up seemingly affirming the Burkean notion that any attempt to upturn an unjust order would end up only creating another.

Most socialists have been chastened by the lessons of 20th-century Communism. Today, many who would have cheered on the October Revolution have less confidence about the prospects for radically transforming the world in a single generation. They put an emphasis instead on political pluralism, dissent and diversity.

Still, the specter of socialism evokes fear of a new totalitarianism. A recent Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation report worries that young people are likely to view socialism favorably and that a “Bernie Sanders bounce” may be contributing to a millennial turn against capitalism. Last year, the president of the United States Chamber of Commerce, Thomas J. Donohue, even found it necessary to remind readers that “Socialism Is a Dangerous Path for America.”

The right still denounces socialism as an economic system that will lead to misery and privation, but with less emphasis on the political authoritarianism that often went hand in hand with socialism in power. This may be because elites today do not have democratic rights at the forefront of their minds — perhaps because they know that the societies they run are hard to justify on those terms.

Capitalism is an economic system: a way of organizing production for the market through private ownership and the profit motive. To the extent that it has permitted democracy, it has been with extreme reluctance. That’s why early workers’ movements like Britain’s Chartists in the early 19th century organized, first and foremost, for democratic rights. Capitalist and socialist leaders alike believed that the struggle for universal suffrage would encourage workers to use their votes in the political sphere to demand an economic order that put them in control.

It didn’t quite work out that way. Across the West, workers came to accept a sort of class compromise. Private enterprise would be tamed, not overcome, and a greater share of a growing pie would go to providing universal benefits through generous welfare states. Political rights would be enshrined, too, as capitalism evolved and adapted such that a democratic civil society and an authoritarian economic system made an unlikely, but seemingly successful, pairing.

In 2017, that arrangement is long dead. With working-class movements dormant, capital has run amok, charting a destructive course without even the promise of sustained growth. The anger that led to the election of Donald Trump in the United States and the Brexit vote in Britain is palpable. People feel as if they’re on a runaway train to an unknown destination and, for good reason, want back to familiar miseries.

Amid this turmoil, some fear a return to Finland Station via the avuncular shrugs of avowedly socialist leaders like Mr. Sanders and Jean-Luc Mélenchon in France. But the threat to democracy today is coming from the right, not the left. Politics seems to present two ways forward, both decidedly non-Stalinist forms of authoritarian collectivism.



Workers from the Likinskaya weaving mill in Russia in 1917. Credit RIA Novosti/Sputnik, via Associated Press

“Singapore Station” is the unacknowledged destination of the neoliberal center’s train. It’s a place where people in all their creeds and colors are respected — so long as they know their place. After all, people are crass and irrational, incapable of governing. Leave running Singapore Station to the experts.

This is a workable vision for elites who look at the rise of an erratic right-wing populism with justified fear. Many of them argue the need for austerity measures to maintain a fragile global economy, and worry that voters won’t take their short-term pain to spare themselves long-term dysfunction. The same goes for the looming threat of climate change: The science is undisputed among scientists, but is still up for debate in the public sphere.

The Singapore model is not the worst of all possible end points. It’s one where experts are allowed to be experts, capitalists are allowed to accumulate, and ordinary workers are allowed a semblance of stability. But it leaves no room for the train’s passengers to yell “Stop!” and pick a destination of their own choosing.

“Budapest Station,” named after the powerful right-wing parties that dominate Hungary today, is the final stop for the populist right. Budapest allows us to at least feel like we’re back in charge. We get there by decoupling some of the cars hurtling us forward and slowly reversing. We’re all in this together, unless you’re an outsider who doesn’t have a ticket, and then tough luck.

The “Trump train” is headed this way. President Trump can’t offer tangible gains for ordinary people by challenging elites, but he can offer a surface-level valorization of “the worker” and stoke anger at the alleged causes of national decline — migrants, bad trade deals, cosmopolitan globalists. The press, academia and any other noncompliant parts of civil society are under attack. Meanwhile, other than having to adjust to more protectionism and restrictive immigration policies, it’s business as usual for most corporations.

But there is a third alternative: back to “Finland Station,” with all the lessons of the past. This time, people get to vote. Well, debate and deliberate and then vote — and have faith that people can organize together to chart new destinations for humanity.

Stripped down to its essence, and returned to its roots, socialism is an ideology of radical democracy. In an era when liberties are under attack, it seeks to empower civil society to allow participation in the decisions that affect our lives. A huge state bureaucracy, of course, can be just as alienating and undemocratic as corporate boardrooms, so we need to think hard about the new forms that social ownership could take.

Some broad outlines should already be clear: Worker-owned cooperatives, still competing in a regulated market; government services coordinated with the aid of citizen planning; and the provision of the basics necessary to live a good life (education, housing and health care) guaranteed as social rights. In other words, a world where people have the freedom to reach their potentials, whatever the circumstances of their birth.

We can get to this Finland Station only with the support of a majority; that’s one reason that socialists are such energetic advocates of democracy and pluralism. But we can’t ignore socialism’s loss of innocence over the past century. We may reject the version of Lenin and the Bolsheviks as crazed demons and choose to see them as well-intentioned people trying to build a better world out of a crisis, but we must work out how to avoid their failures.

That project entails a return to social democracy. Not the social democracy of François Hollande, but that of the early days of the Second International. This social democracy would involve a commitment to a free civil society, especially for oppositional voices; the need for institutional checks and balances on power; and a vision of a transition to socialism that does not require a “year zero” break with the present.

Our 21st-century Finland Station won’t be a paradise. You might feel heartbreak and misery there. But it will be a place that allows so many now crushed by inequity to participate in the creation of a new world.

Bhaskar Sunkara (@sunraysunray) is the editor of Jacobin magazine and a vice chairman of the Democratic Socialists of America.

This is an essay in the series Red Century, about the history and legacy of Communism 100 years after the Russian Revolution.

< 全文和約例 >

レーニンを乗せた封印列車がペトログラードのフィンランド駅に到着し、そのレーニンが、後にスターリン独裁下での強制労働収容所の創設に代表される恐怖政治に至る方向へと政治の舵を切って以来100年後の現在、より明るい未来を模索する為にこの歴史に再度注目すべきであるとの考えは、愚かであるかの様です。しかし、ボルシェヴィキが、かつて自らを ”社会民主主義者” と称した歴史的事実は検討に値します。彼らは、当時勢力を拡大していた様々な政党が推進していた大きな政治運動の一部でした。それらの政党は、より高度な民主主義体制を実現し、そして資本主義が生みだした富と新興の労働者階級を活用することによって、資本主義者は許容しなかったであろう民主的な権利を社会と経済の分野に拡大する為に、戦い抜くことを目指していました。




それでも、社会主義という妖怪は、新たな全体主義への恐怖を掻き立てています。アメリカの共産主義犠牲者追悼財団が発行した最近のレポートは、若い世代は社会主義に好意的となる可能性が高く、”バーニー・サンダース旋風” が、ミレニアル世代(1980年代から2000年代初頭に生まれたアメリカ人)を反資本主義に転向させることに貢献する可能性があると懸念しています。昨年、アメリカ商工会議所の会頭である、トーマス・J・ドナヒューは、そのレポートの読者に ”社会主義はアメリカの将来にとって危険な途であることを意識する必要がある” とさえ指摘しました。

右翼陣営は現在でも、社会主義を悲惨と欠乏へと導く経済体制として非難しますが、権力を掌握すると陥りがちな独裁的政治体制については、あまり攻撃しません。今日のエリートは民主的権利をあまり重視していないことが、その理由かも知れません― 恐らく、彼らが支配している社会は民主的権利という観点からは正統化が困難であることを、自覚しているのです 。





”シンガポール駅” は、新自由主義中道派の乗る列車が、無意識の内に目指している目的地です。そこでは、あらゆる信条や人種が尊重されます ― 彼らが、自らの社会における位置を理解している限りにおいて。結局のところ、一般大衆は愚かで非合理的であり、社会を統治する能力を欠いているのです。シンガポール駅の運営は、エリートに任せようではないか。


シンガポール・モデルは、可能性のある全ての目的地の中で最悪という訳ではありません。そこでは、専門家は専門家として活躍し、資本家は利益を拡大することを、そして一般の勤労者は表層的な生活安定を享受することが許容されています。しかし、その列車の乗客には、”止めてくれ” と叫ぶことや、自ら降車する駅を選択する余地はありません。

”ブダペスト駅” は、今日のハンガリーを牛耳っている強力な右翼政党にちなんで命名しましたが、大衆迎合的右翼にとっての終着駅です。ブダペスト駅は、少なくとも社会秩序が回復したとの思いを抱かせます。そこへは、我々を社会的に前進させる様な客車は切り離し、ゆっくりと後退しながら到着することになります。全員が同じ列車に乗る必要があり、乗車券を持たないと他所者とみなされ、不遇をかこつことになります。

”トランプ列車” は、この方向に向かっています。トランプ大統領は、(大統領選のキャンペーンのスローガンの一つだった)”エリート支配からの脱却” を唱えることで一般大衆に具体的な利益をもたらすことは出来ませんが、皮相的なレベルで “労働者” の地位を高め、アメリカ衰退の原因とされている諸問題 ―不法移民、アメリカに不利な貿易協定、グローバル主義、など ― について怒りを掻き立てる様に誘導するとは可能なのです。報道機関、学会、そして何であれその意に従わない組織や人間は、攻撃対象となります。その一方で、保護主義、移民抑制を別にすると、それらの政策は、どれも大半の大企業が自明の理として採用しているものです。

しかし、第3の選択肢も存在しています:即ち、過去の全ての教訓を踏まえて、”フィンランド駅” に戻ることです。今回は、有権者は投票所へと向かうのです。そうです、議論を尽くし、熟考してから投票します ― そして、人類全体の為に新しい方向を目指すべく、一般市民が結集することは可能であると信じることです。




このプロジェクトの推進には、社会民主主義への復帰を伴います。それは、フランソワ・オランド氏(前フランス共和国大統領(2012年4月~2017年5月)社会党)が提唱するものではなく、第2インターナショナルが設立された当初の社会民主主義です。この社会民主主義は、自由な市民社会、特に反対派の意見を尊重することへの公約を含むことになります;具体的には、相互に抑制し均衡した権力配分となる統治機構、そして、現在と”断絶(year zero)”することなく社会主義に移行するヴィジョンを包含しているのです。


To be continued.