- Capitalism and Alternatives -

More on democracy and vanguardism

Posted by: bill on November 21, 1999 at 19:23:24:

In Reply to: The Pros and Cons of Democratic-Centralism posted by Barry Stoller on November 19, 1999 at 17:49:46:

: HOWEVER I hasten to add that the degree of centralization required to realize these two aims will demonstrate the historical preparedness of the proletariat---and capitalism as the proletariat finds it---when assuming power. The more centralization is needed---to fight numerous opportunists and enemies of socialism, for example---the less the historical timing for socialism would seem to be propitious for the socialization of the means of production. In short, when the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of proletarian elements have the class consciousness required to ACHIEVE socialism, less centralism will be required to realize their aims.

: So I defend Democratic-Centralism---and yet I distrust it.


Well this is a Big "However" and one worth addressing.

As you know, my interest is in Marx's concept of alienation. Lenin of course was quite aware of this but his actions gradually led to conditions permitting the installation of Stalin and the general repudiation of "Marxist" theoreticians (such as Althusser) concerning the very use of the word "alienation". This would be natural. With the Party serving as Repredentatives of the proletariot, the dissolution of soviets - workers councils - where the suplus-labor was transferred to the bureaucracy - considerations of separation of the producer from the produced would become an embarassment. As Heroux notes:

"What do you mind a little alienation so long as you are not economically exploited? For now we represent your interests for you>"

It is the defence of authority. It is essentially totalitarian.

The Spartacists I have met seem invariably young, enthusiastic, and single-mindedly impatient. I suppose any small group, unable to wrest power themselves, are left to simply cry out for a revolution - and since the overwhelming power resides with the opposition, the revolution will obviously be violent and threatened from all sides. Leaving aside the question of how this revolutionary army is supposedly going to suddenly materialize, the equally great task is how it will impliment its policies without totalitarian (alienating) structures.

A revolution might be like heaving a boulder up a cliff face. There is the danger it wouldn't quite make the top and come crashing down squash. There is an advantage to reformism in that the weight can be incrementally lifted with a jack, and if it slips, it just goes down a notch. It's slower but steadier - and each notch and incremental step results in more empowerment and less alientation.

The jack is called democracy.

The phrase: "You can't dismantle the master's house using the master's tools", does not apply. True democracy is the master's enemy. It is a social and socializing process - an anathema to the acolites of possessive individualism.

It is likely to Increase environmental awareness, and (perhaps) decrease the potential for a world wide "Tragedy of the Commons".

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