- Capitalism and Alternatives -

No one has done as much as YOU, I'm sure

Posted by: Stoller on December 03, 1999 at 11:04:20:

In Reply to: How much active resistance have you actually done, Barry? posted by Farinata on December 02, 1999 at 22:49:03:

: Speaking from my own personal experience, anyway; 5 years active resistance, over 20 demos; and I'm still Red 3 clearance as far as the British intelligence services are concerned.

: There are times when it's damn useful being good with computers.

Well, nice to see that you can show off more than your computer literacy. You're also the (Red 3 clearance) King of Protesters, too.

Getting past the personal oneupmanship, let us look at your points...

You claim to reject the idea of a vanguard. Yet much of your text describes and DEFENDS vanguardism in its most vulgar form:

We make suggestions and tell people exactly what we're going to do. If they think it looks like a good thing, just great. If not, we do it ourselves anyway.


[T]he anti-car street party, as pioneered by RTS, is the most successful way of politicizing the apathetic we've found this decade. The people who form the adult population have spent most of their lives being fed and made comfortable; they're about as ready to rise up as sheep.

Until you've read my GUARDED defense of centralism, I'd watch your wild comments about 'sheep' and 'doing things your way anyway.'

Other points...

: [E]ven the mass media are starting to discuss alternatives to capitalism now.

I'd be cautious about claims that the 'Third Estate' is preparing to turn on its employers any time soon.

(I am heartened, however, by the wide-spread grassroots opposition to handguns and tobacco in America---proof that 'statism' may be making a tiny comeback in these neoliberal times...)

: Go on being worthy and literate if you like; debate exact meanings of labour theory if you like; but the vast majority of people learn about repressive regimes through personal experience of riot police on the streets; and pictures of stormtroopers firing tear gas at peaceful demonstrators only serve to recruit more to the Rebel Alliance.

Intellectual activities should be brought to your 'vast majority of people' IN ADDITION to active struggle (which I agree is necessary). Simply fighting in the streets will not a revolution make; the masses must know WHAT they're fighting FOR.

'Class political consciousness can be brought to the workers only from without, that is, only from outside the economic struggle, from outside the sphere of relations between workers and employers,' Lenin famously said---but the consciousness MUST be brought to them.

: When it comes down to it, the majority of people don't want to debate Marxist theory of alienation for hours; but they can relate to pollution and crime from the rich-poor divide on a personal level. And any successful revolution needs these people to be informed enough to make the choices for themselves.

Your last sentence contradicts your first. 'Informed' choices must come from more than 'personal' experience! Anecdotes obscure more than anything else. The devilish thing about capitalism is that it so effectively CONCEALS the social relations between people---not only employers and employees, but First World workers and Third World workers, etc. Pollution and crime are only small components of the class struggle; to miss the full picture is to risk a distorted view of social relations.

And your assumption that the 'majority of people' are NOT interested in theory is a bit suspect...

And, lastly...

Or will it be yet another 'No Nukes' movement that did NOTHING IN THE FINAL ANALYSIS to end nukes?

: Final analysis? Wasn't aware that there had been one yet.

Perhaps you haven't heard of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty which the Senate voted down on October 13?

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