- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on February 22, 19100 at 10:37:33:

In Reply to: Hello Barry Stoller - YOU ARE RIGHT posted by Matt on February 21, 19100 at 12:03:09:

: I was reading your posts in support of the Bolsheviks a few days back and I adamantly support your side of the argument. A lot of socialists have picked up anti-October revolution sentiments recently - maybe because of the rightward drift and the false idea that Leninism somehow "flowed" into Stalinism.

Well, for the record, what I am presenting has been the Socialist Party's case since, oh, 1917 - and what else can we say but that Leninsm flowed into Stalinism? because that's what happened. the trickier question is to proove that Leninism caused Stalnism, which I think I can do...

:Also, I'm reading posts about non-violent revolutions which is absolutely ridiculous (first of all, the capitalist class will always resort to violence to protect their interests, and force the revolutionary class to physically defend itself or else be completely smashed).

Right, lets get some simple facts down. As Marxists we say that a precondition for the seizure, by teh working class, of the means of production, is a seizure of the means of violence, and - more specifically- the monopoly of violence (which is what the state boils down to). It follows from this that the imporrtant factor is the possession of the monopoly, that is denying the otehr side access to the means of violence, rather than exercising violence per se.

Now, lets take four historical examples, which, we shall split into two groups of two - Paris & Russia, Germany & Krondstadt. I'll start with teh first pair - in both these situations, a revolution emerged from a situation in which the existing state had collapsed, and in which the monooly of violence was interupted - in France because the Prussian army had imprisoned the majority of French forces, in Russia, because the army disintergrated in war, and the Kerensky government was too weak to take and hold effective power. In other words, both these revolts are predicated on a collapse of existing state power, and both exploited a vaccuum.

We can see the effects of this through contradistinction - Germany and krondstadt were both upriosings that occurred in the face of a still existing and effective monopoly of violence - both were crushed with extreme ruthlessness, and much loss of life.

Our revolutionary tactics must be based around the presumed continued functioning of the state, we cannot hope for situations of collapse in order to form our revolutionary programme, we have to work on teh basis that the state will be fully functional.

So, what option have we then, because if you are right, and I am right, then our situation is hopeless - well, I think I can point to two facts - one, the military forces are workers, it will be their famillies making the revolution, their freidns, most modern soldiers join out of poverty (former housemate of mine was a squadie, he was there at Drumcree - 20-odd petrol bombs from catholics, 30 or so from protestants went his way). Secondly, the capitalist class are tiny in number, teh working class make up ninety percent of the population, that makes for an unstoppable, overwhelming majority. Thirdly, the capitalist class is tied to its ideology, it can be turned against it, and a formally legalistic revolution would cause splits in their ranks, and tie their hands.

Now, I'm not saying peaceful revolution is inevitable, but I am saying that it should be our explciit goal, with violence looked upon as a disaster, because the social relations, the social forms explicit in organising violence seriously damage the form of the revolution.

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