- Capitalism and Alternatives -

hmmm, are you a marxist?

Posted by: noel ( SWP, UK ) on March 26, 1999 at 10:36:15:

In Reply to: Is it? posted by Red Deathy on March 25, 1999 at 19:16:52:

: : Yes I agree....BUT unfortnatley Capitalism does not create a nice tidy majority of conscious working class socialist revolutionaries, consciousness is uneven which is not to say that millions of people can at times be ready for a revolution, just that we may not get many more opportunites to get rid of capitalism.....so when mass crisis's happen we have to be ready to organise so that we (working class) win and not the very well organised capitalists...

: How can we possibly hope to win without the active support of the majority of people? it can't be done. They may 'back us' against an opponent, hoping we'll secure somthing more like what they want, or they may be generally neutral, until we start telling them what to do, then they get hostile. We need to build for an active Majority now, and not assume a minority inplace when somefuuture crisis hits.

No you misunderstand the point, in France in 1968 around 10 million workers/students were on general strike, enough to start to form workers councils and begin the process of challenging liberal rule, they failed because reformists were able to argue in the absence of a large enough group or groups of revolutionaries to help the revolution develop, the union leaders literally stopped the workers from meeting the students (who were less stalinist), there never has been, nor will be a point where every working class person agrees simultaneously with the revolution. However if a large enough group such as above bring the country to a standstill, others envitably get sucked in and radicalised, the more we organise now the more we create the future so that when the crisis does hit we can prevent what happpened in france from happening again.

: : What exactly was Karl Marx doing selling pamphlets, being involved in the IWMA if it was not to give some direction to the struggle, similarly Rosa Luxemburg didn't form the KPD and get shot for the good of her health.

: Indeed, but niether of them set themselves up as leaders,

Yes they did, but not in the negative sense the you always seem to use the word...both had proved in practice and argument why they should be listened to as had Trotsky and Lenin...

and niether of them were going to seize the state on behalf of the working class-

No revolutionary socialist wants to do that.

: : And as for the minority question, well yes in one sense revolutions do start with the minority....someone, somewhere starts fighting and it gets bigger, are you suggesting that it is wrong for people to fight back if they are not the majority of the working class?

: No, I'm saying its wrong for a small minority to seize power, and with military might, and terror, try and enforce socialism on an unwilling populace.

But again you're talking about Stalinism not revolutionary socialism

: : Agreed, but if they listen then we do something, because people agree with the argument, I don't quite think you understand the difference between a vanguard that ATTEMPTS to be an organisation that links all those who become class conscious through struggle, so that we have more chance of sucess in future battles and Stalinism which tells people that they are the leaders.....

: No, any Vanguard which will lead the working class, try and be at the forefont of the working-class, turns into stalinism- the vanguard displaces agency onto the aprty, from the class, and that is bad. Any minority trying to act 'on behalf' of the working class, will end up metonymically replacing the working class interest with its own interest ('we are the vanguard of revolution, if we are defeated, teh working class is defeated.' etc.).

Now your being telelogical, there should be no reason why a society, organised on the basis of workers councils that can affiliate to various shades of opinion in the form of political parties and has immediate recall of its representatives, should end in Stalinism.

People become class conscious at different times, a party is needed (and Karl Marx did advocate this) so those that become radicalised through the struggle can 1. remember the collective experience of the working class 2. Help organise so that we have the best chance of winning.

: : Nobody in the SWP wants to seize power as a minority, we want the working class to do it, but we need to be organised to do this.

: Ahem, mais non, you as teh active minority will control the state,

No the working class will control the state through workers councils, we hope that we would be the party that most workers would be a part of as most workers were part of the bolshevik party during 1917.

: : As for working at gun point, I don't think this is likely as a situation, but lets say for argument that a revolution is happening, now because consciousness is even it is entirely possible for a group of workers to not side with the old order, what if those workers happen to run the local electricity sub station, what would you do if after much argument they refuse to run the power station? Do you let the the electricity get cut off and watch the revolution get strangled?

: Given that consciousness is uneven. But actually, the point about 'Guns' was that the SWP will, because of its hostility to the 'middle class' (whatever that is) need to make 'middle-class' workers work at gunpoint.

We don't have hostility to any workers, but it seems reasonable and is proved for instance in Indonesia right now that the middle class tend because of there objective position to be caught between the new and the old, but middle class people would have the right to organise into there own political parties in the revolution.

: If you haven't even got the workers at the Power PLant, you haven't got the Majority of the working class with you.

But it happens...during the miners strike lorry drivers kept Thatcher going by driving coal into the country, wouldn't in this situation the miners be justified in stopping them?

: : So in your workplace when your strike commitee tells you the police are coming to forcibly get you out of your office occupation you'll just sit there arguing and not doing....

: No, I'll join in the strike, however, I'll not deploy violence against my fellow workers (the police).

Well here we have serious problems, if you consider yourself a Marxist surely you understand that the police are part of the state, and were created to control the working class and protect the property of the rich....this is not to say that they cannot be won over just like the army, but come on, if the police storm into your occupation, you cannot politely talk to them, because they will beat you up!

At UCL last week there was an occupation, people like yourself said no violence, then when confronted with the brutality of the police that were brought in to get them out, they all fought as hard as possible.

The police have a job to do, do not disarm our class by putting such a ridiclous argument!

: : I met two people from Indonesia the other week, in the revolution there, there are a lot of people trying to lead the people, so you have to have some kind of strategy that orgainses people so that they can have the best chance of leading themselves to victory....because if they don't they die, in Indonesia the ruling class is as we speak arming peasents so that they can use them against the working class if our side doesn't get organised and ready to fight then people will die. Is there anything wrong with that?

: I've nothing against mass movements, nothing against organisations, however, they must be democratic (which the SWP isn't),

Um, well there I disagree, I get a say in everything I do, no one forces me to do anything, but if we have decided on a course of action we see it through, first democratic discussion, second unity in action.....if you don't have that you don't have democracy, ie. if you ignore what the majority have decided after open discussion then your not being democratic....

and mustn't try and achieve their aims by military force.

Wake up, everytime the working class have tried to take control of their own lives this century they have been met with brutal repression, if the balance of class forces id on our side, then we should have need for very little violence, you cannot be a Marxist if you think the working class cannot use force against the ruling class, the Paris Communards, Russian Revolutionaries of 1917, German Working Class of 1919, Chinese workers of 1927, Chile in 73, Portugal in 74, Iran in 79 to the six students shot dead last year in Indonesia all deserve more respect than that.

: : So your coming on April 10th to the minimum wage demo I hope......

: Personal reasons will prevent I'm afraid, besides teh minimum wage won't work, its a state reform, I back union activism over legalism any day.

Yes and so do we, but a high minimum wage would make life better for millions of people, but the point is that if people begin to fight for reforms they can come to realise that they actually have the power, and it can lead directly to revolutinary consciousness, but I also certainly don't want peoples lifes to get worse, that is not going to win you any friends, workers wouldn't even bother talking to you.....

: : Because of course no lefties actually live with the locals do they.....I'm not particularly referring to ANL what I'm saying is that as you sit there arguing but not doing then people like the right come in and say they're (immigrants etc...) the problem....

: And I argue with them, and point out teh truth

I do hope you not saying you argue with the right, but with the locals, yes?

(and I'm sorry, the point about teh ANL turning up is based on real life events). I am out doing, I'm raising revolutionary consciousness, and helping build a movement, I refuse to be drawn into reformism because its a distraction that does not raise revolutionary conscuiousness.

see point above, you will not be able to talk to all the people that believe in reformism if you take this attitude, this is sectarianism.

: : We can go forward or we can go backwards, there are no guarnatees of success, but if we try who knows.....

: Yeah, I agree...

The ideas of every epoch are the ideas of the ruling class, in the communist manifesto, which directly contradicts the idea the socialism is the act of the majority in th einterests etc....it is not enough to just raise revolutionary consciousness, ideas must be linked to action.....

The revolutinary party is the dialectical link between these two positions, it neither replaces itself for the class, nor submerges iteself within the class, it helps to organise all those radicalised in the struggle so that they can convince other workers that reformist ideas are against there interests, it cannot do this if it cuts itself off from where the majority of the working class are at, which is why I would suggest that you are in an organisation that numbers at best a few hundred?, and why the SWP is many times that size, and much more effective in convincing workers that revolution is both possible and neccasary.

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