- Capitalism and Alternatives -


Posted by: Red Deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on March 26, 1999 at 14:19:58:

In Reply to: hmmm, are you a marxist? posted by noel on March 26, 1999 at 10:36:15:

: 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.

Well there ya go then- it won't happen, there never will be a revolution, we're stuffed. Incidentally, the events of '68 were more about immediate reforms than any particular programme, in fact the whoel thing was let down by any lack of general direction.

If 20 Million people can be got to vote Labour for reforms, then 20,30 million, more even, can be got to vote socialist.

: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.

1:WHat if this minority brining the country to a standstill turns teh majority against them?
2:What if people are more than a bit narked about being forced into revolution?

: 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...

No, niether of them gave orders, neither of them controlled the movement except by democracy (one of Harman's complaints against Luxemburg is that the KPD didn't practise democracitic centralism (fnarr) and consequently the EC kept losing votes to the membership).

Trotsky had this big beef about 'Bonapartism' and teh need for a one man dictator after the revolution.

: No revolutionary socialist wants to do that.

Isn't that the whole point of the Vanguard, sorry, they say smash the state, and then, like lenin, use teh doctrine of 'the withering away of the state' to build one. Thats what happened in russia.

: But again you're talking about Stalinism not revolutionary socialism

Oh, I'm sorry, obviously it wasn't Lenin at Krondstadt, it wasn't Lenin instituted the Cheka, Lenin didn't preside over the Red terror....

: 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.

I'm not being teloeological- what happened in Russia was that 'democracy was suspended' for the duration of the war, the minority needed to hold onto power so that the true socialism could come into being (reports suggest that the cheka was deployed to 'capture' recalcitrant soviets for the bolsheviks, or disband them.) (BTW- Have I mentioned that your comrades defend the Cheka...oh yes...). Kronstadts was about 'Soviets without bolsheviks'- all they wanted was fresh elections to the Soviets, but teh bolsheviks couldn't conceieve of a revolution without themselves (and by this stage already Lenin was relying on a loyal old guard, the revolution was crumbling).

Its the logic of Vanguard/minority rule- our first duty- stay in power. We are the revolution, and so must oppose all other parties- and prevent them, by armed force, or dirty tricks if need be (in the name of the historical destiny of the workingclass). Freedom of speech is revoked for our enemies (which easilly becomes for anyone who doesn't stay on our message.). Any minority siezing power with anything less than the active support of teh majority, will find themselves turning in this manner.

: 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.

But thats a long way from leading the working class, or from taking power in the name of the working class.

: 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.

Ahem- the Bolshevik party had 70,000 members, give or take, in a country of some 150-200 million people. And even teh support for teh Bolshiviks is dubious, as most of it seems to be rather more for their 'Bread and Peace' slogan, than actually for their plans for socialism. (Also, please note that after their failed 'all power to teh soviets' slogan, they switched to 'all power to the factories committeees' slogan, and then once in power, began to, erm, dismantle the factory committees.)

Party Votes Percentages
June September June September
Social Revolutionaries 974,885 54,375 58% 14%
Mensheviks 76,407 15,887 12% 04%
Kadets 168,781 101,106 17% 26%
Bolsheviks 75,409 198,230 12% 51%
Total 1,295,482 396,598

Now, look cloesly at the above, from a county of two hundred million, one and a quarter million voted in the June soviets, and less than a third (look at the drop in the total vote) voted in september. There is no way on Earth that the Bolshiviks and their apologists can claim legitimate backing, and this provides little proof of the Soviets being the demost democratic organ on Earth.

: 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.

But there is no such thing as the Middle class, hence my brackets, the ruling class are the middle class- those middle class people are workers too.

: 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?

By force, no. By appeal to comradeship, yes.

: 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!

No, chances are they won't, and I'll let myself get dragged out, passive resistance and all that.

: 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.

Fair does, defend yourselves, but I wouldn't make a policy of wanting to kill the police come the revolution, as some of your comrades round this way do.

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

Its better to not have to fight them at all.

: 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....

Yeah, I've heard how democratic SWP internal procedures are.

: 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.

I've got a thing about the German revolution, it failed because they went toe on toe with the state- if you try and smash the state you get smashed, I prefer our way- diasarm teh state by means of organising a VAST majority to conquor it by political democracy, and then abollish it. Othwerwise teh only people who get smashed will be workers.

: 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.....

I don't want their lives to get worse niether, I just don't see how campaigning for reforms raises revolutionary consciousness.

Check out: http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/feb99/index.html
For an Article Entitled 'Why reform a rotten system'.

Or: http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/nov98/index.htm for an Article Entitled 'Germany, Novemeber 1919'.

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

No, we argue with the right. We have a long history of opposing the no platform policy.

: 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.

No, I do talk to them, and I try and persuade them why they are wrong, going along with them is as unlikely to change their mind as not.

: 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.....

And we do engage in action, we poster, we pamphlet, we stand in elections. thats action enough, for now.

: 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.

Erm, 10,000 at most aren't you, and I've met more than enough people who have 'passed through' the SWP and been put of Socialism for life. How many of those members are full blood revolutionaries, and not reformists? Chances are when you start standing for elections (as it appears youse are now) you won't get any more votes than we do.

The working class is the dialectical unity of Theory and Action, not the party.

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