- Capitalism and Alternatives -

Noel Once morem sans fubar j'espere...

Posted by: Red deathy ( Socialist Party, UK ) on March 31, 1999 at 14:16:54:

Lets try again, shal we noel... ;)

BTW- McSpotlight, got this from a friend...

"just been trying methods of keeping discussion boards
manageable by allowing messagers to spawn smaller
scrolling notice boards
also allows testpost function"

Mebbes that'll help? I don't know nuttink... ;)

: Yes there will be/are plenty of revolutinary situations because of the contradictions of the capitalist system....and a large minority (i.e. 10 million europes biggest ever general strike) can radicalise the rest, otherwise capitalism will recover and the whole mess will start again. Thats why you need a clear strategy to convince other people that we can win, not by forcing but by proving in practice!

10 Million of the British population is one sixth, we need about 40 to fifty million supporters to make socialism work. Capitalism will not fall because of some inherent crisis, it'll fall because the workers achieve class consciousness, and decide to end it. Until thenm, there's no point helping prop the rotten system up.

: Not true, the students and the young workers didn't think this, and anyway things may begin by being 'about' a number of things but when people shift people change, possibilities open up.....

Or such movements evaporate when their immediate demands are met?

: PRECISELY, not enough revolutinaries around so the strike committees were not elected but appointed by the trade union bureaucracy.

Heh, thats my argument about the Russian revolution- not enough socialists...short by just a few million.

:Millions of workers occupied the factories.. but right from the beginning of the
: occupations the union bureaucracy insisted that only a small minority of the
: workers should stay in the factories while the majority were sent home. If
: all the workers had remained in the occupation the strike would have been
: active. Now it was passive.

And tehy obeyed their leaders because? Followers make leaders, not vice versa, basic point.

: If a large revolutionary organisation existed then these situations could have been different and the revolution would have deepened
: that could overcome the bureaucracy.

I never argued against having a mass movement.

: But power isn't in parliament, it's at the point of production (a basic Marxist point), taking control of workplaces is the way to begin to challenge capitalism.....have you ever heard of Chile?????? I can introduce you to a few people who can tell you what the ruling class will do to keep power, even if all workers voted for socialism.

Ever heard of Romania- they cannot defeat us all, not teh vast majority- Allende only had 30% of the Chilean vote- and its Capitalist class violence that is our reason for going to parliament:
1:To strip them of any ideological legitimacy.
2:To wrest political control of the military away from the ruling class, and disarm teh repressive apparati of the state- the delegates in parliament would be teh passive shield to defend the self agency of the working class as it establishes socialism. We go to Parliament as rebels, not reformers.

: 10 million is a rather large minority! People are not forced into revolution, capitalism forces it upon them!

Doesn't answer my point- they may not see it that way, they will not be consciously opposing capitalism, and 10 million is still only a sixth of the population.

: no he didn't he spent his whole life fighting to keep the revoltionary flame alive....how do explain the massive support that the left opposition had?

Bonaprtism is the idea that we'll need a strong dictator, like Cromwell or Bonapart, to crush the bourgeois opposition, and spearhead our communist state, and he did hold this view 'the revolution is made by teh minority, and only requires the support or passive nuetrality of the majroity.' the man done said- he's wrong.

: Lenin, Lenin, Lenin for god's sake one man is not responsible for what was going on in Russia at that time, it was a war, do you understand that?, that might mean having to do things you wouldn't do?

1:More often than not trotskyist and Leninist I've met try to aboslve Lenin of his actions, and eploy the great man theory of history to do so ('Its all stalin's fault, if trotsky had...'). I'm sincerly glad you don't.
2:But context is my whole point, thre is a logic of being a minority vanguard, and seizing power, and no matter what their intentions, events led the Bolsheviks straight to Stalinism. And if context was teh cause fo Stalinsim, then we can call Russia a failed revolution specifically those of use defending the State Capitalism Tehsis..more later)
: The White Terror was far worse than the red terror, soldiers in the red terror for instance used to spend time in literacy lessons, hardly like the animals in the whites.... what were the material conditions in russia at the outbreak of civil war?

'Their terror was worse than our terror' hardly is a good argument, one worthy of Tony Blair. Reminds me of Trotskly, in 'Their morals and ours'- you see, when Trotsky kidnapped non combattants and famillies of combattants, and held them hostage, that was for the progressive role of teh proletariate, when stalin did it, it was against the proletaroiate. The First was good, teh latter, bad...hmmmm.

: It was producing 12 % of the steel it produced in 1913, iron was down to 12.3 compared to 1913, sugar 24, coal 42, linen 75, tobacco 19, 48% of tthe countries locomotives were oit of action, Petrograd had a third less workers by autumn 1918, hyperinflation massive, total state income by 1918 at less than half expenditure, food ration down to 10% of what a worker needed to survive...

And socialism requires abundance to work, it cannot be built out of poverty. The central contradiction that cries out for socialism is the mass of wealth avaiulable, versus the poverty of the masses, when that wealth isn't available, socialism is problematised.

: What would your lot of been doing? Denouncing the Revolution along with all the other right wingers......

Erm, we didn't exactly denounce, we merely poijnted out taht it wasn't a Marxist revolution, just cause the leaders called themselves Marxists, and that Socialism couldn't be enacted in Russia, due to its economic backwardness. I'll Scan Jack Fitzgerald's Article from 1918 some time. As time went on we bacame more critical, and saw that all that happened was the bolsheviks enacted Capitalism. We criticised from a socialist standpoint. And still do.

: Kronstadt, supported by the Whites....The white national centre raised nearly 1000000 francs, 2000000 finnish marks, 5000, $25000 and 900 tons of flour in two weeks, they were also making plans to land the french navy and the forces of general Wrangel if the revolt suceeded.

Hmm, I've read a lot about Krondstadt- it was an autonomous revolt, teh white had no hand in it, if they wanted to capitalise, thats different, but no one led the Krondstadt sailors (many of whom, despite denials, were actually the same sailors of Red October). their demands were for freedom, and for fresh elections to the Soviets, they were suported by a solid general strike in Petrograd. Liekwise, non of teh communications of teh Krondstadt committee mention anti-semitic poicies, despite Cliff's attempts to suggest it was an anti-semite revolt. All the papers from the Krondstadt commune arde on the Net, as is Ida met's pamphlet for Solidarity.

: hmmm...look who you side with the right yet again....

Hmmm, look, I side with the workers, yet again.

: ....You know understanding the world in movement how people can shift as material conditions shift, dialectics, marxist basics etc..

As one side looks like its winning, as peopel are attracted by a central policy, not necessarilly socialism. And plus 200,000 or so is still nothing in the Russian context...

: So Peace and Bread, isn't some kind of plan then.....what was everyone one else doing....fuck all basically, who was waiting in the wings....the right.....

Peace and bread is a fine reform slogan, and perhaps a necessary policy, but it wasn't, and couldn't, be a call to socialism.

: :
: : Total 1,295,482 396,598

: congresses no of delegates no of bolsheviks %
: 1.6. 1917 790 103 13
: 12.9 1917 675 343 51
: 3.1 1918 710 434 61
: 4.3 1918 1232 795 64
: 5.7 1918 1164 773 66

But please note, the overall vote for the soviets had fallen, so your figures don't actually change anything.

: Soviets were not invented by the bolsheviks, but by the working class, if you were a historical materialist you would look at how the working class has constantly tried to organise itself in revolutionary situations this century

Yes, I am well aware of that, I never said teh Bolsheviks invented the soviets, however, I'm disputing teh legitimacy of the Soviets in Russia, because they in no way represent the majority of teh working class even, let alone the peasants. tpo be legitimate they need to be teh free activity of the majority of people in their self action, otherwise socialism cannot work. russias conditions again mittigated against socialism.

: they simply are more democratic....Marx saw this in embryo in the paris Commune and he understood.....

How, if they don't represent the majority of the people, and how, if the total number of votes falls, can they legitimate revolution?

: You are mad! I thought sectarians were crazy and now you confirm it! Ha, Karl really is turning in his grave, its for people like you that he said I am no Marxist!

Erm, thats really good, well argued:
1:Class relations are relations to teh means of production.
2:Everyone who doesn't own teh means of production, but lives by recieving wages, is a worker.
3:Anyone who lives of investment, by owning the means of production, is a capitalist.

Now, please, try and define middle class in a way that doesn't include check-out assistants.

If I have time I'll even hunt down that nice little quote in capital, if you put forward a good enough argument.

: Get on a picket line and say that, you know scabs sometimes have to stopped from getting to work, in the same way that their side use police try to intimidate striking workers.

Physical violence would only breed resentment, and would further divide the working class- currently they are the splitters, and we must appeal to them to make unity, we cannot be the divisive ones.

: To give an example: a revolutionary can stand on a
: picket line, and find next to them a worker who makes racist comments. The
: revolutionary can do one of three things: say, 'I'm not standing with a
: racist on a picket line. I'm going home.' That is sectarianism, because if
: the emancipation of the working class is the act of the working class, one
: must side with the workers against the employers, however backward the
: individual worker. Another possibility is to avoid facing up to racism. When
: the worker makes a racist comment, one can pretend one hasn't heard, and
: say, 'The weather's quite nice today, isn't it?' This is opportunism. A
: third possibility is to argue with this person against racism.

This is a good example, and I agree with what he says here, but, his example is an easy one, lets try something harder:

your Union conference passes the following Motions:
1:This Union notes the preponderance of Darkies and otehr foriegners flooding into our country.
2:This union believes the darkies are taking our jobs.
3:This union resolves to call upon the government to send them back where they came from.

its voted through, its policy, and being a good democrat you must institute the democratically arrived at policy pof your union (I could easilly say party here as well, but you'd think I was sniping at the SWP and get paranoid and that wiould distract from the example).

Now, can you stay in this organisation? Is it sectarian to not want to be a member of a racist working class organisation? If you say 'I'll stay and fight the policy' then may I ask, why are you njot in the Labour party, since clearly, you are being sectarian by not being so. I'm sure the AWL or Millies would agree here.

: Poll tax, Miners Strike, etc. etc......need any more proof?

Australian Wharfies strike- if we create a culture hostile to the police, we only make them more likely to do their mastres bidding, if we encourage their sympathy, they may refuse to do political dirty work.

: Bullshit middle class attitude, if you were a marxist you would understand that 'non-violence' as an idea has a materialist root and it doesn't come from the revolutinary working class.....

Chartists? Plenty of non-violencers there.

: No we wouldn't make it policy, but if it was us or them then we make sure it's them.....

Well, tel that to your Lancaster Comrades... they seem to look forward to killing the police...

: well since you misunderstand our politics so badly, and you have no experience to back up your claim.......who cares, I'll fight the real enemy-

Well, I do have experience, and my understanding of your policies comes from your comrades round here, or have they just presented them to me badly?

: Not Marxist I'm afraid.....point of production etc..etc...

Aha, the Ol' SWP line about the economic power of the industrial working class- that wasn't why marx thought the working class was revolutionary- the working class are the harbingers of socialism because we are the immense majority, and because to liberate ourselves we must abolish class. That sort of thinking is highly divisive of the working class because suddenly our comrades in libraries aren't as important as the people in the cake factory.

: Because people realise that they can make their world better themselves, and in fact this is how any genuine reform has been won in the past, therefore they potentially become revolutionaries through this process...you have to be where the majority of the working class are ideologically, it's no good just saying it's shit....this is sectarianism.

Why don't they just decide that reformism works? Where does the leap from frorm consciousness to revolutionary consciousness come from? Why should we expect our masters state to administer any policy on our behalf?

: Well what wonderful right wing logic that is, so you'd argue with the television workers at C4 who refused to show the BNP party political broadcast last year would you?

Yes, and for a good reason- you Linksruck comrades in Germany recently got clobbered by German anti-nazi censorship laws, once we admit them the power to censor or restrict democracy, they will not hesitate to use such means against us. What if a labourist, or rightist Union at the BBC refused to show Scottish Socialist Alliance Party Politicals, because they feel youse are a dangerous minority? Anyhow, I was glad teh BNP party political was shown, I haven't luaghed so much in years- a fat balding old man basically pointing, going 'look, darkies', it was pathetic. they still have less members than us.

: How dangerous your seemingly 'non-violence' stance actually is....

Least its not shot through with contradictions:
1:Teh police are teh vile repressors of tehworking class.
2:we want the police to do more to protect black people.
3:Lets call for some anti-racist laws, despite in fact not believing in censorship, etc.

: Not the point we don't expect to get many votes, like I said revolutionary consciousness doesn't exist on a mass scale, otherwise there would be a revolution....we do it to propagate more about the system, and let people have the chance to vote for socialists, otherwise the right move in.....

Which is precisely why we do it, although your attiude of 'we must lead, or the right will lead' reeks of an authoritarian assumption of working class passivity, poor sheep waiting for the dog to come and round them up.

: Marxism is a living theory, it's about trying to analyze the world so that you can change it, our tradition, Marx, Lenin, Trotsky, Gramsci, Luxemburg did this, further more the ONLY significant scientific marxist analysis in the post war period is the theory of State Capitalism,

Erm, which we had been putting forward since the mid twenties.

: the Permanent Arms Economy and Deflected Permanent Revolution...

You missed out the theory of the up-turn and the down turn...

:.what do you offer? Hmmm...not much, Marcuse (anti-working class frankfurt schooler)

Where did I talk about that old Vanguardist sod?

:and William Morris (good socialist but hardly the greatest), no wonder historical dialectical analysis is beyond....no wonder the working class don't tkae you seriously.....

Raymond Williams, E.P.Thompson, Christopher Hill, I do know about Gramsci, i am up-to-date with y theory, cheers.

: I'll leave the final word to Karl, someone I suggest you start reading again.....as your ideas are full of liberal revisionist distortions....

Really must dig out that Quote by Chrlie (he lets me call him that, we're pretty close you know) about how the workers of England and Holand could have gained socialism via the ballot box, really very interesting...

Lets hope you can read it this time ;)

Follow Ups:

The Debating Room Post a Followup