Discussion:
Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)
(too old to reply)
r***@ymail.com
2009-03-31 12:36:48 UTC
Permalink
I'm still fairly new to socialism, so I'm still undecided on some things. It would be helpful if I could get some clarifications on some apparent issues with the WSM's view of the USSR.

Firstly, on the USSR being state capitalist. While it does seem rather convincing, I have a few issues with it. So, am I correct in saying that the USSR had no boom-bust cycles? If so, then why did this happen in a capitalist economy, since they are inherent to capitalism? Also, during the 'capitalist restoration', I believe that around 70% of the GDP collapsed, how would this be explained? Also, the law of the market did not apply, though I suppose that this doesn't really effect the argument. Also, according to Marx, surplus value can continue to exist after capitalism, can anybody explain this: "Accordingly, a portion of the profit, therefore of surplus-value and thereby also surplus-product, in which (as concerns value) only newly added labour is represented, serves as an insurance fun
d. And it matters not whether this insurance fund is managed by insurance companies as a separate business or not. This is the sole portion of revenue which is neither consumed as such nor serves necessarily as a fund for accumulation. Whether it actually serves as such, or covers merely a loss in reproduction, depends upon chance. This is also the only portion of surplus-value and surplus-product, and thus of surplus-labour, which would continue to exist, outside of that portion serving for accumulation, and hence expansion of the process of reproduction, even after the abolition of the capitalist mode of production." (from Capital III)?

On the Russian Revolution, does anybody have a source showing that the Bolsheviks didn't have much (if any) of a majority over the Soviet workers, something which I've heard? Hyndman, for example, claims that, "At this time, when it was admitted by Lenin himself that the Bolsheviks had no greater following than 200,000 in the whole 180,000,000 people of then undivided Russia, this infinitesimal minority, having captured the machine of Government, declared the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat₋, though the Russian proletariat itself did not comprise more than at the outside ten per cent, of the population. Of that ten per cent, the Bolsheviks were one per cent."

Also, when it comes to the ICC's decadence theory, wouldn't underconsumption still apply, seeing as capitalists and workers generally do not spend all of their incomes? I'm somewhat unfamiliar with it, though, so I'm probably missing something here, I'm just wondering.

Thanks.



------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2009-04-01 12:09:19 UTC
Permalink
On the membership of the Bolshevik Party, a paper below put it at less than 1% in 1920

Page 3 of 17

http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Economics/Papers/1999/1999-25.pdf


Lenin put it at 300,000 to 400,000 in 1922;



THE CONDITIONS FOR ADMITTING NEW MEMBERS
TO THE PARTY
LETTERS TO V. M. MOLOTOV 1922



"If we have 300,000 to 400,000 members in the Party, even that number is excessive, for literally everything goes to show that the level of training of the present Party membership is inadequate. That is why I strongly insist on longer probation periods, and on instructing the Organising Bureau to draw up and strictly apply rules that will really make the period of probation a serious test and not an empty formality.

I think that this question should be discussed at the Congress with special care."

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/CNM22.html




I think Lenin talked about a number around 700,000 at some point before 1920 but I can't remember where.


The Party was not open to everyone however;


V. I. Lenin
PURGING THE PARTY


"As one of the specific objects of the Party purge, I would point to the combing out of ex-Mensheviks. In my opinion, of the Mensheviks who joined the Party after the beginning of 1918, not more than a hundredth part should be allowed to remain; and even then, every one of those who are allowed to remain must be tested over and over again. Why? Because, as a trend, the Mensheviks have displayed in 1918-21 the two qualities that characterise them: first, the ability skilfully to adapt, to "attach" themselves to the prevailing trend among the workers; and second, the ability even more skilfully to serve the whiteguards heart and soul, to serve them in action, while dissociating themselves from them in words.

Both these qualities are the logical outcome of the whole history of Menshevism. It is sufficient to recall Axelrod's proposal for a "labour congress",[16] the attitude of the Mensheviks towards the Cadets[17] (and to the monarchy) in words and action, etc., etc. The Mensheviks "attach" themselves to the Russian Communist Party not only and even not so much because they are Machiavellian (although ever since 1903 they have shown that they are past masters in the art of bourgeois diplomacy), but because they are so "adaptable". Every opportunist is distinguished for his adaptability (but not all adaptability is opportunism); and the Mensheviks, as opportunists, adapt themselves "on principle"

so to speak, to the prevailing trend among the workers and assume a protective colouring, just as a hare's coat turns white in winter. This characteristic of the Mensheviks must be kept in mind and taken into account. And taking it into account means purging the Party of approximately ninety-nine out of every hundred Mensheviks who joined the Russian Communist Party after 1918, i.e., when the victory of the Bolsheviks first became probable and then certain.

The Party must be purged of rascals, of bureaucratic, dishonest or wavering Communists, and of Mensheviks who have repainted their "facade" but who have remained Mensheviks at heart. "


http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/PTP21.html#en15



I suppose you could say that restricting party membership is legitimate but it takes on a different context when other parties are banned or proscribed from participation in government and when it is a dictatorship of one party;


V. I. Lenin, SPEECH AT THE FIRST ALL-RUSSIA CONGRESS OF WORKERS IN EDUCATION AND SOCIALIST CULTURE JULY 31, 1919



"When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party and, as you have heard, a united socialist front is proposed, we say, "Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position because it is the party that has won,"

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/SWSC19.html


I suppose that by definition surplus product or surplus value is what is left over after the workers have produced enough to reproduce their labour power. That includes the macro or overall social position of the workers and therefore does not include what is required to reproduce the next generation of workers ie what goes to children etc.

You could argue if you wanted to that retired and disabled workers receive surplus value in socialism and even in capitalism but I don't think it is a particularly important argument.

On another issue;

In socialism workers may work extra in order to expand and improve the means of production and productivity in order to make-work easier, better and less in the future. That would be a rational and worked out decision by and for the workers.

Again you could say that in effect that goes on in capitalism, however in capitalism the prime motivation or driving forces is merely the acquisition and accumulation of surplus value, capital, means of production and material power in the hands of individuals for its own sake.


In socialism as the workers control this process and own the means of production or `capital' and therefore, as one excludes the other, it would not `confront' them or stand in opposition to them.


Capital Vol. III Part VII, Revenues and their Sources, Chapter 51. Distribution Relations and Production Relations




"The second distinctive feature of the capitalist mode of production is the production of surplus-value as the direct aim and determining motive of production. Capital produces essentially capital, and does so only to the extent that it produces surplus-value. We have seen in our discussion of relative surplus-value, and further in considering the transformation of surplus-value into profit, how a mode of production peculiar to the capitalist period is founded hereon — a special form of development of the social productive powers of labour, but confronting the labourer as powers of capital rendered independent, and standing in direct opposition therefore to the labourer's own development.

Production for value and surplus-value implies, as has been shown in the course of our analysis, the constantly operating tendency to reduce the labour-time necessary for the production of a commodity, i.e., its value, below the actually prevailing social average. The pressure to reduce cost-price to its minimum becomes the strongest lever for raising the social productiveness of labour, which, however, appears here only as a continual increase in the productiveness of capital"



http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894-c3/ch51.htm



The other distinctive feature of capitalism as opposed to other commodity and/or exploitative producing systems is `free' wage labour where the labourer is free to sell their labour power. You could argue that the workers in the soviet system were not free to sell the labour power and were not much better than state owned slaves, not even considering the obvious slave labour in the gulags etc.

And that they had a captive labour `market'.


However even pure slavery could operate within a capitalist framework as Karl skirted around that subject with cotton manufacture in the Southern United States.

Things don't have to be always black and white and rarely are.


You could I suppose have patriarchal systems were a group or class, as the only ones fit to, manages things for the benefit of the whole of society.

Amongst other things it then I suppose reduces itself to an assessment of the difference between the claim and the reality eg Big Brother and Orwells 1984.
Post by r***@ymail.com
I'm still fairly new to socialism, so I'm still undecided on some things. It would be helpful if I could get some clarifications on some apparent issues with the WSM's view of the USSR.
Firstly, on the USSR being state capitalist. While it does seem rather convincing, I have a few issues with it. So, am I correct in saying that the USSR had no boom-bust cycles? If so, then why did this happen in a capitalist economy, since they are inherent to capitalism? Also, during the 'capitalist restoration', I believe that around 70% of the GDP collapsed, how would this be explained? Also, the law of the market did not apply, though I suppose that this doesn't really effect the argument. Also, according to Marx, surplus value can continue to exist after capitalism, can anybody explain this: "Accordingly, a portion of the profit, therefore of surplus-value and thereby also surplus-product, in which (as concerns value) only newly added labour is represented, serves as an insurance fund. And it matters not whether this insurance fund is managed by insurance companies as a separate business or not. This is the sole portion of revenue which is neither consumed as such nor serves necessarily as a fund for accumulation. Whether it actually serves as such, or covers merely a loss in reproduction, depends upon chance. This is also the only portion of surplus-value and surplus-product, and thus of surplus-labour, which would continue to exist, outside of that portion serving for accumulation, and hence expansion of the process of reproduction, even after the abolition of the capitalist mode of production." (from Capital III)?
On the Russian Revolution, does anybody have a source showing that the Bolsheviks didn't have much (if any) of a majority over the Soviet workers, something which I've heard? Hyndman, for example, claims that, "At this time, when it was admitted by Lenin himself that the Bolsheviks had no greater following than 200,000 in the whole 180,000,000 people of then undivided Russia, this infinitesimal minority, having captured the machine of Government, declared the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat₋, though the Russian proletariat itself did not comprise more than at the outside ten per cent, of the population. Of that ten per cent, the Bolsheviks were one per cent."
Also, when it comes to the ICC's decadence theory, wouldn't underconsumption still apply, seeing as capitalists and workers generally do not spend all of their incomes? I'm somewhat unfamiliar with it, though, so I'm probably missing something here, I'm just wondering.
Thanks.
------------------------------------
Marcos
2009-04-01 14:09:28 UTC
Permalink
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/1905-1985/80WorldRevolution.htm
, http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/aug04/icc.html This is our stand
regarding the so called decadence of capitalism that is being propagated by
the ICC, even that they do not called themselves as a Leninist
organizations, most of their fundamental basis are inherited from the
Bolshevik, and they still continue with the sub-comsumptionist theory of
Rosa Luxembourg.

The Maximum amount of membership that the Bolshevik party obtained was 5% of
the population, ( and those are figures presented by others Leninist
parties, and the SLP of America, and I think it is too much ), and that
percentage was even lower during the early period of the revolution, because
even Lenin himself said that it was only !%, and most of the peasants did
not give any support to the Bolshevik, and they became their new
landlords ( although their slogan was Bread, Land and Freedom ) and many of
them were falsely accused of being Kulacs when in reality they were poor
peasants.

The history of the Bolshevik party has been mystified by the Bolshevik and
the leftist groups and many of the ideas written in the book of the history
of the CPSU dictated by Joseph Stalin in 1930 are not true, because the
differences between the Menshevik and the Bolshevik were very minors, their
only differentiation was how to get the state power, that is reason why it
was so easy for Trotsky to switch from Menshevikism to Bolshevikism.

The Socialist Party of Venezuela has a larger membership than the Communist
Party of Russia, and in a few months they were able to obtain more than 3
millions members, and probably, Hugo Chavez is more popular than Vladimir
Lenin, and the Communist Party of Cuba also has a larger membership. The
Russian revolution was just a Jacobin coup d'tat given to Kerensky and due
to their minority stand they were forced to impose themselves on top of the
majority of the workers of Russia

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/nov05/page10.html The selection process
of the Bolsheviks promoted the idea of the professional leadeship, and the
membership was not for all the members of the working class, and the
propagation of the concept of leader is a typical conception of the
bourgeois parties, even more, Lenin himself said one time, that Trotsky had
an administrator mentality, but, it was not only Trotsky, it was the whole
party conception

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/96-97/pdf/96Lenin.pdf This
book shows that the first killing of workers were not done by Stalin, the
instructions came from Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky, and it will also
show that since the very beginning the Bolsheviks were not very popular
among the workers, and it will show their counter-revolutionary nature, the
leftists will justify this massacre by saying that these workers were
counter-revolutionaries and anti-communists, which is the same accusations
made by the Cuban Communist Party when any worker is opposing the
government, and many peasants were killed by Che Guevara
Post by r***@ymail.com
I'm still fairly new to socialism, so I'm still undecided on some
things. It would be helpful if I could get some clarifications on some
apparent issues with the WSM's view of the USSR.
Firstly, on the USSR being state capitalist. While it does seem rather
convincing, I have a few issues with it. So, am I correct in saying that the
USSR had no boom-bust cycles? If so, then why did this happen in a
capitalist economy, since they are inherent to capitalism? Also, during the
'capitalist restoration', I believe that around 70% of the GDP collapsed,
how would this be explained? Also, the law of the market did not apply,
though I suppose that this doesn't really effect the argument. Also,
according to Marx, surplus value can continue to exist after capitalism, can
anybody explain this: "Accordingly, a portion of the profit, therefore of
surplus-value and thereby also surplus-product, in which (as concerns value)
only newly added labour is represented, serves as an insurance fund. And it
matters not whether this insurance fund is managed by insurance companies as
a separate business or not. This is the sole portion of revenue which is
neither consumed as such nor serves necessarily as a fund for accumulation.
Whether it actually serves as such, or covers merely a loss in reproduction,
depends upon chance. This is also the only portion of surplus-value and
surplus-product, and thus of surplus-labour, which would continue to exist,
outside of that portion serving for accumulation, and hence expansion of the
process of reproduction, even after the abolition of the capitalist mode of
production." (from Capital III)?
On the Russian Revolution, does anybody have a source showing that the
Bolsheviks didn't have much (if any) of a majority over the Soviet workers,
something which I've heard? Hyndman, for example, claims that, "At this
time, when it was admitted by Lenin himself that the Bolsheviks had no
greater following than 200,000 in the whole 180,000,000 people of then
undivided Russia, this infinitesimal minority, having captured the machine
of Government, declared the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat₋, though
the Russian proletariat itself did not comprise more than at the outside ten
per cent, of the population. Of that ten per cent, the Bolsheviks were one
per cent."
Also, when it comes to the ICC's decadence theory, wouldn't
underconsumption still apply, seeing as capitalists and workers generally do
not spend all of their incomes? I'm somewhat unfamiliar with it, though, so
I'm probably missing something here, I'm just wondering.
Thanks.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
alan johnstone
2009-04-01 16:07:30 UTC
Permalink
you may find this 4 part series of articles by the  Aufheben group at the Libcom site on State Capitalism with special references to Trotskyism of interest , if you have not already read them .
http://libcom.org/library/WhatwastheUSSRAufheben4
 
other articles worth reading is Paresh Chattopadhyay's
http://libcom.org/library/socialism-marx-early-bolshevism-chattopadhyay
and
http://libcom.org/library/class-history-theory-capitalism-communism-ussr-paresh-chattopadhyay
 Our own article reviewing Buicks and Crumps on state capitalism book
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/state.pdf
 
On under-consumptionism and crises see
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/education/Education%20Series%20Crises.html
 
Having read many debates on Libcom forum i think many in the ICC milieu would re-evaluate Luxemburg's theory these days . 

alan johnstone

--- On Tue, 31/3/09, ***@ymail.com <***@ymail.com> wrote:


From: ***@ymail.com <***@ymail.com>
Subject: [WSM_Forum] Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Date: Tuesday, 31 March, 2009, 1:36 PM






I'm still fairly new to socialism, so I'm still undecided on some things. It would be helpful if I could get some clarifications on some apparent issues with the WSM's view of the USSR.

Firstly, on the USSR being state capitalist. While it does seem rather convincing, I have a few issues with it. So, am I correct in saying that the USSR had no boom-bust cycles? If so, then why did this happen in a capitalist economy, since they are inherent to capitalism? Also, during the 'capitalist restoration' , I believe that around 70% of the GDP collapsed, how would this be explained? Also, the law of the market did not apply, though I suppose that this doesn't really effect the argument. Also, according to Marx, surplus value can continue to exist after capitalism, can anybody explain this: "Accordingly, a portion of the profit, therefore of surplus-value and thereby also surplus-product, in which (as concerns value) only newly added labour is represented, serves as an insurance fund. And it matters not whether this insurance fund is managed by insurance companies as a separate business or not. This is the sole portion of revenue which is neither
consumed as such nor serves necessarily as a fund for accumulation. Whether it actually serves as such, or covers merely a loss in reproduction, depends upon chance. This is also the only portion of surplus-value and surplus-product, and thus of surplus-labour, which would continue to exist, outside of that portion serving for accumulation, and hence expansion of the process of reproduction, even after the abolition of the capitalist mode of production." (from Capital III)?

On the Russian Revolution, does anybody have a source showing that the Bolsheviks didn't have much (if any) of a majority over the Soviet workers, something which I've heard? Hyndman, for example, claims that, "At this time, when it was admitted by Lenin himself that the Bolsheviks had no greater following than 200,000 in the whole 180,000,000 people of then undivided Russia, this infinitesimal minority, having captured the machine of Government, declared the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat& #8331;, though the Russian proletariat itself did not comprise more than at the outside ten per cent, of the population. Of that ten per cent, the Bolsheviks were one per cent."

Also, when it comes to the ICC's decadence theory, wouldn't underconsumption still apply, seeing as capitalists and workers generally do not spend all of their incomes? I'm somewhat unfamiliar with it, though, so I'm probably missing something here, I'm just wondering.

Thanks.



















[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
Marcos
2009-04-01 16:47:01 UTC
Permalink
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/1933-93/html/85USSR.html The
nature of Russian State Capitalism

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/96-97/html/96USSR.html Mao Tse
Tung and Enver Hoxha called the Soviet Union a capitalist state, where
exploitation and surplus value is extracted from the workers, but without
mentioning the exploitation under their own governments in China and
Albania, and without mentioning also that it was Lenin the first one that
called Russia a state capitalist economy.

The last congress of the MLPUSA that we attended and intent was made in
order to study the capitalist nature of the Soviet Union since the very
beginning, which will include to study the real ideas of Lenin, and the
whole membership of the party decided to dissolve the organization, which
means that the heels of Achilles of the left is Leninism, if they accept
that Lenin was only an apologist of state capitalism the whole left will
fall apart,

http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/1933-93/html/37Gide.html Class
differentiation in Russia.

The archives of Raya Dunayeskaya is also a good source about the
capitalist nature of the Soviet Union, she also made a profound study about
the Five Years Plans, which show not different with the capitalist planning
of the USA, Germany, and England during that period, taking into
consideration that even that she broke with Trotsky, she kept many of his
ideas, and she always considered Lenin as a socialist, and that the so
called capitalist degeneration of the Soviet Started in 1930, which is not
true either, due to the fact that the Russian economy went from a
semi-feudal nation ( petite bourgeois production called by himself himself )
into the capitalist mode of production .

The ICC is now saying that Lenin made many mistakes, ( not distortions ) but
they always skip the declaration of Lenin about the state capitalist nature
of the soviet union,( they are Trotskyists in disguise ) and they have made
certain modification about the sub-comsumptionists ideas of Rosa Luxemburg,
but, they are still considering the State and the Revolution of Lenin, as a
great contribution of Lenin to socialism, and reality has shown that the
biggest distortion made by Lenin about socialism and the state is precisely
on State and the Revolution
Post by r***@ymail.com
I'm still fairly new to socialism, so I'm still undecided on some
things. It would be helpful if I could get some clarifications on some
apparent issues with the WSM's view of the USSR.
Firstly, on the USSR being state capitalist. While it does seem rather
convincing, I have a few issues with it. So, am I correct in saying that the
USSR had no boom-bust cycles? If so, then why did this happen in a
capitalist economy, since they are inherent to capitalism? Also, during the
'capitalist restoration', I believe that around 70% of the GDP collapsed,
how would this be explained? Also, the law of the market did not apply,
though I suppose that this doesn't really effect the argument. Also,
according to Marx, surplus value can continue to exist after capitalism, can
anybody explain this: "Accordingly, a portion of the profit, therefore of
surplus-value and thereby also surplus-product, in which (as concerns value)
only newly added labour is represented, serves as an insurance fund. And it
matters not whether this insurance fund is managed by insurance companies as
a separate business or not. This is the sole portion of revenue which is
neither consumed as such nor serves necessarily as a fund for accumulation.
Whether it actually serves as such, or covers merely a loss in reproduction,
depends upon chance. This is also the only portion of surplus-value and
surplus-product, and thus of surplus-labour, which would continue to exist,
outside of that portion serving for accumulation, and hence expansion of the
process of reproduction, even after the abolition of the capitalist mode of
production." (from Capital III)?
On the Russian Revolution, does anybody have a source showing that the
Bolsheviks didn't have much (if any) of a majority over the Soviet workers,
something which I've heard? Hyndman, for example, claims that, "At this
time, when it was admitted by Lenin himself that the Bolsheviks had no
greater following than 200,000 in the whole 180,000,000 people of then
undivided Russia, this infinitesimal minority, having captured the machine
of Government, declared the "Dictatorship of the Proletariat&#8331;, though
the Russian proletariat itself did not comprise more than at the outside ten
per cent, of the population. Of that ten per cent, the Bolsheviks were one
per cent."
Also, when it comes to the ICC's decadence theory, wouldn't
underconsumption still apply, seeing as capitalists and workers generally do
not spend all of their incomes? I'm somewhat unfamiliar with it, though, so
I'm probably missing something here, I'm just wondering.
Thanks.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
r***@ymail.com
2009-04-01 19:18:49 UTC
Permalink
Thanks everybody, I'm currently working through the Aufheben articles. Just a few clarifications, though. As far as I am aware, 'means of production' and 'capital' are not the same, "A Negro is a Negro. Only under certain conditions does he become a slave. A cotton-spinning machine is a machine for spinning cotton. Only under certain conditions does it become capital. Torn away from these conditions, it is as little capital as gold is itself money, or sugar is the price of sugar." Also, on Lenin's state capitalism, some people seem to have only quoted some of this quote to back it up (ignoring the part on ceasing to be a capitalist monopoly), "Or, in other words, socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent c
eased to be capitalist monopoly." Earlier than that in the same document, he said, "If it has become a state monopoly, it means that the state (i.e., the armed organisation of the population, the workers and peasants above all, provided there is revolutionary democracy) directs the whole undertaking." Also, what Lenin meant with 'state capitalism' was different to what is generally meant in describing Stalin's Russia as it, I believe, with Lenin saying, "It seemed to them that the term "state capitalism" could not be applied to a system under which the means of production were owned by the working-class, a working-class that held political power. They did not notice, however, that I use the term "state capitalism", firstly, to connect historically our present position with the position a
dopted in my controversy with the so-called Left Communists; also, I argued at the time that state capitalism would be superior to our existing economy. It was important for me to show the continuity between ordinary state capitalism and the unusual, even very unusual, state capitalism to which I referred in introducing the reader to the New Economic Policy. Secondly, the practical purpose was always important to me. And the practical purpose of our New Economic Policy was to lease out concessions. In the prevailing circumstances, concessions in our country would unquestionably have been a pure type of state capitalism. That is how I argued about state capitalism." It is rather strange that many of the so-called Left Communists have suddenly become semi-Leninists, though, whereas he was
opposed at the time by Gorter, Pannekoek, Miasnikov, etc.

Also, sorry about asking more questions, but can somebody give an explanation of why socialism was impossible under semi-feudal conditions? I haven't seen one yet that explains it in any real detail, it mainly just states that the 'productive forces aren't developed enough yet' and such, but does not expand on this. While it does seem true, I don't yet see why it would be true. Did Marx or anybody explain this?

Also, on the Bolsheviks, does anybody know how the Party was structured after the October revolution, and whether the structure changed dramatically? As far as I recall, the Central Committee actually did not have that much power over the Party pre-revolution, so did that change significantly after the revolution (or when)? Also, the Bolsheviks had 183,624 votes in the Petrograd Duma elections in August, second to only the SRs, which was, I believe, before the Kornilov affair, which lead to a sharp increase in their popularity. Also, the Petrograd Soviet had elected Trotsky as chairman in September, with a Bolshevik majority Presidium. There were also Bolshevik majorities in major cities like Ivanovo-Voznesentsk, Ekaterinburg, Samara, Tsaritsyn, Riga, Saratov, and Moscow. In the Second A
ll-Russia Congress of the Soviets, the Bolsheviks had 300 out of 670 delegates, with about half of the 193 SRs supporting the actions of the Military Revolutionary Committee. Also, didn't Martov's measure for a coalition government drawn from all the parties of the Soviet passed unanimously by the Bolsheviks, after which I'm not entirely sure why Martov decided to abandon the Soviet? Basically, I'm not entirely sure how much the Bolshevik coup was merely the seizing of power by a group with minority support. Also, was there much protest among the Russian people about the disbanding of the Constituent Assembly? Also, I heard that the Bolsheviks got a majority among votes from the urban proletariat in that, any sources (though the urban proletariat was tiny, so that's still not especially
relevant, though it would be significant to some extent). And for that matter, wasn't the Military Revolutionary Committee a Soviet, rather than Bolshevik, institution, which co-ordinated thousands of workers in a struggle against Kerensky, rather than the October revolution being merely the Bolsheviks walking into the Winter Palace and shoving a gun to Kerensky's head?

Just a clarification on decadence, since the 1980's the world economy has been driven by capitalists raiding capital from other capitalists and consumption driven by unprecedented debt, and started this crisis a shadow of what it was before the Great Depression, so could it be said that capitalism is 'decaying' in some sense?

Also, while I don't see insurrection or mass strike as in any way realistic as a method of international socialist revolution, if socialists were to be elected, what would guarantee that they don't get bought out or take power for themselves? Also, what would they do if there was not yet a socialist majority? Those were the two main doubts on the subject that I had (mainly from the fact that I came to socialism through a path paved with anti-electoral socialists such as the anarcho-communists).

Again, sorry for all the questions. And, again, thanks for your answers. Hopefully I'll be able to get to contributing more than just questions soon enough. :P



------------------------------------
Mike Morin
2009-04-01 21:46:34 UTC
Permalink
They're giving you all a run-around.

Peace, from the "States".


Mike Morin
www.peoplesequityunion.blogspot.com

 



________________________________
From: "***@ymail.com" <***@ymail.com>
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Wednesday, April 1, 2009 12:18:49 PM
Subject: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)


Thanks everybody, I'm currently working through the Aufheben articles. Just a few clarifications, though. As far as I am aware, 'means of production' and 'capital' are not the same, "A Negro is a Negro. Only under certain conditions does he become a slave. A cotton-spinning machine is a machine for spinning cotton. Only under certain conditions does it become capital. Torn away from these conditions, it is as little capital as gold is itself money, or sugar is the price of sugar." Also, on Lenin's state capitalism, some people seem to have only quoted some of this quote to back it up (ignoring the part on ceasing to be a capitalist monopoly), "Or, in other words, socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent ceased to be capitalist monopoly." Earlier than that in the same document, he said, "If it has become a state monopoly, it means that the state (i.e., the armed
organisation of the population, the workers and peasants above all, provided there is revolutionary democracy) directs the whole undertaking. " Also, what Lenin meant with 'state capitalism' was different to what is generally meant in describing Stalin's Russia as it, I believe, with Lenin saying, "It seemed to them that the term "state capitalism" could not be applied to a system under which the means of production were owned by the working-class, a working-class that held political power. They did not notice, however, that I use the term "state capitalism", firstly, to connect historically our present position with the position adopted in my controversy with the so-called Left Communists; also, I argued at the time that state capitalism would be superior to our existing economy. It was important for me to show the continuity between ordinary state capitalism and the unusual, even very unusual, state capitalism to which I referred in introducing the
reader to the New Economic Policy. Secondly, the practical purpose was always important to me. And the practical purpose of our New Economic Policy was to lease out concessions. In the prevailing circumstances, concessions in our country would unquestionably have been a pure type of state capitalism. That is how I argued about state capitalism." It is rather strange that many of the so-called Left Communists have suddenly become semi-Leninists, though, whereas he was opposed at the time by Gorter, Pannekoek, Miasnikov, etc.

Also, sorry about asking more questions, but can somebody give an explanation of why socialism was impossible under semi-feudal conditions? I haven't seen one yet that explains it in any real detail, it mainly just states that the 'productive forces aren't developed enough yet' and such, but does not expand on this. While it does seem true, I don't yet see why it would be true. Did Marx or anybody explain this?

Also, on the Bolsheviks, does anybody know how the Party was structured after the October revolution, and whether the structure changed dramatically? As far as I recall, the Central Committee actually did not have that much power over the Party pre-revolution, so did that change significantly after the revolution (or when)? Also, the Bolsheviks had 183,624 votes in the Petrograd Duma elections in August, second to only the SRs, which was, I believe, before the Kornilov affair, which lead to a sharp increase in their popularity. Also, the Petrograd Soviet had elected Trotsky as chairman in September, with a Bolshevik majority Presidium. There were also Bolshevik majorities in major cities like Ivanovo-Voznesentsk , Ekaterinburg, Samara, Tsaritsyn, Riga, Saratov, and Moscow. In the Second All-Russia Congress of the Soviets, the Bolsheviks had 300 out of 670 delegates, with about half of the 193 SRs supporting the actions of the Military Revolutionary
Committee. Also, didn't Martov's measure for a coalition government drawn from all the parties of the Soviet passed unanimously by the Bolsheviks, after which I'm not entirely sure why Martov decided to abandon the Soviet? Basically, I'm not entirely sure how much the Bolshevik coup was merely the seizing of power by a group with minority support. Also, was there much protest among the Russian people about the disbanding of the Constituent Assembly? Also, I heard that the Bolsheviks got a majority among votes from the urban proletariat in that, any sources (though the urban proletariat was tiny, so that's still not especially relevant, though it would be significant to some extent). And for that matter, wasn't the Military Revolutionary Committee a Soviet, rather than Bolshevik, institution, which co-ordinated thousands of workers in a struggle against Kerensky, rather than the October revolution being merely the Bolsheviks walking into the Winter
Palace and shoving a gun to Kerensky's head?

Just a clarification on decadence, since the 1980's the world economy has been driven by capitalists raiding capital from other capitalists and consumption driven by unprecedented debt, and started this crisis a shadow of what it was before the Great Depression, so could it be said that capitalism is 'decaying' in some sense?

Also, while I don't see insurrection or mass strike as in any way realistic as a method of international socialist revolution, if socialists were to be elected, what would guarantee that they don't get bought out or take power for themselves? Also, what would they do if there was not yet a socialist majority? Those were the two main doubts on the subject that I had (mainly from the fact that I came to socialism through a path paved with anti-electoral socialists such as the anarcho-communists) .

Again, sorry for all the questions. And, again, thanks for your answers. Hopefully I'll be able to get to contributing more than just questions soon enough. :P







[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
r***@ymail.com
2009-04-02 04:53:04 UTC
Permalink
Um, je suis désolé? :(
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
------------------------------------
alb1342
2009-04-02 10:04:12 UTC
Permalink
Tu trouveras une réponse à tes questions en lisant cet article: http://bataillesocialiste.wordpress.com/documents-historiques/1980-08-world-revolution-un-autre-groupe-confus/
Adam
Post by r***@ymail.com
Um, je suis désolé? :(
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
------------------------------------
Marcos
2009-04-02 16:15:13 UTC
Permalink
A criticism answered

The March, April, May and July issues of World Revolution, paper of the
British section of the “left communist” group known as the International
Communist Current (ICC) carried a long four-part critical article on the
Socialist Party to coincide with our hundred years of existence and which
described us “a group caught between sectarianism and opportunism”. The
articles criticized in particular our attitude towards war, trade unions,
political democracy and the development of socialist consciousness.
Before these criticisms can be answered, something needs to be said
about where the ICC is coming from politically. Its basic theoretical
assumption is that by 1914 capitalism had become “decadent” as an economic
system in the sense that it had become unable to develop the forces of
production any further. This claim is based on Rosa Luxemburg’s mistaken
view that there was a flaw in Marx’s Capital, in that he had failed to
recognize that a lack of purchasing power was built-in to capitalism and
that therefore it had to rely on external markets to expand; once these had
been exhausted – as the ICC claim had happened by 1914 – then capitalism
would enter a period of economic stagnation and breakdown. (For a detailed
argument as to the ICC’s mistake here see the article in the August 1980
Socialist Standard “World Revolution: Another Confused Group”.)
From this mistaken assumption, the ICC draws a political conclusion:
that, after 1914, capitalism could no longer offer any lasting concessions
to the working class, whether in the form of social reforms or in the form
of increases in real wages. This means, according to the ICC, that working
class living standards can now only be defended by revolution and that in
fact the socialist revolution will develop out of the struggle to defend
living standards, a quite inadequate, economistic conception of how
socialist consciousness will develop.
When this analysis, and this conclusion, was first put forward by
“leftwing communists” in Germany in the aftermath of the First World War it
had a certain plausibility: this was a time of mass unemployment and roaring
inflation there. But when it was revived by the political ancestors of the
ICC in the 1960s, it made no sense at all. By then, despite the theory,
capitalism had further developed the forces of production (by the
application of, for instance, plastics, electronics and atomic energy); more
social reform measures, in particular the so-called “Welfare State” had been
enacted; and the real living standards of workers, at least in the
heartlands of capitalism, had increased. To deny this was to fly in the face
of the facts and to dogmatically cling to a disproved theory.

Two periods
A product of the ICC’s dogma that capitalism has not been able to offer
concessions since 1914 is that the ICC divides capitalism into two distinct
periods – pre-1914 and post-1914 – during which different, and in the event
diametrically opposed, policies are appropriate.
In the ICC’s view, whereas after 1914 revolution has been the only way
to defend working class living standards, before 1914, when capitalism was
still expanding and so capable of offering concessions, these could also be
defended, and improved, by pressure in parliaments to enact social reforms
and by trade union action, which were both therefore worthy of socialist
support. In other words, the policy of European Social Democracy of having,
in addition to the maximum programme of socialism, a minimum programme of
social reforms to be achieved within capitalism was justified. Hence what
became horribly wrong after 1914 was right before 1914.
Thus we are criticised, for instance, for having completely written off
the Second International in an article on its 1910 Copenhagen Congress. The
ICC takes the view that before 1914 socialists should not have broken away
from the Social Democratic parties of the time and that, in Britain, the
“impossiblists” in the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) should have stayed
within it as a leftwing faction struggling for its reform programme to be
achieved by mass action rather than through election deals and parliamentary
manoeuvres. In short, the SPGB should never have been formed. Those who
founded the Socialist Party should have remained within the SDF, which later
became the SDP and then the British Socialist Party, and should have gone
over, with the bulk of the membership of the BSP, to the Communist Party of
Great Britain when it was formed in 1921.
The March article accuses the SPGB (and the Deleonist Socialist Labour
Party, another impossibilist breakaway from the SDF) of making the same
mistake that the ICC see William Morris and the Socialist League as having
made in the 1880s, of rejecting “the struggle for reforms” and opposing “any
support for reforms”. The Socialist League is even denounced for having
taken up the position that the ICC now holds of rejecting “participation in
parliament” and opposing “participation in elections”. What was then
“sterile purism” is today a key revolutionary position, even a “class
frontier”!
It’s the same with trade unionism. The early members of the SPGB are
criticised for not taking a more positive attitude towards trade unions, for
not seeing “the unions in a dynamic way, as part of the process of the class
coming to consciousness”. The early members did in fact support trade union
action on sound class lines and a large number of them were active trade
unionists, but it is true that they saw such action, though part of the
class struggle, as being essentially only defensive. This is still our
position. But times have moved on for the ICC and, whereas they criticise us
for not having been pro-trade union enough before 1914, they criticise us
now (as in World Revolution 11 in 1977) for holding the view that . . . “the
working class can defend itself through trade unions”. Instead, we ought to
be calling, like the ICC, for the unions to be “smashed”.
If we in the Socialist Party take the same position on (not advocating)
reforms and on trade unionism now as in 1904 this is not because we are
committed to an “invariant dogma” as the ICC argues but because we don’t
accept their particular argument that capitalism became economically
decadent in 1914, and its corollary that very different policies were
appropriate before and after that date. We do say, of course, that
capitalism has become historically redundant, but this dates from when it
had finished creating the material basis for a world socialist society,
which would be some time in the last quarter of the 19th century. We can
agree, too, that this justified a change of policy in some respects: the
abandoning of the support Marx gave to measures and events that he felt
would help capitalism create this material basis as rapidly as possible, for
instance, in particular support for various nationalist movements and taking
sides in wars. For our position on this see the article “Marx in his
Time<http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/time.pdf>”
.
The year 1914 was significant in that it was the year that the first
world war broke out, thus confirming that capitalism had become the dominant
world system and which ended by reinforcing this through the collapse of the
last three dynastic states in Europe (Imperial Germany, Hapsburg Austria and
Tsarist Russia). But significant as 1914 was, this was not because it was
the date by which capitalism had become economically decadent in the
Luxemburg/ICC sense and it did not require a change of socialist “tactics”.

Conspiracy theories
The April and May articles criticise our members for having opposed the two
world wars as “conscientious objectors” which the ICC sees as a mere
individual and even pacifist opposition. This is an easy, not to say cheap,
criticism from people who have no doubt never faced the dilemma of what to
do when threatened with coercion into being trained to kill fellow workers
in a war. Some SPGB members in both world wars did refuse, as a matter of
principle, the status of “conscientious objector” but most took the view
that if the state allows this why refuse to take advantage of it? In fact,
many SPGB members were able to carry on important political work for
socialism precisely because of this, something which seems to bypass the ICC
completely.
The suggestion that during the Second World War the SPGB, in the words
of the July article, “was used by the ruling class as a safe channel for the
questioning and anger produced by the war” is a typical example of the sort
of other-wordly paranoid conspiracy theory for which the ICC is well-known.
This is also exemplified by their credulous reliance in the same article on
a pamphlet by a disgruntled ex-member of the SPGB which advances a
conspiracy theory about “factions determined to take over the Party”.
What SPGB members should have done in both world wars was, apparently,
to have worked to turn, as advised by Lenin, “the present imperialist war
into a civil war”. This should have involved “illegal organisation and
propaganda within the army”, which presumably means that socialists should
have joined the army after all. But this would have been suicidal for the
individuals involved (the quickest way to a firing squad for mutiny) and
massacre for the working class (as happened in Dublin in 1916 when a section
of the Irish nationalist movement tried to start a civil war in the midst of
an imperialist war). SPGB members rightly rejected such irresponsible advice
and adopted the correct socialist position of a plague on both your houses
and not a drop of working class blood for either side.

Democracy and dictatorship
Whereas the ICC is all in favour of elections, parliaments and “bourgeois
democracy” before 1914, after then all these became anathema to them. In
fact, our refusal to denounce political democracy seems to be our worst
failing in their eyes. “Through its defence of the democratic principle,”
they say of us, “it actually reinforces one of the greatest obstacles facing
the working class.”
Excuse us if we disagree, but we don’t regard universal suffrage and
political democracy within capitalism as “one of the greatest obstacles
facing the working class”. The vote is a gain, a potential class weapon, a
potential “instrument of emancipation” as Marx put it. Despite Lenin’s
distortions quoted by the ICC, Marx and Engels always held that the
bourgeois democratic republic was the best political framework for the
development and triumph of the socialist movement. This is another pre-1914
socialist position we see no reason to abandon.
Certainly, political democracy under capitalism is not all that it is
purported to be by many supporters of the system and it is severely limited,
from the point of view of democratic theory, by the very nature of
capitalism as an unequal, class-divided society. Certainly, “democracy” has
become an ideology used to give capitalist rule a spurious legitimacy and to
mobilise working class support for wars. But it is still sufficient to allow
the working class to organise politically and economically without too much
state interference and also, we would argue, to allow a future socialist
majority to gain control of political power.
If political democracy under capitalism really was the great obstacle
facing the working class that the ICC claim, then socialists ought logically
to work for and welcome its abolition even within capitalism. While the ICC
stridently calls for other such (in its view) obstacles, for instance trade
unions, to be smashed, it has not dared call for the workers’ vote to be
abolished or for the smashing of ballot-boxes. However, Bordiga, who they
quote with favour in the May article as a commentator on “the democratic
principle”, did indeed take opposition to this principle to its absurd
logical conclusion, arguing in an article written in 1948 that socialists
“must gladly welcome” the coming of fascism on the grounds that it is
supposedly easier to mobilise the workers when there’s a naked capitalist
dictatorship than when this is disguised by a democratic façade. He even
claimed that workers were less oppressed under fascism than they were under
democracy (see “Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class Struggle”
(Part III) in Communist Program 3 of May 1977). The ICC itself, in its July
article, challenges the statement that “it is better to live in a society
where there is some degree of democracy than in one where opposition to the
regime is not tolerated”. It is thus rather the ICC, in toying with such
ideas, not us, that is trying to spread dangerous ideas amongst the working
class.
Of course political democracy is better, from a working class point of
view, than political dictatorship. The point shouldn’t need arguing. We
don’t deny that having a positive attitude towards “bourgeois” political
democracy under capitalism has sometimes created theoretical and policy
issues for us when it has been under attack (as between the wars) and when
it has not yet been established (as in the former USSR’s empire). But it’s
not a solution – in fact, it’s a cop-out – to evade the problem by trying to
argue that there’s no difference between political democracy and political
dictatorship, that they are as bad as each other, and that workers should be
indifferent as to which one exists. Our position is that political democracy
is a gain for the working class but that this does not justify socialists
allying themselves with capitalist parties to get it or supporting one side
in a war to supposedly defend it.

Consciousness
The ICC attributes to us a caricatured position of seeing “the development
of consciousness as an accumulation of individual socialists”, as the
conversion of workers one by one to socialism until there’s a “mathematical
majority”, as if anyone could hold such an absurd position. Of course, as
Marxists, we hold that socialist consciousness develops out of the workers’
class experience of capitalism and its problems.
If we use terms such as “majority” and “majoritarian” this is not
because we are obsessed with counting the number of individual socialists,
but to show that we reject minority action to try to establish socialism –
majority as the opposite of minority. Socialism can only be established when
through the experience of capitalism, including hearing the case for
socialism (itself the distilled past experience of the working class), a
majority (yes, but in the democratic rather than mere mathematical sense)
have come to want it. For, despite Lenin and Bordiga, socialism can’t be
imposed from above on a working class that doesn’t want or understand it.
The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class
itself. And of course, unlike the ICC, we don’t think that the seizure of
power by the minority Bolsheviks in November 1917 was a “proletarian
revolution”.
The ICC’s own conception of the development of socialist consciousness
is not at all convincing. Because, as mentioned, they think that since 1914,
and still today, capitalism is unable to grant any concessions to workers
that will improve their living standards, they argue that socialist
consciousness will arise out of struggles by workers to stop their living
standards getting worse. Thus they see the task of socialists as being to
get involved in such struggles and to try to push them towards revolution as
the only way of winning them in the sense of getting an increased standard
of living.
We have no objection to socialists getting involved in industrial
struggles but without illusions, in particular the illusion that they can
have a revolutionary outcome. The socialist revolution is not likely to
start from some strike over wages spreading to the whole of the working
class. Certainly, workers can learn from the experience of industrial
struggles against employers that socialism is the only way out and, in this
sense, strikes can contribute to a growth of socialist consciousness. But so
can the many other experiences of the way capitalism works against the
interests of workers (bad housing, poor health care, pollution, wars and the
threat of war, etc, etc).
The ICC’s obsession with strikes shapes their whole activity beyond
abstract (very abstract in their case) propaganda. When a strike occurs they
go down to the picket line with leaflets denouncing the trade unions and
calling on the strikers to spread the strike – unsurprisingly with no
success, since when workers are on strike they are generally concerned with
getting a favourable settlement not with launching a revolution (and,
despite the ICC’s theory, concessions today can still be extracted from
employers).
Indeed, since the ICC is rabidly anti-union, sees no difference between
political democracy and political dictatorship, and espouses an anarchist
stance on elections and parliament, as well as having a penchant for
conspiracy theories, we suggest that they are not in a position to give
other groups any lessons in how to spread socialist ideas while avoiding the
dangers of sectarianism.

ADAM BUICK
Post by alb1342
http://bataillesocialiste.wordpress.com/documents-historiques/1980-08-world-revolution-un-autre-groupe-confus/
Adam
Post by r***@ymail.com
Um, je suis désolé? :(
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
Mike Morin
2009-04-02 21:44:52 UTC
Permalink
Thanks Marcos for your edifying post.

If I may be critical of thee, you would serve us better to be more concise. Your occupation with studying "ancient" factionalisms can be useful, but again, give it to us in brief overview and post a reference to your more complete work.

One thing that I must comment on is, the ICC's assertion about the motivation of workers based on their living standards. Of course, that term was probably relevant then, but the way it has been abused since Bretton Woods, we need to make a fundamental distinction between "standard of living" and quality of life.

Thanks again.


Mike Morin
www.peoplesequityunion.blogspot.com

 



________________________________
From: Marcos <***@gmail.com>
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:15:13 AM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)

A criticism answered

The March, April, May and July issues of World Revolution, paper of the
British section of the “left communist” group known as the International
Communist Current (ICC) carried a long four-part critical article on the
Socialist Party to coincide with our hundred years of existence and which
described us “a group caught between sectarianism and opportunism”. The
articles criticized in particular our attitude towards war, trade unions,
political democracy and the development of socialist consciousness.
    Before these criticisms can be answered, something needs to be said
about where the ICC is coming from politically. Its basic theoretical
assumption is that by 1914 capitalism had become “decadent” as an economic
system in the sense that it had become unable to develop the forces of
production any further. This claim is based on Rosa Luxemburg’s mistaken
view that there was a flaw in Marx’s Capital, in that he had failed to
recognize that a lack of purchasing power was built-in to capitalism and
that therefore it had to rely on external markets to expand; once these had
been exhausted – as the ICC claim had happened by 1914 – then capitalism
would enter a period of economic stagnation and breakdown. (For a detailed
argument as to the ICC’s mistake here see the article in the August 1980
Socialist Standard “World Revolution: Another Confused Group”.)
    From this mistaken assumption, the ICC draws a political conclusion:
that, after 1914, capitalism could no longer offer any lasting concessions
to the working class, whether in the form of social reforms or in the form
of increases in real wages. This means, according to the ICC, that working
class living standards can now only be defended by revolution and that in
fact the socialist revolution will develop out of the struggle to defend
living standards, a quite inadequate, economistic conception of how
socialist consciousness will develop.
    When this analysis, and this conclusion, was first put forward by
“leftwing communists” in Germany in the aftermath of the First World War it
had a certain plausibility: this was a time of mass unemployment and roaring
inflation there. But when it was revived by the political ancestors of the
ICC in the 1960s, it made no sense at all. By then, despite the theory,
capitalism had further developed the forces of production (by the
application of, for instance, plastics, electronics and atomic energy); more
social reform measures, in particular the so-called “Welfare State” had been
enacted; and the real living standards of workers, at least in the
heartlands of capitalism, had increased. To deny this was to fly in the face
of the facts and to dogmatically cling to a disproved theory.

Two periods
A product of the ICC’s dogma that capitalism has not been able to offer
concessions since 1914 is that the ICC divides capitalism into two distinct
periods – pre-1914 and post-1914 – during which different, and in the event
diametrically opposed, policies are appropriate.
    In the ICC’s view, whereas after 1914 revolution has been the only way
to defend working class living standards, before 1914, when capitalism was
still expanding and so capable of offering concessions, these could also be
defended, and improved, by pressure in parliaments to enact social reforms
and by trade union action, which were both therefore worthy of socialist
support. In other words, the policy of European Social Democracy of having,
in addition to the maximum programme of socialism, a minimum programme of
social reforms to be achieved within capitalism was justified.. Hence what
became horribly wrong after 1914 was right before 1914.
    Thus we are criticised, for instance, for having completely written off
the Second International in an article on its 1910 Copenhagen Congress. The
ICC takes the view that before 1914 socialists should not have broken away
from the Social Democratic parties of the time and that, in Britain, the
“impossiblists” in the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) should have stayed
within it as a leftwing faction struggling for its reform programme to be
achieved by mass action rather than through election deals and parliamentary
manoeuvres. In short, the SPGB should never have been formed. Those who
founded the Socialist Party should have remained within the SDF, which later
became the SDP and then the British Socialist Party, and should have gone
over, with the bulk of the membership of the BSP, to the Communist Party of
Great Britain when it was formed in 1921.
    The March article accuses the SPGB (and the Deleonist Socialist Labour
Party, another impossibilist breakaway from the SDF) of making the same
mistake that the ICC see William Morris and the Socialist League as having
made in the 1880s, of rejecting “the struggle for reforms” and opposing “any
support for reforms”. The Socialist League is even denounced for having
taken up the position that the ICC now holds of rejecting “participation in
parliament” and opposing “participation in elections”. What was then
“sterile purism” is today a key revolutionary position, even a “class
frontier”!
    It’s the same with trade unionism. The early members of the SPGB are
criticised for not taking a more positive attitude towards trade unions, for
not seeing “the unions in a dynamic way, as part of the process of the class
coming to consciousness”. The early members did in fact support trade union
action on sound class lines and a large number of them were active trade
unionists, but it is true that they saw such action, though part of the
class struggle, as being essentially only defensive. This is still our
position. But times have moved on for the ICC and, whereas they criticise us
for not having been pro-trade union enough before 1914, they criticise us
now (as in World Revolution 11 in 1977) for holding the view that . . . “the
working class can defend itself through trade unions”. Instead, we ought to
be calling, like the ICC, for the unions to be “smashed”.
    If we in the Socialist Party take the same position on (not advocating)
reforms and on trade unionism now as in 1904 this is not because we are
committed to an “invariant dogma” as the ICC argues but because we don’t
accept their particular argument that capitalism became economically
decadent in 1914, and its corollary that very different policies were
appropriate before and after that date. We do say, of course, that
capitalism has become historically redundant, but this dates from when it
had finished creating the material basis for a world socialist society,
which would be some time in the last quarter of the 19th century. We can
agree, too, that this justified a change of policy in some respects: the
abandoning of the support Marx gave to measures and events that he felt
would help capitalism create this material basis as rapidly as possible, for
instance, in particular support for various nationalist movements and taking
sides in wars. For our position on this see the article “Marx in his
Time<http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/time.pdf>”
.
    The year 1914 was significant in that it was the year that the first
world war broke out, thus confirming that capitalism had become the dominant
world system and which ended by reinforcing this through the collapse of the
last three dynastic states in Europe (Imperial Germany, Hapsburg Austria and
Tsarist Russia). But significant as 1914 was, this was not because it was
the date by which capitalism had become economically decadent in the
Luxemburg/ICC sense and it did not require a change of socialist “tactics”.

Conspiracy theories
The April and May articles criticise our members for having opposed the two
world wars as “conscientious objectors” which the ICC sees as a mere
individual and even pacifist opposition. This is an easy, not to say cheap,
criticism from people who have no doubt never faced the dilemma of what to
do when threatened with coercion into being trained to kill fellow workers
in a war. Some SPGB members in both world wars did refuse, as a matter of
principle, the status of “conscientious objector” but most took the view
that if the state allows this why refuse to take advantage of it? In fact,
many SPGB members were able to carry on important political work for
socialism precisely because of this, something which seems to bypass the ICC
completely.
    The suggestion that during the Second World War the SPGB, in the words
of the July article, “was used by the ruling class as a safe channel for the
questioning and anger produced by the war” is a typical example of the sort
of other-wordly paranoid conspiracy theory for which the ICC is well-known.
This is also exemplified by their credulous reliance in the same article on
a pamphlet by a disgruntled ex-member of the SPGB which advances a
conspiracy theory about “factions determined to take over the Party”.
    What SPGB members should have done in both world wars was, apparently,
to have worked to turn, as advised by Lenin, “the present imperialist war
into a civil war”. This should have involved “illegal organisation and
propaganda within the army”, which presumably means that socialists should
have joined the army after all. But this would have been suicidal for the
individuals involved (the quickest way to a firing squad for mutiny) and
massacre for the working class (as happened in Dublin in 1916 when a section
of the Irish nationalist movement tried to start a civil war in the midst of
an imperialist war). SPGB members rightly rejected such irresponsible advice
and adopted the correct socialist position of a plague on both your houses
and not a drop of working class blood for either side.

Democracy and dictatorship
Whereas the ICC is all in favour of elections, parliaments and “bourgeois
democracy” before 1914, after then all these became anathema to them. In
fact, our refusal to denounce political democracy seems to be our worst
failing in their eyes. “Through its defence of the democratic principle,”
they say of us, “it actually reinforces one of the greatest obstacles facing
the working class.”
    Excuse us if we disagree, but we don’t regard universal suffrage and
political democracy within capitalism as “one of the greatest obstacles
facing the working class”. The vote is a gain, a potential class weapon, a
potential “instrument of emancipation” as Marx put it. Despite Lenin’s
distortions quoted by the ICC, Marx and Engels always held that the
bourgeois democratic republic was the best political framework for the
development and triumph of the socialist movement. This is another pre-1914
socialist position we see no reason to abandon.
    Certainly, political democracy under capitalism is not all that it is
purported to be by many supporters of the system and it is severely limited,
from the point of view of democratic theory, by the very nature of
capitalism as an unequal, class-divided society. Certainly, “democracy” has
become an ideology used to give capitalist rule a spurious legitimacy and to
mobilise working class support for wars. But it is still sufficient to allow
the working class to organise politically and economically without too much
state interference and also, we would argue, to allow a future socialist
majority to gain control of political power.
    If political democracy under capitalism really was the great obstacle
facing the working class that the ICC claim, then socialists ought logically
to work for and welcome its abolition even within capitalism. While the ICC
stridently calls for other such (in its view) obstacles, for instance trade
unions, to be smashed, it has not dared call for the workers’ vote to be
abolished or for the smashing of ballot-boxes. However, Bordiga, who they
quote with favour in the May article as a commentator on “the democratic
principle”, did indeed take opposition to this principle to its absurd
logical conclusion, arguing in an article written in 1948 that socialists
“must gladly welcome” the coming of fascism on the grounds that it is
supposedly easier to mobilise the workers when there’s a naked capitalist
dictatorship than when this is disguised by a democratic façade. He even
claimed that workers were less oppressed under fascism than they were under
democracy (see “Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class Struggle”
(Part III) in Communist Program 3 of May 1977). The ICC itself, in its July
article, challenges the statement that “it is better to live in a society
where there is some degree of democracy than in one where opposition to the
regime is not tolerated”. It is thus rather the ICC, in toying with such
ideas, not us, that is trying to spread dangerous ideas amongst the working
class.
    Of course political democracy is better, from a working class point of
view, than political dictatorship. The point shouldn’t need arguing. We
don’t deny that having a positive attitude towards “bourgeois” political
democracy under capitalism has sometimes created theoretical and policy
issues for us when it has been under attack (as between the wars) and when
it has not yet been established (as in the former USSR’s empire). But it’s
not a solution – in fact, it’s a cop-out – to evade the problem by trying to
argue that there’s no difference between political democracy and political
dictatorship, that they are as bad as each other, and that workers should be
indifferent as to which one exists. Our position is that political democracy
is a gain for the working class but that this does not justify socialists
allying themselves with capitalist parties to get it or supporting one side
in a war to supposedly defend it.

Consciousness
The ICC attributes to us a caricatured position of seeing “the development
of consciousness as an accumulation of individual socialists”, as the
conversion of workers one by one to socialism until there’s a “mathematical
majority”, as if anyone could hold such an absurd position. Of course, as
Marxists, we hold that socialist consciousness develops out of the workers’
class experience of capitalism and its problems.
    If we use terms such as “majority” and “majoritarian” this is not
because we are obsessed with counting the number of individual socialists,
but to show that we reject minority action to try to establish socialism –
majority as the opposite of minority. Socialism can only be established when
through the experience of capitalism, including hearing the case for
socialism (itself the distilled past experience of the working class), a
majority (yes, but in the democratic rather than mere mathematical sense)
have come to want it. For, despite Lenin and Bordiga, socialism can’t be
imposed from above on a working class that doesn’t want or understand it.
The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class
itself. And of course, unlike the ICC, we don’t think that the seizure of
power by the minority Bolsheviks in November 1917 was a “proletarian
revolution”.
    The ICC’s own conception of the development of socialist consciousness
is not at all convincing. Because, as mentioned, they think that since 1914,
and still today, capitalism is unable to grant any concessions to workers
that will improve their living standards, they argue that socialist
consciousness will arise out of struggles by workers to stop their living
standards getting worse. Thus they see the task of socialists as being to
get involved in such struggles and to try to push them towards revolution as
the only way of winning them in the sense of getting an increased standard
of living.
    We have no objection to socialists getting involved in industrial
struggles but without illusions, in particular the illusion that they can
have a revolutionary outcome. The socialist revolution is not likely to
start from some strike over wages spreading to the whole of the working
class. Certainly, workers can learn from the experience of industrial
struggles against employers that socialism is the only way out and, in this
sense, strikes can contribute to a growth of socialist consciousness. But so
can the many other experiences of the way capitalism works against the
interests of workers (bad housing, poor health care, pollution, wars and the
threat of war, etc, etc).
    The ICC’s obsession with strikes shapes their whole activity beyond
abstract (very abstract in their case) propaganda. When a strike occurs they
go down to the picket line with leaflets denouncing the trade unions and
calling on the strikers to spread the strike – unsurprisingly with no
success, since when workers are on strike they are generally concerned with
getting a favourable settlement not with launching a revolution (and,
despite the ICC’s theory, concessions today can still be extracted from
employers).
    Indeed, since the ICC is rabidly anti-union, sees no difference between
political democracy and political dictatorship, and espouses an anarchist
stance on elections and parliament, as well as having a penchant for
conspiracy theories, we suggest that they are not in a position to give
other groups any lessons in how to spread socialist ideas while avoiding the
dangers of sectarianism.

ADAM BUICK
Post by alb1342
http://bataillesocialiste.wordpress.com/documents-historiques/1980-08-world-revolution-un-autre-groupe-confus/
Adam
Post by r***@ymail.com
Um, je suis désolé? :(
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
 
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Marcos
2009-04-04 01:59:16 UTC
Permalink
Mike:

Someone asked Marx to write his complete works, and his answer was that in
order to write his complete work, they had to be re-written again, and in
reality Marx only finished one of his work, and it was one chapter of the
Critique to the Political Economy, and Volume one of capital, the rest were
fragments of his ideas, even Engels was surprised to see how many subjects
was Marx working at the same time before his death.

Socialism for me is not a career, it is part of my life I do not have an
intellectual, or petite bourgoise mentality, even that I have a degree
from a professional school, that for me, it is toilet paper, and I threw it
in the trash can, it was in order for me to survive in the capitalist world,
I have learned more on my own and exchanging ideas with simple peoples. . I
am just another member of the working class,

My daily work is to propagate the ideas of a new society, and to help to put
in a proper rail the distortions made against socialism. I do not have any
complete works,* I have never had it, * and I will never will, they are all
fragmented ideas, I am learning every day, my only reference is the working
class, even Marx can not be called the teacher or the leader of the working
class, on the contrary, the working class were his teachers, and I write
every day,. and I am a combatant every day. if you want to read more, you
can go to the following places: cuba.venezuela.grenada.americalatina,
cuba-politica, diaspora-chilena, publicaciones politica, bolivia-politica,
movimiento socialista mundial, comunistas internacionales, foro-periodistas,
izquierda-comunista, la vergonzosa herencia del cristianismo, realidades de
borinquen, realidades de haiti- quisqueya, etc, etc, etc,

The ICC is just another Leninist organization, or Leninist / Trotskyists of
other stripes, they are also part of the leftwing movement, as you are part
of the lefwing movment too, and they are as mistaken as any other leftwing
group, and they are part of the distortions made by the left winger
regarding the real concept of socialism, therefore, we must know them in
order to understand them, and I know most of them, from the Castroists, the
Maoists, the Stalinist, and the Enverites, by knowing them, I was able to
get acquainted with the SLP, and the World Socialist Movement, and that is
my final stop. I have not found anything better yet,

The living standard of the working class has not been affected since
Bretton Wood, which was an agreement between thieves, robbers, criminals,
and warmonger, and did not bring any gains to the working class, the
working pepple have been affected since the emerge of classical slavery in
the human society, and their quality of life is not getting any better,
only in the minds of the capitalists, or the supporters of their ideology,
or the ones that wanted to beautify capitalism with reforms, that
problematic is older than that,

The ICC rejects the labor unions, and all the unions leaders according to
them are agents of the capitalists, but when the workers go in strikes they
wanted to take the opportunity to propagate their wrong principles, and to
raise the flag that they are supporting the working class, but, they do
not understand that workers unions are necessary under the capitalist world,
and they are just economic organizations of the working class, as well,
their stand regarding labor unions has been totally rejected in Latin
America, because many union leaders have been killed in Colombia, Argentina,
and Guatemala, therefore, their considerations about the union leaders and
the workers unions are totally incorrect, and many of their members in
Europe are members of workers unions, they inherited those ideas from Leon
Trotsky


One thing is bourgeoisie economy and another thing is political economy,
there are not economists in this planet .
http://www.worldsocialism.org/articles/economists_not_on_this.php Most of
the university are just center for brain washing, specially in the US, when
most of the intellectuals do not have a clue about socialism or communism,
even a simple peasant in Latin America can have a better understanding. .

I was part of the Albania and Chinese tendency, during the times of Mao and
Enver Hoxha, , and I traveled all the Eastern country of Europe, and I was
also in Albania, and I did not see any difference between any other
capitalist nations that were near them, and I have also been in Cuba, and I
did not see any difference among of all the others countries of Latin
America, which I have traveled also, they are all guided by the same law:
The Law of value, which is the law of the capitalist world.

The constitution of the Soviet Union it is a typical capitalist
constitutions, there are not socialist countries with constitution,
socialism is the total elimination of governments, even more the word
government imply everything, that people are governed.

The government of Yugoslavia was considered by the so called
anti-revisionist movement ( headed by China and Albania ) as one of the
first neo-liberal country within the soviet sphere of influences.

Most of the ideas that in the US are published about the Soviet Union is
what we used to call bottled information by the CIA and the Department of
State, and the CIA spent billions of dollars in order to brain wash the
minds of many students up to doctorate degrees. The CIA formed communist
parties in Latin America, and many of the members of the central committee
were educated in Panama, in the School of terrors,

The constitution of Cuba is similar to the constitution of the Soviet Union,
and it is not different to any constitution of any other country in Latin
America, as well ,its legal system is similar to the legal system of all the
Latin American countries, they are all bourgeois constitutions.

The Chinese government and the Albanian did not recognize the Russian
government as a socialist government, but a nation of state capitalism, and
when Albania broke with China, and I was heavy involved with the Albania
tendency, they only recognized that they were the only socialist country in
the whole world.

When the Pope Paul II was in Cuba, Fidel Castro himself told him that Poland
was not a socialist country, that it was a typical capitalist country
similar to the ones in Western Europe, he was even contradicting the Pope,
and he was an allied of the Soviet Union, and the follower of Gorbachev
were shot with the excuse that they were dealing with narcotics in Africa
and Panama

We have also recognized that Lenin honestly accepted that State capitalism
existed in Russia after the 1917, and probably they had good intentions at
the beginning, but due to the nature of their Jacobin coup d'tat, they were
forced to impose themselves on top of the working class, they were a
minority, and they did not have the support of the majority of the members
of the working class of Russia, and they did not have the support of the
majority of the peasants

Russia was a backward country with a semi-feudal mode of production, even
on the book named the Development of Capitalism in Russia written by
Vladimir Lenin, he indicated that petite bourgeois production prevailed in
Russia, therefore, a socialist revolution is impossible to takes place in
that nation, the industrial workers were so minimal that they thought that
with the eliminations of factories during the times of war, it was going to
produce the spread of more peasants inside the Soviet Union, they knew that
socialism was impossible to be built in Russia, even Stalin knew the real
definition and implication of socialism as it is explained on Anarchism and
Socialism written by him, but he decided to continue being the dictator of
the soviets workers
Post by Mike Morin
Thanks Marcos for your edifying post.
If I may be critical of thee, you would serve us better to be more concise.
Your occupation with studying "ancient" factionalisms can be useful, but
again, give it to us in brief overview and post a reference to your more
complete work.
One thing that I must comment on is, the ICC's assertion about the
motivation of workers based on their living standards. Of course, that term
was probably relevant then, but the way it has been abused since Bretton
Woods, we need to make a fundamental distinction between "standard of
living" and quality of life.
Thanks again.
Mike Morin
www.peoplesequityunion.blogspot.com
________________________________
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:15:13 AM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)
A criticism answered
The March, April, May and July issues of World Revolution, paper of the
British section of the “left communist” group known as the International
Communist Current (ICC) carried a long four-part critical article on the
Socialist Party to coincide with our hundred years of existence and which
described us “a group caught between sectarianism and opportunism”. The
articles criticized in particular our attitude towards war, trade unions,
political democracy and the development of socialist consciousness.
Before these criticisms can be answered, something needs to be said
about where the ICC is coming from politically. Its basic theoretical
assumption is that by 1914 capitalism had become “decadent” as an economic
system in the sense that it had become unable to develop the forces of
production any further. This claim is based on Rosa Luxemburg’s mistaken
view that there was a flaw in Marx’s Capital, in that he had failed to
recognize that a lack of purchasing power was built-in to capitalism and
that therefore it had to rely on external markets to expand; once these had
been exhausted – as the ICC claim had happened by 1914 – then capitalism
would enter a period of economic stagnation and breakdown. (For a detailed
argument as to the ICC’s mistake here see the article in the August 1980
Socialist Standard “World Revolution: Another Confused Group”.)
that, after 1914, capitalism could no longer offer any lasting concessions
to the working class, whether in the form of social reforms or in the form
of increases in real wages. This means, according to the ICC, that working
class living standards can now only be defended by revolution and that in
fact the socialist revolution will develop out of the struggle to defend
living standards, a quite inadequate, economistic conception of how
socialist consciousness will develop.
When this analysis, and this conclusion, was first put forward by
“leftwing communists” in Germany in the aftermath of the First World War it
had a certain plausibility: this was a time of mass unemployment and roaring
inflation there. But when it was revived by the political ancestors of the
ICC in the 1960s, it made no sense at all. By then, despite the theory,
capitalism had further developed the forces of production (by the
application of, for instance, plastics, electronics and atomic energy); more
social reform measures, in particular the so-called “Welfare State” had been
enacted; and the real living standards of workers, at least in the
heartlands of capitalism, had increased. To deny this was to fly in the face
of the facts and to dogmatically cling to a disproved theory.
Two periods
A product of the ICC’s dogma that capitalism has not been able to offer
concessions since 1914 is that the ICC divides capitalism into two distinct
periods – pre-1914 and post-1914 – during which different, and in the event
diametrically opposed, policies are appropriate.
In the ICC’s view, whereas after 1914 revolution has been the only way
to defend working class living standards, before 1914, when capitalism was
still expanding and so capable of offering concessions, these could also be
defended, and improved, by pressure in parliaments to enact social reforms
and by trade union action, which were both therefore worthy of socialist
support. In other words, the policy of European Social Democracy of having,
in addition to the maximum programme of socialism, a minimum programme of
social reforms to be achieved within capitalism was justified.. Hence what
became horribly wrong after 1914 was right before 1914.
Thus we are criticised, for instance, for having completely written off
the Second International in an article on its 1910 Copenhagen Congress. The
ICC takes the view that before 1914 socialists should not have broken away
from the Social Democratic parties of the time and that, in Britain, the
“impossiblists” in the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) should have stayed
within it as a leftwing faction struggling for its reform programme to be
achieved by mass action rather than through election deals and
parliamentary
manoeuvres. In short, the SPGB should never have been formed. Those who
founded the Socialist Party should have remained within the SDF, which later
became the SDP and then the British Socialist Party, and should have gone
over, with the bulk of the membership of the BSP, to the Communist Party of
Great Britain when it was formed in 1921.
The March article accuses the SPGB (and the Deleonist Socialist Labour
Party, another impossibilist breakaway from the SDF) of making the same
mistake that the ICC see William Morris and the Socialist League as having
made in the 1880s, of rejecting “the struggle for reforms” and opposing “any
support for reforms”. The Socialist League is even denounced for having
taken up the position that the ICC now holds of rejecting “participation in
parliament” and opposing “participation in elections”. What was then
“sterile purism” is today a key revolutionary position, even a “class
frontier”!
It’s the same with trade unionism. The early members of the SPGB are
criticised for not taking a more positive attitude towards trade unions, for
not seeing “the unions in a dynamic way, as part of the process of the class
coming to consciousness”. The early members did in fact support trade union
action on sound class lines and a large number of them were active trade
unionists, but it is true that they saw such action, though part of the
class struggle, as being essentially only defensive. This is still our
position. But times have moved on for the ICC and, whereas they criticise us
for not having been pro-trade union enough before 1914, they criticise us
now (as in World Revolution 11 in 1977) for holding the view that . . . “the
working class can defend itself through trade unions”. Instead, we ought to
be calling, like the ICC, for the unions to be “smashed”.
If we in the Socialist Party take the same position on (not advocating)
reforms and on trade unionism now as in 1904 this is not because we are
committed to an “invariant dogma” as the ICC argues but because we don’t
accept their particular argument that capitalism became economically
decadent in 1914, and its corollary that very different policies were
appropriate before and after that date. We do say, of course, that
capitalism has become historically redundant, but this dates from when it
had finished creating the material basis for a world socialist society,
which would be some time in the last quarter of the 19th century. We can
agree, too, that this justified a change of policy in some respects: the
abandoning of the support Marx gave to measures and events that he felt
would help capitalism create this material basis as rapidly as possible, for
instance, in particular support for various nationalist movements and taking
sides in wars. For our position on this see the article “Marx in his
Time<http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/time.pdf>”
.
The year 1914 was significant in that it was the year that the first
world war broke out, thus confirming that capitalism had become the dominant
world system and which ended by reinforcing this through the collapse of the
last three dynastic states in Europe (Imperial Germany, Hapsburg Austria and
Tsarist Russia). But significant as 1914 was, this was not because it was
the date by which capitalism had become economically decadent in the
Luxemburg/ICC sense and it did not require a change of socialist “tactics”.
Conspiracy theories
The April and May articles criticise our members for having opposed the two
world wars as “conscientious objectors” which the ICC sees as a mere
individual and even pacifist opposition. This is an easy, not to say cheap,
criticism from people who have no doubt never faced the dilemma of what to
do when threatened with coercion into being trained to kill fellow workers
in a war. Some SPGB members in both world wars did refuse, as a matter of
principle, the status of “conscientious objector” but most took the view
that if the state allows this why refuse to take advantage of it? In fact,
many SPGB members were able to carry on important political work for
socialism precisely because of this, something which seems to bypass the ICC
completely.
The suggestion that during the Second World War the SPGB, in the words
of the July article, “was used by the ruling class as a safe channel for the
questioning and anger produced by the war” is a typical example of the sort
of other-wordly paranoid conspiracy theory for which the ICC is well-known.
This is also exemplified by their credulous reliance in the same article on
a pamphlet by a disgruntled ex-member of the SPGB which advances a
conspiracy theory about “factions determined to take over the Party”.
What SPGB members should have done in both world wars was, apparently,
to have worked to turn, as advised by Lenin, “the present imperialist war
into a civil war”. This should have involved “illegal organisation and
propaganda within the army”, which presumably means that socialists should
have joined the army after all. But this would have been suicidal for the
individuals involved (the quickest way to a firing squad for mutiny) and
massacre for the working class (as happened in Dublin in 1916 when a section
of the Irish nationalist movement tried to start a civil war in the midst of
an imperialist war). SPGB members rightly rejected such irresponsible advice
and adopted the correct socialist position of a plague on both your houses
and not a drop of working class blood for either side.
Democracy and dictatorship
Whereas the ICC is all in favour of elections, parliaments and “bourgeois
democracy” before 1914, after then all these became anathema to them. In
fact, our refusal to denounce political democracy seems to be our worst
failing in their eyes. “Through its defence of the democratic principle,”
they say of us, “it actually reinforces one of the greatest obstacles facing
the working class.”
Excuse us if we disagree, but we don’t regard universal suffrage and
political democracy within capitalism as “one of the greatest obstacles
facing the working class”. The vote is a gain, a potential class weapon, a
potential “instrument of emancipation” as Marx put it. Despite Lenin’s
distortions quoted by the ICC, Marx and Engels always held that the
bourgeois democratic republic was the best political framework for the
development and triumph of the socialist movement. This is another pre-1914
socialist position we see no reason to abandon.
Certainly, political democracy under capitalism is not all that it is
purported to be by many supporters of the system and it is severely limited,
from the point of view of democratic theory, by the very nature of
capitalism as an unequal, class-divided society. Certainly, “democracy” has
become an ideology used to give capitalist rule a spurious legitimacy and to
mobilise working class support for wars. But it is still sufficient to allow
the working class to organise politically and economically without too much
state interference and also, we would argue, to allow a future socialist
majority to gain control of political power.
If political democracy under capitalism really was the great obstacle
facing the working class that the ICC claim, then socialists ought logically
to work for and welcome its abolition even within capitalism. While the ICC
stridently calls for other such (in its view) obstacles, for instance trade
unions, to be smashed, it has not dared call for the workers’ vote to be
abolished or for the smashing of ballot-boxes. However, Bordiga, who they
quote with favour in the May article as a commentator on “the democratic
principle”, did indeed take opposition to this principle to its absurd
logical conclusion, arguing in an article written in 1948 that socialists
“must gladly welcome” the coming of fascism on the grounds that it is
supposedly easier to mobilise the workers when there’s a naked capitalist
dictatorship than when this is disguised by a democratic façade. He even
claimed that workers were less oppressed under fascism than they were under
democracy (see “Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class Struggle”
(Part III) in Communist Program 3 of May 1977). The ICC itself, in its July
article, challenges the statement that “it is better to live in a society
where there is some degree of democracy than in one where opposition to the
regime is not tolerated”. It is thus rather the ICC, in toying with such
ideas, not us, that is trying to spread dangerous ideas amongst the working
class.
Of course political democracy is better, from a working class point of
view, than political dictatorship. The point shouldn’t need arguing. We
don’t deny that having a positive attitude towards “bourgeois” political
democracy under capitalism has sometimes created theoretical and policy
issues for us when it has been under attack (as between the wars) and when
it has not yet been established (as in the former USSR’s empire). But it’s
not a solution – in fact, it’s a cop-out – to evade the problem by trying to
argue that there’s no difference between political democracy and political
dictatorship, that they are as bad as each other, and that workers should be
indifferent as to which one exists. Our position is that political democracy
is a gain for the working class but that this does not justify socialists
allying themselves with capitalist parties to get it or supporting one side
in a war to supposedly defend it.
Consciousness
The ICC attributes to us a caricatured position of seeing “the development
of consciousness as an accumulation of individual socialists”, as the
conversion of workers one by one to socialism until there’s a “mathematical
majority”, as if anyone could hold such an absurd position. Of course, as
Marxists, we hold that socialist consciousness develops out of the workers’
class experience of capitalism and its problems.
If we use terms such as “majority” and “majoritarian” this is not
because we are obsessed with counting the number of individual socialists,
but to show that we reject minority action to try to establish socialism –
majority as the opposite of minority. Socialism can only be established when
through the experience of capitalism, including hearing the case for
socialism (itself the distilled past experience of the working class), a
majority (yes, but in the democratic rather than mere mathematical sense)
have come to want it. For, despite Lenin and Bordiga, socialism can’t be
imposed from above on a working class that doesn’t want or understand it.
The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class
itself. And of course, unlike the ICC, we don’t think that the seizure of
power by the minority Bolsheviks in November 1917 was a “proletarian
revolution”.
The ICC’s own conception of the development of socialist consciousness
is not at all convincing. Because, as mentioned, they think that since 1914,
and still today, capitalism is unable to grant any concessions to workers
that will improve their living standards, they argue that socialist
consciousness will arise out of struggles by workers to stop their living
standards getting worse. Thus they see the task of socialists as being to
get involved in such struggles and to try to push them towards revolution as
the only way of winning them in the sense of getting an increased standard
of living.
We have no objection to socialists getting involved in industrial
struggles but without illusions, in particular the illusion that they can
have a revolutionary outcome. The socialist revolution is not likely to
start from some strike over wages spreading to the whole of the working
class. Certainly, workers can learn from the experience of industrial
struggles against employers that socialism is the only way out and, in this
sense, strikes can contribute to a growth of socialist consciousness. But so
can the many other experiences of the way capitalism works against the
interests of workers (bad housing, poor health care, pollution, wars and the
threat of war, etc, etc).
The ICC’s obsession with strikes shapes their whole activity beyond
abstract (very abstract in their case) propaganda. When a strike occurs they
go down to the picket line with leaflets denouncing the trade unions and
calling on the strikers to spread the strike – unsurprisingly with no
success, since when workers are on strike they are generally concerned with
getting a favourable settlement not with launching a revolution (and,
despite the ICC’s theory, concessions today can still be extracted from
employers).
Indeed, since the ICC is rabidly anti-union, sees no difference between
political democracy and political dictatorship, and espouses an anarchist
stance on elections and parliament, as well as having a penchant for
conspiracy theories, we suggest that they are not in a position to give
other groups any lessons in how to spread socialist ideas while avoiding the
dangers of sectarianism.
ADAM BUICK
http://bataillesocialiste.wordpress.com/documents-historiques/1980-08-world-revolution-un-autre-groupe-confus/
Adam
Post by r***@ymail.com
Um, je suis désolé? :(
40yahoogroups.com>, Mike
Post by r***@ymail.com
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
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Mike Morin
2009-04-04 03:58:17 UTC
Permalink
Hi Marcos,

Thanks for your perspectives. You make some good points, some edifying points, and you are very knowledgeable and very intelligent, and you are confused by an overload of assumptions and hearsay.

I don't know if English is your second language or not. If it is, you do a superb job with it. If it is not, then you ought to think about taking some writing classes.

You need to be more concise in your communications. You need to clarify in your own mind the point you are trying to make, state that, then summarize as concisely as possible your justifications for the lesson that you are trying to impart.

What Nation State do you live in?


Best regards,

Mike Morin




________________________________
From: Marcos <***@gmail.com>
To: ***@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Friday, April 3, 2009 6:59:16 PM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)

Mike:

Someone asked Marx to write his complete works, and his answer was that in
order to write his complete work, they  had to be re-written again, and in
reality Marx only finished one of his  work, and it was one chapter of  the
Critique to the Political Economy, and Volume one of capital,  the rest were
fragments of his ideas, even Engels was surprised to see how many subjects
was Marx working at the same time before  his death.

Socialism for me is not a career, it is part of my life I do not have an
intellectual, or petite bourgoise  mentality, even that I have a  degree
from a professional school, that for me, it  is toilet paper, and I threw it
in the trash can, it was in order for me to survive in the capitalist world,
I have learned more on my own and exchanging ideas with simple peoples. . I
am just another member of the working class,

My daily work is to propagate the ideas of a new society, and to help to put
in a proper rail the distortions made against socialism. I do not have any
complete works,* I  have never had it, * and I will never will, they are all
fragmented ideas,  I am learning every day, my only reference is the working
class, even Marx can not be called the teacher or the leader of the working
class, on the contrary, the working class were his teachers,  and I write
every day,. and I am a combatant every day. if you want to read more, you
can go to the following places: cuba.venezuela.grenada.americalatina,
cuba-politica, diaspora-chilena, publicaciones politica, bolivia-politica,
movimiento socialista mundial, comunistas internacionales, foro-periodistas,
izquierda-comunista, la vergonzosa herencia del cristianismo, realidades de
borinquen, realidades de haiti- quisqueya, etc, etc, etc,

The ICC is just another Leninist organization, or Leninist / Trotskyists of
other stripes, they are also part of the leftwing movement, as you are part
of the lefwing movment too,  and they are as mistaken as any other leftwing
group, and they are part of the distortions made by the left winger
regarding the real concept of socialism, therefore, we must know them in
order to understand them, and I know most of them, from the Castroists, the
Maoists, the Stalinist, and the Enverites, by knowing them, I was able to
get acquainted with the SLP, and the  World Socialist Movement,  and that is
my final stop. I have not found anything better yet,

The living standard of the working class has not been affected since
Bretton Wood, which was an agreement between thieves, robbers, criminals,
and warmonger, and did not bring any gains to the working class,  the
working pepple have been affected since the emerge of classical slavery in
the human society, and their quality of life is not getting any  better,
only in the minds of the capitalists, or the supporters of their ideology,
or the ones that wanted to beautify capitalism with reforms,  that
problematic is older than that,

The ICC rejects the labor unions, and all the unions leaders according to
them are agents of the capitalists,  but when the workers go in strikes they
wanted to take the opportunity to propagate their wrong principles, and to
raise the flag that they are supporting the working class,  but,  they do
not understand that workers unions are necessary under the capitalist world,
and they are just economic organizations of the working class, as well,
their stand regarding labor unions has been totally rejected in Latin
America, because many union leaders have been killed in Colombia, Argentina,
and Guatemala, therefore, their considerations about the union leaders and
the workers unions are totally incorrect, and many of their members in
Europe are members of workers unions, they inherited those ideas from Leon
Trotsky


One thing is bourgeoisie economy and another thing is political economy,
there are not economists in this planet .
http://www.worldsocialism..org/articles/economists_not_on_this.php Most of
the university are just center for brain washing, specially in the US, when
most of the intellectuals do not have a clue about socialism or communism,
even a simple peasant in Latin America can have a better understanding. .

I was part of the Albania and Chinese tendency, during the times of Mao and
Enver Hoxha, , and I traveled all the Eastern country of Europe, and I was
also in Albania, and I did not see any difference between any other
capitalist nations that were near them, and I have also been in Cuba, and I
did not see any difference among of all the others countries of Latin
America, which I have traveled also,  they are  all guided by the same law:
The Law of value, which is the law of the capitalist world.

The constitution of the Soviet Union it is a typical capitalist
constitutions, there are not socialist countries with constitution,
socialism is the total elimination of governments, even more the word
government imply everything, that people are governed.

The government of Yugoslavia was considered by the so called
anti-revisionist movement ( headed by China and Albania )  as one of the
first neo-liberal country within the soviet sphere of influences.

Most of the ideas that in the US are published about the Soviet Union is
what we used to call bottled information by the CIA and the Department of
State, and the CIA spent billions of dollars in order to brain wash the
minds of many students up to doctorate degrees. The CIA formed communist
parties in Latin America, and many of the members of the central committee
were educated in Panama, in the School of terrors,

The constitution of Cuba is similar to the constitution of the Soviet Union,
and it is not different to any constitution of any other country in Latin
America, as well ,its legal system is similar to the legal system of all the
Latin American countries,  they are all bourgeois constitutions.

The Chinese government and the Albanian did not recognize the Russian
government as a socialist government, but a nation of state capitalism, and
when Albania broke with China, and I was heavy involved with the Albania
tendency, they only recognized that they were the only socialist country in
the whole world.

When the Pope Paul II was in Cuba, Fidel Castro himself told him that Poland
was not a socialist country, that it was a typical capitalist country
similar to the ones in Western Europe, he was even contradicting the Pope,
and he was an allied of the Soviet Union, and the follower of Gorbachev
were shot with the excuse that they were dealing with narcotics in Africa
and Panama

We have also recognized that Lenin honestly accepted that  State capitalism
existed in Russia after the 1917, and probably they had good intentions at
the beginning, but due to the nature of their Jacobin coup d'tat,  they were
forced to impose themselves on top of the working class, they were a
minority, and they did not have the support of the majority of the members
of the working class of Russia, and they did not have the support of the
majority of the peasants

Russia was a backward country with a semi-feudal mode of production, even
on  the book named the  Development of Capitalism in Russia written by
Vladimir Lenin, he indicated that petite bourgeois production prevailed in
Russia, therefore, a socialist revolution is impossible to takes place in
that nation, the industrial workers were so minimal that they thought that
with the eliminations of factories during the times of war, it  was going to
produce the spread of more peasants inside the Soviet Union, they knew that
socialism was impossible to be built in Russia, even Stalin knew the real
definition and implication of socialism as it is explained on Anarchism and
Socialism written by him,  but he decided to continue being the dictator of
the soviets workers
  Thanks Marcos for your edifying post.
If I may be critical of thee, you would serve us better to be more concise.
Your occupation with studying "ancient" factionalisms can be useful, but
again, give it to us in brief overview and post a reference to your more
complete work.
One thing that I must comment on is, the ICC's assertion about the
motivation of workers based on their living standards. Of course, that term
was probably relevant then, but the way it has been abused since Bretton
Woods, we need to make a fundamental distinction between "standard of
living" and quality of life.
Thanks again.
Mike Morin
www.peoplesequityunion.blogspot.com
________________________________
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:15:13 AM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)
A criticism answered
The March, April, May and July issues of World Revolution, paper of the
British section of the “left communist” group known as the International
Communist Current (ICC) carried a long four-part critical article on the
Socialist Party to coincide with our hundred years of existence and which
described us “a group caught between sectarianism and opportunism”. The
articles criticized in particular our attitude towards war, trade unions,
political democracy and the development of socialist consciousness.
    Before these criticisms can be answered, something needs to be said
about where the ICC is coming from politically. Its basic theoretical
assumption is that by 1914 capitalism had become “decadent” as an economic
system in the sense that it had become unable to develop the forces of
production any further. This claim is based on Rosa Luxemburg’s mistaken
view that there was a flaw in Marx’s Capital, in that he had failed to
recognize that a lack of purchasing power was built-in to capitalism and
that therefore it had to rely on external markets to expand; once these had
been exhausted – as the ICC claim had happened by 1914 – then capitalism
would enter a period of economic stagnation and breakdown. (For a detailed
argument as to the ICC’s mistake here see the article in the August 1980
Socialist Standard “World Revolution: Another Confused Group”.)
that, after 1914, capitalism could no longer offer any lasting concessions
to the working class, whether in the form of social reforms or in the form
of increases in real wages. This means, according to the ICC, that working
class living standards can now only be defended by revolution and that in
fact the socialist revolution will develop out of the struggle to defend
living standards, a quite inadequate, economistic conception of how
socialist consciousness will develop.
    When this analysis, and this conclusion, was first put forward by
“leftwing communists” in Germany in the aftermath of the First World War it
had a certain plausibility: this was a time of mass unemployment and roaring
inflation there. But when it was revived by the political ancestors of the
ICC in the 1960s, it made no sense at all. By then, despite the theory,
capitalism had further developed the forces of production (by the
application of, for instance, plastics, electronics and atomic energy); more
social reform measures, in particular the so-called “Welfare State” had been
enacted; and the real living standards of workers, at least in the
heartlands of capitalism, had increased. To deny this was to fly in the face
of the facts and to dogmatically cling to a disproved theory.
Two periods
A product of the ICC’s dogma that capitalism has not been able to offer
concessions since 1914 is that the ICC divides capitalism into two distinct
periods – pre-1914 and post-1914 – during which different, and in the event
diametrically opposed, policies are appropriate.
    In the ICC’s view, whereas after 1914 revolution has been the only way
to defend working class living standards, before 1914, when capitalism was
still expanding and so capable of offering concessions, these could also be
defended, and improved, by pressure in parliaments to enact social reforms
and by trade union action, which were both therefore worthy of socialist
support. In other words, the policy of European Social Democracy of having,
in addition to the maximum programme of socialism, a minimum programme of
social reforms to be achieved within capitalism was justified.. Hence what
became horribly wrong after 1914 was right before 1914.
    Thus we are criticised, for instance, for having completely written off
the Second International in an article on its 1910 Copenhagen Congress. The
ICC takes the view that before 1914 socialists should not have broken away
from the Social Democratic parties of the time and that, in Britain, the
“impossiblists” in the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) should have stayed
within it as a leftwing faction struggling for its reform programme to be
achieved by mass action rather than through election deals and
parliamentary
manoeuvres. In short, the SPGB should never have been formed. Those who
founded the Socialist Party should have remained within the SDF, which later
became the SDP and then the British Socialist Party, and should have gone
over, with the bulk of the membership of the BSP, to the Communist Party of
Great Britain when it was formed in 1921.
    The March article accuses the SPGB (and the Deleonist Socialist Labour
Party, another impossibilist breakaway from the SDF) of making the same
mistake that the ICC see William Morris and the Socialist League as having
made in the 1880s, of rejecting “the struggle for reforms” and opposing “any
support for reforms”. The Socialist League is even denounced for having
taken up the position that the ICC now holds of rejecting “participation in
parliament” and opposing “participation in elections”. What was then
“sterile purism” is today a key revolutionary position, even a “class
frontier”!
    It’s the same with trade unionism. The early members of the SPGB are
criticised for not taking a more positive attitude towards trade unions, for
not seeing “the unions in a dynamic way, as part of the process of the class
coming to consciousness”. The early members did in fact support trade union
action on sound class lines and a large number of them were active trade
unionists, but it is true that they saw such action, though part of the
class struggle, as being essentially only defensive. This is still our
position. But times have moved on for the ICC and, whereas they criticise us
for not having been pro-trade union enough before 1914, they criticise us
now (as in World Revolution 11 in 1977) for holding the view that . . . “the
working class can defend itself through trade unions”. Instead, we ought to
be calling, like the ICC, for the unions to be “smashed”.
    If we in the Socialist Party take the same position on (not advocating)
reforms and on trade unionism now as in 1904 this is not because we are
committed to an “invariant dogma” as the ICC argues but because we don’t
accept their particular argument that capitalism became economically
decadent in 1914, and its corollary that very different policies were
appropriate before and after that date. We do say, of course, that
capitalism has become historically redundant, but this dates from when it
had finished creating the material basis for a world socialist society,
which would be some time in the last quarter of the 19th century. We can
agree, too, that this justified a change of policy in some respects: the
abandoning of the support Marx gave to measures and events that he felt
would help capitalism create this material basis as rapidly as possible, for
instance, in particular support for various nationalist movements and taking
sides in wars. For our position on this see the article “Marx in his
Time<http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/time.pdf>”
.
    The year 1914 was significant in that it was the year that the first
world war broke out, thus confirming that capitalism had become the dominant
world system and which ended by reinforcing this through the collapse of the
last three dynastic states in Europe (Imperial Germany, Hapsburg Austria and
Tsarist Russia). But significant as 1914 was, this was not because it was
the date by which capitalism had become economically decadent in the
Luxemburg/ICC sense and it did not require a change of socialist “tactics”.
Conspiracy theories
The April and May articles criticise our members for having opposed the two
world wars as “conscientious objectors” which the ICC sees as a mere
individual and even pacifist opposition. This is an easy, not to say cheap,
criticism from people who have no doubt never faced the dilemma of what to
do when threatened with coercion into being trained to kill fellow workers
in a war. Some SPGB members in both world wars did refuse, as a matter of
principle, the status of “conscientious objector” but most took the view
that if the state allows this why refuse to take advantage of it? In fact,
many SPGB members were able to carry on important political work for
socialism precisely because of this, something which seems to bypass the ICC
completely.
    The suggestion that during the Second World War the SPGB, in the words
of the July article, “was used by the ruling class as a safe channel for the
questioning and anger produced by the war” is a typical example of the sort
of other-wordly paranoid conspiracy theory for which the ICC is well-known.
This is also exemplified by their credulous reliance in the same article on
a pamphlet by a disgruntled ex-member of the SPGB which advances a
conspiracy theory about “factions determined to take over the Party”.
    What SPGB members should have done in both world wars was, apparently,
to have worked to turn, as advised by Lenin, “the present imperialist war
into a civil war”. This should have involved “illegal organisation and
propaganda within the army”, which presumably means that socialists should
have joined the army after all. But this would have been suicidal for the
individuals involved (the quickest way to a firing squad for mutiny) and
massacre for the working class (as happened in Dublin in 1916 when a section
of the Irish nationalist movement tried to start a civil war in the midst of
an imperialist war). SPGB members rightly rejected such irresponsible advice
and adopted the correct socialist position of a plague on both your houses
and not a drop of working class blood for either side.
Democracy and dictatorship
Whereas the ICC is all in favour of elections, parliaments and “bourgeois
democracy” before 1914, after then all these became anathema to them. In
fact, our refusal to denounce political democracy seems to be our worst
failing in their eyes. “Through its defence of the democratic principle,”
they say of us, “it actually reinforces one of the greatest obstacles facing
the working class.”
    Excuse us if we disagree, but we don’t regard universal suffrage and
political democracy within capitalism as “one of the greatest obstacles
facing the working class”. The vote is a gain, a potential class weapon, a
potential “instrument of emancipation” as Marx put it. Despite Lenin’s
distortions quoted by the ICC, Marx and Engels always held that the
bourgeois democratic republic was the best political framework for the
development and triumph of the socialist movement. This is another pre-1914
socialist position we see no reason to abandon.
    Certainly, political democracy under capitalism is not all that it is
purported to be by many supporters of the system and it is severely limited,
from the point of view of democratic theory, by the very nature of
capitalism as an unequal, class-divided society. Certainly, “democracy” has
become an ideology used to give capitalist rule a spurious legitimacy and to
mobilise working class support for wars. But it is still sufficient to allow
the working class to organise politically and economically without too much
state interference and also, we would argue, to allow a future socialist
majority to gain control of political power.
    If political democracy under capitalism really was the great obstacle
facing the working class that the ICC claim, then socialists ought logically
to work for and welcome its abolition even within capitalism. While the ICC
stridently calls for other such (in its view) obstacles, for instance trade
unions, to be smashed, it has not dared call for the workers’ vote to be
abolished or for the smashing of ballot-boxes. However, Bordiga, who they
quote with favour in the May article as a commentator on “the democratic
principle”, did indeed take opposition to this principle to its absurd
logical conclusion, arguing in an article written in 1948 that socialists
“must gladly welcome” the coming of fascism on the grounds that it is
supposedly easier to mobilise the workers when there’s a naked capitalist
dictatorship than when this is disguised by a democratic façade. He even
claimed that workers were less oppressed under fascism than they were under
democracy (see “Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class Struggle”
(Part III) in Communist Program 3 of May 1977). The ICC itself, in its July
article, challenges the statement that “it is better to live in a society
where there is some degree of democracy than in one where opposition to the
regime is not tolerated”. It is thus rather the ICC, in toying with such
ideas, not us, that is trying to spread dangerous ideas amongst the working
class.
    Of course political democracy is better, from a working class point of
view, than political dictatorship. The point shouldn’t need arguing. We
don’t deny that having a positive attitude towards “bourgeois” political
democracy under capitalism has sometimes created theoretical and policy
issues for us when it has been under attack (as between the wars) and when
it has not yet been established (as in the former USSR’s empire). But it’s
not a solution – in fact, it’s a cop-out – to evade the problem by trying to
argue that there’s no difference between political democracy and political
dictatorship, that they are as bad as each other, and that workers should be
indifferent as to which one exists. Our position is that political democracy
is a gain for the working class but that this does not justify socialists
allying themselves with capitalist parties to get it or supporting one side
in a war to supposedly defend it.
Consciousness
The ICC attributes to us a caricatured position of seeing “the development
of consciousness as an accumulation of individual socialists”, as the
conversion of workers one by one to socialism until there’s a “mathematical
majority”, as if anyone could hold such an absurd position. Of course, as
Marxists, we hold that socialist consciousness develops out of the workers’
class experience of capitalism and its problems.
    If we use terms such as “majority” and “majoritarian” this is not
because we are obsessed with counting the number of individual socialists,
but to show that we reject minority action to try to establish socialism –
majority as the opposite of minority. Socialism can only be established when
through the experience of capitalism, including hearing the case for
socialism (itself the distilled past experience of the working class), a
majority (yes, but in the democratic rather than mere mathematical sense)
have come to want it. For, despite Lenin and Bordiga, socialism can’t be
imposed from above on a working class that doesn’t want or understand it.
The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class
itself. And of course, unlike the ICC, we don’t think that the seizure of
power by the minority Bolsheviks in November 1917 was a “proletarian
revolution”.
    The ICC’s own conception of the development of socialist consciousness
is not at all convincing. Because, as mentioned, they think that since 1914,
and still today, capitalism is unable to grant any concessions to workers
that will improve their living standards, they argue that socialist
consciousness will arise out of struggles by workers to stop their living
standards getting worse. Thus they see the task of socialists as being to
get involved in such struggles and to try to push them towards revolution as
the only way of winning them in the sense of getting an increased standard
of living.
    We have no objection to socialists getting involved in industrial
struggles but without illusions, in particular the illusion that they can
have a revolutionary outcome. The socialist revolution is not likely to
start from some strike over wages spreading to the whole of the working
class. Certainly, workers can learn from the experience of industrial
struggles against employers that socialism is the only way out and, in this
sense, strikes can contribute to a growth of socialist consciousness. But so
can the many other experiences of the way capitalism works against the
interests of workers (bad housing, poor health care, pollution, wars and the
threat of war, etc, etc).
    The ICC’s obsession with strikes shapes their whole activity beyond
abstract (very abstract in their case) propaganda. When a strike occurs they
go down to the picket line with leaflets denouncing the trade unions and
calling on the strikers to spread the strike – unsurprisingly with no
success, since when workers are on strike they are generally concerned with
getting a favourable settlement not with launching a revolution (and,
despite the ICC’s theory, concessions today can still be extracted from
employers).
    Indeed, since the ICC is rabidly anti-union, sees no difference between
political democracy and political dictatorship, and espouses an anarchist
stance on elections and parliament, as well as having a penchant for
conspiracy theories, we suggest that they are not in a position to give
other groups any lessons in how to spread socialist ideas while avoiding the
dangers of sectarianism.
ADAM BUICK
http://bataillesocialiste.wordpress.com/documents-historiques/1980-08-world-revolution-un-autre-groupe-confus/
Adam
Post by r***@ymail.com
Um, je suis désolé? :(
40yahoogroups.com>, Mike
Post by r***@ymail.com
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
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Yahoo! Groups Links
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Marcos
2009-04-04 05:10:34 UTC
Permalink
Mike:

Now you are trying to educate me, when you come from a place where most of
the people are not too well educated, and do not have good manners, and are
politically ignorants. I am able to speak, write, and read four languages,
most of the American at least can write, or speak one language and it is not
English, it is called American idioms, or American Standard, and most are
failing on the tests on their own language, mathematics, history, Sciences,
and Humanities, in order to obtain admissions to the universities, and any
person coming from China, Jamaica, or Chile is able to pass those tests,
and then they become teachers, most of the teachers on Engineering and
sciences are from the middle east, or Latin America, and they have an
accent , and they are teaching people like you. There is a big emigration of
doctors in different disciplines that are being imported to the USA, from
others countries, specially from Mexico,

At the University of Santo Domingo many years ago in order to obtain
graduation from the School of Economic the student had to take one semester
of volume one of Marx Capital, did you have that class as part of your
mandatory curriculum? , Any person that has a doctor degree in Law from any
University in Latin America, specially Mexico, Dom. Rep, and Chile, must
study Latin and Philosophy as part of the curriculum, in the USA that is not
part of the curriculum, because in others countries, they learn the French,
the Roman and the English Code of law. Do you know Latin ? Latin was a class
taught at the first year of high school in many schools in Latin America,
and French was a class for the second year of High school, and French was
the language used for diplomacy, Mexico several years ago did not accept an
ambassador from the US because he did not have a degree in International
law, and most of the ambassadors from Mexico they are doctors in
International law, they are not spies or criminals which is the only
requirement in order to be an ambassador,

You should consult with Noam Chomsky, he knows about that., he is an expert
in Linguistic, and Howard Zinn that knows about history, even he said that
the civilization of the Incas and Mayas was more complex than the European
civilization . One day I was in Texas and an American told me, you have an
accent, and I told him: You have an accent too!!!, because the only people
that really speak English, are the people from England, and they are more
educated than the Gringos, as well the French, and when a person has an
accent it is an indication that, that particular person is able to speak
another language, the same thing happened to my brother in Miami, and he
has two doctors degrees in Medicines, and he was teaching French, when he
was a student, and he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and in Canada, . In
Quebec most of the Haitians they speak three languages

I have seen young people in Europe that they are able to speak three or four
languages, How many more languages do you speak besides American idioms ?
How many countries, continents do you know besides your own town ? How
many cuisines do you know besides hamburgers, sandwiches, and pizzas ? ,What
is the capital of Colombia, ? I have seen people graduated in the USA from
the University that do not know the capital of others countries, and only
know the history of their own town, or maybe they hear about another
country when the government started a war against that country, that was the
case of Iraq, Vietnam, and iran, even Sadam Husseim gave a class in history
to the anchorman that interviewed him before he was hanged, who did not know
anything about history, and did not know anything about Babylon, and he
has a degree in Journalism. You should read a little more, you are not
holding the devil by the tail.
Post by Mike Morin
Hi Marcos,
Thanks for your perspectives. You make some good points, some edifying
points, and you are very knowledgeable and very intelligent, and you are
confused by an overload of assumptions and hearsay.
I don't know if English is your second language or not. If it is, you do a
superb job with it. If it is not, then you ought to think about taking some
writing classes.
You need to be more concise in your communications. You need to clarify in
your own mind the point you are trying to make, state that, then summarize
as concisely as possible your justifications for the lesson that you are
trying to impart.
What Nation State do you live in?
Best regards,
Mike Morin
________________________________
Sent: Friday, April 3, 2009 6:59:16 PM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)
Someone asked Marx to write his complete works, and his answer was that in
order to write his complete work, they had to be re-written again, and in
reality Marx only finished one of his work, and it was one chapter of the
Critique to the Political Economy, and Volume one of capital, the rest were
fragments of his ideas, even Engels was surprised to see how many subjects
was Marx working at the same time before his death.
Socialism for me is not a career, it is part of my life I do not have an
intellectual, or petite bourgoise mentality, even that I have a degree
from a professional school, that for me, it is toilet paper, and I threw it
in the trash can, it was in order for me to survive in the capitalist world,
I have learned more on my own and exchanging ideas with simple peoples. . I
am just another member of the working class,
My daily work is to propagate the ideas of a new society, and to help to put
in a proper rail the distortions made against socialism. I do not have any
complete works,* I have never had it, * and I will never will, they are all
fragmented ideas, I am learning every day, my only reference is the working
class, even Marx can not be called the teacher or the leader of the working
class, on the contrary, the working class were his teachers, and I write
every day,. and I am a combatant every day. if you want to read more, you
can go to the following places: cuba.venezuela.grenada.americalatina,
cuba-politica, diaspora-chilena, publicaciones politica, bolivia-politica,
movimiento socialista mundial, comunistas internacionales,
foro-periodistas,
izquierda-comunista, la vergonzosa herencia del cristianismo, realidades de
borinquen, realidades de haiti- quisqueya, etc, etc, etc,
The ICC is just another Leninist organization, or Leninist / Trotskyists of
other stripes, they are also part of the leftwing movement, as you are part
of the lefwing movment too, and they are as mistaken as any other leftwing
group, and they are part of the distortions made by the left winger
regarding the real concept of socialism, therefore, we must know them in
order to understand them, and I know most of them, from the Castroists, the
Maoists, the Stalinist, and the Enverites, by knowing them, I was able to
get acquainted with the SLP, and the World Socialist Movement, and that is
my final stop. I have not found anything better yet,
The living standard of the working class has not been affected since
Bretton Wood, which was an agreement between thieves, robbers, criminals,
and warmonger, and did not bring any gains to the working class, the
working pepple have been affected since the emerge of classical slavery in
the human society, and their quality of life is not getting any better,
only in the minds of the capitalists, or the supporters of their ideology,
or the ones that wanted to beautify capitalism with reforms, that
problematic is older than that,
The ICC rejects the labor unions, and all the unions leaders according to
them are agents of the capitalists, but when the workers go in strikes they
wanted to take the opportunity to propagate their wrong principles, and to
raise the flag that they are supporting the working class, but, they do
not understand that workers unions are necessary under the capitalist world,
and they are just economic organizations of the working class, as well,
their stand regarding labor unions has been totally rejected in Latin
America, because many union leaders have been killed in Colombia, Argentina,
and Guatemala, therefore, their considerations about the union leaders and
the workers unions are totally incorrect, and many of their members in
Europe are members of workers unions, they inherited those ideas from Leon
Trotsky
One thing is bourgeoisie economy and another thing is political economy,
there are not economists in this planet .
http://www.worldsocialism..org/articles/economists_not_on_this.php Most of
the university are just center for brain washing, specially in the US, when
most of the intellectuals do not have a clue about socialism or communism,
even a simple peasant in Latin America can have a better understanding. .
I was part of the Albania and Chinese tendency, during the times of Mao and
Enver Hoxha, , and I traveled all the Eastern country of Europe, and I was
also in Albania, and I did not see any difference between any other
capitalist nations that were near them, and I have also been in Cuba, and I
did not see any difference among of all the others countries of Latin
The Law of value, which is the law of the capitalist world.
The constitution of the Soviet Union it is a typical capitalist
constitutions, there are not socialist countries with constitution,
socialism is the total elimination of governments, even more the word
government imply everything, that people are governed.
The government of Yugoslavia was considered by the so called
anti-revisionist movement ( headed by China and Albania ) as one of the
first neo-liberal country within the soviet sphere of influences.
Most of the ideas that in the US are published about the Soviet Union is
what we used to call bottled information by the CIA and the Department of
State, and the CIA spent billions of dollars in order to brain wash the
minds of many students up to doctorate degrees. The CIA formed communist
parties in Latin America, and many of the members of the central committee
were educated in Panama, in the School of terrors,
The constitution of Cuba is similar to the constitution of the Soviet Union,
and it is not different to any constitution of any other country in Latin
America, as well ,its legal system is similar to the legal system of all the
Latin American countries, they are all bourgeois constitutions.
The Chinese government and the Albanian did not recognize the Russian
government as a socialist government, but a nation of state capitalism, and
when Albania broke with China, and I was heavy involved with the Albania
tendency, they only recognized that they were the only socialist country in
the whole world.
When the Pope Paul II was in Cuba, Fidel Castro himself told him that Poland
was not a socialist country, that it was a typical capitalist country
similar to the ones in Western Europe, he was even contradicting the Pope,
and he was an allied of the Soviet Union, and the follower of Gorbachev
were shot with the excuse that they were dealing with narcotics in Africa
and Panama
We have also recognized that Lenin honestly accepted that State capitalism
existed in Russia after the 1917, and probably they had good intentions at
the beginning, but due to the nature of their Jacobin coup d'tat, they were
forced to impose themselves on top of the working class, they were a
minority, and they did not have the support of the majority of the members
of the working class of Russia, and they did not have the support of the
majority of the peasants
Russia was a backward country with a semi-feudal mode of production, even
on the book named the Development of Capitalism in Russia written by
Vladimir Lenin, he indicated that petite bourgeois production prevailed in
Russia, therefore, a socialist revolution is impossible to takes place in
that nation, the industrial workers were so minimal that they thought that
with the eliminations of factories during the times of war, it was going to
produce the spread of more peasants inside the Soviet Union, they knew that
socialism was impossible to be built in Russia, even Stalin knew the real
definition and implication of socialism as it is explained on Anarchism and
Socialism written by him, but he decided to continue being the dictator of
the soviets workers
Post by Mike Morin
Thanks Marcos for your edifying post.
If I may be critical of thee, you would serve us better to be more
concise.
Post by Mike Morin
Your occupation with studying "ancient" factionalisms can be useful, but
again, give it to us in brief overview and post a reference to your more
complete work.
One thing that I must comment on is, the ICC's assertion about the
motivation of workers based on their living standards. Of course, that
term
Post by Mike Morin
was probably relevant then, but the way it has been abused since Bretton
Woods, we need to make a fundamental distinction between "standard of
living" and quality of life.
Thanks again.
Mike Morin
www.peoplesequityunion.blogspot.com
________________________________
40gmail.com>>
40yahoogroups.com>
Post by Mike Morin
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:15:13 AM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism, Lenin, and decadence)
A criticism answered
The March, April, May and July issues of World Revolution, paper of the
British section of the “left communist” group known as the International
Communist Current (ICC) carried a long four-part critical article on the
Socialist Party to coincide with our hundred years of existence and which
described us “a group caught between sectarianism and opportunism”. The
articles criticized in particular our attitude towards war, trade unions,
political democracy and the development of socialist consciousness.
Before these criticisms can be answered, something needs to be said
about where the ICC is coming from politically. Its basic theoretical
assumption is that by 1914 capitalism had become “decadent” as an
economic
Post by Mike Morin
system in the sense that it had become unable to develop the forces of
production any further. This claim is based on Rosa Luxemburg’s mistaken
view that there was a flaw in Marx’s Capital, in that he had failed to
recognize that a lack of purchasing power was built-in to capitalism and
that therefore it had to rely on external markets to expand; once these
had
Post by Mike Morin
been exhausted – as the ICC claim had happened by 1914 – then capitalism
would enter a period of economic stagnation and breakdown. (For a
detailed
Post by Mike Morin
argument as to the ICC’s mistake here see the article in the August 1980
Socialist Standard “World Revolution: Another Confused Group”.)
that, after 1914, capitalism could no longer offer any lasting
concessions
Post by Mike Morin
to the working class, whether in the form of social reforms or in the
form
Post by Mike Morin
of increases in real wages. This means, according to the ICC, that
working
Post by Mike Morin
class living standards can now only be defended by revolution and that in
fact the socialist revolution will develop out of the struggle to defend
living standards, a quite inadequate, economistic conception of how
socialist consciousness will develop.
When this analysis, and this conclusion, was first put forward by
“leftwing communists” in Germany in the aftermath of the First World War
it
Post by Mike Morin
had a certain plausibility: this was a time of mass unemployment and roaring
inflation there. But when it was revived by the political ancestors of
the
Post by Mike Morin
ICC in the 1960s, it made no sense at all. By then, despite the theory,
capitalism had further developed the forces of production (by the
application of, for instance, plastics, electronics and atomic energy); more
social reform measures, in particular the so-called “Welfare State” had been
enacted; and the real living standards of workers, at least in the
heartlands of capitalism, had increased. To deny this was to fly in the face
of the facts and to dogmatically cling to a disproved theory.
Two periods
A product of the ICC’s dogma that capitalism has not been able to offer
concessions since 1914 is that the ICC divides capitalism into two
distinct
Post by Mike Morin
periods – pre-1914 and post-1914 – during which different, and in the
event
Post by Mike Morin
diametrically opposed, policies are appropriate.
In the ICC’s view, whereas after 1914 revolution has been the only way
to defend working class living standards, before 1914, when capitalism
was
Post by Mike Morin
still expanding and so capable of offering concessions, these could also
be
Post by Mike Morin
defended, and improved, by pressure in parliaments to enact social
reforms
Post by Mike Morin
and by trade union action, which were both therefore worthy of socialist
support. In other words, the policy of European Social Democracy of
having,
Post by Mike Morin
in addition to the maximum programme of socialism, a minimum programme of
social reforms to be achieved within capitalism was justified.. Hence
what
Post by Mike Morin
became horribly wrong after 1914 was right before 1914.
Thus we are criticised, for instance, for having completely written
off
Post by Mike Morin
the Second International in an article on its 1910 Copenhagen Congress.
The
Post by Mike Morin
ICC takes the view that before 1914 socialists should not have broken
away
Post by Mike Morin
from the Social Democratic parties of the time and that, in Britain, the
“impossiblists” in the Social Democratic Federation (SDF) should have stayed
within it as a leftwing faction struggling for its reform programme to be
achieved by mass action rather than through election deals and parliamentary
manoeuvres. In short, the SPGB should never have been formed. Those who
founded the Socialist Party should have remained within the SDF, which later
became the SDP and then the British Socialist Party, and should have gone
over, with the bulk of the membership of the BSP, to the Communist Party
of
Post by Mike Morin
Great Britain when it was formed in 1921.
The March article accuses the SPGB (and the Deleonist Socialist Labour
Party, another impossibilist breakaway from the SDF) of making the same
mistake that the ICC see William Morris and the Socialist League as
having
Post by Mike Morin
made in the 1880s, of rejecting “the struggle for reforms” and opposing “any
support for reforms”. The Socialist League is even denounced for having
taken up the position that the ICC now holds of rejecting “participation
in
Post by Mike Morin
parliament” and opposing “participation in elections”. What was then
“sterile purism” is today a key revolutionary position, even a “class
frontier”!
It’s the same with trade unionism. The early members of the SPGB are
criticised for not taking a more positive attitude towards trade unions, for
not seeing “the unions in a dynamic way, as part of the process of the class
coming to consciousness”. The early members did in fact support trade
union
Post by Mike Morin
action on sound class lines and a large number of them were active trade
unionists, but it is true that they saw such action, though part of the
class struggle, as being essentially only defensive. This is still our
position. But times have moved on for the ICC and, whereas they criticise us
for not having been pro-trade union enough before 1914, they criticise us
now (as in World Revolution 11 in 1977) for holding the view that . . . “the
working class can defend itself through trade unions”. Instead, we ought
to
Post by Mike Morin
be calling, like the ICC, for the unions to be “smashed”.
If we in the Socialist Party take the same position on (not
advocating)
Post by Mike Morin
reforms and on trade unionism now as in 1904 this is not because we are
committed to an “invariant dogma” as the ICC argues but because we don’t
accept their particular argument that capitalism became economically
decadent in 1914, and its corollary that very different policies were
appropriate before and after that date. We do say, of course, that
capitalism has become historically redundant, but this dates from when it
had finished creating the material basis for a world socialist society,
which would be some time in the last quarter of the 19th century. We can
agree, too, that this justified a change of policy in some respects: the
abandoning of the support Marx gave to measures and events that he felt
would help capitalism create this material basis as rapidly as possible, for
instance, in particular support for various nationalist movements and taking
sides in wars. For our position on this see the article “Marx in his
Time<http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/time.pdf>”
.
The year 1914 was significant in that it was the year that the first
world war broke out, thus confirming that capitalism had become the dominant
world system and which ended by reinforcing this through the collapse of the
last three dynastic states in Europe (Imperial Germany, Hapsburg Austria and
Tsarist Russia). But significant as 1914 was, this was not because it was
the date by which capitalism had become economically decadent in the
Luxemburg/ICC sense and it did not require a change of socialist
“tactics”.
Post by Mike Morin
Conspiracy theories
The April and May articles criticise our members for having opposed the
two
Post by Mike Morin
world wars as “conscientious objectors” which the ICC sees as a mere
individual and even pacifist opposition. This is an easy, not to say
cheap,
Post by Mike Morin
criticism from people who have no doubt never faced the dilemma of what
to
Post by Mike Morin
do when threatened with coercion into being trained to kill fellow
workers
Post by Mike Morin
in a war. Some SPGB members in both world wars did refuse, as a matter of
principle, the status of “conscientious objector” but most took the view
that if the state allows this why refuse to take advantage of it? In
fact,
Post by Mike Morin
many SPGB members were able to carry on important political work for
socialism precisely because of this, something which seems to bypass the ICC
completely.
The suggestion that during the Second World War the SPGB, in the words
of the July article, “was used by the ruling class as a safe channel for the
questioning and anger produced by the war” is a typical example of the
sort
Post by Mike Morin
of other-wordly paranoid conspiracy theory for which the ICC is
well-known.
Post by Mike Morin
This is also exemplified by their credulous reliance in the same article
on
Post by Mike Morin
a pamphlet by a disgruntled ex-member of the SPGB which advances a
conspiracy theory about “factions determined to take over the Party”.
What SPGB members should have done in both world wars was, apparently,
to have worked to turn, as advised by Lenin, “the present imperialist war
into a civil war”. This should have involved “illegal organisation and
propaganda within the army”, which presumably means that socialists
should
Post by Mike Morin
have joined the army after all. But this would have been suicidal for the
individuals involved (the quickest way to a firing squad for mutiny) and
massacre for the working class (as happened in Dublin in 1916 when a section
of the Irish nationalist movement tried to start a civil war in the midst of
an imperialist war). SPGB members rightly rejected such irresponsible advice
and adopted the correct socialist position of a plague on both your
houses
Post by Mike Morin
and not a drop of working class blood for either side.
Democracy and dictatorship
Whereas the ICC is all in favour of elections, parliaments and “bourgeois
democracy” before 1914, after then all these became anathema to them. In
fact, our refusal to denounce political democracy seems to be our worst
failing in their eyes. “Through its defence of the democratic principle,”
they say of us, “it actually reinforces one of the greatest obstacles facing
the working class.”
Excuse us if we disagree, but we don’t regard universal suffrage and
political democracy within capitalism as “one of the greatest obstacles
facing the working class”. The vote is a gain, a potential class weapon,
a
Post by Mike Morin
potential “instrument of emancipation” as Marx put it. Despite Lenin’s
distortions quoted by the ICC, Marx and Engels always held that the
bourgeois democratic republic was the best political framework for the
development and triumph of the socialist movement. This is another
pre-1914
Post by Mike Morin
socialist position we see no reason to abandon.
Certainly, political democracy under capitalism is not all that it is
purported to be by many supporters of the system and it is severely limited,
from the point of view of democratic theory, by the very nature of
capitalism as an unequal, class-divided society. Certainly, “democracy”
has
Post by Mike Morin
become an ideology used to give capitalist rule a spurious legitimacy and to
mobilise working class support for wars. But it is still sufficient to allow
the working class to organise politically and economically without too
much
Post by Mike Morin
state interference and also, we would argue, to allow a future socialist
majority to gain control of political power.
If political democracy under capitalism really was the great obstacle
facing the working class that the ICC claim, then socialists ought logically
to work for and welcome its abolition even within capitalism. While the
ICC
Post by Mike Morin
stridently calls for other such (in its view) obstacles, for instance
trade
Post by Mike Morin
unions, to be smashed, it has not dared call for the workers’ vote to be
abolished or for the smashing of ballot-boxes. However, Bordiga, who they
quote with favour in the May article as a commentator on “the democratic
principle”, did indeed take opposition to this principle to its absurd
logical conclusion, arguing in an article written in 1948 that socialists
“must gladly welcome” the coming of fascism on the grounds that it is
supposedly easier to mobilise the workers when there’s a naked capitalist
dictatorship than when this is disguised by a democratic façade. He even
claimed that workers were less oppressed under fascism than they were
under
Post by Mike Morin
democracy (see “Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class Struggle”
(Part III) in Communist Program 3 of May 1977). The ICC itself, in its
July
Post by Mike Morin
article, challenges the statement that “it is better to live in a society
where there is some degree of democracy than in one where opposition to
the
Post by Mike Morin
regime is not tolerated”. It is thus rather the ICC, in toying with such
ideas, not us, that is trying to spread dangerous ideas amongst the
working
Post by Mike Morin
class.
Of course political democracy is better, from a working class point of
view, than political dictatorship. The point shouldn’t need arguing. We
don’t deny that having a positive attitude towards “bourgeois” political
democracy under capitalism has sometimes created theoretical and policy
issues for us when it has been under attack (as between the wars) and
when
Post by Mike Morin
it has not yet been established (as in the former USSR’s empire). But
it’s
Post by Mike Morin
not a solution – in fact, it’s a cop-out – to evade the problem by trying to
argue that there’s no difference between political democracy and
political
Post by Mike Morin
dictatorship, that they are as bad as each other, and that workers should be
indifferent as to which one exists. Our position is that political democracy
is a gain for the working class but that this does not justify socialists
allying themselves with capitalist parties to get it or supporting one
side
Post by Mike Morin
in a war to supposedly defend it.
Consciousness
The ICC attributes to us a caricatured position of seeing “the
development
Post by Mike Morin
of consciousness as an accumulation of individual socialists”, as the
conversion of workers one by one to socialism until there’s a
“mathematical
Post by Mike Morin
majority”, as if anyone could hold such an absurd position. Of course, as
Marxists, we hold that socialist consciousness develops out of the
workers’
Post by Mike Morin
class experience of capitalism and its problems.
If we use terms such as “majority” and “majoritarian” this is not
because we are obsessed with counting the number of individual
socialists,
Post by Mike Morin
but to show that we reject minority action to try to establish socialism
–
Post by Mike Morin
majority as the opposite of minority. Socialism can only be established when
through the experience of capitalism, including hearing the case for
socialism (itself the distilled past experience of the working class), a
majority (yes, but in the democratic rather than mere mathematical sense)
have come to want it. For, despite Lenin and Bordiga, socialism can’t be
imposed from above on a working class that doesn’t want or understand it.
The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working
class
Post by Mike Morin
itself. And of course, unlike the ICC, we don’t think that the seizure of
power by the minority Bolsheviks in November 1917 was a “proletarian
revolution”.
The ICC’s own conception of the development of socialist consciousness
is not at all convincing. Because, as mentioned, they think that since 1914,
and still today, capitalism is unable to grant any concessions to workers
that will improve their living standards, they argue that socialist
consciousness will arise out of struggles by workers to stop their living
standards getting worse. Thus they see the task of socialists as being to
get involved in such struggles and to try to push them towards revolution as
the only way of winning them in the sense of getting an increased
standard
Post by Mike Morin
of living.
We have no objection to socialists getting involved in industrial
struggles but without illusions, in particular the illusion that they can
have a revolutionary outcome. The socialist revolution is not likely to
start from some strike over wages spreading to the whole of the working
class. Certainly, workers can learn from the experience of industrial
struggles against employers that socialism is the only way out and, in
this
Post by Mike Morin
sense, strikes can contribute to a growth of socialist consciousness. But so
can the many other experiences of the way capitalism works against the
interests of workers (bad housing, poor health care, pollution, wars and the
threat of war, etc, etc).
The ICC’s obsession with strikes shapes their whole activity beyond
abstract (very abstract in their case) propaganda. When a strike occurs they
go down to the picket line with leaflets denouncing the trade unions and
calling on the strikers to spread the strike – unsurprisingly with no
success, since when workers are on strike they are generally concerned
with
Post by Mike Morin
getting a favourable settlement not with launching a revolution (and,
despite the ICC’s theory, concessions today can still be extracted from
employers).
Indeed, since the ICC is rabidly anti-union, sees no difference
between
Post by Mike Morin
political democracy and political dictatorship, and espouses an anarchist
stance on elections and parliament, as well as having a penchant for
conspiracy theories, we suggest that they are not in a position to give
other groups any lessons in how to spread socialist ideas while avoiding the
dangers of sectarianism.
ADAM BUICK
http://bataillesocialiste.wordpress.com/documents-historiques/1980-08-world-revolution-un-autre-groupe-confus/
Post by Mike Morin
Adam
40yahoogroups.com><WSM_Forum%
Post by Mike Morin
Post by r***@ymail.com
Um, je suis désolé? :(
40yahoogroups.com><WSM_Forum%
Post by Mike Morin
40yahoogroups.com>, Mike
Post by r***@ymail.com
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
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bewebmail
2009-04-04 11:08:09 UTC
Permalink
Years ago there was a debate in California about adoption of Spanish as
an official language.
I heard an angry american telling a BBC radio interviewer:
"If english was good enough for the lord jesus christ its good enough
for me!"

Brian
Post by Marcos
Now you are trying to educate me, when you come from a place where most of
the people are not too well educated, and do not have good manners, and are
politically ignorants. I am able to speak, write, and read four languages,
most of the American at least can write, or speak one language and it is not
English, it is called American idioms, or American Standard, and most are
failing on the tests on their own language, mathematics, history, Sciences,
and Humanities, in order to obtain admissions to the universities, and any
person coming from China, Jamaica, or Chile is able to pass those tests,
and then they become teachers, most of the teachers on Engineering and
sciences are from the middle east, or Latin America, and they have an
accent , and they are teaching people like you. There is a big
emigration of
Post by Marcos
doctors in different disciplines that are being imported to the USA, from
others countries, specially from Mexico,
At the University of Santo Domingo many years ago in order to obtain
graduation from the School of Economic the student had to take one semester
of volume one of Marx Capital, did you have that class as part of your
mandatory curriculum? , Any person that has a doctor degree in Law from any
University in Latin America, specially Mexico, Dom. Rep, and Chile,
must
Post by Marcos
study Latin and Philosophy as part of the curriculum, in the USA that is not
part of the curriculum, because in others countries, they learn the French,
the Roman and the English Code of law. Do you know Latin ? Latin was a class
taught at the first year of high school in many schools in Latin America,
and French was a class for the second year of High school, and French was
the language used for diplomacy, Mexico several years ago did not accept an
ambassador from the US because he did not have a degree in
International
Post by Marcos
law, and most of the ambassadors from Mexico they are doctors in
International law, they are not spies or criminals which is the only
requirement in order to be an ambassador,
You should consult with Noam Chomsky, he knows about that., he is an expert
in Linguistic, and Howard Zinn that knows about history, even he said that
the civilization of the Incas and Mayas was more complex than the European
civilization . One day I was in Texas and an American told me, you have an
accent, and I told him: You have an accent too!!!, because the only people
that really speak English, are the people from England, and they are more
educated than the Gringos, as well the French, and when a person has an
accent it is an indication that, that particular person is able to speak
another language, the same thing happened to my brother in Miami, and he
has two doctors degrees in Medicines, and he was teaching French, when he
was a student, and he studied at the Sorbonne in Paris, and in Canada, . In
Quebec most of the Haitians they speak three languages
I have seen young people in Europe that they are able to speak three or four
languages, How many more languages do you speak besides American idioms ?
How many countries, continents do you know besides your own town ? How
many cuisines do you know besides hamburgers, sandwiches, and pizzas ? ,What
is the capital of Colombia, ? I have seen people graduated in the USA from
the University that do not know the capital of others countries, and only
know the history of their own town, or maybe they hear about another
country when the government started a war against that country, that was the
case of Iraq, Vietnam, and iran, even Sadam Husseim gave a class in history
to the anchorman that interviewed him before he was hanged, who did not know
anything about history, and did not know anything about Babylon, and he
has a degree in Journalism. You should read a little more, you are not
holding the devil by the tail.
Post by Mike Morin
Hi Marcos,
Thanks for your perspectives. You make some good points, some edifying
points, and you are very knowledgeable and very intelligent, and you are
confused by an overload of assumptions and hearsay.
I don't know if English is your second language or not. If it is, you do a
superb job with it. If it is not, then you ought to think about taking some
writing classes.
You need to be more concise in your communications. You need to clarify in
your own mind the point you are trying to make, state that, then summarize
as concisely as possible your justifications for the lesson that you are
trying to impart.
What Nation State do you live in?
Best regards,
Mike Morin
________________________________
Sent: Friday, April 3, 2009 6:59:16 PM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism,
Lenin, and
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
decadence)
Someone asked Marx to write his complete works, and his answer was that in
order to write his complete work, they had to be re-written again, and in
reality Marx only finished one of his work, and it was one chapter of the
Critique to the Political Economy, and Volume one of capital, the
rest
Post by Marcos
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were
fragments of his ideas, even Engels was surprised to see how many subjects
was Marx working at the same time before his death.
Socialism for me is not a career, it is part of my life I do not have an
intellectual, or petite bourgoise mentality, even that I have a
degree
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from a professional school, that for me, it is toilet paper, and I
threw
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it
in the trash can, it was in order for me to survive in the
capitalist
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world,
I have learned more on my own and exchanging ideas with simple peoples. . I
am just another member of the working class,
My daily work is to propagate the ideas of a new society, and to
help to
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put
in a proper rail the distortions made against socialism. I do not have any
complete works,* I have never had it, * and I will never will, they
are
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all
fragmented ideas, I am learning every day, my only reference is the working
class, even Marx can not be called the teacher or the leader of the working
class, on the contrary, the working class were his teachers, and I write
every day,. and I am a combatant every day. if you want to read more, you
cuba.venezuela.grenada.americalatina,
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cuba-politica, diaspora-chilena, publicaciones politica,
bolivia-politica,
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movimiento socialista mundial, comunistas internacionales,
foro-periodistas,
izquierda-comunista, la vergonzosa herencia del cristianismo, realidades de
borinquen, realidades de haiti- quisqueya, etc, etc, etc,
The ICC is just another Leninist organization, or Leninist /
Trotskyists of
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other stripes, they are also part of the leftwing movement, as you are part
of the lefwing movment too, and they are as mistaken as any other leftwing
group, and they are part of the distortions made by the left winger
regarding the real concept of socialism, therefore, we must know them in
order to understand them, and I know most of them, from the
Castroists, the
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Maoists, the Stalinist, and the Enverites, by knowing them, I was able to
get acquainted with the SLP, and the World Socialist Movement, and
that
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is
my final stop. I have not found anything better yet,
The living standard of the working class has not been affected since
Bretton Wood, which was an agreement between thieves, robbers, criminals,
and warmonger, and did not bring any gains to the working class,
the
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working pepple have been affected since the emerge of classical slavery in
the human society, and their quality of life is not getting any
better,
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only in the minds of the capitalists, or the supporters of their ideology,
or the ones that wanted to beautify capitalism with reforms, that
problematic is older than that,
The ICC rejects the labor unions, and all the unions leaders
according to
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them are agents of the capitalists, but when the workers go in
strikes
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they
wanted to take the opportunity to propagate their wrong principles, and to
raise the flag that they are supporting the working class, but,
they do
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not understand that workers unions are necessary under the
capitalist
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world,
and they are just economic organizations of the working class, as well,
their stand regarding labor unions has been totally rejected in Latin
America, because many union leaders have been killed in Colombia, Argentina,
and Guatemala, therefore, their considerations about the union leaders and
the workers unions are totally incorrect, and many of their members in
Europe are members of workers unions, they inherited those ideas from Leon
Trotsky
One thing is bourgeoisie economy and another thing is political economy,
there are not economists in this planet .
http://www.worldsocialism..org/articles/economists_not_on_this.php Most of
the university are just center for brain washing, specially in the US, when
most of the intellectuals do not have a clue about socialism or communism,
even a simple peasant in Latin America can have a better
understanding. .
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I was part of the Albania and Chinese tendency, during the times of Mao and
Enver Hoxha, , and I traveled all the Eastern country of Europe, and I was
also in Albania, and I did not see any difference between any other
capitalist nations that were near them, and I have also been in Cuba, and I
did not see any difference among of all the others countries of Latin
The Law of value, which is the law of the capitalist world.
The constitution of the Soviet Union it is a typical capitalist
constitutions, there are not socialist countries with constitution,
socialism is the total elimination of governments, even more the word
government imply everything, that people are governed.
The government of Yugoslavia was considered by the so called
anti-revisionist movement ( headed by China and Albania ) as one of the
first neo-liberal country within the soviet sphere of influences.
Most of the ideas that in the US are published about the Soviet Union is
what we used to call bottled information by the CIA and the
Department of
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State, and the CIA spent billions of dollars in order to brain wash the
minds of many students up to doctorate degrees. The CIA formed communist
parties in Latin America, and many of the members of the central committee
were educated in Panama, in the School of terrors,
The constitution of Cuba is similar to the constitution of the
Soviet
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Union,
and it is not different to any constitution of any other country in Latin
America, as well ,its legal system is similar to the legal system of
all
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the
Latin American countries, they are all bourgeois constitutions.
The Chinese government and the Albanian did not recognize the Russian
government as a socialist government, but a nation of state
capitalism, and
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when Albania broke with China, and I was heavy involved with the Albania
tendency, they only recognized that they were the only socialist country in
the whole world.
When the Pope Paul II was in Cuba, Fidel Castro himself told him
that
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Poland
was not a socialist country, that it was a typical capitalist country
similar to the ones in Western Europe, he was even contradicting the Pope,
and he was an allied of the Soviet Union, and the follower of Gorbachev
were shot with the excuse that they were dealing with narcotics in Africa
and Panama
We have also recognized that Lenin honestly accepted that State capitalism
existed in Russia after the 1917, and probably they had good
intentions at
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the beginning, but due to the nature of their Jacobin coup d'tat,
they
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were
forced to impose themselves on top of the working class, they were a
minority, and they did not have the support of the majority of the members
of the working class of Russia, and they did not have the support of the
majority of the peasants
Russia was a backward country with a semi-feudal mode of production, even
on the book named the Development of Capitalism in Russia written by
Vladimir Lenin, he indicated that petite bourgeois production prevailed in
Russia, therefore, a socialist revolution is impossible to takes place in
that nation, the industrial workers were so minimal that they thought that
with the eliminations of factories during the times of war, it was
going
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to
produce the spread of more peasants inside the Soviet Union, they knew that
socialism was impossible to be built in Russia, even Stalin knew the real
definition and implication of socialism as it is explained on Anarchism and
Socialism written by him, but he decided to continue being the dictator of
the soviets workers
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Thanks Marcos for your edifying post.
If I may be critical of thee, you would serve us better to be more
concise.
Post by Mike Morin
Your occupation with studying "ancient" factionalisms can be useful, but
again, give it to us in brief overview and post a reference to your more
complete work.
One thing that I must comment on is, the ICC's assertion about the
motivation of workers based on their living standards. Of course, that
term
Post by Mike Morin
was probably relevant then, but the way it has been abused since Bretton
Woods, we need to make a fundamental distinction between "standard of
living" and quality of life.
Thanks again.
Mike Morin
www.peoplesequityunion.blogspot.com
________________________________
<UPRalmamater%40gmail.com><UPRalmamater%
Post by Marcos
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40gmail.com>>
40yahoogroups.com>
Post by Mike Morin
Sent: Thursday, April 2, 2009 9:15:13 AM
Subject: Re: [WSM_Forum] Re: Some questions (State capitalism,
Lenin, and
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decadence)
A criticism answered
The March, April, May and July issues of World Revolution, paper of the
British section of the "left communist" group known as the
International
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Communist Current (ICC) carried a long four-part critical article on the
Socialist Party to coincide with our hundred years of existence and which
described us "a group caught between sectarianism and
opportunism". The
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articles criticized in particular our attitude towards war, trade unions,
political democracy and the development of socialist
consciousness.
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Before these criticisms can be answered, something needs to be said
about where the ICC is coming from politically. Its basic
theoretical
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assumption is that by 1914 capitalism had become
"decadent" as an
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economic
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system in the sense that it had become unable to develop the forces of
production any further. This claim is based on Rosa
Luxemburg's mistaken
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view that there was a flaw in Marx's Capital, in that he had
failed to
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recognize that a lack of purchasing power was built-in to
capitalism and
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that therefore it had to rely on external markets to expand; once these
had
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been exhausted – as the ICC claim had happened by 1914 –
then capitalism
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would enter a period of economic stagnation and breakdown. (For a
detailed
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argument as to the ICC's mistake here see the article in the
August 1980
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Socialist Standard "World Revolution: Another Confused
Group".)
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that, after 1914, capitalism could no longer offer any lasting
concessions
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to the working class, whether in the form of social reforms or in the
form
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of increases in real wages. This means, according to the ICC, that
working
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class living standards can now only be defended by revolution and that in
fact the socialist revolution will develop out of the struggle to defend
living standards, a quite inadequate, economistic conception of how
socialist consciousness will develop.
When this analysis, and this conclusion, was first put forward by
"leftwing communists" in Germany in the aftermath of the
First World War
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it
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had a certain plausibility: this was a time of mass unemployment
and
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roaring
inflation there. But when it was revived by the political
ancestors of
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the
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ICC in the 1960s, it made no sense at all. By then, despite the theory,
capitalism had further developed the forces of production (by the
application of, for instance, plastics, electronics and atomic
energy);
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more
social reform measures, in particular the so-called "Welfare
State" had
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been
enacted; and the real living standards of workers, at least in the
heartlands of capitalism, had increased. To deny this was to fly
in the
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face
of the facts and to dogmatically cling to a disproved theory.
Two periods
A product of the ICC's dogma that capitalism has not been able
to offer
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concessions since 1914 is that the ICC divides capitalism into two
distinct
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periods – pre-1914 and post-1914 – during which different, and in the
event
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diametrically opposed, policies are appropriate.
In the ICC's view, whereas after 1914 revolution has been
the only way
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to defend working class living standards, before 1914, when capitalism
was
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still expanding and so capable of offering concessions, these could also
be
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defended, and improved, by pressure in parliaments to enact social
reforms
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and by trade union action, which were both therefore worthy of socialist
support. In other words, the policy of European Social Democracy of
having,
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in addition to the maximum programme of socialism, a minimum programme of
social reforms to be achieved within capitalism was justified.. Hence
what
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became horribly wrong after 1914 was right before 1914.
Thus we are criticised, for instance, for having completely written
off
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the Second International in an article on its 1910 Copenhagen Congress.
The
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ICC takes the view that before 1914 socialists should not have broken
away
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from the Social Democratic parties of the time and that, in Britain, the
"impossiblists" in the Social Democratic Federation (SDF)
should have
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stayed
within it as a leftwing faction struggling for its reform
programme to be
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achieved by mass action rather than through election deals and parliamentary
manoeuvres. In short, the SPGB should never have been formed. Those who
founded the Socialist Party should have remained within the SDF,
which
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later
became the SDP and then the British Socialist Party, and should have gone
over, with the bulk of the membership of the BSP, to the Communist Party
of
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Great Britain when it was formed in 1921.
The March article accuses the SPGB (and the Deleonist Socialist Labour
Party, another impossibilist breakaway from the SDF) of making the same
mistake that the ICC see William Morris and the Socialist League as
having
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made in the 1880s, of rejecting "the struggle for reforms"
and opposing
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"any
support for reforms". The Socialist League is even denounced
for having
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taken up the position that the ICC now holds of rejecting
"participation
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in
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parliament" and opposing "participation in elections".
What was then
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"sterile purism" is today a key revolutionary position,
even a "class
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frontier"!
It's the same with trade unionism. The early members of the
SPGB are
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criticised for not taking a more positive attitude towards trade
unions,
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for
not seeing "the unions in a dynamic way, as part of the
process of the
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class
coming to consciousness". The early members did in fact
support trade
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union
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action on sound class lines and a large number of them were active trade
unionists, but it is true that they saw such action, though part of the
class struggle, as being essentially only defensive. This is still our
position. But times have moved on for the ICC and, whereas they
criticise
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us
for not having been pro-trade union enough before 1914, they criticise us
now (as in World Revolution 11 in 1977) for holding the view that
. . .
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"the
working class can defend itself through trade unions".
Instead, we ought
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to
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be calling, like the ICC, for the unions to be "smashed".
If we in the Socialist Party take the same position on (not
advocating)
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reforms and on trade unionism now as in 1904 this is not because we are
committed to an "invariant dogma" as the ICC argues but
because we don't
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accept their particular argument that capitalism became
economically
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decadent in 1914, and its corollary that very different policies were
appropriate before and after that date. We do say, of course, that
capitalism has become historically redundant, but this dates from when it
had finished creating the material basis for a world socialist society,
which would be some time in the last quarter of the 19th century. We can
agree, too, that this justified a change of policy in some
respects: the
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abandoning of the support Marx gave to measures and events that he felt
would help capitalism create this material basis as rapidly as
possible,
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for
instance, in particular support for various nationalist movements
and
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taking
sides in wars. For our position on this see the article "Marx
in his
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Time<http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/overview/time.pdf>"
.
The year 1914 was significant in that it was the year that the first
world war broke out, thus confirming that capitalism had become
the
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dominant
world system and which ended by reinforcing this through the
collapse of
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the
last three dynastic states in Europe (Imperial Germany, Hapsburg
Austria
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and
Tsarist Russia). But significant as 1914 was, this was not because it was
the date by which capitalism had become economically decadent in the
Luxemburg/ICC sense and it did not require a change of socialist
"tactics".
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Conspiracy theories
The April and May articles criticise our members for having opposed the
two
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world wars as "conscientious objectors" which the ICC sees
as a mere
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individual and even pacifist opposition. This is an easy, not to say
cheap,
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criticism from people who have no doubt never faced the dilemma of what
to
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do when threatened with coercion into being trained to kill fellow
workers
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in a war. Some SPGB members in both world wars did refuse, as a matter of
principle, the status of "conscientious objector" but most
took the view
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that if the state allows this why refuse to take advantage of it? In
fact,
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many SPGB members were able to carry on important political work for
socialism precisely because of this, something which seems to
bypass the
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ICC
completely.
The suggestion that during the Second World War the SPGB, in the words
of the July article, "was used by the ruling class as a safe
channel for
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the
questioning and anger produced by the war" is a typical
example of the
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sort
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of other-wordly paranoid conspiracy theory for which the ICC is
well-known.
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This is also exemplified by their credulous reliance in the same article
on
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a pamphlet by a disgruntled ex-member of the SPGB which advances a
conspiracy theory about "factions determined to take over the
Party".
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What SPGB members should have done in both world wars was, apparently,
to have worked to turn, as advised by Lenin, "the present
imperialist war
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into a civil war". This should have involved "illegal
organisation and
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propaganda within the army", which presumably means that
socialists
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should
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have joined the army after all. But this would have been suicidal for the
individuals involved (the quickest way to a firing squad for mutiny) and
massacre for the working class (as happened in Dublin in 1916 when
a
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section
of the Irish nationalist movement tried to start a civil war in
the midst
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of
an imperialist war). SPGB members rightly rejected such
irresponsible
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advice
and adopted the correct socialist position of a plague on both your
houses
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and not a drop of working class blood for either side.
Democracy and dictatorship
Whereas the ICC is all in favour of elections, parliaments and
"bourgeois
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democracy" before 1914, after then all these became anathema
to them. In
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fact, our refusal to denounce political democracy seems to be our worst
failing in their eyes. "Through its defence of the democratic
principle,"
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they say of us, "it actually reinforces one of the greatest
obstacles
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facing
the working class."
Excuse us if we disagree, but we don't regard universal
suffrage and
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political democracy within capitalism as "one of the greatest
obstacles
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facing the working class". The vote is a gain, a potential
class weapon,
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a
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potential "instrument of emancipation" as Marx put it.
Despite Lenin's
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distortions quoted by the ICC, Marx and Engels always held that the
bourgeois democratic republic was the best political framework for the
development and triumph of the socialist movement. This is another
pre-1914
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socialist position we see no reason to abandon.
Certainly, political democracy under capitalism is not all that it is
purported to be by many supporters of the system and it is
severely
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limited,
from the point of view of democratic theory, by the very nature of
capitalism as an unequal, class-divided society. Certainly,
"democracy"
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has
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become an ideology used to give capitalist rule a spurious
legitimacy and
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to
mobilise working class support for wars. But it is still
sufficient to
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allow
the working class to organise politically and economically without too
much
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state interference and also, we would argue, to allow a future socialist
majority to gain control of political power.
If political democracy under capitalism really was the great obstacle
facing the working class that the ICC claim, then socialists ought logically
to work for and welcome its abolition even within capitalism. While the
ICC
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stridently calls for other such (in its view) obstacles, for instance
trade
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unions, to be smashed, it has not dared call for the workers'
vote to be
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abolished or for the smashing of ballot-boxes. However, Bordiga, who they
quote with favour in the May article as a commentator on "the
democratic
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principle", did indeed take opposition to this principle to
its absurd
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logical conclusion, arguing in an article written in 1948 that socialists
"must gladly welcome" the coming of fascism on the grounds
that it is
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supposedly easier to mobilise the workers when there's a naked
capitalist
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dictatorship than when this is disguised by a democratic
façade. He even
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claimed that workers were less oppressed under fascism than they were
under
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democracy (see "Force, Violence and Dictatorship in the Class
Struggle"
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(Part III) in Communist Program 3 of May 1977). The ICC itself, in its
July
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article, challenges the statement that "it is better to live
in a society
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where there is some degree of democracy than in one where
opposition to
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the
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regime is not tolerated". It is thus rather the ICC, in toying
with such
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ideas, not us, that is trying to spread dangerous ideas amongst the
working
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class.
Of course political democracy is better, from a working class point of
view, than political dictatorship. The point shouldn't need
arguing. We
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don't deny that having a positive attitude towards
"bourgeois" political
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democracy under capitalism has sometimes created theoretical and policy
issues for us when it has been under attack (as between the wars) and
when
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it has not yet been established (as in the former USSR's
empire). But
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it's
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not a solution – in fact, it's a cop-out – to evade
the problem by trying
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to
argue that there's no difference between political democracy
and
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political
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dictatorship, that they are as bad as each other, and that workers
should
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be
indifferent as to which one exists. Our position is that political democracy
is a gain for the working class but that this does not justify socialists
allying themselves with capitalist parties to get it or supporting one
side
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in a war to supposedly defend it.
Consciousness
The ICC attributes to us a caricatured position of seeing "the
development
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of consciousness as an accumulation of individual socialists",
as the
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conversion of workers one by one to socialism until there's a
"mathematical
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majority", as if anyone could hold such an absurd position. Of
course, as
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Marxists, we hold that socialist consciousness develops out of the
workers'
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class experience of capitalism and its problems.
If we use terms such as "majority" and
"majoritarian" this is not
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
because we are obsessed with counting the number of individual
socialists,
Post by Mike Morin
but to show that we reject minority action to try to establish socialism
–
Post by Mike Morin
majority as the opposite of minority. Socialism can only be
established
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
when
through the experience of capitalism, including hearing the case for
socialism (itself the distilled past experience of the working class), a
majority (yes, but in the democratic rather than mere mathematical sense)
have come to want it. For, despite Lenin and Bordiga, socialism
can't be
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
imposed from above on a working class that doesn't want or
understand it.
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working
class
Post by Mike Morin
itself. And of course, unlike the ICC, we don't think that the
seizure of
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
power by the minority Bolsheviks in November 1917 was a
"proletarian
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
revolution".
The ICC's own conception of the development of socialist
consciousness
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
is not at all convincing. Because, as mentioned, they think that
since
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
1914,
and still today, capitalism is unable to grant any concessions to workers
that will improve their living standards, they argue that
socialist
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
consciousness will arise out of struggles by workers to stop their living
standards getting worse. Thus they see the task of socialists as being to
get involved in such struggles and to try to push them towards
revolution
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
as
the only way of winning them in the sense of getting an increased
standard
Post by Mike Morin
of living.
We have no objection to socialists getting involved in
industrial
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
struggles but without illusions, in particular the illusion that they can
have a revolutionary outcome. The socialist revolution is not likely to
start from some strike over wages spreading to the whole of the working
class. Certainly, workers can learn from the experience of
industrial
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
struggles against employers that socialism is the only way out and, in
this
Post by Mike Morin
sense, strikes can contribute to a growth of socialist
consciousness. But
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
so
can the many other experiences of the way capitalism works against the
interests of workers (bad housing, poor health care, pollution,
wars and
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
the
threat of war, etc, etc).
The ICC's obsession with strikes shapes their whole
activity beyond
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
abstract (very abstract in their case) propaganda. When a strike
occurs
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
they
go down to the picket line with leaflets denouncing the trade unions and
calling on the strikers to spread the strike – unsurprisingly with no
success, since when workers are on strike they are generally concerned
with
Post by Mike Morin
getting a favourable settlement not with launching a revolution (and,
despite the ICC's theory, concessions today can still be
extracted from
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
employers).
Indeed, since the ICC is rabidly anti-union, sees no difference
between
Post by Mike Morin
political democracy and political dictatorship, and espouses an anarchist
stance on elections and parliament, as well as having a penchant for
conspiracy theories, we suggest that they are not in a position to give
other groups any lessons in how to spread socialist ideas while
avoiding
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
the
dangers of sectarianism.
ADAM BUICK
http://bataillesocialiste.wordpress.com/documents-historiques/1980-08-wo\
rld-revolution-un-autre-groupe-confus/
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
Post by Mike Morin
Adam
<WSM_Forum%40yahoogroups.com><WSM_Forum%
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
40yahoogroups.com><WSM_Forum%
Post by Mike Morin
Post by r***@ymail.com
Um, je suis désolé? :(
<WSM_Forum%40yahoogroups.com><WSM_Forum%
Post by Marcos
Post by Mike Morin
40yahoogroups.com><WSM_Forum%
Post by Mike Morin
40yahoogroups.com>, Mike
Post by r***@ymail.com
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
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Yahoo! Groups Links
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Yahoo! Groups Links
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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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Marcos
2009-04-05 15:05:07 UTC
Permalink
That is a reality that many people are going to face in a near future in the
USA, because the Spanish speaking population is going to be double, or
triple the size of the English speaking population, that is the reason why
they are so scare, and waving the flag of nationalism, racism, and
patriotism, and persecuting the emigrants, or the so called illegal, and
everything is blamed on the Mexican, when through the border of Canada
others workers are also emigrating to the US, and many of them are
Europeans, who can see the difference between a Canadian and any others
workers ? Only when they speak their own languages

Barack Obama was able to win the election, because most of the Latinos voted
for him, now the president is a black man, probably in a few years, it
could be a Latino, or a Mulato In South America they say: "if the Gringos/
Yankees want to intervene in our political and economical affairs, we can
also elect their own presidents and senators, and maybe more progressive
presidents could be elected by us " . The explosion of the immigration is
not coming from outside, it is already inside taken from the army of
unemployed from Latin America. One, or two Mexican families are enough to
fill a restaurant on Sunday, and the workers that took the factory were
Latinos

Most of the American ( The Chilean, the Colombian, the Mexican, they are
also Americans, and Mexico is United States of Mesico, as well Venezuela )
think that the latinos are just a bunch of stupid, and ass-holes, and
because they speak English they think that they are in a better stand, the
people from Jamaica, and the Virgin Islands they also speak English.The
reality is that most of the territory of the West and the South were stolen
by the original wetback from the North, and they took all the territories
that belonged to the Indians,( including the nation of Azttan, exterminated
with small pox warfare ) and for many years they placed dictatorships,
death squads, spies, and criminals in Latin America, and killed thousands of
peoples in order to impose their own rules and they kept Guantanamo Bay ,(
It was also stolen, ) and Puerto Rico, and then, they were called Banana
Republics. They detained the capitalist development of South, Central
America and the Caribbean.

The textile industry of New York and Chicago for many years the capitalist
used workers from the Caribbean Islands, specially from Puerto Rican,
Dominican, and Haitian, they used the army of unemployed of that area, and
they were receiving low pay wages, without any benefits, and they were
forced to live in Ghettos, and now they are called criminals, and the
Mexican were used in order to develop the agriculture and the farms of the
West and the South, and now they are called Illegal, how can they be illegal
in their own territory ? and in 1930 more than 2 millions Mexicans were
deported and many of them were born in the US, and many of them were
residents of the US, and most of the American do not know that, In the
Caribbean islands they have been printing the real history for many
decades. I do know the real history of all the Americas and nobody can brain
wash my mind, i did not spend my life reading comics books
Post by bewebmail
Years ago there was a debate in California about adoption of Spanish as
an official language.
"If english was good enough for the lord jesus christ its good enough
for me!"
Brian
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
Thomas Gamlen
2009-04-06 18:50:25 UTC
Permalink
Hello,

I've been reading what you have currently been writing. Are you saying that
the Affluent Autocratic Americans are continuing to discriminate against the
South Americans? I'm curious what the point is that you are trying to make?
Are you saying that soon the Southern Lower Class will rise up and take over
the North with their own Capitalist Government? I Feel that sometimes it is
good for people to get out of their Heads and into their Hearts.

TKS
TG
Post by Marcos
That is a reality that many people are going to face in a near future in the
USA, because the Spanish speaking population is going to be double, or
triple the size of the English speaking population, that is the reason why
they are so scare, and waving the flag of nationalism, racism, and
patriotism, and persecuting the emigrants, or the so called illegal, and
everything is blamed on the Mexican, when through the border of Canada
others workers are also emigrating to the US, and many of them are
Europeans, who can see the difference between a Canadian and any others
workers ? Only when they speak their own languages
Barack Obama was able to win the election, because most of the Latinos voted
for him, now the president is a black man, probably in a few years, it
could be a Latino, or a Mulato In South America they say: "if the Gringos/
Yankees want to intervene in our political and economical affairs, we can
also elect their own presidents and senators, and maybe more progressive
presidents could be elected by us " . The explosion of the immigration is
not coming from outside, it is already inside taken from the army of
unemployed from Latin America. One, or two Mexican families are enough to
fill a restaurant on Sunday, and the workers that took the factory were
Latinos
Most of the American ( The Chilean, the Colombian, the Mexican, they are
also Americans, and Mexico is United States of Mesico, as well Venezuela )
think that the latinos are just a bunch of stupid, and ass-holes, and
because they speak English they think that they are in a better stand, the
people from Jamaica, and the Virgin Islands they also speak English.The
reality is that most of the territory of the West and the South were stolen
by the original wetback from the North, and they took all the territories
that belonged to the Indians,( including the nation of Azttan, exterminated
with small pox warfare ) and for many years they placed dictatorships,
death squads, spies, and criminals in Latin America, and killed thousands of
peoples in order to impose their own rules and they kept Guantanamo Bay ,(
It was also stolen, ) and Puerto Rico, and then, they were called Banana
Republics. They detained the capitalist development of South, Central
America and the Caribbean.
The textile industry of New York and Chicago for many years the capitalist
used workers from the Caribbean Islands, specially from Puerto Rican,
Dominican, and Haitian, they used the army of unemployed of that area, and
they were receiving low pay wages, without any benefits, and they were
forced to live in Ghettos, and now they are called criminals, and the
Mexican were used in order to develop the agriculture and the farms of the
West and the South, and now they are called Illegal, how can they be illegal
in their own territory ? and in 1930 more than 2 millions Mexicans were
deported and many of them were born in the US, and many of them were
residents of the US, and most of the American do not know that, In the
Caribbean islands they have been printing the real history for many
decades. I do know the real history of all the Americas and nobody can brain
wash my mind, i did not spend my life reading comics books
Post by bewebmail
Years ago there was a debate in California about adoption of Spanish as
an official language.
"If english was good enough for the lord jesus christ its good enough
for me!"
Brian
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------

Matt Culbert
2009-04-02 08:56:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mike Morin
They're giving you all a run-around.
Peace, from the "States".
Mike Morin
www.peoplesequityunion.blogspot.com
The hell they are.You are the one who still wants wage slavery.A 'nice'
capitalism. A time waster in otherwords.

Matt




------------------------------------
trotfinder2007
2009-04-01 22:57:02 UTC
Permalink
reurgem

what a lot of blah!

Note my ident.




------------------------------------
World Socialist Party of the US
2009-04-01 22:40:21 UTC
Permalink
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/Russia1917to67/index.html
Russia 1917-1967
Post by r***@ymail.com
Thanks everybody, I'm currently working through the Aufheben articles.
Just a few clarifications, though.
--
Movimiento Socialista Mundial
"The rich will do anything for the poor but get off their backs." — Karl Marx


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
r***@ymail.com
2009-04-02 19:28:24 UTC
Permalink
Merci.
Also, after looking up some of the context of the 'state capitalist' quotes, it would appear that he was arguing against some left communists who wanted to install 'communism' immediately. He was right on that, of course, though his mistake was in being overly optimistic. He later realized his mistake (I recall a quote from 1922 to that effect), unlike, say, Trotsky (and Trotskyists after him. Hell, even Cliff made some sort of mystical split between Russia before and after 1928).

Also, from what I understand, labour hours were decreased more because it lead to an increase in productivity, and due to the development of the productive forces, rather than because of some ascendant phase. Also, I believe France had implemented a 35-hour working day recently, and holidays have been consistently increasing since 1914. Wouldn't this mean that 'real reforms' were still possible? Also, before 1914, there were still imperialist wars such as the Mexican war, Cuban war, and such, and the main difference was in the development of weaponry and international capitalism, rather than some decadent stage appearing. It seems that the ICC's theory involves looking at what happened, and then just taking it to make an apocalyptic prediction. For example, they give Russian state capitali
sm as an example of increased state control due to decadence, even though there is no reason whatsoever to believe that the decadence of capitalism somewhere lead to the state control of Bolshevism. Except that WWI was a prime factor behind the revolution, but that doesn't seem to have any relevance, unless one is to say that the Kerensky government didn't withdraw from the war because capitalism had become decadent, which makes no sense whatsoever. The WSM work on it were helpful in seeing the problems with the theory as well. Actually, if I recall correctly, Jack London's 'The Iron Heel' seems to have put forward Luxemburg's theory as well, which I had accepted at the time due to it seeming obvious (though the book seems like more of a vanguardist wet dream or something of the sort, re
gardless of the emphasis on Ernest not being a sole leader).

Still, after reading the pamphlet (I don't believe that I missed any of the links, sorry if I missed one on this), I'm still curious as to why socialism cannot develop the productive forces, and capitalism is necessary as a progressive force? Even the Aufheben article only seems to assert it.

Dan.



------------------------------------
Marcos
2009-04-02 21:01:33 UTC
Permalink
http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/etheory/1905-1985/89French%20Revolution.htm
France bourgeois revolution

http://www.worldsocialism.org/articles/how_close_was_france.php
Post by r***@ymail.com
Merci.
Also, after looking up some of the context of the 'state capitalist'
quotes, it would appear that he was arguing against some left communists who
wanted to install 'communism' immediately. He was right on that, of course,
though his mistake was in being overly optimistic. He later realized his
mistake (I recall a quote from 1922 to that effect), unlike, say, Trotsky
(and Trotskyists after him. Hell, even Cliff made some sort of mystical
split between Russia before and after 1928).
Also, from what I understand, labour hours were decreased more because it
lead to an increase in productivity, and due to the development of the
productive forces, rather than because of some ascendant phase. Also, I
believe France had implemented a 35-hour working day recently, and holidays
have been consistently increasing since 1914. Wouldn't this mean that 'real
reforms' were still possible? Also, before 1914, there were still
imperialist wars such as the Mexican war, Cuban war, and such, and the main
difference was in the development of weaponry and international capitalism,
rather than some decadent stage appearing. It seems that the ICC's theory
involves looking at what happened, and then just taking it to make an
apocalyptic prediction. For example, they give Russian state capitalism as
an example of increased state control due to decadence, even though there is
no reason whatsoever to believe that the decadence of capitalism somewhere
lead to the state control of Bolshevism. Except that WWI was a prime factor
behind the revolution, but that doesn't seem to have any relevance, unless
one is to say that the Kerensky government didn't withdraw from the war
because capitalism had become decadent, which makes no sense whatsoever. The
WSM work on it were helpful in seeing the problems with the theory as well.
Actually, if I recall correctly, Jack London's 'The Iron Heel' seems to have
put forward Luxemburg's theory as well, which I had accepted at the time due
to it seeming obvious (though the book seems like more of a vanguardist wet
dream or something of the sort, regardless of the emphasis on Ernest not
being a sole leader).
Still, after reading the pamphlet (I don't believe that I missed any of the
links, sorry if I missed one on this), I'm still curious as to why socialism
cannot develop the productive forces, and capitalism is necessary as a
progressive force? Even the Aufheben article only seems to assert it.
Dan.
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



------------------------------------
balmer_dave
2009-04-02 19:47:52 UTC
Permalink
I think you are splitting hairs a bit with your first point. The bulk of the means of production, factories, machines, land etc in capitalism forms a substantial part of the capital of the capitalist class.


On the rest of your contribution you are indeed mixing different subjects together. There is nothing wrong with that I suppose but they are all fairly big subjects on there own I think and it creates a bit of a headache separating them out and responding to them in one post.

I suspect the thrust of your argument is that; is there anything wrong with state capitalism per se.

I think that if you had a country that was `state capitalist' whilst at the same time was fully democratic and also therefore the workers understood what they were doing or were `class conscious'. Then that would require a kind of criticism that would be different to the one that is made of Bolshevik Russia etc.

In that kind of democratic `state capitalism' wages could be considered as labour vouchers and remuneration for effort and it might look something more like a Deleonist or Parecon type of system or perhaps like a `state' or nation sized co-operative.

But that never happened, by the middle of 1918 the Bolshevik promises by which they had obtained support failed to materialise, the country and economy were in a mess and they started to lose that support. They responded by repressing political opposition and soviet democracy in order to stay in power and impose their will from above with the excuse that they alone knew what was best, and top down tough love.


And when Lenin in 1922 was going on about `the proletariat', `vanguard of the working class', `the workers', and , `the advanced section of the workers, the vanguard' what he was actually talking about was the Bolshevik party that constituted less than 1% of the population.

V. I. Lenin, Eleventh Congress Of The R.C.P.(B.)
March 27-April 2, 1922


"To avoid this we must remember the fundamental thing that state capitalism in the form we have here is not dealt with in any theory, or in any books, for the simple reason that all the usual concepts connected with this term are associated with bourgeois rule in capitalist society. Our society is one which has left the rails of capitalism, but has not yot got on to new rails.

The state in this society is not ruled by the bourgeoisie, but by the proletariat. We refuse to understand that when we say "state" we mean ourselves, the proletariat, the vanguard of the working class. State capitalism is capitalism which we shall be able to restrain, and the limits of which we shall be able to fix. This state capitalism is connected with the state, and the state is the workers, the advanced section of the workers, the vanguard. We are the state."


http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm

In fact in the same article Lenin stated that people who worked in factories were not real workers and the real workers were all in the Bolshevik party. And if you were not in the Bolshevik party you were not a real worker etc.



The fact that the masses would not play a part in the running of state capitalism and were just to do as they were told by their betters was made clear elsewhere;


V. I. Lenin
The Trade Unions, The Present Situation
30 December, 1920


"But the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised through
an organisation embracing the whole of that class, because in all
capitalist countries (and not only over here, in one of the most
backward) the proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, and so
corrupted in parts (by imperialism in some countries) that an
organisation taking in the whole proletariat cannot directly
exercise proletarian dictatorship.

It can be exercised only by a vanguard that has absorbed the
revolutionary energy of the class. The whole is like an arrangement
of cogwheels. Such is the basic mechanism of the dictatorship of the
proletariat, and of the essentials of transition from capitalism to
communism………

……….he has lost sight of the fact that we have here a complex arrangement of cogwheels which cannot be a simple one; for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised by a mass proletarian organisation. It cannot work without a number of "transmission belts" running from the vanguard to the mass of the advanced class, and from the latter to the mass of the working people".


http://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/30.htm



As Burnham pointed out this kind of justification of lording it over others for their own good is not unique to state capitalism administered by a bourgeois intelligentsia claiming to act in the interests of the working class. Even if you might think it is cynical to apply it to the Bolsheviks.

Managerial Revolution,Chapter 13.

"Both communism (Leninism) and fascism claim, as do all the great social ideologies to speak for the people as a whole for the future of mankind. However it is interesting to notice that both provide even in their public words for an elite or vanguard. The elite is of
course the managers and their political associates the rulers of the
new society.

Naturally the ideologies do not put it this way. As they say it the
elite represents, stands for, the people as a whole and their
interests. Fascism is more blunt about the need for the elite,
for `leadership'. Leninism worked out a more elaborate
rationalisation. The masses according to Leninism are unable to
become sufficiently educated and trained under capitalism to carry in
their own immediate persons the burdens of socialism

The mases are unable to understand in full what their interests are.
Consequently, the transition to socialism will have to be supervised
by an enlightened vanguard which `understands the historic process as
a whole' and can ably and correctly act for the interests of the
masses as a whole; like as Lenin puts it, the general staff of an
army.

Through this notion of an elite or vanguard, these ideologies thus
serve at once the two fold need of justifying the existence of a
ruling class and at the same time providing the masses with an
attitude making easy the acceptance of its rule.

This device is similar to that used by the capitalist ideologies when
they argued that capitalist were necessary in order to carry on
business and that profits for capitalists were identical with
prosperity for the people as a whole…………….The communist and fascist
doctrine is a device, and an effective one, for enlisting the support
of the masses for the interests of the new elite through an apparent
identification of those interests with the interests of the masses
themselves."


As Lenin said himself, stating the obvious, Bolshevik Russia was a dictatorship of one party and a very small one at that. Either the masses didn't want to join the Bolshevik party or weren't allowed to, you can have it either way for what it matters to me.



I suppose that leaves un-dealt with the period of say November 1917 to March 1918 and the possible `good intentions' of the Bolshevik party in that period.

Personally I am prepared in my better moods to let that period go to some extent just to be accommodating. You could argue that it was a well intentioned experiment to make the best of a bad situation and it can be too easy to criticise in retrospect. Even the Mensheviks by the beginning of 1918 couldn't see any way out of the mess they were all in apart from state capitalism.


Even if in January 1918 Lenin was coming out with the following;

"Those who talk so much about the dictatorship of democracy merely utter meaningless, absurd phrases which indicate neither economic knowledge nor political understanding."

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TCS18.html


The state repression of all political opponents from the middle of 1918 is indefensible.


The extent to which the `The Military-Revolutionary Committee' was a de-facto Bolshevik organisation can be judged from the following I think;

`And thus the Military Revolutionary Committee, although it went to work only on the 20th, five days before the insurrection, found – ready to its hands – a sufficiently well organised dominion. Being boycotted by the Compromisers, the staff of the Committee contained only Bolsheviks and Left Social Revolutionaries: that eased and simplified the task.

Of the Social Revolutionaries only Lazimir did any work, and he was even placed at the head of the bureau in order to emphasise the fact that the Committee was a Soviet and not a party institution. In essence, however, the Committee, whose president was Trotsky, and its chief workers Podvoisky, Antonov-Ovseenko, Lashevich, Sadovsky, and Mekhonoshin, relied exclusively upon Bolsheviks.'


http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/ch41.htm

On the support for the constituent assembly, there was I think, even within the ranks of the Bolsheviks;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/lessons/ch6.htm


The possibility of going from a semi feudal to a socialist consciousness was discussed by Engels at;

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/01/russia.htm


I think the basic idea whether you believe it or not is that feudal peasants and peasants in general just want to own and run their own farm as a little business. And it requires capitalism to get people used to the overall idea and possibility working socially and co-operatively with each other.
Thanks everybody, I'm currently working through the Aufheben articles. Just a few clarifications, though. As far as I am aware, 'means of production' and 'capital' are not the same, "A Negro is a Negro. Only under certain conditions does he become a slave. A cotton-spinning machine is a machine for spinning cotton. Only under certain conditions does it become capital. Torn away from these conditions, it is as little capital as gold is itself money, or sugar is the price of sugar." Also, on Lenin's state capitalism, some people seem to have only quoted some of this quote to back it up (ignoring the part on ceasing to be a capitalist monopoly), "Or, in other words, socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent ceased to be capitalist monopoly." Earlier than that in the same document, he said, "If it has become a state monopoly, it means that the state (i.e., the armed organisation of the population, the workers and peasants above all, provided there is revolutionary democracy) directs the whole undertaking." Also, what Lenin meant with 'state capitalism' was different to what is generally meant in describing Stalin's Russia as it, I believe, with Lenin saying, "It seemed to them that the term "state capitalism" could not be applied to a system under which the means of production were owned by the working-class, a working-class that held political power. They did
------------------------------------
r***@ymail.com
2009-04-03 06:06:42 UTC
Permalink
The first part wasn't the overall thrust of my argument, I probably worded it badly. Though, with Parecon, and socialism using labour vouchers, I don't think that one could call it 'state capitalism'.
Still, the quotes and second half were helpful, thanks for that. So basically, the problem with taking the leap is the fact that, under a semi-feudal or feudal economy, there would not be the potential for socialist consciousness, and therefore capitalism is necessary to socialize production and create a class completely separated from the means of production (I believe that this is why the working class is revolutionary, and have no interests in becoming a new ruling class?) in order for a revolution to take place? It makes sense, I suppose. Certainly, in Russia, most support for the bolsheviks was most probably due to the war and their populist slogans (Bread, Peace and Land, and such).
Post by balmer_dave
I think you are splitting hairs a bit with your first point. The bulk of the means of production, factories, machines, land etc in capitalism forms a substantial part of the capital of the capitalist class.
On the rest of your contribution you are indeed mixing different subjects together. There is nothing wrong with that I suppose but they are all fairly big subjects on there own I think and it creates a bit of a headache separating them out and responding to them in one post.
I suspect the thrust of your argument is that; is there anything wrong with state capitalism per se.
I think that if you had a country that was `state capitalist' whilst at the same time was fully democratic and also therefore the workers understood what they were doing or were `class conscious'. Then that would require a kind of criticism that would be different to the one that is made of Bolshevik Russia etc.
In that kind of democratic `state capitalism' wages could be considered as labour vouchers and remuneration for effort and it might look something more like a Deleonist or Parecon type of system or perhaps like a `state' or nation sized co-operative.
But that never happened, by the middle of 1918 the Bolshevik promises by which they had obtained support failed to materialise, the country and economy were in a mess and they started to lose that support. They responded by repressing political opposition and soviet democracy in order to stay in power and impose their will from above with the excuse that they alone knew what was best, and top down tough love.
And when Lenin in 1922 was going on about `the proletariat', `vanguard of the working class', `the workers', and , `the advanced section of the workers, the vanguard' what he was actually talking about was the Bolshevik party that constituted less than 1% of the population.
V. I. Lenin, Eleventh Congress Of The R.C.P.(B.)
March 27-April 2, 1922
"To avoid this we must remember the fundamental thing that state capitalism in the form we have here is not dealt with in any theory, or in any books, for the simple reason that all the usual concepts connected with this term are associated with bourgeois rule in capitalist society. Our society is one which has left the rails of capitalism, but has not yot got on to new rails.
The state in this society is not ruled by the bourgeoisie, but by the proletariat. We refuse to understand that when we say "state" we mean ourselves, the proletariat, the vanguard of the working class. State capitalism is capitalism which we shall be able to restrain, and the limits of which we shall be able to fix. This state capitalism is connected with the state, and the state is the workers, the advanced section of the workers, the vanguard. We are the state."
http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm
In fact in the same article Lenin stated that people who worked in factories were not real workers and the real workers were all in the Bolshevik party. And if you were not in the Bolshevik party you were not a real worker etc.
The fact that the masses would not play a part in the running of state capitalism and were just to do as they were told by their betters was made clear elsewhere;
V. I. Lenin
The Trade Unions, The Present Situation
30 December, 1920
"But the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised through
an organisation embracing the whole of that class, because in all
capitalist countries (and not only over here, in one of the most
backward) the proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, and so
corrupted in parts (by imperialism in some countries) that an
organisation taking in the whole proletariat cannot directly
exercise proletarian dictatorship.
It can be exercised only by a vanguard that has absorbed the
revolutionary energy of the class. The whole is like an arrangement
of cogwheels. Such is the basic mechanism of the dictatorship of the
proletariat, and of the essentials of transition from capitalism to
communism………
……….he has lost sight of the fact that we have here a complex arrangement of cogwheels which cannot be a simple one; for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised by a mass proletarian organisation. It cannot work without a number of "transmission belts" running from the vanguard to the mass of the advanced class, and from the latter to the mass of the working people".
http://marxists.anu.edu.au/archive/lenin/works/1920/dec/30.htm
As Burnham pointed out this kind of justification of lording it over others for their own good is not unique to state capitalism administered by a bourgeois intelligentsia claiming to act in the interests of the working class. Even if you might think it is cynical to apply it to the Bolsheviks.
Managerial Revolution,Chapter 13.
"Both communism (Leninism) and fascism claim, as do all the great social ideologies to speak for the people as a whole for the future of mankind. However it is interesting to notice that both provide even in their public words for an elite or vanguard. The elite is of
course the managers and their political associates the rulers of the
new society.
Naturally the ideologies do not put it this way. As they say it the
elite represents, stands for, the people as a whole and their
interests. Fascism is more blunt about the need for the elite,
for `leadership'. Leninism worked out a more elaborate
rationalisation. The masses according to Leninism are unable to
become sufficiently educated and trained under capitalism to carry in
their own immediate persons the burdens of socialism
The mases are unable to understand in full what their interests are.
Consequently, the transition to socialism will have to be supervised
by an enlightened vanguard which `understands the historic process as
a whole' and can ably and correctly act for the interests of the
masses as a whole; like as Lenin puts it, the general staff of an
army.
Through this notion of an elite or vanguard, these ideologies thus
serve at once the two fold need of justifying the existence of a
ruling class and at the same time providing the masses with an
attitude making easy the acceptance of its rule.
This device is similar to that used by the capitalist ideologies when
they argued that capitalist were necessary in order to carry on
business and that profits for capitalists were identical with
prosperity for the people as a whole…………….The communist and fascist
doctrine is a device, and an effective one, for enlisting the support
of the masses for the interests of the new elite through an apparent
identification of those interests with the interests of the masses
themselves."
As Lenin said himself, stating the obvious, Bolshevik Russia was a dictatorship of one party and a very small one at that. Either the masses didn't want to join the Bolshevik party or weren't allowed to, you can have it either way for what it matters to me.
I suppose that leaves un-dealt with the period of say November 1917 to March 1918 and the possible `good intentions' of the Bolshevik party in that period.
Personally I am prepared in my better moods to let that period go to some extent just to be accommodating. You could argue that it was a well intentioned experiment to make the best of a bad situation and it can be too easy to criticise in retrospect. Even the Mensheviks by the beginning of 1918 couldn't see any way out of the mess they were all in apart from state capitalism.
Even if in January 1918 Lenin was coming out with the following;
"Those who talk so much about the dictatorship of democracy merely utter meaningless, absurd phrases which indicate neither economic knowledge nor political understanding."
http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TCS18.html
The state repression of all political opponents from the middle of 1918 is indefensible.
The extent to which the `The Military-Revolutionary Committee' was a de-facto Bolshevik organisation can be judged from the following I think;
`And thus the Military Revolutionary Committee, although it went to work only on the 20th, five days before the insurrection, found – ready to its hands – a sufficiently well organised dominion. Being boycotted by the Compromisers, the staff of the Committee contained only Bolsheviks and Left Social Revolutionaries: that eased and simplified the task.
Of the Social Revolutionaries only Lazimir did any work, and he was even placed at the head of the bureau in order to emphasise the fact that the Committee was a Soviet and not a party institution. In essence, however, the Committee, whose president was Trotsky, and its chief workers Podvoisky, Antonov-Ovseenko, Lashevich, Sadovsky, and Mekhonoshin, relied exclusively upon Bolsheviks.'
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1930/hrr/ch41.htm
On the support for the constituent assembly, there was I think, even within the ranks of the Bolsheviks;
http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1924/lessons/ch6.htm
The possibility of going from a semi feudal to a socialist consciousness was discussed by Engels at;
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/01/russia.htm
I think the basic idea whether you believe it or not is that feudal peasants and peasants in general just want to own and run their own farm as a little business. And it requires capitalism to get people used to the overall idea and possibility working socially and co-operatively with each other.
Thanks everybody, I'm currently working through the Aufheben articles. Just a few clarifications, though. As far as I am aware, 'means of production' and 'capital' are not the same, "A Negro is a Negro. Only under certain conditions does he become a slave. A cotton-spinning machine is a machine for spinning cotton. Only under certain conditions does it become capital. Torn away from these conditions, it is as little capital as gold is itself money, or sugar is the price of sugar." Also, on Lenin's state capitalism, some people seem to have only quoted some of this quote to back it up (ignoring the part on ceasing to be a capitalist monopoly), "Or, in other words, socialism is merely state-capitalist monopoly which is made to serve the interests of the whole people and has to that extent ceased to be capitalist monopoly." Earlier than that in the same document, he said, "If it has become a state monopoly, it means that the state (i.e., the armed organisation of the population, the workers and peasants above all, provided there is revolutionary democracy) directs the whole undertaking." Also, what Lenin meant with 'state capitalism' was different to what is generally meant in describing Stalin's Russia as it, I believe, with Lenin saying, "It seemed to them that the term "state capitalism" could not be applied to a system under which the means of production were owned by the working-class, a working-class that held political power. They did
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