Socialist & bourgeois revolution.

421 posts / 0 new
Last post
slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
May 12 2010 22:37
BigLittleJ wrote:
Quote:
Marx wasn't a stagist. He thought human development needed to move from slavery to feudalism to capitalism to communism certainly, but not that every particular state needed to,

Not to nitpick, but surely that is a stages theory of history, it's just applied at a global scale as opposed to a national or local one.

In the context of Dave B stating 'Marx was a stagist so thought a revolution was impossible in Russia', it's not only nitpicking it's also irrelevent.

Yes; if you like, Marx saw human history developing through stages (but not in a pre-determined way); but he didn't (as Dave B erroneously states) think that each nation had to pass through each stage. You have changed the meaning of the term 'stagist' from how Dave B used it. So Marx may have been a stagist as you mean it, but he wasn't in the way Dave B seems to have meant it.

Joey OD wrote:
Quote:
And this in the end wasn't because it wasn't advanced enough, or even because the Bolsheviks were bad, it's because any isolated 'workers state' will inevitably institute state-capitalist repression, or it will perish (or both) but whatever way, it will take a lot of workers down with it.

No, it's not that the Bolsheviks were "bad" but that the executive committee of the party did not and could not represent the interests of the proletariat. Like the Mescheviks and SRs before them they represented only themselves against the interests of the propletariat. Right from their coup d'etat which coincided with the workers revolution the party executive began to ignore the soviets and institute state repression. It was never a 'workers state'. Many workers were duped into trusted the Boshevik leaders. The real gains made by the workers revolution and the cause of the left communists was not helped by the failure of Berlin, Bavaria, Hungary, Italy, all Europe. But you can't blame isolation for the degeneration of the Bolshevik party. They were a seperate class (not "bad") from the beginning. The gains were lost due to not only state capitalist repression, but to a loss of workers militancy, of class consciousness and instead the false consciousness of trusting the Party and joining the ranks of the Party and the Army and dying for the party rather than for workers revolution. It is easy to mistake the Party and the State for the revolution and for our class interests. Let us not make the same mistake again. Saving, protecting, defending the State and Party is not saving, protecting, defending the revolution or the class even if the State and Party flys red flags, hammers and sickles, and calls itself workers, labour, communist socialist, soviet, people's, democratic, republican.

No. I can't follow most of that. I don't think workers were 'duped', I think they supported the Bolsheviks because the Bolsheviks opposed WWI and called for 'All Power to the Soviets'. When they did this, the Bolsheviks expressed the will and the interests of the working class - as did the other groups, such as the group around Maximoff.

I don't know what 'the coup d'etat that co-incided with the workers' revolution' means. The 'coup d'etat' was organised by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, specifically its Military-Revolutionary Committee which was composed of Bolsheviks, Anarchists and SRs. An Anarchist ordered the surpression of the Constituent Assemby, etc. There was no 'coup d'etat'. What there was was a Bolshevik Party that enmeshed itself with the state and came to identify the interests of the state machine as the interests of the working class.

What do you mean by 'workers' state'? When I used it I put in 'quotes' to imply 'so-called workers' state'. Of course there was a 'workers' state' - the state that the Bolsheviks presided over that ended up massacring the workers in the name of the workers. What do you think that was?

The Bolsheviks were not a seperate class at all. Do you think they were capitalists? Did they own mines and factories? No, obviously not. Did they call for the revolutionary overthrow of the Russian government, 'peace bread and land' because they wanted to develop Russian capitalism?

You seem to believe that they had a devious 20-year plan to gain power by being a tiny party mostly in exile. Did Lenin and Trotsky support the left of the Second International in the period 1905-1914 to play some bizarre game whereby they could engender WWI and then 'rescue' Russia, while in exile in Switzerland? They must have been so fucking annoyed when they kept getting invitations to join the government, they must have really distracted them from becoming the government.

Of course I can blame the isolation of the revolution for the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party, I think it's proposterous to believe that a successful revolution in Germany, then rather quickly afterwards France, Britain, Italy, the USA and Japan would not have very rapidly given the world proletariat (including the Russian working class) a much clearer sense of where the revolution was going and how to get there. You think surrounded by a liberated Europe and Asia, Russia would have become a kind of Albania, in the 1920s? I think that's a daft idea.

I agree that 'protecting the party and the state is not the same as protecting the revolution'. Unfortunately, you're throwing out not only the bathwater, but the baby, the bath, the rest of the bathroom and a big pile of instructions saying 'how to not throw things out with the bathwater'. All we have to learn from your wayt of looking at the revolution is 'parties bad, and workers stupid'. I really don't think that's enough. I fear that your own very support for a 'workers state' for instance will lead us into exactly the same mess.

But in the end, I wasn't blaming the isolation of Russia for the degeneration of the Bolsheviks, I was blaming it for the failure of the revolution. The revolution is not the same as the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks didn't wreck the revolution, because no matter what policy the revolution was doomed. To believe otherwise, think that there can be 'revolution in one country', to think that all that is needed is the correct policy, is Stalinism. It's exactly the substitutionist logic that trapped the Bolsheviks in the Russian state. Oh how little we learn from history.

Yorkie Bar
Offline
Joined: 29-03-09
May 13 2010 19:14
slothjabber wrote:
In the context of Dave B stating 'Marx was a stagist so thought a revolution was impossible in Russia', it's not only nitpicking it's also irrelevent.

Yes; if you like, Marx saw human history developing through stages (but not in a pre-determined way); but he didn't (as Dave B erroneously states) think that each nation had to pass through each stage. You have changed the meaning of the term 'stagist' from how Dave B used it. So Marx may have been a stagist as you mean it, but he wasn't in the way Dave B seems to have meant it.

There's no need to be a dick, I was just asking a question. I don't agree with Dave B's claims on this matter, by any means, I just think it's a tad disingenuous to say that Marx didn't have a stages theory of history when he obviously did.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
May 13 2010 19:14

I am really not quite sure what kind of words slothjabber is putting into my mouth here.

I don’t think I raised the question, or distinction, between the general, say global, necessity of capitalism as a pre-condition for socialism and the one concerning its localised ie its ‘state and national’ development.

Which is I think a more complex and different argument but I shall refrain from speculating about what slothjabber is on about.

I think to a certain extent, or though not exclusively, this is a ‘factual’ argument about what Marx and others like Lenin meant and a historical analysis, but slothjabber is refusing to back up his opinions with any factual input.

Returning to the necessity of ‘states and nations’ needing to go through the bourgeois revolution, I could be reasonably accused of implying that. However that accusation could equally be thrown at Karl’s and Fred’s door, but that is what we are discussing.

So in the following from Karl he probably deliberately and sensibly leaves out the thorny issue of states and nations (or even perhaps ‘Russian or Slavic agricultural and pastoral peoples’) which have an arbitrary and often transitory nature and definition anyway.

However implicit within it I think is the notion of the context of nations and states.

I think it also a recognisable synopsis of Lenins position in his two tactics of 1905 and of Kautsky’s position of the same year. Although obviously the other way around.

Karl Marx in the Deutsche-Brüsseler Zeitung Moralising Criticism and Critical Morality
A Contribution to German Cultural History Contra Karl Heinzen

Quote:
The workers know that the abolition of bourgeois property relations is not brought about by preserving those of feudalism. They know that the revolutionary movement of the bourgeoisie against the feudal estates and the absolute monarchy can only accelerate their own revolutionary movement. They know that their own struggle against the bourgeoisie can only dawn with the day when the bourgeoisie is victorious. Despite all this they do not share Herr Heinzen’s bourgeois illusions. They can and must accept the bourgeois revolution as a precondition for the workers’ revolution. However, they cannot for a moment regard it as their ultimate goal.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/10/31.htm

And just to do it again from Karl’s Works of Karl Marx 1874, Conspectus of Bakunin’s
Statism and Anarchy

Quote:
Schoolboy stupidity! A radical social revolution depends on certain definite historical conditions of economic development as its precondition. It is also only possible where with capitalist production the industrial proletariat occupies at least an important position among the mass of the people. And if it is to have any chance of victory, it must be able to do immediately as much for the peasants as the French bourgeoisie, mutatis mutandis, did in its revolution for the French peasants of that time. A fine idea, that the rule of labour involves the subjugation of land labour! But here Mr Bakunin's innermost thoughts emerge. He understands absolutely nothing about the social revolution, only its political phrases. Its economic conditions do not exist for him.

As all hitherto existing economic forms, developed or undeveloped, involve the enslavement of the worker (whether in the form of wage-labourer, peasant etc.), he believes that a radical revolution is possible in all such forms alike. Still more! He wants the European social revolution, premised on the economic basis of capitalist production, to take place at the level of the Russian or Slavic agricultural and pastoral peoples, not to surpass this level [...] The will, and not the economic conditions, is the foundation of his social revolution.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1874/04/bakunin-notes.htm

The idea of ‘pre-determination’ is a bit of a philosophical argument and should revolve around materialistic cause and effect, excluding perhaps quantum mechanics and divine intervention.

Although ‘pre-determination’ follows from theory, that is what theory is for to predict what ‘is determined’.

Marx’s theory as Fred understood it predicted that Russia would go through a capitalist revolution instigated by pseudo socialist Blanquists/Jacobins. The prescience and accuracy of the prediction and thus the validity of the theory can be left to the reader’s imagination and intelligence.

Marx-Engels Correspondence 1885 Engels to Vera Zasulich In Geneva

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1885/letters/85_04_23.htm

Just as Karl in his sectarian weakness failed to fully consider Bakunin’s theory, understated as it turned out.

Quote:
The Marxists sense this contradiction and, knowing that the government of the educated will be the most oppressive, most detestable, most despised in the world, a real dictatorship despite all democratic forms, console themselves with the thought that this dictatorship will only be transitional and short.

Given what Lenin said himself later about the role of the ‘vanguard and educated socialists’ and ‘stupid workers’, even if the historical context in which it appeared ie a so called socialist revolution in Russia was preposterous non starter in the first place.

V. I. Lenin The Second All-Russia Congress of Miners
January 23, 1921

Quote:
Does every worker know how to run the state? People working in the practical sphere know that this is not true, that millions of our organised workers are going through what we always said the trade unions were, namely, a school of communism and administration. When they have attended this school for a number of years they will have learned to administer, but the going is slow.

We have not even abolished illiteracy. We know that workers in touch with peasants are liable to fall for non-proletarian slogans. How many of the workers have been engaged in government? A few thousand throughout Russia and no more. If we say that it is not the Party but the trade unions that put up the candidates and administrate, it may sound very democratic and might help us to catch a few votes(?), but not for long. It will be fatal for the dictatorship of the proletariat (Bolshevik party).

And it is quite improper for the proletariat to rush into the arms of syndicalism and talk about mandatory nominations to “all-Russia producers’ congresses”. This is dangerous and jeopardizes the Party’s guiding role.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1921/jan/23.htm

To blame the so called Russian socialist revolution on Marx when he never believed in it is calumny.

In fact the Bolshevik revolution was more of an Bakuninist and Anarchist experiment gone wrong than anything to do with orthodox Marxism of circa 1905.

Which leads into the other aspect of the argument about what ‘Anarchists’ were doing supporting state capitalism as a historical necessity.

Not all anarchist were, and I think there does appear to be some evidence that principled anarchists were working with the Menshevik ‘led’ movement in resisting the Bolsheviks in 1918 at least.

I think Lenin was a power opportunistic mad crypto fascist megalomaniac.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
May 31 2010 01:25

okay, I'm been away for a cupla weeks so haven't had the chance to respond to some quite outragous misreading of what I've said here. But first:

Quote:
For clarification, the Marxist stage-ist theory ‘states’ that it is not possible to go from feudalism to socialism or in other words it is inevitable or necessary to pass through the capitalist stage, before and as a precondition, to socialism.

So much so that a socialist revolution for M&E would have been impossible in feudal Russia; as much in 1874 as 1917.

Quote:
Whilst Dave B's post is broadly speaking true and for most of Marx's writings he is indeed quite a stick in the mud about stages, it is not the full story as made clear in his response to Vera Zasulich over the matter of possibility of Socialist Revolution in Russia.
Quote:
I think the fact that Dave B talks about Marx's 'theory' in the singular is indictative of a fundamental flaw in orthodox readings, in that they look for one singular and unified theory at the expense of examinining the tensions, contradictions and shifting moods and emphasise within his texts, something that does a diservice to any theorist but an especially ironic one to one so deeply schooled in dialectics.
Quote:
I don't think it's so much a matter that he simply changed position, I think there is a constant tension throughout Marx's writings between agency and determinism and depending on who he was engaging with or possibly even how bad his arse boils were playing up he osciliated between the two poles.
Quote:
Mark Leir in his biography of Bakunin argues that Marx drops the determinism towards socialist revolution and how its tied up with mode of production after the Paris Commune, which apparently took him completely by surprise. I can see no reason to argue against this.
Quote:
Marx was capable of spouting some god awful determinist shite and often in the service of some rather shameful political positions eg his cheerleading of Prussian militarism, there is no doubt about any of that.

However there is a definite tension in his theoretical writings between determinism and agency and often his writings contain arguments and implications that would actually serve to undermine these lurches into oppurtunism and determinism.

Basically what I'm saying is that Marx's explicit politics and the often crudely deterministic positions he comes to argue for do not flow straightforwardly from his underlying theories and there is much in his writings prior to The Civil War in France that undermines crude determinism.

Quote:
On the Russian Mir thing and letters to Vera etc I think there is a much better, more comprehensive and later review of that material elsewhere.

I think it is a really interesting article by Engels..

On Social Relations In Russia by Engels Afterword (1894)

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

I think that you can have an opinion on what Karl’s determinist stagist theory was; whether or not you agree with it is another matter.

I think the quotes I gave from Karl and Lenin sums up Karl’s theory well enough.

I think Karl thought that socialism/communism could only become possible after an increase in the productivity of labour that could provide abundance.

That would happen after an accumulation of the ‘means of production’; machines, factories, railways, roads etc, out of the surplus value of capitalism.

Quote:
leaving aside the whole "determinist" aspect, wasn't he sort of right in the end? The Bolsheviks, the Maoists, etc, ultimately set up an ultra-centralized state capitalist bourgeois economy, not communism. So ex post facto hasn't the stage theory been pretty much proven by history (genuine question; I've yet to find an answer myself).
Quote:
I don't think so. Because despite the idea that the working class would sieze power in a series of 'national revolutions' Marx wasn't a stagist. He thought human development needed to move from slavery to feudalism to capitalism to communism certainly, but not that every particular state needed to, as the quote about Russia above shows.

His answer to Vera Zasulich is as I understand it is predicated on a revolution that would start in the west (where capitalism and therefore the proletariat were more developed); this would allow a still semi-communal Russia to overleap 'local' capitalism because it would still be locked into 'world' capitalism (and therefore socialism).

Quote:
Not to nitpick, but surely that is a stages theory of history, it's just applied at a global scale as opposed to a national or local one.
Quote:
In the context of Dave B stating 'Marx was a stagist so thought a revolution was impossible in Russia', it's not only nitpicking it's also irrelevent.

Yes; if you like, Marx saw human history developing through stages (but not in a pre-determined way); but he didn't (as Dave B erroneously states) think that each nation had to pass through each stage. You have changed the meaning of the term 'stagist' from how Dave B used it. So Marx may have been a stagist as you mean it, but he wasn't in the way Dave B seems to have meant it.

Quote:
There's no need to be a dick, I was just asking a question. I don't agree with Dave B's claims on this matter, by any means, I just think it's a tad disingenuous to say that Marx didn't have a stages theory of history when he obviously did.
Quote:
I don’t think I raised the question, or distinction, between the general, say global, necessity of capitalism as a pre-condition for socialism and the one concerning its localised ie its ‘state and national’ development.
Quote:
Returning to the necessity of ‘states and nations’ needing to go through the bourgeois revolution, I could be reasonably accused of implying that. However that accusation could equally be thrown at Karl’s and Fred’s door, but that is what we are discussing.

So in the following from Karl he probably deliberately and sensibly leaves out the thorny issue of states and nations (or even perhaps ‘Russian or Slavic agricultural and pastoral peoples’) which have an arbitrary and often transitory nature and definition anyway.

However implicit within it I think is the notion of the context of nations and states.

Phew! Ok, so what have we learned? Marx was, for the most part, a determinist. Though not always as he made exeptions both before and after the Commune, letter to Vera on Russian peasant communes (mirs).
But for the most part he was in the best way. That is he learned from history and sought to understand future possibilities and even likilihoods from reading the past.
He saw that political/legal/constitutional/civic conditions depended on economic conditions, that political class depended on economic class, that political/legal/constitutional change depended on economic change, that political revolution depended on economic revolution, that changing economic conditions while not making political revolution inevitable ("the point is to change it") it does make it more likely to succeed. Marx criticised Bakunin's stance for allegedly being divorced from considerations on the economic conditions and their historical development and only relying on will. But Marx also recognised the necessity of will as well as favourable economic conditions.
Of course Marx, likely all humans because we are humans, had inconsistancies and contradictions which can be found if we search through his many tomes. But for the most part he saw socialism/communism emerging out of capitalism just as capitalism emerged out of feudalism, both within any state and globally. He flirted with the idea that maybe the Russian peasants could skip a stage aided by workers revolution in the west. He was perhaps surprised by the Commune, of course hoped it could succeed but was no doubt not surprised when it failed, which, given his determinist/stagist and materialist analysis, he wouldve blamed on the lack of industrial development as well as the barbarity of the Versailles army.
Big business has largely replaced little business and still is replacing, big fish, little fish, local capital replaced by regional by global capital whether monopoly market or state capital. This makes the conditions for successful proletarian revolution all the more promising according to Marx. But it still requires the will, the class consciousness and self-organisation, as Marx would have agreed with Bakunin.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
May 31 2010 01:39
Quote:
Capitalism is the seed- socialism the plant and communism the flower.

I take this to mean capitalism then socialism then communism. Just to be pedantic, as others have above made clear Marx never differntiated between socialism and communism, he used these terms interchangably, though he did discuss the lower and higher phases of socialism/communism.
Capitalism then socialism then communism meaning market capitalism and bourgeois state then state capitalism and Communist Party state then literal communism, no exchange or exchange relations and no state; this is a "Marxist-Leninist" (Stalinist) concept.
I was gonna respond to slothjabber's misrepresentation of what I was saying but I'll leave that to tomorrow as i need to go to bed. I assume it was not cynical slander (if it was you should really get a job for a political party) but just a misunderstanding. Good night.

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
May 31 2010 11:16

As I've been accused of being a dick for differentiating between the development of world capitalism and the development of capitalism in Russia, and also of putting words in people's mouths, I'm going to quote Dave B to see if I've misunderstood anything:

Dave B wrote:
...
For clarification, the Marxist stage-ist theory ‘states’ that it is not possible to go from feudalism to socialism or in other words it is inevitable or necessary to pass through the capitalist stage, before and as a precondition, to socialism.

So much so that a socialist revolution for M&E would have been impossible in feudal Russia; as much in 1874 as 1917.

This is in fact so hardwired into Marxist theory that it is impossible to abandon it without throwing the whole of Marx’s theory overboard, which is an option nevertheless...

OK; this seems to mean that Dave B thinks that Marx regarded it as impossible to have a proletarian revolution in Russia either in 1874 or in 1917 (obviously, that's just a projection of Marx's scheme) because capitalism wasn't sufficiently advanced in Russia at either of these points. If that's not what Dave B means then I have indeed put words in his mouth for which I will apologise.

If however, it is what Dave B means, then my criticism stands; that, firstly, the development of world capitalism (particularly the expansion of German capitalism) could allow Russia in 1874 (or at the date of the Vera Zusulich letter which is what I was talking about) to move directly from peasant communes to socialised agricultural production, in the context of a world revolution, which would mean that Russia would not have to go through a stage of capitalisation - this is the distinction that I was drawing between 'world stagism' which I agree is part of Marx's thinking here, and 'national stagism' which he may have had as part of his thinking at one point but certainly not when he wrote the Zasulich letter.

Secondly, by 1917 Russia had been going through about 50 years of intense capitalisation anyway, was one of the world's largest economies before WWI, had the biggest factories in the world and some of the largest and most concentrated proletarian areas in the world., numbering several million workers in a few very large concentrations.

Both of these points it seems to me negate what I believe is the general thrust of Dave B's argument. But as I say, if I've misunderstood or done violence to Dave B's argument, I do apologise, but this is what it seems to me you are arguing.

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
May 31 2010 11:54

Joey OD: in reference to this:

"I was gonna respond to slothjabber's misrepresentation of what I was saying but I'll leave that to tomorrow as i need to go to bed. I assume it was not cynical slander (if it was you should really get a job for a political party) but just a misunderstanding. Good night."

again, if I have misunderstood what you're actually saying, then, you too have my apologies. I'll quote your post, and highlight what I consider the most significant parts if that's OK; it'll mean running some bits together and seperating some bits out, but this is all taken from your original post that looks loke this:

"No, it's not that the Bolsheviks were "bad" but that the executive committee of the party did not and could not represent the interests of the proletariat. Like the Mescheviks and SRs before them they represented only themselves against the interests of the propletariat. Right from their coup d'etat which coincided with the workers revolution the party executive began to ignore the soviets and institute state repression. It was never a 'workers state'. Many workers were duped into trusted the Boshevik leaders. The real gains made by the workers revolution and the cause of the left communists was not helped by the failure of Berlin, Bavaria, Hungary, Italy, all Europe. But you can't blame isolation for the degeneration of the Bolshevik party. They were a seperate class (not "bad") from the beginning. The gains were lost due to not only state capitalist repression, but to a loss of workers militancy, of class consciousness and instead the false consciousness of trusting the Party and joining the ranks of the Party and the Army and dying for the party rather than for workers revolution. It is easy to mistake the Party and the State for the revolution and for our class interests. Let us not make the same mistake again. Saving, protecting, defending the State and Party is not saving, protecting, defending the revolution or the class even if the State and Party flys red flags, hammers and sickles, and calls itself workers, labour, communist socialist, soviet, people's, democratic, republican."

So what you seem to be arguing is:

" the executive committee of the party did not and could not represent the interests of the proletariat. Like the Mescheviks and SRs before them they represented only themselves ... They were a seperate class (not "bad") from the beginning. .."

1 - the Bolsheviks, because their leadership was drawn mostly from the 'middle classes' didn't have the same class interests as the proletariat; this is an idea I completely reject. They weren't a seperate class; they were among the best fighters for the proletariat (along with others such as the Anarchists around Maximoff, Berkman, Golman, the internationalists in the Serbian and German socialist parties, and others who opposed the war and supported workers' revolution).

"Right from their coup d'etat which coincided with the workers revolution the party executive began to ignore the soviets and institute state repression. It was never a 'workers state'. .."

2 - the Bolsheviks launched a coup against... what, the legitimate state? The warmongering provisional government? The revolutionary workers? I'm not quite sure what your view of the situation was here beyond what you seem to see as an illegitiamte power grab by the Bolsheviks, even though it was the Petrograd Soviet which took power, Bolsheviks, Anarchists and SRs too. And then the 'workers' state'... I don't believe it was actually a workers' state because I don't think a 'real' workers' state can exist. But 'workers' state' was the ideological cover for the counter-revolution - what the 'workers' state' does is in the interests of the proletariat up to and including shooting them, it was argued, so iun that sense 'workers' state' means brutal state capitalist dictatorship, which I believe the USSR was.

"... Many workers were duped into trusted the Boshevik leaders... The gains were lost due to not only state capitalist repression, but to a loss of workers militancy, of class consciousness and instead the false consciousness of trusting the Party and joining the ranks of the Party and the Army and dying for the party rather than for workers revolution..."

3 - if the consciousness of the workers had been different the result could have been different. I don't think this gets to the nub of things at all. No matter what the workers thought about the situation, it would be impossible to 'put things right' in Russia alone. Even if every single Russian worker was a theroetical giant and as militant as it's humanly possible to be, it would still be impossible to solve the conundrum of the Russian revolution in Russia alone.

"...The real gains made by the workers revolution and the cause of the left communists was not helped by the failure of Berlin, Bavaria, Hungary, Italy, all Europe. But you can't blame isolation for the degeneration of the Bolshevik party...

4 - as I stated in an earlier post, I wasn't blaming the failure of the revolution to spread for the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party (you've already claimed that the Bolshevik Party wasn't degenerate, by the way, just acting in a different class interest; if they represent a different class they can hardly be blamed for failing to represent the interests of the workers, see point 1 above). I was blaming the failure of the revolution to spread for the isolation and degeneration of the revolution in Russia. No matter what else happens, an isolated revolution has to degenerate; no matter what the consciousness of the workers (see point 3) and no matter what the class composition of the party or group excercising state power (see point 1), precisely because no matter the make-up of the govermnment of a 'red bastion' it must degenerate into a state capitalist dictatorship (see point 2), in the absence of world revolution. To believe otherwise is to believe that somehow, with the right consciousness, the right policy, the right class make up, it is possible to move towards socialism in one isolated trritory. This is Stalinism.

If I've done any violence to what you actually meant, then, I'm sorry, but this is honestly how I read what you've written.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
May 31 2010 17:59

I think that around 1880 (re letters to Vera) Karl and Fred considered the possibility, because of the ‘Mir’ primitive communist consciousness of sections of the Russian peasantry, that it may be possible for them and Russia to be absorbed directly into a communist revolution of the more advanced industrial proletariat in the ‘West’.

For want of a better a way of putting it.

However about 10 years later due to the progressive dissolution of the so called ‘Mir’ system or ‘economy’ that possibility had passed away.

A position or analysis outlined I think in an Afterword On Social Relations In Russia by Engels (1894)

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

That was an interpretation made I think by Kautsky, eg;

Karl Kautsky Differences Among the Russian Socialists (1905)

Quote:
Twenty-four years ago (1881) no one could assert with certainty that the Russian village communities might not become the starting point of a modern form of communism. Society as a whole can not leap over any stage of evolution, but single backward portions thereof can easily do this. They can make a leap in order to correspond with other and more advanced portions. So it was possible that Russian society might leap over the capitalist stage in order to immediately develop the new communism out of the old. But a condition of this was that socialism in the rest of Europe should become victorious during the time that the village communities still had a vital strength in Russia. This at the begining of the eighties appeared still possible.

But in a decade (circa 1894?) the impossibility of this transition was perfectly clear. The revolution in Western Europe moved slower and the village communities in Russia fell faster than appeared probable at the beginning of the eighties, and therewith it was decided that the special peculiarity of Russia upon which the terrorism and the socialism of the Narodnaya Volya was founded should disappear, and that Russia must pass through capitalism in order to attain socialism and that also Russia must in this respect pass along the same road as had Western Europe. Here as there socialism must grow out of the great industry and the industrial proletariat is the only revolutionary class which is capable of leading a continuous and independent revolutionary battle against absolutism.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1905/xx/rsdlp.htm

That was also an interpretation that was adopted by Lenin in the same year,1905, in ;

TWO TACTICS OF SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY IN THE DEMOCRATIC REVOLUTION

6. FROM WHAT DIRECTION IS THE PROLETARIAT THREATENED WITH THE DANGER OF HAVING ITS HANDS TIED IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE INCONSISTENT BOURGEOISIE?

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TT05.html#c6

I don’t think Kautsky fundamentally changed that position as it applied to Russia in 1918.

[I obviously have no desire to lock myself into a carte-blanche support of what Kautsky had to say on things. However I think his understanding of Marx and Engels theory is worthy of serious consideration as long as you exercise caution in identifying his own accretions]

However I am still a bit of a novice when it comes to Kautsky.

Karl Kautsky The Dictatorship of the Proletariat
Chapter VIII The Object Lesson

Quote:
Thus, by the example of the progressive countries, the Cause of Socialism will become irresistible in countries which to-day are not so advanced as to allow their proletariat of its own strength to conquer the power of the State, and put Socialism into operation.

And we need not place this period in the distant future. In a number of industrial States the material and moral prerequisites for Socialism appear already to exist in sufficient measure. The question of the political dominion of the proletariat is merely a question of power alone, above all of the determination of the proletariat to engage in resolute class struggle. But Russia, is not one of these leading industrial States. What is being enacted there now is, in fact, the last of bourgeois, and not the first of Socialist revolutions. This shows itself ever more distinctly. Its present Revolution could only assume a Socialist character if it coincided with Socialist Revolutions in Western Europe.

That by an object lesson of this kind in the more highly-developed nations, the pace of social development may be accelerated, was already recognised by Marx in the preface to the first edition of Capital:

One nation can and should learn from others. And even when a society has got upon the right track for the discovery of the natural laws of its movement - it can neither clear by bold leaps, nor remove by legal enactments the obstacles offered by the successive phases of its normal development. But it can shorten and lessen the birth-pangs.

In spite of their numerous calls on Marx, our Bolshevist friends seem to have quite forgotten this passage, for the dictatorship of the proletariat, which they preach and practise, is nothing but a grandiose attempt to clear by bold leaps or remove by legal enactments the obstacles offered by the successive phases of normal development.

They think that it is the least painful method for the delivery of Socialism, for “shortening and lessening its birth-pangs”. But if we are to continue in metaphor, then their practice reminds us more of a pregnant woman, who performs the most foolish exercises in order to shorten the period of gestation, which makes her impatient, and thereby causes a premature birth.

The result of such proceedings is, as a rule, a child incapable of life.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1918/dictprole/ch08.htm

Whatever else, unless you are a Stalinist, at least that was a prediction based on theory that came true.

In introducing state capitalism Lenin and his Bolsheviks in fact never really attempted to skip the capitalist stage, they just became the capitalist class.

The justification, or one of them, of holding onto the Russian state to prevent it being used against the coming socialist revolution in the West was yet another opportunistic daft idea of ‘fitting the facts and intelligence around the policy’ of the Bolshevik party seizing power.

I appreciate that Slothjabber thinks that Lenin and Kautsky didn’t know what they were talking about when they said Russia was ‘backward’, however for the others from Lenin again in 1912;

Quote:
In very many and very essential respects, Russia is undoubtedly an Asian country and, what is more, one of the most benighted, medieval and shamefully backward of Asian countries

.

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/DNC12.html

And from Lenin later, something perhaps a bit more interesting than his more famous April Thesis;

V. I. Lenin FAREWELL LETTER TO THE SWISS WORKERS Written on March 26 (April 8) 1917

Quote:
But the idea that the Russian proletariat is the chosen revolutionary proletariat among the workers of the world is absolutely alien to us. We know perfectly well that the proletariat of Russia is less organised, less prepared and less class-conscious than the proletariat of other countries. It is not its special qualities, but rather the special conjuncture of historical circumstances that for a certain, perhaps very short, time has made the proletariat of Russia the vanguard of the revolutionary proletariat of the whole world.

Russia is a peasant country, one of the most backward of European countries. Socialism cannot triumph there directly and immediately. But the peasant character of the country, the vast reserve of land in the hands of the nobility, may, to judge from the experience of 1905, give tremendous sweep to the bourgeois-democratic revolution in Russia and may make our revolution the prologue to the world socialist revolution, a step toward it.

Our Party was formed and developed in the struggle for these ideas, which have been fully confirmed by the experience of 1905 and the spring of 1917, in the uncompromising struggle against all the other parties; and we shall continue to fight for these ideas.

In Russia, socialism cannot triumph directly and immediately. But the peasant mass can bring the inevitable and matured agrarian upheaval to the point of confiscating all the immense holdings of the nobility. This has always been our slogan and it has now again been advanced in St. Petersburg by the Central Committee of our Party and by Pravda, our Party's newspaper.

The proletariat will fight for this slogan, without closing its eyes to the inevitability of cruel class conflicts between the agricultural labourers and the poorest peasants closely allied with them, on the one band, and the rich peasants, whose position has been strengthened by Stolypin's agrarian "reform" (1907-14), on the other. The fact should not be overlooked that the 104 peasant deputies in the First (1906) and Second (1907) Dumas introduced a revolutionary agrarian bill demanding the nationalisation of all lands and their distribution by local committees elected on the basis of complete democracy.

Such a revolution would not, in itself, be socialism. But it would give a great impetus to the world labour movement. It would immensely strengthen the position of the socialist proletariat in Russia and its influence on the agricultural labourers and the poorest peasants. lt would enable the city proletariat to develop, on the strength of this influence, such revolutionary organisations as the Soviets of Workers' Deputies to replace the old instruments of oppression employed by bourgeois states, the army, the police, the bureaucracy; to carry out -- under pressure of the unbearably burdensome imperialist war and its consequences -- a series of revolutionary measures to control the production and distribution of goods.

Single-handed, the Russian proletariat cannot bring the socialist revolution to a victorious conclusion. But it can give the Russian revolution a mighty sweep that would create the most favourable conditions for a socialist revolution, and would, in a sense, start it. It can facilitate the rise of a situation in which its chief, its most trustworthy and most reliable collaborator, the European and American socialist proletariat, could join the decisive battles.

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/FLSW17.html

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
May 31 2010 20:34
Dave B wrote:
...

I appreciate that Slothjabber thinks that Lenin and Kautsky didn’t know what they were talking about when they said Russia was ‘backward’ ...

But do you accept that

1 - Russia did not have to go through a capitalist phase of its own, as long as world capitalism was sufficiently developed (as Marx said in the Zasulich letter);
2 - even though that was not necessary, Russia actually had gone through capitalist development from the 1870s to the 1910s (as is demonstrated by economic development in Russia in that period, the creation of a massive proletariat etc);
3 - 'backwardness' in Russia was more a question of rapid and uneven development (so, as I said earlier, 'socially' backward) rather than a lack of economic development (which is what I was under the impression we were discussing)?

If you don't accept the above, can you be a bit clearer about which parts you disagree with?

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
May 31 2010 23:26

First of all I would like to try, in vain probably, to keep this focused for the moment on what Marx’s theory was and how it was interpreted by the principal theoreticians of the time.

On;

Quote:
1 - Russia did not have to go through a capitalist phase of its own, as long as world capitalism was sufficiently developed (as Marx said in the Zasulich letter).

In 1874 Karl was obviously sticking to his ‘early or original theory’ as elaborated in capital and elsewhere with his;

Quote:
Schoolboy stupidity! A radical social revolution depends on certain definite historical conditions of economic development as its precondition. It is also only possible where with capitalist production the industrial proletariat occupies at least an important position among the mass of the people. And if it is to have any chance of victory, it must be able to do immediately as much for the peasants as the French bourgeoisie, mutatis mutandis, did in its revolution for the French peasants of that time. A fine idea, that the rule of labour involves the subjugation of land labour! But here Mr Bakunin's innermost thoughts emerge.

He understands absolutely nothing about the social revolution, only its political phrases. Its economic conditions do not exist for him. As all hitherto existing economic forms, developed or undeveloped, involve the enslavement of the worker (whether in the form of wage-labourer, peasant etc.), he believes that a radical revolution is possible in all such forms alike. Still more! He wants the European social revolution, premised on the economic basis of capitalist production, to take place at the level of the Russian or Slavic agricultural and pastoral peoples, not to surpass this level [...] The will, and not the economic conditions, is the foundation of his social revolution.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1874/04/bakunin-notes.htm

As a result of later correspondence with Russians and a better and more detailed understanding of the situation in Russia, re the Mir situation, they modified their position somewhat to the 1881 Vera letter position.

Which was a bit speculative by nature I think.

[If you want to develop that you are going to have pull out the stuff you are interested in rather than me guessing it.]

That was then superseded by Engels in 1894 Afterword ‘back’ to the original schoolboy 1874 one.

Perhaps you are projecting Karl’s 1881 position to 1894.

Quote:
2 - even though that was not necessary, Russia actually had gone through capitalist development from the 1870s to the 1910s (as is demonstrated by economic development in Russia in that period, the creation of a massive proletariat etc);

All countries before they had overthrown feudalism and removed the fetters on free capitalist development had to or would have to have gone through some capitalist development. That was part of the theory.

I would generally agree with Lenin and Kautsky that overall Russia was relatively backward in the context of Marxist theory.

However I accept that in many respects Russia was peculiar in ‘1917’.

What capitalism existed was comparatively advanced with large modern factories and there were concentrations of manufacturing industry along with the proletariat.

However it was scattered and numerically small as a proportion of the population.

That was probably a result of large concentrations of foreign capital taking advantage of cheap labour and raw materials as investment opportunities for pooled or joint stock company capital.

Hence the proportion of indigenous capitalist class was unevenly small given even the albiet low overall level of capitalism.

Quote:
3 - 'backwardness' in Russia was more a question of rapid and uneven development (so, as I said earlier, 'socially' backward) rather than a lack of economic development (which is what I was under the impression we were discussing)?

I am not quite sure exactly what you mean by socially backward or what type of ‘social backwardness’.

[caveat; It is not necessarily my position, and I am fairly open minded about it, and I am quite willing to question Marxist dogma, it is how I started on all this shit, but.]

There is the issue in Marx’s theory about ‘ideological’ backwardness and that the working class need to acquire modern socialist consciousness as a result of their historical experience of being proletarians and of being involved in essentially co-operative, integrated and socialised production etc.

This was a point of the theory that collapsed in dismal failure in their own time and they were particularly exasperated by the lack of consciousness in the ‘English’ working class who circa 1880 were the least radical but most experienced.

Despite the fact that they were singing their praises 30 years earlier.

I suspect that ideology and culture is not quite so malleable as they liked to think, perhaps.

And that residual cultural notions and ideas about communal production etc from feudalism and peasant economies can carry over from generation to generation.

And that the socially dislocating effects of the transition from feudalism to capitalism, and ‘rebellion’ or ‘reaction’ against it, were felt most strongly in those places were it had only just begun.

The ‘reaction’ against big industrial capitalism, as I think Marx saw it, manifested itself amongst other things, in the commune movements such as in the Icarian movement, Proudhonism and syndicalism of the more parochial, independent go it alone collective type.

Which appeared to be more popular at the time in the areas of Europe that were just emerging out of feudalism.

And harking back to the old ways of doing things in changed times.

The less parochial ideas of federated syndicalism is less of an issue I think with the concepts of modern socialism or communism.

( I don’t want to pick a fight with them at the moment)

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 1 2010 03:57

ok, so moving on from Marx's determinsim to Lenin, Trotsky and friends.

Quote:
Lenin misused terms such as calling liberty a "bourgeois prejudice". For Marx socialism was full liberty, economic as well as political/legal/constitutional. Marx did not wish to get rid of individual liberty but extend it to freedom to control our own production, creation, freedom from wage slavery and exploitation. Lenin mistook his party, his flag, himself, his govt and state for the revolution. More genuine state socialists have claimed that liberal democratic state capitalism/ownership is the prologue to socialism. Leninism was not even this but authoritarian bureaucratic state capitalism with a vengeance. Marx believed in libertarian direct democratic workers ownership and control. He called workers democracy "a state" or rather the part of workers democracy that deals with defence, protection of what we have gained: workers militia, the people armed. Anarchists like Bakunin agree, we just don't call this a "state". There's is nothing wrong with dictatorship of the proletariat when the proletariat is the immense majority as it is now. No one and no party can "represent" the workers but the workers themselves. Lenin believed in dictatorship of the central executive of his party. Nothing more.
Quote:
Quote:

And this in the end wasn't because it wasn't advanced enough, or even because the Bolsheviks were bad, it's because any isolated 'workers state' will inevitably institute state-capitalist repression, or it will perish (or both) but whatever way, it will take a lot of workers down with it.

No, it's not that the Bolsheviks were "bad" but that the executive committee of the party did not and could not represent the interests of the proletariat. Like the Mescheviks and SRs before them they represented only themselves against the interests of the propletariat. Right from their coup d'etat which coincided with the workers revolution the party executive began to ignore the soviets and institute state repression. It was never a 'workers state'. Many workers were duped into trusted the Boshevik leaders. The real gains made by the workers revolution and the cause of the left communists was not helped by the failure of Berlin, Bavaria, Hungary, Italy, all Europe. But you can't blame isolation for the degeneration of the Bolshevik party. They were a seperate class (not "bad") from the beginning. The gains were lost due to not only state capitalist repression, but to a loss of workers militancy, of class consciousness and instead the false consciousness of trusting the Party and joining the ranks of the Party and the Army and dying for the party rather than for workers revolution. It is easy to mistake the Party and the State for the revolution and for our class interests. Let us not make the same mistake again. Saving, protecting, defending the State and Party is not saving, protecting, defending the revolution or the class even if the State and Party flys red flags, hammers and sickles, and calls itself workers, labour, communist socialist, soviet, people's, democratic, republican.

Quote:
No. I can't follow most of that. I don't think workers were 'duped', I think they supported the Bolsheviks because the Bolsheviks opposed WWI and called for 'All Power to the Soviets'. When they did this, the Bolsheviks expressed the will and the interests of the working class - as did the other groups, such as the group around Maximoff.

I don't know what 'the coup d'etat that co-incided with the workers' revolution' means. The 'coup d'etat' was organised by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, specifically its Military-Revolutionary Committee which was composed of Bolsheviks, Anarchists and SRs. An Anarchist ordered the surpression of the Constituent Assemby, etc. There was no 'coup d'etat'. What there was was a Bolshevik Party that enmeshed itself with the state and came to identify the interests of the state machine as the interests of the working class.

What do you mean by 'workers' state'? When I used it I put in 'quotes' to imply 'so-called workers' state'. Of course there was a 'workers' state' - the state that the Bolsheviks presided over that ended up massacring the workers in the name of the workers. What do you think that was?

The Bolsheviks were not a seperate class at all. Do you think they were capitalists? Did they own mines and factories? No, obviously not. Did they call for the revolutionary overthrow of the Russian government, 'peace bread and land' because they wanted to develop Russian capitalism?

You seem to believe that they had a devious 20-year plan to gain power by being a tiny party mostly in exile. Did Lenin and Trotsky support the left of the Second International in the period 1905-1914 to play some bizarre game whereby they could engender WWI and then 'rescue' Russia, while in exile in Switzerland? They must have been so fucking annoyed when they kept getting invitations to join the government, they must have really distracted them from becoming the government.

Of course I can blame the isolation of the revolution for the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party, I think it's proposterous to believe that a successful revolution in Germany, then rather quickly afterwards France, Britain, Italy, the USA and Japan would not have very rapidly given the world proletariat (including the Russian working class) a much clearer sense of where the revolution was going and how to get there. You think surrounded by a liberated Europe and Asia, Russia would have become a kind of Albania, in the 1920s? I think that's a daft idea.

I agree that 'protecting the party and the state is not the same as protecting the revolution'. Unfortunately, you're throwing out not only the bathwater, but the baby, the bath, the rest of the bathroom and a big pile of instructions saying 'how to not throw things out with the bathwater'. All we have to learn from your wayt of looking at the revolution is 'parties bad, and workers stupid'. I really don't think that's enough. I fear that your own very support for a 'workers state' for instance will lead us into exactly the same mess.

But in the end, I wasn't blaming the isolation of Russia for the degeneration of the Bolsheviks, I was blaming it for the failure of the revolution. The revolution is not the same as the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks didn't wreck the revolution, because no matter what policy the revolution was doomed. To believe otherwise, think that there can be 'revolution in one country', to think that all that is needed is the correct policy, is Stalinism. It's exactly the substitutionist logic that trapped the Bolsheviks in the Russian state. Oh how little we learn from history.

ok. let's take this bit by bit.

Quote:
Many workers were duped into trusted the Boshevik leaders.
Quote:
I don't think workers were 'duped', I think they supported the Bolsheviks because the Bolsheviks opposed WWI and called for 'All Power to the Soviets'. When they did this, the Bolsheviks expressed the will and the interests of the working class - as did the other groups, such as the group around Maximoff.

There is no contradiction here. Yes, I know and agree that many (eventually a majority) of urban workers supported the Bosheviks because they supported an end to WW1 and called for 'All Power To The Soviets', that the Bolsheviks, the anarchists, and others expressed the will (and the interest) of the majority of urban workers on these points.
They were duped at the point in which the central executive of the Bolshevik Party assumed executive power at the expense of the elected organs of the soviets, at the point in which all other 'parties' outside the BP were made illegal, at the point in which party officials were appointed from above not elected from below, party candidates to the soviets were appointed from above not elected from below, the point at which the soviets became mere rubber stamps for the central exec. of the BP before dissappearing altogether, and finally the point at which the working class trusted the central exec. in all this, mistaking their own interests for this group.
It is not an insult to say the working class was duped, decieved. We are all duped, decieved, socialised. I myself have been duped by the promises of political leadership and perhaps will be again. This doesnt make us stupid. Just human. And the Bolshevik leadership also duped themselves into believing their own rhetoric because they too were only human. But their interests and that of the working class diverged sometime after November 1917 with the consolidation of the former's power in the chaos of civil war and the imperialist encirclement. So let us learn from history and not beleive the claims of unelected unrecallable leaders but rather look to the workers assemblies, the factory committees and soviets (workers councils).

Quote:
Right from their coup d'etat which coincided with the workers revolution the party executive began to ignore the soviets and institute state repression.
Quote:
I don't know what 'the coup d'etat that co-incided with the workers' revolution' means. The 'coup d'etat' was organised by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, specifically its Military-Revolutionary Committee which was composed of Bolsheviks, Anarchists and SRs. An Anarchist ordered the surpression of the Constituent Assemby, etc. There was no 'coup d'etat'. What there was was a Bolshevik Party that enmeshed itself with the state and came to identify the interests of the state machine as the interests of the working class.
Quote:
I don't know what 'the coup d'etat that co-incided with the workers' revolution' means.

Well I didnt pull this out of the air. I've read and have to hand Maurice Brinton's The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control and I've read Berkman's The Bolshevik Myth and Goldman's Dissillusionment in Russia. I'm sure Maximov's the Guillitine at Work, Ida Mett's Kronstandt Commune and Kollantai's Workers Opposition, Victor Serge's Kronstandt 1921 and Arshinov's Civil War in Russia tell much the same story.
Then there's AJP Taylor (not a revolutionist I know, I recall Peter Hadden, recently deceased member of Militant/SP, calling his intro to Penguin's edition of the Manifesto "terrible"). But still.
In his intro to John Reed's Ten Days That Shook the World, which I also have to hand, AJP Taylor writes
"Lenin never came to Smolny until late on 6 November. Nor could he have named 7 November as the day. He was pressing all the time for an immediate seizure of power in the name of the Bolshevik party, not of the Soviets. The other Bolsheviks were less confident that their party alone would command enough support and wished to shelter behind the name of the Soviets. Maybe Trotsky, being President of the Petrograd Soviet, looked on the Soviets with a favourable eye. Some of the Bolsheviks even hoped that a revolution would be unnecessary. The All-Russian Congress would have a Bolshevik majority. The majority would elect a new executive committee, controlled by the Bolsheviks, and this committee would in turn become the government almost imperceptibly...." (p.xiv, 1977 edition, Penguin).
(the important part)
"At ten in the evening the All-Russian Congress" (of Soviets) "could be put off no longer. Lenin decided to anticipate events at the Winter Palace. He appeared in public for the first time since the July days and informed the astonished delegates that the Soviets had taken power. No sooner was the power in Soviet hands than it was taken away again. Lenin's list of Commissars was read out and the delegates were informed that this was the Soviet government. They duly applauded. There was nothing else they could do. In this way Lenin seized power for the Bolshevik party after all, but from the Soviet Congress, not from Kerensky." (p.xvii, ibid, my emphasis).
Now I don't know that "there was nothing they could do" but this is what I meant by "coup d'Etat", a sleight of hand, deference to leadership leading to the corruption of state power, power over the workers. Lenin was treated as a "genius". Even today people come to Belfast seeking support for the Venzualen revolution but instead of emphasising concrete details on workers cooperatives and free healthcare we're treated to tales of the wonderful Chavez having to "whip" his ministers into line. Now Lenin and co. fooled themselves as well as much as anyone else, feeding their ego that they knew what was best for the proles.
But going alongside this assumption of power by the leadership there was indeed a genuine workers revolution, had been since March, of workers soviets and factory committees, as well as peasant communes, soldiers and sailors soviets, of expropriations and direct democracy. This included the dispersal of the Kerensky government and the Constituent Assembly in favour of the workers, peasants, soldiers and sailors soviets. Only a pity the former assumption went along with this from November. This is what I meant by "coup d'Etat alongside the workers revolution." You (slothjabber) put it better for me when you wrote "What there was was a Bolshevik Party that enmeshed itself with the state and came to identify the interests of the state machine as the interests of the working class." This is all I meant.

Quote:
The 'coup d'etat' was organised by the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' and Soldiers' Deputies, specifically its Military-Revolutionary Committee which was composed of Bolsheviks, Anarchists and SRs. An Anarchist ordered the surpression of the Constituent Assemby, etc.

No, the workers revolution was organised by the Petrograd Soviet (mostly Bolsheviks with anarchist and others support), specifically the Military Revolutionary Committee (3 minor Bolsheviks in terms of inner party power). The coup d'Etat came just after with Lenin's assumption of power. At least that's what I meant. Perhaps coup d'Etat is not the best way of putting it but one way or the other the workers were not empowered while the BP executive was. I already knew about the anarcho who told the Constituent assembly members "the guard is tired". Of course the left SRs and the anarchists supported the riddance of the Kerensky regime and supported "all power to the soviets", only slowly did they realise what was really going on, after the event.

Quote:
There was no 'coup d'etat'. What there was was a Bolshevik Party that enmeshed itself with the state and came to identify the interests of the state machine as the interests of the working class.

Again, this is exactly what I meant by coup d'etat.

Quote:
It was never a 'workers state'.
Quote:
What do you mean by 'workers' state'? When I used it I put in 'quotes' to imply 'so-called workers' state'. Of course there was a 'workers' state' - the state that the Bolsheviks presided over that ended up massacring the workers in the name of the workers. What do you think that was?

confused uh, what the fuck? Grammar lesson required. I too put it in quotes to imply so-called workers state precisley because it was not a real, a genuine workers state precisley because it presided over the massacring of workers in the name of the workers.
I think it was a state, which by their nature are anti-working class, so a 'workers state' is an impossibility, when the workers are in charge there is no state ('state' in the sense of a minority ruling class, a hierarchy, a government).
Lenin understood this when he said "In a state worthy of the name there is no liberty. The people want to exercise power but what on earth would they do with it if it were given to them". (State and Revolution).
But by 'workers state' Marx meant the direct democratic or at least elected and recallable administration of things including defence by workers democracy, workers assemblies and rotation of posts, concepts which I have, and Bakunin had, no problem with.
I think it was a managers' state, a bureaucratic state in the name of the workers much like Gordon Brown's and Tony Blair's government was a manager's government (in bed with big business) in the name of labour.

Quote:
the executive committee of the party did not and could not represent the interests of the proletariat. Like the Mescheviks and SRs before them they represented only themselves against the interests of the propletariat.
Quote:
They were a seperate class (not "bad") from the beginning.
Quote:
The Bolsheviks were not a seperate class at all. Do you think they were capitalists? Did they own mines and factories? No, obviously not. Did they call for the revolutionary overthrow of the Russian government, 'peace bread and land' because they wanted to develop Russian capitalism?

Now this is interesting. The original Bolsheviks came from various backgrounds (Stalin, as it happens was a peasant meant for the seminar). Naturally, like the anarchists, the SRs and the Mencheviks the leadership came from the educated lower middle class (teachers, intellectuals). The Mencheviks decided to become a mass party and so came infused with many workers, ranknfile trade unionists. When the Bolsheviks too became a mass party in 1917 they too were joined by many workers. The leadership remained, however a breed apart. An elitist vanguard on purpose as What Is To Be Done? (1905) makes clear. Better to avoid "trade union consciousness". No, they were not private (non-state) capitalists. They quickly became managers (the apparatchi, the nomenklatura, the class in between the bourgeois and proletariat that Marx left out, that Mirovan Djilas called the New Class). But with state capitalism the state managers become 'state capitalists' as Tony Cliff put it or just 'Bureacrats' as Trotsky put it, or, if you prefer, a class of oppurtunist careerist politicians, a class for itself, seperate from and above the working class.
Actually they (the leadership) did want to develop "capitalism" (as Dave B put while the Menchoviks did not want to manage this process) or rather they wanted to develop further industrialisation, "Communism is Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country" (Lenin, Report to the 8th Congress of Soviets, 1920), " You must learn to be businessmen, not revolutionaries" (Lenin, address to the Party in 1922 according to Gerry Healy) which under state management is state capitalism or state socialism, whichever expression you prefer. They were able to deals with western businessmen, investors, assuring them of cheap labour costs (no effective unions) as part of the NEP. Stalin replaced this sop to market capitalism with full state capitalism and brought Russia up to speed achieving industrialisation for Russia in 20 years what took England 200 through the use of slave labour camps and military discipline.
However, I'm saying this is what they came to believe once corrupted by state power over the proles, not that they planned this twenty years before.

Quote:
Did they call for the revolutionary overthrow of the Russian government, 'peace bread and land' because they wanted to develop Russian capitalism?

I don't honestly know. Clearly many ranknfile Bolsheviks were sincere Marxists, communists who perished in revolution and civil war or under Stalin. Even the leadership genuinely believed that they were steering society toward communism. But political parties are adept at using our slogans and symbols to gain power. It depends how cynical you want to be. Bread and Peace was also used by the SRs and the anarchists and just the ordinary people of no stripe. The political class use our words and symbols to get power. Just look at what became of the words labour, workers, socialist, communist, democratic, republican, liberal, libertarian, Marxist, or what became of the symbols, the red flag and the hammer and sickle. So with All Power to the Soviets. On the other hand the Bolsheviks were forced to think on their feet as revolution in the west failed to materialise, they were encircled by imperial powers on all sides, and became embroiled in civil war...

Quote:
You seem to believe that they had a devious 20-year plan to gain power by being a tiny party mostly in exile. Did Lenin and Trotsky support the left of the Second International in the period 1905-1914 to play some bizarre game whereby they could engender WWI and then 'rescue' Russia, while in exile in Switzerland? They must have been so fucking annoyed when they kept getting invitations to join the government, they must have really distracted them from becoming the government.

No, I certainly don't believe that. You've put words in my mouth there and set up a strawman target. On the one hand, on the other hand.
On the one hand, the Bolsheviks did develop an elitist strategy (seen as necessary to survive the Czarist repression) which caused their split with the Mencheviks, and Lenin criticised syndicalist strategy by speaking of workers unable to get beyond "trade union consciousness". What is important is their inner party organisation at a time when they certainly were not thinking of establishing a one party dictatorship over Russia, of what was at the time a tiny little sect (unlike the Menchevik SDWP which was a mass party). They could not know the future but their inner party organisation did not bode well. As Trotsky at the time (1906) put it "Lenin's method leads to this: the Party organisation at first substitutes itself for the Party as a whole. Then the Central Committee substitutes itself for the Party organisation, and finally a single dictator substitutes himself for the Central Committee."
Now that didnt matter when the BP was a small inconsequential sect. But when they almost by accident stumbled into state power their lack of inner party democracy became a lack of democracy in society such that the Party substituted itself for the proletariat and the Party organisation etc.
As Rosa Luxembourg put it "this must be the class itself not a little leading minority in the name of the class".
On the other hand, no the elite of the BP were not conspiring their dictatorship for twenty years. In fact, according to AJP Taylor by way of John Reed, power kind of fell into their hands, and at first they werent sure what to do with it.
"Reed believed that the Bolshevik leaders knew what they were doing, and the victory of their revolution confirmed this belief. Such records as are available suggest otherwise. All the political leaders moved in a fog of revolution which was much like the fog of battle. The Bolshevik revolution was not a fully orchestrated piece with the music already composed. It was compounded, like most other events, of confusions and misunderstandings, of human endeavours and human failures, where the outcome surprised the victors as much as it stunned the defeated...the second drama was to be the victory of international Communism and turned out to be something quite different...In March 1917...In Trotsky's words, power fell into the street...Noone knew how to change direction. When the first Bolsheviks, including Stalin, returned from Siberia, they too accepted the provisional government and gave patriotic support to the war. Far away in Switzerland, Lenin was in despair. In his belief a great opportunity was being missed - oppurtunity not only for a socialist revolution in Russia, but for the striking of a spark that would set off revolution all over Europe...there would be general revolution and international socialism would be established. This was the key note of Lenin's policy: revolution for all European countries, not only for Russia. His Bolshevik followers had not grasped this policy...Back in Petrograd...He went directly to Bolshevik headquarters and said: 'I move that we prepare for a second revolution'. Lenin's proposal was defeated by twelve votes to one, Lenin's being the one. He merely laughed and said: 'The Russian people are a hundred times more revolutionary than we are'...the Bolsheviks now had a majority on the Petrograd Soviet...They controlled the Red Guards. But they made no use of their power. With Lenin far away, they were at a loss what to do. They made endless speeches...Then they waited in the atmosphere of tension that Reed describes so well...Lenin sent 'A Letter From Afar'. He wrote 'We should begin at once to plan the practical details of a second revolution'. The Bolshevik leaders, who later boasted of their revolutionary prowess - Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Bukharin - were horrified...Weeks passed. Lenin resolved to defy the order of the central committee that he should remain in Finland...returned to a Petrograd suburb...the central committee met in Lenin's suburb...Lenin insisted on an immediate seizure of power; the committee finally agreed by ten votes to two...'Well, what day?'....28 October. On 28 October nothing happened...Lenin was furious...Once more the Bolsheviks resoved to seize power. This time on 2 November. Once more nothing happened...Lenin never came to Smolny until late on 6 November. Nor could he have named 7 November as the day. He was pressing all the time for an immediate seizure of power in the name of the Bolshevik party, not of the Soviets. The other Bolsheviks were less confident that their party alone would command enough support and wished to shelter behind the name of the Soviets. Maybe Trotsky, being President of the Petrograd Soviet, looked on the Soviets with a favourable eye. Some of the Bolsheviks even hoped that a revolution would be unnecessary. The All-Russian Congress would have a Bolshevik majority. The majority would elect a new executive committee, controlled by the Bolsheviks, and this committee would in turn become the government almost imperceptibly. The Bolsheviks were not in fact preparing to seize power, despite Lenin's persistent goading. Their plans were defensive precautions in case Kerensky attempted a counter-revolution. The plans were made by the military revolutionary committee, three obscure men who did not stand high in the party...The leading Bolsheviks were busy making speeches, not planning a revolution. None of them gave the decisive push. Not for that matter did Lenin himself. The signal for the revolution was given, strangely enough, by... Kerensky...On 5 November the provisional government resolved to suppress the Bolshevik papers and arrest the leaders of the Petrograd Soviet...At eleven o'clock that morning the Bolshevik central committee, still thinking in defensive terms, resolved that armed resistence should begin at 2 am the next day...Lenin said: 'From being on the run to supreme power - that's too much. It makes me dizzy', and he made the sign of the cross. The revolutionay military committee had planned a desperate resistence against a fierce attack by the provisional government. There was no such attack. Kerensky fled early in the day...the other members of the provisional government sat helplessly in the Winter Palace...The revolutionary drama was over...Such was the achievement, but not the aim, of Lenin's revolution. In his eyes the Russian revolution was a mere preliminary to a greater revolution which would establish international socialism...But this first act was not followed by the second...Lenin and his followers were bewildered by this outcome. Trotsky said on 8 November 1917: 'Either the Russian revolution will create a revolutionary movement in Europe, or the European powers will crush the revolution.' Neither happened. Lenin, like all other Bolsheviks, including at that time Stalin, believed that socialism was impossible in a single country. In 1921 he called a halt. The (NEP) marked a cautious return to capitalism, while the Bolsheviks waited for a second wave of revolution which must surely come..." Taylor, ibid, pp.ix-xix.
Now, clearly this picture does not paint machavellian devils conspiring for 20 years but rather ordinary humans clumsily reacting to events. But the problem was not only isolation but also the hierarchical structure and ideology of the party which worsened when they attained and became corrupted by power but which can be traced right back to 1905/6 as I've described. Because they attained power this hierarchical structure transferred from the party to the state to society as a whole (just as previously it transferred from the Czar's inner circle to society as a whole). Yes they genuinely wanted peace, and communism in the future, but their hierarchical/authoritarian ideology made them use hierarchical/authoritarian means in an attempt to achieve these. This ideology predates November 1917.
Clearly, Taylor agrees with Slothjabber on the importance of isolation, the failure of European revolution. But all I'm saying is that's not the whole story.

Quote:
The real gains made by the workers revolution and the cause of the left communists was not helped by the failure of Berlin, Bavaria, Hungary, Italy, all Europe. But you can't blame isolation for the degeneration of the Bolshevik party.
Quote:
Of course I can blame the isolation of the revolution for the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party, I think it's proposterous to believe that a successful revolution in Germany, then rather quickly afterwards France, Britain, Italy, the USA and Japan would not have very rapidly given the world proletariat (including the Russian working class) a much clearer sense of where the revolution was going and how to get there. You think surrounded by a liberated Europe and Asia, Russia would have become a kind of Albania, in the 1920s? I think that's a daft idea.

I should have said "You can't blame isolation soley for the degeneration of the BP". Whether European revolution would have given the proletariat a much clearer idea of where it was going or would also have degenerated into more state corruption under different flags is impossible to say but would have depended on the internal structures and ideologies of the parties taking part, the internal structures and ideologies of proletarian organs such as workers councils, factory committees, workers assemblies, the prevalence of a culture of individual liberty, social equality and rebellion or the prevalence of a culture of subservience, deference, to leaders, including leaders who claim to be revolutionary, and claim to represent the workers best interests. What's true for Russia is also true for Europe and represents the anarchist and libertarian Marxist critique of both Leninism and so-called social democracy. I never said anything about Russia being a kind of Albania in the 1920s or about Russia being an authoritarian island aside liberated Europe. The Labour Party in Britan, the SPD in Germany and the SFIO in France were also authoritarian. I agree revolution must be worldwide, that isolation is fatal. But that's not the whole story regarding Bolshevism in Russia or 'authoritarian socialism' elsewhere in Europe.

Quote:
I agree that 'protecting the party and the state is not the same as protecting the revolution'. Unfortunately, you're throwing out not only the bathwater, but the baby, the bath, the rest of the bathroom and a big pile of instructions saying 'how to not throw things out with the bathwater'. All we have to learn from your wayt of looking at the revolution is 'parties bad, and workers stupid'. I really don't think that's enough. I fear that your own very support for a 'workers state' for instance will lead us into exactly the same mess.

You totally misunderstand me. I'm not so arrogant that I think I can give anyone instructions how to complete a successful revolution. If I was I wouldnt be an anarchist. 'Parties' in the usual sense of the word are structured hierarchically and exist to capture state power for themselves supposedly on behalf of the people or the workers etc. I agree there may be some groups which call themselves Party but are not like this like perhaps the ICP or some such (im not sure) or what was the KAPD in 1920s Germany and the CWP in Britian. Indeed there was an Italian anarchist group that called itself the Anarchist Communist Party at the turn of the 19th century and the Mexican anarchists called themselves the Liberal Party (!) what's in a name? So I could be wrong but my reading of history suggests that, not parties per se, but authoritarian political parties out to gain power for themselves are more likely to be corrupted by state power than deliver what they promised whatever their original intentions. It seems historically that direct action by we workers ourselves got the goods. Which is why I think that things like direct democracy, delegate democracy, rotation of posts, workers control, are good ideas. So, such parties are not so much 'bad' as seemingly bound to fail us, and we workers are not 'stupid' just socialised, conditioned into following leaders. I myself, no doubt, am socialised in ways not in my interest. This doesnt make me stupid, just human. If all I was saying was 'parties bad, workers stupid' that wouldnt just be not enough but wrong. But that is not what I was saying. As I've already explained I don't believe a 'workers state' is possible and I don't support any state (in the sense I assume you mean), and I agree with you that supporting such an idea would lead us into exactly the same mess.

Quote:
But in the end, I wasn't blaming the isolation of Russia for the degeneration of the Bolsheviks, I was blaming it for the failure of the revolution. The revolution is not the same as the Bolsheviks. The Bolsheviks didn't wreck the revolution, because no matter what policy the revolution was doomed. To believe otherwise, think that there can be 'revolution in one country', to think that all that is needed is the correct policy, is Stalinism. It's exactly the substitutionist logic that trapped the Bolsheviks in the Russian state. Oh how little we learn from history.

Again, youve misunderstood me. I completely agree that as well as the "correct" or rather the most likely useful policies, practices, world revolution is necessary. I don't believe there can be revolution in one country. That's the first time I've been accused of being a Stalinist! confused Both the authoritarian practice of the state and the isolation doomed the actual workers revolution in Russia 1917-22. Perhaps we actually agree.

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
Jun 1 2010 10:51

We agree on a lot more than I thought we did at first, Joey OD, but the main thing I'm not going to let lie is the accusation that you're a Stalininst, without even realising it perhaps.

You claim that the authoritarianism of the Bolsheviks was (at least in part) to blame for the degeneration of the revolution.

Therefore if the Bolsheviks had not been authoritarian the result would have been different.

Therefore a different set of policies or practices or a different leadership or a different culture in the Bolshevik Party would have produced a different (better?) result.

Therefore saving the revolution (at least in part) was a matter of 'correct leadership' or those other things I mentioned.

In other words, by the application of the correct policy by the correct leaders, the revolution could have been saved.

This is the stock-in-trade of Trots and Stalinists. Oh, we have the wrong 'Great Leader', that's the problem.

The failure of the revolution was not, ever, about the application of the correct policy. No policy could have saved the Russian revolution. Even if Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Dzerzhinsky and Kamenev had died on the morning of January 1st 1918, and been replaced by hollow chocolate bunnies of fluffy niceness, who were all wise and loving, the Soviet Republic would still have become a brutal state capitalist dictatorship.

Even if the soviets had decided to offer state power to Kropotkin, Maximoff, Makhno, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, the Soviet Union would still have become a brutal state capitalist dictatorship.

Even if all the Bolsheviks had been murdered and replaced by people we've never heard of; even if the Whites had won the civil war; still a brutal state capitalist dictorship.

The only possible way, short of a world revolution, that a brutal state capitalist dictatorship could have been avoided in the Russian Empire would be the dismemberment of the Empire leading to dozens of brutal state capitalist dictatorships perpetually at war with each other.

State capitalist dictatorship was an inevitable consequence of of the failure of the world revolution. The fact that the Bolsheviks were the ones who ushered in that brutal counter-revolution was because they had fused themselves with the state, not the other way round - they didn't fuse with the state in order to bring about counter-revolution. Whoever tried to hold the Russian state together would have ended in the same boat - presiding over an isolated counter-revolutionary regime.

------

Subsidiary point - you still seem to be misunderstanding my position on the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party as opposed to the degeneration of the revolution.

I believe (as I think I've mentioned) that the revolution degenerated because there was no world revolution; this began to happen immediately but there was also a forward movement because the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry were still pushing things forward; but the internal drives of the revolution increasing came up against the external realities of isolation. So, world revolution would save the revolution, nothing else could.

The degeneration in the Bolshevik Party was caused by fusing itself with the state, and increasingly identifying itself with the state. This also began happening immediately. Even if the world revolution had spread, I contend that if the Bolsheviks had continued to identify with the Russian state they would still have degenerated. I can see a hypothetical situation where an increasingly conservative Bolshevik-dominated Russia could even be in conflict with a revolutionary Germany. I don't think it's a likely scenario but it's possible. In this case it's the fusing with the state that's the problem. But's a problem that I think would have been corrected had the revolution progressed in Germany.

The two aren't the same thing, and are really only tangentally connected.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 1 2010 20:46

ok, someone needs to explain to me the technical issue of how you relace "quote" with someones name, Im sure its simple, I just dont know.
Dave B wrote

Quote:
In fact the Bolshevik revolution was more of an Bakuninist and Anarchist experiment gone wrong than anything to do with orthodox Marxism of circa 1905.

Which leads into the other aspect of the argument about what ‘Anarchists’ were doing supporting state capitalism as a historical necessity.

Not all anarchist were, and I think there does appear to be some evidence that principled anarchists were working with the Menshevik ‘led’ movement in resisting the Bolsheviks in 1918 at least.

No, I can't agree with this.

Quote:
In fact the Bolshevik revolution was more of an Bakuninist and Anarchist experiment gone wrong than anything to do with orthodox Marxism of circa 1905.

True, anarchists don't buy into following crude determinist logic such as waiting on events, waiting for further industrial development or further capitalist development. But neither did Marx! As has been explained above Marx spoke of Russian peasants skipping a stage (letter to Vera). More importantly, while emphasing the need to take economic development into consideration, Marx never gave a time frame as to when he thought capitalism would be fully pregnant with the baby of the proletarian revolution. 1000 years or in his lifetime? He supported the Paris Commune and the workers movement all over Europe including being on the General Council of the IWA. When he advised the workers movement in Germany on its attitude to peasants demands, and to the petit bourgeoisie was he thinking of revolution in his lifetime or a thousand years from now? Who knows or cares? But Marx didn't argue we should wait on events in Russia or anywhere else. Or if he did on one page he contradicted this elsewhere with both words and actions.
Marx also advised an alliance between urban workers and rural peasants. In this the anarchists and Bosheviks were in agreement as were Marx and Bakunin 40 years previous. And so, ironically, were the Menchoviks and SRs in their own way. If the Menchoviks were not in Kerensky's provisional government (Dave B says unlike the Bolsheviks they refused to manage capitalism) they at least supported this government as part of a kind of general revolutionary alliance or popular front after the first (March) revolution when they all, even the Bolsheviks at the time, supported the provisional government and a defensive war (all but the anarchists who were a voice in the wind). In this the Menchoviks claimed to represent the urban workers while the SRs claimed to represent the peasantry. After the November reshuffle it was the Bosheviks claiming (and to an extent, as Slothjabber points out, actually) representing the urban workers while the Left SRs claimed to represent the (smaller holding) peasants. So while anarchists don't buy into crude rigid determinist logic neither do many Marxists including Marx.
But to call the Bolshevik enterprise "anarchist or Bakuninist" is preposterous. True, the Bosheviks first had the same position as the Menchoviks and Right SRs, but then, urged by Lenin, appeared to adopt the position of the anarchists, syndicalists, and Left SRs (or rather the position of the people in the streets), an end to the war, all power to the soviets, land to the peasants, and even came close to rhetorically supporting the factory committees which they would later abandon in favour of one man management (see Brinton's Bolshevik's and Workers Control). But in reality there position of centralised state management and one party dictatorship/one man dictatorship, forced labour camps, military slavery called "war communism", was all far from, indeed the very opposite of a Bakuninist or anarchist position.
Unless you are referring to Bakunin's position before he became an anarchist in the last years of his life? Before this Bakunin supported minority dictatorship, military 'revolutionary' juntas, secret conspiratorial elites, not to mention slav nationalism, but none of these are anarchist positions. Bakunin was also a racist anti-semite. This does not make racism or anti-semitism an anarchist position.

Quote:
Which leads into the other aspect of the argument about what ‘Anarchists’ were doing supporting state capitalism as a historical necessity.

Which anarchists would these be? Anarchists (with, in Russia, the sole exception of Kropotkin who all anarchists now and most anarchists at the time acknowledge was wrong on this) supported an end to the war and more power to the soviets, factory committees and mirs. In this they worked with the Bolsheviks, Left SRs, syndicalists and others against the Provisional government (the Right SRs, the Menchoviks, the Cadets). When the Bolsheviks gained power some former anarchists joined the Bolsheviks, became Bolsheviks and ceased to be anarchists (such as Victor Serge and the worst example being Yakov Peters who became a Cheka agent and victimised his former comrades). Other anarchists awoke to the new repression and together with other left communists, syndicalists and council communists worked for a 'third revolution', supported the Kronstandt uprising and the RIA's Ukranian revolution (the Makhnovichna). At no point did anarchists support state capitalism as a historical necessity. Strange criticism coming from a Marxist as this is the major division between Marxism and anarchist communism (or rather what Marxism became after Marx, as I explained elsewhere Marx's concept of the 'state' was more in tune with workers democracy as in the Paris Commune).

Quote:
Not all anarchist were, and I think there does appear to be some evidence that principled anarchists were working with the Menshevik ‘led’ movement in resisting the Bolsheviks in 1918 at least.

Never saw evidence for this. Mostly the Menchoviks fled abroad. The Left SRs rose in revolt, as did the Right SRs, but they were crushed. One Red Army officer with alleged Left SR sympathies also rebelled but was also crushed. The left Bolsheviks also came to differences with the leadership: left opposition, workers opposition. The anarchists worked with who ever they could but the Cheka silenced all opposition, as the left was stuck between the terror of the Cheka and the terror of the Whites. Mechovik led resistence in 1918? First time I've heard of that. Clearly the anarchists had more in common with the Bolsheviks than the Menchoviks: an end to the imperialist war, an immediate end to bourgeois capitalism, but soon found they along with the left communists also differed with the Bolsheviks on state capitalism or common ownership, one man management or workers control, voluntary collectivism and/or redistribution or forced 'collectivisation' (state ownership).

RedHughs
Offline
Joined: 25-11-06
Jun 1 2010 21:23

I'm liking Revol68's posts a lot lately (seriously)... revolutionaries shouldn't occupy their time "reclaiming the honor of Marx", we should attempt to reclaim what useful theory there is in Marx and others. It's worth saying that Lenin represented *a* current of rigid stagism which Marx certainly played into at times. We could argue all day about how much Marx played into this BUT the more useful approach is synthesize a theory that will serve our needs.

Revol wrote:
...it is quite possible to reject such a stagist theory of development whilst retaining alot of Marx's theories, infact a rejection of such crude stagism allows for a far richer reading of Marx.

Yes, but I would mention also that a rejection that goes to the point of ignoring all questions of stages will have thrown-out all of the crucial parts Marx's perspective (not that Revol does this but rather that a certain "anarchist" reading of Marx does this).

A useful middle-ground is necessary - any Marxian viewpoint is going to be "stage aware". Indeed, the point that capitalism will remain capitalism unless some massive, collective action puts an end to it is based on the theory of stages. Capitalism is stage we're stuck rather than being something society will just drift or reform its way out of.

The question is what would a theory that was neither mindlessly stage-ist nor mindlessly stage-less look like? One could assume that a movement towards communism might have some chance at any the times but that some conditions and circumstances make that chance more greater than in other circumstance.

One metaphor I like for analyzing social change is dynamic systems theory and chaotic dynamics. If we take this viewpoint, feudalism, capitalism and communism are each "attractors" for the state of human society. With enough energy, you can go from any attractor to any other attractor . But there is still tendency to move to the attractor that is "closest" to the "attractor" you are within, if you jump from one attractor at all.

(and Marx's argument could be translated here to say that first capitalism and then communism become larger attracting sets as human society evolves).

Revol wrote:
Whilst Dave B's post is broadly speaking true and for most of Marx's writings he is indeed quite a stick in the mud about stages, it is not the full story as made clear in his response to Vera Zasulich over the matter of possibility of Socialist Revolution in Russia.

Indeed, Marx varied. But would not this variation point to a need to be engaged in a critical evaluation of his over-all frame rather than trying to deduce a single viewpoint from the detailed comparison of a vast series of manuscripts.

Quote:
The Mensheviks basically agreed with that position however the Mensheviks didn't want to get involved or sucked into administrating capitalism after the bourgeois revolution or in other words the overthrow of feudalism.

Put that way, I don't feel particular unsympathetic to the approach.

If one was "stage-aware" without being stage-rigid, one would have to look at at a given revolt as possibly leading to communism and possibly leading to the furtherance of capitalism. One would thus only wish to participate in the revolt in so-far-as it leads towards communism.

The Bolsheviks arguably became the victim of stage dynamics themselves. Believing that by mere exertion of power they could create communism, they instead created a version of a capitalist revolution, including a horrific "primitive accumulation" through the "liquidation of the kulaks as a class".

slothjabber
Offline
Joined: 1-08-06
Jun 1 2010 21:48

But they didn't believe that they could 'create communism'. Nor did they seriously beleive that they would end up 'administering capitalism'. They believed that they would be presiding over a state that was progressively united to the world revolution. The failure of the world revolution is what turned their expectations into a bitter brutal travesty.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 1 2010 22:01

(Dave B wrote)

Quote:
I think Lenin was a power opportunistic mad crypto fascist megalomaniac.

or rather just human, and so was corrupted by power as we all would be including me and everyone on this forum, and even 'nice' politicians like Tony Benn would have been corrupted in power if he had stayed a minister for long enough.
Not only was Lenin corrupted by power but before and after he gained power he was also corrupted by his followers feeding his ego as the genius leader, with their deference and subservience, just like every other political leader in history and so today.
I think this characature is not helpful. True, Lenin was certainly an authoritarian. But in the sense that he genuinely believed authoritarian means would deliver libertarian and egalitaran (communist) ends. I think using the word 'fascist' as shorthand for authoritarian is unhelpful. The term should be reserved for the movement and ideology that emerged in postwar Europe which called itself 'fascist', falangist, national socialist, corporatist, and which still exists today. Lenin was certainly not a fascist in this sense. He was a social democrat first, then specifically a Bolshevik/bolshevist, and so he remained. I suppose we could call him a 'Leninist' being the primogenorator of Leninism, but remembering that Marx claimed he was not a Marxist.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jun 2 2010 00:13

Marx’s support for the commune was somewhat qualified I think;

Marx to Engels 6th September 1870

Quote:
"this is more necessary than ever, since the whole French Branch (of the international) escapes now to Paris, in order to do there all kinds of follies in the name of the international. They wish to bring down the Provisional government, to establish a Commune de Paris …….."

That is from a book and I assume it is reliable.

(As to whether or not the working class thought it was ‘folly’ at the end of the day, opinions may have varied amongst the working class victims, but the dead don’t speak much.)

And;

Marx to Domela Nieuwenhuis, In The Hague, London, February 22,
1881

Quote:
Perhaps you will point to the Paris Commune; but apart from the fact that this was merely the rising of a town under exceptional conditions, the majority of the Commune was in no sense socialist, nor could it be. With a small amount of sound common sense, however, they could have reached a compromise with Versailles useful to the whole mass of the people -- the only thing that could be reached at the time

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1881/letters/81_02_22.htm

I think on anarchists supporting the Bolsheviks, Lenin acknowledged it.

V. I. Lenin, Letter to Sylvia Pankhurst.
28 August, 1919

Quote:
Very many anarchist workers are now becoming sincere supporters of Soviet power, and that being so, it proves them to be our best comrades and friends, the best of revolutionaries, who have been enemies of Marxism only through misunderstanding, or, more correctly, not through misunderstanding but because the official socialism prevailing in the epoch of the Second International (1889-1914) betrayed Marxism, lapsed into opportunism, perverted Marx’s revolutionary teachings in general and his teachings on the lessons of the Paris Commune of 1871 in particular.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/aug/28.htm

I think it was fairly clear from Berkman’s Bolshevik myth than Berkman was supporting at least to some extent at the beginning the bolsheviks and I think it was either Goldman or Berkman that regarded the Bolshevik Government as a ‘historic necessity’.

Berkman was actually asked I believe to translate and thus endorse Lenin’s infantile Disorder pamphlet.

The Menshevik position as regards the coming capitalist revolution was best surmised as following the advice given in the Turati letter re a similar situation as regards the Italian ‘bourgeois revolution’ that became the focal point in the debate between the Mensheviks and the Bolsheviks in 1905 and is mentioned several times in the Stalin and Lenin literature of the time.

We have to get much of the Menshevik position from the Bolshevik archive.

Marx-Engels Correspondence 1894 Engels to Filippo Turati
In Milan

Quote:
But if it comes to this, we must be conscious of the fact, and openly proclaim it, that we are only taking part as an "independent Party," which is allied for the moment with Radicals and Republicans but is inwardly essentially different from them: that we indulge in absolutely no illusions as to the result of the struggle in case of victory; that this result not only cannot satisfy us but will only be a newly attained stage to us, a new basis of operations for further conquests; that from the very moment of victory our paths will separate; that from that same day onwards we shall form a new opposition to the new government, not a reactionary but a progressive opposition, an opposition of the most extreme Left, which will press on to new conquests beyond the ground already won.

After the common victory we might perhaps be offered some seats in the new Government – but always in a minority. Here lies the greatest danger. After the February Revolution in 1848 the French socialistic Democrats (the Réforme people, Ledru-Rollin, Louis Blanc, Flocon, etc.) were incautious enough to accept such positions. As a minority in the Government they involuntarily bore the responsibility for all the infamy and treachery which the majority, composed of pure Republicans, committed against the working class, while at the same time their participation in the government completely paralysed the revolutionary action of the working class they were supposed to represent.

http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1894/letters/94_01_26.htm

The Bolsheviks obviously ended up going somewhat further than merely going into governing capitalism as part of a minority government.

Anyway more;

V. I. Lenin THE THIRD CONGRESS OF THE R.S.D.L.P. APRIL 12 (25) - APRIL 27 (MAY 10), 1905

Quote:
Even less felicitous is the adducing of the second quotation from Engels. For one thing, it is rather odd of Plekhanov to refer to a private letter without mention of the time and place of its publication.[121] We could only be grateful for the publication of Engels' letters, but we should like to see their full text. We have, however, some information which permits us to judge of the true meaning of Engels' letter.

We know definitely, in the second place, that the situation in Italy in the nineties was nothing like the present situation in Russia. Italy had been enjoying freedom for forty years. In Russia the working class cannot even dream of such freedom without a bourgeois revolution. In Italy, consequently, the working class had long been in a position to develop an independent organisation for the socialist revolution. Turati is the Italian Millerand. It is quite possible, therefore, that even at that time Turati advocated Millerandian ideas.

This assumption is borne out by the fact that, according to Plekhanov himself, Engels had to explain to Turati the difference between a bourgeois-democratic and a socialist revolution. Thus, Engels feared that Turati would find himself in the false position of a leader who did not understand the social significance of the revolution in which he was taking part. Accordingly, we must say again of Plekhanov that he confounds democratic with socialist revolution.

But perhaps we might find in Marx and Engels an answer which, though not applying to the concrete situation in
page 391
Russia, would apply to the general principles of the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat? Iskra at any rate raises one such general question.
It states in issue No. 93: "The best way to organise the proletariat into a party in opposition to the bourgeois-democratic state is to develop the bourgeois revolution from below through the pressure of the proletariat on the democrats in power." Iskra goes on: "Vperyod wants the pressure of the proletariat on the revolution [?] to be exerted not only from below, not only from the street, but also from above, from the marble halls of the provisional government." This formulation is correct; Vperyod does want this. We have here a really general question of principle: is revolutionary action permissible only from below, or also from above? To this general question we can find an answer in Marx and Engels.

http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TC05.html

Stalin ‘sensibly’ modified that position;

J. V. Stalin THE PROVISIONAL REVOLUTIONARY GOVERNMENT AND SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY

page 146-147

Quote:
What does Engels say according to the Mensheviks? It appears that in a letter to Turati he says that the impending revolution in Italy will be a petty bourgeois and not a socialist revolution; that before its victory the proletariat must come out against the existillg regime jointly with the petty bourgeoisie, but must, without fail, have its own party; that it would be extremely dangerous for the Socialists to enter the new government after the victory of the revolution. If they did that they would repeat the blunder made by Louis Blanc and other French Socialists in 1848, etc.[*] In other words, in so far as the Italian revolution will be a democratic and not a socialist revolution it would be a great mistake to dream of the rule of the proletariat and remain in the government after the victory; only before the victory can the proletariat come out jointly with the petty bourgeoisie against the common enemy. But who is arguing against this? Who says that we must confuse the democratic revolution with the socialist revolution?

http://www.marx2mao.com/Stalin/PRG05.html

The Menshevik policy was to participate in the convening of the constituent assembly and the democratic part of the bourgeois/capitalist ‘democratic’ revolution and then bow out and go into opposition as apart from anything else they had no expectation of gaining anything but minority representation.

The similarity between insurrectionary secret brotherhood Bakuninism and Bolshevism also went back along way as far as the Mensheviks were concerned.

From the Leninist historian E.H. Carr in chapter 2 volume one, ’The Bolshevik Revolution’ events circa 1904;

Quote:
Lenin was now declared guilty of fostering a ’sectarian spirit of exclusiveness’. In an article entitled ‘Centralism or Bonapartism?’ he was accused of ‘confusing the dictatorship of the proletariat with the dictatorship over the proletariat’, and practising ‘Bonapartism, if not absolute absolute monarchy in the old pre revolutionary style’. His view of the relation of the professional revolutionary to the masses was not that of Marx, but of Bakunin.

Martov, reverting to the idea which he had propunded at the congress, wrote a pamphlet on ‘The Struggle Against Martial Law In The Russian Social Democratic Workers Party’. Vera Zasulich wrote that Louis XIV idea of the state was Lenins idea of the party. The party printing press, now under Menshevik auspices, published a brilliantly vituperative pamphlet by Trotsky entitled ‘Our Political Tasks’; the present Menshevik affiliations of the author were proclaimed by the dedication ..…….Lenins methods were attacked as a ‘dull characture of the tragic intransigence of jacobinism’ and a situation predicted in which , ‘the party is replaced by the organisation of the party, the organisation by the central committee and finally the central committee the dictator’.

The final chapter bore the title ‘The Dictatorship Over The Proleteriat’.

‘The Dictatorship Over The Proleteriat’, by of all people Leon Trotsky, is now available and is still awaiting addition to the MIA apparently.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 2 2010 00:21

slothjabber wrote

Quote:
1 - the Bolsheviks, because their leadership was drawn mostly from the 'middle classes' didn't have the same class interests as the proletariat; this is an idea I completely reject. They weren't a seperate class; they were among the best fighters for the proletariat (along with others such as the Anarchists around Maximoff, Berkman, Golman, the internationalists in the Serbian and German socialist parties, and others who opposed the war and supported workers' revolution).

This is an idea I too reject. The ranknfile Bosheviks were workers. The leadership were indeed among the best fighters for the proletariat up to a point. They, the leadership, became a seperate class when they gained and maintained state power for themselves. To an extent, and for various reasons, an authoritarian attitude can be detected going back to 1905 (as Trotsky noted at the time) but it was after they gained and maintained the power that the leadership of the BP became a seperate class. Of course the original leadership died of old age, perished in the civil war or were later liquadated by Stalin. But the class of state managers existed in 1918 and evolved into that of 1924, 1937 etc. It's all about timing. And because it seems 'inevitable' that state power (power of a minority over the majority, of some over others, of one person over many) corrupts this is what I mean about seperate class and seperate class interests. It may be that a fellow factory worker decides to run for office as a candidate for the Labour Party. Now in a sense he's still the same class as me unless and until he is successfully elected in which case he joins the class of 'public representatives', politicians, state managers over the working class. But, in some sense, even before he is successfully elected he is part of a 'class' of ambitious, even opportunistic, wouldbe politicians with different interests than me and the rest of my class. There are political as well as economic classes. Perhaps 'class' is the wrong word to use but there are groups of people with different interests who are part of the state machine which I am not. This is of course compounded by the fact that there are very few factory workers (if any) who go on to become electoral candidates or seniour public servants, state managers. I was just trying to point out that just as the Bolshevik party came not to represent the workers and the British Labour Party came not to represent the workers so it seems any party, even a new party today, with the best of intensions, which seeks to use authoritarian methods, capturing state power by any means, will, once it gains state power, become a seperate class with separate class interests. Which is why libertarian communists value direct action, workers organising and liberating themselves on an egalitarian and mass basis. Which is more likely - that mass libertarian working class self-organisation, mobilisation and revolution is possible or that another state power, a government, a party in government can or will do it for us, revolution from above?

Quote:
2 - the Bolsheviks launched a coup against... what, the legitimate state? The warmongering provisional government? The revolutionary workers?

Against the soviets. See my post above. Again, perhaps 'coup' was not the best chosen term. What I meant was the actual decisioning making and executive power of the soviets was subverted by the executive committee of the BP. Not surprising when the majority of the Petrograd and Moscow soviets were Bolshevik. This was as much due to the deference of followers to leaders as anything else. But this was the cause of the Kronstadt mutiny and the civil war within the civil war in eastern Ukraine. This doesn't make followers 'stupid' or leaders 'bad' or 'fascist', but it is bad policy. But this doesnt mean that the 'bad policy', ideology, structures was the only problem. The other problem being the isolation of the actual workers revolution as slothjabber has pointed out. Also, trying to learn from history and decifer what possibly may be the best policy, the best strategy in the futre is not being arrogant and assuming you have all the answers or the perfect strategy and so can tell others what to do. We can but advise others as they advise us.

Quote:
I'm not quite sure what your view of the situation was here beyond what you seem to see as an illegitiamte power grab by the Bolsheviks, even though it was the Petrograd Soviet which took power, Bolsheviks, Anarchists and SRs too.

I wouldnt use the term "illegitimate". Yes, I know it was the Petrograd soviet including Bosheviks, Left SRs and anarchists. But because of the prevailing ideology, the structures, the deference, the Bolshevik leadership was able to take full charge almost immediately with the almost full acceptance of the soviets (with Lenin spelling out policy to the soviet rather than the other way around) and so the delegate democracy, soviet democracy was subverted in practice right from the off. Again, I didnt invent this. Its been well covered elsewhere, including by former Bolsheviks. You slothjabber have written yourself that the party leadership became enmeshed within the state and began murdering workers in the name of the workers, inevitable you say because of the isolation of the revolution. I have already admitted that the language of coup or power grab is not perhaps the best. But it was the structures, the policy as well as the isolation.

Quote:
And then the 'workers' state'... I don't believe it was actually a workers' state because I don't think a 'real' workers' state can exist. But 'workers' state' was the ideological cover for the counter-revolution - what the 'workers' state' does is in the interests of the proletariat up to and including shooting them, it was argued, so iun that sense 'workers' state' means brutal state capitalist dictatorship, which I believe the USSR was.

It turns out we are in complete agreement on that one.

Quote:
3 - if the consciousness of the workers had been different the result could have been different. I don't think this gets to the nub of things at all. No matter what the workers thought about the situation, it would be impossible to 'put things right' in Russia alone. Even if every single Russian worker was a theroetical giant and as militant as it's humanly possible to be, it would still be impossible to solve the conundrum of the Russian revolution in Russia alone.

I agree totally. Revolution must be as widespread as possible to be successful. Just as a longterm strike needs to have as widespread solidarity as possible to be successful. But we also, I believe, need to be untrusting of leaders, unrecallable executive officers, order givers, and look to ourselves and each other as equals. This is what I mean by class consciousness. This doesnt make us "theoretical giants" (whatever that is). I'm certainly not one.

Quote:
4 - as I stated in an earlier post, I wasn't blaming the failure of the revolution to spread for the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party (you've already claimed that the Bolshevik Party wasn't degenerate, by the way, just acting in a different class interest; if they represent a different class they can hardly be blamed for failing to represent the interests of the workers, see point 1 above).

Mm, sorry, I thought you were (blaming degeneration on isolation).
I'm either claiming the BP was 'degenerate' (?not a useful term), not fully on our side right from the beginning (1905) due to an elitist ideology and internal structure (much like the Mensheviks, the SPD and the Labour Party) which then got worse (further 'degenerated') when they were corrupted by state power, their own personal ambitions and egoes (as anyone would be). Or, I'm claiming they 'degenerated', became 'degenerate' when they were corrupted by state power. Thus they were either partly 'degenerate' as our representatives from the beginning (1905) because they kind of formed a seperate 'class' (as do all politicians) because of their role in leadership 'mystification' with seperate interests from the (rest of the) hoi polloi. Or, better, they 'degenerated' when they became a seperate class as state managers over the proletariat. (By the way for the grammar police, I know yer not meant to put 'Or' at the beginning of a sentance but what the hey, Im not English.)
I realise I'm not making much sense here. Im sure there's a better way to say what Im trying to say. I realise its all a bit convoluted.
Let's just say the leadership became a separate class after they gained and maintained power over the proles. That's not controversial is it?

Quote:
if they represent a different class they can hardly be blamed for failing to represent the interests of the workers

I'm not blaming them. What would be the point? I sympathise with their working class victims and salute the memory of the latter. But can't we blame actions, incidents, policies, behaviours just like you blame isolation? Is there any point in even playing the blame gain? But can't we learn from history to work out what would be our (we the wordwide working class) best strategy in the future? Is that arrogant? Should we just trust in the spontaneous fortune of future generations? As it happens I don't blame capitalists for being capitalists, managers for being managers, politicians for being politicians, members of the Communist Party for being members of the Communist Party. I just think we workers need to recognise our own class interests.

Quote:
I was blaming the failure of the revolution to spread for the isolation and degeneration of the revolution in Russia. No matter what else happens, an isolated revolution has to degenerate; no matter what the consciousness of the workers (see point 3) and no matter what the class composition of the party or group excercising state power (see point 1), precisely because no matter the make-up of the govermnment of a 'red bastion' it must degenerate into a state capitalist dictatorship (see point 2), in the absence of world revolution. To believe otherwise is to believe that somehow, with the right consciousness, the right policy, the right class make up, it is possible to move towards socialism in one isolated trritory. This is Stalinism.

I agree. But the opposite is also true. Worldwide state capitalism in the name of socialism due to subverting workers democracy, workers revolution with authoritarian forms is still worldwide state capitalism not world socialism. So both the scope and content of the 'revolution' is important for it to be genuine workers revolution, world workers revolution. The policies, the structures, the culture, the strategy is also important as Im sure you agree.

Quote:
If I've done any violence to what you actually meant, then, I'm sorry, but this is honestly how I read what you've written.

No problem comrade. Likewise. I suspect I over-reacted there. I also suspect we agree. I am here to learn.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 2 2010 01:12

Dave B quoting Kautsky wrote

Quote:
our Bolshevist friends seem to have quite forgotten this passage, for the dictatorship of the proletariat, which they preach and practise, is nothing but a grandiose attempt to clear by bold leaps or remove by legal enactments the obstacles offered by the successive phases of normal development.

But it wasnt the dictatorship of the proletariat that they practiced but rather the dictatorship of a party over the proletariat, and over the peasants, which was the problem, as was also, in a nod to slothjabber, the isolation of the revolution, as was also as Dave B and Kautsky point(ed) out the fact that the urban industrial proletariat was itself a minority (albeit a large minority) in a subcontinent of mostly rural peasants, small farmers.
Now the proletariat are the majority. We just need to get the workers democracy and the worldwide organisation right.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 2 2010 01:43

Dave B wrote

Quote:
The less parochial ideas of federated syndicalism is less of an issue I think with the concepts of modern socialism or communism.

( I don’t want to pick a fight with them at the moment)

I must be a thick syndicalist cos I don't know if this is an insult or not. Are you saying federated syndicalism is parochial but less parochial than independent atrisans and tradesmen, independent cooperatives and collectives?
The people who say that syndicalism is done and dusted, over, antiquated, archaic, an anarchronism of a by gone era, say exactly the same about Marxism, the world socialism of the SPGB, Bolshevism/Leninism, council communism, Bordigism, Stalinism etc. Whatever, the lessons on how to organise and how not are there to be learned. As I've said elsewhere I see little differences between the ideologies of libertarian Marxism and anarchism, or between the strategies of council communism and revolutionary syndicalism. Many supposed differences are often due to misunderstandings and slanders. Certainly mass organisation is necessary, and to marry workers democracy with mass organisation a form of federation is necessary.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 2 2010 03:27

slothjabber wrote

Quote:
you're a Stalininst, without even realising it perhaps.

fascinating, do explain...

Quote:
You claim that the authoritarianism of the Bolsheviks was (at least in part) to blame for the degeneration of the revolution.

Therefore if the Bolsheviks had not been authoritarian the result would have been different.

No, the result wouldn't be different because this was only in part to blame. There was also the isolation, the imperialist encirclement, I know.

Quote:
Therefore a different set of policies or practices or a different leadership or a different culture in the Bolshevik Party would have produced a different (better?) result.

Then they wouldnt be the Bolshevik party. Different leadership? Try no leadership. No, I know what you mean. How long could a libertarian workers and peasants democracy last if it was isolated? I don't know. The Paris Commune lasted what , a few months before it was drowned in blood. The Spanish collectives lasted anything from a few months to three years before they too were dismantled, their occupants butchered. The lands liberated by the RIA didn't remain liberated for long due to the ebb and flow of the civil war, the encroachment of both White and Red armies. The Zapatistas have been forced into the jungle harried by state forces. The factories collectivised by Argentinian workers reamin under the boot of state and international capital. An apparent workers rising in Albania in 1991 was quickly put down by the "international community" (the militaries of major powers). So not long I suspect. I agree with you that revolution must be worldwide. Am I still a Stalinist?

Quote:
Therefore saving the revolution (at least in part) was a matter of 'correct leadership' or those other things I mentioned.

Not 'correct leadership' (oh dear there you go again putting things in peoples mouths), but different structures (those other things). But only in part, not forgetting the all important world revolution. Am I still a Stalinist?

Quote:
In other words, by the application of the correct policy by the correct leaders, the revolution could have been saved.

This is the stock-in-trade of Trots and Stalinists. Oh, we have the wrong 'Great Leader', that's the problem.

Wow! Are you serious? No, different actions by the workers themselves, and different applications of structures within the workers organisation by the workers themselves may have changed some things in the short term. But this still would not have saved the revolution without world revolution. Also rather than going on about the ifs and buts of what could have been I'm more intersted in learning from the past to shape our strategy for the future. Am I still a Stalinist?

Quote:
The failure of the revolution was not, ever, about the application of the correct policy. No policy could have saved the Russian revolution. Even if Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, Zinoviev, Bukharin, Dzerzhinsky and Kamenev had died on the morning of January 1st 1918, and been replaced by hollow chocolate bunnies of fluffy niceness, who were all wise and loving, the Soviet Republic would still have become a brutal state capitalist dictatorship.

I agree. Because, even if the hollow chocolate bunnies of fluffy niceness did not 'replace' the leaders but rather formed a hollow chococate bunnies of fluffy niceness democracy the enemies of the hollow chocolate bunnies of fluffy niceness, the outside imperialists would either have drowned the bunnies in their own blood or supported the marmite bunnies of nastiness who would do same in bunny civil war...Am I still a Stalinist?

Quote:
Even if the soviets had decided to offer state power to Kropotkin, Maximoff, Makhno, Emma Goldman and Alexander Berkman, the Soviet Union would still have become a brutal state capitalist dictatorship.

Being anarchists, these comrades would not have taken state power. Strange anarchists they would be if they took state power. (Yes I know - Federica Monteseny and Garcia Olivar and Abad de Santillan were strange anarchists ie not anarchists at all, but thats another story, and another case of its easy judge after the fact, but still we must learn). But then I'm a strange anarchist for apparantly wanting to find a 'Great Leader'. Is North Korea the anarchy then?
They would not have taken state power if offered. But I take it you mean if there had been genuine workers democracy, soviet democracy so get to the point. Man, youre really taking this determinism thing and running with it. Go for it.

Quote:
Even if all the Bolsheviks had been murdered and replaced by people we've never heard of; even if the Whites had won the civil war; still a brutal state capitalist dictorship.

I hope yer not now suggesting Im a white? Oh right, the determinism thing. Brutal state captalism no matter what (without world revolution). Well, while the western states went through some state capitalism (the mixed economy, some nationalisation, Keynesianism) for their own reasons was full state capitalism really necessarilly unavoidable in the Russian empire? I suppose so long as a ruling class exists in Russia then it has to compete with the west/rest so needed to, on its own terms, industrialise in 20 years what took Britain 200, hence brutal state capitalism. Is this what yer saying? Ok. Even without a ruling class, with soviet democracy, isolated the revolution was fucked but because of outside interference and monopoly market capitalism. Oh I see what yer saying. Like Germany, Italy so Russia. Brutal state capitalism to catch up with Britain and the US. State capitalism to develop the local capitalism (industry), autarky, investment, better to later compete on the global market in global capitalism. Is that it? Anyway I agree, doomed without world revolution. So am I still a Stalinist?

Quote:
The only possible way, short of a world revolution, that a brutal state capitalist dictatorship could have been avoided in the Russian Empire would be the dismemberment of the Empire leading to dozens of brutal state capitalist dictatorships perpetually at war with each other.

State capitalist dictatorship was an inevitable consequence of of the failure of the world revolution. The fact that the Bolsheviks were the ones who ushered in that brutal counter-revolution was because they had fused themselves with the state, not the other way round - they didn't fuse with the state in order to bring about counter-revolution. Whoever tried to hold the Russian state together would have ended in the same boat - presiding over an isolated counter-revolutionary regime.

Ya, perhaps yer right. I dont disagree. But I wonder at the rigid determinist logic. I mean its easy for a Marxist to explain all events after the event in terms of that was inevitable because..and then supply the reasons. Bit like creationists try to explain away dinosaur bones. But you could well be right there. I don't know. All I'm saying is we need both world revolution and workers democracy. And letting Bolshevik leaders, and later CP leaders 'off the hook' in this way has the danger of down playing workers democracy so that Stalin no.2 appears and then people like you say "that was inevitable", because its will as well as economic conditions, or as Revol put it agency as well as determinism. Am I making any sense?

Quote:
Subsidiary point - you still seem to be misunderstanding my position on the degeneration of the Bolshevik Party as opposed to the degeneration of the revolution.

I believe (as I think I've mentioned) that the revolution degenerated because there was no world revolution; this began to happen immediately but there was also a forward movement because the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry were still pushing things forward; but the internal drives of the revolution increasing came up against the external realities of isolation. So, world revolution would save the revolution, nothing else could.

The degeneration in the Bolshevik Party was caused by fusing itself with the state, and increasingly identifying itself with the state. This also began happening immediately. Even if the world revolution had spread, I contend that if the Bolsheviks had continued to identify with the Russian state they would still have degenerated. I can see a hypothetical situation where an increasingly conservative Bolshevik-dominated Russia could even be in conflict with a revolutionary Germany. I don't think it's a likely scenario but it's possible. In this case it's the fusing with the state that's the problem. But's a problem that I think would have been corrected had the revolution progressed in Germany.

The two aren't the same thing, and are really only tangentally connected.

I think I agree with this. At least I can't think of any reason right now to disagree with it. Anyhow, I'm not a Stalinist, really.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 2 2010 03:51

RedHughs wrote

Quote:
I'm liking Revol68's posts a lot lately (seriously)... revolutionaries shouldn't occupy their time "reclaiming the honor of Marx", we should attempt to reclaim what useful theory there is in Marx and others. It's worth saying that Lenin represented *a* current of rigid stagism which Marx certainly played into at times. We could argue all day about how much Marx played into this BUT the more useful approach is synthesize a theory that will serve our needs.

Agreed.

Quote:
Yes, but I would mention also that a rejection that goes to the point of ignoring all questions of stages will have thrown-out all of the crucial parts Marx's perspective (not that Revol does this but rather that a certain "anarchist" reading of Marx does this).

Can you give us an example, be more specific, what part of Marx's perspective on stages is crucial?

Quote:
A useful middle-ground is necessary - any Marxian viewpoint is going to be "stage aware". Indeed, the point that capitalism will remain capitalism unless some massive, collective action puts an end to it is based on the theory of stages. Capitalism is stage we're stuck rather than being something society will just drift or reform its way out of.

Agreed.

Quote:
If one was "stage-aware" without being stage-rigid, one would have to look at at a given revolt as possibly leading to communism and possibly leading to the furtherance of capitalism. One would thus only wish to participate in the revolt in so-far-as it leads towards communism.

Also agree.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 2 2010 04:20

Dave B wrote:

Quote:
That is from a book and I assume it is reliable.

Because its from a book? Which book? No, that wouldn't surprise me, the political calculations of Monsieur Marx.
So much for my attempts to patch up relations between Marxism and anarchism, is this what yer saying? Anyhow, I think 'Marxists' have more wit then to treat Marx's scrawl as dogma, at least libertarian Marxists.

Quote:
I think it was fairly clear from Berkman’s Bolshevik myth than Berkman was supporting at least to some extent at the beginning the bolsheviks and I think it was either Goldman or Berkman that regarded the Bolshevik Government as a ‘historic necessity’.

Yes, that's true, they were supportive for a while until the terror opened their eyes, the suppression of the anarchists opened their eyes.

Quote:
Berkman was actually asked I believe to translate and thus endorse Lenin’s infantile Disorder pamphlet.

That doesnt follow. Translation does not equal endorsement. You know that the Russian anarchists (like Fanya Baron and Aaron Baron) ended up in prison under Lenin dont you? The rest of your post is very informative but changes nothing. The Menshevik position is clear. The anarchists only supported the same cause as the Bolsheviks up to a point, belieiving in an end to the war, and wanting to see All Power to the Soviets, and increased development of the factories committees. When instead they saw repression (particularly 1921 but even before this) they changed their minds, those who didnt die or join the Bolsheviks thus ceasing to be anarchists.
Again, on Bakunin's hierarchical conspiracies, this is well known as is his slav nationalism and racism. He only became an anarchist in the last years of his life 1869-76 or maybe even 1971-76. Besides you cant paint the anarchist ideology with what Bakunin or Proudhon did or said. Anarchism is not a dogma, and these two in particular are to be reviled by anarchists for their racism and Proudhon's sexism. You seem to want to paint the Bolsheviks as anarchists which is the same as the state scheme of painting anarchists as nihilists, criminals, bandits and terrorists. Its slander and were I a Bolshie I wouldnt stand for it. What next anarchists are fascists, fux sakes.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 2 2010 17:33

To take this back to the OP
horopo wrote

Quote:
What is the actual difference between the positions Lenin and Trotsky were taking?
What's the difference between a bourgeois and capitalist revolution?

Did we answer this question?
I don't know the differnence between Lenin and Trotsky's position. But the difference between 'liberal democratic'/'representative democratic' revolution and capitalist revolution is one is political and the other economic. Marx made the point that one goes with the other. The industrial revolution (the technological development) allowed for the class developent of capitalists/owners/bourgeois whose political form was modern secular 'liberal democracy'.
So slavery/brutal mastery then feudalism/absolute monarchy then capitalism/(mis)representative government then communism/direct workers democracy. Something like that.
But the difference between a bourgeois and a capitalist revolution? No, I don't see any diffference. The bourgeoisie are another name Marx uses for capitalists/owners so a bourgeois revolution is a capitalist revolution surely?
Entdinglichung wrote:

talking of Leninism in the sense of Lenin's "classical" theories: we have the rejection of Lenin's stage theory outlined e.g. in "Two Tactics of Social-Democry in the Democratic Revolution" which calls for a revolutionary dictatorship of workers and peasants (opposed to the Mensheviks' call for a bourgeois democratic government after a revolution against Tsarism) which carries out the tasks of a bourgeois revolution. Trotsky in "Results and Prospects" remarked, that a revolution carried out by the proletariat (with support of the peasantry) would fail, if it would limit itself to the tasks of a bourgeois revolution, it should not wait but advance to a socialist revolution ... in his April theses of 1917, Lenin adopted Trotsky's viewpoint

So Entdinglichung seems to be saying that 1. the Mensheviks consistently argued for a bourgeois democratic government which they would not fully take part in but support against Czarism, a bourgeois democratic revolution as the first stage before proletarian revolution; 2. Lenin argued for a revolutionay dictatorship of workers and peasants, a revolutionary government representing workers and peasants, but carrying out the tasks of the bourgeois revolution (capital accumulation) as the next stage before proletarian (or rather communist) revolution; 3. Trotsky (who was orignally a Menshevik) argued that such a revolutionary dictatorship of workers and peasants, such a revolutionary government representing workers and peasants, should not limit itself to carrying out the tasks of the bourgeois revolution (capital accumulation) but actually push for full socialism.
Then apparently Lenin came to agree with Trotsky by 1917 as shown by his April theses.
Mm. I'm not sure. Dave B has shown how the stages theory developed among various Marxists - Menshevisks, Kautsky, Lenin and Trotsky. (While slothjabber has clearly expressed the opinion that whatever policy was adopted the workers revolution was doomed and brutal state capitalism inevitable without worldwide workers revolution.) So, point 1 on the Mensheviks is correct. Point 2 also seems correct on what Lenin was thinking at least up to 1917 and even point 3.
However, there are a number of problems. First, both Lenin and Trotsky were wrong to think (in my view) that any government (in the sense of an unelected or indirectly elected unrecallable permanent executive) could represent the workers or the peasants. Only the workers can represent themselves either through direct democracy (workers assemblies) or delegate democracy with unpaid, recallable, either elected or rotated, delegates (workers councils, soviets). But anyway this is about how they thought.
Second, what do Lenin and Trotsky mean by "socialism", by "advance to a socialist revolution"? Do they think "socialism" is state ownership? Do they think "All Power to the Soviets, Nationalisation of industry, land to the peasants" is socialism? Or do they think one party dictatorship and bureaucratic state capitalism is socialism?
As Brinton's book makes clear the Bolsheviks favoured state ownership and one man management not workers self management or even workers control (Brinton explains the difference).
So, in a sense, maybe Lenin didnt change his mind and rather Trotsky agreed with Lenin. That is the revolutionary government carries out (what otherwise would have been) the tasks of a bourgeois revolution (capital accumulation, further industrialisation), by the means of state capitalism (or 'state socialism' of you prefer).
Now a Bolshevik would argue that Lenin and Trotsky expected western revolution, world revolution. They could not have predicted the future. A Bolshevik would also argue that the Bolsheviks tried to work with the Left SRs and the Mensheviks and the anarchists but this became impossible because of the actions of the latter groups, and faced with imperial intervention, civil war, famine, sabotage, they had no choice but to establish security measures. But that they did nevertheless advance to socialism', the dictatorship of the Proletariat. Then they part company with eachother with Trotskyists admitting that unfortunately the state bureaucracy developed as a result of imperialism and the lack of world revolution, with Stalinist reaction as an eventual result, while Stalinists would argue despite it all the Soviet Union was as proletarian as possible and remained superior to the bourgeois West.
These arguments are old and have been rehearsed ad nauseum on libcom. But they (the Bolsheviks) did not advance to socialist revolution and I wonder at the Bolsheviks, and the Mensheviks, and the Socialist Revolutionaries, Left and Right, definition of socialism.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jun 2 2010 17:47

Hi joey od 020610

First of all I don’t have any deep hostility to certain strands of anarchism as I think ‘we’ libertarian Marxists at least sincerely share a similar objective and more obviously the same criticism of Bolshevism.

I don’t really want to get too side tracked into the issue of relative ‘parochialism’, but it probably revolves around the issue of the tyranny of the majority and whether or not a commune or syndicate has the ultimate ‘right’ to do what it likes irrespective of the wishes of wider community.

Eg the Kropotkin thought experiment debate about the planned railway route going through ‘Kropotkin’ commune.

I am opposed to the counter extreme however of the centralised micro managing of production units, communes or ‘syndicates’ in communism.

Even just from the perspective of practicality.

I suspect the commune book quote is real and I seem to remember that the letter does exist but was not online when I last looked.

There is nothing particularly controversial I think about Karl supporting the communards in one breath and expressing reservations and concern about it in another. It is just a case of supporting the working class in a class struggle etc even whilst you sincerely believe that they will get clobbered and lose at the end of it.

Speaking generally, I can quite understand why workers might want to make a go of something and would rather die on their feet rather than live on their knees etc.

However bourgeois intellectuals encouraging workers to get their heads caved so they can write eulogies to the martyrs later is another matter.

Doing the snob workerist bit, I first experienced ‘13 weeks on strike pay’ and living on mashed potatoes and gravy before I was ten.

On Berkmans translation I thought it was pretty clear from his book the Bolshevik Myth why Lenin wanted him to translate it ie in order to give it credibility which was why I think Berkman to his credit refused, without a preface written by himself.

Not all anarchists supported the Bolsheviks and there were Anarchists in Bolshevik jails whilst Berkman was still hob nobbing with them, as he also mentions in his book.

The Mensheviks were in fact one of the first groups to organise resistance to the Bolsheviks early in 1918 and were the first to be repressed.

I was having a bit of a counter swipe as it seemed to me that Mensheviks were being attacked in this thread again, I am no Menshevik but as they have few defenders, so I will.

In fact the first major case of repression was a prosecution and ‘show trial of a Menshevik newspaper and Martov in particular in March 1918 for libel against none other than Joe Stalin.

The trial collapsed into farce needless to say.

We need to dispel the myth that everything was OK before the Bolsheviks started oppressing the Anarchists circa 1921 whilst in fact they were just next on the list after the libertarian marxist had been disposed of.

A couple of weeks before Lenin was boasting of anarchist support he had said;

V. I. Lenin Speech At The First All-Russia Congress Of Workers In Education and Socialist Culture July 31, 1919

Quote:
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, in the course of decades, the position of vanguard of the entire factory and industrial proletariat.

http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/lenin/works//1919/aug/05.htm

Again I am not tarring all Anarchists with the same brush.

The ‘self-described Marxist’ community has its own renegades eg the Bolsheviks and I don’t think anyone is going to accuse me of not dealing with them.

I think a bit more mea culpa on behalf of the ‘self desribed anarchist’ community might be useful rather than just painting themselves as the victims of ‘Marxism’.

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jun 2 2010 18:02

The commune quote came from;

“The Social & Political thought of Karl Marx”, Shlomo Avineri, cambridge university press 1976 chapter 7 page 200.

A load of crap not worth toilet paper I bought for £8 quid off the internet second hand.

I suppose I could resell it but it would be like passing on the clap.

There were a few good quotes in it I suppose

Dave B
Offline
Joined: 3-08-08
Jun 2 2010 18:40
Joey OD wrote:
Quote:
Not all anarchist were, and I think there does appear to be some evidence that principled anarchists were working with the Menshevik ‘led’ movement in resisting the Bolsheviks in 1918 at least.

Never saw evidence for this. Mostly the Menchoviks fled abroad. .

Ok Anarchists is anyone going to mention;

‘The Mensheviks After October; Socialist Opposition and the Rise of the Bolshevik Dictatorship’

I think we have done it before and I got the impression some have you had read it?

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 3 2010 02:36

hi Dave
Dave B wrote

Quote:
I don’t really want to get too side tracked into the issue of relative ‘parochialism’, but it probably revolves around the issue of the tyranny of the majority and whether or not a commune or syndicate has the ultimate ‘right’ to do what it likes irrespective of the wishes of wider community.

Obviously, it depends on who is effected, effected in a very real and direct way. So, on a road being built, the people living where the road is potentially going to go through have arguably more say then say the drivers from outside the area who would benefit, or a wall or fence running past a neighbourhood, that neighbourhood would have a say where as people unaffected from outside would not. What ever is both practical and fair.
Most decisions can be made by free association and free disassociation (as they are now) but some things require a collective decision. Then we can attempt consensus and failing that apply simple majority rules. Examples are those above or, under capitalism, where a workplace choose to go on strike, or under workers control, various work practices, or where a group voluntarily agree to come together but voluntarily agree to use consensus or majority rules to decide on a name, basic structures, rules, aims and principles.
Now this ultimately is free disassociation anyway because if someone feels so strongly about a road or wall or fence or a strike or work practices or the name of a group or its structures etc. and lose the argument, the vote, they can always leave the town, neighbourhood, workplace, group.
Of course these are easy examples and you could ask about the use of global resources and their effective on the common environment. I don't pretend to have all the answers. 'Who is immediately affected' is just a general rule of thumb.
Then there is minor incidental decisions taken by an individual as part of their job which may none the less effect a large number of people. We can't have votes on everything. Then, provided that those taking such incidental everyday decisions are accountable to the rest at some point, such as elected or rotated, or, nonetheless, appointed with group consent and recallable at any time, then this shouldnt be a problem.

Quote:
Eg the Kropotkin thought experiment debate about the planned railway route going through ‘Kropotkin’ commune.

I'm not aware of this but I get what you mean.

Quote:
I am opposed to the counter extreme however of the centralised micro managing of production units, communes or ‘syndicates’ in communism.

Even just from the perspective of practicality.

ok agreed (I think I understand what you mean by centralised micro managing - then again maybe I don't)

Quote:
I suspect the commune book quote is real and I seem to remember that the letter does exist but was not online when I last looked.

I wasn't suggesting it wasn't real. I'm just genuinely curious as to the name of the book.

Quote:
There is nothing particularly controversial I think about Karl supporting the communards in one breath and expressing reservations and concern about it in another. It is just a case of supporting the working class in a class struggle etc even whilst you sincerely believe that they will get clobbered and lose at the end of it.

Speaking generally, I can quite understand why workers might want to make a go of something and would rather die on their feet rather than live on their knees etc.

Agreed.

Quote:
However bourgeois intellectuals encouraging workers to get their heads caved so they can write eulogies to the martyrs later is another matter.

Agreed, but who would this be in reference to?

Quote:
On Berkmans translation I thought it was pretty clear from his book the Bolshevik Myth why Lenin wanted him to translate it ie in order to give it credibility which was why I think Berkman to his credit refused, without a preface written by himself.

Right. But you wrote "thus endorse" so are you saying Berkman agreed with Lenin on left communism being an infantile disorder or not? I would have thought that would be strange given that Berkman was a left communist (in the sense of libertarian communist, whether anarchist or syndicalist or council communist or world socialist). But I honestly don't know as I've never read Infantile Disorder or Berkman's preface to it, and it's been a while since I read Bolshevik Myth and don't remember the mention of this translation.

Quote:
Not all anarchists supported the Bolsheviks and there were Anarchists in Bolshevik jails whilst Berkman was still hob nobbing with them, as he also mentions in his book.

Hobnobbing is a bit strong. Berkman and Goldman were in a precarious position and tried to do their best for the prisoners while still under the delusion that they could have any influence.
Surely most (all) anarchists supported an end to the war, and power to the soviets, the factory committees, and land to the peasants. But surely also all anarchists (that remained anarchists and didnt join the/become Bolsheviks) opposed the Bolsheviks by 1921 when the Bolsheviks were actively suppressing the anarchists whether in Petrograd or Moscow or in the Ukraine where the Bolsheviks turned on the RIA in 1922. By then Berkman and Goldman were deported along with the few prisoners they could get out (deportation being the condition of their release).

Quote:
The Mensheviks were in fact one of the first groups to organise resistance to the Bolsheviks early in 1918 and were the first to be repressed.

ok, I just didnt know.

Quote:
I was having a bit of a counter swipe as it seemed to me that Mensheviks were being attacked in this thread again, I am no Menshevik but as they have few defenders, so I will.

I dont recall the Mensheviks being 'attacked' as such. I see no use in attacking or swiping anyone in the past. I'm just trying to understand historical positions, ideas and activities. My point was that no matter how sincere the Mensheviks or Bolsheviks or SRs were, that just like the Labour Party, when in parliament, in government, in power they come to cease to represent us, and represent only themselves, as I would too if I were elected or appointed to power over others. It's simply about the apparent corruption of power, about human nature. I'm sure the Mensheviks were sincere socialists. Mind you, some of the Menshevik quotes from the Bolsheviks and Workers Control mirror exactly what the Bolsheviks would later say attacking the very idea of workers control. That's a bit disheartening.

Quote:
In fact the first major case of repression was a prosecution and ‘show trial of a Menshevik newspaper and Martov in particular in March 1918 for libel against none other than Joe Stalin.

The trial collapsed into farce needless to say.

Yes, I believe he, luckily, escaped to Germany along with Pavel Axelrod. Martinov and Lyubov Axelrod stayed in the Soviet Union and Martinov joined the CP in 1923 "as an opponent of the Left Opposition" accodring to MIA.

Quote:
We need to dispel the myth that everything was OK before the Bolsheviks started oppressing the Anarchists circa 1921 whilst in fact they were just next on the list after the libertarian marxist had been disposed of.

I hope I havent given the impression that I fall for this myth. I mentioned that it just got worse for the anarchists by 1921.
I think that the Bolsheviks did have the support of the majority of urban workers in 1919 (as their votes to the Constituent Assembly in 1918 bear out) but they, of course, had not the support of the majority of the people (the peasants who supported the SRs). But yes they began to repress the Mensheviks very early on as well as syndicalists (strikes or industrial action of any kind was seen as sabotage and thus counter revolutionary). Eventually they repressed all dissent outside the party, then all dissent inside the party as Brinton's book makes clear.

Quote:
I think a bit more mea culpa on behalf of the ‘self desribed anarchist’ community might be useful rather than just painting themselves as the victims of ‘Marxism’.

Mea culpa. Not all anarchists are perfect. I'm certainly not. Crimes have been committed in the names of all creeds. We 'self described anarchists' have been the victims of the state whether fascist or Leninist or 'liberal', not of Marxism. I'm not sure Leninism is a version of Marxism, but rather a perversion of Marxism. Though Lenin certainly thought of himself as a Marxist, a scientific socialist using a scientific analysis. There are great number of ideologies that claim to be 'anarchist' or 'libertarian' which I have no time for: primitivism, no 'state' market capitalism, (t)errorism, post-anarchism. I wouldnt get too hung up on names of ideologies and claims of individual actors (especially politicians and paramilitaries, state forces and comfortable intellectuals). What is important is strategy, practice. How can we on the libertarian left find common ground and move forward, how can we the working class move forward.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 3 2010 02:43

Dave B wrote:

Quote:
“The Social & Political thought of Karl Marx”, Shlomo Avineri, cambridge university press 1976 chapter 7 page 200.

Cheers for the info, all I wanted to know, and I take note of yer review.

Joey OD
Offline
Joined: 19-12-08
Jun 3 2010 02:51

Dave B wrote:

Quote:
Ok Anarchists is anyone going to mention;

‘The Mensheviks After October; Socialist Opposition and the Rise of the Bolshevik Dictatorship’

I think we have done it before and I got the impression some have you had read it?

OK, so I was wrong about them just fleeing abroad. I am here to learn.
No, I never read this. Sounds interesting. Is it in the libcom library?
BTW, I notice I've veered way off topic. I hope we answered horopo's question. And still noone's explained to me about the "quote" thing.