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That’s not how that [communization] shit works…

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Tom Henry
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Jul 6 2017 00:30
That’s not how that [communization] shit works…

Khawaga writes:

Quote:
How can you be communized? That's not how that shit works.

https://libcom.org/forums/theory/are-islands-socialism-within-capitalism-really-inconceivable-03052017#comment-593307

But does it though? What evidence is there that communization is not about being ‘communized’? What evidence is there to be able to write that communization actually works in a certain way?

In essence, communization theory is the theory that we can move to communism without the imposition of a transitional state, or dictatorship of the proletariat - something the anarchists said in the First International, but they were booted out for it.

Gilles Dauve, in The A to Z of Communization, supports his thesis that one can do without a transitional phase (the dictatorship of the proletariat) between insurrection and full communism with a quote from Marx”

Quote:
“[L]ong before me, bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle”, and “what I did that was new” was to prove how it led “to the abolition of all classes” (Marx).

https://www.troploin.fr/node/87

But if we find the source of this quote we can see that Dauve (Troploin) has severely truncated what Marx said:

Quote:
On January 1, 1852, Weydemeyer had published an article in The New York Turn-Zeitung entitled “Dictatorship of the Proletariat.”

(https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/letters/52_03_05-ab.htm#n1)

Quote:
A brief but notable statement by Marx of what he considered most
innovative in his analysis of the human historical process occurs in a
letter of March 5, 1852, to his friend Joseph Weydemeyer, then living
in New York.

… And now as to myself, no credit is due to me for discovering
the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle
between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described
the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists
the economic anatomy of the classes. What I did that was
new was to prove: 1) that the existence of classes is only bound up
with particular historical phases in the development of production,
2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the
proletariat, 3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition
to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society.

(Marx and Engels Reader, Tucker, 1978, also here:
https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/letters/52_03_05-ab.htm#n1 )

One thing that this quote does indicate - dramatically truncated or in full - is that Marx was not being a scientist when he claimed to have proved his points. Science is not a process by which things are proved, it is the putting forward of theories based on evidence (see here). What Marx does with his ‘proven’ points is merely to state that he has logically, in his terms, worked out a basis for an ideal he has. If Marx would insist that he has ‘proven’ these things then one can only surmise that he has left the building of materialism here and entered the castle of idealism. He has, at best, entered the imaginary world of logic, which is similar to the imaginary and self-referential world of mathematics. Both are amazing places, by the way, but just not useful or helpful in the case he puts, unless he admits to these formulations being the outcome of his idealism.

By the way, Marx does actually use the word ‘prove’ in this letter. In the original German, he writes nachzuweisen, which is translated as ‘prove’.
(https://marxwirklichstudieren.files.wordpress.com/2012/11/mew_band28.pdf)

But the point I really want to make here is that communization theory, as taken up by Marxists of various tints, and also by Maoists (in the rejection of the transitional state), strikes me very much as the same kind of phenomenon as when Rosa Luxemburg, in 1906, took up the notion of The Mass Strike (https://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/download/mass-str.pdf ).

But, while, kind of, recognising the idea of the General Strike as an ‘anarchist’ idea, Luxemburg did not want to be tarred with the anarchist brush:

Quote:
Anarchism has become in the Russian Revolution [of 1905], not the theory of the struggling proletariat, but the ideological signboard of the counterrevolutionary lumpenproletariat, who, like a school of sharks, swarm in the wake of the battleship of the revolution.

What has happened with communization is a similar neglect or rejection of the ‘anarchism’ that is contained within this ‘new’ Marxist theory (communization). As the anarchist, Rudolf Rocker writes, quoting Bakunin:

Quote:
“Since the organization of the International has as its goal, not the setting up of new states or despots, but the radical destruction of every separate sovereignty, it must have an essentially different character from the organization of the state” (Rocker: Anarcho-Syndicalism, 1938)

Way back in the 1860s, Bakunin and the anarchists (or ‘libertarian sections’) in the First International sensed the prospect within Marxism of the ‘disaster’ of the Bolshevik seizure of power because of the aim to transform the proletariat into a political party and gain power as a prelude to the withering away of the state.

Now the communizers go around thinking they are the first ones to have worked this out!

But there is more. Earlier in the last century it was the turn of the Marxist council communists, again without reference to the anarchists or their promotion of the Chambers of Labor in the First International (see Rocker again), to declare that they were the first ones to recognise the disaster of the Leninism, Trotskyism, and the transitional state (and the Marxism that led to it?). The historian Marcel van der Linden summarises the aims of this new councilist movement as embodying two notions. First of all, that “capitalism is in decline and should be abolished immediately,” and secondly that “the only alternative to capitalism is a democracy of workers’ councils, based on an economy controlled by the working class”.

https://www.marxists.org/subject/left-wing/2004/council-communism.htm

Now, the problem with communization theory is that as a theory (it is just a theory!) it neglects the evidence of history that indicates that the transitional state (the dictatorship of the proletariat) will always appear, which is why I would suggest that communizers have the transitional state lurking up their sleeves, though they may be 'blissfully' unaware of it.

So, when Khawaga says:

Quote:
How can you be communized? That's not how that shit works.

...This is just a statement of belief without recourse to evidence. The only evidence we have so far as to what communization would look like is the actual practical communization that happened in Russia from 1917. Stalin, for example, thought that the people would need far more years than he had in him to finally be communized and be able and worthy of full communism. And before S. Artesian chimes in, would it have been any different if the Russian Revolution had gone global based on the Bolshevik program? (There wasn’t much chance anyway of globalising the revolution when Trotsky and Lenin decided to take their chances on the Brest-Litovsk Treaty, contra S. Artesian:
https://libcom.org/forums/theory/law-value-simplest-terms-03022016?page=3#comment-595374 )

Sometimes, y’know, I feel like I am the only anarchist on Libcom…

Spikymike
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Jul 6 2017 09:51

No Tom it's all been said before on other 'Communization' threads. There is a convergence between some anarchist and some 'Communization' theorists around the guesswork about how a process of transition from capitalism to communism might happen but of course the Marxist influenced 'Communizers' make their arguments on the basis of their particular periodisation analysis. But you know that of course.

Tom Henry
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Jul 6 2017 10:28

Do I? And what have been the conclusions? Is what I have said above been said before? Show me where.

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Rommon
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Jul 6 2017 11:56

I think we need to Demythologize "communism" ... it's not some paradise like universal system, it's a way of doing Things. to Quote David Graeber:

In fact communism really just means any situation where people act according to the principle of “from each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs” – which is the way pretty much everyone always act if they are working together to get something done. If two people are fixing a pipe and one says “hand me the wrench,” the other doesn’t say, “and what do I get for it?”(That is, if they actually want it to be fixed.) This is true even if they happen to be employed by Bechtel or Citigroup. They apply principles of communism because it’s the only thing that really works. This is also the reason whole cities or countries so often revert to some form of rough-and-ready communism in the Wake of natural disasters, or economic collapse (one might say, in those circumstances, markets and hierarchical chains of command are luxuries they can’t afford.)

Communism exists, it's all over the Place, I just want more freedom and communism without the artificial additions of state force and commodification.

Spikymike
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Jul 6 2017 13:32

Tom,
Certainly Joseph Kay has in the past on this site made the criticism of Communizers that they are just making up Marxist reasons for repeating past basic anarchist arguments and I've heard it repeated more than once - that's all I'm saying.
Rommon,
You are repeating some basic human qualities that in some circumstances in a society otherwise dominated by capitalist social relationships demonstrate some potential for a communist society but not a communist society.

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Khawaga
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Jul 6 2017 14:59

Tom, that poster said that an individual would be "communized". Hence, my comment must be read in relation to this:

Quote:
As a friend recently imparted to me, there ain't much worse than being communized.

I this friend of El Psy used the word in a similar manner to "collectivisation" or something like that (and while commenting on the Nihilist Communists who do argue that the work of so-called communist revolutionaries is more of an obstacle than anything else) While of course, the process of communization would change social and individual behaviour and thought patterns, it is, from my understanding, not an isolated phenomenon if this process refer to the process of skipping the transitional stage between revolution and communism (how anarchist of them).

And I think it is a bit of a stretch to ague that what occurred 100 years ago was a process of communization when some communizers (I can't remember if it's TC/Endnotes or Dauve et al) say it is only now in a society of real subsumption (one indication that people are starting to prefer to take severance over defending jobs) that communization is possible.

S. Artesian
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Jul 14 2017 23:01

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

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Jul 6 2017 17:06

If Tom Henry actually read some more texts on communisation, he'd find that they don't think of themselves as "Marxists" or "anarchists".

Dauvé wrote:

The first condition for a minimum revolutionary action is indeed to “stand outside” and break with all forms of Marxism, whether they come from CPs or left-wing intellectuals. Marxism is part of capitalist society in its theory as well as its practice.

If you're a Francophone, Théorie Communiste dealt substantively with the history of the workers' movement in La revolution proletarienne (1848–1914): histoire, contradictions et impossibilité de l’affirmation du travail.

Dauvé also wrote (in criticising "Marxism" and "recognising" anarchism):

"In the late 1960s and in the ’70s, “going back to Marx” was imperative if we wished to understand what we were experiencing. Our return to revolutionary history included the left opposition to the Third International (the “Italian” and “German-Dutch” lefts), but also pre- and post-1914 anarchism. Contrary to Marx’s 1872 anti-Bakunin pamphlet (one of his weakest writings), a veritable split happened in the mid-nineteenth century within the revolutionary movement between what became stultified as Marxism and anarchism. Later of course the split got worse. As readers can see for themselves, we are not adding little bits of Bakunin to big chunks of Marx: we are only trying to assess both Marx and Bakunin as Marx and Bakunin themselves had to assess, say, Babeuf or Fourier.

There was a progressivist dimension in Marx: he shared the nineteenth century’s belief in evolution as a succession of logically necessary steps on the way to a happy future, with the certainty that today was better than yesterday, and tomorrow surely brighter. He held a linear view of history, and built up a deterministic continuity from primitive community to communism, which can be summed up like this:

In early history, when human groups were able to produce more than was necessary for immediate survival, this surplus created the possibility of exploitation: a minority forced the majority to work and grabbed the riches. Thousands of years later, thanks to capitalist industrialisation, the huge expansion of productivity makes the end of exploitation possible. Goods are so plentiful that it becomes absurd to have a minority monopolise them. And production is so socialised that it becomes pointless (and counterproductive) to have it run by a handful of rulers each managing his own private business. The bourgeois were historically necessary: now their own achievement (modern economic growth) turns them into parasites. Capitalism makes itself useless.

True, such an intellectual pattern was never actually written down by Marx, but it is the underlying logic beneath a lot of his texts and (what’s more important) a lot of his political activity. It was no accident or mistake if he tactically supported the German national bourgeoisie and was often tolerant of openly reformist union or party leaders: he regarded them as agents of the positive change that would eventually bring about communism. By contrast, he looked down on such insurrectionists as Bakunin whom he thought stood outside the real movement of history.

Though the deterministic Marx was not the whole Marx, who showed a long-standing interest in what did not fit within the linear succession of historical phases, Marxism was born as the ideology of economic development: if capitalism gets more and more socialised, there’s little need for revolution: the organised masses will eventually put a (mainly peaceful) end to bourgeois anarchy. In sum, socialism does not break with capitalism: it completes it. Radicals only differed from gradualists in that they added the necessity of violence to the process. In Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), Lenin made much of the fact that big German konzerns and cartels were already organised and centralised from the top: if bourgeois managers were replaced by working class ones, and this rational planning was extended from each private trust to the whole of industry, the general social fabric would be altered. This was no breakaway from the commodity and the economy. Any economic definition of communism remains within the scope of the economy, i.e. the separation of productive time-space from the rest of life."

The positions of communisation theory on marxism/anarchism resemble those of Subversion:

the Marxist-Anarchist split is an outdated historical division that bears no relationship to the real class line, which cuts across it

And Paul Mattick:

"I do not any longer take terms like marxism and anarchism seriously. I ask people what they think and what they propose to do and watch them to find out what they are actually doing. With some I can associate, with others not. But the isms I can do very well without."

– Paul Mattick to Kenneth Rexroth, 23rd March 1946; quoted from p.239.

The proponents of communisation simply use the term 'communist'.

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Khawaga
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Jul 6 2017 17:13
Quote:
in the thread Tom links to about the law of value, rereading his posts seems to indicate what he is actually arguing, contra the communizers, is that it is the supposed adherence to the necessity of the real subsumption of labor by capital that makes the Marxists operate like "bureaucratic bourgeoisie" or "absolute monarchists."

Interesting, I actually interpreted him almost the opposite way (though I am still working through the large number of lengthy posts so I may have misinterpreted him) as arguing a communization position about real subsumption, that somehow us "Marxists" have failed to understand the revolutionary importance of considering that category more closely. Now, I don't think we should make that much out of those categories on their own (they just describe the subsumption of labour, which is an ongoing process; after all, there are always types of work that can formally be turned into wage labour and then really subsumed--eSports/pro-gamers come to mind--and then there are those occupations that cannot be really subsumed that easily, like the creative labour of musicians and song-writers, although today AI has been somewhat effective at that), but if we always remember how all of Marx's economic categories are inversions of rationality, then of course, they say much more. But rather than pointing to subsumption as some kind of key to understanding all of this, it makes more sense to refer to the commodity, money and capital, which are just as much "products" of capital as wage labour is.

Having said of all that, I really appreciate Tom's incessant questioning as it's raised the bar on discussions lately; it feels like the good old days from 6-8 years back.

Quote:
Same birds, different feathers. It's the "end of history" flock.

Yes, or "this time it's different" or "this time communism is objectively possible" or "[pick any such variation of secular millenarianism]".

el psy congroo
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Jul 7 2017 21:13
S. Artesian wrote:
I'm not a Leninist

Yeah. And Nixon wasn't a crook, Trump's not a racist, etc. etc.

S. Artesian
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Jul 6 2017 17:26
el psy congroo wrote:
S. Artesian wrote:
I'm not a Leninist

Yeah. And Nixon wasn't a crook, Trump's not a racist, etc. etc.

And you're not an asshole.

el psy congroo
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Jul 7 2017 21:23

Artesian, it's wrong of me to try and force a label on to you that you don't except, or imply you're something you're not. But when I read your arguments and counter-arguments, I have no idea how the type of society you are advocating for would not replicate the failed experiment of the Russian revolution and lead right back to rigid class division. I think Marx is weak on these issues...we can't keep this massive grid going the way it has; we can't keep up hydrocarbon, nuclear isn't safe yet; we can't keep monocropping and destroying Mother Nature at the expense of capital, etc. etc.

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Jul 7 2017 09:47
Spikymike wrote:
Rommon,
You are repeating some basic human qualities that in some circumstances in a society otherwise dominated by capitalist social relationships demonstrate some potential for a communist society but not a communist society.

I would say a "communist society" is just one where those basic human relationships, or the morality underlying those relationships, outweights those underlying markets and domination, and that they are normative.

I don't think there is such thing as a "pure" anything society.

I just want a society With more communism.

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Jul 7 2017 21:29

It doesn't "outweigh" markets/domination, they are abolished.

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Jul 7 2017 21:38
El Psy wrote:
when I read your arguments and counter-arguments, I have no idea how the type of society you are advocating for would not replicate the failed experiment of the Russian revolution and lead right back to rigid class division.

You may be right that he doesn't say much about what type of society communism is, but he's usually dead right when it comes to how this society operates. He knows what he doesn't want and that's at least a point of departure. And IIRC, he is no fan of the Soviet Union.

In general, I am suspicious of people that with certainty "knows" what communism looks like given that a revolution is somewhat like a singularity; it is impossible to predict what happens beyond the event horizon. But then again, imagining communist society is important as otherwise we will be trapped in capitalist rationality/ ways of thought.

I am not trying to have a go at you El Psy (we've had enough of squabbles), but you seem very intent on making assumptions about other people. So it was good of you to at least write:

Quote:
Artesian, it's wrong of me to try and force a label on to you that you don't except, or imply you're something you're not.

But then you go on to sorta do that anyway. Why not just ask him straight up about his views

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Khawaga
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Jul 7 2017 21:40
Quote:
It doesn't "outweigh" markets/domination, they are abolished

Well is the sense that the commodity form will be abolished. I am pretty sure there will be markets that may look like markets today, but will function very differently. Kinda how we today refer to "stores" where we can buy shit, when it originally meant just a place to store stuff.

S. Artesian
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Jul 7 2017 22:43
el psy congroo wrote:
Artesian, it's wrong of me to try and force a label on to you that you don't except, or imply you're something you're not. But when I read your arguments and counter-arguments, I have no idea how the type of society you are advocating for would not replicate the failed experiment of the Russian revolution and lead right back to rigid class division. I think Marx is weak on these issues...we can't keep this massive grid going the way it has; we can't keep up hydrocarbon, nuclear isn't safe yet; we can't keep monocropping and destroying Mother Nature at the expense of capital, etc. etc.

I'm advocating for the abolition of capitalism. To me that means overthrowing the bourgeoisie, destroying its repressive machinery (not a pretty, nor easy, process) and raising the organizations to power that the working class generates in that struggle. After that.... well, if the working class is in power, and it sets about its task of abolishing itself as a class, we get to the emancipation of labor; where labor power is not used as a means of exchange.

The above, since I am convinced, that this process is immanent, inherent in capitalism, in the social relation of production that is essential to capitalism-- wage-labor/private property in the means of production-- makes me a Marxist.

None of the above makes me a Leninist. Leninism is organized and practiced around certain fundamentals, no? The necessity, more or less, of a "vanguard party" that is supposed to represent the "advanced" "most class conscious" elements of the working class; a theory of imperialism that was, at its inception, inaccurate, mistaken, and since then has only been made into something opposed to proletarian revolution.

You think Marx is weak on certain issues? Well, I think Marx makes certain mistakes in his...analysis of ground rent; in certain comments he makes, etc. but I think he's spot on in the work he undertook regarding the critique of capital and showing how the critique of capital, the explication of its internal conflicts, antagonisms, limitations makes itself real in the actual struggle of classes.

As for the Russian Revolution, yes it failed.... so has everything else. The Russian Revolution however has the distinction of actually introducing organs of proletarian power, capable of a revolutionary transformation of a social order that had combined capitalism with non-capitalist agricultural relations had those organs of proletarian power been successful in establishing "reciprocating" organizations in Germany, Britain, China etc.

Russia did not "fall back into rigid class division" because of what Marx wrote, or didn't write. It did not fall back into rigid class division because of the "grid," or because of peak oil, or nuclear technology. It "fell back" because the revolution was not successful internationally, because the revolution in Russia confronted challenges that could only be resolved internationally, because capitalism survived, because the production of value, production as value, might be suppressed for a time, but it was not abolished, could not be abolished within a national framework.

Now for what it's worth, right, nuclear isn't safe yet-- and boiling water reactors are about the stupidest way of accessing nuclear power-- essentially using an H-bomb to boil water; I think that it should be possible to eliminate at least 50% (if not more) of the need for hydrocarbon energy sources when capitalism is abolished; I think industrial agriculture is destructive. But I think all those "things" are really relations, and the relation is about value production. None of those "things" are going to be altered or eliminated without a proletarian revolution abolishing capitalism.

Nothing Marx wrote requires one to sing the praises of boiling water reactors, mono-cropping, or fracking "tight oil."

Recognizing that while capitalism was not the only route for the development of human beings, once it's here, there's no going back, the only way forward is through the class capitalism itself creates, does not make one a Leninist.

Thank you, K, for the support.

el psy congroo
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Jul 8 2017 05:12

I've bit off more than I can chew lately, as far as political discussion goes, and I will be hard-pressed to make time for more discussion over the next seven days or so (this 'binging' is typical of my life lately...). I'm sure, in part, this is contributing to the feeling of running out of time and frustration, but I need to write something anyway to unclog my brain and free up some processing powe. These issues have plagued me over the past few days.

I think Artesian (and others throughout time and space) are playing a proverbial chess game over the question of State power. In my mind, what makes a Leninist is this sort of 'strategery'. As far as I'm aware, Artesian supports the seizure of State power by an organization of 'advanced'/'conscious' communist 'revolutionaries'. This is what provokes me.

It doesn't matter if we go back to the second or first Internationals, it doesn't matter about identifying engelism or kautskyism or luxemburgism or councilism as legitimate 'phenotypes' of marxism, which 'injustly' lack adherents (some of which are objectibely more, or less, correct than others). What matters is pointing out, perhaps controversially, that Marx established a political teleology that became 'stutltified' as socialism after his death, and that political ideology will lead to Stalinism every. single. time. it wins. Since at least Capital Vol. III, marxists have frenzied to 'fix' Marxism in order to be able to 'prepare' in time for 'the inevitable collapse of capitalism'. But to fix Marx, in my informed belief, you'll have to throw out all of marxism. And no marxist is willing to do this. Thus the contortion of an already distorted ideology in order to make means justify ends.

Marx insisted in both the Manifesto and the Critique of Gotha that for him 'the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one [society] into the other...can be nothing but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat'. Marx and co. banned people from their secret society for this. Any questioning of the DotP leads 'inevitably' to what Maoists call 'revisionism'. Ironically, I don't think they are wrong!

I think some of Tom's positions have been fundamentally misunderstood, if I myself have of course understood him right...I think he's stating his view this concept of Marx's, relative surplus value, if understood confidently, points to a sort of 'tipping point' in the history of capitalism, a shift towards what some historians identify as 'secularism', but really a turn towards the principles of science, Newton, Darwin, Industrial-age technology ('machines'), etc. Like a dog chasing it's own tail, humanity needed some outlet for it's uncontrollable tendencies to consume and produce, but this has led to a situation where this game can no longer stop.

I really personally like to think of it as 'The Matrix', but the really freakin' sad part is that machines began dominating our lives (for the sake of 'convenience') even prior to the invention of...the lightbulb, or the radio...back before domestic animals...possibly even prior to potatoes.

I also don't think Tom, or the original comments the thread is based on, fudged anything in terms of the handling of terminology. I don't speak German, but the word 'vergemeinschaftung' was used by Marx and others as far back as who knows?, and when I put it through Google today it translates as 'communization' for me.

The theory of communizing or communization attempts to methodize the 'skipping' of the transitional state. At the same time, the verb 'communize' refers to the actions of a given collective (for example, the Borg, haha) attempting to establish communist social relations, i.e. the fight for 'full' communism.

Craftwork and perhaps others I think are muddying up the water somewhat when claiming the marxist-Anarchist split is irrelevant to (anti-)politics today, or that communizers are 'simply' communists and it ain't much to it beyond that.

This is the same type of mystification that leads Dauve to say things like: 'No communist revolution has taken place yet' in his pamphlet entitled 'Communisation' (2011). Dauve makes the points out that 'what [they] mean by communising' is 'the idea of revolution as a communising process', a process that 'will take time to be completed, but will start at the beginning of the revolution, which...will create communism' (2011). If Craftwork, Khawaga, Artesian and others started this process, were able to successfully 'seize' State power after some imaginary revolution -- they would find themselves in control of how said revolution is begun, how said process would take shape, etc. Dauve doesn't understand, or possums up to the fact, that as Tom suggests, this is a literal description of the birth of the transitional state. He is not alone in this misunderstanding. The revolution of Dauve follows the same exact pattern of the other historical communist revolutions which he identifies as having never 'taken place yet.' Dauve highlights further '[t]he concept of communisation is...try and define the concrete process of a communist revolution.' But this can only lead to inane procedure.

As pro-revolutionary communists, we might need to expect to have to dictate this dictatorship of the transitional state, which seems to be a Phantom Tollbooth for social revolution.

S. Artesian
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Jul 8 2017 10:10
Quote:
I've bit off more than I can chew lately, as far as political discussion goes

You sure did.

Quote:
I think Artesian (and others throughout time and space) are playing a proverbial chess game over the question of State power. In my mind, what makes a Leninist is this sort of 'strategery'. As far as I'm aware, Artesian supports the seizure of State power by an organization of 'advanced'/'conscious' communist 'revolutionaries'. This is what provokes me.

What "makes a Leninist" in your mind is irrelevant, if not a deliberate distortion. I explained what I "support" and where that differs with what are generally considered to be the "fundamentals" of Leninism. What provokes you is first off, not what I explained, and is irrelevant.

Let's make this concrete: Do you support the establishment of the military-revolutionary committee by the Petrograd soviet in 1917? Do you support the seizure of power as executed by that committee, preventing the removal of the army garrisons from Petrograd? The dispersal of the Kerensky government? The abandonment and dispersal of the Constituent Assembly? The organization and deployment of the Red Army to combat the restorationist White forces?

I do, Do I support the suppression of Kronstadt, in case you are wondering? I do not. Do I support forced requisitioning of grain from the countryside to sustain the cities. I do, but I think the Bolsheviks botched the process, and if the Left SRs would have been tasked with the responsibility, the process would have gone much better.

Regardless of X concern, and Y consideration, the October revolution was a proletarian revolution that was led by the Bolsheviks. That's not without importance, negative and positive, but the importance does not change the fact that the revolution itself was a working class revolution.

Now...despite the fact that I concretely answer questions you raise in your previous post re "Marx vs. Lenin" and the "falling back" into "rigid class division," you ignore the fact that you even raised those questions, much less entertained the answers. Instead you jump to this:

Quote:
If Craftwork, Khawaga, Artesian and others started this process, were able to successfully 'seize' State power after some imaginary revolution -- they would find themselves in control of how said revolution is begun, how said process would take shape, etc. "

That only proves how little you understand about the revolutionary process, and the specific importance of class organs of dual power. The point is Craftwork, Khawaga, Artesian can't start this process. We might be lucky enough to participate in it, contribute to it; and we might even be luckier than lucky to help facilitate it, advance it, quicken it. So what? The process itself requires class organizations of dual power-- which breaks up the old state and repressive machinery and, when necessary, creates new organs of repression, which is what an army is, to protect and advance its own power.

You think that my participation, Khawaga's participation, Craftwork's participation represent some sort of mortal threat to your notion of revolution? How could that be? Because we actually want personal power? Because we are so much more eloquent, devious, amoral, cruel, obsessed, fixed for money? Because we're better chess players?

Bollocks.

In the end, if we present a mortal danger to the communizer's revolution, you are arguing that the proletariat is too ignorant, too gullible, too weak to determine the path of its own revolution, and in a weird sense, you have come full circle to embody the very thing you claim you oppose in Lenin.

Tom Henry
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Jul 8 2017 11:38

S. Artesian, you appear to continue to misunderstand the delicate and problematic (as in: they raise new problems, or problems upon problems) objections to your perspective.

These are not objections that assert one thing is right and another is wrong. They are objections based on doubt. This doubt is informed, however, by evidence and history, not prophecy. It is ironic and interesting, of course, that Bakunin's own prophecy about Marxism appeared to be vindicated in the Russian Revolution. This, in itself, casts doubt on the whole Marxist project, but it is by no means the whole basis of the doubt.

The prophecy you rely upon is contained within your sentence:

Quote:
That only proves how little you understand about the revolutionary process, and the specific importance of class organs of dual power.

You may, as you say, not be able to participate in things as much as you would like to but, by God in Heaven, you seem to know how things work; how they will pan out given the 'right' conditions. But only you and a few others know those right conditions, I suspect...

So, on the 'specific importance of the class organs of Dual Power'.

In 1917, I presume, you think Lenin was a genius, because he wrote 'The Dual Power'? But after that he messed up?

The question here being: what was it that made Lenin this great guy in 1917 and then this bit of a loser, who got things wrong, so soon afterwards?

This question is related to what I am going to say about your comment here:

Quote:
You think that my participation, Khawaga's participation, Craftwork's participation represent some sort of mortal threat to your notion of revolution? How could that be? Because we actually want personal power? Because we are so much more eloquent, devious, amoral, cruel, obsessed, fixed for money? Because we're better chess players?

No one is saying you or your friends want personal power, or that you are any of the other things you write above. You write: 'How could that be?'

But the question, ironically, really is: How could your involvement be a threat? How could anyone's involvement be a threat?

This is the problem, the delicate problem, the problem that piles problems upon problems, the determinism apparently evident in your earlier posts, the thing I am trying to dig into: We do not make the world, the world makes us.

S. Artesian
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Jul 8 2017 13:12
Quote:
S. Artesian, you appear to continue to misunderstand the delicate and problematic (as in: they raise new problems, or problems upon problems) objections to your perspective.

Delicate? As in "you're a Leninist, even if you reject, and oppose, the fundamental organizing principles of Leninism"?

Delicate in that you conflate Lenin with Marx? That's delicate? That sure is problematic, but the problem is yours. really.

Quote:
These are not objections that assert one thing is right and another is wrong. They are objections based on doubt.

Bullshit. You and El Psy have no doubts. You have positions, assertions
, and those assertions drip with moral evaluations about strategy, manipulation, chess playing, organization, "state power." That you want to coat the morality with skepticism doesn't change the content of the objections.

Quote:
You may, as you say, not be able to participate in things as much as you would like to but, by God in Heaven, you seem to know how things work; how they will pan out given the 'right' conditions. But only you and a few others know those right conditions, I suspect...

Except....that's not what I said. I said

Quote:
The point is Craftwork, Khawaga, Artesian can't start this process. We might be lucky enough to participate in it, contribute to it; and we might even be luckier than lucky to help facilitate it, advance it, quicken it. So what? The process itself requires class organizations of dual power-- which breaks up the old state and repressive machinery and, when necessary, creates new organs of repression, which is what an army is, to protect and advance its own power.

And as I think I've made clear, I don't know how it will "pan out." I do know, and I too have my knowledge from history, that the organization of dual power represents an opportunity, a potential for "it"-- the abolition of capitalism, the emancipation of labor-- to work out. I don't know how "it" will "pan out," but I do know what will happen if that dual power is not organized during a revolutionary struggle. I do know what happens when class collaboration, which always involves organization and the use of state power against the potential for a revolution, goes unchallenged, and undefeated.

Quote:
In 1917, I presume, you think Lenin was a genius, because he wrote 'The Dual Power'? But after that he messed up?

You presume a lot, and most of it incorrectly. I don't think Lenin was a genius and I never thought he was a "great guy." I think the genius, such as it exists, was/is in the working class' establishment of councils of deputies, even when those councils were dominated by the Mensheviks, the SRs. I do think Lenin's April Theses recognize that genius and were critical to a)turning the party away from the Prov Gov b)recognizing that the revolutionary process would force the soviets away from the Mensheviks and SRs.

Quote:
The question here being: what was it that made Lenin this great guy in 1917 and then this bit of a loser, who got things wrong, so soon afterwards?

If that were my assertion, then I'd answer your question. Since, however, I've never claimed Lenin was a "great guy," ever, in any year, then it's not my question to answer-- neither the question or the answer have any connection to the history of the revolutionary struggle.

Quote:
This is the problem, the delicate problem, the problem that piles problems upon problems, the determinism apparently evident in your earlier posts, the thing I am trying to dig into: We do not make the world, the world makes us.

That's (probably unintentionally) hilarious. I'm consumed with determinism, but you're trying to dig into: "We do not make the world, the world make us." That's a caricature of Marxism. Marx said human beings make their own history, but they don't make it willy-nilly, whole cloth, as if each individual is presented with a blank slate and a piece of chalk. Human beings do make their world, they don't make it up.

The history is made out of specific relations, conditions of social labor that are fetishized; that is to say, made animate in a process that attributes the relations of human beings as POWERS belonging to things.

The delicacy you think you express in considering the problematics has obscured the details, subtle and not so subtle, of Marx's critique.

The issue you would like all this to hinge upon can be expressed concretely as this: was the decline of the Russian Revolution and the subsequent development of Stalinism the result of the secret dictatorial kernel to Marx's analysis? Or was it the result of class forces; of uneven and combined development itself which had thrust the revolution forward while simultaneously burdening it with the lack of capitalist development that characterized Russia. Was it Marx and Engels affinity for playing generals? Their antipathy to Bakunin? Or did it actually have something to do with the cloth the revolution had to use?

If we don't make history, then Marx and Engels, long dead by 1917 certainly didn't make the history of the Russian Revolution.

And on a personal note: I just love your use of "delicate" in your convergence with El Psy.
Delicate as in "Your objection to being identified as a Leninist places you in the same category as Nixon saying he's not a crook, or Trump claiming not to be racist"? You call that "delicate" "problematic." I call it fucking ignorant and dishonest.

nization
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Jul 8 2017 13:08

Bottom line: "anarchists" (or at least those groupings who feel they own the "mineral rights" associated to this denomination) ought to file a collective paternity suit against "communizers" for misappropriating "their" ideas, brought into existence ages ago and henceforth eternally valid (somehow, history went all awry along the way, but any decent conspiracy theory can explain that).

Yeah, let's show those arrogant Marxists gits and the rest of the world who's (self-managed) boss! Provided the rest of the world give a shit about what just looks like (self-managed) business and self-promotion as usual... which is not the case, and the rest of the world is better off for it...

S. Artesian
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Jul 8 2017 13:43

^^^^ Word. and out.

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Khawaga
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Jul 8 2017 14:17
El Psy wrote:
I think some of Tom's positions have been fundamentally misunderstood, if I myself have of course understood him right...I think he's stating his view this concept of Marx's, relative surplus value, if understood confidently, points to a sort of 'tipping point' in the history of capitalism, a shift towards what some historians identify as 'secularism', but really a turn towards the principles of science,

No, we've (or at least I) understood Tom thinks the production of relative surplus-value marks some qualitative shift or new type of stage in history. And of course, relative surplus-value is dependent on the use of science and technology and yada yada. I think this is somewhat of a weird interpretation of Marx that turns a logical category/argument into something historical when clearly the process of the subsumption of labour is ongoing.

Tom keeps arguing that revolutionaries haven't understood the importance of this particular category of Marx, asking us to figure it out. But as far as I can tell, even in the other thread (that I admit I started skimming), he has not actually offered why this is so important. I am interested in hearing why this is the case, but so far what I've read is nothing I've not heard/read before from other communizers or for that matter other groups that tell us "no, no, this time it's different because of objective conditions/society of relative surplus-value/ the chickens came home to roost."

And what is funny with all of this is that of all the more recent Marxisht "sects", I find communization the most interesting*, I share many of their critiques, and definitely (because I am an anarchist) I don't want any transitional stage.

I also find it funny that El Psy keeps making assumptions of people, scrying from his internet connection not only what we think about the revolution, but even our psychology. Please stop making assumptions. Just ask questions. Tom, you have a bit of this streak as well. But what I ask you: please stop being so coy. You ask a lot of question that you already have answers to; nothing wrong with that (I like it; as I said, there haven't been many decent discussion on here lately), but yeah, you're quite coy in all of this.

* I also find left accelerationism interesting, but that's more because they get it so wrong when compared to the original accelerationists.

Tom Henry
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Jul 8 2017 20:56

The question I am asking, which is in the first post - the title of the thread even! - is: how do you know what communization is? (You said: 'That's not how that shit works'.)

I then suggest that an (the only?) historical example we have of it is the 'communization' of people that occurred in the USSR.

I refer to 'science' and 'prophecy' and 'idealism' to make my point.

It is a simple question, but for some reason neither of you have seemed to have been able to read it.

If your adherence to these positions (Dual Power, Communization, etc - not hatred of capitalism or inequality, etc) - which you claim to know about like one might know how to bake bread, except your recipe is for something that has never been done - is not based on your actual experience, or even actual history, then these positions are articles of faith.

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Craftwork
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Jul 8 2017 21:30

In what sense did communisation take place in the USSR?

Both Dauve and TC have criticised bolshevism.

S. Artesian
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Jul 8 2017 21:46

Look Tom, I have no interest in what you think communization is. I have very little interest in it, communization, period. I posted in this thread to point out the anti-historical basis for your version of communization, and then I responded to El Psy's, and your, bullshit-- you know, where you don't respond concretely to any actual issue, or any real answer someone tries to provide in response to your posing.

And when you're not posing, you're distorting-- I've never claimed to know about dual power etc. like one knows how to bake bread. I have pointed out concretely the issues that informed, and formed the institutions of dual power, and caused their transformation into combat organs of class power.

Quote:
I then suggest that an (the only?) historical example we have of it is the 'communization' of people that occurred in the USSR.

Well, no, not really, since Chairman Mao, and his US toady Bob Avakian, claimed that the Cultural Revolution in China communized millions, literally millions. The forthcoming issue of Anti-Capital will provide a recounting of that encounter with Comrade Bob and his claim of communization, with dialogue guaranteed verbatim.

So you can take that for what it's worth, but your claim that the only "example" of communization of people we can look to is the Soviet Union, is in reality nothing but the warmed over version of anti-communist cold warriors' "the only example we have of real socialism was the Soviet Union" which of course swallows hook line and sinker and without a blink of a fishy eye, Stalin's "socialism in one country" nonsense.

The hook is set all right, and you set it, inside your own gut. Don't complain when someone starts tugging the line.

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Khawaga
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Jul 8 2017 21:50
Quote:
The question I am asking, which is in the first post - the title of the thread even! - is: how do you know what communization is? (You said: 'That's not how that shit works'.)

I then suggest that an (the only?) historical example we have of it is the 'communization' of people that occurred in the USSR.

I refer to 'science' and 'prophecy' and 'idealism' to make my point.

It is a simple question, but for some reason neither of you have seemed to have been able to read it.

If your adherence to these positions (Dual Power, Communization, etc - not hatred of capitalism or inequality, etc) - which you claim to know about like one might know how to bake bread, except your recipe is for something that has never been done - is not based on your actual experience, or even actual history, then these positions are articles of faith.

Please stop ascribing view to me that I don't have.

I don't adhere to such "positions" because I don't think they are positions at all, but merely concepts with which to explain the process of abolishing capitalism. I am merely discussing these concepts whereas you elevate such concepts to be positions.

And I don't claim to know what communiztion means beyond trying to get to communism without a transitional stage. And I also know that communization is not something you "do" to other people; if the working class doesn't start the process of communization, then to my understanding of the theory, it is not such a process at all. If communization is similar to some forced collectivization (which you seem to imply), then that word means something very different to you than it does to actual adherents to communization theory.

As I've said earlier in this thread, I have no time for people that can come up with either blueprints for the revolution or a post-capitalist society; they are mostly unknown. And because the Russian revolution was 100 years ago, it is a poor indicator for how an attempt at abolishing capitalism may occur to day; sure what they did back then is potentially part of a revolutionary toolbox (and more importantly has showed us plenty of pitfalls), but we'll have to reinvent a few wheels.

If you have something to say, say it outright. Stop this coy shit and stop with ascribing all kinds of views to people (and interesting that you seem to conflate Artesian, Craftwork and me; we are hardly a monolith and disagree on many thing; heck we can, unfortunately, even be rather unpleasant towards each other).

S. Artesian
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Jul 8 2017 21:57

K-- to T.H.anarchists, all cats are Leninist cats in the dark.

Tom Henry
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Jul 8 2017 22:06

Ha! I forgot about China! Good point!

Craftwork. If you look into what the transitional state (the dictatorship of the proletariat) is and look at the history of the USSR then you will see what communisation has been in practice. Look at what Lenin says about the transitional state, look at what Stalin says. My point about the modern commmunizers (which also goes for the anarchists) is that I don't think they have actually got rid of the transitional state in their theory, despite them having claimed to. And the evidence would indicate that it might be impossible to escape it in a revolutionary situation. I think, incidentally, that the notion of Dual Power, which I didn't expect to be discussing, is a function of a transitional state.

S. Artesian. Do you consider your politics and your predictions about how things will (apparently) work in a 'proper' revolution based on experience or actual knowledge, or faith/belief?

Tom Henry
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Jul 8 2017 22:13

Khawaga, you just wrote above:

Quote:
And I also know that communization is not something you "do" to other people

What I am asking is: how do you know this? Where is your evidence? Does history not give you any pause for thought in your confidence in this theory?