Is there a creeping Leninism on Libcom?

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Serge Forward's picture
Serge Forward
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Jul 16 2017 09:29
Is there a creeping Leninism on Libcom?

Question as it says in the title...

Background - publishing of Chris Harman's book on here (since removed) and other comments perhaps sympathetic Lenin, Trotsky, etc. I could also add the increase in support for national liberation movements (eg Rojava) and pro "Bolivarian revolution" comments.

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Rob Ray
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Jul 16 2017 09:36

There's always been a fair number of them show up, but the current lot seem to be particularly obnoxious.

Battlescarred
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Jul 16 2017 09:41

Yes, seriously worried about this invasion and they are particularly obnoxious. Some of them are masquerading as anarchists when it's quite clear they are Bolsheviks.

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 10:54

I'm not sure it's an invasion as such.

Though I do think there is an element of 'Entryism' as I have said before.

But, also, the Leninists and their supporters have been here for long years now.

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Serge Forward
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Jul 16 2017 12:07

While not an invasion, there's been a distinct softening towards Lenin, Trotsky et al. And if it's not support for national liberation movements, pro-PKK elements and cheerleaders for the "Bolivarian revolution" it's the pro-Corbyn stuff too. That said, it's not just Leninists who are guilty of this, is it.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2017 12:48

removed: mop

el psy congroo
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Jul 16 2017 12:15

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leninism

But really, this is just as much about kautskyism and by extension, marxism itself.

S. Artesian
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Jul 16 2017 12:48

removed: cbb

el psy congroo
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Jul 16 2017 12:51

Hypothetical: If Marx was alive and asked for a foot rub...

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 12:58

Serge,

You are right, it's an iceberg (if that's not too melodramatic!), it is not just the Leminists who are 'guilty' of this 'slide'.

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 12:59

Did I write: Leminists? Too sour by half!

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Jul 16 2017 13:30

Leninism is something that can be argued against quite adequately, though only if it's thought worthwhile to tediously repeat the same old conflicts and there are good arguments that there's better ways to spend one's energies. But it's just a fact that there's an area of semi-leninism that thinks bolshevism was right in its time but maybe semi-impractical now and such people seem to have a (sometimes patronising) attraction towards libcom, even if only to play the loyal opposition. But behaviour like Tom Henry's long-winded competitive egotism and petty baiting - while not generally breaching site guidelines etc - is imo a worse long-term influence on the atmosphere and tone of the place. Even though, or especially because, it's dressed up as pro-libertarian communism.

Tom Henry
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Jul 16 2017 13:48

Red Marriott,

I began these discussions with a view to examining communization theory.

Not of my choosing it became an argument with S. Artesian. I have, several times, said to him that it was not him I wanted to discuss with.

Your comment above is ill-informed at best, but I suspect it is disingenuous.

This is not about me or S. artesian, it is about what politics Libcom allows to dominate it.

It is not for me to decide this, all I have done is try to make it an issue.

If what I am saying is dangerous to Libcom then of course I should be excluded.

Is Artesian less dangerous?

You say that "Leninism is something that can be argued against quite adequately", but I have not seen that happening here.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 16 2017 13:57

there does seem more than there used to be, although i think a lot of them are not real Leninist, even the ones who might say they are. there are a lot of people who when first becoming interested in communism become fans of the ussr and other "communist countries" and act just like the fans of tv shows, anime, harry potter etc

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Jul 16 2017 17:36

I've been creeping here for like 5 years.

syndicalist
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Jul 17 2017 02:10

I must've missed the party

vicent
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Jul 17 2017 03:13

I added that Harmen book a few years ago because it was the only book I had read with a 'socialist' overview of all human history so I thought it was interesting; but I am happy for it to be pulled if it causes offence... I also recently added another Trot book https://libcom.org/library/going-away ... about an old lefty mourning the end of 'the left' in the USA whilst driving around the nation, very well written and I found it really interesting but I don't mind if you guys want it taken down if it's against guidelines ..

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Jul 17 2017 04:36
vicent wrote:
I added that Harmen book a few years ago because it was the only book I had read with a 'socialist' overview of all human history so I thought it was interesting; but I am happy for it to be pulled if it causes offence... I also recently added another Trot book https://libcom.org/library/going-away ... about an old lefty mourning the end of 'the left' in the USA whilst driving around the nation, very well written and I found it really interesting but I don't mind if you guys want it taken down if it's against guidelines ..

Hey vincent, you did something fine and wonderful by posting Going Away. It's one of the finest pieces of working class fiction ever written. I dug up Sigal's e-mail address and in a brief exchange he said Kerouac's On the Road had a great influence on his novel. As I've said on libcom ad nauseum, the book is a fusion of Brecher's Strike! and Kerouac's travel adventures, all written with the backdrop of the Hungarian Revolution in '56.

To my mind, Lenin and Trotsky were counterrevolutionary state-builders. Clancy Sigal wasn't, so please don't start an Inquisition to purge libcom and exterminate the heretics.

And Jesus Fucking Christ! Chris Wright's excellent "Capitalism - further reading guide" lists 5 recommended readings by Chris Harman. Read 'em:

    The Lost Revolution: Germany 1918-1923
    "Globalization: The Critique of a New Orthodoxy"[/i]
    Explaining the Crisis
    Class Struggles in Eastern Europe
    Bureaucracy and Revolution in Eastern Europe

Are you going to argue for the deletion of Chris Wright's insightful suggestions in the name of ideological purity?

And will you play Cotton Mather and burn Chris Wright at the stake too?

These posts by Tom Henry and el psy congroo are unhealthy at best and unprincipled calls -- made in bad faith -- for censorship at worst.

el psy congroo
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Jul 17 2017 06:00

Which posts? Which 'calls'? I've never asked for censorship. In fact, I've protested being censored myself in the past. See here: https://libcom.org/forums/feedback-content/politically-motivated-censorship-cherrypicking-02052017

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Jul 17 2017 06:26

Hieronymous and Vicent, my response to the Harmon book was that it should stay if it had merit and should not be pulled merely because it was written by an SWP hack. In fact, I suspect it was deleted for Harman's political associations rather than what was in it... which is all very witch-hunty. My question here is not about what to delete from the library but about the politics of current contributors to Libcom.

Spikymike
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Jul 17 2017 11:19

Well Tom Henry always post some interesting (if now repetitive) challenges to his assumed bottom line of theoretical agreement amongst the regular participants of the libcom milieu, but then maybe Red Marriott has belatedly identified the 'Nihilist Communist' entryism at play here!. Tom might be persuaded perhaps to branch out and comment on other aspects of how he and we might relate in practice to some of the everyday problems of collective life under capitalism that might benefit us without encouraging the claimed hidden 'Leninism' of libcom style political activity?

Tom Henry
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Jul 17 2017 12:30

Hieronymous,
I never called for any books to be excluded from Libcom, I only expressed surprise that they were here.

Spikeymike,
Are you asking me to submit reports of what I do in my daily life? You first!
Did you see my post here:

https://libcom.org/blog/many-faces-snapshots-distributing-workerswildwest-15072017

Which carries on my old call for people to get involved in working class, supervised jobs as a way of connecting with what is important.

If I am to be accused of Entryism here then surely that's a recognition that this site is indeed dominated by leftism at best, and Leninism at worst?

It's OK, I am sure S. Artesian will be back here before long. Anyway, I wanted him to comment on the questions he set me that I answered. It was never about him, it was about the platform that Libcom perhaps unwittingly provides through its forums.

Tom Henry
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Jul 17 2017 12:43

PS
Spikymike,
I find this a bit odd, but do you want me to go through what I think it is useful for radicals like us to do as members of the working class.
We were in the same organisation a long time ago, did I not get involved and connect politically and in class and industrial struggles?
Was I not often labelled as a workerist by middle class revolutionaries with middle class jobs?
Do you want me to explain what I am doing now at work and in my community in order to somehow prove myself to you? If so then really you should go first since it is a rather extreme request, if that's what it is.

Spikymike
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Jul 17 2017 15:43

OK Tom fair do's- good to see you engaging with the Angry Workers' comrades. I think what they do is useful up to a point. Don't need you to prove yourself to me but perhaps simply engage a bit more with the sort of problems and issues we all face and which do get mentioned on here from time to time besides the more theoretical, or dare I say 'abstract' ones, which I also share an interest in. Not sure apart from that to what extent, if at all, you still favour or engage in the same approach we partially shared in the distant past (in the UK Subversion group for instance). This thread maybe not best for us two to engage in by way of comparing past and present personal/political histories but then I chose to have a dig at your particular obsession with these latest discussion threads so I suppose I can't complain!

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Jul 17 2017 16:59
Spikymike wrote:
maybe Red Marriott has belatedly identified the 'Nihilist Communist' entryism at play here!.

No, I just think TH has been an arrogant baiting arsehole much of the time since he’s appeared.

But it is indeed ironic that he now complains of entryism and of the presence of an ideology – in this case leninism – on this site. Most of Dupont/letters journal’s presence here has been for years solely to periodically push their ideology of anti-struggle do-nothingism/radical-hobbyism explicitly as a critique of the dominant ethos of this site and the organisational & struggle activities of its users. Yet now they make a big noise about an ideology, leninism, being in contravention of the ethos of this site and of libertarian communism and make a big show of leaping to libcom’s defence. So yeh, looks a bit like a mirror-image opportunist entryism to push their own ideology...

Tom Henry
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Jul 17 2017 20:38

Red Marriott,

Do you have to use words such as 'arsehole'? Using such insulting terminology is just the kind of baiting you claim to abhor.

For the record, and as I have said before:

I think people here should be grateful to the admins for running the forums for them, and also for archiving the texts.

I think that the library is a brilliant resource. I use it all the time.

I think the forums are not so good as a lot of people allow themselves to get all hot under the collar, use words like arsehole, and forget that this is just a discussion forum, not world war three.

I also, since being on here recently, have become really aware that the forums are dominated by very energetic Leninists, who are not effectively opposed here. I am not clear where you stand on this, but I am not asking you to say so, I think the job of cleaning up the forums should be the job of the regular posters, not outsiders like me.

What has been really odd for me, which has obviously passed you by, is that I have been one of a very small number of voices who have been defending Libcom here, and again, defending a libertarian communist line, despite my critiques of it.

Where is everyone else? Why hasn't this thread been overflowing with posts?

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Jul 17 2017 20:56

Forum activity is going down (almost everywhere) and during summer I'd guess many post less. It does seem that Leninist activity doesn't drop wink You can easily see that there are only a handful of regular posters. So after your arrival one could argue libcom forums have taken a nihilist communist turn...

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Jul 17 2017 21:44
Red Marriott wrote:
Spikymike wrote:
maybe Red Marriott has belatedly identified the 'Nihilist Communist' entryism at play here!.

No, I just think TH has been an arrogant baiting arsehole much of the time since he’s appeared.

But it is indeed ironic that he now complains of entryism and of the presence of an ideology – in this case leninism – on this site. Most of Dupont/letters journal’s presence here has been for years solely to periodically push their ideology of anti-struggle do-nothingism/radical-hobbyism explicitly as a critique of the dominant ethos of this site and the organisational & struggle activities of its users. Yet now they make a big noise about an ideology, leninism, being in contravention of the ethos of this site and of libertarian communism and make a big show of leaping to libcom’s defence. So yeh, looks a bit like a mirror-image opportunist entryism to push their own ideology...

I wholeheartedly agree that Tom Henry is being an asshole (from this side of the pond) with his anti-entryism. Also his boogeyman claims of a Leninist takeover make him a liar as well.

Tom Henry
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Jul 17 2017 21:51

Cooked, Haha! Good point.

But, and I think this has something to do with Spikymikes interpretation of the book, Nihilist Communism, people often think that it was about 'doing nothing' when this was always a provocation - we want people to attack.

Nihilist Communism is a workerist text. It says get a job in an essential industry. It says: resist the delusions and machinations of the middle class (particularly when they call themselves revolutionary) who are trained to supervise.

Tom Henry
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Jul 17 2017 21:58

Hieronymous,
It is good and honest that you have stated where you stand on this. It helps the discussion.
By the way, I am not on the other side of the Atlantic to you.
I guess you have your reasons for your invective, and I guess they are stated here?

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Jul 17 2017 23:06
TH wrote:
Do you have to use words such as 'arsehole'? Using such insulting terminology is just the kind of baiting you claim to abhor.

No, it’s not; you just use ‘polite’ language when trying to wind people up, which makes you a devious arsehole. I very rarely use such language on here – so consider that it was calmly deliberate and that you’ve earned it.

Quote:
I think people here should be grateful to the admins for running the forums for them, and also for archiving the texts.
I think that the library is a brilliant resource. I use it all the time.

OK, you’ve said this several times in the past few days, I think you’ve tried to ingratiate yourself with the admins enough now. (And it doesn’t always work as a compensation for breaching their posting guidelines.)

Quote:
I also, since being on here recently, have become really aware that the forums are dominated by very energetic Leninists, who are not effectively opposed here. I am not clear where you stand on this, but I am not asking you to say so, I think the job of cleaning up the forums should be the job of the regular posters, not outsiders like me.

That is a short term a-historical assessment – there have been some recent debates where they’ve been louder, so what? And as I said elsewhere it tends to be more those with sympathies for bolshevism as appropriate in its time than those advocating vanguardism now. I don’t share their Bolshevik sympathies but don't see it as a looming takeover. If there ever was a threatened domination then ultimately the admins would have to decide how to deal with it. 10 years ago when the forums were much busier the ICC were all over here, now they’re rare birds – things come and go. But if you think your baiting behaviour is some heroic ‘saving & cleaning up’ you’re living in a Marvel comics fantasy. Imo your baiting and ‘provocation’ we’ve seen recently adds nothing good to these forums and such behaviour is bad whatever label or flag it flies.

Quote:
Where is everyone else? Why hasn't this thread been overflowing with posts?

Cos others – including those with no leninist sympathies - aren’t as hysterical as you about the occasional bit of Leninism seen on a public forum? If you want to be a superhero defender of libertarian communism you’d be better off having a go at how it’s been misdefined and misrepresented by, for example, some of the Rojava supporters and anarcho-Corbynites.

Quote:
Spikymikes interpretation of the book, Nihilist Communism, people often think that it was about 'doing nothing' when this was always a provocation - we want people to attack.

Right – so you’re saying to people something other than what you really mean as a way to try to manipulate their behaviour. Sounds a bit like some of your behaviour on here – and also quite like a patronising leninist ‘transitional demand’.