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Separate organisations

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lem
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Jun 20 2006 22:54
Separate organisations

Simple question.

I would like to hear from anyone who supports seperate organizations in socailism or communism.

Castoriaids, whose book I have just read, does not want a separation of directors and executors, and I think I agree that this bad in itslef. The Italian left agrees that there is no guarantue that the party or a separate organization will not end up betraying the working class. So why take the risk, considering Russia, which I don't know much about.

Any knid of opinion on this kind of thing would be appreciated iyswim

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georgestapleton
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Jun 20 2006 23:13

I'm not sure what you're asking.

lem
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Jun 20 2006 23:17

I dunno. What is the role of the perty after the revolution?

What an earth does party dictatorship against the state involve (Bilan). I thnk I've read that Bprdiga suggests the party or something similarly unelected controlling production? Ought I leave Bordiga alone then, or is there some kind or reason for this?

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jef costello
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Jun 20 2006 23:20
lem wrote:
I dunno. What is the role of the perty after the revolution?

It shouldn't have a role before and it cannot have one after.

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georgestapleton
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Jun 20 2006 23:33
lem wrote:
I dunno. What is the role of the perty after the revolution?

What an earth does dictatorship against the state involve. I thnk I've rad that Bprdiga suggests the party or something similarly unelected controlling production? Ought I leave Bordiga alone then, or is there some kind or argument for this?

I'm not saying leave Bordiga alone. But on this question I'd agree with Jef.

Dictatorship of the proletariat means class dictatorship not party dictatorship. There is no 'the party of the proletariat' and there can be none, contrary to what Bordiga and Lenin say. (Presuming by party you mean formal organisation).

lem
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Jun 20 2006 23:37
Jef Costello wrote:
lem wrote:
I dunno. What is the role of the perty after the revolution?

It shouldn't have a role before and it cannot have one after.

To left communists, isn't this councilsist rubbish?

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georgestapleton
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Jun 20 2006 23:40

Well the councilists were left communist so I'm not sure what you are getting at.

lem
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Jun 20 2006 23:49

Isn't it like a slur, not council communists, but "councilists".

lem
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Jun 20 2006 23:55

Is there a disagreement here, on the role of the party, or not?

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jef costello
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Jun 20 2006 23:59
lem wrote:
Is there a disagreement here, on the role of the party, or not?

Only if you believe that it has a role at all.

lem
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Jun 21 2006 00:01

It was a question! I would definietly ay that it would be bad thing,but want to hear from any left communists, or anarchists for that matter, who disagree!

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georgestapleton
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Jun 21 2006 00:04

It depends on what you mean by party.

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jef costello
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Jun 21 2006 00:14
Jack wrote:
Wasn't Bordiga's conception of the 'party' so vague as to be almost meaningless?

Without beer and snacks it isnt a party.

lem seems like the guy who'd only have half a packet of stale doritos.

lem
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Jun 21 2006 00:26
georgestapleton wrote:
It depends on what you mean by party.

Erm, any organization that is not democraticaly elected, sounds like a party to me.

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georgestapleton
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Jun 21 2006 00:27
lem wrote:
georgestapleton wrote:
It depends on what you mean by party.

Erm, any organization that is not democraticalyy elected, counds like a party to me?

Is a football team a party then?

lem
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Jun 21 2006 00:35

Erm, what sort of person would decsribe a football team as an oragnization. I would say any organization that wants to play a role in economic or political processes, but hats a bit circular.

lem
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Jun 21 2006 00:41

OK, any organization that isn't elected that has a role outside civic society. But again thats circular.

Groups that attempt to direct actions they don't execute. Whatever it amounts to, I want to her from someone who supports a party after a revolution. Wgat will they do? Why is it a good thing?

lem
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Jun 21 2006 11:34

An organization that seeks to have power over decisions/direct outside its membership. I don't see what problem this this question. Even some anarchists support the party staying in some form don' they?

lem
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Jun 21 2006 12:13

Well, my confusion started with an article on Bordiga, which suggested that an unelected centralized group control production. Even if this is the more advanced workers, (hypothetically) they're not elected are they - isn't that all it comes down to, if there continues to be a state or economy. confused

The more I think about it, the more confused I am, about what role does the party play? I mean, the ICC would hope to continue to exist, I assume because of their semi-state. To do what?

I mean, Pannekoek wanted the party to dissolve, didn't he? But I got the impression that this was a break. What is the other option, who supports it?

I assumed that this was an example of some kind of divergence between left communists and "councilsts".

The party will do...?

They won't start a counter revolution because...?

Sorry.

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Devrim
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Jun 21 2006 13:00

Lem, I will try to answer your questions.

I think that part of the confusion comes from seeing the Bordigists, and the Italian left as the same thing.

The Italian left can be put into two basic groups. I will deal with the Bordigists first. There is an element in Bordigism, which is 'ultra-Leninist'. They still see the party as the organ of class dictatorship. This current although it exists in Italy and France, have never really had much of a representation in the English speaking world. There was a small group of them in Liverpool at one point who published a magazine called 'Communist Left':

http://www.sinistra.net/lib/upt/comlef/comleft.html

The other part of the Italian left comes from the 'Bilan' group in France. These are the ancestors of the ICC. They see the councils, and not the party as the organ of dictatorship.

Other people have talked about Bordiga's view of the party as being nebulous:

Jack wrote:
Wasn't Bordiga's conception of the 'party' so vague as to be almost meaningless?

I don't think that Bordiga's conception was vague at all. He was a hard line party man. I think Jack is actually referring to some groups influenced by Bordiga (e.g. Camette's invariance, and the GCI) in which case he has a point.

There are a lot more diferences, but I think that this is the main one that concerns this thread.

lem wrote:
Well, my confusion started with an article on Bordiga, which suggested that an unelected centralized group control production. Even if this is the more advanced workers, (hypothetically) they're not elected are they - isn't that all it comes down to, if there continues to be a state or economy. confused

The more I think about it, the more confused I am, about what role does the party play? I mean, the ICC would hope to continue to exist, I assume because of their semi-state. To do what?

I mean, Pannekoek wanted the party to dissolve, didn't he? But I got the impression that this was a break. What is the other option, who supports it?

I assumed that this was an example of some kind of divergence between left communists and "councilsts".

The party will do...?

They won't start a counter revolution because...?

Sorry.

I don't think that there is any need to be sorry for asking questions Lem.

The ICC see that in the transitional period a semi-state will exist. It will be the expression of all non-exploiting strata. The also see that the working class must exercise its dictatorship over this state through the workers' councils as the state is an anti-working class, anti-communist force. The ICC see that they would argue for their positions within the workers' councils.

The 'Bordigists' as I mentioned before see that power will be held by the party.

It sounds on a superficial level that Bordiga is therefore uninteresting. Actually, he has a lot of good points to make on other issues especially the nature of communism, and 'frontism'.

The point about Pannekoek is a dividing line between the left communists, and the councilists. As the revolution receded in Europe Pannekoek moved away from the left communist position towards what is now called councilism.

In the twenties though he defended the idea of a party, and he was never actually as anti-organizational as he is portrayed by some councilists.

It is a bit basic, but I hope that it answers some of your questions.

Regards,

Devrim

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OliverTwister
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Jun 21 2006 14:36

Devrim there is also the trend of the Italian Left who went on to form PCInt, who I at first thought were Bordigists but are very distinct.

lem
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Jun 21 2006 15:22

From what I've heard he joined in 1949. I could be wrong though.

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OliverTwister
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Jun 21 2006 16:57

Bordiga led a split from the PCInt which was called the PCI. The bordigists and the PCI championed 'invariance', i.e. that the theory of the party was laid down by Marx and Engels in 1848. The PCInt, on the other hand, was somewhat more 'activist' and less 'theorist'. The two papers were called 'Bataglia Communista' and 'Programe Communista', which is a pretty good indicator of the split. (The PCInt later founded the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, along with the Communist Workers Organization in the UK).

lem
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Jun 21 2006 17:17

Thanks

So, all the people here think the party is just for propaganda purposes inside the councils after a revolution?

ernie
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Jun 21 2006 18:03

Hi

Lem, we apologise for not intervening on the introductory forum more, but we do not have unlimited forces. We would certainly welcome any PM's suggesting a thread we could intervene in: it is hard to follow all the threads.

I think Devrim and Olivertwister have answered most of the wider questions you asked. However, one point that does need to be clarified is that all of the Italian Left came from Bilan. The French and Belgium Left also saw themselves as continuing the work of Bilan.

On the specific question of what the ICC thinks about the party after the revolution. I will try to answer briefly (not my forte, but I will try). We see the party as raising in the pre-revolutionary period when communist idea will be gaining a wider influence in the class. This will mean a Communist Party will have a real influence in the class. We obviously see our organisation as being an important component of the founding of the party, but the Party will also need to draw in all of the most conscious elements of the class. The role of the party is not to take power, but to defend and put forwards the interests of the class and the development of the revolution. After the revolution, the role of the party will be even more important, as the working class is faced with the absolutely enormous task of trying to construct communism. This will take decades and will only be carried out if the proletariat is able to develop its class consciousness of its role as the builders of communism. The overwhelming weight of society in the period of transition will be to accomodate itself to the prevailing situation, to become integrated into the semi-state, to lose sight of the autonomous role it has to carry out. The role of the party will be to constantly put forwards the need for the class to maintain its independence from the state through its unitary organisations the workers' councils and the workers militias, if necessary to struggle against the attempts of the state to control it, to put forwards the long-term needs of the struggle for communism. The party will seek to have an important influence the counicls and all other workers' organisations. Its militants will be elected by the councils, but they will not be elected as party members but as delegates of the councils.

There is clearly much to say about the role of the party but I think enough has been said.

The central core of our conception of the party is that it is the political expression of the most consciouss part of the class and that its role is NOT to take power i.e., to substitute itself for the class. The building of communism will depend upon the class conscioussness of the working class.

Hopefully that will answer some of the questions and probably pose many more

ernie
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Jun 21 2006 18:14

Hi

Lem, your last post must have crossed with mine, however I think that it does answer some of your question. Hopefully, it is clear that we do not see the party as simply an organisation of proganda (though that is a very important part of the work of the party).

ernie
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Jun 21 2006 18:17

How on earth do I get rid of the captain haddock! It really irritates me.

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georgestapleton
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Jun 21 2006 21:09
ernie wrote:
The central core of our conception of the party is that it is the political expression of the most consciouss part of the class and that its role is NOT to take power i.e., to substitute itself for the class.

Honest question:

You also believe that you are advancing the invariant programme of the proletariat don't you?

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georgestapleton
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Jun 21 2006 21:17

You're back. But wait. We need to let them answer the question before we sneer. Provided the answer is that the do believe in the blah blah blah.

davethemagicweasel
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Jun 21 2006 21:26
ernie wrote:
The role of the party is not to take power, but to defend and put forwards the interests of the class and the development of the revolution. After the revolution, the role of the party will be even more important, as the working class is faced with the absolutely enormous task of trying to construct communism. This will take decades and will only be carried out if the proletariat is able to develop its class consciousness of its role as the builders of communism. The overwhelming weight of society in the period of transition will be to accomodate itself to the prevailing situation, to become integrated into the semi-state, to lose sight of the autonomous role it has to carry out. The role of the party will be to constantly put forwards the need for the class to maintain its independence from the state through its unitary organisations the workers' councils and the workers militias, if necessary to struggle against the attempts of the state to control it, to put forwards the long-term needs of the struggle for communism. The party will seek to have an important influence the counicls and all other workers' organisations. Its militants will be elected by the councils, but they will not be elected as party members but as delegates of the councils.

It seems to me that this role would inevitably involve the party straddling the line between the party and the councils. Do you think the state is inherently a counter-revolutionary force? That seems to be the implication, in which case how do you expect the party to be able to maintain this independent role?

Surely it would start taking on more and more functions, such as through the participation in the councils that you suggest, and would then become entangled in the state. Its happened before after all...

ernie wrote:
There is clearly much to say about the role of the party but I think enough has been said.

The central core of our conception of the party is that it is the political expression of the most consciouss part of the class and that its role is NOT to take power i.e., to substitute itself for the class. The building of communism will depend upon the class conscioussness of the working class.

Hopefully that will answer some of the questions and probably pose many more

If the party is the "expression of the most consciouss part of the class", and the building of communism depends on the classes consciousness, are you not already taking the first steps along the road of substituting the party for the class? Does your argument not imply that the party is the most important condition for the building of communism? Because as soon as any 'less advanced' sections of the working class disagreed with the party (and disagreements are inevitable in life, especially during a revolution) it would have to defend the revolution (as expressed by itself) from these poor deluded workers.

It'd be Kronstadt all over again.

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Devrim
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Jun 21 2006 21:33
georgestapleton wrote:
ernie wrote:
The central core of our conception of the party is that it is the political expression of the most consciouss part of the class and that its role is NOT to take power i.e., to substitute itself for the class.

Honest question:

You also believe that you are advancing the invariant programme of the proletariat don't you?

It isn't a phrase that the ICC, or any left communists apart from the classical 'Bordigists' would use (actually maybe I am wrong here, and some of the 'modernist groups would use it).

What the idea of 'Invariance' refers to is that the communist programme has not changed since 1848, or Lenin in 1917, or Livarno in 1921, depending upon which fraction you follow.

To a certain extent you have to see their point in that it was a protest against revisionism, parliamentarianism, and 'frontism' in the third international. On these issues they were right. On others they were obviously wrong.

I am not advocating the ideas of our group here. I am just trying to clarify the argument.

Devrim