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From Radical to Right Wing

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jesuithitsquad
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Jun 15 2010 17:29
Hughes wrote:
That seems pretty semantic. I mean if one defines the "left" solely as the "left wing of capitalism,' as is done there, then sure, I hear you.

Yes, that's exactly what is meant by it, and if you can agree on this point then we're actually not that far off from an understanding. The difference is how one defines the left wing of capitalism.

I can understand how the terminology can be slightly off-putting when you've spent you're adult life identifying yourself as a leftist, and then come here to hear the left being demeaned. But I find it, as Vlad has said a number of times, to be an accurate description of real life events.

We would include this description to anyone who wishes to manage others' struggles. For many on the left the crisis of capitalism is simply a crisis of leadership. If you put in the right people things will be better. This doesn't apply simply to say liberal Democrats but all the way through Trotskyists, Maoists, and even some anarchists.

If a party takes power in our name, we're no closer to self-organization and communism. Nationalization and communism, as I'm sure you know are not synonymous. What difference does in make in my life if the car companies come under the ownership of the government instead of Ford or whatever? Probably very little at the end of the day. We just have a new boss (though my direct boss is probably actually the same guy, if he/she is flexible enough) with the same-old system that just might be, maybe a little "fairer." You've stated before that you're not a Leninist so I'm sure you understand this on a fundamental level.

Had you read the Dauve piece three weeks ago, we might not need to have this conversation because again, agree with it or not, you might have a better understanding of where we're coming from. In it he says:

Quote:
We will not refute the CPs, the various brands of socialists, the extreme-left, etc., whose programmes merely modernize and democratize all existing features of the present world. The point isn't that these programmes are not communist, but that they are capitalist.

which I think sums up the argument quite nicely.

These people are not our misguided allies. Were they to take power they will be as much, if not more so, our enemies as any right wing organization. Sure amongst their ranks there are decent, misguided militants--absolutely, without a doubt. Do we occasionally find ourselves on the same side of a fight? Of course. But at the end of the day, when The Party takes power militants in the 'thin red line' will be the first to be shot as has happened time and again.

Again, this isn't being more revolutionary-than-thou. It represents real-world political differences.

mons
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Jun 15 2010 17:39

jesuithitsquad:
Thanks, that was helpful, and I entirely agree.

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Jun 15 2010 18:07
renegado wrote:
The left is an apparatus that functions to appropriate the discontent and alienated expressions of humanity within a capitalist society in order to "fix", "reform", or OPTIMIZE the conditions by which capital functions, and thus to perpetuate the existence of capital itself. So the left recuperates any potential for the realization of communism, coopting those who are genuinely enraged with a commodified existence into the myths of democratic organization. The logic is that we have to fight to win small concessions in the here and now, to build a movement that can take it all. The consequence is the neutralization of the potential for acts of autonomous insurgency against the conditions and manifestations of capital's reign, instead opting to convince those in power to make small adjustments (unless they, the left, can get into power themselves!). In building their movement the left only makes blatant its complicity with capital, their desire to take hold of its reins for their own ends.

Hughes, if this sounds like "postmodern" or "situationist" mumbo jumbo, then its clear which side of the fence you're on.

I have to say that that does sound a bit mumbo-jumbo to me. I agree 100% with your argument, but when someone's obviously having difficulty getting their head around communist jargon, I'm not sure that throwing phrases like "the neutralization of the potential for acts of autonomous insurgency against the conditions and manifestations of capital's reign" into the conversation is very helpful.

Vlad336 wrote:
I think there's a difference between Kropotkin saying that anarchists are "to the left" of socialists (which is describing a process of radicalization not stating that the Left includes anarchists) and anarchists today (we are talking about the present after all, not the 19th century as I've emphasized above) claiming a place on the orthodox Left.
It may seem silly and pointless to some people to play "word games" but I think this a much more crucial issue. The Left is wholly anti-working class, and I say this without any ambition of being more Dauve than thou (or "revolutionary oneupmanship" as Hughes would call it); it is simply reality as I observe and experience it. I do not feel that I have anything in common with anyone on the Left in its current state. I was a social democrat supporter some time ago, so I know what the social democrats in my country want, and it is not "socialism" even in the broadest possible (yet still believable obviously) sense of the word. So no, it is not about some pedantic "transcending the Left and Right divide," it is, for me at least, about being genuinely and militantly against the parliamentary Left, which is after all simply the Right writ large as far as I'm concerned.
I have to say it's actually kind of bewildering that anarchists would be against attacking the Left on the grounds that "it's silly and postmodern." I guess some people like to pay lip service to direct action but secretly still have a hard on for popular reformism, which they refuse to disavow completely. This to me looks very hypocritical (not leveling any accusations at anyone on this thread; this is just a tendency I've noticed), but to each his own I reckon. Personally I believe in calling each thing by its right name.

I'm not against attacking the left, and don't have a problem with using "the left" as a derogatory term in conversation with other communists where it's clear that we all know what it means, but I do think that, in popular parlance, "left" is usually seen as referring to "people who actively disagree with right-wing values" and not as "social democrats and Leninists but not council communists and anarchists". I'm sure that Hughes's right to say that, if you asked people "was Karl Marx a leftie - yes or no?", the vast majority of people (at least, those who know who he was) would say yes. As long as someone's genuinely and militantly against social democratic reformism and Bolshevik vanguardism, I don't really care whether they think "the left" is a useful term to describe those things or whether they see "left" as a broader label that also describes themselves. There seems to be two different arguments going on here: me and 888 are saying "Yeah, the state socialist/state capitalist tradition is completely shit, but a lot of people don't just see the left as being limited to that and would understand libertarian communism to also be a part of the left, so it can be a confusing and unhelpful term to use", to which the reply seems to basically be "no, but the state socialist tradition is really shit, though."

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Jun 15 2010 19:39

Wow. I shouldn't post drunk, 'cause I was more than a bit mumbo-jumbo-y in my last post. Fortunately, jesuithitsquad was capable of posting something coherent - and his point is dead-on.

The Party, whether the Communist or the National Socialist Party, is still a party. And the party is a forum of bourgeois political organization, and the aspiration to take state power is a bourgeois aspiration. The notion that communism can be "achieved" through wielding state power is so naïve that it's mind-boggling how anyone can earnestly argue it. The only way to earnestly argue it is to completely lack the critical analytical skills that communist thought necessitates.

As jesuithitsquad said, the left seeks to manage the social struggles of all who protest certain conditions which are the result of everyday life in capitalism. The leftist strategy is to "build a movement", by joining all those struggles under one leadership, in order to eventually take state power. Its tactic is to convince the masses of the left's nobility by winning larger and larger concessions from capital.

In doing so it effectively neutralizes every struggle, by forcing them into the domain of democracy or dialogue, whereby the participants enraged at state and capital must sit down and negotiate with their enemies, with civilized respect, and no ultimate intention of anything more than contention. This is what I meant last night with whatever I wrote about "neutralizing communist insurgence". When the left convinced those dispossessed that they can make "significant change" through meeting with a politician and convincing him they're right, they're ultimately channeling any potential for revolutionary action right back into the state.

The end of the logic of the left is ultimately self-managed capitalism. Even when the leftist movement wins, it wins nothing but its dutiful recognition by the rest of capitalist society.

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Jun 15 2010 20:01
renegado wrote:
The Party, whether the Communist or the National Socialist Party, is still a party. And the party is a forum of bourgeois political organization, and the aspiration to take state power is a bourgeois aspiration. The notion that communism can be "achieved" through wielding state power is so naïve that it's mind-boggling how anyone can earnestly argue it.

Was Marx's vision a bourgeois aspiration?

He said to the Communist League, "Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention."

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Jun 15 2010 19:59

"The Left" does NOT mean "the Left wing of capitalism" roll eyes

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Jun 15 2010 20:05
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"The Left" does NOT mean "the Left wing of capitalism"

If it's not clear enough at this point, I agree. By the way--we've completely derailed this thread.

no1
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Jun 15 2010 20:04
Farce wrote:
[...]I do think that, in popular parlance, "left" is usually seen as referring to "people who actively disagree with right-wing values" and not as "social democrats and Leninists but not council communists and anarchists".

I'd say leftists (at least those who aren't motivated by sheer opportunism) define themselves not so much in opposition to right-wing values, but in favour of social progress, and would subscribe to the idea that social progress is something that requires people actively working towards it. The reason they get offended and defensive when "the left" is dismissed as "the left wing of capitalism" is that they hold on to the values of social progress. So I think it's more fruitful to argue that social democracy and Leninism are dead-ends, and that instead class struggle and self-organisation are the way forward.

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Jun 15 2010 20:06
888 wrote:
"The Left" does NOT mean "the Left wing of capitalism" roll eyes

It means "the Left wing of capitalism" AND anything further to the left of that as well. By the way, "the Left wing of capitalism" is a stupid sounding phrase to anyone who doesn't already agree with you 100%. It just sounds like you are a purist sectarian who know the one true path and you think everyone else is an idiot. Its much better to explain why there are very large tendencies in society that end up managing struggles, and why that happens, instead mentioning "the Left wing of capitalism" comes out sounding like "everyone is a capitalist except me" to the uninitiated.

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Jun 15 2010 20:12

Right, but no one's talking about using a phrase like that to the uninitiated. It is useful as a shorthand amongst folks who agree on certain points and what I and others are attempting to do on this thread is explain this position to someone who doesn't understand the shorthand.

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Jun 15 2010 20:16

"Fiction" is a broad category with different genres that include the work of both R.L. Stine and Cervantes. Similarly, "the Left" is a broad category with different subdivisions that include both social democrats and communists.

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Jun 15 2010 20:23
Hughes wrote:
renegado wrote:
The Party, whether the Communist or the National Socialist Party, is still a party. And the party is a forum of bourgeois political organization, and the aspiration to take state power is a bourgeois aspiration. The notion that communism can be "achieved" through wielding state power is so naïve that it's mind-boggling how anyone can earnestly argue it.

Was Marx's vision a bourgeois aspiration?

He said to the Communist League, "Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention."

I'd say that Marx was spot on about some things and totally misguided about others, and this would be one of the latter.

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Jun 15 2010 20:36
888 wrote:
888 wrote:
"The Left" does NOT mean "the Left wing of capitalism" roll eyes

By the way, "the Left wing of capitalism" is a stupid sounding phrase to anyone who doesn't already agree with you 100%. It just sounds like you are a purist sectarian who know the one true path and you think everyone else is an idiot.

Getting back to the original subject, while I wouldn't suggest such dogmatism is the cause of Horowitz-style swings to the right, I would suggest it is a factor in radical burn-out and the subsequent relapses into mainstream centrism which often follow.

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Jun 15 2010 20:40

And yet another classic Hughes non-response. I'm just about done with engaging with you. People across several threads have gone to great pains to write thoughtful and detailed posts which you largely ignore or dismiss outright with one line, and I'm really beginning to question whether or not I'm wasting my time. It's not that you need to agree with me (though of course you should wink ), but at least show the respect of a thoughtful response.

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Jun 15 2010 20:59
jesuithitsquad wrote:
And yet another classic Hughes non-response. I'm just about done with engaging with you. People across several threads have gone to great pains to write thoughtful and detailed posts which you largely ignore or dismiss outright with one line, and I'm really beginning to question whether or not I'm wasting my time. It's not that you need to agree with me (though of course you should wink ), but at least show the respect of a thoughtful response.

Well, I appreciate the fact that you were sympathetic to my confusion and your knee-jerk reaction was not to bellow,"Purge the disbeliever!"

But beyond that, I've expressed my opinion a number of times on this thread, and it hasn't changed. I remain unconvinced that attempting to remove yourself from the political spectrum does you any favors, especially when your politics are already so misunderstood and marginalized. That I and others, who share or are sympathetic to your views, misunderstand your rhetoric seems to prove my point.

Ultimately though, I don't care about "the point" enough to argue it further. It's literally a question of semantics. You're more than welcome to call yourself whatever you like.

If that's a disrespectful response, I'm sorry.

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Jun 15 2010 21:06

No that's actually a response. There's nothing wrong at all with having a political disagreement. The disrespect is in your consistent refusal to engage and having to be badgered into making a response.

Maybe it's an issue of semantics, though I would be surprised as you seem to be something of a big-tenter. Do you think it's important to make a distinction between those who wish to manage others' struggles and those who believe in the self-activity and organization of our class? Whether the term is the derogatory 'leftist' or something else, do you believe there is a difference?

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Jun 15 2010 21:19
jesuithitsquad wrote:
Do you think it's important to make a distinction between those who wish to manage others' struggles and those who believe in the self-activity and organization of our class? Whether the term is the derogatory 'leftist' or something else, do you believe there is a difference?

This is a long conversation that I hope we might save for another day and another thread. I'd have to ask, for instance, what you mean by "make a distinction." I'm not against fighting for short-term reforms such as raising the minimum wage or single-payer health coverage, and if I find allies in those specific struggles amongst the Democratic Party faithful, who do not share my long term goals, I'm not going to have some sort of socialist existential crisis.

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Jun 15 2010 21:25
888 wrote:
"the Left wing of capitalism" is a stupid sounding phrase

I actually agree. I think it sounds kind of silly (those French...) but that does not change the fact that the interests of the Left lie with the capitalist class, regardless of whether they have x % of working class rank and file members.

Quote:
It means "the Left wing of capitalism" AND anything further to the left of that as well.

As I've said above, I don't see anything wrong with using the left as a way of explaining a process of radicalization (i.e. "moving to the left of__"), as done by Kropotkin for ex. However, that's not what's happening when certain anarchists see themselves as part of an imaginary Left that's been genuine all along and only needs to be weeded out of its opportunistic elements.
It's a shame that Hughes and some other people are interpreting my argument as a bunch of "language deconstruction" "post-left" bullshit, because that's not my argument at all. My argument is that the discourse of The Left is akin to that of the nation, an inherently reactionary and recuperative (I'd use a different word so as not to appear "Situationist" but I can't think of anything else) and that for anarchists to willingly embrace this discourse as something genuinely radical is a grave mistake. No wonder that some tend to be apologetic towards nationalists and talk about taking the unions back. This is what you get when you see yourself as part of the Left! So the consequences are actually quite serious as far as I can tell, and not at all limited to the linguistic realm.

Quote:
It just sounds like you are a purist sectarian who know the one true path and you think everyone else is an idiot.

This is nothing but realpolitik sophistry, and the kind of rebuke that "big tent" charlatans use as a substitute for actual argument. To rightfully criticize something for pretending to be what it's not is not to be a sectarian, it is common fucking sense, if anything is. I am not criticizing the Left from an ultra-left POV; if it seems like that to some people it's probably because they have spent too much time in the "radical milieu" to realize that it is possible to be "political" without being this or that label. I am criticizing the left as a worker, and from the POV of what the Left actually does for the working class.

Hughes wrote:
He said to the Communist League, "Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention."

Who gives a fuck what he said to the Communist fucking League? That was 1848 ffs! And he was wrong anyway (about the possibility of a political revolution and a proletarian "takeover" of the state). Marx is not the messiah, so I don't see why you keep bringing up this quote (tbf it's only the second time) as a way of making an "argument from authority" (a logical fallacy btw).

Farce wrote:
As long as someone's genuinely and militantly against social democratic reformism and Bolshevik vanguardism, I don't really care whether they think "the left" is a useful term to describe those things or whether they see "left" as a broader label that also describes themselves.

Well I think this is a mistaken approach. Language doesn't just reflect reality, it also helps shape it. I mean when you hear a Trot talk about "critical support" for Labour, you don't really believe that there's anything critical about that support do you? Why should it then be acceptable to talk about a "critical leftism" even as it contradicts the reality on the ground. I think it's only a small step from an anarchist describing themselves as "on the Left"" to supporting quasi-nationalism and labourite politics. And this is why I think the meanings of the word "Left" matter very much, or should, to anarchists.

Hughes wrote:
while I wouldn't suggest such dogmatism is the cause of Horowitz-style swings to the right, I would suggest it is a factor in radical burn-out and the subsequent relapses into mainstream centrism which often follow.

I think you are dead wrong here. Horowitz didn't become a rightist because his radicalism "burned out." There are, if you watch the interview that you linked to in the OP, more complex causes to it actually; one is the fact that he grew up in an isolationist leftist culture, cut off from reality and indoctrinated with Stalinist propaganda. The effect that this has on you when you finally "wake up" to reality is devastating, and if you've never experienced it, it's hard to understand. A second factor is the traumatic loss of his friend and his decision to blame it on the Panthers (not sure what the verdict ultimately is, whether they killed her or not) and the New Left. Clearly traumatic experiences were key in this "conversion" and it wasn't just the inevitable result of "dogmatism."

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Jun 16 2010 00:35
Quote:
I think you are dead wrong here. Horowitz didn't become a rightist because his radicalism "burned out." There are, if you watch the interview that you linked to in the OP, more complex causes to it actually; one is the fact that he grew up in an isolationist leftist culture, cut out from reality and indoctrinated with Stalinist propaganda. The effect that this has on you when you finally "wake up" to reality is devastating, and if you've never experienced it, it's hard to understand. A second factor is the traumatic loss of his friend and his decision to blame it on the Panthers (not sure what the verdict ultimately is, whether they killed her or not) and the New Left. Clearly traumatic experiences were key in this "conversion" and it wasn't just the inevitable result of "dogmatism."

I only have time to respond to one point you make here, in which you seem to have misread me:

"I wouldn't suggest such dogmatism is the cause of Horowitz-style swings to the right, I would suggest it is a factor in radical burn-out and the subsequent relapses into mainstream centrism which often follow."

The subsequent comment regarding radicals who burn-out on far-left politics was not meant to refer to Horowitz, but simply radicals who burn out on far-left politics.

EDIT: Horowitz's story is sort of fascinating though, isn't it? It is to me at least.

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Jun 16 2010 06:06
Hughes wrote:
renegado wrote:
The Party, whether the Communist or the National Socialist Party, is still a party. And the party is a forum of bourgeois political organization, and the aspiration to take state power is a bourgeois aspiration. The notion that communism can be "achieved" through wielding state power is so naïve that it's mind-boggling how anyone can earnestly argue it.

Was Marx's vision a bourgeois aspiration?

His vision of a working-class party taking power to make socialism? Yes, that is a bourgeois aspiration. Just like his list of measures for the party to enforce in order to create socialism is also a list of bourgeois aspirations. Just like his assertion in his later life that communist revolution can be made peacefully, or that Russia, by virtue of the existence of the Mir, could skip capitalism and develop straight to socialism were both bourgeois aspirations.

Like Farce says, Marx was right about a lot of things. But it takes a critical application of his historical methodology to distinguish between what he said that was true, what he said that stood in his own historical time period, and what is flat-out wrong. Marx was a human, and as a human, his consciousness was a product of its era and world, and as such, he also fell victim to the ambiguity that existed in the beginning of modernity between socialism and communism (and anarchism as well). But I think that history since has clearly demonstrated that socialism is fully compatible with a bourgeois revolution, and, in fact, is often times the only way in which the bourgeois revolution can be made.

For sake of clarity and elaboration: socialism (which is what Marx, the First through Fourth Internations, and the overwhelming majority of active Marxists fight for on the political field) is the state ownership, or direct coordination, of the economic development of capital. It is usually done so in the alleged interest of the working-class. Its traditional forum is the Leninist party-state with a monolithic hold on all capital development. It is literally state-capitalism. Its modern form can be seen in China, and in the forms of market-socialism being theoretically developmed mostly by analytic Marxists. Almost every single elaboration of communism from Marx's time until only very recently, when articulated in specific terms, ended up describing socialism - because, of course, of the overdetermination of the specific conditions at the time, communism could only be conceived of in terms that, by today's standards, are evidently compatible within capitalism. An example to the contrary, however, would be Marx's famous piece that, within communism, one becomes a hunter, a fisherman, a critic, etc. The distinction to be drawn here is that, for capital, the conscious purpose of production is value; the fact that work reproduces subjectivities is an inconsequential sidenote. For most people, the only purpose of working is the coercion that, without selling one's labor-power, one cannot buy the things one needs to survive. Within communism, however, the conscious purpose of production is the production of beings, that is, the fact that value is created is secondary to the work's subjective fulfillment for the laborer. The reason for one to work then becomes the development of our own personal skills, knowledges, understandings, and relations to and within our shared and communal world. This is only possible when the constructs of wage-labor and exploitation have been abolished, the distinction being labor is not something one does or else one starves, but instead labor is something done freely.

The inability to draw these distinctions reveals either a methodological laziness or a disingenuous politics. Your choice, Hughes.

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Jun 16 2010 06:51

Since I've got a tiny bit of spare time, I'd like to get back to some of the responses to my comments.

Way back on post 29, I wrote

Quote:
Hughes - you're still in the ideology of "Left" v. "Right", good versus evil - you're not thinking (or acting probably) beyond these categories; if you don't struggle against hierarchy in all its forms and content, moving from right to left is just superficially changing the immediate angle of your unreversed, externally imposed, perspective. The complicity with reification and the commodity form just changes its list of heroes from Ho Chi Minh to Thatcher or whatever.

He translated this as

Quote:
Transcending "Left and Right" doesn't hold much interest to me. No offense, but it sounds like a bunch of intellectual masturbation....if you you have a readable, brief account (the size of a Wikipedia page or less) of what it is you're talking about I'd be happy to read it so I might disagree with you in a more informed way.

I translated this back as:

Quote:
Read:
Struggling for some independance of mind and spirit and struggle doesn't hold much interest for me. No offense, but I'm being offensive and complacent, cos I haven't even learnt how to masturbate yet, intellectually or otherwise.

etc.

Hughes again:

Quote:
Satmonaf employs obvious straw-man arguments. Ho Chi Minh is not my "hero" and it's very rare I think in terms of "Good" and "Evil."

Second, Satmonaf seems to be spewing postmodern mumbo-jumbo. When he suggests that thinking in terms of "Left" and "Right" is irrelevant, I'm honestly not sure what he means. He's welcome to explain it to me, but if he sends me for answers elsewhere I stand by my request for a brief synopsis. I have a finite amount of time and would prefer to know something about a subject before deciding to dedicate myself to reading a full-length book that ends up bunk. That hardly seems like too much to ask if Satmonaf would honestly like me to engage his argument.

I never talked about "transcending" anything -left and right have to be attacked. And I'm not interested in engaging people in argument if beforehand they've already dismissed what I hadn't yet said ("if you you have a readable, brief account (the size of a Wikipedia page or less) of what it is you're talking about I'd be happy to read it so I might disagree with you in a more informed way." Since you're clearly too locked up in your own ideological bubble, I'll have to spell it out in easy-to-digest words: this attitude is not just arrogant but extremely lazy and lacking in any independent spirit of curiosity. Understand? You never responded to my question about Edouardo Rothe before I wrote post 29:

Quote:
Edouardo Rothe was a member of the Situationist International as late as 1969 and is now a member of Chavez's government. In Hughes's terms this is probably an improvement (I don't know, but I suspect he would see it like this...?) . For me, however, it's a complete and utter betrayal of anything he ever upheld in the past. But no surprise really - unless people persist with a genuine anti-ideological experimental perspective constantly questioning, with themselves at the centre, it's easy just to succumb to the "if you can't beat them, join them" ideology - probaby in a few years time, or less, there will be quite a few libcommers who will overtly join the enemy (some are pretty much half way there already).

My comment on Ho Chi Minh was a reference to Horowitz (though also to you insofar as you seemed to think this creep had been part of the movement against capitalist social relations), who edited Ramparts rag, which was full of lefty heroes. Which brings me to this:

x359594

Quote:
Quote:
Samotnaf wrote: ...for all these supporters of left-wing captalism, merely shifting to right-wing forms isn't much of a change - they were always opportunist, totally lacking in integrity. Horowitz was an editor of Ramparts magazine, a crap populist journal in tune with, and perpetuator of, the typical lefty-leninist ideology of "The Revoution" at the time...

Quote:
Your characterization of David Horowitz and his ilk is apt, but I can't agree with your evaluation of Ramparts.

To begin with, Ramparts started out as a liberal Roman Catholic magazine that gradually shifted to left commentary and analysis. Warren Hinckle was the editor for most of its life, and during its hay day Ramparts was one of the few national magazines in the US that provided accurate reportage of the anti-war movement and anti-draft movement. It gave the only accurate account of Peoples Park in Berkeley.

I still vividly remember its January 1967 issue with Dr. Benjamin Spock's article on the children victims of US bombing. I was 15 years old at the time and it was my first encounter with the human costs of the war.

Ramparts when seen in the context of its era was a valuable source of information for a lot of people and Horowitz didn't take over until the last phase of the magazine's life.

When I was 17 or 18 (just a couple of years ago - in 1968) I too read Ramparts, even getting excited by its sexist fiction (written, iirc, by Eldridge Cleaver, who became a born-again Christian and member of the Republican Party - Hughes maybe should have chosen this lefty hero)...I remember reading Che Guevara's diaries there, and being very disappointed to find that my lefty hero was so boring. My information against the Vietnam War had alaready come from left Labourites, like William Warbey MP and Tribune magazine. But these were useless in my struggle against this world; Ramparts never talked about what a piece of scum Ho Chi Minh or Fidel Castro (another hero of mine at the time) were; Dr Spock might have been informative, but then so are many lefty-liberals - to justify what influnces you at the age of 15 or 17 or whenever as being something radical is to remain dominated by your past and by those who keep you there.

888:

Quote:

Samotnaf wrote:

Quote:
You could say that the vast majority of the anarchists in the French CGT, and Kropotkin himself, moved from"left" to "right" - by supporting the First World War. In the case of the CGT, I think the form of opposition (violent strikes, sabotage) gave it a radical image which belied its reformist content, and often hid or ignored political questions in favour of purely economic ones (like later, the CNT in Spain - with its separation of economic questions from political ones ). There were even a few anarchists who "critically" supported the UN in the 1991 Gulf War.

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The majority of anarchists in the CGT didn't support WWI, and the CNT didn't generally separate economic and political questions. confused

Well - maybe I'm wrong about the CGT: I was told that by several different French radicals but never checked it out myself; or maybe I should have made a distinction between the CGT and the anarchists in it (though pre- WWl, the CGT described itself as anarcho-syndicalist, so I lumped everyone together); certainly the majority of the CGT supported the war, and a significant amount of anarchists also supported it.

As for the CNT, there was that tndency to suppress political questions when getting involved in economic strikes,though maybe imade an over-generalisation; however, if you want an example of moving from radical to defender of capitalism, Montseny, and the rest of the anarcho-collaborators are far more significant than David Horrornowits; and it's this question - why do genuine contributors to revolution betray their past? What is it that already exists amongst "radicals" that enables them so easily to turn their backs on the real movement? I've got more to say about this and other stuff on this thread, but I've gotta go; however, it seems more interesting to discuss this question - about our own contradictions that lead to self-betrayal - than much of the discussion so far imo .

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Hughes
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Jun 16 2010 10:35
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written, iirc, by Eldridge Cleaver, who became a born-again Christian and member of the Republican Party - Hughes maybe should have chosen this lefty hero

Old man, you know you come across as an absolute prick, right? I Just wanted to make sure you were aware and thought it might help you make friends in the future. For my part, I'm pretty much done engaging with you.

EDIT: Besides that, you're re-entering the "debate" a little late in the game. Most of the misunderstandings which began it have since been ironed over.

Admin; warning - no flaming or face sanction

gypsy
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Jun 16 2010 10:37
Hughes wrote:
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written, iirc, by Eldridge Cleaver, who became a born-again Christian and member of the Republican Party - Hughes maybe should have chosen this lefty hero

Old man, you know you come across as an absolute prick, right? I Just wanted to make sure you were aware and thought it might help you make friends in the future. For my part, I'm pretty much done engaging with you.

EDIT: Besides that, you're re-entering the "debate" a little late in the game. Most of the misunderstandings which began it have since been ironed over.

You are sounding like a right prick yourself Hughes and less of the ageism crap.

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Jun 16 2010 10:59
renegado wrote:
The inability to draw these distinctions reveals either a methodological laziness or a disingenuous politics. Your choice, Hughes.

Could you please stop giving me these message board ultimatums, the last of which you admitted made no sense and was pounded out drunk? They make you look silly and I have to go work. The only reason I was able to respond so often over the past 48 hours is that I had two consecutive days off. I won't be available for prolonged discussion for a while.

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renegado
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Jun 16 2010 11:21

You haven't responded to anything anyone's posted so far, so I guess it would be foolish to expect you to start anytime soon.

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Jun 16 2010 11:53
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You haven't responded to anything anyone's posted so far, so I guess it would be foolish to expect you to start anytime soon.

Here's what you wrote:

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His vision of a working-class party taking power to make socialism? Yes, that is a bourgeois aspiration. Just like his list of measures for the party to enforce in order to create socialism is also a list of bourgeois aspirations. Just like his assertion in his later life that communist revolution can be made peacefully, or that Russia, by virtue of the existence of the Mir, could skip capitalism and develop straight to socialism were both bourgeois aspirations.

Like Farce says, Marx was right about a lot of things. But it takes a critical application of his historical methodology to distinguish between what he said that was true, what he said that stood in his own historical time period, and what is flat-out wrong. Marx was a human, and as a human, his consciousness was a product of its era and world, and as such, he also fell victim to the ambiguity that existed in the beginning of modernity between socialism and communism (and anarchism as well). But I think that history since has clearly demonstrated that socialism is fully compatible with a bourgeois revolution, and, in fact, is often times the only way in which the bourgeois revolution can be made.

For sake of clarity and elaboration: socialism (which is what Marx, the First through Fourth Internations, and the overwhelming majority of active Marxists fight for on the political field) is the state ownership, or direct coordination, of the economic development of capital. It is usually done so in the alleged interest of the working-class. Its traditional forum is the Leninist party-state with a monolithic hold on all capital development. It is literally state-capitalism. Its modern form can be seen in China, and in the forms of market-socialism being theoretically developmed mostly by analytic Marxists. Almost every single elaboration of communism from Marx's time until only very recently, when articulated in specific terms, ended up describing socialism - because, of course, of the overdetermination of the specific conditions at the time, communism could only be conceived of in terms that, by today's standards, are evidently compatible within capitalism. An example to the contrary, however, would be Marx's famous piece that, within communism, one becomes a hunter, a fisherman, a critic, etc. The distinction to be drawn here is that, for capital, the conscious purpose of production is value; the fact that work reproduces subjectivities is an inconsequential sidenote. For most people, the only purpose of working is the coercion that, without selling one's labor-power, one cannot buy the things one needs to survive. Within communism, however, the conscious purpose of production is the production of beings, that is, the fact that value is created is secondary to the work's subjective fulfillment for the laborer. The reason for one to work then becomes the development of our own personal skills, knowledges, understandings, and relations to and within our shared and communal world. This is only possible when the constructs of wage-labor and exploitation have been abolished, the distinction being labor is not something one does or else one starves, but instead labor is something done freely.

What's there to respond to? What in particular would you like me to address?

It's a bunch of abstract rhetoric that makes my eyes glaze over. If you want to write for an ivory tower journal which no one but a handful of professors read, you might have the style down. But if you want to have a political discussion, in which you change someone's mind, strive for clarity and plain-spokenness while making a historical point relevant for the present day. Finally, no reader likes to be preached at.

I'm going to read for forty minutes before I have to go work. See you later.

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Jun 16 2010 14:41

Hughes:

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a bunch of abstract rhetoric that makes my eyes glaze over

Your eyes were glazed over long before you even started this thread and your non-reponses to everything: you've entered these threads without the slightest genuine curiosity. A waste of time.

petey
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Jun 16 2010 19:07

along the way here there have been alot of excellent posts.
about 'left of capital' i found that phrase helpful, in that i had to work with it a while before i saw the meaning and that was politically clarifying for me.

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Hughes
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Jun 16 2010 23:54
Hughes wrote:
Admin; warning - no flaming or face sanction

Sorry about that.

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smg
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Jun 17 2010 01:21
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I am not criticizing the Left from an ultra-left POV; if it seems like that to some people it's probably because they have spent too much time in the "radical milieu" to realize that it is possible to be "political" without being this or that label. I am criticizing the left as a worker, and from the POV of what the Left actually does for the working class.

Can you elaborate on this Vlad. I agree with sentiments that it possible to be "political" without leftist baggage. It is probably preferable. Some of my neighbors have strong communist sympathies but for them the Left is completely irrelevant, I on the other hand have spent far too much time on the "radical milieu".