Why the Leninists Will Win by Ed Clark (1977)

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Battlescarred
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Dec 6 2006 09:31

Yes, totally endorse what Ed had to say

Feighnt
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Dec 6 2006 23:20

a quite excellent and clear-thinking article - it's very well done, and (unfortunately) very poignant, even today.

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AndrewF
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Dec 7 2006 13:37

Is this the same Ed Clark
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ed_Clark

Id so he went on to join the Libertarian Party and got their highest ever vote in a state election before causing a split and leaving with the minority

syndicalist
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Dec 7 2006 13:40

No, no way. Ed Clark left the movement some years ago on a hard personal, downward drift.

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Dec 7 2006 13:41
syndicalist wrote:
No, no way. Ed Clark left the movement some years ago on a hard personal, downward drift.

There is a photo at the link so if you knew him you should be able to tell especially as the photo is from around 1980

syndicalist
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Dec 7 2006 14:32

I saw the photo prior to responding. I also remember the LP campaign of that year and heard that Mr. Clark on the radio. And no way is it the same person.

DM
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Dec 7 2006 16:57

While I agree with a lot in that article there is one major assumption I find problematic.

Quote:
when (not if. when) the present form of capitalism in this country is overthrown

Perhaps it is the fact that the article is a product of its time but the idea that capitalism is doomed to collapse and groups that are currently small and without influence, Lennists and Anarcho-Communists, will automatically be able to overthrow it is misleading.

People have been predicting the imminent collapse of global capitalism since before WWI and in my opinion it may be an inherently unstable system but it is one that will continue as long as we let it.

Do people really think that capitalism will collapse of its own accord?

violencia.prole...
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Dec 21 2006 17:39

There was a guy who called himself Ed Clark that posted on revoultionaryleft.com He posted under the name Redstar2000.
He mentioned living in New Orleans and San Francisco. I'm wondering if this is the same guy?

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 21 2006 22:50

Sounds like him. When was that? I knew Ed for many years but I've not had contact with Ed for about 10 years. Last I heard he was living in a residential hotel in the Tenderloin (in San Francisco). At that time he didn't seem to have any interest in radical poltics at all. It would be interesting if he revived his interest. When did redstar2000 last post there?

t.

violencia.prole...
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Dec 21 2006 23:02

Quite a few months ago because apparently he had a stroke. Another member of the board has some contact with him and says he's in rehab right now somewhere in the southeast. I think it's likely it's the same guy because thats a pretty obscure person to pretend to be.

This guy had a website, www.redstar2000papers.com although I think the domain has expired. Maybe that could give you some clues? I'll ask on the board.

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Dec 22 2006 00:41

That should certainly be a good clue, if you key that URL into the Wayback Machine you will find a [url=http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.redstar2000papers.com/]number of snapshots[/url] of his site.

Just looking at the first one reveals this library of his posts to newsgroups, many of which appear to have been archived successfully.

Check out "The Legacy of SDS" for starters -- does this sound like him to you, Tom? Or try this one.

You can look at later snapshots of the site too... here's something he wrote after Katrina and Rita hit New Orleans.

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 22 2006 01:55

Well, i've not read thru everything, MJ, but it sounds like him. At one point he says, "Revolution is a young person's game." That was always one of Ed's favorite sayings. I couldn't find any references to his life after SDS, however, so I'm not 100% sure.

When I knew him he didn't self-identify as a "marxist" as he is doing in these posts. Seems like he's gone back to do a lot of re-reading. In his anarcho-communist phase in the late '70s/early '80s he was a sort of councilist. His interest in attacking religion is certainly consistent with the Ed I knew.

Interesting that he went back to New Orleans.
I'd be interested in getting in touch with him, altho I'm not so sure how interested he'd be in talking with me. Ed is one of the least sentimental persons I've known.

t.

syndicalist
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Dec 22 2006 03:18

The Ed I knew was anything but sentimental. Selfish maybe, sentimental, not.

The stuff on that site is pretty freakin marxist, maybe he was having a youthful flashback.

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 22 2006 03:43

Totally unsentimental, that is exactly right. Ed smoked like a chimney. I notice in his interesting account of the Katrina disaster in New Orleans, he mentions still smoking. But he seems to have become a kind of fundamentalist Marxist anti-Leninist communist. I can see in the things he's saying here echoes or developments out of the things he used to say. Because, back then, he was trying to talk to anarchists, he put this in terms of anarchist-communism, that is how he self-identified then. But he also never abandoned his *theoretical* agreement with Marxism, as a social theory. Note, however, that his conception of the ideal "communist political organization" is still essentially anarchist. He says it shouldn't be called a "party". That it would be completely controlled by the direct democracy of the members. There would be no relation of order giver/obeyer, etc. He doesn't really say anything there that an anarchist would disagree with, unless they are anti-political organization.

t.

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 22 2006 07:45

Okay, i've done a Google search on redstar2000. I found a place where he entered a profile. Says he was born in 1942, that makes him four years older than me. That's about right for Ed Clark. He defines himself there as a "council communist". I think that's probably his most considered view. He went thru a very bad period in the late '90s, lost his apartment in San Francisco (gave me his multi-volume collection of Lenin's collected works). Dropped totally out of politics. But I went thru a period in the late '90s where I was totally inactive for about six years myself. But Ed was so steeped in revolutionary politics in his youth -- he lived for it -- that i guess he couldn't stay away, nor more than me.

In the 1960s he was a member of the Progressive Labor Party for quite a few years. He was the representative for the American south on the PL national executive committee. Maybe he retained from his PL days a very strong attachment to an identification with communism. And maybe, when he got back into radical politics again after 2000, he thought that he could contribute, given his background, by entering onto various lists and message boards where young people attracted to Marxism-Leninism might be lurking, to try to persuade them away from that, towards libertarian council marxism.

After the Anarchist Communist Federation broke up in 1980, I moved to San Francisco. A number of us who had been in ACF began having discussions about forming a libertarian syndicalist political group, which became WSA in 1984. All during that period and the early years of WSA, I continued to get together regularly with Ed. We'd schmooze frequently at bars near where he lived, in the Tenderloin. He'd always wear a suit (minus tie) and a hat. With his Kentucky drawl, he was the southern gentleman, except that his humor was totally irreverent. And his irreverence definitely comes thru in his redstar2000 persona.

I would get Ed's advice, but I never could interest him in WSA. He wasn't interested in syndicalism. He remained a committed council communist. I think he thought in terms of something like a workers assembly movement.

Nothing i found in any of his redstar2000 writings addresses anarchists or talks about his anarchist period. I think perhaps from his anarchist period he ended up with a rather pessimistic view of American anarchists. Given his knowledge of SDS and Marxism, it seems he thought he could contribute more by trying to ward young would-be Leninists away from that view towards a different, libertarian interpretation of Marxism.

t.

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Felix Frost
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Dec 22 2006 09:51

His collection of Lenin quotes about sex is great.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Dec 22 2006 12:15

This is really interesting biographical stuff guys, I love hearing stories about the people who aren't famous, thanks guys.

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MJ
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Dec 22 2006 13:10

So can we get this guy to post or not? grin

violencia.prole...
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Dec 22 2006 19:53

He had a stroke and is in rehab. Revleft is down so I cant get in contact with the lady that is keeping track of him.

Leo
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Dec 22 2006 21:41

Redstar2000 was good... I miss his presence on RevLeft very much, to be honest. I really hope he gets well.

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Dec 22 2006 23:05

here's an interesting piece -- a debate actually -- where he defends the worker/people's militia concept against Leninist doctrine:

Communist "Armies" December 16, 2004 by RedStar2000

How do we defend a new society should it be attacked by one or more imperialist powers?

This is one of the "keystones" of the Leninist paradigm: that the only way to do it is to organize a centralized and highly disciplined professional military that's "just like" the imperialist military. We should fight "like they do" and with the same strategy, tactics, and weaponry.

And this view even strongly influences non-Leninists...it's hard to overcome the established prejudices of military doctrines that really go all the way back to Napoleon if not even earlier.

Nevertheless, I argue here that we must overcome those prejudices and develop a completely different outlook on military matters...or else risk the tragedy of creating the revolution's grave-diggers in our midst.

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A centralized military should be a constantly ready force, deployed widely to ensure security, and should be complemented by the militias.
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I disagree.

In fact, I think a centralized military leads directly to another Tienamien Square.

1. A centralized military develops a consciousness of its own...that steadily diverges from the consciousness of civilian workers.

2. That consciousness becomes, over time, fascist.

3. Eventually, it produces leaders that are either willing to collaborate with civilian reactionaries or will choose to act on their own to re-establish a fascist variant of class society.

Just think of the "military virtues"...and ask what they have in common with communist values.

Nothing!
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 12, 2004
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If indeed the military is alienated from the people and those who control the military are not the people. If the means of production and the legislative forces are within the hands of the people I don't see how that can happen. Nor do I see how the military can become alienated from the people since they would work directly with worker militias.
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It happens because "what you do" has a tremendous and ultimately dominating effect on "what you think".

If you are a "full-time soldier", you look at matters differently than people who are part-timers in a militia.

For example, you tend to see civilian politics as "messy", "undisciplined", "disorganized", and even "corrupt". You compare it with your own full-time military life -- organized with clear channels of command and responsibility, well disciplined, and "devoted to service" rather than vulgar self-advancement. (I should add that police also develop this "mind set".)

Naturally, over time, you develop a contempt for civilians...they "don't understand" how to "get things done".

The thought begins to occur to you that perhaps it's "necessary from time to time" for the military to "step in" and "save the nation".

Historically, class societies have been "bedeviled" with this problem; they need a professional military both for defense and to take advantage of opportunities for profitable aggression. Yet armies have a distinct tendency to "act for themselves" -- deposing emperors and presidents alike, killing large numbers of civilians, etc.

The response thus far has been the attempt to create a "cultural bias" in favor of civilian control of the military. But that's a far more fragile cultural artifact than most people believe...because it tries to pretend that material force is "not" as powerful as a cultural bias.

Material force, if applied in sufficient amounts, is always more powerful in the immediate circumstances. The pen may be "mightier" than the sword in the long run...but here and now, bet on the sword!

It's true that the working class is the one class with material force of its own -- it can simply refuse to work and the professional military is helpless, no matter what it does.

But the "indiscipline" of the masses makes that a difficult response to organize...it's happened, but very rarely.

I don't think there's any reason to believe that a professional military would act any different in a post-capitalist society than it has historically. The same factors would be operating; the same differences in outlook would exist; etc. Perhaps the more highly-developed and conscious working class of that era would "easily" call and implement a general strike against any military presumptions...and the army would have to "back down".

But why chance it? Why create a "special group" within post-capitalist society that will preserve and even increase precisely the kind of crap that you're trying to get rid of?

It's not that you're even likely to "gain" any real additional "protection" from a foreign aggressor...look at the miserable response of the Iraqi army compared to the real and sustained resistance of Iraqi civilians.

Wouldn't it be the same for us? The masses will fight indefinitely for what they think is worth fighting for; professional soldiers will fight for a little while and then, if things go poorly, surrender or run away.

Thus I assert: forget the centralized "full-time" army. You have nothing to gain and quite a bit to lose.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 13, 2004
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When did I say it was centralized?
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You said it here, on December 11th...

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A centralized military should be a constantly ready force, deployed widely to ensure security, and should be complemented by the militias.
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Obviously, a de-centralized professional military would be much less of a threat to the revolution. But note that professional police are not centralized...and yet they also develop, over time, the same kind of fascist mind-set.

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So I suppose then that we're getting rid of all other jobs that require such discipline?
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Well, it's hard for me to think what else involves the full-time preoccupation with the use of deadly force "on command".

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Aside from this, the alienation of the military would seem to have little do with the discipline it commands, and a hell of a lot more to do with the position [the] traditional military is in. The traditional military, like the police, is an organization who is given power above the people, they are done so because it is argued that sometimes the people would need to be secured from themselves. I don't see how this even comes in to play when in the end it is the people who are commanding them.
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It's argued under bourgeois "democracy" that "the people" command the military "in the end". That's not much help when they are actively "securing us from ourselves".

My point is that a "formal arrangement" or even a "cultural bias" is not some kind of "insurmountable obstacle" to the re-emergence of military ambition among those who've developed that mind-set.

Before Pinochet, the Chileans used to boast that they "were not like" the rest of Latin America -- their military was "really committed" to staying out of politics and had a "long tradition" of "serving the nation".

Even General Douglas MacArthur in the U.S. "toyed" with the idea of staging a military coup against newly-elected President Roosevelt.

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Your job [as a full-time soldier] is to serve these people, PERIOD. You ARE these people.
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No, you're not "these people" -- you are in a special "category" and you're always in that position because you're a full-time soldier. It's a different kind of life.

Not to mention the enormous ambiguity in the phrase "serve the people" -- it can pretty nearly mean anything you want.

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This should be indoctrinated in such military forces from the day they come into existence.
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It's done now and has been done for as long as professional militaries have existed. Indoctrination works "much" of the time and even "most of the time"...but not all of the time.

And there's the scorpion in your shoe.

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The military works complement the militia, and thus they are in no position and would never have the resources to "save the nation" from any significant threat.
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The "threat" does not have to be a real one. It's only required that significant elements of the professional military perceive a "threat" to "national security".

Neither Roosevelt, Allende, nor Chavez were/are any threat to capitalist society whatsoever.

And of course they have "the resources" -- they have weaponry, full-time training, and the habit of obedience to their officers. Even if the militias are equally well-armed, they're still not going to be able to muster much initial resistance to a carefully-planned military coup. (Note that one of the immediate objectives of such a coup would be to seize as many of the militia arms-depots as they could.)

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I don't see this as a problem if it is on all levels equal to another job, is designed for defense against external threats and its power is constitutionally limited under the people.
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As far as I know, none of the professional armies in Latin America have been "designed" for aggression against other Latin American powers...at least not since the early years of the 20th century. Nor have "constitutional limitations" served to inhibit their domestic ambitions.

A "constitutional limitation" is a "paper tiger"...it "looks powerful" but can be shredded easily by a determined minority.

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I have several friends in the military who would argue that this is not attempted in the least.
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I think the idea of "military subordination to civilian authority" in the U.S. is emphasized at the higher levels of the military...and not at the lower levels who may indeed be used against the civilian population.

The civilian president "is" the "commander-in-chief" and "must be obeyed unconditionally".

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If the outlook of the people is otherwise, and the outlook of the government is otherwise, and the initial outlook of the military is otherwise... where does this traditional outlook spawn from?
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From daily life in the military. You are taught to obey without question. You are taught that your own desires and even survival mean nothing. And, as noted, you will develop a disdain and ultimately a contempt for civilians.

It's simply idealist to think this won't happen.

That doesn't mean that a military coup is inevitable...professional military officers could choose to ally with civilian reactionaries (as in China).

But the results will be bad!

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Well certainly it is left in the hands of the people in the end. Being that [they] control the legislative forces, at any time they could pass law to disband such a force.
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Ah...but would the professional military disband just because they were "told to"?

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Another point that should be made is that several cities in Iraq are in rubble because of this. Civilian opposition is strong and great and all, but in the end it requires the enemy to enter into civilian's living space.
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Very true; if a post-capitalist country defended only by workers' militias is invaded by a major imperialist country, the destruction will be severe. Driving the invader out will probably involve enormous civilian casualties.

Would the existence of a professional army mitigate that destruction or reduce the number of civilian casualties? Frankly I doubt it...unless it were huge and equipped with high-tech weaponry that matched the invader's.

The USSR had a huge and well-equipped army and so did the Nazis -- and yet both countries were reduced to rubble and suffered enormous civilian casualties.

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I don't know... are these people (Iraqis) really revolutionary? Are they an example of revolutionary people? I don't think so. If anything they seem far more reactionary to me.
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Their nominal ideology is indeed reactionary (for the most part). But their demonstrated ability to resist the hegemony of U.S. imperialism makes them objectively revolutionary at the present time.

No one else is even playing in their league!

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I also made note, if I recall correctly, that the military could exercise training of militia.
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And return to their barracks making jokes about the "fuckups" and "clowns" in the militia.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 13, 2004
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People are not stripped of their right[s] for security unless they decide to be...
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I think this assumption underlies a lot of your thinking about this question...and I think it's wrong.

All that seems to be required is the creation of a "threat" to people's sense of "security" and a fair number of people are quite prepared to give up their "rights"...especially those who never bother to exercise them anyway.

The recent passivity of the American public with regard to the Patriot Act, et.al., is an illustration.

In a post-capitalist society, people would be much more conscious of their rights and much more politically sophisticated (able to see through rhetoric about "threats") than they are now.

But that hardly means that everyone will be "immune" to rhetoric about "threats" or appeals based on fear.

Suppose, for example, that there were heated controversies among civilians over "what is to be done" about some urgent matter -- and, meanwhile, nothing is being done while the alternatives are being debated. An undemocratic initiative by the professional military might be welcomed by many...on the grounds that "something" (at last!) is "being done".

It won't occur to them that the professional military may not stop with this particular initiative...but go on to others.

And the problem is never even framed in terms of "rights vs. security"...it just "happens" because of the "urgency of the situation".

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The problem that causes alienation is when the police/military forces stand above society.
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But my point is that a professional military/police come to think of themselves in that position regardless of any "serve & protect" ideology. It's "in their job description".

And it's probably in their personality profiles as well.

Think about it: what kind of person is attracted to a "job" where you are always either told what to do or you are telling others what to do? Where violence or the threat of violence is "a way of life"?

Psychologically healthy people don't think like that, in my opinion. They may resort to violence in extremis but it's not a daily part of their existence.

I personally would see militia duty as a painful necessity...but hardly my idea of "fun", much less a way to live my life.

The very fact that only a relatively small proportion of humans in any society choose to be soldiers or cops (or violent criminals) suggests there is some kind of socio-pathology at work.

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While it may not be deadly force, there are certainly positions where you have to do what you are told "or else." In fact, most jobs require a decent amount of discipline if you don't want to get fired. Others require a good amount of discipline if you don't want to get killed... construction sites come to mind.
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Yes, there are dangerous jobs where care must be exercised...and there must indeed be a certain amount of discipline to accomplish any extended task.

But the habit of unquestioning obedience is, I think, of a different order of magnitude in military/police circumstances. On a construction site, for example, if you were ordered to do something dangerous to yourself or others, you could refuse...and the worst thing that could happen to you is that you would be fired -- unless your union backed you up and walked out.

Bosses may dream of "human robots" that will do what they're told and never talk back...but you know and I know that's not how it works even now. In post-capitalist society, things will likely be even more "undisciplined" in that sense -- people will insist that "orders" make some kind of sense or they simply won't carry them out.

But can you imagine a professional military based on such a premise?

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What rights does my theoretical military have that the people do not? They have no right to detain people, no right to subdue them, no right to control them. What separates them from the people other than their job, which is defense of the nation?
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It's not a matter of "rights" -- it's a matter of what they may decide to do based on their unique perception of social reality.

You keep repeating that being a soldier/cop is "just a job"...like auto-mechanic or bartender. I don't see how you can say that. And I don't see how saying it makes it so.

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Say there is some rather large natural disaster. Why divert any doctors, engineers, etc... to this location and deprive other places of people they may need. The military would have many of these kinds of people in it -- they would not be just "trained to kill" as you like to believe, nor is the current US military.
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There is no reason why civilian emergency teams could not be set up to respond to disasters.

And I quite agree that only about one out of every ten members of the military is trained in combat skills...all the rest are "support" personnel. (But note that the U.S. military is "privatizing" a good deal of such support in order to free up more personnel for combat duty.)

What's involved here is not simply being "trained to kill", it's being trained to obey without question.

If your friend is sent to Iraq and ordered to treat American wounded, he will do it. If he's ordered to oversee torture, he will do that too -- or face very severe consequences if he refuses.

It's the same with the police. If ordered to apprehend a serial killer, they'll do it. If ordered to open fire on a civilian "mob", they'll do that too.

It's "all in a day's work".

When you really consider it, being in a military or a police force is a tremendous escape from personal responsibility. It's not "up to you" to decide if some act is "right or wrong" or even "rational or irrational"...that's not your responsibility. You have only the duty to obey your orders to the best of your ability.

You know that none of the ordinary soldiers who participated in the massacre at My Lai were ever prosecuted...they were just carrying out their orders.

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You give reactionary, and indeed counter-revolutionary characteristics to a military force just for the reason alone that it is a military force.
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Yes, I do. Maybe not at first...but, in time, yes, I think it would evolve in that direction.

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You assume there is some position to "take over" to begin with, and give little standing of what this position does or what it has control over. What exactly is this military taking over?
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It seizes effective control of territory, resources, and population, of course. Or at least it tries to do that. It may make use of existing decision-making organs or it may establish new ones that are effectively under its control. It is certainly not "bound" by the institutions that existed previous to its coup.

The implications of this and other objections that you've raised to my thesis is that, in one way or another, the post-capitalist society would be "too strong" to be overthrown by a reactionary professional army -- in fact, the disparity in strength would be so great that it "would never happen".

Perhaps you are right about this; it wouldn't be the first time that I've been accused of "excessive pessimism".

Nevertheless, I think the avoidance of professional armies and police is a wise and prudent precaution. Deprived of an institutional/social base, reactionary proclivities are much less likely to ever cause any problems.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

When I wrote that the professional military teaches you that "your own desires and even survival mean nothing", you responded...

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Sound[s] characteristic of a revolutionary person to me. Are we not to put our own desire to live aside for the cause of revolution? Are we not to risk our lives for revolution for the betterment of all man?
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No.

That's the "Aztec Theory" of revolutionary politics; you drape yourself over the altar of history and cut your own heart out as an offering to the revolution.

I think living for the revolution is a far superior approach...not only surviving but realizing one's desires in a revolutionary society makes much more sense to me than martyrdom.

Indeed, I find appeals to "self-sacrifice" to be suspicious in and of themselves. The people who make such appeals usually don't intend to sacrifice themselves -- they intend to sacrifice me...or you.

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I'm a firm believer that there's a lot more to being revolutionary than taking part in revolution.
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As a general statement, I would not disagree. But when people are actually fighting in a struggle and their victory would actually weaken reaction (U.S. imperialism) objectively, then at this time I'm perfectly willing to applaud their efforts.

My real priority is, of course, the emergence (at least in embryonic form) of a revolutionary movement in the U.S. -- and I think a victory by the Iraqi resistance is one of the "necessary pieces" that we need to "get off the ground" here.

As long as U.S. imperialism is "successful", we're screwed. But our ideas start to "make sense" to people when imperialism is defeated.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 14, 2004
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Maybe you would just rather me call it something else then? Would that clear this whole thing up? Ok then, it's not a military, it's an Initial Defense Unit -- a portion of the workers militia who is designated to watch for incoming naval and air threats and respond to those threats by mobilizing the rest of the workers militia and combating those threats until that militia is mobilized.
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Yes, that's better...perhaps every militia unit will do two weeks per year as "border patrol".

They'll be "full-timers" for a couple of weeks and then go back to their ordinary jobs.

And there'll be no professional officer corps at all...just people who've had more experience in the militia than younger members.

There'd be nothing you could point to and say "there's the army" and "there are the soldiers". There'd just be militia units in variable states of mobilization, depending on circumstances.

I could live with that.

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Then I presume you don't think bloodshed is a necessary aspect of revolution.
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Presumption is always risky.

I have no problem with killing as many of the forces of the class enemy as required to achieve victory. I do have a problem with people who are seeking or who think we should all be seeking "revolutionary martyrdom". They take unnecessary risks, engage in reckless "strategy", and may end up doing more harm than good.

Revolution should not be thought of as a "romantic adventure" followed by "glorious martyrdom".

To paraphrase General Patten, I don't want us to "die for the revolution", I want those other bastards to die for the capitalist reaction.
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First posted at Che-Lives on December 14, 2004
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This still seems like it would cause a certain abandonment of technology that requires a decent amount of training. Take pilots for example.
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Yes, I think we will end up abandoning "high tech" military technology, for a whole number of reasons.

First, it's hugely expensive in resources...as America's own expenditures demonstrate.

Second, it's of dubious reliability, as America's experience has also shown.

Consider your example: pilots of presumably high-tech combat aircraft. Unless we are willing to devote approximately the same resources to developing and manufacturing such aircraft, our pilots are "dead men"...their inferior planes will be destroyed by the superior aircraft of the imperialists in hours.

On the other hand, it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture a ground-to-air missile that is very reliable, requires only a minimum of training ("point and shoot"), and can be stored in large numbers for an indefinite period of time.

In other words, I'm proposing a "military doctrine" that is very different from the "orthodox" doctrine of capitalist military experts. We will use "simple" weapons in very large numbers to repel an imperialist invasion -- because we are expecting to rely on most of the population for defense if necessary.

Instead of "set-piece" battles between large, disciplined armies, we will rely on hundreds and thousands of "small engagements" by units that act on their own initiative to attack at will, retreat, and attack again. Even kids and old women can pull the pin on a grenade and throw it at a passing military patrol by the imperialists.

Instead of "stomping" the enemy into submission, we will "nibble him to death"...as the Vietnamese did and as the Iraqis are doing now.

Not only does this "doctrine" effectively avoid the dangers of a large permanent military elite but it is known to work.

That makes sense to me.

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syndicalistcat
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Dec 23 2006 02:23

Sorry, i should have posted a link, not copied the article. my bad.

I mentioned that his conception of an ideal communist political organization is one many anarchists would agree with. That is discussed here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060212113519/redstar2000papers.com/theory.p...

He discusses his problems with anarchism here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060228143320/redstar2000papers.com/theory.p...

And he defends anarchism here:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060228143227/redstar2000papers.com/theory.p...

He also advocates the idea of a convergence of anarchism and marxism.

t.

Feighnt
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Dec 23 2006 02:35

that discussion about militias/etc gives a lot to be thought about - he makes very convincing arguments, and i particularly like the very end bit where he does a bit of developing of the idea (ie: certain militias rotating to provide a boarder patrol thing).

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encephalon
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Dec 23 2006 07:24

Yeah, this is the Ed Clark who posted on revleft as redstar2000 until his unfortunate stroke; it was, by his own admission, due to heavy smoking. He's currently in rehab, with no time frame for recovery.

Very few of us had a direct line of communication with him, and now that revleft has seemingly disappeared for an unknown amount of time.. well, needless to say most of us can't get a hold of him. A comrade has been attempting to get him out of rehab to take care of him in her home, but thus far it's been unsuccessful.

As someone already noted before, he did become extremely disillusioned with the movement.. but he never disappeared from it. He simply took it to the internet, where he could sit at home a smoke more.

Actually, you should be able to find some posts of his at the new SDS forum. He was very excited about it at first.

syndicalist
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Dec 23 2006 15:33
encephalon wrote:
Yeah, this is the Ed Clark who posted on revleft as redstar2000 until his unfortunate stroke; it was, by his own admission, due to heavy smoking. He's currently in rehab, with no time frame for recovery.

Very few of us had a direct line of communication with him, and now that revleft has seemingly disappeared for an unknown amount of time.. well, needless to say most of us can't get a hold of him. A comrade has been attempting to get him out of rehab to take care of him in her home, but thus far it's been unsuccessful.

As someone already noted before, he did become extremely disillusioned with the movement.. but he never disappeared from it. He simply took it to the internet, where he could sit at home a smoke more.

Actually, you should be able to find some posts of his at the new SDS forum. He was very excited about it at first.

It appears you are in contact with someone who's incontact with Ed. If this is so, please relay a message:

"Across the years and the miles that we have all traveled Ed, a speedy and healthy recovery is wished.

Revolutionary regards,

Mitch, Steve, Tom"

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888
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Dec 23 2006 15:55
Quote:
So can we get this guy to post or not? Cheesy grin

He has posted stuff on here before... I remember he gave me some pretty interesting selection of posts (in much the same format as the Lenin and Sex article) about identity politics.

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Dec 24 2006 04:50

encephalon, if you're in contact with someone in contact
with Ed, relay concern and greetings from Tom A. and Lee in San Francisco, in addition to Steve, Mitch, and Tom W. We're his old comrades from the Anarchist-Communist Federation. We'd like to find out where he is and get in touch with him. We didn't know he moved back to New Orleans.

t.

syndicalist
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Dec 24 2006 17:42

From the ACF/NA era comes ...

"You Can't Blow up a Social Relationship - The Anarchist case against Terrorism"

Originally published in Australia (you're linked to orginal text). This pamphlet was republished by the Anarchist-Communist Federation of North America. The ACF/NA modified some of the language to fit the North American scene.

As I recall, this one was of our "most poular" pamhlets.

The pamphlet has been republished a number of times. The content and critique are as valuable today as when it was first written.

http://libcom.org/library/you-cant-blow-up-social-relationship#comment-1...

rebelworker
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Dec 24 2006 21:03

I was fortunaye enough to meet Ed on Revleft.

He defenitly took the root of camping oput as a marxist and drawing folks away from leninism, although when anarchism took an upturn of the board a couple of years ago he became more supportive of us, even saying at one point that anarchists are cvlearly the vanguard of the revolutiomnary left right now... That pissed off alot of lennies.

He joined the Friends of NEFAc list breifly, though Im not sure if he posted much. He did engage in some debates on articles Wayne Privce wrote for anarkismo.net, though it may have been in repostiongs I made on revleft.

He seemed pretty cool, but felt he had very little to give tyhe mo0vement anymore (other than the tireless debating against Leninism).

Hopefully he we be back in the scene eventually. I have his email somewhwhere, so ill drop him a line andf let him know he has become a active thread on this board, may be the kick in the ass he needs to stop fucking about and get the help being offerred to him.

I always love unwritten history. This has been a great thread.

Aslso hi to all the revlefters, whats up with the site? Looks like the domain name has been bought up by another company...

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Debora Aro
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Feb 21 2010 03:13

I am the woman who kept touch with him. He did suffer a stroke. . I can say, he wasnt the libertarian Ed Clark not the Catholic archbishop of Dalllas whose name is Ed clark as well. (that was a quote) smile