The differences if any between Left-Communism, Council Communism and Bordigism.

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hpwombat
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Sep 4 2009 14:57

I've followed a few of these discussions revolving around the ICC, left and libertarian communism and the nuanced differences expressed in discourse and I also find the discussions to be interesting and educational. I thought the British communist gatherings to have interesting outcomes and I hope that in the next couple years American left and libertarian communists could hold some sort of joint gathering to network and collaborate. While I feel more strongly aligned with the skeptics, the views of most skeptics (Bob Black, John Zerzan, Lawrence Jarach, Jason McQuinn, Gilles Dauve, Monsieur Dupont, etc.) can be reconciled on a practical level with most traditional left and libertarian communism by those after this generation that want to move forward and see a common perspective where agreement and disagreement don't strongly clash.

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Alf
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Sep 4 2009 21:05

The reason I suggested beginning the discussion in the late 60s and early 70s is that it may enable us to understand in greater depth the various crises traversed by the ICC and indeed the entire proletarian milieu in the early 80s and thereafter. I would suggest that further repetition of the standard charges against the ICC without such an attempt to deepen the question historically serves no useful purpose.

When I have more time, I would like to look at the manner in which the particular left communist current or tradition we come from most directly, temporarilly embodied in Marc Chirik and a small handful of other comrades, responded to the return of the working class to the scene of history at the end of the 60s, focusing on the current's approach to the question of organisation and the regroupment of revolutionaries.

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Alf
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Sep 4 2009 21:10

PS
hpwombat's approach is very encouraging. I think maybe the comrade is a refugee from the apparent shipwreck of the Californian anti-politics forum. Perhaps you could tell us more about this.

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klas batalo
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Sep 6 2009 19:31

yes yes hp wombat please speak more on this. that was a very interesting direction you seemed to be referencing!

fort-da game
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Sep 7 2009 14:29

Primarily, this is an issue concerning the leadership role of the communist party. The issue centres on whether the party, being a product of class society, is really able to supersede class relations or whether it is condemned to impse the reproduction of those relations in bad faith.

I think it is reasonable to argue that the Bolshevik Party adopted the historical bourgeois (specifically jacobinist) organisational model for political parties whilst attempting to also overcome that form by representing proletarian interests; the contradiction of bourgeois representational forms with proletarian content was resolved only with the victory of given form over displaced content.

In other words, the party was unable to prevent itself reproducing practices that were structurally hostile to the class even though it specifically was on guard against these reproductive tendencies. There is no reason to suppose that any newly formed avowed ‘revolutionary’ organisation precipitated under capitalist conditions will not repeat the Bolshevik outcome – it is not possible to expel all bourgeois traits from a political structure, or even identify them, none of us really possess the values we espouse, or even understand their implications; it is not possible for a consciously organised structure to secede from the historical forces that have given rise to it in the first place.

Communisation as a process will be defined by an ongoing dispersive revaluation/critical analysis of given communist forms as it (and they) attempt to realise a wider and wider reality; by contrast, the centralising formation of a communist party would inhibit this process by reducing communism to a set of principles which must be adhered to in the process of realisation.

Cleishbotham
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Sep 8 2009 10:04

There are only two things wrong with fort-da game's contribution. The first is that it does not see that the capitalist state has to be smashed before before any process of socialisationcan take place. The second is that his disquisition on the Jacobin tendencies of Bolshevism is not born out by the historical process which created the Bolshevik Party in the year 1917. As a complete idealist you exaggerate the significance of the pronunciations of theorists above what really went on. Your thought is the product of the counter-revolution. Revolutionaries at the time, without the benefit of hindsight, knew that the question of the overthrow of capitalist relations had been posed in Russia but could not be solved there (as Lenin, Luxemburg, Bukharin and Trotsky all knew). The real task of the future World Communist Party is to fight for world revolution as precursro to the sort of process which only the mass of humanity can carry out. Naturally this will lead to some tensions as some of its members will be engaged in the class war in particular territories and have to carry out administration of this or that area but then all such processes have their contradictions.

Anywat is this thread not about explaining differences between specified revolutionary trends. Which one does fdg represent or is that too categorical?

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smg
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Sep 8 2009 12:52

HPWombat, can you elaborate on what you mean by skeptics and how there views on a practical level can be reconciled with those of future left communists and libertarian communists? Are you suggesting that a tactical compromise can be reached in the future in the form of some sort of autonomous proletarian activity?

FDG, is it inevitable that bourgeoisie form displaces proletarian content? Was the failure of the revolution in Russian inevitable? If so, what does an organization with proletarian form and content look-like?

hpwombat
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Sep 9 2009 16:06

I'm referring to the noted authors' generation. Those after the noted authors' generation exist in the present as adults, so the sharing in activity can occur in the present as well. I figured I'd note this to prevent too much confusion and I'll develop the rest later.

Spikymike
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Jan 29 2014 15:53

Just to add, if rather belatedly, that there are some existing groups with origins in, or associations with, the 'Communist Left' and it's different historical tendencies that have sought to avoid dogma and learn from the experience of modern global capitalism and class struggle, including the contribution of Marxist theorists from other currents which include to my mind at least these two:

http://internationalist-perspective.org/ ( see particularly their reflections in Issues 57-59) and

http://mouvement-communiste.com/ (with some influence from Italian 'autonomous-Marxism')

This is not to write off some of the contributions of other groups in our milieu (including some from the anarchist tradition) - certainly none of these tiny fairly isolated groups could be expected on their own to fully grasp the reality of modern capitalism's functioning today.

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Redwood
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Jan 29 2014 16:42
Devrim wrote:
I don't think that this is quite right. Council communism usually refers to the German-Dutch left in a latter period after it had developed strong anti-organisational positions. The KAPD of the period refered to above believed in an elite vanguard party, which is not similar to anarchism at all.

How can you have strong anti-organizational positions, while at the same time believe in an elite vanguard party?

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Theft
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Jan 29 2014 16:56
Redwood wrote:
Devrim wrote:
I don't think that this is quite right. Council communism usually refers to the German-Dutch left in a latter period after it had developed strong anti-organisational positions. The KAPD of the period refered to above believed in an elite vanguard party, which is not similar to anarchism at all.

How can you have strong anti-organizational positions, while at the same time believe in an elite vanguard party?

Council communism and KAPD are two different animals.

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Jan 29 2014 17:41

Hm, ok. Just wikied the KAPD and im still a little confused as it seems the KAPD was formed mostly by people who described themselves as council communists.

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Theft
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Jan 29 2014 18:10

Council Communism didn't exist as a idea when the KAPD was formed in 1920, though some of the key figures went on to become councilists later.

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Jan 29 2014 18:32

"The left-wing of the USPD, consisting of Spartacists and ultra-left council communists went on to form the Communist Party of Germany (KPD) in 1918. In 1920, the ultra-lefts of this party, mainly consisting of council communist members whose origins lay in the ISD, split from it to form the KAPD.[3]" from Wikipedia.

I believe you comrade, I'm really not up on the history of council communism. Just goes to show that you cant always trust Wikipedia.

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Theft
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Jan 29 2014 21:36

These maybe of better help to you than Wikipedia
The German-Dutch communist left - Philippe Bourrinet
http://libcom.org/history/german-dutch-communist-left-philippe-bourrinet
and also
Programme of the Communist Workers Party of Germany (KAPD) May 1920
http://www.freecommunism.org/programme-of-the-communist-workers-party-of-germany-kapd-may-1920/

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Redwood
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Jan 29 2014 22:12

Thanks, I'll have a look.

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Entdinglichung
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Jan 30 2014 10:47

more also here: http://libcom.org/forums/theory/councilism-v-left-communism-20062010

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klas batalo
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Jan 30 2014 18:37

yes council communism rejected party communism its in the name

slothjabber
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Jan 30 2014 21:37

But, what isn't helpful is that the German communist left indiscriminately called itself 'left communist' or 'council communist', at least as I understand it.

What we understand as 'Council Communism' now (rejection of the role of party, belief that October was either bourgeois or a 'dual revolution') was not the position of KAPD (except Ruhle) but even so in the 1920s, the term 'council communist' was used for the KAPD.