[Debate] British Trotskyist on the New Anti-Capitalism (and Networking)
lfcscally at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 20 10:08:39 BST 2012
Peter your absolutely right that we are in a period that requires us to look afresh at how we organise, grow and win short and long term gains. One of many probs we have is that the past weights heavy on us all and (imprecise) terms laden with bias, sectarianism, factionalism etc cloud the issues. I dont wanna rehash old debaets but I do think Marxist-Leninism as practiced by CP's and Stalinist dictatorships is different to mine and the SWPs conception and practice (warts and all) of how we operate as a party and sadly we get tarred with the same brush which in my practical experience is unfair. I do think Russia and the Bolsheviks were very diffeent after lenins death and under Stalin and there are lessons for us all in this still-I think?!. More imporantly, for now, I would refer everyone interested in this to Colin Barkers edited book Leadership in Social Movements particularly chapter 1 leadership matters (as it discusses a very different form of 'leadership' to social democracy and offical marxist-Leninism) and the second chapter which is the best discussion of the probelms of Michels 'cruel game'. Carol Haniisch's reflection on leadership in the early women's libeation movement in the US is also excellent. Peter
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2012 11:47:31 +0200
From: peterwaterman1936 at gmail.com
To: debate-list at fahamu.org
Subject: Re: [Debate] British Trotskyist on the New Anti-Capitalism (and Networking)
Wow, this one is really taking off, Peter Scally and all.
I have not myself yet even READ the item I posted, so any remarks (Re-Marx) are here strictly preliminary.
Peter: If 'democratic-centralist' was not the organisational principle promoted by Lenin, the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the Communist International, then where does it come from?
Maybe Lenin got it from the German Social Democratic Party but the practice was surely best demonstrated by the Leninists - amongst whom I would include Trotsky (to whom, I believe, the Socialist Workers Party, UK, does still pay reverence and make reference).
I stand to be corrected on the above.
The question, however, is: is this a suitable organisational principle - never mind an actual practice - under contemporary capitalist conditions?
It was developed 100 or more years ago, when both the German and the Russian Social-Democratic Parties were under conditions of illegality or semi-legality. And then under wartime conditions. It seems to have had the greatest difficulty under conditions of liberal bourgeois democracy.
I would suggest that Communism thrived under conditions of illegality or war - that 'War Communism' is a suitable characterisation of not simply a period following the Russian Revolution but the Leninist tradition.
Under liberal-democratic conditions (and increasingly even under those of low-intensity democracy) the existence of parties claiming to practice democratic-centralism and majority rule is marked by factionalism, splits and counter claims from the new DC parties to be the really, really DC party.
There is something, more generally, about the party form that invites such splits. As that satirical pamphlet from the 1980s(?) had it, 'Go Fourth and Multiply'. But this phenomenon common to M-L (or Leninist) parties is only an extreme expression of a more common problem.
So if we are interested in social self-emancipation globally (both worldwide and in general) then we should really be talking about the relevant form of articulation (both joining and expression) for such. And if I argued for this in the good old daze (before capitalist informatisation and globalisation) even more do we need to discuss the relevant articulatory principles and practices today.
Particularly when we are confronted with the crisis of the traditional labour movement and socialist organisational forms (the Union, the Party), the apparently increasing public distrust of such, and the challenges presented to these by the newest social movements.
That's all, until, at least, I have read the piece that started this exchange.
PS. It is both a sign of these new times that we are able to have at least this exchange, on this site, without drawing blood or denouncing each other as flinching cowards or sneering traitors. I feel more at home here than I ever did in my own Vanguard, Democratic-Centralist party, or even my much-less intense, demanding and loyalty-demanding trade unions.
On Wed, Apr 18, 2012 at 10:58 PM, lfcscally at hotmail.com <lfcscally at hotmail.com> wrote:
I don't deny we r a democratic centralist organisation but what that has to do with fewer but better talk I will never know
Sent from my HTC
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From: "Yoshie Furuhashi" <critical.montages at gmail.com>
To: "Debate is a listserve that attempts to promote information and analyses of interest to the independent left in South and Southern Africa" <debate-list at fahamu.org>
Subject: [Debate] British Trotskyist on the New Anti-Capitalism (and Networking)
Date: Wed, Apr 18, 2012 21:33
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