It will take a revolution to end capitalism

Printer-friendly versionSend to friend

Since we wrote the article ‘Are we reliving a crash like 1929?', the media has already changed its tone, no longer playing down the extreme gravity of the present economic crisis or its similarities with 1929. But it is important to put all the current talk about ‘the end of capitalism' into a clear perspective.

As the world's media documented the global financial crisis the IMF issued a report using less sensational language, but admitting the same recession. "The world economy is now entering a major downturn in the face of the most dangerous shock in mature financial markets since the 1930s." The IMF also knew that the future is looking difficult: "The situation is exceptionally uncertain and subject to considerable downside risks."[1]

Recent headlines have been more succinct when they have proclaimed the ‘disaster', ‘hurricane', ‘tsunami' or ‘tectonic shifts' that capitalism faces. Markets are in ‘turmoil', ‘meltdown' or ‘mayhem'. A head of an equities trading firm described a "horrendous, cataclysmic end-of-the-world environment."[2] A broker said "Nothing will be like it was before" as "The world as we know it is going down." [3]Some drew back from announcing Armageddon, but the French Prime Minister said the world was at least on the edge of the abyss. ‘Abyss' conjures up visions of the bottomless pit, primal chaos and catastrophe. For the religious, it can mean hell.

For once politicians and media were telling a sort of truth. They mostly don't think that we're going to have an exact replica of the Depression of the 1930s, but admit that capitalism's crisis will not be limited to the finance sector, and will go on to have its impact on industry, trade, jobs and all our lives. It will, as they say in the US, go from Wall Street to Main Street.

It is the end of an era, but not in the way they say

There has been a lot of propaganda surrounding this latest lurch in the crisis. With the massive intervention of the state around the world the demise of ‘neoliberalism' has been proclaimed by the Right and Left. Conservative Shadow Chancellor, George Osborne, thought "laissez faire is dead"[4]. The Socialist Workers Party celebrated the end of Reaganomics and Thatcherism as "free market capitalism has imploded and "history sweeps away a failed ideology"[5]. Francis Fukuyama (who once declared that history was dead) even thought that "the Reagan era should have ended some time ago"[6].

What these remarks have in common is an idea that somehow the state has played a lesser role during the last 30 years, only re-asserting itself in this time of crisis. In reality the economic crisis is a crisis of state capitalism, within which ‘neoliberalism' was a particular ideology (supported by the Right and attacked by the Left with its own variety of state capitalist ideology). It was precisely because of the experience of the 1929 Crash that the already growing role of the state was accelerated. Official figures show that the US federal government was 3 percent of the economy in 1929, as opposed to 20 percent today - and that's not even beginning to account for all the areas of control that the 50 individual states and state bodies like the Federal Reserve have throughout the economy.

This is one of the essential lessons from capitalism's crisis over the last year. The bankruptcy of capitalism can't be hidden. The state has had to come up with plans to rescue banks, insurance companies, currencies and money markets. It has not acted to help out the working class in any way whatsoever. Also, the extent of the debt that was holding back a ‘crash' was only possible through the sustained intervention of the state and international economic bodies such as the World Bank and the IMF. With the massive injection of funds into the financial sector there will be even more likelihood of attacks on the living standards of the vast majority of the world's population, in a lethal combination of recession, growing inflation and unemployment, and government cuts.

It is the end of an era because material reality has shown the degree to which the economic crisis can get out of control. It has also demonstrated that capitalism is utterly reliant on the state. Most of those who set themselves up as opponents of ‘neo-liberalism' were supporters of the ‘protective' powers of the state. It's even clearer now that the state is there only to protect capitalism.

Watershed for capitalism

Lies are exposed by material reality. The so-called ‘celtic tiger' of the Irish economy has, in the face of the storm, gone the same way as the rest. India's ‘emerging' economy is not in such great shakes either as many sectors are already being impacted by the extent of the crisis. With the development of a recession China will suffer a sever contraction of the markets where it hopes to sell its goods.

More importantly it shows that capitalism is a global system. There's been a lot of talk about greedy bankers and the need for more regulation, but there's a general admission that we've been witnessing something that is ‘systemic', that is, it's a crisis of a world system.

Billionaire financier George Soros, looking at the economic policies pursued in recent decades said in a television interview that "This whole enormous construct is built on false conceptions," adding "You can go a very long way. But in the end, reality rears its ugly head and that's what happened now." [7] It rears its ugly head, and then reality bites.

Robert Zoellick the President of the World Bank[8] said that the crisis was a "man-made catastrophe" that would have real consequences for real people. He warned that "For the poor, the costs of the crisis could be lifelong," and for "The poorest and most vulnerable groups risk the most serious - and in some cases permanent damage". This is why he thought that "populations around the world will respond with anger and fear."

That is indeed the prospect that the latest stage in the crisis opens up. It should be compared with what happened after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

2007-08 in comparison to 1989-91

The wall came down in 1989. The countries of eastern Europe broke away from the USSR, which itself broke up into 15 parts in 1991. People like Fukuyama talked about the end of history, the end of communism, the end of the class struggle. What existed in eastern Europe was a particular stalinist form of state capitalism, and, history, as has unsurprisingly been revealed, had not come to an end. However, the working class was just a bystander while great events occurred, and the bourgeoisie conducted a whole campaign which put over the idea of a world in which there is no working class, just workers who are citizens like any others. This was one of the factors that led to disorientation in the working class throughout the 1990s.

But what about the crisis of 2007- 2008? How do Fukuyama and co respond to the bite of reality?

Fukuyama (in an article entitled "The Fall of America, Inc."[9]) admits that "The scale of the Wall Street crackup could scarcely be more gargantuan" and thought that "Washington failed to adequately regulate the financial sector and allowed it to do tremendous harm to the rest of the society." Accordingly "there is a growing consensus on the need to re-regulate many parts of the economy" and "The entire American public sector-underfunded, deprofessionalized and demoralized-needs to be rebuilt and be given a new sense of pride. There are certain jobs that only the government can fulfil." In the end he thinks that what was wrong with the centrally planned economies of eastern Europe was that they were "welfare states on steroids". For him "a certain vision of capitalism has collapsed" and all that the American model of capitalism has to do is "reinvent itself once again". So, after all that, all that was wrong with the economies of eastern Europe was the "steroids."

In the 1990s, with the collapse of the USSR, there were many in the West who behaved as though they had achieved a great victory, not only over the Russian bloc, but also over the working class. The crisis of 2007-08 shows the working class what that ‘victory of capitalism' actually amounted to. It's true that the economic crises of the past have not always led to mass strikes or revolution. The example of the 1930s is there for all to see. But today's open crisis, in its depth and obviously global nature, is a material reality that it will surely not be possible to ignore, or to disguise.

There was no end of ‘history', or end to the class struggle, as the ideologues of the 1990s claimed. But also, today, we are not witnessing the ‘end of capitalism'. Ruling classes across the world have looked into the abyss, seen catastrophe, and despite all manner of imperialist antagonisms, co-ordinated a response. There will be further massive attacks on the working class, continuing the offensive on wages, jobs, services, pensions etc. That's the only perspective that capitalism has, and if there is no resistance to it, capitalism will drag humanity not only towards the abyss of poverty but towards outright self-destruction. The only alternative can come from the working class in its struggles. These are limited at present, but have been slowly developing over the last five years. In the period to come workers will feel even more intensely the effects of capitalism's crisis, but, with some of the illusions from both Right and Left discredited, there is more possibility that not only workers' struggles but workers' consciousness of capitalism will grow. This will be at the basis of the mass strikes to come. Growing consciousness of the reality of capitalism also helps the understanding that it has to be overthrown by the revolution of the working class.  

Car 15/10/8

 


[1] Financial Times 8/10/8

[2] Baltimore Sun 14/10/8

[3] Spiegel Online 10/10/8

[4] Daily Telegraph 13/10/8

[5] Socialist Worker 11/10/8

[6] Newsweek 13/10/8

[7] Daily Telegraph 13/10/8

[8] Daily Telegraph 13/10/8

[9] Newsweek 13/10/8

Comments

There is a joke that an

There is a joke that an atheist is a person without any invisible means of support! For the time being, as the crisis deepens, the only visible propaganda in favour of the working class are the newspapers of the main communist parties of Europe and elsewhere, in so far as they are in the shops and/or sold by workers on the streets,(apart from the odd Trotskyist and Stalinist ones which are far less evident and can be discounted). To attack those of the main communist parties would only help the bourgeoisie, whatever develops nearer actual revolutions. Advanced theory suspended only in mid-air is not much use for the day-to-day class struggle.

Umm...you do realize that

Umm...you do realize that the "main Communist parties" are precisely the "Stalinist" parties that you "discount", right? So what's your message? That we should let the workers fall to the illusions peddled by the Stalinist "main communist parties" or that we should take the "advanced theory" that the communist left has managed to build through the painful counterrevolution and the disappointments after 1968 out into the world?

Zimmerwald1915's reply Oct 17 2008

THEORY AND PRACTICE
You are welcome to start amidst theories. Stalinists tend to think that Stalin could do no wrong, whereas Trotskyist think that Stalinists could never be right, right, that is, for the working class. So-called 'communist left' reject both Stalinists and Trotskyists and stick to theories of their own. However, if we start within the working class and find out what workers actually need at any one time, needs at one time and allied theories will seem to contradict those of other times, and that is the dialectical process of history. WWII arose from capitalist crisis, nationalism against nationalism, in which workers were sent to kill each other, but when workers were clearly going to be wiped out by the nazis unless they fought back, support for 'Stalin', or at any rate the Red Army, was of essential tactical value at the time. That doesn't automatically commit workers to support of gulags and show trials, though some allege that it does. Lenin's slogan 'Organise, agitate, study' continues to seem relevant, so whilst study and agitation are done by the CL, which parties of the working class do the most organising?
Did I hear you say 'Organising for what?' Round we go again.
DKT - 18-10-08 - 7:19pm.

Okay, I can see right off

Okay, I can see right off the bat that you’re one of those opportunists who style themselves dialecticians, and as such won’t accept a simply constructed argument which leaves many things that should be obvious to communists unsaid. So I suppose we’ll have to go “round again” point by point, in the old tradition of Gotha.

The charge that I (and by extension the Communist Left, though I do not claim to represent the entire movement and am not even a member of the ICC) “start amidst theory” is entirely false. The “theory” and tactics of the communist left and of the ICC—the notion of decadence, its procedure into decomposition, our formulation of the period of transition, among the former; the necessity of internationalism, the rejection of electoralism and national liberation, the embrace of the revolutionary organization among the latter—have been drawn out of several decades of the bitterest counterrevolution. That is, left communists spent the time during the period from the mid-1920s to 1968 determining to the best of their ability what went wrong with the revolutionary wave that began in 1917, how the counterrevolution was able to take hold, and how it might be avoided in the future. Unlike the Stalinists and the Trotskyists, who during this period bamboozled many sincere militants into defending capital, and in doing so got the workers to march to their deaths, the communist left applied the Marxist method, saw no possibility for revolution at the time, and steeled itself to ride out the storm, a task that pitifully few of its constituent groups managed.

What did this mean for tactics? It meant that no support, none, would be offered to the forces of counterrevolution, including the USSR. The communist left took the principled position of not offering support for either side of the imperialist war precisely because each fraction of the bourgeoisie represented a fraction of the counterrevolution. The “red army” did not deserve support; despite its name, it represented nothing more or less than the imperial interests of Russian state capital.

You move onto the question of organization, and ask why the communist left doesn’t organize on a mass scale. Well, look what happened to the unions, to the social democratic parties, to the parties of the Third and Fourth internationals, to every proletarian political movement that has tried to organize on a mass scale in the period of decadence and in a non-revolutionary environment. It don’t work. Not only that, but the groups end up co-opted into the capitalist machine, end up as defenders of a particular mode of state capitalism, and end up, in short, counter-revolutionary. We believe that, while the staunchest militants may organize themselves into revolutionary groups, this revolutionary organization cannot try to artificially organize the working class. The workers must organize themselves, and while the revolutionary organization can help and guide in this process (there is a dialectical relationship between organization and class, after all), it cannot artificially create it from nothing, which is what the sincere militants of the Trotskyist and Stalinist organizations get confused into doing.

DKT counter-attacks against defeatism and insults

Zimmerwald1915 on 18-10-08 described me as 'one of those opportunists who style themselves as dialecticians'and so on. I'll tackle that and his other remarks.
You might not like to admit it, but the whole of the world's working class is opportunist, inevitably so, forced by changing circumstances to opt for whatever optimal choices are available at any one time. Yes, principles and perspectives are declared and rigidly adhered to by some, but the class as a whole isn't going to just tip-toe forward, checking each step beforehand against revered texts and historical lessons, lessons which are sometimes inappropriate in changed conditions. Many prophets point the way ahead and we've had a lot of them.
To say that (quote) 'the Red Army represented NOTHING MORE (DKT's emphasis) than the imperialist interests of Russian state capital' is an absurd lie and gross insult to all those workers in it who fought the nazi regime. Whilst (quote)'the communist left took the principled position of not offering support to either side of the imperialist war'(end of quote) which was similar to the supporters of Sir Oswald Mosley and pacifists of all sorts, the majority of Europe's working class took the principled stand of opposing being overrun and occupied by the Waffen SS, opposing being enslaved or sent to gas chambers. I was a pacifist in 1954 and worked on London's biggest casualty department (literally a bloody conchie), having been under bombing in the blitz and having met German POWs after the war, but in 1958 was taken from an international volunteer camp in S.E.Poland on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
There cannot be any immunity or total separation from capital by the working class until its rule is overthrown, but historical compromises are by no means always the same as capitulation. To fail to understand that remains part of your defeatist view of workers' mass organisations. Grow up!
DKT - 19-10-08.

Reply to DKT

“You might not like to admit it, but the whole of the world's working class is opportunist, inevitably so, forced by changing circumstances to opt for whatever optimal choices are available at any one time. Yes, principles and perspectives are declared and rigidly adhered to by some, but the class as a whole isn't going to just tip-toe forward, checking each step beforehand against revered texts and historical lessons, lessons which are sometimes inappropriate in changed conditions. Many prophets point the way ahead and we've had a lot of them.”
Please feel free to misunderstand the use of the term “opportunist”. It reveals your lack of knowledge of the history of the workers’ movement and discredits you in the eyes of readers who actually know what the term means. An opportunist isn’t simply someone who “opts for whatever optimal choices are available at the time,” as you put it. An opportunist, in the historical sense of the workers’ movement, is someone who attempts to compromise with capitalism and to adapt workers’ organizations into organizations that can function within the social relations of, and in support of, capital. It was this sort of opportunist that led the parties of the second International into the first world war, it was this sort of opportunist that was so important to exclude from the third International, and it is this sort of opportunist that is still dangerous today. In my opinion, you, DKS, are a very good example of this sort of opportunist, and as such I will call you out on it.
It is in the nature of the opportunist, for example, to reduce all principles to tactics. With this sort of argument, all principles based on the fundamental nature of the proletariat, the bourgeoisie, and the struggle between them go out the window. To the opportunist, the bourgeoisie is nationalist. Therefore, in order to struggle against it, the proletariat must not only abandon the principle of internationalism, a principle which evolved out of material fact, but must become more nationalist than the bourgeoisie. Ultimately, this means lining up in support of every war, every austerity attack, in the name of the “good of the nation,” since the workers and their revolutionary minorities have so obviously given up the analysis that “the good of the nation” means in every case “the good of the bourgeoisie.”
As for your characterization of the working class’ struggle, I can see that your point here comes from a certain basis in fact. However, it fails to take in the whole picture and is certainly not an accurate portrait of the workers’ struggle. What’s missing from your picture is what’s missing from the conception of the councilists of the class struggle. To you, the class must go on alone, uninterfered with by false “prophets” who “point the way ahead” using invariably “inappropriate” “revered texts”. This conception is totally false. There is a dialectical relationship between a revolutionary organization and the working class: the revolutionary organization does have a greater understanding of the principles and history of the workers’ movement than do most members of the class at large. That is why they group themselves in a revolutionary organization. However, all theories are tested in the fires of everyday class struggle, and if an organization is to be truly revolutionary, it must integrate into its analysis and its programme the lessons of the material class struggle carried out by the working class, so that when it intervenes in the class, it can not only carry this message, amplified and clarified, back to the class, but can derive from the experience new tactics. Principles, on the other hand, unless some experience of the class broadly contradicts them, are not to be sacrificed in this relationship. To return to the principle of internationalism, we see today that only those organizations who truly uphold internationalism withhold their support from imperialist war. The Trotskyists, for example, however “critical” their support for one fraction or the other of the bourgeoisie, invariably take a position on any imperialist conflict that can be reduced to support for one side or the other. The Communist Left thinks this is a terrible tactic which can only bring confusion and suffering to the working class; we believe that internationalism means denouncing at every turn every imperialist conflict.

“To say that (quote) 'the Red Army represented NOTHING MORE (DKT's emphasis) than the imperialist interests of Russian state capital' is an absurd lie and gross insult to all those workers in it who fought the nazi regime. Whilst (quote)'the communist left took the principled position of not offering support to either side of the imperialist war'(end of quote) which was similar to the supporters of Sir Oswald Mosley and pacifists of all sorts, the majority of Europe's working class took the principled stand of opposing being overrun and occupied by the Waffen SS, opposing being enslaved or sent to gas chambers. I was a pacifist in 1954 and worked on London's biggest casualty department (literally a bloody conchie), having been under bombing in the blitz and having met German POWs after the war, but in 1958 was taken from an international volunteer camp in S.E.Poland on a visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau.”
There are three basic things wrong with this: argument from sympathy, which makes up the last sentence of your argument, which is a logical fallacy, and which I shall therefore not address as if it were a serious argument; guilt by association, which makes up your second sentence and is another logical fallacy, but which deserves a little bit of exploration; and the confusion of individuals with organizations. What was the purpose of the Red Army in 1941? Its self-declared purpose was to “be the stronghold of the Soviet regime” and to “serve as support for the future Socialist Revolution in Europe.” Even taking the second portion at face value, it was easy to see that there was no “social revolution” in Europe even in 1945, and certainly not in 1941. Therefore, taking the organization’s statement of purpose just at face value, it is easy enough to see that the Red Army was fulfilling its role as the “stronghold of the Soviet regime”, i.e., as the defender of the Russian state. If we take it as given that the USSR at this point was state capitalist just like everywhere else, then the purpose of the Red Army was to serve to protect and enlarge Russia’s imperial interests, just like the purpose of the Wehrmacht was to advance German imperial interests. Its behavior before, during, and after the second world war testifies well enough to this point.
What this means for individual red army men was that, yes, many if not most of them believed that they were fighting the embodiment of evil on Earth, yes, they believed that the state for which they fought represented something significantly better. Did it? In my humble opinion, no capitalist state in the period of decadence offers anything more than a descent into barbarism for the working class. That the Red Army men and the world in general didn’t see this is precisely the consequence of the counterrevolution that swept the world after the defeat of the revolutionary wave that began in 1917, and in which the state-capitalist USSR played a not insignificant part. As for atrocities, the firebombing of cities which were undertaken with the objective of slaughtering workers and creating from the proletariat millions of refugees stands up rather well in terms of awfulness to the gas chambers. Capitalist states cannot do other than bring barbarism in their wake, and to support a capitalist state is to support barbarism.
You argue that since Mosley and his ilk “supported neither side” in the imperialist war, this was a position immediately forbidden to communists. This is wrong for several reasons, but the most important one is that your preoccupation with the interests of capitalist states, you fail to look at the interests of the bourgeoisie and proletariat. Mosley’s policy and the policy of those like him was motivated by the instinct that another world war would destroy capitalism, and that another world war was therefore against the interests of the international bourgeoisie. The line of the communist left was that another world war would be the expression of the height of capitalist barbarism, that another world war could only hurt the working class and the chances for revolution, and that it therefore must be opposed. Mosley’s position turned out to be wrong; the world war was the saving grace of capitalism. The communist left turned out to be right; the world war unleashed untold barbarism, prolonged the counterrevolution until the end of the 1960s, and stymied the working class’ political consciousness.

“There cannot be any immunity or total separation from capital by the working class until its rule is overthrown, but historical compromises are by no means always the same as capitulation. To fail to understand that remains part of your defeatist view of workers' mass organizations. Grow up!”
The premise is correct, that the rule of capital over the working class will continue until the working class overthrows it. That much is self-evident. However, your conclusion simply doesn’t follow. “Capital rules, so the working class must acquiesce to its rule, and this will somehow lead to the working class’ overthrow of capital.” That is how your argument runs, stripped of all the fluff and nonsense with which you try to disguise it. This argument is, of course, nonsensical, at least in the period of decadence when the proletarian revolution is on the historical agenda. When capitalism was an expanding, healthy system, this argument had weight. It does not have such now, when capitalism is rotting on its feet and needs to be replaced. Now the strategy for revolutionaries is not “historical compromises”, but preparation of both ourselves and the working class for revolution.
It is this analysis, and bitter experience, which shapes the communist left’s view of mass organizations. The unions do everything in their power to disarm or control strikes, to prevent workers from organizing themselves and from generalizing their struggles. The Social Democrats sit in government and call out the police against anything that looks like the germ of a revolution. The Communists [Stalinists] and Trotskyists beat the drums for every “anti-imperialist” war, which in practice means any war, and lead thousands of workers to their deaths. Mass organizations in the period of decadence, every single one, even those with the most militant of founders and the most radical-sounding of analyses, go over to capital and act in its defense. Only the communist left, which has managed to defer its gratification and is content to wait until the development a revolutionary moment for a true mass workers’ party has managed to remain in the camp of the working class.
And, since you ended your tirade with a jibe, so will I.
Open your eyes.

DKT responds to Zimmerwald1915's of 19-10-08

DKT RESPONDS TO ZIMMERWALD1915'S COMMENTS OF 19-10-08
Ah so.
DKT 19-10-08 - 21:28.

Is there more?

Is there more?

Reply to Zimmerwald1915's of 19-10-08

IS THERE MORE? - you ask. Well I don't know what more you want of me and am somewhat surprised that you ask, in view of your lengthy and adverse criticism of what I wrote.
I apologise for the jibe 'Grow up!' which was not called for.
I don't feel sufficiently competent nor inclined to attempt to go through every point you made. What I will say is that we can probably agree that it is as well for each of us to move beyond any illusions which we might still have, although we may still disagree as to what those are, also that it would be useful to the working class to keep reconsidering the logistics of seeking to survive in and move beyond capitalism.
Hopefully exchanges between workers sorting out political ideas can be good-natured as well as clear. I don't expect to extend my comments any further, thanks.
DKT - 20-10-08 - 16:18.

Have you seen an official CP

Have you seen an official CP do anything in favor of workers lately? I think Zimmerwald1915 isn't really aware of just how conservative, anti-worker and centrist these Stalinist parties are. There was Rifondazione Comunista, they of course find that the true path to political "relevance" is towards the center, towards capitalism. There is the French Communist Party, they are partners with the Socialist Party of France in the right-wing Sarkozy government in France. The CPUSA, loves Obama, loves Sweeny and Stern, the AFL-CIO and the CtW, to the point that it is not clear that they stand for anything other than capitalist politics. They love the DP more than they love themselves. These parties only report on things impacting the working class when it impacts their own union officials and their own single-issue movement leaderships. The true irony is that in most of the world the CPs are so centrist and conservative that they are indistinguishable from liberals, socialdems or any other centrist bourgeois formation. In Germany the Stalinist remnants of the KPD at demonstrations prefer to talk about the glories of free milk for Cuban children rather than things impacting the workers around them, who are actually attending the demo. I'll have the decency not to mention the viciously anti-proletarian record of the CPs in India where the CPs were killing peasants in West Bengal (?) for getting in the way of the Stalinsts' capitalist friends and their real estate. Support for Stalinism today is a sick joke at the expense of the working class.

The "mainstream" of what is the “left” today is Trotskyist and Anarchist, with the Social Democrats and Stalinists standing to the right of them, and all the other bourgeois politicians to the right of that. Stalinism today isn't the mainstream of anything. For years it has been noted on the left the CPs drift from open Stalinism to Social Democracy with Stalinist baggage stashed away in "the attic".

Let's talk about the Red Army and anti-fascism. The Stalinists never bothered to feed or clothe their own valiant anti-fascist united front fighters. So the partisans and soldiers of the red army had nothing…nothing to fight with. Almost everything they got had to be obtained by themselves. The Stalinist regime had been such a disaster economically that there was only one rifle (a rifle, not an automatic weapon), per every three soldiers. Workers survived in spite of Stalin, in spite of his "Red Army". I love how pro-Stalinists love to praise the fight against fascism ignoring of course how badly the Stalinist regime treated those workers who fought for them and died for them in the millions. A bunch of party boss filth living in Moscow like Palmiro Togliatti, urged a generation of young men to get slaughtered. Workers who thought they were fighting for socialism against tyranny. They were butchered and then told to lay down their weapons so that Mussolini’s former henchmen could retake power with a baptism from the US bourgeoisie and that the CP would be given a third share in capitalist power.

The irony of Stalinists and Trotskyists and the things they alway say to left-communists is that the Stalinsts, Trots, Maos, all pretend to have some deep link to the working class. While the KAPD, PCInt, Miasnikov’s Workers’ Group and Sapronov’s Decists all had deeper ties to the workers around them than any Bolshevik Party central committee fan-club follower ever had. Real ties to workers have to be based on something more than lies and illusions.

I would like to know what "day-to-day" struggles these Stalinists are in that are so important and place them in such close proximity to workers. The Stalinists I know are all white. They are all professionals--doctors, lawyers and teachers as John Reed once described the membership of the SPofA. The whitest Stalinists are the Maoists, the ones who spend the most time talking about racism in order to hide their anti-working class nationalist politics.

I think support for an institution implies support for the worst of that institution’s crimes. You cannot simply say "I support the Stalinists" but not the mass-murder that was an integral part of the development of the entire Stalinist bloc. Lying and peddling illusions that there is a dialectical process that leads from rancid pseudo-reformism to revolution is wrong. It is also wrong to be peddling the idea that support for rancid neo-reformism will result in any sort of lasting or beneficial result for workers in the form of even the smallest and more anemic reform.

Either you support a revolution against capitalism. I mean here, actually starting a revolution. Or you do not. Either you support forming revolutionary organizations or you do not. Everything else is just a reformist’s excuse.

Reply to DKT “IS THERE

Reply to DKT
“IS THERE MORE? - you ask. Well I don't know what more you want of me and am somewhat surprised that you ask, in view of your lengthy and adverse criticism of what I wrote.”
It was just that, to me, “ah so” seemed so incomplete and out of place. I thought you’d accidentally pressed “submit” before you had meant to, and that there was more you had intended to say. My comment was intended to elicit what I imagined to be the rest of your comment. As for my “adverse criticism”…that’s just the way I write: hyperbolic, harsh, teetering on the edge of personal attack. I really am trying to expunge the latter tendency.
“I apologise for the jibe 'Grow up!' which was not called for.”
I’ll accept your apology and give you one of my own. Unfortunately, it will be rather more general as I as a person am very bad at determining what I’ve done to give offense, though it’s pretty obvious that I’ve given as well as received it in this instance.
“I don't feel sufficiently competent nor inclined to attempt to go through every point you made.”
That’s a real shame. I saw quite a bit of potential in this discussion, and hoped that it would break the trend of most discussions on this site, which don’t normally go beyond ten posts exchanged.
“What I will say is that we can probably agree that it is as well for each of us to move beyond any illusions which we might still have, although we may still disagree as to what those are, also that it would be useful to the working class to keep reconsidering the logistics of seeking to survive in and move beyond capitalism.”
True enough.
“Hopefully exchanges between workers sorting out political ideas can be good-natured as well as clear.”
One can only hope.
Reply to Nguyen
“I think Zimmerwald1915 isn't really aware of just how conservative, anti-worker and centrist these Stalinist parties are.”
While it is true that most of my knowledge of the CPs is academic, as by a quirk in my own political evolution I never had much contact with nor trust in the CPs, I am perfectly aware of the defects, degenerations, and betrayals you cite, as well as the historical reasons for them.

Not simple a matter of "defects"

The CPs aren't simply defective or degenerated. They are enemies of every revolutionary impulse among workers and enemies of every organization of revolutionaries. In the time I've been in the US I haven't once seen the CPUSA ever defend workers. I have seen them kill initiatives and movements every time those initiatives threatened or even showed potential of moving beyond the bounds of the rancid bourgeois DP.

Stalinism used to be called centrism before it came to be called Stalinism. They butchered 8 to 15 million political opponents, with a majority being their own "comrades". Stalinists were filth then and they are still filth. That's where Stalinist parties start from as a movement. People who think there is such a thing as just getting along and "working together" are naive. Naive people get crushed.

Do you get the concept of

Do you get the concept of subtext? I called the CPs degenerate traitors not because I think that there’s a possibility for their redemption. There isn’t. I used those words to convey a very specific and historical perspective of the CPs. Yes, they are enemies of the working class today, and will continue to be so until they are either smashed by a workers’ revolution or dissolve themselves into “post-communist” organizations (see Die Linke). Even in the latter case, they will remain enemies of the revolution; they just won’t be named CPs. However, at a certain time in the past, the CPs and the CI were very much living organizations of the working class. The fact that they failed to remain so was due to the historical development of the postwar world (the crushing of the revolutions in central Europe and the spread of the counterrevolution to Soviet Russia) and the deficiencies in praxis that didn’t equip the CI and the CPs to withstand these developments (i.e., the tactic of the united front, the theory of socialism in one country, the justification of nationalism and national liberation, etc.). However, neither these deficiencies nor the CPs’ current putridity should make us forget their past, nor the historical reasons for their failure, lest revolutionary organizations of today repeat their mistakes or, in attempting to avoid vulgarized versions of their mistakes, commit worse ones (see the history of the council communists).

I understand your point

I understand your point about the subtext which I missed. Council communism only became "councilist" in the same way "Deleonism" in the US was never "Deleonism" until the SLP had been throughly trounced and sidelined by other larger left organizations. Bordigism never really became the Bordigism we know today until he formed his own party in 1952. All the concepts of "organic centralism", the semi-mystical ideas of primitive communism, going backwards to the Leninist position on unions and "national liberation" movements. All those things were the product of Bordiga's late period. What were the Councilists errors? Not fleshing out their own ideas of revolutionary organization better or faster? Not being tougher on the "national bolsheviks" who came out of Hamburg? I wonder what the errors of Council Communism really were or if they could've done anything differently given the nature of events around them. Political tendencies only seem to become codified into ideologies after they've been defeated, then they represent the crystallized lessons learned or not, of the events that created them.