Bilan, the Dutch left, and the transition to communism (ii)

30 posts / 0 new
Last post
Fred
Bilan, the Dutch left, and the transition to communism (ii)
Printer-friendly versionSend by email

The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Bilan, the Dutch left, and the transition to communism (ii). The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Fred
transition to communism

For me this article is more or less impossible to understand.  It's very technical. Apart from that it seems to be talking more about different kinds of capitalism, and capitalist book keeping, than about the gradual emergence of a new society in the process of being produced by a new kind of humanity for whom everything that concerns the betterment of humanity takes precedence over all else. 

It's talking about the transitional period from capitalism to communism, after the working class has won the apparently inevitable civil war, and established its own political dictatorship.   Clearly things are going to be difficult and many problems will present themselves. How will we feed everyone and provide health care, are issues that spring immediately to mind.  But the theorists discussed in this article don't start from that point of view, but from what I see as the very bourgeois standpoint of "how do we work out a system of  remuneration" for those doing the work?  Complicated philosophical issues to do with "equality" and "inequality " turn up but can't be solved adequately.  But surely matters like this are essentially bourgeois concerns?  The proletariat doesn't think like this.  Or, to put it another way, if the proletariat is still thinking like  social democracy thinks, then the revolution is already a failure, isn't it? 

 

Questions about  "the first stage" and "the  second stage"  of the installation of communism are discussed. But how do we know there'll even be "stages" ?  And anyway isn't communism something we discover and build together rather than some bureaucratic ready-made  just needing a.few laws to be passed for its existence to become a fact?   We have nothing to go on; no prior experience. And on the question of "stages",  Is this not again to apply a bourgeois way of thinking to a new situation in which  we will be struggling to escape their world view and build a society, new, different and better than theirs. Everything will be up for our grabs. Everything will have to be decided by us, and probably have to be worked out anew.  It'll be incredibly difficult: incredibly exciting.  It may  all fail.  But  it's certainly worth a try, though this article  does rather put one off!  

jk1921
Fred, I am not sure what your

Fred, I am not sure what your issue is here. Are you arguing against the need for a period of transition or are you just against this particular version, which you find too technical? At the very least, the FPCPD were an attempt to think practically about the problems of the transition period, something which has been sorely lacking in the Marxist literature.

The GIC/Appel's contribution here was to make a concrete proposal for a new organizing principle of economic and social life that was designed to attack the "law of value." They replaced "socially necessary labour time" with "average social labour time" as a new method for organizing production and distribution. The emphasis on "book keeping" does seem rather dated--it was written over 80 years ago. Is this vision the holy grail of communism? Probably not, but at the very least it gives us a starting point for thinking about the real practical problems for how a transition from captialism to communism might be made. I am not sure what is bourgeois about the project, even if it may be the case that the specific mechanisms they proposed do not entirely transcend bourgeois relations.Or maybe they do? Or maybe they are a first step? I don't know, but it seems like a worthwhile discussion to try to draw out the lessons, contradictions, weaknesses of this long forgotten text.

Fred
I'm not sure what my issue is

I'm not sure what my issue is either jk so I'll try again.  I'm not against the period of transition anymore than I'm against next week.  I agree with you that the problems of this inevitable period haven't received much attention.  Nor am  I against things being technical if there seems some point to it.  As you say, the nub so to speak is the emphasis on book keeping, which you say is dated.  I say its bourgeois: we have to keep the accounts straight blah blah.  Of course we do.  But I dont think the proletariat begins  with working out new methods of book keeping as the major goal of the revolution,  but rather by working out together as part of a developing communist consciousness what human problems need dealing with first and how do we do it.  For example, how do we manage production so as to be able to feed everyone - which, given that everyone who wants to will be able to work and be productive, shouldn't be so difficult - rather than starting with a system of rationing of food ( which may be necessary) but which traps us in the bourgeois way of seeing things and leads us back to capitalism and its blinkered views. Doesn't Pannekoek insist that the proletariat has a different mental process than the bourgeoisie, and that its failure to grasp that in 1919 led it straight back to social democracy?  

 

As you say what is bourgeois about the book keeping mentality underpinning the proposals put forward years ago for the period of transition is that they "do not entirely transcend  bourgeois relations" of production.  And I think that is the issue I was trying to raise jk.  What we get in the article all sounds like capitalism, in some kind of social democratic form, all over again.  (I think, recently, on leftcom, Cleishbottom was suggesting that the Bolsheviks also suffered too much from all-pervasive social democratic ideology.  But I may have misunderstood that.)  

 

The proletariat is not the bourgeoisie and its thinking patterns, generated communally through discussion, must be different from and better than those used by the bourgeoisie otherwise the revolution will  fail.  As you say "it seems like a worthwhile discussion to try to draw out the lessons, contradictions, weaknesses, of this long  forgotten text."

LBird
Similar?

Fred wrote:
The proletariat is not the bourgeoisie and its thinking patterns, generated communally through discussion, must be different from and better than those used by the bourgeoisie otherwise the revolution will fail.

Just a quick comment, Fred, to say that your position here seems to me to be very similar to mine, about the objective need for 'thinking patterns' (or proletarian class consciousness) prior to a revolution.

But even when this and other 'objective' conditions are present, it doesn't follow that a proletarian revolution will succeed. The acts of the proletariat at that time are not pre-ordained by objective factors (they provide only potential), but these acts are the subjective element within the revolutionary process.

jk1921
"Thinking patterns" are

"Thinking patterns" are "objective" conditions? How would you characterize these thinking patterns? How would you know when the correct thinking patterns are present? How do you measure them? Are these objective thinking patterns brought into existence by other objective forces? Which ones? Why are they absent today? Or are they already in the process of developing? How do we know?

LBird
Only one question

jk1921 wrote:
"Thinking patterns" are "objective" conditions?

I take it that you think that 'thinking patterns' are 'subjective' conditions, jk?

If so, we differ in our philosophical and political beliefs.

jk1921
I am not sure. Does it

I am not sure. Does it matter? But it seems like you would have to explain the change in thinking patterns with changes in other objective conditions, wouldn't you? Does this set-up an infinite regress?

LBird
object/subject relationship?

JK1921 wrote:
But it seems like you would have to explain the change in thinking patterns with changes in other objective conditions, wouldn't you?

Yes, but once those 'thinking patterns' have been established (in my opinion, prior to the revolution), they are then 'objective conditions', in the sense of 'real', according to the tenets of Critical Realism.

How those 'real thinking patterns' are then employed in political action is (again, in my opinion) a subjective, active factor in the revolutionary process.

This means that all the objective factors could be present (including mass class consciousness and proletarian organisation), but that subjective political mistakes by workers could still lead to defeat.

For example, various workers' organisations being unable to work with each other, with compromise, criticism and co-operation, on all sides.

Hmmm.... when I put it like that, I don't think even I have much hope, comrade.

MH
Nothing new...?

“…material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.

(Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843)


jk1921
When

MH wrote:

“…material force must be overthrown by material force; but theory also becomes a material force as soon as it has gripped the masses.

(Marx, A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, 1843)

 

An oft cited quote, but it still leaves us having to explain the conditions under which theory grips or doesn't grip the masses, what are the "objective" (material) forces that drive or block this from happening in given circumstances?

Fred
Aren't the material forces

Aren't the material forces the conditions in which we live jk?   The defeat of the 1st. Revolutionary wave initiated a counter revolution which was made worse - or more effective from the bourgeoisie's point of view - by the Stock Exchange collapse 1929 and the onset of the  Great Depression.  (The bourgeoisie may not have liked this either, but it  served the purposes of the counter revolution and aided in the repression of the working class.)  This  was followed by the onset of the Reign of Terror (Midnight in the Century) which was the 2nd World War.  Lets not underestimate the impression the reign of terror made on the working class; it was incredibly punitive.  The terror didn't end with the war but continued afterwards with the terrifying demonstrations of the nightmare of the Hydrogen Bombs, then  the Cold War, the Korean War, the suppression of the Hungarian  Uprising  and so on.  However, the terror lost its hold in the sixties and the attempt by the various bourgeoisie's to get another good war going in S. E. Asia was not altogether successful, and the working class took to the streets in 1968.  

 

But it did this really mark the end if the counter revolution?  Did the working class in 1968, or during the 70's or even the 80's, despite many and some ferocious strikes ever escape the grip of Social Democracy, and the grip the bourgeoisie had on the class via the unions, wage negotiations, social contracts, the social wage, the ballot box and all the other rigmaroles of bourgeois democracy? I think not.  The struggles of the working class in that era were still wholly on bourgeois terrain: within it, not against it.   And the generations that bore the scars of The Terror still remained its victims, and were still wholly subservient to the bourgeois democratic ideal.  This hadn't changed since 1914, and wasn't changed much by the revolutionary wave, except when left communists began to challenge the social democratic ethos of the 3rd International.  But by then it was too late, and the class was:defeated. 

 

The collapse of the Soviet Union was a turning point however, though it didn't seem so at the time.  The Death of Communism was hailed as a triumph by the bourgeoisie  but really it was more a disaster for them than for us.  After all, the Soviet Union wasn't communist but was a major pillar in the sustaining of the counter revolution which had always insistently insisted that it was communist, and used this continually against the working class.  But now this particular piece of bourgeois ideology had gone.  

 

But nothing seemed to happen. Had history ended?  But then, as if out of the blue in circa 2000, the crisis started to reappear in dramatic form.  State capitalism and its various democratic disguises werent going to prevent the contradictions of the capitalist economy from showing its cracks this  time round.  Marx and Engels in 1847 in the Manifesto, had seen state capitalism as being communism - a reasonable mistake at that time.  This fatal mistake had haunted the working class ever since, and was pushed avidly by the bourgeoisie's social democratic left-wing during the first revolutionary wave which it was able to recuperate; and the idea that state ownership equalled communism became a pillar of the counter revolution's ideology.  But now, in the new century, the crisis, the growing austerity, the bankruptcy of the system and the thread bareness of the ideas of those who ran it, became increasingly obvious.   Added to which there was now a new generation of people for whom The Terrors of the war and its aftermath weren't even a distant memory; whose parents hadn't even been involved in it.  This new generation are generally unscathed by the horrors of the20th  century, yet are starting  in the face of collapsing capitalism and austerity to challenge the system.  Is this then finally the end of the counter revolution, and is the door now open for the development of communist ideas and thinking outside the confines of bourgeois democracy? 

 

If theory was ever going to grip the masses, then now must be perhaps the first real opportunity we've ever had, outside the all-pervasive and corrupting influence of social and other polluting forms of bourgeois democracy, for this to happen.  It will probably be the last chance too.  It all depends on what the working class starts to think outside the bourgeois box so to speak, which is only after all what Pannekoek said long  ago in his critiques of the first revolutionary wave. 

 

I apologize  for the long and probably  garbled nature of this post, but had to try and say it. 

 

 

 

 

 

jk1921
I thought the objective

I thought the objective material force that moved the class to embrace theory (new thinking patterns) was the crisis. Of course, as Fred shows in his post, there have been a series of apperant subjective factors that have blocked this from happening for much of the last century: bourgeois democracy, disorientation as a result of the defeat of the revolutionary wave, organic break, collapse of Stalinism, etc. Now, we have come full circle and are back at bourgeois democracy again. Subjective ideology seems to keep overriding objective material forces time and again. Not even the Great Depression could break the spell, nor--today--the worst economic crisis since. At least, not yet.

All this begs the question if waiting for objective material conditions to ripen is a viable strategy after all or if we have to start thinking about how to change subjective conditions some other way. Of course, that would seem to bring us right back to the problematic posed by the first generation of left communists that such an effort inevitably ends up in reintegration into the state. Still, if we are going to cling to the "the crisis is the best ally of the working class" idea, then it seems we have to have an answer for just how bad it has to get and how long it is going to take before the subjective change is made--the weight of all this ideology thrown off.

LBird
Material, schmaterial?

jk1921 wrote:
I thought the objective material force that moved the class to embrace theory (new thinking patterns) was the crisis.

This is perhaps where our philosophical differences lie, jk.

I think that the class has to develop and embrace theory before the crisis.

The 'objective material force' (the cause of the 'new thinking patterns') has to be the current capitalist relations of production. If workers can't come to realise their position within those exploitative relations, then a revolution is not possible.

Of course, this philosophical belief of mine is why I think that I agree with Pannekoek, and think that workers have to develop their own structures and consciousness. By that, I mean organic discussion groups, with much more open organisation than a party will allow.

jk1921 wrote:
Subjective ideology seems to keep overriding objective material forces time and again. Not even the Great Depression could break the spell, nor--today--the worst economic crisis since. At least, not yet.

Yes, I agree. But the spell has to be broken by workers developing themselves, actively and critically engaging in Communist politics. In my opinion, nothing (no 'objective material forces') will make this happen, not even a 'crisis'.

jk1921 wrote:
All this begs the question if waiting for objective material conditions to ripen is a viable strategy after all or if we have to start thinking about how to change subjective conditions some other way.

Yes, 'we have to start thinking' again. In my opinion, propaganda groups and education are the current way forward. The working class is no nearer a 'revolutionary consciousness' than it was in 1919.

jk1921 wrote:
Still, if we are going to cling to the "the crisis is the best ally of the working class" idea, then it seems we have to have an answer for just how bad it has to get and how long it is going to take before the subjective change is made--the weight of all this ideology thrown off.

If we 'cling' to this, I think we are going to be disappointed.

In my opinion, tiny parties/internationals debating complex theories is not the way forward. We need to simplify our ideas, and make them readable and understandable by the vast majority of workers. Marx hasn't helped in this task, because so many of his works are opaque, even to workers who are educated. I count myself in this group, and have spent years trying to find a way to explain his ideas both to myself and others, but haven't suceeded yet.

Some simple explanations of Capital and its main concepts, like 'value', would be a good starting point.

The idea that a 'crisis' is in itself going to make theory understandable to workers, is, in my opinion, mistaken. And I think that theory comes first, before understanding of crisis is possible. Without theory and consciousness, I would expect to see a re-run of 1914 if a world war again breaks out due to crisis.

I take no pleasure in this view, and actually hope that I'm wrong. But I think history favours my view. Waiting for 'objective/material' factors is too passive.

jk1921
Is it not a touch

Is it not a touch inconsistent to claim to be a materialist and then scoff at "material forces"? I think you make some interesting points LBird, but I am unclear as to why or through what mechanism the working class comes to change its consciousness in your system, if it is not motivated by some material force. It sounds to me like you are calling for some sort of Gramscian counter-hegemonic struggle--but, at the same time, you say this has to be done by the working class itself rather than a party. But what moves the working class to act? Its not a party, its not a crisis--so, what is it? I can't find the causality here.

LBird
What's the 'matter'?

jk1921 wrote:
Is it not a touch inconsistent to claim to be a materialist and then scoff at "material forces"?

Well, I've tried to broach this philosophical issue before, jk, but it didn't go too well, did it?

If we adopt 'Critical Realism' (and assume that this was what Marx was groping at with his 'historical materialism'), then what he meant by 'material' was what we would now call 'real'. The 'real' encompasses both ideas and 'things we can touch'. This is, I think, consistent with the quote that MH gave before from Marx, about 'theory' becoming a 'material' force.

This is all, of course, inconsistent with Engels' separation of idealism from materialism, and his stress on 'matter'. Unfortunately, it was Engels' variety of 'materialism' which has been taken as 'Marxism' since the 1880s, and influenced Lenin, et al.

jk1921 wrote:
I think you make some interesting points LBird, but I am unclear as to why or through what mechanism the working class comes to change its consciousness in your system, if it is not motivated by some material force. It sounds to me like you are calling for some sort of Gramscian counter-hegemonic struggle--but, at the same time, you say this has to be done by the working class itself rather than a party. But what moves the working class to act? Its not a party, its not a crisis--so, what is it? I can't find the causality here.

How about 'critical thought' as the 'mechanism'? That is, a proletariat becoming active of its own volition, due to its experiences of capitalism and the mismatch between what it thinks it believes now and its own experiences.

Of course, 'experience' is understood through theory, so if there is no alternative theory with which to understand experience, then it's likely nothing will change for the better. Unless this 'critical theory' is developed by worker-communists, and propagandised and adopted by ever more workers, because it fits and explains their lives better, then nothing will happen.

In my opinion, this 'critical thought' must be the act of the proletariat, not of a party.

I won't go any further at the moment, because I'm aware that many of the things that I've tried to discuss before have not gone down too well here. If you want to discuss further, I'm game, but if this is all too much for 'materialists' (sic), I'll desist, comrade. Just say the word, and I'll go back to just reading the threads with interest.

jk1921
So, it is the daily

So, it is the daily conditions of life under capitalism that produces the change in consciousness then? If so, this still leaves you with the problem of explaining why that consciousness has not yet arisen, why it will arise and/or showinng some kind of empirical evidence that it is developing. Workers have endured capitalism for a very long time, but have only sporadically revolted against it. What differentiates the periods of relative calm (Pannekoek's "equilibrium") from periods of open struggle and revolt?

Fred
illuminating exchanges

Very nice and illuminating exchanges between jk and LBird.  Yes it is daily life under capitalism that produces the change in consciousness. Why has it not arisen?  I tried to suggest in my post above that historical  events from 1925-1990 perpetuated the proletarian defeat and prevented it from having the possibility of escape from the counter revolution  which kept alive the ideology that Stalinism equals communism.  It would have been nice if the working class had been able to challenge this itself.  But it couldn't.  It was too submissive to the bourgeois vision.  But 1989 suddenly opened the door, and history gave us a break for a change as the Soviet Union imploded.  We also now have a new generation not shackled with awful memories of the massive proletarian defeat. They are beginning to stand on their feet here and there.  They are fumbling towards their own understanding of history and in the process we hope developing their critical faculties without which, as LBird and  Pannekoek  both rightly insist, communism is impossible. 

 

In my opinion "critical thought" and "communist thought" which will be its outcome, must be the act of the proletariat, like LBird  says.  But some people get there first don't they LBird?  Our emancipation is our own task.  If an organization of our advanced thinkers can help here, then who would want to stop it?  We can use it for our purposes. After all, it is us and we are them!  But I don't think the question of a revolutionary party or not is worth falling  out over just now,  or should be used to derail debate. 

 

I hope this discussion will continue LBird and jk, and that other comrades will join in. 

LBird
Faith in science?

jk1921 wrote:
So, it is the daily conditions of life under capitalism that produces the change in consciousness then? If so, this still leaves you with the problem of explaining why that consciousness has not yet arisen, why it will arise...

If I had to choose a word, jk, it would be 'faith'.

jk1921 wrote:
...and/or showinng some kind of empirical evidence that it is developing.

I think that the honest answer here, jk, is that there is no evidence at the present time. But, scientifically, that's the way things go, sometimes. 'Evidence' to confirm a 'theory' often doesn't follow immediately. Scientists produce 'explanations' (a cynic would say 'excuses') to help show that the 'facts' are wrong, and the 'theory' is still correct. For example, in our case, it could be argued that the form that proletarian organisation has taken in the 20th century, under the baleful influence of Engels/Lenin, has driven workers away, rather than attracted them. I'm not saying that this is true (although through personal experience I think that there's a case for this theory), but merely trying to show how 'failure' can be accounted for, theoretically.

jk1921 wrote:
Workers have endured capitalism for a very long time, but have only sporadically revolted against it. What differentiates the periods of relative calm (Pannekoek's "equilibrium") from periods of open struggle and revolt?

Widespread critical thought? Perhaps just minor, contingent factors, which stimulate 'open struggle and revolt', in a negative sense of being 'anti-' what exists, without any positive Communist, class conscious content?

Whatever the missing ingredient is, it's never yet been present. I'd argue that 'it' is mass class consciousness, and I don't think that it has ever yet been anywhere near developed enough to make Communism possible. Not 1919, not 1936, not 1968, not now.

But... do I think that it's possible for it to develop in the future, given active intervention by Communists? Yes, I do. But, again, as to the nature of that 'active intervention', then we have to discuss what might help.

In my opinion, history shows that Leninist-style organisation, central committees, cadres, hierarchical (non-democratic) structures don't work. That's why I look to the self-development of the working class, Pannekoek's ideas and democratic control by workers of their own organisations.

But... I might be wrong. Who, at present, knows? I certainly don't.

LBird
Form of organisation must produce critical thought

Fred wrote:
In my opinion "critical thought" and "communist thought" which will be its outcome, must be the act of the proletariat, like LBird says. But some people get there first don't they LBird? Our emancipation is our own task. If an organization of our advanced thinkers can help here, then who would want to stop it? We can use it for our purposes. After all, it is us and we are them!

Yes, I agree, Fred. But it still begs the question of the form which 'organisation of our advanced thinkers' should take. I'm not a Anarchist, but neither am I a Leninist. Frankly, I'm still unsure and looking for debate and answers, or at least further questions.

Fred wrote:
But I don't think the question of a revolutionary party or not is worth falling out over just now, or should be used to derail debate.

Once again, one can be in favour of a 'revolutionary party' of some sort, without agreeing with Leninist norms, and without needing to be accused of 'falling out' or 'derailing debate'. In fact, in my opinion, this is the nub of the issue for the proletariat in the 21st century.

Fred wrote:
I hope this discussion will continue LBird and jk, and that other comrades will join in.

Yes, it can only develop if more comrades 'join in', and we discuss whether 'organisational form' is the problem, or just a red herring.

baboon
Jk, post 13 above, asks the

Jk, post 13 above, asks the question of the class struggle and the idea that the "crisis is the best ally of the proletariat": "...we have to have an answer for just how bad it has to get  and how long it is going to take before the subjective change is made - the weight of all this ideology thrown off".

This is a reformulation that of a question that jk had made many times - exactly what is going to happen when?

First of all I think that we should be careful with just the statement that "the crisis is the best ally of the proletariat" because that stated alone doesn't explain things very well and can be interpreted as applauding things getting worse for the working class. So I think that this should always be put in context.

On "how bad it's going to get?" and "how long is it going to take?", I do not believe that there is a definitive answer. One could have a go at drawing up an equation or formula with all the potentials, variables, historical aspects, possibilities and unknowns - maybe for such an undertaking you'd need the space of the Great Wall of China and a couple of hundred thousands tins of paint and, any rate, when you have finished it it will be incommunicable and out of date. Far better than looking for a magical formula, x+y=Bingo, is to discussion the actual lines of march already laid out in major statements and resolutions, all of which do try to take as much in, historically and actuality, as possible.

On the decomposition thread, one thing that I tried to show was that "how bad does it have to get?" is not the question to ask. Here we saw the proletariat of the ex-Russian bloc plunged into immediate pauperisation and uncertainty. Unemployment, which was unknown as such in the east and while rising, was still marginal in the west, took off dramatically throughout the whole ex-bloc, subsidies were immediately stopped and wages and pensions were wiped out by inflation rates of up to 300%.. Starvation was a threat and it doesn't get much worse than this. The workers struggles that there were, were extinguished under the weight of events and the ideological attacks that accompanied them from all quarters. Don't forget that the forces of the bourgeoisie are part of the class struggle and revolutionaries should be very much aware of this threat (we saw how the relatively backward Egyptian bourgeoisie acted effectively in order to secure its position). Instead of the miners of Ukraine struggling together, during the collapse miners of one region were striking against miners of another. In Romania, the state's trade unions mobilised workers to physically attack protesting students. The proletariat in Ukraine is an important "bridge" of the workers of the east and west and the potential is there. But today they are once again demobilised and mobilised on the grounds of the bourgeoisie.

jk1921
Asking the wrong questions

Asking the wrong questions all the time is starting to get tiring.

baboon
I find it tiring too jk so

I find it tiring too jk so answer a question for a change: the working class  in the eastern bloc were relatively "well off" (I use that term advisedly); no real unemployment, subsidised basics, manageable pensions, general security of work (all this is relative of course). Then their world collapsed; they were, almost overnight, reduced to misery, uncertainty and near-starvations. They were made unemployed in their millions. Why didn't they make a revolution and what does that tell you about a mechanical link between crisis and class struggle jk? And what does the collapse of the eastern bloc tell you  - in the ICC's and the CWO's case - about having a sound methodological analysis (which they both had) against making empty predictions based on meaningless speculation?.

Fred
content over form

"Form of organization must produce critical thought" says LBird.  But why "form" ?  Surely it's the content of what goes on inside an organization, regardless of its form, that produces ideas, critical thought and action?    So why the emphasis on 'form'?  And besides, there are only a very limited number of forms an organization can take, aren't there?  What an organization thinks and does is what matters, and that depends on the thoughts and ideas of its members.  If we, as people who have agreed to work together on a common issue, are so reactionary and fossilized in our thought patterns, that we can't get beyond producing some quaint type of bourgeois bureaucracy (probably "democratic" )  then it's no use seeing the"form" we have produced as being at fault, but rather the people who produced it, and their wayward thinking patterns.  Obviously, in this case,  unsalvageably bourgeois. 

When we have the revolution, the mass of critical thinking engendered will produce the organization of people that match the critical thought. The "form" will match the thinking, and not the other way round.  Workers'Councils are places for critical even communist thought.  Workers'Councils in Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Durban , Calcutta and Marseilles, will need to send delegates to meetings of the International  Workers's Council to coordinate our efforts world wide.  Will this International Workers' Council be a sort of Party I wonder? Will there be an  International Party holding meetings om its own behalf separately from those of the International Workers' Council?   What do you think LBird and others?  

jk1921
Questioning

baboon wrote:

I find it tiring too jk so answer a question for a change: the working class  in the eastern bloc were relatively "well off" (I use that term advisedly); no real unemployment, subsidised basics, manageable pensions, general security of work (all this is relative of course). Then their world collapsed; they were, almost overnight, reduced to misery, uncertainty and near-starvations. They were made unemployed in their millions. Why didn't they make a revolution and what does that tell you about a mechanical link between crisis and class struggle jk? And what does the collapse of the eastern bloc tell you  - in the ICC's and the CWO's case - about having a sound methodological analysis (which they both had) against making empty predictions based on meaningless speculation?.

I am not sure what you are talking about now Baboon. You seem to be off in left field a bit. But I do notice the use of that empty qualifier "mechanical" again.

I think though it is time to address the deteriorating tone of your posts and the increasingly adversarial stance you have assumed in relation to my questioning. I am afraid this forum has become an increasingly unhealthy experience for me. My fault, I suppose?

Fred
get well soon

After jk's and baboon's sudden crash in a cul de sac ten days ago, I hope nobody sustained irrecoverable injuries and that both will be back on their feet in time for Christmas. 

baboon
I'm fine thanks Fred. Decided

I'm fine thanks Fred. Decided to duck my nut for a while to help take the heat off any escalation  and I've got plenty to do.

I don't want to be hyper-critical but this site is being is being attacked by the rubbish on it, ie, unwanted spam.

Alf
unwanted

unwanted indeed. We will try to clean things up over the next week or so. Not a bad idea to have taken time to reflect. The Bilan/Dutch left thread seems to have gone off the rails a bit, and some tensions emerged. Maybe we could take up some of the questions about the period of transition posed in the summary of the day of discussion afternoon session: http://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201312/9351/summary-afternoon-session

 

Alf
And a

And a merry christmas to all our readers