Continuing Demogorgon's Discussion of "our tasks"

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Non ex hoc mundi
Continuing Demogorgon's Discussion of "our tasks"
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Demogorgon asked wrote:
[W]hat is it in the ICC site that has led you to argue for your politics here?

In the past, I identified as a left communist. I was active in one of the organizations of the traditional communist left for a number of years at one point in time. I have engaged in most of the activities people here, including BD, have mentioned -- a few of those were quite "massive" and "significant" -- from a "post-1970s" perspective, I suppose.

I still have what Demogorgon calls "a little respect" for the "history of militancy"; those militants still active interest me as individuals. The "far" or "ultra-left" of Marxism interests me in general.

In the spirit of contributing towards a positive and fruitful dialogue for us all, I'd like to start out for once with the things I agree with in Demogorgon's last post.

I like when Demogorgon says, "[O]ur task is not to attempt agitation towards a class that simply isn't ready to launch massive struggles. We don't avoid activity in struggle - as I said above, we participate as much as possible in the struggles that take place - but it is not our main role".

Also, this from Demogorgon:

"At present, the number of revolutionaries the class is creating is very small. Our primary task, therefore, is to attempt to reach those potential revolutionaries before they get swallowed up by the left. This means our intervention must, above all, be political and aimed at political minorities".

This all seems reasonable and are approaches I support. Demogorgon also mentions winning the battle of ideas. If they mean somehow instilling "mass" communist consciousness, I am also interested in this theoretical occurrence and support "approaches" dealing with this as well.

Where I start to disagree with Demogorgon, and the ICC, is here:

Quote:
"Revolutionaries have a responsibility to organise themselves toward this end, i.e. to build a revolutionary organisation."

There's nothing revolutionary about these "revolutionaries" and their organizations when there isn't a communist revolution. What say you to this?

Demogorgon's post emphasizes very much what they call "tasks". Furthermore, they feel they have the privilege to tell us what "our tasks" are. So I agree with LBird here, this seems misguided and managerial.

As is currently being dicussed by the ICC and it's contacts, one of the biggest problems within the Russian revolution was that there was this chief revolutionary organization full of revolutionaries that more or less ended up ruining the strides the working class had made there. So why the emphasis on them? They don't seem useful, especially without any communist revolution. To have one relegating tasks to "us" (in a period of counterrevolution, no less) seems like a definite setup to repeat history.

Demogorgon states that the ICC's "conception of class struggle is completely opposed to this 'class warrior' vision". But in it's attempts to "pass the torch" and play the role of "revolutionary" archivist, isn't that role fulfilled? Demogorgon says "a far more pressing task" is "preserving and enlarging the corpus of theoretical gains that the working class has acquired over the years." For what reason? Won't "the class" understand so much of what is needed to cease capitalist production in the very moments before these actions? Isn't that how they ever happened in the first place? The Gabon's and Lenin's are mere figureheads; diversions. Are they not?

Won't the working class understand and undertake the whole history of Marxism, including: "the futility of national liberation struggles, the role of the unions, the perils of democracy, the lie of the workers' state, the dangers of revolutionaries trying to 'organise the class'" in the days and weeks and moments before a communist revolution in order for it to simply happen in the first place? So why the "roles" of "revolutionaries" and the "revolutionary organizations" to tell us "our tasks"?

How can you and I and other networks of people help a communist consciousness and viewpoint to spread? Communism is a good idea!

Someone recently told me that all consciousness is essentially the result of desires. I think that is interesting and useful in the context of these discussions.

Why don't people desire communism?

LBird
Anti-desire Materialists

Nehm wrote:
Demogorgon's post emphasizes very much what they call "tasks". Furthermore, they feel they have the privilege to tell us what "our tasks" are. So I agree with LBird here, this seems misguided and managerial.

Yeah, I think we agree on some things, at least, Nehm, even if there's probably lots that we don't.smiley

But what struck me most was your question:

Nehm wrote:
Why don't people desire communism?

If we merely equate (as a starting point) 'desire' with "joining a 'communist' organisation", then there have been hundreds of thousands of workers, just in the UK, during the 20th century, who have 'desired communism'.

But why have the overwhelming majority of those workers (including myself, and every other worker I've known who joined one) left these organisations, even when they've remained self-identifying 'communists'?

The simple answer is that NONE of these so-called "workers' parties" actually involve workers telling the organisation what it must do. One soon finds out that the idea of "workers' democracy" is a myth, and the 'leaders' of those organisations can't be removed, their policies can't be ditched, and the 'cadre' claim to 'know things' that ordinary workers can't hope to comprehend.

I think that there's been plenty of evidence that 'people desire communism', throughout the world, but the simple truth is that 'communist' (and 'Marxist') organisations have been nothing of the sort, and that becomes obvious very quickly to any worker who dares to challenge 'The Party'.

As I've said before, after much thought, over decades, I've come to the conclusion that the only workers' organisations that can build for communism, must be democratically-run, by the membership, and ALL THEORETICAL BELIEFS must be open to change by the workers. That includes, not just 'materialism', but 'matter'.

If 'matter' is so fuckin' obvious, why can't the 'materialists' allow workers to 'elect' it, as their own 'concept'? Or, reject it?

The simple truth is, as Marx said, that 'materialists' have to have an unquestioning 'faith in matter', because that allows them, and them alone, to feel superior to the majority. 'Matter' is the comfort blanket for an 'elite'. Marx said that 'materialism' separates society into two, with the minority in command. It's no basis for 'communism', and soon destroys any 'desire' in workers subject to its 'material' rule.

Communists must have 'Faith in Workers', not 'Faith in Matter'. When they do, the 'desire' will flourish.

Demogorgon
Quote:In the past, I

Quote:
In the past, I identified as a left communist. I was active in one of the organizations of the traditional communist left for a number of years at one point in time. I have engaged in most of the activities people here, including BD, have mentioned -- a few of those were quite "massive" and "significant" -- from a "post-1970s" perspective, I suppose.

Would you mind telling us what group you were in? It might help provide some context.

Quote:
There's nothing revolutionary about these "revolutionaries" and their organizations when there isn't a communist revolution. What say you to this?

By revolutionaries, I mean those who are attempting to actively work towards a proletarian revolution.

Quote:
Furthermore, they feel they have the privilege to tell us what "our tasks" are. So I agree with LBird here, this seems misguided and managerial.

We are stating what we believe the tasks of revolutionaries to be. We think the evidence of history supports our position and argue on that basis. We might be wrong, but you'll have to have a pretty convincing argument to persuade us, just as we should be ready to try and convince you.

But what concerns me most is why you think that our having a position on this is "misguided and managerial". You may, of course, consider our specific views "misguided" and you are free to criticise them as such. But this reads more as if having a position at all is a problem, as if it is somehow wrong for revolutionaries to have positions or to defend them at all.

After all, you clearly have a view on it, too. Why is it "managerial" when it comes from us and not from you?

You can, of course, argue that revolutionaries have different tasks. Okay, so what are they and why?

Or you can argue that revolutionaries have no tasks at all and political activity is pointless or even harmful. Of course, that then begs the question of what you're doing here.

Quote:
As is currently being dicussed by the ICC and it's contacts, one of the biggest problems within the Russian revolution was that there was this chief revolutionary organization full of revolutionaries that more or less ended up ruining the strides the working class had made there. So why the emphasis on them? They don't seem useful, especially without any communist revolution. To have one relegating tasks to "us" (in a period of counterrevolution, no less) seems like a definite setup to repeat history.

That's a very one-sided depiction of the role of the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution. But that's probably better discussed on another thread, as it's such a big topic. It also seems predicated on the idea that the way the Bolsheviks functioned is the only way that a revolutionary organisations can function. For example, although we think the Bolsheviks were a genuine proletarian formation at the time, we reject a central element of Bolshevism - the idea that the role of revolutionaries is to take power on behalf of the class.

Your comment about usefulness seems contradictory. On the one hand, you appear to concede the idea that an organisation might be useful during a communist revolution. But this begs the question as to how a communist revolution happens in the first place. There's also the more general question of whether trying to discuss, clarify and spread communist ideas is useful? If communists don't argue for communism then what is the point of being a communist at all? You must think it has some point because you're a communist ... aren't you?

Lastly, you also seem to have a vision of the RO delegating tasks. Yes, we're arguing that workers and revolutionaries should take particular courses of action and will argue against activity and ideas we consider harmful. But we don't seek to "direct" the class or anyone else.

You seem to think our vision is one the RO as some kind of separate group from "us" (i.e. workers), sitting apart, doling out work or punishment to those outside. This is in complete opposition to our conception.

Quote:
Demogorgon states that the ICC's "conception of class struggle is completely opposed to this 'class warrior' vision". But in it's attempts to "pass the torch" and play the role of "revolutionary" archivist, isn't that role fulfilled?

I don't see how. We see a revolutionary organisation as unifying the differing capabilities of individuals to create something that no one person, however brilliant or dedicated, could create on their own. Although a specific individual may be better at writing articles or speaking at meetings or organising finance than another, each militant has their own unique contribution to make to the organisation. We don't always live up to this vision, but it's what we aspire to.

The class warrior vision I critiqued on the other thread is one which worships at the altar of the individual and militant activity is seen as a competition, similar to what we find in the bourgeois workplace. X is a better militant than Y, they work harder, they're smarter, or whatever. This inevitably generates ego-driven politics, vanity when we feel better than others, bitterness when we don't, and submission (either offered or expected) from the ones seen as second-class militants to the supposedly "better" ones.

Quote:
Demogorgon says "a far more pressing task" is "preserving and enlarging the corpus of theoretical gains that the working class has acquired over the years." For what reason? Won't "the class" understand so much of what is needed to cease capitalist production in the very moments before these actions? Isn't that how they ever happened in the first place? The Gabon's and Lenin's are mere figureheads; diversions. Are they not?

Won't the working class understand and undertake the whole history of Marxism, including: "the futility of national liberation struggles, the role of the unions, the perils of democracy, the lie of the workers' state, the dangers of revolutionaries trying to 'organise the class'" in the days and weeks and moments before a communist revolution in order for it to simply happen in the first place? So why the "roles" of "revolutionaries" and the "revolutionary organizations" to tell us "our tasks"?

For a communist revolution to occur, by definition, a critical mass of workers must achieve a communist consciousness. I am sceptical of your idea that the whole class will have assimilated the whole of marxism at that point, but let's roll with that for the moment.

Because the real problem with this position is that, even if superificially true, it considers a revolutionary moment as some kind of brute fact that appears out of nowhere and completely ignores the process that leads up to that moment. It's as if the "the class" has some sort of divine revelation that strikes all workers at the same time. Our conception is completely different.

From our pamphlet on class consciousness: "Look at what generally happens when a strike breaks out. There is a latent discontent throughout the factory, for wages have fallen again, and the lines have speeded up. Some workers end up by voicing their discontent, and discussing amongst themselves. The idea of a strike crystallizes. But others still hesitate, not all sectors are equally combative. The most determined workers will necessarily try to convince their more reticent comrades, by discussion and by the example of their own determination. Later, if the strike breaks out, these elements will continue to stimulate the rest of their comrades in the general assemblies, and will see their ranks swell more and more. A more combative vanguard thus appears spontaneously within the proletariat, so as to stimulate and generalise to the maximum its own determination and consciousness."

Revolutionaries, or whatever you like to call them, are the product of a similar process but one that appears in the ideological and political sphere rather than the immediate life of the class struggle. Again, from our pamphlet. "In contrast to the innumerable combative workers who take the lead in the struggles, but in general disappear once the strike or the struggle is finished, revolutionaries remain permanently organised and base their existence not on sociological criteria or particular circumstances, but on political criteria. The political programme they defend enables them to put forward the historic interests of the proletariat within its struggles, and to be at once the stubborn defenders of the daily resist­ance against capitalist exploitation, and the most intransigent upholders of the movement’s final aims. They see their intervention as a continuous and long-term activity."

Of course, revolutionaries don't sit back in the workplace either. In addition to their permanent, political work, they will be among the more combatitive workers that emerge in specific struggles. They will also be the ones who, as communists, attempt to defend class positions in those struggles. In times of low class consciousness, this may be as basic as trying to persuade workers not cross picket lines. At others, it may be trying to persuade the councils that the time has come for the council to take power.

Quote:
How can you and I and other networks of people help a communist consciousness and viewpoint to spread? Communism is a good idea! Someone recently told me that all consciousness is essentially the result of desires. I think that is interesting and useful in the context of these discussions. Why don't people desire communism?

I think I've already tried to answer your first question here. But I do want to highlight that here you seem to agree that that some sort of effort is required to spread communist consciousness. You also seem to agree that some sort of network is required to do so. To me, this is just another way of acknowledging that communists have a responsibility to spread their ideas and to organise themselves in some way to do so.

Are we able to agree at least on that?

This is not to say that we agree on how revolutionaries should organise (an enormous question) or even necessarily on exactly what we mean by communism, but it's a start.

Non ex hoc mundi
Thanks for the response,

Thanks for the response, Demogorgon.

In fact, kinda, yeah, I would indeed mind making certain pieces of info public. That particular bit is completely besides the point for now, anyway, Demo. But every ICC member is probably familiar with this (ex?) groups politics.

So.

Again, with no proletarian revolution I don't understand how revolutionaries can exist.

A person without any jokes cannot perform stand-up comedy. They are pro-humor. Like the ICC militants are pro-revolution.

Perhaps the term pro-revolutionaries is more suitable. But this ties into deeper problems, from my perspective.

I think even Demo's language is managerial. I doubt this comrade would have an easy time writing without making god-like pronouncements on the nature of things by using authoritarian copulae. The comrade should give it a go if they'd care to.

I'm not sure who or what besides the ICC itself gives Demo the authority to label themself a revolutionary. Same for other ICC comrades.

I do in fact think having set principles and positions is problematic. It sows dogmatism and complacancy. I would encourage people to think for themselves rather than always in groupthink. Aspects of it is Marxist productivist collectivism.

I'm not here to define any tasks for anyone. And I don't think any tasks are pointless -- I just think they always end up serving capital.

I'm here for fun.

Demo claims the ICC doesnt seek to direct the class or take power for the class. But later on they mention persuading worker's councils (if they ever even arise again; I don't think they will) to take power at the right time. So what's the difference? This is managerial, c'mon.

Militancy can only ever be a defense of militancy. The obsession with distinguishing oneself as a noble revolutionary is an attempt to seperate oneself from the inescapable black hole of capital's recuperation and representation. Militants defend their programs and their authorship of them against the marginalizing and generalizing forces of capital and the State. The militant "retreats" to the "'closed shop'...For the militant, there is no dispure that is not a demarcation dispute."

"Private ownership of the struggle is elevated above the significance of what is being struggled for. Extreme measures serve to mask the limitations placed upon desired outcomes: a secured and controllable territory."

Militants are unable to remain topical and adjust to the changing times. "They are driven to defend their old role under new conditions. They defend the old world by defending their role within it."

The quoted bits are mostly from Twitter chatter with a friend.

LBird
'Managers' who think they are 'Leaders': a bourgeois conceit

Demo, I think that it's important that you realise what I (and I think NEHM, too, by 'managerial') is saying: that the class, not the party organisation, is the political force/body/intellect/consciousness/power that will tell 'revolutionaries' what 'ideas', 'concepts', 'theories', 'tasks', 'policies', 'activities' are to be employed by 'communists'.

So, if the class decides, for example,:

1. that Marx was not a 'materialist', but a 'social productionist';

2. that 'democracy', not a 'central committee', will determine 'communist policies';

3. that we 'humans', not 'matter', consciously and actively create their 'nature-for-us';

4. that 'apoios' (qualityless) 'hupokeimenon' (underlying) 'resistance' is our basic concept, and not 'matter' (which supposedly has 'qualities' that we haven't put there, ourselves, by our conscious activity); 

5. that Lenin was not a 'Marxist', but an 'Engelsist/Kautskyist';

6. that the Bolsheviks were a counterrevolutionary force, whose entire political aim was to prevent working class power;

7. that Bogdanov's works discussing 'activity' and 'resistance' are of far more use today than Lenin's philosophical nonsense in Materialism and Empirio-criticism;

then these axioms will constitute 'communism' (or others, as the case may be).

I can put this more succinctly:

There are no 'revolutionaries' who know, prior to its building by the self-conscious proletariat, what 'communism' (ie. its theories and practices) is.

You, as what I'd call an 'Engelsist Materialist', have got the 'drive-shaft' the wrong way round.

That's what, I think, that NEHM means by 'managerial'. Of course, NEHM can either confirm, amend or reject  what I've said, here.

baboon
Non ex, in criticising the

Non ex, in criticising the holding of principles and positions you are of course expressing your own position - you can try to laugh this off by saying your just here for a bit of fun (a comic without any jokes) but you are putting forward a position that anyone seriously trying to work against capitalist society should not have princples or positions. You even develop your position in a form, that goes well beyond management-speak, of bourgeois ideology that insists we are in a different situation to a hundred years ago and in this you echo the whole campaign of the bourgeoisie today that the Russian Revolution belongs to a long dead past, a different situation. What are these "changing times" of yours, what are these "new conditions" that differ from the "old world". What conditions have changed in the last one hundred or so years that make proletarian organisation a thing of the past? Essentially, in my opinion, nothing fundamental has changed and that the only change has been that the decadence of capitalism has turned into its decomposition and poses an even greater threat, one way or the other, to humanity. You could see that as a bit of a laugh, a bit of fun or you could take it seriously and reflect on how you confront the awful reality that faces the working class in conditons that are fundamentally unchanged since the First World War.

Non ex hoc mundi
The fun for me comes from

The fun for me comes from learning more about the things which I wonder. I have no idea how, from what I wrote, baboon read "that anyone seriously trying to work against capitalist society should not have principles or positions". Go back and have a look at what I've said, mate, and have a shot at understanding the differences in good faith. I said this: "having set principles and positions is problematic. It sows dogmatism and complacency. I would encourage people to think for themselves". But baboon wants instead to emphasize that people, like the discipline of an army, take things seriously. My suggestion: learn to have a bit of fun. If you were facing the awful reality you claim to confront, you would know you have to. No point in being a blowhard. It just freaks people out. Comrade baboon asks: "what's changed"?, suggesting the following: "nothing fundamental has changed" -- and that can happen to your worldview from thirty or forty years inside an echo chamber. But how could a century pass and not a thing change? Even the ICC's theory of decadence and decomposition is an attempt to describe some change. Lastly, my positions are not bourgeois. That's a pretty disrespectful suggestion to level and I deserve to at least know what positions specifically you are referring to and how exactly they are representative of the bourgeoisie.

petey
interesting comment #5 from

interesting comment #5 from LBird. i haven't the knowledge to address each point of it, but i concur with the part in bold (the second part in bold), and the general idea that classaware workers will know what communism is.

KT
Tasks? Managerial? Why the long face?

Posters don’t seem to like the terms ‘Managerial’. Or ‘Tasks’. Perhaps they only consider them in their capitalist context.

Because the working class has enormous tasks it must face up to: the transformation of society being top of a long list.

To do this it has to a) manage itself, it’s own self-activity and b) in the first instant, after taking the leading role in society (ie after the revolution) manage the existing ‘economy’ towards ‘the management of things, not the management of people’ and manage to integrate all those multitudes ruined by capitalism but not yet integrated into social production.

Many tasks, much management.

Who says the working class must do these things (another way of posing the question of ‘why is the working class the revolutionary, as well as the exploited-producer class of capitalist society)? That’s a long discussion but it’s something axiomatic to Marxism and even other strands of the workers’ movement.

Perhaps the question is better turned on its head: who else, what other class or section of society, is to lead us out of the ludicrous situation humanity now faces: a potential abundance of everything required for the reproduction of social life while the current arrangement tends to the destruction of humanity’s acquired knowledge, customs and ability to maintain itself and the planet of which it is part?

But the nub of the current discussion, once we’ve swerved aversions (diversions?) to ‘tasks’ which sound ‘managerial’ or ‘authoritarian’, is: where do communists, sometimes called ‘revolutionaries’ stand in all this? And who elected them to do or say anything? Who the hell do they think they are?

For Marx, the communists are both a product of the existence of the working class and an active factor in its transformation from an outlaw, exploited class which has nothing to lose but its chains into a class capable of freeing itself and therefore humanity as a whole. The communists, like Marx himself, are products of this fluctuating effort by the working class to become conscious of its situation.

While it must be the vast majority of the working class which makes and directs its revolution, beginning the transformation of society in the process, not all workers become conscious of this necessity at once. The communists are those who see the ‘general line of march’, are more or less aware of where the struggle between classes is leading. The communists disdain to hide their views. They ‘manage’ (organise) themselves to broadcast their views. They don’t stay shtum when the working class is being drowned in an all pervasive, multi-morass of dominant bourgeois propaganda.

Above all, the communists, the revolutionaries, proffer political direction.

It’s up to the working class as a whole whether it accepts their analyses, their theories: theories which become truly radical when they grip the masses, as Marx observed. Marx, the party man. The founder of the IWW, of The First International.

The communists were not and are not ‘managing’ the working class: they were and are fighting for their ideas – which come from the working class’s own experience – within movements of the class as a whole. (1) Even if the communists’ arguments are wrong, in error, how - to repeat Demogorgon’s pertinent question - is this “managing the working class”?

Who elected these communists? The same people who elected the soviets, or street assemblies, or spontaneous factory assemblies or even the ICC’s critics on this forum – precisely no-one.  No-one elected the mass strike of 1905 in Russia, or elected into being the Soviets (councils). The working class in movement created them because the heightened struggle at that moment demanded a form to which allowed the class to think and to act collectively.

The communists are not the product of this or that immediate situation: like the class struggle from which they historically and continually arise, they forge themselves. It takes a lot of effort, a great deal of will. It can even, at times, be fun...

The ICC’s basic document, (so far accessed on this site around 66,000 times, signalling at the very least, a certain “desire” to know about communism) puts it this way:

“If the general organisation of the class and the organisation of revolutionaries are part of the same movement, they are nonetheless two distinct things.

“The first, the councils, regroup the whole class. The only criterion for belonging to them is to be a worker. The second, on the other hand, regroups only the revolutionary elements of the class. The criterion for membership is no longer sociological, but political: agreement on the programme and commitment to defend it. Because of this the vanguard of the class can include individuals who are not sociologically part of the working class but who, by breaking with the class they came out of, identify themselves with the historic class interests of the proletariat.

“However, though the class and the organisation of its vanguard are two distinct things, they are not separate, external or opposed to one another as is claimed by the ‘Leninist’ tendencies on the one hand and by the workerist-councilist tendencies on the other. What both these conceptions deny is the fact that, far from clashing with each other, these two elements – the class and revolutionaries – actually complement each other as a whole and a part of the whole. Between the two of them there can never exist relations of force because communists ‘have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole’ (Communist Manifesto).” (Platform of the ICC, Part 16, The Organisation of Revolutionaries) http://en.internationalism.org/platform

If within the proletariat’s own creations – general assemblies, street assemblies, workers discussion groups, political organisations – elections and democracy are the rule, it is neither elections nor voting which generally calls these creations into being – it is the class struggle.

It’s the bourgeoisie which has a fetish about elections and managing people. In many countries – certainly in GB - it even tries to stifle the workers’ spontaneous struggle by prohibiting wildcat strikes, insisting on voting in ballots before strike action can be declared; putting strict percentages on the number of workers who want to strike before such action can be declared ‘legal’,  etc, unlike the real movements of the class in which it is often a more determined minority which convinces a hesitant majority to join them...

Finally, for now, a comrade wondered how there can be revolutionaries when there is no revolution. Perhaps some of the above will provide elements for talking further on this topic. But as Rosa Luxemburg declared of the class struggle: “I was,  Iam, I will be.” In other words, it’s a mistake to fixate on the immediate.

If the past bears certain lessons of historic importance to the working class, tradition also “weighs like a nightmare upon the brains of the living” (Marx). The present is a transitory, fleeting moment, in part determined by an unalterable past and is itself destined to become the past. It is the future – the perspective of a society that can be changed, bent and built according to conscious human will - that is the dynamic factor.

Revolutionaries hold out that which is otherwise largely absent from bourgeois society, with its death cults, sci-fi films of a war-torn polluted planet and “no future” desperation of youth: they hold aloft the possibility that mankind can create a world based on abundance, without borders, states, exploitation, weapons of mass destruction; shorn of alienation, classes, sexual predation and general hierarchy. If not in detail, the perspective of communism, and the movement toward it, most certainly can and must be described today. That's also one of the most important 'tasks' facing revolutionaries.

(1) This is not just the conception of Marx or of the ICC:  the Anarchist Federation says it doesn’t want to lead the revolution, but it does want its ideas to...

KT
PS

A comrade also commented that the intervention of communists has only made things worse. I have always understood that it is the continuation of capitalist social relations and the actions of the robber class, the bourgeoisie, which were responsible for the decline in all aspects of our well-being.

jk1921
For revolutionaries to have

For revolutionaries to have made things worse would imply that they actually have some influence and they therefore exist?

LBird
'Classaware workers' and their power to decide

petey wrote:
interesting comment #5 from LBird. i haven't the knowledge to address each point of it, but i concur with the part in bold (the second part in bold), and the general idea that classaware workers will know what communism is.
[my bold]

Yeah, and the key point is that this 'communism' might be entirely different from the 'communism' that so-called 'revolutionaries' have outlined, since the 2nd International, Engels, Kautsky, Lenin, etc. Only the 'classaware workers' can decide this issue, about the nature of their 'communism'.

I outlined, for examples, a number of issues that I, as a 'revolutionary', think that would make more sense to future 'classaware workers' who are striving to build a democratic communism in which we create our own 'nature-for-us', a 'nature' that we can change, and who would ditch the whole 19th century nonsense of 'materialism' (a 'materialism' which Marx opposed), because it's a bourgeois ideology suited to bourgeois science, which holds that 'special individuals' alone can 'know' 'Truth', 'Reality', 'Facts', which thus the 'classaware workers' cannot be allowed to vote upon.

Any ideology that holds that 'classaware workers' can't reject 'matter', and can't replace it with a more suitable political concept, which is more suited to their conscious, creative activity (rather than a 'something' which already exists, and so can't be changed), is an ideology which pretends that there is a 'Knowing Elite' prior to 'classaware workers'.

'Materialism' is such an elite ideology, and its political consequences are as Marx warned, in his Theses on Feuerbach

LBird
Wrong concepts

KT wrote:
The communists were not and are not ‘managing’ the working class: they were and are fighting for their ideas – which come from the working class’s own experience...

'Ideas' do not come from 'experience'. That is a bourgeois ideological myth. Our method is neither 'induction' (ideas come from experience), nor 'deduction' (ideas alone, without practice), but from 'production' (Marx's 'social theory and practice'). The latter can be voted upon, and so is the revolutionary method. So, 'the communists' ideas can be rejected. 'The communists' have produced their own 'ideas', which might or might not be acceptable to the working class. These 'communist ideas' certainly haven't come from 'workers' experience'. To argue otherwise, for 'induction', is to be 'managerial', which holds that 'managerial communists' can 'manage' the 'ideas' for workers.

KT wrote:

If within the proletariat’s own creations – general assemblies, street assemblies, workers discussion groups, political organisations – elections and democracy are the rule, it is neither elections nor voting which generally calls these creations into being – it is the class struggle.

With this political conception, KT, you're insisting that there is an 'activity' that you 'know' prior to conscious workers.

On the contrary, we must insist that only conscious activity by workers can 'create' for the 'proletariat' - that is, 'class struggle' (as an unconscious activity) does not create 'the proletariat's own creations'. That notion is an elitist, 'managerial', political conception, within which 'materialists' claim to 'know' prior to 'conscious workers'.

Demogorgon
What are communists for?

I don't have time to respond properly for myself, at the moment, especially as it doesn't appear to be a very productive discussion (just a bit of fun, right?). I'll content myself with a couple of quotes from The Poverty of Philosophy and The Communist Manifesto, which help to elucidate what Marx's views are on the role of communists.

Marx wrote:
Just as the economists are the scientific representatives of the bourgeois class, so the Socialists and Communists are the theoreticians of the proletarian class. So long as the proletariat is not yet sufficiently developed to constitute itself as a class, and consequently so long as the struggle itself of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie has not yet assumed a political character, and the productive forces are not yet sufficiently developed in the bosom of the bourgeoisie itself to enable us to catch a glimpse of the material conditions necessary for the emancipation of the proletariat and for the formation of a new society, these theoreticians are merely utopians who, to meet the wants of the oppressed classes, improvise systems and go in search of a regenerating science. But in the measure that history moves forward, and with it the struggle of the proletariat assumes clearer outlines, they no longer need to seek science in their minds; they have only to take note of what is happening before their eyes and to become its mouthpiece. So long as they look for science and merely make systems, so long as they are at the beginning of the struggle, they see in poverty nothing but poverty, without seeing in it the revolutionary, subversive side, which will overthrow the old society. From this moment, science, which is a product of the historical movement, has associated itself consciously with it, has ceased to be doctrinaire and has become revolutionary.

Marx and Engels wrote:
The Communists, therefore, are on the one hand, practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others; on the other hand, theoretically, they have over the great mass of the proletariat the advantage of clearly understanding the line of march, the conditions, and the ultimate general results of the proletarian movement.

Marx and Engels wrote:
The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions.

 

LBird
Self-determination and emancipation by workers

Yeah, Demo, and when the proletariat becomes communist, they (the workers, and the workers alone) can build 'communism'.

Social theory and practice.

Social (workers themselves, a social category) theory (of communism, determined by workers themselves) and practice (of communism, done by workers themselves).

'Communism' is a social product, created by the class conscious, revolutionary, proletariat, employing the democratic method of 'social theory and practice'.

Workers thus change their world.

KT
Think ahead

LBird wrote:

 

KT wrote:

If within the proletariat’s own creations – general assemblies, street assemblies, workers discussion groups, political organisations – elections and democracy are the rule, it is neither elections nor voting which generally calls these creations into being – it is the class struggle.

With this political conception, KT, you're insisting that there is an 'activity' that you 'know' prior to conscious workers.

Think Marx best expresses my position (no suprise there!)

"A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality."

Marx, Capital

 

LBird
Yes, 'Marx best expresses' (not Engels or Lenin)

KT wrote:

LBird wrote:

 

KT wrote:

If within the proletariat’s own creations – general assemblies, street assemblies, workers discussion groups, political organisations – elections and democracy are the rule, it is neither elections nor voting which generally calls these creations into being – it is the class struggle.

With this political conception, KT, you're insisting that there is an 'activity' that you 'know' prior to conscious workers.

Think Marx best expresses my position (no suprise there!)

"A spider conducts operations that resemble those of a weaver, and a bee puts to shame many an architect in the construction of her cells. But what distinguishes the worst architect from the best of bees is this, that the architect raises his structure in imagination before he erects it in reality."

Marx, Capital

Yeah, spot on, KT. I've used that passage myself, to prove that Marx argued for 'social theory and practice', in that order, and not 'practice and theory', ie. (individual) 'induction'.

And since 'imagination' comes before the building of 'reality', it can be voted upon. Only the proletariat can determine whether any 'imagination' is then actively produced as their 'reality'.

baboon
Non ex post 7

What are principles and positions if they are not "set", i.e., taken up, formulated and laid-out? That doesn't mean that they can't be changed of modified (as the ICC has done on occasions) but communist principles are by definition "set". This is what you say you disagree with. There are principles and positions on the Russian revolution, the trade unions, the United Front, national liberation - these are "set" principles, do you agree with them or not? I'd like people to think for themselves, to break free of the grip of bourgeois ideology and that,in the main, is done through class struggle. But in the meantime we can discuss with individuals or groups and try to defend positions ("set") and principles. Or, as you seem to think, you can just have laugh. Look at the Middle East, what a giggle; the misery extending throughout the world, so funny; the threat to mankind, hilarious. And if you try to seriously address these issues you are, in your considered opinion above, expressing the mentality of a clockwork orange, military discipline, a blowhard, a spoilsport, lacking a sense of humour, a sense of fun. Dont' "freak" people out by talking seriously about serious problems - chill out, have a laugh. And you non ex honestly can't see how you're tail-ending bourgeois ideology? And you do it again with your idea that its useless to organise, to act together, the past is dead and gone, things have changed. It's part of the campaign of the bourgeoisie after the collapse of the eastern bloc and the "victory" of capitalism.

As I said above, for the working class nothing has fundamentally changed in the last hundred years except that the capitalist system has gone from decay to decomposition carrying a greater threat to the future of humanity. I have a sense of humour non ex but I don't really see a funny side to that.

Non ex hoc mundi
Giggles in the dark

KT, why must you declare to us the enormity of the tasks humanity faces today, and in such a dictatorial way? The lack of communist revolution right now is not the result of the failures of the ICC, "revolutionaries", or what you comrades lump together and call "the working class". ICC militants can rant and rave all they want about their theories and program -- it has no bearing whatsoever on anyone's daily life struggle and will not ever. The most affect I've ever seen ICC militants have, in the past decade or so of my knowing them, is when they have akwardly leaflet larger strikes to try and "persuade" workers, like missionaries knocking at my door trying to talk about Jesus. Here Demo is highlighting the importance of discussion with those searching elements while at the same time being so immersed in their own "serious" workplace and extraciricular organizational politics they have no time for this -- creating arbitrary tasks and role playing as a great revolutionary instead -- so, they're too burnt out for an Internet chat. Is that where the life of serious militantism gets oneself? Stressed out and used up? No time for fun or chit chat or experimentation or, you know, a generally non-gloomy, non-angsty existence? I think I'll pass. I'm not interested in any dictatorship of the proletariat, but it's most likely inevitable. I'm concerned with trying to understand what options would be on the table in the event the militants of an organization like the ICC would decide the time has arrived for them to assert themselves as the most advanced thinkers and most qualified to determine a general line of march, perhaps, I dunno, banning "factions" or courageous free thinkers like moi? The revolution I want will hopefully do away with class and revolutionaries, not crystalize and canonize them. I would not feel comfortable asserting the wants and needs of others in a blanket and general way, as the ICC militants are here claiming communists must do. No sense in quoting Marx on these issues-- I side with Bakunin here, and that's not a blanket endorsement of Bakunin's generally crap politics, for the record. Bakunin predicted the results of the Russian revolution decades before it happened. Accept this fact! Speak for yourselves! Think for yourselves! We all know the ICC survives on the word of [REMOVED] and maybe one other...even the TPTG have their proto-Lenin. Left communism will always lead to the establishment of chiefs and a State which conserves the values and relations of the old world, so long as you place yourselves ahead of bus driver Jane who has never read a sentence of Marx in her life. She'll figure out everything you've spent your lives studying over a cigarette if the objective conditions ever present themselves. Comrade baboon, I laugh to avoid crying or losing self-control. I myself am Palestinian. Do you know the hatred and anger and pain that comes with that? I've seen the camps. I deal with the stress of loved ones in dire poverty and war every waking moment. Can you relate? We can laugh or we can cry, my friend. It's all a farce, anyway. Donald Trump is the US President, for pete's sake. baboon, should I pack up my rifle and ammo and canned veggies and run off into the mountains and pick of the drones and radars buzzing overhead? Would that be serious enough? Shall I run off to the West Bank or Rojava or Algeria and give my life fighting for good ol' Uncle Marx? "For the working class nothing has fundamentally changed in the last hundred years". Clocked in and out of a massive auto factory lately, comrade? How goes the coal mining? I'm really loving this lack of a wage and health care! Totally reminds me of the good ol' union days! Pie in the sky, baby!

Demogorgon
Unacceptable Behaviour

NEHM, you may be wondering what happened to your last post.

As you used an internal pseudonym of one of our comrades, I have removed it. This had the effect of collapsing the formatting. Formatting, however, is the least of the issues here.

At best, revealing that information in such a casual, cavalier way – to win an argument on the internet, no less, which for you is just “fun” – demonstrates a total lack of respect for other comrades and their safety.

Those comrades who gain access to the internal life of our organisation, do so on the agreement that they do not reveal what they learn. This is a serious commitment, not to be made lightly, and not to be broken lightly.

If you were given that information because you were once close to us, then this would have been explained to you. You should certainly consider what breaking that promise means, not simply because of the potential damage you could do to the ICC, but what it means for your own integrity as a communist. It is an enormous betrayal of trust.

Without trust, without confidence in each other, it is not only impossible to be a communist, it is impossible for the working class to engage in even the most remedial struggle. If  workers fear being stabbed in the back by someone the moment there’s a falling out or a disagreement, then the class is finished.

The dropping of a comrade’s name on the internet is not the worse attack ever made against the ICC, nor will it be the last. But, make no mistake, it is still an attack.

This is because the casual dropping of these names in public carries with it an incipient threat: “Who knows what else I know or what I may reveal!”

The latent threat inherent in this action will result in comrades, even those whose details were not revealed, being silenced for fear of what you may know. Or, given your propensity to either consciously tell lies about our internal life or repeating what you have been told by others, comrades may fear what untruths you may spread about them.

This sort of blackmail has a long tradition among anti-working-class forces. That this authoritarian silencing has been done by someone who has been posting under a clear anti-authoritarian banner, is, to be frank, total hypocrisy on your part.

It may be that you gained this information from others, rather than any prior relationship you had with the ICC. If so, I would consider carefully the company you keep. Whoever gave this information to you has broken a very serious commitment. Can you really trust someone that devoid of honour?

Consider this your first and only warning. We are giving you the benefit of the doubt this time only, solely because you may not fully realise the import of your actions. Do not make us regret it. If you use this forum to make public any more internal information about our organisation, or any other organisation or militant, you will be banned immediately and permanently.

Non ex hoc mundi
Demo

Demo,

Your reply read a bit like an execution notice from the commissars office during a cold morning in a gulag notifying me to enjoy my last breakfast.

There's not a single State security organization -- not even that of Rwanda or Luxembourg or Fiji - that consider you and the rest of the ICC members even the tiniest threat. The local liberal anarchists get more attention for knocking over trashcans.

But I understand how much of a buzz kill it is for someone to break character during role play, so accept my sincerest apologies!

Chiefs must of course be defended for the posterity of the tribe, whether symbolic or not. And I meant no disrespect. Seems I touched a nerve.

I'll make sure not to "reveal" any of your deeply guarded "secrets" from this point on! I swear on Capital Volume III.

Seriously.

With love,
The poster called Non ex hoc mundi