Report on the structure and functioning of the revolutionary organisation

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Report on the structure and functioning of the revolutionary organisation
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Report on the structure and functioning of the revolutionary organisation. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

This is a response to a part

This is a response to a part of the companion piece to the one which has so engaged Jamal  and was recommended  by Demogorgon on the Cody thread.  This is section 12 part 1. 


 The working class doesn't give rise to revolutionary militants but to revolutionary organisations: there is no direct relationship between the militants and the class. The militants participate in the class struggle in so far as they become members and carry out the tasks of the organisation. They have no particular 'salvation' to gain in front of the class or of history. The only 'salvation' that matters to them is that of the class and of the organisation which it has given rise to.


Like much of the material in this article this sounds initially harsh and dogmatic. Revolutionary militants don't exist, only revolutionary organizations.  The organization's  militants participate in the class struggle only in so far as they carry  out the tasks allotted  them by the organization. 

 Initially this made my individualistic hackles rise.  This is "Leninism" at its worse, some will cry. Whatever happened to "from each according to his ability...." chorus others. This explains why the ICC can't keep its militants for long somebody whispers, and   thank god I never joined sigh others in relief.   But the ICC has got it right, has it not?  The revolutionary  organization,  a direct product of the class itself, is a serious organization at the service of the class, and exists for no other reason than to serve the class.  It has no room for film stars playing the revolutionary character part, or sceptics who see scepticism as proof  of their invaluable personality. And those  seeking to boost their drooping ego will not find any satisfaction flowing their way from the revolutionary organization they misunderstand.    They will not find an individual salvation here.    So better to remain isolated outside the organization in individualistic splendor is it not?    But  I wonder if it is.  Those of us 'outside" the revolutionary organization, for assorted reasons, must sometimes appear as a collection of lost souls looking for a purpose but avoiding the truth.   Of course the demands of being in the revolutionary organization are clearly enormous and I suppose comrades can suffer "burn out" or fall sick beneath the strain.  On the other hand, if the organization only had more comrades than it currently has, then  I assume the sharing of the struggle,  participating together in both grief and joy, of the glory of achieving new clarifications for class consciousness and gaining  theoretical insights together;  of hoping to further the revolution when it happens, and of being a vital catalyst so necessary for proletarian  understanding and class consciousness,    would prove more than a generous counter weight to the constant  demands made by the class on its own unique organization.  But here's the thing. The proletariat's own unique organization. What a work of art, of science.  But what a sacrifice to make: to serve the class!  To play a significant part in what will be the most significant event yet in human history: the proletarian revolution!  A sacrifice paying endless  dividends in a world where no better alternative exists at all today;  in today's crumbling edifice once called civilization, where worthwhile reasons  for going on living are becoming more and more  difficult to define.   The bourgeoisie demands sacrifices to preserve  capitalism and so makes wars; what a waste,  what nihilism: what  barbarism,  what horror.   The only thing  that matters  now is the class, the revolutionary organizations it has given rise to, and the revolution.     

Class hackles

Fred wrote:
 Initially this made my individualistic hackles rise.

There is a different response possible, though, Fred:

'This made my class hackles rise'.

Fred wrote:
The revolutionary organization, a direct product of the class itself, is a serious organization at the service of the class, and exists for no other reason than to serve the class.

But... who determines what counts as 'service'?

The class or the political organisation?

Fred wrote:
Those of us 'outside" the revolutionary organization, for assorted reasons, must sometimes appear as a collection of lost souls looking for a purpose but avoiding the truth.

But, since most of us have actually experienced being members of (so-called?) 'revolutionary organisations', the truth we have faced, and not 'avoided', is that they are not at the service of the class, but at the service of their own 'central committee' and cadre.

In my opinion, most workers, who came to some form of 'class consciousness' during the 20th century, then joined all sorts of 'revolutionary organisations', but then found themselves in 'religious organisations', and thus promptly left.

Unless 'rev. orgs.' face up to the damage done by most so-called 'Communist' or 'Marxist' pol. orgs. to workers' class consciousness and organisation, and try to adopt different methods (and thus re-evaluate their theory, which determines 'method'), then there will be no recovery of organisation.

I replied to LBird but have

I replied to LBird but have erased it.  He just makes me angry. There's no point. 



Fred wrote:

I replied to LBird but have erased it.  He just makes me angry. There's no point. 


??? I make you angry?

Why post if you don't want anybody to ask questions?

why reply?

Why bother replying to you if you never listen?!

Perhaps I've outstayed my welcome

MH wrote:
Why bother replying to you if you never listen?!

Me not listening? That's rich!

I've tried at great lengths to try to explain something about the philosophy of science, and its consequences for Communist thought, but none of you seem able to have a discussion, which doesn't involve misinterpreting what I'm saying!

I ask simple political questions, like 'who controls the weapons, party or class?', and we have an endless, meandering debate, during which you all do your best to avoid an answer.

Quite frankly, and I think that you'll all be glad at this conclusion of mine, I think I have to accept that I really am wasting my time trying to reason with you.

You say that you want discussion, with comrades who disagree with you, but you won't enter into discussion, beyond regurgitating old, outdated 19th century philosophical thought, which has its origins in Engels, not Marx.

Why can nobody engage with the views held by the ICC (which often I agree with), as related through the material that the ICC recommends?

I'm forced to draw the conclusion that no-one (beyond A.Simpleton) even understands what's at stake, on these boards. I can't say anything about the wider ICC who don't post.

Well, perhaps now's the time for a parting of the ways between us.

Just to say, thanks to the ICC for hosting these discussions, and to say that, at least I wasn't banned here, which I was on LibCom.

I sincerely hope the best for your attempts to build a Communist movement, comrades.

If anyone wants to pm me in the next day or two, fine, I'll reply, but I'll bow out of the threads now.

LBird, considering your

LBird, considering your insistance on the issues of "democracy" and it's place in the working class movement, I would think a careful consideration of this article would be a little more worth your time.

Point number six discusses those issues which concern you directly. It talks about how there is no “ideal mechanism” that can ensure the correct decisions are made “when it comes to taking positions, adopting orientations, and nominating militants for the central organs.”

It continues by saying “voting and elections are the best way of ensuring both the unity…and the widest participation” in the organization. It describes that general decisions are taken on a simple majority, more serious decisions are taken on a three-fifths or three-quarters majority (I assume depending on severity of the issue).

It discusses the importance of deeply considering minority positions, how a failure to do so has corrupted revolutionary organizations in the past, why “proportional representation” is a characteristic of bourgeois organizations and how it has no place in proletarian organizations— basically why you haven’t been banned here. This is something you’ve pointed out yourself.

It goes even further than that and provides the historical examples which describe exactly why terms like “democratic” and “organic” are not good enough to describe these mechanisms of the revolutionary organization.

In lieu of all those points, I don’t understand your disagreements.


Just a note to acknowledge your comradely post, Jamal.

It's no reflection upon you, it's just that I've come to the end of a process, I think.

It's not even pots and kettles.

LBird wrote:


Me not listening? That's rich!


I ask simple political questions, like 'who controls the weapons, party or class?', and we have an endless, meandering debate, during which you all do your best to avoid an answer...


Not true of course, you were given a very straightforward answer - 'the class does' - in the post after you asked the question as far as I recall.


On the other hand, you've never answered the questions in this thread - - as one of many examples about why you think excluding workers from workers' councils is such a neat idea, and why you think that communists trying to work together is so terrible as to be anathematised as 'Leninism with a Bolshevik mentality'.

We've been here before

Yes, I suppose I should acknowledge your post, too, sj.

Though, perhaps less kindly, I'm not sure you've ever actually read what I've written. Oh well... leave me out of it now, please, comrades, and get on with your own discussions.

I have some questions about

I have some questions about this article, too.

Point 12.3 wrote:

...the division of tasks and of responsibilities within the organisation is not aimed at the 'realisation' of individual militants.

Does this stand at odds in any way with the current process the ICC follows for integrating militants?

Point 12.4 wrote:

Both the work of theoretical elaboration and the realisation of practical tasks...are equally important for the organisation...

Does this oppose in anyway the focus on maintaining the theoretical advancements of the class in a period of downturn in the class struggle?

Point 12.6 wrote:

All these points imply that the militant does not make a personal 'investment' in the organisation...

Just a point that really resounded with me.
comrades versus citizens

I  think Points 12.3  and 12.6 above are really describing the same thing: which is the essential difference between "comrades" and "citizens".  This takes place under the headings (a) realization and (b) investment. 

Section (a) Realization.    In bourgeois society a possible aim for a citizen's life - if it isn't death and a quick ascent to heaven - can be what fashionable psychologists have called "realization" or more exactly "self-realization". 

What precisely this involves though is difficult to define as it is by its very nature a  personal thing.  Presidents Obama  and Putin could be specified as individuals who have achieved "self-realization"  being powerful, famous and presumably well-off folk, and political celebrities too.  Being a "celebrity" constantly photographed, gossiped about, and mouthing inanities in vacuous interviews is a sure sign of "realization" having been attained.  For, as Andy  Warhol famously said: in the future everyone will be famous for ten minutes. This has come dramatically true in the most fatuous manner, and being famous now is a vital  part of "realization" bourgeois style.  In attaining it you turn yourself into the ultimate commodity, forever alienated and a possible laughing stock to boot. Or, as somebody said, like  a ventriloquist's  dummy. 

So it is easy to see why joining a proletarian revolutionary organization for "realization" alone  might be self- defeating rather than self-realizing  though "defeat" could be seen, in certain circumstances, as being  mark one on the road to self-discovery. But that's a different story. 


So to turn now to Section (b) Investment.   The word itself "investment" gives away its class basis.  A sort of Hallowed word for the citizen, to be spoken in hushed tones, as one might speak while being interviewed  by  a bank manager for a vital loan, or with a suited bureaucrat interviewing one for a superior job in management.  


It is difficult to see exactly  therefore  what being regrouped as a comrade to a revolutionary  organization might have to offer here.  A comrade will certainly be required to put in and invest a great deal of energy, time and personal effort.  There's nothing more demanding than a proletarian revolutionary organization after all.  No class has ever been  more insatiable in its demands on its revolutionary organization than is the class that bears the seeds of the next revolution. Why would anyone wish to join?  


Well you might want to invest yourself, nay your very life, for the purposes of self-realization.  But as we have seen above, a citizen wishing to pursue that route might do better to " invest" in show business,  or even in business management:  a closely related activity.  But to invest your precious self in a revolutionary organization, what could be the dividend?


 Some suggestions.  Do you want  to become a great leader as Lenin did and be eternally mummified after death?    But if you do remember this.  The supposed glory of leading  the revolution, if that's what Lenin is understood enviously to have done, was only gained  by him after an inconvenient lifetime of dodging arrest, hiding away, writing  theoretical treatises of political and intellectually demanding qdepth,  exercising endless patience in dealing with argumentative colleagues and much more.  A very prolonged and agonizing investment we might say. 


Do you want to reap the reward of your investment in the revolutionary organization by the satisfaction of the company of intelligent friends, lively comrades,  stimulating  discussions, mind shattering debates and the like?  You might even find yourself a compatible partner should this  be your covert  aim. It is true you might find all   this within  the said organization.  But the revolutionary organization itself does not see this "circle spirit" or " happy band of militants" ethos, as being the basis for its existence.  The organization only understands itself as the organic, living, biological almost, manifestation of proletarian consciousness, and anything that interferes with or hinders  this clarity will  eventually get short shrift, become disappointed and frustrated and start to feel their investment squandered, wasted and not understood for what it was: an attempt at "realization" bourgeois style.  


Finally, for an understanding of how a "proletarian realization", if there is such a thing, might come about through solidarity, shared commitments  and comradeship, class-consciousness-in-action and so on,  well this will have to wait for the moment as my time is up. 




strong and confident comrades

Thinking about "shared commitments and comradeship" reminded me of the remarkable article currently on site about the rise and fall of German Social Democracy and the 2nd.International itself, and particularly of the remarkable case of Rosa  Luxembourg. Notable was her continuing political collaboration with her former lover after their attachment  fell apart, to  Rosa 's enduring sadness.  But commitment to the proletarian cause comes first in the case of revolutionaries of Rosa's insight.  Also striking was how her friendship with Kautsky became unsustainable and sickening to her, as she gradually realized how fossilized and zombie like he was becoming as the German party itself deteriorated before her eyes.   


But really I should be writing this on another thread. It's just that Rosa's case perfectly illustrates the nature of the communist commitment that this article above is talking about. And Lenin too.  And others of course. Strong and confident comrades.