Report on an ICC Public Forum in New Delhi - Economic crisis and class struggle

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Fred
Report on an ICC Public Forum in New Delhi - Economic crisis and class struggle
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Report on an ICC Public Forum in New Delhi - Economic crisis and class struggle. The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

Fred
The following paragraph

The following paragraph appears in the above article, and I find it confusing and puzzling, or even contradictory, I'm not sure which.

"Whetherthe workers in Greece, in Portugal, in Spainor Britainwill be able to respond to the massive attacks of the bourgeoisie is notdetermined by the presence or absence of revolutionaries. If it were so, thenthe cause of the working class will be a lost one. It is the very nature of theworking class, its place in capitalist society that leads it to develop itsidentity, its unity and it's combat against the bourgeoisie. It is in theprocess of politcisation of its struggles, in their posing the question of thedestruction of capitalist society and construction of communist society thatthe role of revolutionaries becomes indispensable."

So the class doesn't need revolutionaries for purely day-to-day economic struggles against the bourgeoisie - which is a good job because generally speaking tbere aren't any! But if it starts to politicize it's struggles, then suddenly revolutionaries are essential - so where do the revs. suddenly come from? But surely economic struggles should no longer be understood as separate from the political struggle; and, in the age of austerity, economic struggles are unlikely to achieve anything lasting in any case.

And then there's the question of where do the ideas about the need for political action, and the challenge to the legitimacy of the bourgeois state come from? Are the newly discovered revolutionaries the bearers of these ideas, introducing them as a novelty into the ferment of proletarian economic demands? I don't get it and maybe I am quite misreading things here. But to me this paragraph sounds dangerously formulaic and prescriptive in it's language. That may be the point of course, that it's all down to "language" and the use here of a foreign language.

may
not everything explained

It's true this paragraph doesn't explain where revolutionaries come from, and I don't think it's trying to, even if it is trying to cram in more points than can be explained.

Revolutionaries are not responsible for the class struggle - and as Fred says that is a good thing. They have important things to contribute on those struggles, for instance warning about the unions, when resources permit. Isn't that precisely one of the political questions that is often implicit in struggles? For instance the recent electricians' struggle in the UK when the workers wanted to go and join the students and the union wanted to take them to lobby Parliament, even while they still have the idea that 'we are the union'.

Revolutionaries are a product of the class struggle, of the historic struggle of the working class even if most are originally inspired by participation in specific struggles.

This is brief enough that it will be just as inadequate at explaining as the original. Fred, is your concern that this paragraph doesn't explain things clearly enough, or do you think the ICC position is formulaic and prescriptive?

Fred
My concern was, taking your

My concern was, taking your suggestion on board, that the paragraph doesn't explain things clearly, but also that it reads like a repetition of something learned by rote, and brought out like a tired old bit of orthodoxy. Not that what it repeats isn't true. But it comes out like a formula. (Given the state of the world why am I bothering about this?)But here's another paragraph from a more recent article (2012) from the same ICC source, about the Indian Missile Launch.

"On the other hand working class is the main victim of all the competition between capitalist nations. Wars and war mongering tends to destroy its unity and weaken it in front of its class enemy, the bourgeoisie. Preparations for war intensify its exploitation and worsen its living conditions. And the wars by which bourgeoisie of different nations try to settle their scores, come as the greatest attack on the working class. It is working class which pays the price of wars of the bourgeoisie by its lives. Due to its position within capitalism, only working class can put an end to wars of the bourgeoisie by destroying capitalism."

This reads much more as if the writer actually cares about what they are saying, and cares about the working class too. But enough playing at literary criticism, and thank you May for your comment.

jk1921
Fred, I think the point is

Fred, I think the point is that the calling into existence of revolutionaries is a little like (forgive me) quantumn physics. They are both an effect and a cause of the class struggle. They generally emerge in periods of a growing maturity of the class struggle--something which reaches an apex in the construction of the world party at which point they begin to have a greater influence within the working class--becomming a point of reference for the workers in struggle, advising them to avoid the pitfalls the revolutionaries know are there: the unions, struggling behind left factions of the bourgeoisie, etc. Precisely, as the article says--the politicization (sic.!) of the struggles.

Fred
jk it isn't that I don't know

jk it isn't that I don't know how revolutionaries are engendered - or "secreted" like an oyster's pearl, in response to distress - because I do. Though this is rather different from your quantum physics simile. But it's the way in which the paragraph in question - to answer Kabir - seems to limit the vital functioning of revolutionaries to the political end of the development of consciouness, while not being particularly involved or necessary to the "merely" economic struggle. However, I don't suppose this was done intentionally.

The quote given from the 2012 article was intended to illustrate how it's possible to say things without falling into a sort of ritualistic repetition of beliefs - even ICC beliefs! But this point doesn't seem to have got across very well either.

If it isn't all down to language use, as Kabir suggests, then maybe it all comes down to clarity of thought. But then doesn't that finally come down to language use?