when did the counter revolution in russia begin and end

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LBird
Discussions or lectures?

Alf wrote:
Perhaps we need a discussiion with you LBird about what we mean by the left of capital. The group you were in was a bourgeois group. One of the reasons it's bourgeois is that they are incapable of defending Lenin's position on imperialist war in 1914, which applies to all wars today. The SWP, CPGB, etc are recruiting sergeants for war. To call them 'Leninist', as the anarchists constantly do, is a way of obscuring their class nature

You'll know already, Alf, from our time on LibCom, that I'm not an 'Anarchist', because I see the need for class organisation and democratic structures, which 'individuals' participate in and obey. That is, I accept that a 'social authority' has always existed, and always will. Societies are 'structures', not simply a collection of individuals.

But, on Lenin, I've become far too well-read to ever return to looking to Lenin for answers. One of the reasons I came to this site in the first place was because of your interactions with me on LibCom, and the fact that I thought that the ICC was a Pannekoekian/Council Communist sort of organisation. That is, that it stressed class over party. I've obviously since been put clear on that issue by other comrades, here!

If by 'left of capital' you mean 'pro-bourgeois', I'd put Bolshevism in that category.

The idea that anyone other than workers themselves can think, organise and act for workers is incorrect. Class organisation must be democratic and critical, with no 'minorities' which have power over 'majorities'. The 'Truth' is social, and society must control its truth.

Workers must develop their own critical organisations. I don't believe that Lenin would have allowed rotation of his position of authority. When did he ever get returned to the workbench/office/front line?

He always believed he was correct, and only stressed dissent when he was in a minority. That viewpoint flowed from the philosophical ideas that he held, not his character. He maintained that 'rocks speak to us' ('material conditions' and 'reflection theory of knowledge') and that he had access to a method that allowed him and his acolytes to 'hear the rocks'. Who can argue with 'rocks' when they 'talk'? No, Lenin was wrong, and the sooner workers think critically about Lenin, Engels and Marx, the better. Whilst we remain in need 'interpreters', we remain in the power of the minority who can 'interpret'.

As for our need to focus on '1917', do you think that Lenin would have accepted he couldn't do something (or, conversely, had to do something) because of a historical event which happened in '1817'? No, we have to move on, comrades. No-one's listening, anymore. The answers to our questions don't lie in medieval Russia.

Demogorgon
To add to Alf's point. It is

To add to Alf's point. It is the bourgeois nature of these groups that leads them to have the structure they have. Their role is precisely to short-circuit class consciousness and LBird's description is 100% accurate in that regard. They do this in the name of Lenin, so it's no wonder experiences with such groups invoke such viceral hatred towards Lenin.

But it's simply factually incorrect to lay this at the door of Lenin and the Bolsheviks. They had differing approaches to the organisation question throughout their existence. The Bolshevik of pre-1918 was a massive centre of debate, with many strands of opinion running through it. That is why so many workers were attracted to it.

Nor was Lenin the "dictator" of the Party. He was often in a minority and over-ruled. It was a long battle to get the April Theses accepted by the rest of the Party. He was overruled on Brest-Litovsk (from memory, Trotsky's position prevailed, with Bukharin's left communist group agitating for revolutionary war to the point of having their own paper criticising the party published by ... the party!) until circumstances forced them to negotiate a truce.

So the carricature of the Bolsheviks being a party controlled by a central committee with no freedom of thought or opinion is simply false (in fact, the reputation of the Bolshies in the Western workers movement was quite bad precisely because it was so tempestuous in contrast to the sedate but smothering conformity that had spread through Social Democracy, especially the German).

The demonology of the anarchists and councillists and the uncritical adoration of the Leninists is based on a carricature built on the decayed bones of Lenin and everything he fought for. His errors (and there were many) have been transformed into a counter-revolutionary dogma that has crushed the workers' movement ever since.

jk1921
Substitutionism

LBird wrote:

This isn't 'exegesis', comrades, it's "workers' self-development". That's why workers reject Leninist norms. Those norms are not Marxist, and Russia in 1917 provides no lessons for current workers in the 21st century.

What are "Leninist norms"? And how do you know workers' reject them? Have you done a poll? What is the empirical evidence for this? Is it even possible to speak of "workers" as some kind of fused collective subject here? Is it possible that you may be speaking for the workers, substituting what you want their consciousness to be for what actually exists? How does this all work without some measure of objectivity that raises all those throny issues of "false" and empirical consciousness that your system seems to abrogate?

It seems to me that trying to speak to what "workers want" is frought with peril of hypocrisy for someone who insists workers should not be spoken for by enlightened minorities or party elites.

LBird
Return to old themes

jk1921 wrote:
How does this all work without some measure of objectivity...

Ahhh, 'measuring' and 'objectivity'...

Those 19th century 'scientific' standards are alive and well. Positivism, Empiricism, Engels, Lenin, Stalin... DiaMat...

How about 'humans voting', as the 'measure of objectivity'? Far closer to Marx.

jk1921
Enlightenment

LBird wrote:

jk1921 wrote:
How does this all work without some measure of objectivity...

Ahhh, 'measuring' and 'objectivity'...

Those 19th century 'scientific' standards are alive and well. Positivism, Empiricism, Engels, Lenin, Stalin... DiaMat...

How about 'humans voting', as the 'measure of objectivity'? Far closer to Marx.

Maybe they are "alive and well" because its not as easy to wish away the thorny problems they pose as you seem to wish? Maybe instead of implying that those of us who are not ready to embrace your radical reworking of the Enlightenment are non-Marxist intellectual defectives, you could show a little more humilty and recognie the difficult nature of these questions?

But to be honest, LBird--at times I can't tell what's specifically Marxist about your system. It almost sounds more like an attempt to construct a theory of radical democracy along the lines of Rousseau, replete with the "general will" (what workers' want) and "forcing people to be free" when they don't abide by it---(banning non-Marxists from the councils, shooting thousands [or was it millions?] of reactionaries). Often, such theories of radical democracy come full circle ending in creative excuses for repression.

LBird
Marx was a 'radical democrat'

jk1921 wrote:
But to be honest, LBird--at times I can't tell what's specifically Marxist about your system.

The problem is, jk, your idea of 'Marxism' is actually 'Engelsian/Leninism'.

I've tried explaining this to you in great detail, several times, so I won't bother going through it all, again.

You stick to your 'Marxism', and I'll stick to 'mine'.

Oh, yeah, and say 'Hello' to the rocks for me.

jk1921
Yeah, Marx was a "radical

Yeah, Marx was a "radical Democrat" in 1843. Was he 1867? There is considerible debate about that. The problem for you comrade is that you act as if this controversy does not exist, just as you fail to recognize the still unresolved dilemnas of materialist analysis itself, and you profess the one true interpretation of Marx. Keep that up and I am afraid you will be the one talking to the rocks.

Comrade, you system is riddled with holes and contradictions. It is an eclectic mash of various  decades old fads in Marxology (anti-Engelsianism) combined with a confused and distorted intertpretation of council communism that still manages to fall victim to just about all of the weaknesses of that current. You then parrot back Pannekoek's critique of Lenin's epistemology demonstrating little critical distance from a truly bizzare text written in 1938 and attempt to mesh that in with various radical philosphies of science, implying that the answers to all our theoretical problems lie therein.

None of this would be so bad--we all have our contradictions and inconsistencies--except that you present your system as the theory of the milenium, true Marxism discovered, and then get annoyed when you are challenged in more than a superficial way. You have no appreciation for the hard fact that there are legitimate controversies regarding just about everything you present as an absolute certainty. As such, its almost impossible to have a genuine discussion with you. Its like trying to walk down a one way street the wrong direction in the middle of rush hour. Of course, you aren't the only one with such problems.

LBird
Insults rather than insights

jk1921 wrote:
Yeah, Marx was a "radical Democrat" in 1843. Was he 1867? There is considerible debate about that. The problem for you comrade is that you act as if this controversy does not exist, just as you fail to recognize the still unresolved dilemnas of materialist analysis itself, and you profess the one true interpretation of Marx.

You are correct here, jk. There has been a 'considerable debate' and 'controversy', but it has been resolved to the satisfaction of most that there was no 'epistemological break' between a 'young, democratic, humanist Marx' and an 'old, hard-scientific-law, positivist Marx', but that Marx's democratic and humanist views continued to inform his thinking throughout his life. I agree with this view. The latter, however, describes Engels' separate views, far more closely. One's 'materialist' views are either Marx's or Engels', and we have to choose.

If by your insult that I 'profess the one true interpretation' you mean that I can read, think critically, and make a choice, then I plead guilty. You apparently lack those skills, even though I've tried to open up a debate about these issues, precisely to test my understanding of Marx, which would allow you to give your point of view. You didn't (and still don't), but merely hurl abuse at those who appear to question your religious-like reverence for 'The Word'.

jk1921 wrote:

Comrade, you system is riddled with holes and contradictions. It is an eclectic mash of various decades old fads in Marxology (anti-Engelsianism) combined with a confused and distorted intertpretation of council communism that still manages to fall victim to just about all of the weaknesses of that current. You then parrot back Pannekoek's critique of Lenin's epistemology demonstrating little critical distance from a truly bizzare text written in 1938 and attempt to mesh that in with various radical philosphies of science, implying that the answers to all our theoretical problems lie therein.

None of this would be so bad--we all have our contradictions and inconsistencies--except that you present your system as the theory of the milenium, true Marxism discovered, and then get annoyed when you are challenged in more than a superficial way. You have no appreciation for the hard fact that there are legitimate controversies regarding just about everything you present as an absolute certainty. As such, its almost impossible to have a genuine discussion with you. Its like trying to walk down a one way street the wrong direction in the middle of rush hour. Of course, you aren't the only one with such problems.

Yet more personal abuse, of a Stalinist tone, rather than developed argument about your position, with references to your influences. You stick to blaming individuals for critical thinking, and continue to pay homage to your Gods.

Whilst Communism has defenders like you, the bourgeoisie will sleep soundly.

lem_
ok so (sorry) but i thougt to

ok so (sorry) but i thougt to underline my point about pragmatics, through a metephor.

 

in my mind, there are two types of poetry - before and after the waste land. to say it [the waste land] failed but there were a few "nice" poems written during the modern period, misses the point. we live in THIS world and regardless of whether his legacy, eliot is our best hope for overcoming the wasteland ha.

Fred
LBird wrote: Quote:  One's

LBird wrote:

Quote:
 One's 'materialist' views are either Marx's or Engels', and we have to choose.
 

This is a wrong understanding of the purpose of reading books.  One's 'materialist' views are formed by oneself in one's own mind.  This process of thought formation results from a combination of factors like: what you've read; who you've talked to; what experiences you've had and which rocks  you've listened to.  Marx, Engels and others come into this but I certainly don't think we "adopt" ready-made views from Marx or Engels or anyone else.  Thoughts and ideas are not commodities on a shelf waiting to be selected and chosen for assimilation by someone in search of education.  Therefore whether Engels or anyone else had what somebody today would regard personally as "correct" ideas, doesn't matter at all.  Sometimes he was right, sometimes wrong. He was like everyone else.  Reading requires an active critical response from a reader. In a sense the writer doesn't come into it.  What matters is the reader's response to what the writer suggests, or appears to suggest, and on this basis the reader forms his own "views".  Points of view are created in living minds,  not chosen like market commodities.  

LBird
A 'Socio-political' choice, not an 'Individual' choice

Fred wrote:

LBird wrote:

Quote:
 One's 'materialist' views are either Marx's or Engels', and we have to choose.
 

This is a wrong understanding of the purpose of reading books.  One's 'materialist' views are formed by oneself in one's own mind.  This process of thought formation results from a combination of factors like: what you've read; who you've talked to; what experiences you've had and which rocks  you've listened to.  Marx, Engels and others come into this but I certainly don't think we "adopt" ready-made views from Marx or Engels or anyone else.  Thoughts and ideas are not commodities on a shelf waiting to be selected and chosen for assimilation by someone in search of education.  Therefore whether Engels or anyone else had what somebody today would regard personally as "correct" ideas, doesn't matter at all.  Sometimes he was right, sometimes wrong. He was like everyone else.  Reading requires an active critical response from a reader. In a sense the writer doesn't come into it.  What matters is the reader's response to what the writer suggests, or appears to suggest, and on this basis the reader forms his own "views".  Points of view are created in living minds,  not chosen like market commodities.  

What you've written, Fred, is all very well (especially regarding critical thought), but it doesn't alter the fact that Marx's and Engels' views on 'science' are very different, and have different (even incompatible) political implications.

This is a political (and historic) choice facing our class, not a personal reading for some solipsistic dilettante.

radicalchains
LBird, wouldn't Afed or

LBird, wouldn't Afed or Solfed accept your definition of organization? Seems like a strawman. 

radicalchains
A quick question if I may be

A quick question if I may be so bold. Why did the counter-revolution end in 1968 and not say 1956 (Hungary) 1953 (East Germany), or even earlier 1936 (Spain)?

LBird
Strawman? Or just a 'strawquestion'?

radicalchains wrote:
LBird, wouldn't Afed or Solfed accept your definition of organization? Seems like a strawman.

Which was:

LBird wrote:
You'll know already, Alf, from our time on LibCom, that I'm not an 'Anarchist', because I see the need for class organisation and democratic structures, which 'individuals' participate in and obey. That is, I accept that a 'social authority' has always existed, and always will. Societies are 'structures', not simply a collection of individuals.

On the contrary, radicalchains, during my time on LibCom I couldn't get a straight answer from any posters about the source of sovereignty. It's a simple question: "does sovereignty lie with 'the individual' or 'the commune'?". Or, as I also posed it, "who tells you what to do?". My answer is 'my comrades', because I'm a democrat, recognise social strutures (like a 'commune'), and accept that there has always been (and always will be) a 'social authority'. The LibCom crowd seemed stumped about this, because so many posters were 'individualist Anarchists', rather than 'class struggle Anarchists', like AFed or SolFed, who I recognise as Communists rather than Stirnites. But those groups seemed hesitant to spell out that reality of 'social authority', because of the supposed Anarchist dislike of any authority (including democratic, social authority), which perhaps AFed and SolFed thought that, if they did spell it out, would lose them members or cut them off from potential recruits.

So, perhaps I'm wrong (and would welcome being corrected by any class struggle Anarchists reading), but I'm not sure that they would 'accept  my definition of organisation'.

Further, radicalchains, why would you think that this is a 'strawman'? In my experience, the term 'strawman' is used as an insult by those who either fail to disclose their own views or haven't yet examined them.

How would you define 'none-strawman' organisation? Are you a Leninist? Or do you agree that proletarian political organisations must be subject to the wishes of the proletariat as a whole? That is, class dominates party.

On my part, I'm neither a Leninist nor an Anarchist. I'm a radical democrat, like Marx.

ernie
why 68

A brief reply to radicalchains question on why 68?

 

68 was explosion of a wave of international strikes, demonstrations etc which mobilized millions of workers around the world. Hungery was isolated dominated by nationalist confusions and whilst East Germany was a more clearly a workers' movement they both took place in the context of the post war period of reconstruction and exhaustion where there were not wide spread struggles.

There is much more to why 1968 was so important but this is a very basic outline.

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