RAAN/insurrectionism/crazy american politics

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Santiago Rolento
RAAN/insurrectionism/crazy american politics
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I been checking out some of the people who post at redanarchist.org, which is the forum of "the red and anarchist network" or RAAN here in the US.

What I find interesting about RAAN is that a lot of the folks there seem to be acquainted with left communist theory and a lot of them dont speak bad about ICC folks. To be honest, I appreciate them a bit in so far that it is a hub for a lot of disgruntled youth that reject Leftism for one reason and the other, so RAAN offers them a platform to discuss about communist politics without the influence of leftist activists.

I disagree with a lot about RAAN, mainly that it comes from the idea of "anti-leninist communism" so it lets in all sorts of crazy elements like insurrectionists or people who are way into primitivism. So as a whole its a pretty confused lot. Still, RAAN is after all subject to american social and political specificities, and I think the really exaggerated confusion is really just an expression of the weakness of communists in the US. 

I was wondering what do you guys think about it? I personally think it is interesting to engage insofar that a lot of them do respect the ICC and what it stands for and it seems to me that there is a certain understanding about the ridiculousness and the bankrupcy of leftism and leftist activist confinement. Furthermore, it caters to a lot of youth disillusioned with both leftist and right wing bosses and these youth wish to create a communist alternative that has nothing to do with the ideology of the state. Because it is not really a cohesive organization, folks vary in quality, with some of them to enamoured with the nihilism of anti-politics, while others are a bit more sound about whatever they are saying.

 

 

 

 

Red Hughs
Hmm...

I'm friendly with the RAAN folks

There are a variety of people.

My understanding is that ICC is not "Leninist" in any fashion that Leninism is normally understood - IE, a centralized party, opportunist support of nationalism and unionism, etc.

Indeed, I'd see both the ICC and RAAN as currents which oppose the left of capital.

In a lot of ways, I think it would be good if the ICC and RAAN talked more.

Devrim
Santiago, I actually looked

Santiago, I actually looked at the RAAN site a couple of weeks ago and considered registering there. I am out of town at the moment and can only write brief comments, but I may sign up when I get home, and try `engaging` with them as you put it.

Devrim

Zanthorus
I signed up yesterday, but I

I signed up yesterday, but I really don't see much worth 'engaging'

I was also pretty sure that the ICC supports a centralised political party? 

Santiago Rolento
 Of course it does, but not

 Of course it does, but not everybody in the "right camp" does. To be honest, I think there are some issues worth engaging. For example, I made a thread about how insurrectionism is dumb as hell and how it is an invitation for the pigs to s aretomp you out of existence. It got some positive feedback. I guess if you are looking for tight knit, absolutely coherent ideas you wont find them, but you will find some interesting arguments about imperialist war, the role of leftist groups, and activism. I am not a hardline bordiguist or whatever so to me someone not supporting the world party is not that decisive.

Zanthorus
Banned

Banned for being an agressive Leninist, my own fault really but I find it hard to take primitivists and 'anti-political' Marxists seriously.

I'm not a hardline Bordigist either, but there's just something that bothers me about the kind of arguments that come out of those kind of scenes (At least half of it to do with some of the incomprehensible jargon).

Sheldon
Intervention

I think a certain intervention might be useful, but I share Zanthorus' ambivalence.  I generally find that anarchists and "marxists" who frame their work on the idea of "anti-politics" and "anti-authoritarianism" to be a bit insufferable.  It doesn't matter much to me that we agree that the trade unions are our enemies, as many of them would, because their reasoning behind this conclusion is something very far from a materialist analysis.

On the question of the party; while I don't necessarily think it's key to distinguish groups based on their position on the party per se, I do think however that there does need to be some recognition of an organized, centralized organ of the working class.  Whatever you want to call this.  Most anarchists seem to reject this right out.  Funny, because they can never seem to really reconcile how depriving the bourgeois of their "rights" doesn't go against their view of "anti-authoritarianism."  Argument usually just falls into axioms about human nature.

Santiago Rolento
of course

To be honest, when I was some dumb kid that read too much I thought that millieu was interesting,, so I know what is appealing about it.

 

Of course I know anarchists reject centralized political organs right out, they are anarchists. That does not necessarily put them outside the "proletarian millieu" or whatever. its the positions on parliamentarism and internationalism that are the decisive points I think.

 

 

Sheldon
Internationalism

Santiago Rolento wrote:
Of course I know anarchists reject centralized political organs right out, they are anarchists. That does not necessarily put them outside the "proletarian millieu" or whatever. its the positions on parliamentarism and internationalism that are the decisive points I think.

Perhaps this is a topic for another thread, but I don't think one can exclude the conception of proletarian organizations outside of positions of internationalism.  Internationalism is the recognition that the interests of the class extend across state borders and that the defense of these interests must be done on an international scale.  Some anarchists are accepting of the conception, although usually the nuts and bolts makes them uneasy, of an international proletarian organization.  I think the questions of internationalism and organization go hand-in-hand, and those who reject the need for an organization (whatever label one chooses for it) certainly do put themselves outside of the proletarian milieu.

The question of parliamentarianism is also interesting.  Certainly a rejection of bourgeois democracy is necessary for communists, but I don't think simply rejecting parliamentarianism suggests a platform close to the communist movement.  Many anarchists who are against parliamentarianism are also "anti-political," and I think this a dangerous way of phrasing the discussion.  It doesn't readily link itself to a materialist rejection of mystification, instead opting for the petty-bourgeois path of individualism.

That being said, these are broad strokes of course.  This is not to say that an intervention into such milieux would be a complete waste of time, only that sometimes I think the obstacles can be underestimated.

devoration1
Is it worth struggling within

Is it worth struggling within groups in the proletarian camp but outside the revolutionary milieu (IWW, RAAN, etc)? Promoting intransigent communist positions within these groups- does this fall under the same category as the words of earlier articles on the left fractions of the CP's, who stayed within the parties until they had definitively gone over to the bourgeoisie?

zimmerwald1915
Re: Is it worth struggling within

I don't think the question of how revolutionary organizations should relate to organizations like RAAN or the IWW is very similar at all to the question of how revolutionary minorities acted in and then out of the CPs.  There is, for example, the historic period to consider.  The going over to the bourgeoisie was not simply an ideological process, but a historical one, tied up with the victory of the counter-revolution and the CPs' relationship to the Russian state.  The activity of the lefts in the CPs was not simply promoting intransigent communist positions: it was defending those positions in parties which were in the process of giving them up, trying to save as much  as possible from degeneration.  Unless the working class is definitively crushed soon, we will not be living in such a period.  This period demands not retrenchment, not defense, as do periods of counter-revolution, but precisely the promotion of intransigent communist positions that you identify.  It's just that this promotion is not comparable to the activity of the left fractions in the CPs.

Then there is the nature of the groups concerned to consider.  When the left was fighting in the CPs, both counld draw on, though this only applied early on to the lefts, substantial support in the working class.  The struggles in the CPs had real meaning for thousands of workers, and effected how their struggles would play out.  In the present period, neither the ICC, nor the IWW, nor RAAN has anything near the influence in the working class that, say, the KAPD had in 1922.  It is therefore easy for both sides to see interventions by the other as purely theoretical, and much easier to dismiss or ignore.  While in reality the stakes are higher than they were in the period when the left was fighting in the CPs, it can look like they are much lower.

Devrim
banned?

Zanthorus wrote:

Banned for being an agressive Leninist, my own fault really but I find it hard to take primitivists and 'anti-political' Marxists seriously.

Really, they banned you?

Devrim

 

Sheldon
For my own part, I have made

For my own part, I have made an account there.  I don't think such interventions are irrelevant, just that the commonalities shouldn't be overstated.  I do think that being in shared opposition to certain things only sometimes indicates a commonality.  It has to be linked to materialism, otherwise it's ideology.

Hawkeye
Going over to the bourgeoisie

It is alleged by devoration1 that some CPs have 'gone over to the bourgeoisie'.  What exactly do comrades of the ICC mean by that ?  Of course it is normal for small allegedly Marxist organisations outside the main CPs to claim that sort of thing against them.  Trotskyite organisations tend to attack the leaderships of the main CPs anyway, but to allege that a whole mass CP has gone over to the class enemy is to say very much more than that and can be taken as an attack on all those members in it.  If it is necessary to have large communist parties in order for a revolution to take place and to be successful, then would entryism by smaller groupings into the main CPs (as distinct from the LPs) be likely to strengthen them ?  I await salvoes !

devoration1
CP's, SP's, LP's

The ICC has written many articles on the history of the 2nd and 3rd Internationals, and their transition from proletarian parties to their integration into the bourgeois state. Here is a portion of the ICC's Platform:

<b>The Counter-Revolutionary Character Of The "Workers Parties"</b>

Quote:
the Communist Parties in their turn passed into the capitalist camp after a similar process of opportunist degeneration. This process, which had already begun during the early 1920s, continued after the death of the Communist International (marked by the adoption in 1928 of the theory of ‘Socialism in one country’), to conclude, despite bitter struggles by the left fractions and after the latter’s exclusion, in these parties’ complete integration into the capitalist state at the beginning of the 1930s with their participation in their respective bourgeoisie’s armament drives and their entry into the ‘popular fronts’. Their active participation in the ‘Resistance’ in World War II, and in the ‘national reconstruction’ that followed it, has confirmed them as faithful agents of national capital and the purest incarnation of the counter-revolution.

All the so-called ‘revolutionary’ currents – such as Maoism which is simply a variant of parties which had definitively gone over to the bourgeoisie, or Trotskyism which, after constituting a proletarian reaction against the betrayal of the Communist Parties was caught up in a similar process of degeneration, or traditional anarchism, which today places itself in the framework of an identical approach by defending a certain number of positions of the SPs and CPs, such as ‘anti-fascist alliances’ – belong to the same camp: the camp of capital. Their lesser influence or their more radical language changes nothing as to the bourgeois basis of their programme, but makes them useful touts or supplements of these parties.

https://en.internationalism.org/node/618

Opportunism made its way into the Third International, especially during the retreat/contraction in the global revolutionary wave that followed WWI- supporting entryism into the yellow unions, engaging in parliamentarism, support for national liberation and the 'right of nations to self-determination', etc followed by support and direct involvement in martialing the working class into imperialist world war, just like their Social Democratic predeccesors, and their support for one imperialist bloc over another. Since WWII, the CP's have played a very important role in the bourgeois democratic state- see France 1968 for a very good example. Today the CP's that still exist are almost indistinguishable from the SP's- look at the PCF, CPUSA, and the rest. The actions of the Greek Communist Party and its union federation during the austerity strikes and demonstrations is a clear example, like France '68, of the CP acting as a valuable tool for the bourgeois democratic state.

No one is suggesting that the rank and file members of these parties are bourgeois- there are probably a lot of well meaning, confused people in their membership. The role and action of the CP's is what is being analyzed, I don't think it's particularly controversial to say that since the final retreat of the revolutionary wave after WWI, the CP's degenerated from worker's parties to bourgeois parties.

devoration1
double post

double post

Hawkeye
Responding re CPs,Sps,LPs

Thank you to devoration1 for his remarks of Oct 29th, 18.14, which certainly seems to clarify the ICC view of Communist Parties as so far developed by now.  However, those views of them seem to me to be  entirely negative, to the extent that the question for the ICC now seems to be, would workers of the world be better off if all the main Communist Parties just closed down ?

Sheldon
New thread?

I suggest a new thread for this discussion, one which I would very much like to be a part of!, so as to keep this thread on the topic of RAAN/Insurrectionism, etc.

Red Hughs
(been off-net for a bit and I

(been off-net for a bit and I probably be "here" again till Wednesday)

"Centralization" is an ambiguous concept to say the least.

I support centralization if it means a group of individuals which aims to act in a coherent, unified fashion expressing common politics.

The position that I think characterizes the ordinary "Leninism" is what's known as "democratic centralism".

This is the position that debate is kept within an organization and all members are expect to support the positions that are democratically arrived even if they personally disagree.

I would say this particular approach is the "foundation stone" for the entire wave of counter-revolutionary Stalinist parties which destroyed the worker's movement in the first half of the twentieth century, it's the ideology that allowed the US Communist Party to support the Hitler-Stalin pact and so-forth.

In a sense, I'd say an authentic revolutionary group needs to have exactly the opposite internal structure; all debate is public, members which fundamental disagreement need to disassociate and members which have non-fundamental disagreements need to express them publicly and privately. This doesn't exclude centralization in my mind - indeed, it would encourage an even tighter centralization but I would it's fundamental distinguished from what is known as Leninism (disregarding the question of this tendency even originated with Lenin at all!)

Just as much, it's only 99.9% true that "Worker's Parties" today are counter-revolutionary. The communist left is the remaining 0.1%. If we communists are to re-discover our positions, we need to use a language actually distinguishes us from the left wing of capital. So not calling oneself a "worker's party" certainly has merit in my eyes. At the same time, we can't expect to acheive things merely with language tricks, so if you want to still be known as a "workers party", it's not a big thing either.

In a hurry or I'd say more, best wishes to all...

Red Hughs
Also, I would strongly

Also, I would strongly distinguish and the IWW based on RAAN not supporting unions as well as being explicitly opposed to the left wing of capital. I think that discussion brings together groups with these positions is important.

The most intelligent syndicalists are already on libcom, you can see the strengths and weaknesses of discussion with them.

(and I misread the "workers party" post earlier so my earlier post might seem a bit "off", sorry).

Zanthorus
Left-Wing of Capital and Democratic Centralism

RAAN certainly oppose what they call the "left-wing of capital", or "leftists", but they include the Bolshevik party in this category. I don't think having similar sounding concepts is important if the content is so differing.

On democratic centralism, I have no idea how it was the foundation stone of the Stalinist parties, the "foundation stone" of those parties was unrivalled control of their positions from Moscow up until 1943 after which all the half-decent militants had been weeded out and the parties had been thoroughly entrenched in the ideology of bourgeois democracy. And I really have no idea where Molotov-Ribbentrop comes into it.

Democratic centralism was certainly not a concept which originated in Lenin, it was commonplace in the parties of the Second International to have widely varying tendencies (Even outright revisionists like Bernstein) existing and co-operating within the same organisation. Going back even further, the First International contained even more diverse elements - From Proudhonists to Anarchists, followers of Mazzini to Blanquists and from Marxists to pure-and-simple trade unionists - even though they all had to abide by the same basic program.  I can't see anywhere where Lenin rejects this concept though (He does criticise some of the excesses of the SPD's application of the policy such as allowing Bernstein to remain in the party even after the publication of Evolutionary Socialism).

devoration1
The Stalinist utilization of

The Stalinist utilization of democratic centralism is far, far different from the multi-tendencied, multi-factional Bolshevik Party of 1912-1919, and the way intra-party debate and decisions took place. Same way modern day Marxist-Leninist parties utilize so-called 'democratic centralism' (where there is no room for disagreement) vs the intra-organization culture of a group like the ICC (who've published several previously internal debates).

Hawkeye
Critical path analysis

In the morning on which I write this comment, it has been announced that former Marxist guerrilla, Rousseff, has been elected to succeed Lula as President of Brazil in the New Year 2011.

Searching the web for  posadiste , shows that their website has been updated.  As soon as you get to it, if you go straight to  Search  at the top left side,   then search for  From the nationalist  you will come to the article by J Posadas of April 1966  entitled  'From the nationalist revolution to the workers state'.  This printed out (NOT per pdf) to '14' pages of A4, but the 14th was blank.  I mention that to give you an idea of the length of the article. 

The article by Trotskyist Posadas seems to provide an interesting overall counter-argument to those that always denounce 'national liberation struggles', arguing that, for all their snags, they can result in substantial progress for the working class.

I would just supplement my foregoing remarks by saying that, taking a broad view, on this one planet, there is one working class, one capitalist system, and one vast communist movement, and, of those, each has many facets.  How can we best support, and not hinder, the main struggle wherever we happen to be living ?   

Hawkeye
More re critical path

Further to mentioning the article by Posadas, earlier on November 1st, there seems to be substantial support as shown on the  marxsite  website.  When you reach it, and click on  Articles by Marxsite's Editor, then  find the article by Phil Hearse  'Revolutionary strategy in Latin America', of June 2006, I expect that it will provide you with considerable thought on conditions and forms of struggles by workers.

devoration1
It's difficult to quantify

It's difficult to quantify progress along those lines. Sure, the standard of living may improve in the short term for a section of the working class (in a particular nation, region, cities, etc), though at the expense of further mystifications about populist authoritarianism or democracy (such as the so-called socialist leaders in South America), and further divisions among the global working class.

It would be like the current French workers struggle being turned into a fight for the rights, pensions, wages, etc of a specific group of French workers- such as Muslims. It's true that of all the workers, many in ethnic and religious minorities face harsher treatment and greater exploitation. However, if the mass struggle of workers becomes a struggle of a particular minority of workers for their specific, momentary interests, it leads to a fracturing of the mass movement and in the end, everybody loses (as whatever gains those minority workers get in the short term, will undoubtedly be taken away in the near future). I could easily see the French administration courting support from Muslim and immigrant workers by extending greater legislative civil rights and economic benefits, while using this as an in to force the rest of the domestic working class to swallow the retirement package in full.

To me thats a tragedy of National Liberation- those small populations of workers who do get a temporary better living condition, are in the end more lost, mystified and exploited than before- only now, without any inkling of solidarity. A good example of this in the US South- the CPUSA and Comintern policy of treating African-Americans as an exploited colonized nation who deserved to have their own country in the 'Black Belt' of the US. Black workers fighting as blacks first and workers second, leading to greater legislative and economic conditions in the short term, only to be further isolated and exploited in the long term.

Hawkeye
Short term

Some strong points were made by devoration1 on Nov 1, 2010, 20.56 concerning the hazards of short-term gains and the dangers to the long-term needs by mystifications.  However, desperate situations, though part of long-term causes within long-term capitalist prospects, can only generally be met by short-term gains by workers in crisis.  To a large extent all progress seems to be an accumulation of them, however bright the marxist horizons.  Maybe, after yet more steps forward, socialist planning might gradually reduce short-term empiricism.  Meanwhile, folk need to eat.

Devrim
Banned

Zanthorus wrote:
Banned for being an agressive Leninist, my own fault really but I find it hard to take primitivists and 'anti-political' Marxists seriously.

I'm not a hardline Bordigist either, but there's just something that bothers me about the kind of arguments that come out of those kind of scenes (At least half of it to do with some of the incomprehensible jargon).

I started posting on there by explaining I was for a vanguard party and they welcomed me with open arms. :)

Devrim

 

LumpenProle
Be wary of "apoliticals"

From what I understand they like to talk about the illegitimacy and idleness of other tendencies while they plot "rolling on" various perceived "enemies" from all bands of the spectrum. The whole anti-authoritarian gimmick gives them the perfect excuse to "PURGE like a motherfucker." I'm just glad they're irrelevant.