paris commune

tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu tgs at cunyvms1.gc.cuny.edu
Sun Oct 30 21:11:40 MST 1994


Justin,
I think a discussion about what we've been talking about the principle of
the Paris commune as applied to socialist organizations might be interesting
If I may paraphrase you, you were saying that you preferred an organization,
like Solidarity, where the fractions' leaderships are accountable to the fractins
only.  We were both in agreement as to our dislike for
overly powerful central committees;
that they make groups conservative, purges tend to result (much like the
ostracisms that went on in Greek city-states), etc.  I argued that it is
necessary for the group as a whole to elect fraction leaderships, because
the fractions are accountable to the group for the work.  These fractions
leaderships should be the members of the national, regional, and branch
assemblies of representatives, who make decisions collectively and execute
policy in their fractions, execution which is reviewable by the group as a
whole. As in the Paris Commune.

You said you were not into this kind of organization, but you were rather
interested  in the Federalists' Separation of Powers.  I said that
while I was hip to the notion of separating the judiciary bodies from
the executive (a control commission(s) inside an organization, outside,
popular tribunals), I felt that the Federalist doctrine was bourgeois in
the extreme.

What you are arguing for, what they argued for, is elitism and unaccountablity.
YOu are not arguing for democracy, but instead for the elite pluralism,
within a group, or society, preached by the Columbia school of Nato realists
in the 1950s: David Truman, Dahl, Lipset, et al.  This makes for a "do
anything you please" attitude, especially  among the leadership.  In my opinion,
and from experience in solidarity.

Regards,

tom



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