paris commune

Justin Schwartz jschwart at
Mon Oct 31 18:25:30 MST 1994

On Mon, 31 Oct 1994 tgs at wrote:

> My sense is this communication space is elastic--a lot more than many
> of the needs you say only the market can provide for.
> OK, this is your argument.  But I would never want to join an organization
> like this (again).  i find it to be a recipe for elitism and unaccountability,
> and have found it to be so.  The comrades in charge of labor work are
> responsible to the group as a whole to carry out the group's political positions
> and to be active vs. lazy.
> HOw can you say you agree with Dewey's Public and its Problems, and yet
> argue that the fractions inside a revolutionary party ought to act like
> interest groups, with whatever favoritisim, cronyism, lack
> of
> criticisim and clicquism the members
> of the interest group allow?

Actually I do not see how this avoidable.

 See Michael Rogin's essay in his RONALD REAGAN
> THE MOVIE on interest groups.  Democracy is there to prevent this, by
> providing universality to combat the corruptions of insular particularity.

Yes, so?

> What's good for the society is good for the group attempting to change it:
> it was this kind of double standard which led to the terrible errors the
> Bolsheviks made once in power.  The view that the party is merely an instrument
> of change, not thereby properly a microcosm of what the new society ought
> to be like, is responsible for the overcentralism of democratic centralism,
> where there's a rigid line to which everyone must adhere, etc..  You're just
> taking that old double standard of "democratic centralism" and applying it to
> apologize for an equally undemocratic "pluralist" organization.

I wasn't arguing from the idea that a party (which Solidarity is not) is a
mere instrument of change, so exempt from democratic constraints. I was
suggesting what I had to be persuaded that a small voluntary group with a
particular purpose is appropriately governed by the same democratic
principles as a large involuntary group (society) which cannot be said to
have a purpose at all. Democracy is appropriate and necessary for small
groups. But it has to be a democracy which is appropriate for small
groups. As to whether Solidarity is democratic, well, we disagree on that.

> NO offense.  But I do think that a forum on Marxism ought to talk about
> questions of revolutionary organization.

Yes. I just don't have much novel to say about this.

--Justin Schwartz


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