The marxist civil war

Marcus Strom MSTROM at
Wed Aug 16 11:37:54 MDT 1995

> To:            marxism at
> Subject:       Re:       Re: The marxist civil war
> From:          Paul Cockshott <wpc at>
> Date:          Tue, 15 Aug 95 21:43:37 PDT
> Organization:  Rednet Scotland
> Reply-to:      marxism at

> I think Marcus's post on stalin/trotskyism was on the
> ball in saying that without stalinism trotskyism can
> no longer exist politically.
> But what does he mean by a program?
> Is a program in Marcus's opinion the same as a political
> strategy?
> Is it a program with sequential steps, conditional alternatives
> and repetition?

What is the communist program? It is a living document of a communist
party, not a socialistic sect. It is a political document of the
organisation of the advanced _part_  of the working class. It covers
an analysis of the global politcal -economic period (IE: imperialism)
the specific problems, internationally and the issues of the
particular national fraction of the world communist movement -
organised to overthrow the state in that part of the world. It should
be a document that doesn't need altering every conference, but lays
down the broad programatic framework in which strategic and tactical
manouvers (sp?) can be made.

It must be forged in class struggle, not declared from on high.
Advanced workers must be won to it. In this period of liquidation of
the world communist movement, we must struggle to reforge communist
parties. This is also the struggle for forging the communist program.
(The Communist Manifesto is an early example of the program. It does
not cover strategic and tactical issues).

In this it is different from a political strategy. Our strategy comes
from an analysis of the concrete conditions of the period within the
framework of the program. The program, will, for instance, state that
the bourgeiosie will not simply hand over state power as a gift to
workers' councils (or whatever democratic class struggle
organisations the class throws up as sites of dual/alternative
power). The workers will need to arm themselves and prepare to
dissole bourgeois parliaments. It will also state that the party
stands in elections with no illusion in bourgeois democracy, but in
order to shatter such illusions. Tactically, it may be correct to
boycott elections. This would not be in the program, but there is
room in the program to boycott. _genuine_ Factions can form in
parties around issues of program. For instance, a faction may form
that is opposed to standing elections at all, a faction should not
exist as a permanant base for certain individuals - this is a lapse
into bourgeois party politics. They must exist where legitimate
differences emerge on issues of program and strategy.

But our struggle to reforge party and program must come from our
mateialist method, our dialectical method. Our method informs our
practice and the other way around. (I avoid the word praxis like the
plague - an old comrade told me that praxis was a word used by
academics who had no practice). Our practice must be to do what is
necessary, not what we think we can achieve (without being
adventurous and voluntaristic).

On this theme, I quote Bertell Ollman; "A dialectical grasp of our
society... and the equally necessary limits and
possibilities that constitute the present provides the opportunity for
making a conscious and intelligent choice. In this manner does
knowledge of necessity usher in the beginnings of real freedom."
_Dialectical Investigations_ 1992, p19

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