CLJ James and Workers Councils

Bryan A. Alexander bnalexan at
Thu Aug 24 21:22:42 MDT 1995

I'm rather new to CLRJames myself - can someone (Santiago?) point me to a
good essay or book (section) specifically on worker's councils?
	But in general, yes, the worker council idea is quite common in
anarchist thinking.  Bakunin and Kropotkin were fans, as was Sorel.  The
Russian anarchists agreed (sarcastically) with Lenin's dictum of "All
power to the soviets!", arguing that such councilism would be a positive,
self-sustaining, and conditions-improving strategy for postImperial
Russia.  60s French Situationists and 70s Italian autonomediatists often
supported this theme.
	And Chris' "[this position] would be anarchist, giving no attention to the
state..." still makes me chuckle.  Nice one!

Bryan Alexander
Department of English
University of Michigan

On Tue, 22 Aug 1995, Chris Burford wrote:

> James's Strategy of Workers Councils
> Ralph:
> ------
> 1.  In general, James thinks that workers councils are the modern
> form of direct democracy, the alternative to bureaucratic elites.
> 2.  James thinks that vanguard parties are obsolete in the
> developed industrialized countries, because there the workers are
> already capable of organizing themselves because of their place in
> industry.
> Chris B:
> --------
> Thanks for your care in checking the end of Modern Politics by
> CLR James. I regret I do not think I can get deep into China and
> Mao at this moment.
> James's position above appears clear and obviously insufficient.
> It would appear to be economist and or perhaps anarchist, giving
> no attention to the state.
> Has anyone elaborated this position? Does anyone support it
> as a major coherent strategy for democratic change and socialism?
> I almost passed no comment because it seems so lacking. I wonder
> if that is what everyone does, attractive though CLR James is in
> other ways.
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