democratic centralism

Seamus Malone redye at
Wed Jul 5 21:12:21 MDT 1995

On Tue, 4 Jul 1995 glevy at wrote:

> Scott and Howie disagree on DC and whether a Marxist party should claim
> to be the *one* revolutionary party.  In some ways, I think this will be
> a mute question since the working class will decide for themselves in the
> course of struggle which party or organization they wish to identify
> with.  The CPUSA will have to compete and relate to all of the other Left
> organizations.  The masses will decide their allegiance  based not on
> organizational structure but on political program.
> Jerry
>      --- from list marxism at ---
I'm not sure why I'm writing this, or even getting into this debate, but
for my two cents, I hang out with a lot of left-anarchists, and even
though I disagree with them a lot and think they over-simplify things and
ignore class issues or marginalize them in any case, I feel at least I
can have an argument with them. Most Marxists, those in some sort of
party organization and in particular outside of academia (which is really
a whole different ball of wax) are so rigid and dogmatic, especially in
their recruiting efforts that I'm totally turned off and immediately
question the possibility of an real debate occuring indside the party at
all. This is true of not only the Maoists- but also all the Trotskyist
splinters I meet (who always whisper to me when I confuse say the Workers
Party who publishes "sparticist" with the Sparticists the publish "the
worker" that I've confused them with that other group that's really
Stalinist. Then then go into banter about Russian history that I can't
particulary see as having much to do with generating workers control in
the US in the 1990's - and I'm sure that there are those on the list that
will take me to task for this. (and I know I'm being off hand- especially
considering the editors of both the papers I'm playing off are probably
 on line). The point being that I put a lot more credence in the real
possiblity of dialogue and democracy as it is presented in the actual
structure of the group or party itself than in its supposed postiion and
relation to past and foreign governments which existed under extremely
different conditions than the US today. (not that this exempts us from
learning or even taking positions on the past). I think that in many ways
the left has failed to negotiate affect and everyday life (which I think
have been adequately theorized from the Paris councils to the Soviets and
on to Lefebvre and more recent thinkers) but I have not seen this put
into real practice even on a micro level by a group which has a clear
enough analysis of class that I would call them Marxist. So with all my
reservations, I continue to hang with left anarchists because I see more
possibility of them becomeing Marxists than I see of party Marxists
actually putting into play what has as I said already been theorized.
I remember a friend reading a quote from Castoriodis which said in
general that he had the hardest time not getting workers to understand
complex ideas which should have been beyond their educational level, but
in convincing them that they understood it when they did, and likewise if
I remember, convincing them that they could really act- I'm probably
mis quoting a bit- but the point is the same, that the sort of affectual
and everyday relation of individuals, particularly workers to a political
organization has to primarily and in itself participate in giving the
worker a sense of agency in that relation itself. Without that it will
only reaffirm that basic goal of capital- convincing the worker that they
can't have any effect on their conditions. Actually I think that
Fassbinder was saying pretty much the same thing in Mother Kuster goes to
Heaven- He as I no doubt will be was accused of being anti-Marxist. I
think nothing could be further from the truth. Without facing the
uncomfortable truth about the nature of party organizing in this country
at this moment I think we're at least setting ourselves back a good many

Seamus Malone
redye at

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