MIM, Leo, and Bernstein.

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Thu Oct 5 07:04:52 MDT 1995

I am as pleased that Leo has returned to the list, as that
MIM has joined it. No I mean it. And not as a back hander that 
their opponents would heartily agree with as well. I think the list is 
greatly strengthened by having a wide range of viewpoints.

Pat for MIM argues his corner with a knowledge of marxism which 
cannot be dismissed as far as I am concerned, even if it has traces
of idealism of the "infantile disorder" of "left wing politics".
>From that point of view I hear Doug's objection to the spelling 
of "Amerikan". Nor is it a question of numbers but of the claim of 
the viewpoint to be heard here. If Pat was a party of  
one, trying to update the revolutionary tradition he admires and from 
an internationalist perspective, that should still be represented.
If Pat did not exist he would have to be invented for the good of this

Leo, I understand, has presented himself as a former Gramsci-admirer 
turned post marxist. It is an important viewpoint that marxists must
be able to negotiate. I would just like Leo to avoid skirmishes with 
a personal flavour and get stuck into the arguments, as he seems to now.
Indeed the detailed concrete discussion of the Simpson trial we 
are just having IMO justifies  Leo's arguments in a previous 
exchanges about violence and the police that the justice system and the 
state structures have to be analysed as more complex than simply a 
machine by which one class oppresses another.

For me Leo's most challenging argument was expressed on June 10th
and never taken up directly, though possibly indirectly in rather 
personalised ways:

And yes, this means that the utopian notions of Marxian communism, in
which the state is completely eliminated, and fully realized human beings
live in transparent unity with each other without conflict, must be
abandoned. Secularized notions of heaven are not particularly useful in
politics, and when implementation is attempted, they tend to lead to
authoritarian projects. .....  If we reject the
notion that there is a world out there free of conflict just waiting to be
born, there will always be a state and a police - and our concrete political
task is to think through how we can make them more democratic, more
accountable and responsible.

The logic of this argument is that socialism too may be an ideal and a goal
but not a fully attainable state. It is the desire to socialise the 
means of production in a commodity producing society. It is part of an 
inescapable contradiction in which the other pole is the individual 
tendency to accumulation of individual enterprises, and the anarchy of 
the market process. 

Echoes of Bernstein, criticised for arguing that socialism is more
a process than an end??? 

Was Bernstein a good or bad revisionist? Engels trusted him to be his
literary executor.

Anyone know the answer? Is there one answer?

Chris B, London.

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