Left? Left Politics?

Adam Rose adam at pmel.com
Fri Oct 13 07:51:54 MDT 1995

I agree, basically.

First of all a terminological quibble. This quibble makes no difference to your
argument, which I agree with.

I would define politics as anything to do with the class struggle as a whole.

Hence if I demand a thirty hour week at my workplace this is an economic demand.
( Of course, the question of how to win this economic demand is a political
question ie your attitude to the class struggle in general determines
how to win a particular class struggle ).
On the other hand, if the working class as a whole demands a thirty hour 
week, this is a political demand.

I am in favour of this sort of politics.
You, it seems to me, would be in favour of such a demand but not call it

This is because you have a different definition of politics, which is
essentially "politics == mediation". That is, you define politics as what
reformists do. So you are against it. I distinguish between revolutionary
politics and reformist politics, and am against reformist politics.

Anyway, provided we're in favour of the same things and against the same things,
and for the same reasons, who cares what you call it ?

End of quibble.

Now, two points which need clarifying. These are important questions and your
answers may reveal real differences as opposed to terminological ones.

i)	The CP's.

> 5. They, the C.Ps and all the S.Ps, the Left, made always politics, for defending, as far as possible inside the establishment and for its defence, the immediate economical and social interests of the working people.

"as far as possible inside the establishment and for its defence" and
"the immediate economical and social interests of the working people" accurately
summarise the nature of these parties. Therefore I would define them as
"bourgeois workers" parties ( although in the case of the CP which bourgeoisie
is not clear : at first USSR, increasingly and now completely the Italian ).

This definition has a consequence : where the choice is between a "bourgeois
workers" and an openly bourgeois party I would support the bourgeois
workers against the openly capitalist one.

So if there was an  election with a Christian Democrat against a Communist
I would support the Communist. This would enable me to have an argument 
with the Communist voting workers about the need to go beyond reformist politics
to revolutionary politics.

Perhaps you do not think this is consistent with your definition of 
"revolutionary militancy".


> 7. The revolutionary communists do not make politics: they make revolutionary militancy which is propaganda, agitation, organisation of the vanguards for building the new international party of the working class for the revolution. We are against the establishment, we want to change the mode of production and we know this implys to destroy the bougeois state and building a proletarian semi-state

Yes, I agree. But do revolutionaries take part in the day to day class
struggles ? Do they raise and fight for both economic and political demands ?
I think yes. Of course revolutionaries need to fight on an ideological level.
But they also need to fight on a practical one if they ever want to build
mass revolutionary parties.

Also, do they begin the work, (t)here and now, of building the nuclei of that
"international party of the working class" in whatever country or town they
happen to be living in ? I think yes ( and I think you do too since you
said "propaganda, agitation, <organisation>" ).

In summary, are you a Bordiga-ist or a Leninist ?

Adam Rose

     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---

More information about the Marxism mailing list