Do we support the leaders or the people?

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Sun Jun 9 19:24:16 MDT 1996

Zeynep writes:

>I repeat, we need to look into the pedagogy of the working class,
>the need to interact with the working class, in a way that results in those
>people not taking crap from anyone, including "us". Before, Hugh starts
>again telling me that it is because I have not experience in a "real working
>class vanguard party", I strongly insist, the "masses", and the working
>class, here at least, idolises, looks up to and forms cults around the
>"leadership". The point isn't whether the leadership deserves it. Maybe this
>one does. So what? As one good quote goes, don't we want to recreate the
>world, not just conquer it? Power is a strong, corrupting, intoxicating force.

The absence of 'a real working class vanguard party' is not a matter for
individuals in the first instance but for the whole political culture of
the most active and revolutionary sections of the class *masses and leaders
alike*. The very real problem you point to of the masses idolizing their
leaders is in fact behaviour *learnt* from decades of Stalinist leadership.
The dialectics of this is that the masses see little political value in
themselves. And the leadership look down on them and idolize themselves
(materially and in terms of prestige -- 'spiritually' they despise
themselves). If the leadership can't break away from thinking its exalted
position is dependent on its pedestal, then you won't get a healthy party
regime until the masses throw them out, led by a political and
revolutionary opposition. No political revolution, no basic change in
corrupt habits of leadership.

This is the very struggle Trotsky puts at the head of the Transitional
Programme when he declares that:

        The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterized
        by a historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat.

As for power, it grows out of people in political motion, and its effects
are powerful and exhilarating. It's when the levers of power get into the
hands of individuals unchecked by the social and political control of their
comrades-in-arms that the corruption kicks in.

>Do I get my Dacha now?

Well, guys, let's take a vote on it, eh?

G'nite everybody.



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