re. party membership/state capitalism

Raymond Hickman R-HICKMAN at
Tue Jun 11 10:49:55 MDT 1996

Adam wrote that he had only two requirements for party
membership. They were acceptance of the following:
1. The emancipation of the working class is the act of the
workers themselves.
2. The emancipation of the working class is the act of the whole
of the working class; male, female, black, white, straight,

Two points: firstly, I think your being less than totally honest.
If the above were true then why has the SWP suffered splits in
the past, the origins of which have included the questioning of
state capitalism? - eg. Workers Power who went in an orthodox 4th
Internationalist direction, and the Revolutionary Communist Group
who have arrived at what could best be described as a critical
3rd Internationalist perspective.

If you don't wish to engage with that question then how about
these. How long do you think someone holding an orthodox
Trotskyists, or 3rd Internationalist, or council communist, or
anarcho-communist, or class war anarchist perspective would last
in the SWP? And how would they get their perspective heard and
discussed in the party? After all they could all undoubtedly
claim to meet the first of your proposed crieria. Some of them
might have rather more difficulty with the other - the
emanciation of the working class is the act of the whole

Which brings me onto my second point. If the class has a
differentiated consciouness - if it includes backward,
intermediate and advanced elements - then how is it, as a whole,
to carry out its own emancipation? These different elements will
be more or less aware of the possibility of, and even the need
for emancipation. Also they will have very different ideas about
what that emancipation will look like. If you meant to say that
the emancipation of the working class must be in the interests of
the whole class - men and women, black and white, straight and
gay... - then you should have said so.

For the 3rd and 4th Internationalists the vanguard party,
fulfilling its leading role, resolves the problem of
differentiated class consciousness both before and after the
revolution. The party is the collective of the advanced elements
of the working class and those from other classes who adopt their
viewpoint. For the anarcho-communists and the class war
anarchists, the problem is resolved by ditching the notion of
differentiated consciousness in favour of something which could
be described perhaps as latent class instinct. This instimnct is
there, already formed, waiting in the working class; it just
needs to be awoken.

Therefore, while I can see that the anarcho-communists and class
war anarchists could accept your two prerequisites for party
membership, I am a little confused as to how those claiming to
stand in a marxist-leninist tradition could  manage it. Please

Best Wishes Rymond Hickman

p.s. The obvious irony being that those who could accept your
membership preconditions wouldn't want to join anyway. And why
should they; if the class can act in unison on the basis of a
shared instinct - derived from whatever source - then who needs a
vanguard party?

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