The Commintern

Robert Malecki malecki at
Thu Oct 10 11:34:15 MDT 1996

>Jon Flanders writes:
>>   But I think there is a larger consideration. The Bolsheviks were scarred by
>> the Second International's capitulation to war frenzy, and were determined at
>> all costs to prevent that in the the Third.
>>   By using organizational means to achieve a political goal, however, I think
>> they created a greater problem in the end. I don't see any substitute for
>> workers learning from experience, even if that means that they elect the
>> "wrong" people.
>This is quite a complex discussion, and also quite important. Gary has also
>mentioned it in passing.
>A few points :
>i) The Bolsheviks did intervene in the affairs of the new CP's, but they
>did so politically and not organisationally, by and large. Direct
>organisational intervention was a feature of Stalinism.
>ii) Unfortunately, not a single one of the other CP's had gone through their
>own organic learning period, where the tradition of a non ultra left
>opposition to reformism could emerge in that country itself.
>iii) The CP's were formed as the revolutionary wave was in decline, ie
>from 1919 onwards. This amplified their mistakes, and made it harder
>to "translate" the 14 years of Bolshevik experience "from the Russian"
>in double quick time.
>iv) The other CP's ultra left and opportunist fuck ups led them to rely
>on Russian leadership at the precise moment ( 1923 onwards ) when the
>degeneration of the Russian Revolution started to have a serious effect
>on the quality of the advice coming from Russia. This is the period
>when Zinoviev was the leading light in the international.
>v) The short cuts adopted by the Bolsheviks to overcome the inexperience
>of the new CP's VERY NEARLY worked : Germany 1923 was a VERY close thing.
>They were RIGHT to try , and nearly always RIGHT in their interventions
>in the other CP's. And these years have left us with a goldmine of
>revolutionary strategy and tactics, which alone justifies the attempt, the
>first, only, and nearly successful attempt to actually organise a world
>vi) Most importantly, the Bolshevik tradition is far more than simply
>"democratic centralism" , important though this is. There is also a
>whole POLITICAL tradition re: ultra leftism, reformism, centrism, and
>nationalism. This political tradition is MORE important than the
>organisational tradition : the organisational consequences flow FROM
>the politics, NOT the other way round.
>By and large, attacks on this organisational tradition come from
>people who have rejected this POLITICAL tradition, but who are too
>dishonest politically to open a direct attack on the Bolsheviks politics.
>This POLITICAL tradition arose within the context of the 2nd International,
>yet represented a qualitative break from its mechanical, passive,
>undialectical,  "Marxism". [ This description of 2nd International Marxism
>does not exclude the ultra left tendency within the 2nd International ].

Adam, this is one of the few thinks that you have said that makes sense!

Bob Malecki


Read the book! Ha Ha Ha McNamara,
Vietnam-My Bellybutton is my Crystalball!

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