[PEN-L:13561] Re: The Marxian legacy

Charles Brown CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Wed Nov 17 15:34:14 MST 1999

>>> Jim Devine <jdevine at popmail.lmu.edu> 11/17/99 05:06PM >>>

Louis writes:
>The postmodernist legacy has had an unfortunate legacy on many young people
>who, while being appalled by capitalism, consider themselves too smart to
>make the "dumb mistakes" of "conservative Marxists" like ourselves. That's
>the spirit that permeates the articles; you "won't get fooled again"--as
>the Who put it. When you mix together postmodernism and irony, you are
>almost by necessity compelled to reject party building ambitions as both
>oppressive and oppressing.

Don't you think that we should fear that a revolution might simply replace
the old boss with a new one, as the Who put it? Isn't it possible that
party-building ambitions might lead to the party having ambitions of
becoming the new ruling class? whether that was the Bolshevik's ambition or
not in 1917, in the end it worked out that way. Do we not need to worry
about what Trotsky called "substitutionism," where a party substitutes
itself for the class, the central committee subsitutes itself for the
party, and the party leader subsitutes himself for the central committee?

The folks at Bad Subjects may have the wrong answers to these questions,
but we cannot reject the questions out of hand.


Charles: Yes, we would not be very sensible if we didn't learn from the errors of
history, but it doesn't seem a viable approach to throwout the entire concept of the
party because of the errors.  If you are throwing out the concept of a party all
together , what are you substituting for it and what in that substitute replaces the
aspects of a party that are critical for really effectuating overthrow of capitalist
regimes ?  Loosely knit groups of thinkers have achieved even less than parties in
history. People seem to think this failure to achieve any power whatsoever leaves
these groupings blameless relative to the crimes of parties that you sketch above. But
really the loosely knit ineffective groups are responsible for the crimes of
capitalism that they were ineffective in stopping. So the crimes of actually existing
socialism were not greater than the crimes of never existing socialism. Postmodernist
are blameworthy for the crimes of capitalism because of their  ineffectu!
al methods for changing the world.


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