Unwitting accomplices of Margaret Thatcher's T.I.N.A. (reply to Jose G. Perez)

Ben Seattle Left-Transparency at SPAMLeninism.org
Tue Jun 6 02:58:09 MDT 2000

Hi everyone,

Jose G. Perez has expressed interest in this thread.

Ben Seattle--June 2:
> Before we have a classless society (and a self-organizing
> economy) however, there will be a period in which the
> working class holds power and uses this power to
> suppress the former bourgeoisie.  The questions that
> neither the amnesiacs nor lobotomists want to deal with--is
> how the workers' state will suppress the former bourgeoisie
> without also suppressing the independent organizations
> of workers that will be essential for a healthy society.

Jose replies:
> Your question shows just how hopelessly lost in space
> your speculations are.

My views on the nature of workers' rule often upset many people
and draw spirited opposition.  What counts however is the weight
of the arguments used.

> The problem for the workers states has never been
> how to suppress the former bourgeoisie. The problem
> has been how to keep the REAL imperialist
> bourgeoisie from suppressing  the workers state.

The REAL bourgeosie ?

Jose brings up a valid point but I think he is a little confused.
Following a successful working class revolution--the workers'
government is faced with opposition from both the _internal_
bourgeoisie and the _external_ bourgeoisie (in the form of
imperialism).  In practice the internal and external enemies will
link up with one another--will leverage strength from one
another.  For some countries, in some situations, the threat may
be more external than internal.  Cuba comes to mind here and may
be the country that Jose had in mind (I will leave aside the
question of whether or not Cuba represents a genuine workers'
state).  For other situations the internal threat is the more
important one [1].  For example, a successful workers' revolution
in the United States would probably be threatened more by the
defeated US bourgeoisie than by other imperialist countries.

In any event I think that Jose has missed the point.  The issue
is how the workers' state can defend the revolution _without_
"suppressing the independent organizations of workers that will
be essential for a healthy society".  This is the key question
and, unfortunately, Jose says absolutely nothing about it.

My guess is that neither Jose nor most participants of this forum
want to talk about this question.

And that is unfortunate.

The bourgeoisie is not silent.  Why are we?

The bourgeoisie talks about this all the time.  We hear that only
the bourgeoisie is capable of running a modern society with a
modern economy.  Every attempt to do away with bourgeois rule, we
are told, has led to regimes that were simply not capable of
organizing a complex economy.  Such regimes, we are told, end up
being afraid of their own people and find it necessary to
suppress groups of independent workers.

And while such explanations leave much out (attempts at workers
rule have generally begun in poor countries with economies
shattered by imperialist blockade and/or bombs) there is more
than a grain of truth to this--especially the part about a police
state that finds itself compelled to suppress all independent
politics and deny workers the right to have an independent
political life.

The bourgeoisie of the major imperialist countries is, of course,
also afraid of its own working class--but this is not at all
obvious to a great many people. Because of its enormous strength,
bourgeois rule in these countries only rarely finds it necessary
to set aside its own laws that allow workers to read whatever
they want, say whatever they want and associate with whomever
they want.

And, because of this, because of the strength and stability of
the imperialist countries, because bourgeois rule has proven its
ability to develop a complex economy and appears to be relatively
unthreatened by workers having political rights--most workers
(and even many progressive people) have concluded, essentially,
that bourgeois rule is eternal.

The interesting thing is this: from the viewpoint of scientific
theory workers' rule does not require a police state--but on the
contrary requires that workers have the most active political
life possible--of a kind that _requires_ a large number of
independent organizations.  More than this--the large number of
independent (and interdependent) organizations would unleash
unprecedented initiative from the masses and would be far more
capable than the bourgeoisie of developing a modern and complex

This fundamental truth about the nature of workers' rule is bound
to escape its present containment.  It is bound to capture the
imaginations of hundreds of thousands of activsts and,
eventually, hundreds of millions of workers.  This fundamental
truth about the nature of workers' rule is the most important
idea of our time--because it smashes up completely the idea that
there is something eternal about the present system of oppression
in which the bourgeoisie run society and the working class (and
the overwhelming majority of the population) is restricted to the
position of passive wage-slaves.

This fundamental truth will be taken to the working class by
revolutionary activists.  But, as to be expected, this will upset
a great many people--for a variety of reasons.  This fundamental
truth appears to have upset Carrol Cox and, now, Jose.  They (and
many others here) believe it would be counter-productive (or
wrong) to take this fundamental truth to workers as part of our
work to build all the oppositional movements in society.  They
don't believe this fundamental truth would strengthen the
oppositional movements.  They may not even agree that this
fundamental truth is really true at all.  But if they think it is
wrong--then they should then advance their arguments explaining
_why_ it may be wrong.  And it is unclear if they are willing or
able to do this.

Let's continue with Jose's argument:

> By the way you pose the question, you actually
> postulate away all the real problems. Implicit in your
> question is a trivial matter you don't discuss, which is,
> first you overthrow bourgeois rule in all the
> significant advanced capitalist countries (so that we
> can be left to deal with only the former
> bourgeoisie and not the world imperialist system).

The problem here is that no one can know in advance the timetable
or sequence of countries in which bourgeois rule will be
overthrown.  A workers' revolution in a modern country with a
modern economy may face a period in which it is faced with the
necessity of suppressing both internal and external enemies.  If
the workers' state is unable to do this without also suppressing
independent organizations of workers--it will be in very serious
trouble. However my investigation has convinced me that, in a
modern country with a modern economy, a genuine workers' state
_would_ be able to defeat its enemies without the need to
suppress independent workers' organizations.

And I see no valid reason that we should not talk about
this--because as we understand this better--it will strengthen
(in terms of militancy and ideology) all the oppositional
movements in society.  It will give activists a clearer strategic
vision--a better picture of what they are fighting for--an end to
bourgeois rule.

> I suggest that instead of focusing your energies on
> that happy problem, you focus more on how to get
> there.

Interestingly enough I addressed the question of how to get there
but Jose appears to have overlooked this.  I said we must build a
movement with this aim.  Such a movement does not exist at
present.  Further, Jose may believe that such a movement would
detract from or somehow weaken the numerous other oppositional
movements.  But this is not true.  A movement explicitly directed
at the end of bourgeois rule would strengthen all the other
popular movements--would help to break these movements from
bourgeois influence (which is considerable) and facilitate their
developing coordination and unity.

> The road is not through the drawing up of
> utopian plans and schemas;

Such accusations of utopianism are empty.  No one can back them
up.  Is it utopian to believe that workers can run society
without the need to suppress independent organizations of

The lobotomists believe that.  The lobotomists believe that a
workers' state in modern conditions would be forced to suppress
all independent political activity by self-organizing groups of
workers.  But the lobotomists are unable to defend their views in
an open, democratic forum.  The lobotomist view is bankrupt--is
only suited to those who agree to give themselves lobotomies.

> these belong really to the
> pre-history of the socialist movement.

Until we create a movement that is explicitly directed at ending
bourgeois rule--and which boldly tells workers that an
alternative does exist that is suited for people who do *not*
want lobotomies--there will be no socialist movement.  A
socialist movement existed in the past but no genuine socialist
movement exists at the present.  So, yes, we _are_ in the
pre-history of this movement.

> That utopianism is again getting some hearing
> is rather striking confirmation of the great
> quiescence in the U.S. class struggle over
> the past decades.

Such accusations of utopianism are usually made by people who are
unprepared and uncomfortable facing the bankruptcy of what
currently passes for "communist" theory.  Such bankrupt theory
has contributed mightily to an apolitical and passsive working
class.  The workers have not heard the truth about workers' rule
from the bourgeoisie--and they haven't heard it from us either.

After the debacles in the Soviet Union, China, etc. workers want
honest answers about the nature of workers' rule.  Is workers'
rule destined to resemble a mixture of feudalism and a police
state?  Many people here may think so and it is therefore no
wonder that they are quiet on this subject.

For a modern theory
of workers' rule !

Ben Seattle
----//-// 5.Jun.2000


[1] It is only natural that I spoke of the necessity of
suppressing the internal enemy--because my theoretical focus is
on the conditions of a successful revolution in the imperialist
countries--such as the US--where I live.  I doubt that many
participants here think in terms of a successful revolution in
the imperialist countries.  That is unfortunate.  We should be
thinking about it because it is going to happen.  My study of
contemporary society has led me to the conclusion that successful
workers' revolutions will take place within the Western
imperialist countries sometime in this century--and probably
within the lifetime of many people living today.

Another reason I placed emphasis on the threat from the internal
enemy is that I have studied the conditions that made repression
necessary during Lenin's time.  The most severe repression during
Lenin's lifetime came _after_ the victory of the civil war.
Lenin was concerned about the internal enemy and the repression
(which extended to within the party in the form of the ban on
factions in March 1921) was necessary because of the _weakness_
of the revolutionary forces.

In any event all this is secondary.  The internal and external
enemies will team up, will coordinate their efforts, will attempt
to restore bourgeois rule.  The primary task of the workers'
state will be to defeat this internal/external enemy.  The
question that remains is how this can be done without
suppressing the independent organizations of workers that will
be essential for a healthy society?

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