FW: Louis Proyect and the Register Dicscussion List/Outsider reply

JOEFREEMEN at aol.com JOEFREEMEN at aol.com
Sun Dec 9 17:22:54 MST 2001


>You know, despite all the stuff of yours I've read, and I am an attentive 
>and grateful reader of yours, but I still have no clear idea what your 
>political goals are, I cannot put them into one clear and straight 
>sentence. What, in one sentence, is your understanding of the state? What 
>is the task of the party? What is the historical task of the working class? 
>Is the working class the hegemonic class of the future, or have you 
>abandoned that idea? Is there any way to get rid of capitalism without a 
>revolution? If yes, then what? If not, then what's your idea of making a 
>revolution?

>Sorry if this is sounding inquisitorial, it's meant in a  friendly way, 
>Pat, you know that.


Mark Jones




Mr. Jones comments caused me to once again consider major junctions in my 
life over the past thirty years. Joe Freemen is my pen name. As a real person 
I was introduced to the ideas of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky (I was 
on the Stalin side), and a host of revolutionary thinkers in the early 1970s 
in Detroit. Recently I retired from DaimlerChrysler having acquired 30 years 
seniority as an hourly worker - assembler, machine-operator, jobsetter and 
union official in the UAW. 

Chance allowed me to be a founding member of the old League of Revolutionary 
Black Workers, its youth arm - the Black Student United Front, and founding 
members of the following defunct organizations: Black Workers Congress, Equal 
Rights Congress, Communist League, Communist Labor Party, the "Vote Communist 
Campaigns in Detroit during the late 70's; former editor of the Southern 
Advocate, participant and executive board member of the American Writers 
Congress in the early 1980s. The book "Detroit I Do Mind Dying," by Dan 
Georgakas and Marvin Surkin - current edition with a preface by Manning 
Marable, remains a wonderful general description of events that took place in 
Detroit. Virtually every major character in the book I have known and most 
were considered friends. My point in mentioning these items is to clarify the 
basis of my personal narrative as a witness - active agent, during a moment 
of time that no longer exists. 

At age 49, I joined the active political side of the Civil Rights movement at 
age 11, when uncle Leroy ran on the ballot of the Freedom Now Party in 
Michigan, leaving school and home, entering the auto industry at age 16— 
which broke my parents heart, especially dad who became a skilled tradesmen 
with Ford; finding permanent employment with Chrysler March 1972. Around 1970 
the writing of Marceia Elliede and Engels "Ludwig Feuerbach and the End of 
Classical German Philosophy" forever changed  - if memory serves me correct. 
At the time I became a student of Chairman Mao articulation of dialectic's, 
including his incorrect articulation of antagonism in contradiction. At that 
time the polarity in the communist and Marxist movement still revolved around 
what was called the Sino-Soviet split. 

My experience and its ideological reflection in the brain provide me with 
radically different conceptions than Mr. M. Jones. To the question, "Is there 
any way to get rid of capitalism without a revolution?" strike me as the 
incorrect posing of the issue of social revolution. Capitalism is a specific 
stage of commodity with distinct property relations. Capitalism and commodity 
production are not the same.  However the form in which capitalist property 
relations are transformed - abolished, is the social revolution. That is to 
say social revolution is not simply a form of struggle or a particular form 
of class conflict, but the sum total of events the lead to the transformation 
of one set of production relations to another, and relations of production 
are defined as property relations in the fundamental meaning of the concept. 

The historic task of the working class is defined by the framework and 
infrastructure of capitalism as definable property relations where the 
production and reproduction of social life - commodities, take place. The 
internal and external limits of capitalist commodity production, describes 
why the "historic task" of the working class is "historic." The external 
limits of capitalism is defined by the planet on which we live - generally 
speaking and the internal limits are defined as the mechanism of market 
exchange, which defines capitalism. Abolishing the private ownership of the 
means of production is the historic task of the working class as a class. How 
this is to be carried out changes with changes in the development of the 
means of production - productivity infrastructure. Nevertheless, abolishing 
private ownership of the means of production does not abolish commodity 
production, which generates a series of events - laws, peculiar to the 
production of commodities. 

The task of "the party" as such is reformulated on the basis of my individual 
experience to mean what is the process of the working class or rather its 
most politically active sector, forming itself into a conscious political 
force. This process involves a series of events that unfold as society is 
polarized into have and have-nots, and large numbers of people experience a 
crisis compelling them to reexamine their social needs. This process of 
polarization is not uniformed, but in a democratic republic it is inevitable 
that a party of labor will take shape, or rather a constitutional 
organization will arise that attempt to fight for the needs of the working 
class as a propertyless class. Such a political organization is not an 
ideological grouping as such but primarily a class organization. Classes are 
of course composed of strata -layer, with distinct characteristics. 

It was my fate to be a member of the highest paid sector of the industrial 
proletariat. Its striving is not necessary identical to the striving of the 
least paid sector of the proletariat, which has no significant organization 
or vehicle to expresses its peculiar needs. Hence, a labor party is the 
amalgamation of the various sectional interest of the working class and its 
specific character depends on what sector writes its agenda. This also hold 
true for the capitalist as a class. Currently the speculative sector of 
capital is writing the agenda for what is called "globalism."  

The most active sector of the working class is not necessarily its most 
class-conscious sector. Yet it is the task of the most class-conscious 
advocates of the working class to assist in the formation of class policy and 
literally teaching every larger segment of people how to recognize and fight 
for interest specific to the workers. 

The problem specific to the more advanced capitalist countries, or at any 
rate North America, is that the economic strength of the country created a 
political situation where the workers had been able to meet many of its 
strivings through intersection with momentary interest of the capitalist 
class. The Civil Rights movement answered a profound need of 
financial-industrial capital in the pre-World War II era and the needs of the 
black masses - butchered, brutalized, being tractor off the land and needing 
to penetrate the legal barriers to their entry into industry and society at 
large. What unfolded was a social movement of the working class on the basis 
of the segregated black masses. The objective demands of a class appeared as 
the demands of a people, which intersected with the desires of a segment of 
capital. 

The hegemonic class of the future is understood to mean: the internal law of 
capitalist commodity production creates a situation where private property 
relations and the power of capital has to be overturned in order for the 
market to consistently function on the basis of expanding production. In a 
few words, private property relations limit the depth of the market by 
cheapening labor-power and preventing the purchase of the mass of commodities 
society is capable of producing. The working class is everyone that must sell 
his or her labor-power - mental and physical, to secure the means of exchange 
that makes survival possible. This is over 90% of the world population.  

In one sentence the state is as articulated by Marx and Engels in the 
Communist Manifesto. "The executive of the modern state is but a committee 
for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie." This statement is 
an accurate summary of a complex analysis of how powerful class and sectional 
interest in society is mediated and requires study and concrete analysis of 
existing conditions to be fully understood. 

The lowest common denominator in the social struggle, that serve as the basis 
for all strategy by communist and revolutionaries is stated in the Communist 
Manifest: victory to the working class in its current struggle. Period, that 
it . . . there is no lower common denominator. If your fight is health care 
coverage, then victories for health care coverage. Victory to higher wages, 
victory to voting rights, victory against imperialist on the basis of the 
working class, victory to extended unemployment benefits, victory to lower 
gas prices, victory to better public schools, better private schools, and 
victory to what ever the current striving of the working class and its 
various sectors happen to be at any given moment. This is the arena of the 
class struggle. 

This question about the task of the party - within the framework of the 
standpoint of Marx, generally use as a historical reference Mr. Lenin and his 
famous book "What is to Be Done." During the past twenty years there has been 
a body of criticism that levels the charge of elitism against the concept of 
an "advance detachment" of the working class. Although I am currently not a 
member of any such group, I consider such criticism nonsense and extreme 
childishness. 

To be a detachment of something is to be an organic part of what is being 
described. We should examine what features allow a detachment to distinguish 
itself as a detachment. An advanced detachment of the working class simply 
means leaders who have studied and began mastering science and apply this 
mastery to clarify and fight for the class interest of the working class. 
Yes, study can compel one into the elite. I am extremely sensitive and harsh 
about this matter. The working class is ignorant and must be saturated with 
scientific methodology. Simply because individual and sections of the 
intellectuals babble is no reason to condemn our class to the degeneracy of 
ignorance. The working class needs an elite that is part of its bone and 
muscle.

On this matter I personally believe that the Internet provides a wonderful 
forum for training and intellectual development of the advanced detachment. 
Sure there will be a considerable amount of socialist sectarianism, but this 
is not an abstract question.  Look, a crisis means an interruption in a 
process. With the interruption in our daily living process, people become 
challenged to examine means of survival when such means are interrupted. In 
other words their thinking is challenged. Communism is an intellectual 
movement that has to be studied. Sure, the most poverty-stricken sector of 
the working class will gravitate along a trajectory that is spontaneously 
communist, because they cannot maintain themselves on the basis of private 
property relations. How will this sector know the whys to their sorrow if 
they are not told and taught? People cannot be taught in mass until their 
ideological frameworks are shaken and this lack of "shaking" is the objective 
basis of sectarianism. Those who have a viewpoint that scientific socialism 
should not he literally taken to the working class are sectarian 
ideologically. 

We cannot make a revolution as such, but we can collectively determine much 
of its outcome. Technological innovation pushes the revolution throughout the 
means of production - the productivity (transportation and communications 
included) infrastructure, which begins the process of compelling adjustment 
in relations of production, which is why it is called social revolution. 
Computerization and digitalization of the production process is proof of the 
objective character of social revolution. People sense this change and as 
society become further polarized and crisis erupts, people want answers. It 
is the singular task of the elite - and if they are not an elite then we are 
in horrible trouble, to clarify the road ahead. A lifetime of ignorance 
leaves me with no desire to pretend concerning the urgent need for 
enlightened elements in the working class. 

Revolutionary intellectuals tend to go to far in criticizing intellectuals 
for being intellectual. Revolutionary proletarians tend to go to far in 
glorifying proletarian attributes. As far as I am concerned, it's all a bunch 
of crap. One can only imagine the impact of one million people reading the 
Communist Manifesto in North America. Yes, the goddamn workers have to read 
books and/or assimilate the knowledge in books! Yes, the revolutionary 
intellectual have to learn how to educate themselves and the working class, 
how to inspire and simplify science. 

A comrade introduced me to the Marxism mail list - from Ireland I believe, 
and your discussions are excellent in my estimate. No, I do not look for this 
discussion group to form itself into the vanguard of the world proletariat, 
but it can make wonderful contributions to inspiring thousands of rebels. I 
believe that the essence of Mr. M. Jones questions point to a need for more 
study of the standpoint of Marx and summarizing of experience. 

Heck, even Lenin couldn't answer the question "what is the state" in one 
sentence, which is why he wrote a rather lengthy book called State and 
Revolution.  And why I dug out the Communist Manifesto and let Marx answer 
the call for one-sentence answers. 



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