On organisation

Alan Bradley alanb at SPAMelf.brisnet.org.au
Sat Jan 20 18:17:01 MST 2001

> From: Jurriaan Bendien <j.bendien at wolmail.nl>
>          As regards the Cuban revolution, the Communist Party wasn't even
> there at the time of the overturn of power.

Not formally.  There was, however, a bunch of leaders, with at least a
nebulous program.

>          In order to think in a way that is an alternative to the ruling
> ideologies, we need alternative concepts, frames of reference, and
> categories. Simply by supplying these, the FI was a success, even if it
> did not lead a real revolution yet.

 A more tangible contribution is that being made by its cadres and sections
in helping form the next wave of substantial revolutionary parties.  (Note:
 I am taking "FI" broadly here, including all the vaguely sane splinters.
Sparts & Healyites not included.)  We can see this contribution in places
like Scotland (SSP), Pakistan (Labour Party of Pakistan), Brazil (left wing
of PT), and even Italy (Trotskyist/left faction of PRC).

But the interesting thing about this is that the more successful these
efforts are, the more the "FI" itself is undermined.

Whatever the original intention was, the "FI" is a bunch of narrow
propaganda groups, who can not themselves become mass revolutionary
parties, nor can the "FI"'s international organisations become the basis
for a new International of mass revolutionary parties.

As such, it will tend to pass out of existence in rough proportion to the
degree to which its goal of building mass revolutionary parties is

Partly, this is what is happening in Scotland.  (On the other hand, this
process is also being driven by the CWI itself, which appears to be
engaging in at least a certain amount of sectarian malpractice, judging
from the departure/expulsion of so many of its comrades in other places as
well.  But this is not my main point.)

So broadly I agree with Jurriaan - the FI is not a complete failure.  In an
odd way, it is a positive success - Stalinism is pretty much gone, and the
parties that are emerging have often at least an indirect influence from
Trotskyism.  It isn't how the early Trotskyists envisioned it working - but
I think the Old Man would not be displeased if he were around these days.

Trotskyism has won.  Trotskyism (as a distinct current) is doomed.  Ain't
dialectics grand?

A final thing:  the question of centrism probably bears a bit of serious
thought.  One of the unfortunate things about the sectarianism that floats
around the left is that groups tend to be mislabelled by their rivals.
Thus, for example, we might get told that the SSP is centrist.  We should
be very careful about accepting such judgements.

Now, how are you North Americans going to go about forming your parties?  A
hint:  yes, you may have to start with a propaganda group...  You might
even have to sell papers <shudder>.

Alan Bradley
alanb at elf.brisnet.org.au

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