Local/International Organization

OpenSentence Type Foundry typefoundry at opensentence.org
Sat Nov 1 18:37:26 MST 2003

> What would provide the programmatic basis of a Fifth International? Thought
> process and ideology? It is not really a question of "direct" aid to "national
> detachments" versus settling factional disputes, but the basis of collective
> action of engagement. A fighting organization cannot be consolidated on the
> basis of ideological agreement or theory. Yet, we are charged with the task of
> providing - imbuing, the most forward moving section of our working class with a
> political consciousness of what it is facing, fighting and the historical
> curve of our fight against bourgeois property.

There would not be a programmatic basis: but this is something which I'm
sure sounds bad to you, because it's extremely difficult to organize
successfully with an "open-texture" approach.  But it is possible, because
the current world situation frankly demands it; and there are a number of
organizations which have begun operating outside of traditional ambits

> The curve of history that produced the First, Second and Third International
> has to be looked at from the standpoint of the changes in the means of
> production and the outbreak of imperial war and proletarian revolutions and attempts
> at revolution. I believe the Fourth International was a bad idea altogether,
> but if it had been a good idea, it would have had to base itself in a real
> social movement. This means that the Fourth International would have become a
> formidable force in the colonial world because that was the curve of the direction
> of the fight.

I don't agree with that, I think that's coming to be true today, though.

> I am the wrong person to dialogue with about a Fifth international, because I
> do not accept the validity of the Fourth International. It was "all hat and
> no cattle." Anyone can bluff at poker until you are confronted with a real
> winning hand. No one has to have a "history in Detroit" but everyone is obligated
> to grasp the class conclusions of Detroit as industrial logic and a curve of
> the history of capital.

That's true: the Fourth International never materialized, except through
Marxist theory making an indelible mark in intellectual culture (from Dwight
MacDonald to Fredric Jameson).  But the deal is going to be that a Fifth
Internation would be "all hat and no cattle" or worse, but really a
*culture* is coming to be internationally where you can grasp the horns of
that dilemma and the secret is that there's a lot of social machinery still
extant which militates in favor of that cashing out in terms of mutual aid.
I know whereof I speak, I wasn't trying to establish Detroit bonafides (I
know a great deal about the steel industry from somewhere else) just to
mention a moment of "infantile leftism" in the context of going downtown
being an option open to all, and a relatively attractive one due to Young's
handling of the problems however "superstructural".

Jeff Rubard

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