Party-building (was: Re: Comments on an Alex Callinicos letter to the Left Turn group

Jose G. Perez jgperez at
Thu Sep 25 16:17:38 MDT 2003

Tom O'Lincoln writes:

"The Bolsheviks were formed by Lenin & Co trying to build an orthodox
social-democratic party in the peculiar conditions of Russia. The big
parties of the Comintern were formed by splits in classical social
democracy. These experiences might translate into the situation in
Brazil, but not into the one where you or I live."

	I think your first sentence may be quite accurate. What was an
"orthodox social democratic party"? It was a multitendency formation,
with complete freedom of discussion, multiple ideological centers, with
different folks engaged in different kinds of activities depending on
inclination, political understanding and so on.

	It was an attempt to actually *follow* what the Communist
Manifesto says: "The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that
of all other proletarian parties: Formation of the proletariat into a
class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power
by the proletariat."

	The part that concerns us in an immediate sense is, "Formation
of the proletariat into a class." Obviously what is meant here is not
somehow aiding the bourgeois economy's development of a hereditary
proletariat, not the creation of a socio-economic class, but rather
cohering that really existing "class in itself" into a "class for
itself" i.e., a self conscious coherent political force, a workers

	Throughout their entire political life, this was the strategic
axis of Marx and Engels's activities. Especially striking are the
repeated expressions Marx and Engels give to this in their later work,
after the first International. 

	I think generally speaking, the task in especially the
Anglo-Saxon imperialist countries, is to work towards the foundation of
a socialist workers party. While this doesn't in an of itself eliminate
all sorts of questions about electoral tactics, viewing the labor
parties as "workers" parties is delusional to the nth degree. These
parties are bourgeois parties, integral components of ruling class two-
(or more) party systems, and in no way can the working class see itself,
hear itself, or recognize itself in those parties. 

	The age of sects is finished.


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