party-building (Jose)

Waistline2 at Waistline2 at
Fri Sep 26 11:28:21 MDT 2003

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In a message dated 9/25/03 3:52:58 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
suarsos at writes:

I wrote: "The Bolsheviks were formed by Lenin & Co trying to build an
orthodox social-democratic party in the peculiar conditions of

Jose replied: "I think your first sentence may be quite accurate. What
was an "orthodox social democratic party"? It was a multi-tendency
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."

I don't disagree, depending on just what is meant. Anyway, by
orthodox" I mean the sort of party Lenin thought Kautsky was building
(and which Luxemburg was indeed trying to build) which as we know had
its downsides.  In my book, the key difference between this and
Leninism is that "orthodox" social democracy sees the party as
representing the class as a whole -- including its reformist elements
and even pro-capitalist elements.

What Lenin fought to form and was successful at is creating an
insurrectionary force. Lenin grasped that a new era was opening and
the party structures of the Second International were inadequate. An
insurrectionary force means a group of revolutionaries capable of
seizing political authority or carrying out what is called a coup. To
form such a group what is required is an understanding of the need to
seize power and when such conditions open up.

Here is the meaning of "the party of a new type."  After one has
seized power the character of the political authority changes
depending on what is in front of one. Anyone can be revolutionary in a
revolutionary situation.  Not everyone will understand the art of

The revolutionaries that attempt to build an insurrectionary party
when the working class movement has ebbed - is not in motion as a
political force, quickly find themselves on the sidelines of
history. Those who call for party building in America today
misunderstand the phase of the struggle.

What is need in American today is a concerted effort to break the
barrier of silent imposed on us by the bourgeoisie. Very few people
are fighting to create public forums that talk about the water bill,
heat and electricity, the food bill, insurance rates, medical
coverage, homelessness, high taxes, the college bill for our children,
the war effort draining $400 billion a year, high car insurance,
unemployment rates, low wages, the high cost of a case of beer, etc.

First the wall of silence has to be broken and then a collective of
revolutionaries formed concentrating singularly on the victory of the
workers in the above struggles. (Everyone cannot sign up for the case
of beer struggle). The advance of the revolutionary position of our
class has very little to do with ideology at this stage of Lenin's old
concept of the "party of a new type."

A crack inadvertently appeared in "the wall of silence" during the
blackout because people were compelled to communicate with one another
outside of the relentless pressure of the bourgeoisie propaganda
apparatus. The current battle is to crack the wall of silence.

Melvin P. 

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