[Marxism] Re: Response to José on group organization (was: Re: [ Marxism]
Waistline2 at aol.com
Waistline2 at aol.com
Tue Apr 20 08:52:22 MDT 2004
In a message dated 4/20/2004 7:37:13 AM Central Standard Time,
LouPaulsen at comcast.net writes:
>For the last several years, ever since the discussion of "Zinovievism" came
up, I have been fidgeting and grumbling and scrounging around for the proper
way to point out delicately that there is a lot of variation in
organizational practice within the "Leninist model", and some of us are trying not to make
the same mistakes that people believe are somehow inherent hard-wired parts of
that model. To do that, though, I, who was
never in the SWP myself, would have had to summarize my third-hand
impressions of the SWP, and I wasn't sure they would stand up in this
Your writings make sense and WWP politics and ideology was much closer to
"ours" than ideological Trotskyism. "Revolution in the Air" by Max Elbaum
(available through Amazon) does a pretty good job at summarizing the experience of
various groups with the Leninist form of organization. I read several times much
of the material on "Zinovievism" and find it ahistorical, horribly subjective
The organization of revolutionaries in the American Union always express a
distinct boundary in the quantitative expansion of the industrial system. That
is to say during the 1920 and 1930s the organizational form had to express
whatever section of the working class that was driving the social process. No
matter what principles or ideology one tried to apply, everyone was limited by the
industrial organization of the workers themselves. Factory units made sense
because the workers themselves were organized in factories. Street Units made
sense because the industrial workers were grouped more or less around the
factory system in their living quarters.
In the 1920s the language press expressed how our working class in the North
was formed in its material components - that is, the immigrant workers, who
had not yet assimilated what is uniquely Anglo-American in the American Union.
This social process is called the melting pot and required several generations.
Today the process occurs much faster.
Here is why I find the discussion of "Zinovievism" ahistorical, horribly
subjective and bizarre. An attempt to explain an ideological doctrine on the basis
of ideology. Without the righteous pressure of the Comintern the organization
of revolutionaries in America would probably resembled the free wheeling
style of the Industrial Workers of the World, which in turn express a certain
stage and organization of the industrial system in its internal components.
Most would probably agree that the heart of the Leninists form of
organization is the creation of a staff of revolutionary whose lifetime activity is the
organization of a class party. The people who carry out this activity are
called professional revolutionaries. Not because of their ideology or theoretical
inclination but because of their material life activity. These revolutionaries
are united around the creation of a newspaper. The Leninist form in the
American Union is by definition an industrial form of organization, no matter what
we call it or how we express this organization as theory and ideology. One can
and should overthrow this Leninist form without throwing out Leninism.
The heart of Leninism - not the Leninist form, is the creation of an
insurrectionary force capable of seizing political power at the apex of the
revolutionary crisis. Far to many comrades write on this question from the standpoint
that revolutionaries create the revolution and this violates elementary Marxism.
We do not create the revolution. Rather, the revolution is generated on the
basis of changes in the material power of production, which in turn creates the
revolutionaries fighting for social change. Marx talks about this process in
the Communist Manifesto. I have read the Manifesto a thousand times and read
it again - for the first time, writing this article. Reread what Marx writes
about revolutionary combination due to association - again, for the first time.
I can do this because I am retired and other comrades have to go to work and
have young families. That is I can behave as a professional revolutionary.
The dictatorial character of the Leninist form of the last period is not a
subjective question about comrades not allowing lower bodies to have "freedom,"
but an exact reflection of the organization of the proletariat in real life.
The ideology or wrong ideology did not create the organizational form - and
the exact opposite happened in real life. The material life of the people you
are organizing - the proletariat and abolitionist on the side of the
proletariat, spontaneously generates a historically specific form no matter what you call
it or how you explain it or the weakness of the individual comrades.
The industrial system is in crisis and all its organizational forms. The
organizational form of the bourgeoisie is in more crisis than the revolutionaries
and their outdated forms of organization. The Internet accelerates the crisis
in the old industrial forms or organization of revolutionaries. Outside the
Internet there was no possibility for a member of WWP, SWP and CLP to daily
exchange opposing and united views of the social process. And there is intense
strife because in the last period we would have not even talked to one another,
because of the limitation of the industrial system and our ideology as a
We are not "tiny Gods" but flesh and blood men and women, bounded by the
objective logic of capital, as it exists as a historically specific stage of
development of the technological regime. Organization is not a subjective question
of ones ideological inclination, even when we make historical errors and
outrageous mistakes. Who amongst us have not sinned? Let that mutherfucker cast the
first stone - and then explain his organizational history.
All the talk about "Zinovievism" is so childish and devoid of the real life
of our working class and the real men and women, as they existed in daily life
and dared to wage the slug fist with bourgeois property, at a specific and
historically distinct stage in the evolution of the industrial system.
In the group I come out of we had the free wheeling style of the IWW and in
my opinion were the first generation of indigenousness communists - but not yet
Marxist. "Fuck bourgeois property" was our basic ideology. The Marxism came
later. The Leninism came later.
In Detroit we were the most free wheeling and dogmatic section of the party.
Nelson P. - the General Secretary, would spare no word is cussing us out for
"If another comrade quote me anything from the Red Book or Marx himself you
are going to be brought up on charges."
"We are not in a damn revolutionary crisis."
Comrades tend to forget that even those in the Student movement come out of
working class proletarian families and their real life family activity was
organized on the basis of the industrial system. That is to say, dad got up and
went to work and Mom had her division of labor and we got up and went to school
and had our daily task revolving around the material organization of the
industrial production process. School itself was organized on the basis of the
industrial system - assembly line production of the intellectual and those
destined to factory type work. Factory type work does not mean you have to work in an
auto assembly plant. The students were not the petty bourgeoisie as a class,
a previous generation of communist described, but children of the proletariat
It is high time to catch up with our own real history. We have a large role
to play in history. The future belongs to us - communists.
Organization and the striving to be organized operated on the basis of the
extended family, as it was organized on an industrial basis. That is why all of
us tolerated the "bullshit." We were conditioned a certain way based of some
very objective and material factors.
"Zinovievism?" That does not explain anything except to the ideologue.
Thinking and ideology will never determine an organizational form in the last
instance. My criticism of ideological Trotskyism is valid. Sure, the Leninist
form needs to be overthrow and crushed in the earth. There is shall
decomposed and arise with new organic expressions.
One cannot overthrow Leninism only, its historically limited forms.
Leninism means stay organized at every stage of development of the industrial
system with an eye to fighting to consolidate an insurrectionary forces when
the revolutionary crisis break out.
The future belongs to us . . . not the bourgeoisie.
Tomorrow is a day away. No sense in not being prepared.
I do like your writings Lou P.
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