[Marxism] Marx as left of the Marxists

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at tomaatnet.nl
Sun Feb 8 14:58:15 MST 2004

Hi Tony, you asked:

The real question is how to create today, a revolutionary movement that can
actually hold and benefit people? And
what people should it hold ?

Depends on what hold you are interested in. In the 1980s and 1990s, I just
formed several groups myself with friends and acquaintances I had. I tried
to join FI outfits, but it wasn't really me. At the moment, I don't have
many friends anyhow and I've been rather reclusive, trying to shelter from
too much intrusion, and plotting a new course.

I basically think a political movement more or less "selects itself", you
live in a community, do your thing, and gradually you meet the people you
can work with, if it's real. You have to start it yourself. These days
however people's daily lives are more susceptible to manipulation, intrusion
and so on, a pressure one can get terribly affected by, so that you lose
your balance and your trust in people, I have had my crises at times, but
the idea is still the same. It's a question of making your life, and seeing
what comes, whether you can create something out of that.

The selfstyled "Leninist" organisations I experienced were mostly fake, as
far as I was concerned, they understood little about what makes real people
tick and how that translates into political action. But there are many
radical people with very, very extensive networks who can get a lot done,
have real effect. Most of the interesting stuff happening from my point of
view doesn't get into the public press, actually.

There is no point in engaging in politics, unless you've built up real
skills in all sorts of areas and have real human insight. If you haven't got
that, best to concentrate on getting the skills. Personally, I wanted among
other things to learn to write faster and better, so that I get to where I
can write without correcting so it flows naturally in accordance with my
idea, so I have worked on that a lot (well, still quite a few typo's).

I wouldn't even think of creating or working in a new organisation, unless I
 felt really organised in my personal life and got over past injuries, and
if I am just trying to deal with subjective stuff like now and ruminating a
bit, then I'll write some stuff for practice, but I'm not going to get
seriously involved politically in a position of responsibility. You have to
do these things with the correct motivation, not as a duty or sacrifice or
something like that. I've never been a good persuader, at best I might write
something and somebody says "hey, that's interesting". But in politics, you
really have to persuade a lot of people, whom you've targeted for inclusion
in your project, and even if you have good ideas, it doesn't mean that you
are able to persuade people, you also need to discover what persuades them,
what they find convincing.

The formation of political organisations I think has to grow organically out
of the actual experiences that people have, the actual campaigns and
struggles that people feel motivated to get involved in, and for that you
really have to know what inspires or motivates people in real life, and at
different times it's different things (it also depends on what age or phase
of life people are in). Mainly, you tend to attract people like yourself,
and different sorts of people move in different sorts of circles. Well, you
could read a text, and try to persuade people of what is in the text, but I
don't think that is how it works, although you can have study groups and so
on. The Dutch Socialist Party for example just keeps on growing, but a lot
of the time it's not even activism that attracts people, but informal
processes, where people join because they know so-and-so.

Marxists often getting terribly concerned about "the party" but I don't.
They haven't got any power and then they want to get power. But I'm not
interested in working for a Marxist who wants to be my boss, rather than a
friend, or who wants to correct me ideologically. That sort of thing doesn't
appeal to me.



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