[Marxism] For the purpose of party building...

Jurriaan Bendien andromeda246 at hetnet.nl
Thu Nov 4 17:57:39 MST 2004

I think for the purpose of party-building, there are a few rules of thumb
(three points):

1) You don't focus all the time on the people you consider your opponents,
but on your own "peer group" or constituency. People can vent bile about
political leaders they oppose all they like, but it is a fat lot of use for
the project, unless you can get a mass of people to vent bile in a way that
really makes a difference. But people who vent bile usually do so, precisely
because they feel powerless to change things. I believe in the US they call
it the "loser's syndome".

2) You don't constantly focus on a political tradition, and who are the
saints and sinners in that tradition, who
was wrong or right, whether or not an analogy can be made with the past.
This gets in the way of empowering
people in the present to innovate new solutions to problems in the present
and the future - the tradition becomes a millstone around people's necks,
and the source of endless disputes which have no real efficacy. A tradition
properly speaking is the source of political capital, individually
assimilated, perhaps in a group context, but that is internal knowledge not
flaunted to the public, because it is the specific application which counts,
how you can realize those ideas in practice, what specific form you give to
them in practical experience.

3) You concentrate on the issues which can unite your own group and enlarge
it. The dispute about the Soviet Union has been an endless source of
division, which has generated endless repetitions of the same old arguments.
A revolution happened, it was initially successful. It went bad - people
disagree about the dates and the reasons. Then people try to find the "root
of the evil" and about this, endless variations of interpretations are
possible, insofar as fact mixes with moral judgement. It is therefore
disingenious to constantly dwell on this, in particular if it concerns a
country very few people have any personal experience of whatsoever anyway.

Obviously, for other purposes, you might well focus on opponents, on
tradition or on the USSR, but not for the purpose of a party which must be
created in the here and now, on the basis of lived experience and current


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