[Marxism] Lenin, party-building strategy, etc.

Octob1917 at aol.com Octob1917 at aol.com
Thu Nov 4 20:09:59 MST 2004

In a message dated 11/4/2004 12:23:41 PM Pacific Standard Time, 
lnp3 at panix.com writes:
Lenin differed from the Mensheviks over political questions, not 
organizational questions.

The main reason for the split came, in 1903, over Lenin's insistence that 
they should organise as a small, elite group of 'professional revolutionaries, as 
opposed to Plekhanov and the Menshevik faction which favored a loosely based 
mass party-type structure. Lenin, apropos of the Tsarist police's successes in 
infiltrating their organisation up to that point, felt that only a small 
exclusive group could operating on the principle of 'iron discipline' would be 
able to prevent such infiltration happening in the future.

Lenin, at the time, found himself reviled by most of the Russian Social 
Democrats, and Social Democrats throughout Europe. He was seen as undemocratic, 
elitist and divisive. His belief in a mass party, and his admiration of Kautsky 
and the SPED, ended with the onset of the First World War, their degeneration 
into a position of social-patriotism, and the collapse of the Second 
International. Whilst up to then Lenin may have admired the size and strength of the 
SPD, he understood that the prevailing objective conditions in Russia precluded 
them organising on the same lines. In Germany the SPD were a legal political 
formation, in Tsarist Russia the Bolsheviks were not. 

And while Lenin may have drawn lessons and inspiration from other 
revolutionaries, as all revolutionary leaders have and do, he is credited with being the 
founder of the 'vanguard-party' concept.

The mistake which so-called vanguard parties in the US have made, and are 
making, is organising as if they are underground parties, rather than as one mass 
party accommodating different tendencies and along democratic lines. The 
success of the Scottish Socialist Party, at whose conference I was fortunate 
enough to attend earlier this year, is a good example. 

Finally, as for the Panthers, they stand as an inspiration to revolutionaries 
throughout the world. I've read Huey Newton's writings, and those of Fred 
Hampton and George Jackson, and have no problem saying they were among the most 
advanced revolutionary leaders ever produced in the United States. 

To denigrate them is to denigrate all those who've dared.

They dared.


My opinion is that the so-called vanguard pa

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