[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
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.
My opinion is that the so-called vanguard pa
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