[Marxism] Re A sectarian approach

Dayne Goodwin dayneg at aros.net
Fri Nov 11 14:09:42 MST 2005

On Fri, 11 Nov 2005, [iso-8859-1] Joaquín Bustelo wrote:
	. . .
> As I've written on this list many times in the past, how Marx and Engels
> understood this is shown by their actual practice, and specifically by
> the dissolution of the Communist League in early 1848, only a few weeks
> after those lines were penned. With the emergence of a revolution and
> the masses taking the stage of history as its protagonists, they
> dissolved their pre-existing, full-program, propaganda organization in
> order to better integrate themselves into the actual *democratic*
> movement that had emerged and help promote the cohering of its most
> consistent, proletarian in all but name, left wing.
	. . .

	Yes, Joaquin has made these same assertions many times on this
list - but i still don't agree with Joaquin's apparent opinion that the
height of revolutionary socialist organizational theory and practice
occurred in the 1848-49 revolution in Germany when Marx and Engels took
leadership in liquidating the Communist League so that they could
participate in the democratic revolution in a non-sectarian way.

	I agree with August Nimtz' understanding of Marx and Engels' own
evaluation of this dissolution as presented in their "Address of the
Central Authority to the League, March 1850" [August H. Nimtz, Jr.  _Marx
and Engels: Their Contribution to the Democratic Breakthrough_ (SUNY
Press, 2000].  Nimtz *says* (page 103, quotes are from Marx and Engels'

	*The immediate background to the 'Address' was the effort to
revive the League in Germany. . . Since it had been Marx and Engels who
were chiefly responsible for the fateful decision in June 1848 to suspend
the activities of the League, it was incumbent on them in calling for its
revival to evaluate that decision.
	. . . The result was that while the "democratic party, the party
of the petty bourgeoisie, organized itself more and more in Germany, the
workers' party lost its only firm foothold . . . and thus came completely
under the domination and leadership of the petty-bourgeois democrats.
An end must be put to this state of affairs, the independence of the
workers must be restored." . . .
	Thus, in no uncertain terms the document made clear that it had
been a mistake for Marx and Engels to shelve the League.  Experience had
taught that the decision disarmed the proletariat by depriving it of the
leadership necessary to pursue its own class interests in the revolution.*

	It seems to me that Joaquin overemphasizes the organizational
ideas that appeared at the inception of the Marxist movement and
depreciates subsequent developments (experience and learning) in practice
and theory.  My caricature of this would be a version of 'everything we
need to know we learned in kindergarten.'
	When Joaquin argues that all necessary revolutionary socialist
organizational understanding can be found in the Communist Manifesto, i
hear an anti-materialist, i.e. idealist, and dogmatic tone.

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