[Marxism] Yes, forming a Trotskyist group is sectarian

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Fri Nov 11 21:49:36 MST 2005

Rrubinelli writes, "I appreciate the intent of JB's comments, but I ask
him-- substitute Lenin and Leninist for Trotsky and Trotskyist.  Does
his argument change substantially?  No?  Fine.  Substitute Marx and
Marxist.  Again, change anything?  Think we all might hesitate there,
because we all, ok maybe not all, feel that is does make sense to
organize a specially Marxist group in Venezuela, Bolivia, France,
Algeria, US, anywhere and everywhere." 

Finally! Someone GETS IT! 

No I do NOT hesitate to dump Marx! Out with the Moor!!! He would not
have hesitated a millisecond to do it himself. In fact, he did not. 

If the unevenness in the development of the actual consciousness of the
layer of advanced fighters is such that "Marxist" as a label and a lot
of what that implies as a programmatic and strategic reference would
become an obstacle to maximizing the independent organization and united
action of the broad vanguard layer of working people involved in the
revolutionary process in Venezuela, then dump it! Of course!!! 

What is important RIGHT NOW is not that people be conscious of the
continuity with the past in understanding the IDEA of the political
independence of the working people leading to their running the
government, what is important is the ACTUAL political independence of
the class. Achieve that, and a fuller understanding of the history and
figures in that history can come LATER. It WILL come later, guaranteed,
100% or double your money back.

We operate in the opposite way because we're in a situation of a
preparatory period where the task is the forging and accumulation of
cadre based largely on ideological work. We must understand that shifts
in *mass* consciousness work *differently.*  The deed and the facts on
the ground come FIRST, then the generalization. 

So what RR says we might all hesitate to do --put aside any explicit
continuity with Marx and Marxism-- is *precisely* the Marxist thing to
do, and not just that, it is *precisely* what Marx did, both in 1848 AND
in the founding of the International Working Men's Association (the
First International). Or almost.

I say "or almost" because, of course, what we would call "socialist
propaganda" continued, but not intimately connected with and as an
immediate task of the specific political formation Marx was
participating in, in 1848-49 the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, and in
1864-1872 the IWMA. There is certainly  a place and a need for "full
program" socialist education in times of upsurge.

Every step of real movement is worth ten --or was it a hundred?--
programs. That's what Marx taught. 

The Cuban example is instructive. The "s" word did not cross Fidel's
lips in public until six months AFTER they expropriated the capitalists
"down to nails in their boots." And as Joseph Hansen once said, Fidel
meant ALL the nails in their boots. 

What's now called in Cuba the "proclamation" of the socialist character
of the Revolution happened in April of 1961, the actual expropriation of
the "national" bourgeoisie --essentially for being an anti-national
class, that was the motivation-- had taken place the previous October. 

What is important is the formation of the proletariat into a
"class-for-itself," a conscious and most importantly self-conscious
political force. In Cuba in those stages of the revolution it was even
the-class-that-dared-not-speak-its-name, at least not very prominently,
the "operative" term was "los humildes" -- literally "the humble" --
usually translated as the poor although "poor & downtrodden" captures
more of the flavor of it in Spanish. When Fidel "proclaimed" the
socialist character of the revolution that's how he defined it --
echoing Lincoln, by the way. A revolution of the humble, by the humble,
for the humble. That's what he called it in that speech.

The cohering of the most conscious, combative, "leading" activists of
the popular and working class movement into a single force seems to me
would GREATLY facilitate all SORTS of political tasks in Venezuela. It
may not be *one* group, it may be a front of alliance of several groups
or perhaps of social movements and unions and political organizations or
some other form. But unless the conscious, active elements are drawn
together, the course of the revolution becomes much more complicated and
difficult, and it is hard enough as it is.

What is the "basis of unity" of the organization, alliance or front? I
would suggest two things, first, a series of immediate, concrete
political tasks, and second, a longer terms vision or aspiration of a
country that is run by a government of, by and for the working people.
Thus that coincide or not with a lot of explicit references to Marx,
Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Luxembourg, Che, and Fidel, with the use of
words like "communism" or "socialism" and so on? I don't know. But I'm
fairly certain it doesn't coincide with the kind of "full-program"
propaganda leagues common on the Left of the "advanced" white capitalist

And we should pay attention to this, because it is quite likely that the
day come when we, too, will have to face the choice between adhering to
a group that explains in an absolutely masterly and rounded way the need
for working class political independence and a group that represents the
next concrete step in that direction but without anything near like that
level of fully conscious ideological understanding on the part of the
group taken as a whole.


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