[Marxism] 21 Conditions

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Apr 30 07:21:05 MDT 2013

On 4/30/13 2:24 AM, turbulo at aol.com wrote:
> I'm at something of a loss to understand why Louis
> considers this condition of Comintern membership outrageous on its
> face, given the historical circumstances. Has he forgotten that the
> socialist movement had recently experienced unprecedented episodes of
> class treason and betrayal? That most parties of the Second
> Interntional had not only abandoned their solemn anti-war pledges
> overnight under the pressure of war fever in 1914, but that one such
> party, the SPD, had acted as the "bloodhound" of counter-revolution
> in 1918-19? Why, then, does Louis find it so alarming that the
> Comintern demanded a clean break, not only with the outright
> betrayers, but also with those centrists (of which there were many)
> who, while wishing to jump aboard the bandwagon of the October
> Revolution, continued to maintain organizational ties with the
> betrayers and lend them a veneer of socialist respectability? Bob
> Avakian never faced such circumstances.

Because the majority of workers still identified with these parties. In 
a year or two after the 21 Conditions were laid down, the Comintern 
formulated a slogan for a Workers Government that John Ridell has 
written about.

"Instead of a bourgeois-Social-Democratic coalition, whether open or 
disguised, Communists propose the united front of all workers and a 
coalition of all workers’ parties, in both the economic and political 
arena, to struggle against the power of the bourgeoisie and ultimately 
to overthrow it. Through united struggle of all workers against the 
bourgeoisie, the entire state apparatus can pass over into the hands of 
the workers’ government, thus strengthening the power of the working class."


I should add that despite stepping back from the ultraleftism of the 21 
Conditions, the practice on the ground remained flawed especially in 
Germany. When Paul Levi tried to rectify these policies through a 
pamphlet that "broke discipline", he was expelled. The consequences for 
the German revolution were disastrous as Pierre Broue has demonstrated.

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