[Marxism] Back in the USSR

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Feb 5 10:02:54 MST 2013

On 2/5/13 11:16 AM, Ben Campbell wrote:

> by Corey Ansel
> ... "What is at stake is the very cohesion of Leninist theory.  Marxism is
> not a family tree.  It is most certainly not the ideology of all of those
> who claim to hold up its banner.  In fact, it is consistent with Marx’s
> fight for the “ruthless criticism of all that exists”, which in this case
> is the need to criticize the notion that all ostensible “Marxists,” from
> the International Socialists to the Spartacists, are bearers of Marxist
> thought. The left, in fact, has struggled to defend the legacy of Lenin
> because it has failed to properly investigate what that legacy is! The
> origins of the crisis within the SWP, thus, rest with their faulty
> understanding of Leninist democratic centralism and its relevance in the
> present." ...
> http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=5656

Corey Ansel:
Instead of swimming against the current to build a party of educated 
cadres united under a program of unconditionally opposing all bourgeois 
parties in the interests of smashing the capitalist system, Binh and 
others instead seek to loosen up the restraints.


My comment:
I will be working on a longer article on this but this excerpt from a 
resolution from the 1921 Comintern approved by Lenin and the assembled 
delegates should give you an idea of how problematic the idea of forming 
“revolutionary” parties could be:

“In the struggle against the social-democratic and other petty-bourgeois 
leaders of the trade unions and the various workers’ parties there is no 
hope of achieving anything by persuasion. The struggle against them has 
to be organised with great persistence. It can only be waged 
successfully by depriving the leaders of their followers and by showing 
the workers the real role the social-traitor leaders play at the beck 
and call of the capitalists. Therefore, when the opportunity arises, 
these leaders should be put in a position where they have to show their 
true nature; then a vigorous attack can be launched against them.

“It is by no means sufficient just to label the Amsterdam leaders 
‘scabs’. Practical examples of how they sell out the workers must 
constantly be found. Their activity in the trade unions, in the 
International Labour Organisation of the League of Nations, in the 
bourgeois ministries and administrations, their right-wing speeches at 
conferences and in parliament, the attitudes expressed in their numerous 
lulling articles in hundreds of papers and, in particular, the hesitancy 
and reluctance they show in preparing and conducting even the smallest 
campaigns for wage increases and improvements in working conditions – 
all this provides the Communist with daily opportunities to expose in 
simply formulated proposals and resolutions and in clear speeches the 
unreliable and right-wing activity of the Amsterdam leaders, who do 
indeed deserve to be called ‘scab’ leaders.”

The practical implementation of this was set down in the 10th of the 21 
Conditions that had to be met to become part of the Comintern:

“Every party belonging to the Communist International has the obligation 
to wage a stubborn struggle against the Amsterdam ‘International’ of 
yellow trade union organisations. It must expound as forcefully as 
possible among trades unionists the idea of the necessity of the break 
with the yellow Amsterdam International. It must support the 
International Association of Red Trades Unions affiliated to the 
Communist International, at present in the process of formation, with 
every means at its disposal.”

To get straight to the point, the International Association of Red 
Trades Unions was a disaster. When Jack Tanner of the British Shop 
Stewards Movement objected to the ultraleft “dual unionism” of this 
measure, his objection was dismissed by Zinoviev who refused to allow 
him to speak to the gathering. This is where the crisis of the SWP stems 
from, as well as every other group that has tried to build Leninist 
parties on the basis of the “heroic days of the Comintern”.

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