[Marxism] Marxist critique of Leninism

Daniel Koechlin d.koechlin at wanadoo.fr
Wed Jan 30 16:53:56 MST 2013

Where do people get to KNOW each other, where do they get to spend 8 or 
more hours a day together ? Where do they get to truly evaluate the 
character of a person ?

In the workplace.

Of course, unemployment and casual employment, mean that millions do not 
work alongside each other long enough to get to know their co-workers. 
That is the ideal situation Capitalists are pressing for : to reduce the 
working class to a chaos of drifting atoms, whose points of contact and 
"klinein" are engineered by the "establishment "(who get to enjoy tight 
inter-personnel relations that enable them to act cohesively as a 
dominating social group).

Unions, a group of people who know each other and work alongside each 
other, represent the best possible form of working class 
self-organization. No wonder Capitalist, Social Democratic, Nationalist 
and Socialist governments alike try to co-opt them into forming reliable 
supports for a given political and social regime. Fear has always been 
the main obstacle to building a real, democratic union. But the best way 
of freeing oneself from the fear of authority, the best way of 
emancipating oneself, has always been to join a union and open one's 
mouth. It takes a fearsome security apparatus to shut someone up once he 
or she has become accustomed to speaking their mind.

A party, on the other hand, is composed of people with a shared ideal, 
but who do not work productively together. Nobody really knows (apart 
from a central Party security agency) what each person does. Which means 
that parties are on the same level as the bourgeois "Scheindemokratie", 
their membership is composed of various atoms, of various backgrounds 
(seemingly a great strength), but since they do not work together in the 
realm of production, their relationship is mediated externally. It is 
comparatively easy for individual X to climb the social ladder to the 
top of the party, usually because he is more ruthless than his 
competitors, and establish himself as the leader among the mass of 
members who vote for people they know little about. Alas, the same holds 
true for many unions, where a member will acquire great influence. 
However, his position will only be secured one he has exited the realm 
of production and become an official with his own office, relying on the 
government and political parties for support. In a revolutionary union, 
wedded to the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity, no worker 
can become unaccountable to his co-workers, thus making it difficult for 
an ambitious person to seize control. And the high-degree of internal 
democracy within a revolutionary union also poses great barriers for 
wanabee dictators. Nobody ever succeeded in taking over the American IWW 
or Spanish CNT, as the workers who made up these organisations were 
fiercely independent and egalitarian. They nonetheless proved themselves 
to be great fighting forces and capable of organizing Socialist systems 
of production and distribution.

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