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On Trotsky: Stalinism and Bolchevism

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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
Party Bureaucrat
Post 26 Jul 2014, 21:13
Quote:
we chose Leninism right because its the correct set of ideas for the specific set of conditions of URSS ?

No we didn't because it's not like choosing your menu at Mac Donald's. You don't choose burger Lenin because it's better than burger Kerensky according to your taste. Lenin said: "The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true". And it's true in any condition, everywhere in the world, because the Marxist doctrine can adapt itself to any kind of specific conditions.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 26 Jul 2014, 21:16
Dude, you keep contending about russia being able to skip capitalism and bla bla bla, but that doesnt matter. Russia failed.

Let me repeat, Russia, F-A-I-L-E-D.

The hope for Lenin et all was that revolution could reach more developed countries like Germany and France.

Well, if you hope the revolution to reach a more developed country you are implying that your own country doesnt harbour the conditions necessary for the advance of the revolutionary ideals.

So, we look at Germany and see why it did not produce a revolution. And then we must look at the concept of Hegemony and Hegemony crisis, where Gramsci advocates that a economic crisis is not enough to produce a socialist revolution. A theme that i will explore later. I will later, too, treat MissStrangeLove reply.

But for today i've talked too much.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 26 Jul 2014, 21:20
OP-Bagration wrote:
No we didn't because it's not like choosing your menu at Mac Donald's. You don't choose burger Lenin because it's better than burger Kerensky according to your taste. Lenin said: "The Marxist doctrine is omnipotent because it is true". And it's true in any condition, everywhere in the world, because the Marxist doctrine can adapt itself to any kind of specific conditions.


Sorry but you choose. In my country we have like 10 socialist parties, from trotskyst to stalinists, to social democrates etc.

Well, we might very well say that we cannot chose because our conditions preclude it, and rather makes us accept one kind of doctrine or other. Well, in that case i agree. But you must keep in mind that you are nitpicking on word definitions.

Yes, yet people keep insisting in Lenin as if Marxism cannot survive without him.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
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Post 26 Jul 2014, 21:37
Quote:
Sorry but you choose. In my country we have like 10 socialist parties, from trotskyst to stalinists, to social democrates etc.

Well, we might very well say that we cannot chose because our conditions preclude it, and rather makes us accept one kind of doctrine or other. Well, in that case i agree. But you must keep in mind that you are nitpicking on word definitions.

Saying that Leninism was only one "set of ideas" among other sets, and that it was right to pick this set in those specific historical conditions is wrong because you imply that the other "sets" are consistent and could be true in other specific conditions. This is wrong since none of those "sets" is able to understand life in a scientifical way. If their methods happened to be correct, it would be nothing more than an accident. The working class became leninist not because it was the good "set of ideas", but because these ideas flourished with the revolutionary movement itself, especially the 1905 revolution, and of course the experiences of the narodniki, and were more practical, more concrete, thus more effective.
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 26 Jul 2014, 21:38
There we go again.

So what hapened that the "unique set of ideas that was consistent" was betrayed and later URSS returned to capitalism ?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
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Post 26 Jul 2014, 21:51
The theory according to which the"good idea" will lead to the expected result no matter what, and every failure can be attributed to a "wrong idea" (or betrayal), is an anti-marxist and idealist point of view. So how was it "betrayed"?
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"Fishing is part of agriculture" Gred
"Loz, you are like me" Yami
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 26 Jul 2014, 22:04
When i say "the wrong idea", its not as if a single idea is suficient to explain a whole revolutionary period. But as a simplification, or else my almost two pages text would become a whole book.

But on the other side, you cannot deny that ideas (a set of principles that are created in response to a set of specific conditions) are a crucial element of revolutionary work. Or else, we might very well denounce the dangers of rationalism and pretend that we can do everything "by gut feelings". Marx is ideas, but not ideas detached from reality.

So what went wrong ?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 21 Sep 2013, 03:08
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Post 27 Jul 2014, 00:27
AldoBrasil wrote:
I will later, too, treat MissStrangeLove reply.

But for today i've talked too much.

I've edited mine just to add a bit I forgot to mention at first, which basically involves challenging your interpretation of Leninism's cultural relevance.

MissStrangelove wrote:
EDIT: In fact, vanguardism seems to me tailor-made to anywhere there's a hierarchy, which would be any culture on the planet besides the Bushmen/Khoisan. There are some types of vanguard tactics, like specific tactics used by Mao, that would only work in peasant societies. But a structured force is the heart of it; that seems necessary to me in order to beat a hierarchical, structured state in a society built around hierarchy. That exists in almost every culture.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 27 Jul 2014, 02:15
I cant resist replying...

Quote:
Aldo, if I take your argument right, you're basically saying that cultural conditions in Russia made centralization necessary.


In hindsight, they are necessary in the sense that history could not evolve in another way. In hindsight we know that Russia would stay alone for a long time, and that the revolution would never reach Germany, as desired by most of the comunists of the time.

Quote:
I actually wouldn't disagree with that at all, it was a country just coming out of monarchism. Where I do have a problem is when you ignore class in pursuing that. The feudal cultural hegemony in Russia was made possible by a society that was mostly dominated by illiterate peasants. That's what brought Stalin's cult of Lenin into existence, drawing parallels to Orthodox iconography so the peasants would have some understanding of what's going on.


Its quite hard to say "first came the illiterate peasants" then later came the "culture of absolutism", because ideology has a porpuse, that is, lacking an ideology to legitimize the class division, the peasantry (or proletariat etc) would have to be lead by continual
physical repression. Ideology then becomes a kind of internalization of a set of rules that are used to "police" the worker class even when they are not in the sight of the police (We might call this surplus repression ?). But, as having the effect of keeping the workers docile and avoid the continual overt class struggle, ideology produces the effect of perpetuating the very same conditions that generated it. In that regard, history is a set of hegemonic periods segmented and divided by periods of rapid development of new forms of work and new forms of ideology. We call that historical blocks. Material conditions and ideological conditions (re)generates each other. And then a disruptive development comes, like the burgeoise rise to economical power, shaking the very bases of the historical block. New intelectual developments are produced, new forms of work and new work relationships develop. The older order is compressed and reinterpreted in a new light. A new ruling class reaches power, both materially and spiritually. The old edifice is retained as ruins. If the class reaching power doesnt produce hegemony, it might very well suffer a collapse from inside.

Quote:
You bring up the fact that prevailing cultural norms exist in the vanguard too, to which I'd say: "who cares?" Of course they do, they exist in everyone. But it's a lot easier to challenge and change those once the dominant, opinion-making part of society (elite status) is seized and the means of production are taken.


The problem with a proletariat revolution is that, all historical blocks before a possible proletariat historical block had something in common. They are based on the rule of man over man. They are based on private ownership, property. Even the burgeoise (because it couldnt nor wanted) could not change the bases of the cultural building. They had to reform it, build over it, replace parts of it with scientifical facts (earth is not flat, thunder is electricity etc). They could not educate the masses, they - because that is where their need as class lies - can only provide the proletariat with the minimum ammount of knowledge to allow them to work and survive. Even when the increase of technical skills, needed to work, produces the universal educational system, it is done only so as to provide the proletariat with tehcnical means of work. The universal educational system is not built to free man from ignorance (if it achieves that is only by coincidence) but to replicate the means of exploitaition and to provide the proletariat with the said minimal set of skills. You can see exactly that in USA where people still discuss about evolution versus creationism.

The burgeoise, as i said earlier, proceded to reform the building, because a lot of ideas pertaining the culture of Europe were part of their interests too, and because some ideas were politically indifferent for the burgeois project - something not worth fighting against, etc. What you are proposing then is that we proceed in the same manner as the burgeoise class. By first doing a quick treatment of culture, so much as to call the masses into action (but not as much as liberating them intelectually), then with the steam so generated proceed with the revolution, with the intended interest of putting the hard emancipatory work to later, after the revoluton.

This concept is wrong by three points :

1 - First it replicates burgeoise strategy regarding culture. The burgeoise can very well educate their sons, they are a minority. So you can leave the proletariat relegated to ignorance. Its their project, and it is even in their best interests. But we are not the burgeoise. Our work is uphill. We are not fighting culturally only against the burgeoise, but against the traditional church, and a lot of ideas that come from much older times, some even proceding from the iron age times (greece, rome) etc. And one of those, where the proletariat revolution is diametrically oposed to the burgeoise project is the very same fact that in both modern and ancient societies, the mass of many was ruled by a group of few, and that the means of production was in the hands of few. Thats why its always easier to become alienated than to attain enlightenment. Thats why after a revolutionary strugle ends (like during the burgeoise revolutions), more easily comes a thermidorian period, than a continual revolution. Revolution is not cheap, and cannot endure ethernally.
2 - The idea that we can develop the proletariat conscience after the revolution is similar to someone taking power as credit. The proletariat lends power to the leadership, believing that the leadership will return the power to the proletariat as soon as possible. The leaders believe in themselves and that they will be able to do so. But a leadership is not an infallible group of super-humans. Even if most of then are honest, theres no true guarantee that they will do as promised. The proletariat has no real way of knowing. Worse is that while the state aparattus is set in motion in the leadership hands, neither the leadership nor the proletariat can know where they will reach. They have the general idea of where they are heading to, but they cannot know what they can expect in the way. So, having the state in a ditactorship of the vanguard mode, specially in the form of leadership of the few most able leaders of the vanguard, carries in itself the risks of being captured right in the middle of the operation, after power was transfered to the leadership and just before that power is transfered back into the proletariat.
3 - Joining the two points before, we have a situation where the leadership, being few, can be persecuted and replaced much more easily than the masses. And the masses, by their side, are not politicized enough to understand whats hapening. This is the point of the ones of Stalin take power. Thats what has been done to the jacobins (and what the jacobins done to themselves).

Quote:
It's easily a better option than just waiting around for it to happen. EDIT: In fact, vanguardism seems to me tailor-made to anywhere there's a hierarchy, which would be any culture on the planet besides the Bushmen/Khoisan. There are some types of vanguard tactics, like specific tactics used by Mao, that would only work in peasant societies. But a structured force is the heart of it; that seems necessary to me in order to beat a hierarchical, structured state in a society built around hierarchy. That exists in almost every culture.


Thats exactly where the rule of a few over the many must be ruptured.

Quote:
Honestly, none of this refutes the strategy of vanguardism, a strategy born out of pragmatism and the simple reality that some workers will be more politically motivated than others.


I believe that this is equivalent to the point where Marx says that the work produced by a single worker, even if it could possibly be bigger than most other people, cannot be so much bigger than the general work output of any other common person. People have hard limits above and below. People are different, but not so different. Put in another way, you can hardly know what people are capable of understanding if you dont try. If you dont give them a chance, and instead keep those old usefull prejudices that divides society between a class of people destined to think, and a class of dumb people who can barely understand the basic steps needed to wave flag, you cannot know with any degree of certainty.

Quote:
You haven't provided a single rebuttal to its ability to create a successful revolution anywhere, let alone a revolution more likely to succeed than something completely unorganized.


I've done that rebuttal repeatedly, but seens that you cannot or do not want to see. And we need a definition of sucess. Is reaching power enough to declare a revolution sucessfull ? The only sucessfull marxist revolution is the one that reaches comunism. Everything else is only a stagnated revolution or a failed revolution.

Quote:
Your response is basically "people can challenge the prevailing norms individually, I can think about what we call 'common sense' and whether or not it actually makes sense." Do you seriously think your average worker is willing to spend all their scarce free time contemplating the meaning of life, let alone applying that in a comprehensive way? And that somehow a revolution will spontaneously just pop up out of that? It sounds an awful lot like bourgeois anarchist idealism to me, divorced from actual working-class needs and concerns.


Where did i say that people should challenge the prevailing norms individually ?

Look here :

"So whats the task of the party ?

Lead the pedagogy of the proletariat. Connect isolated collectives and groups of marxists into a bigger body. Make liason between national socialist entities into international socialist entities. etc. Write periodics about marxism and the current state of affairs. Produce multimedia content to instruct local sections (soviets). Allow small writers, people who could never have a voice in a capitalist structure, to reach wider audiences. The party, instead of being the masters of the proletariat, should become enablers, they must serve the proletariat into what they cannot find in the capitalist society, but its needed for its emancipation.

The party should not say what the proletariat should want, because an educated proletariat can already know that, but tell what they should do to achieve their objectives. The party is the conselor of the proletariat, an acessory to it, not the central part of the struggle."

Thats hardly "individual people".

Quote:
I also wouldn't say Stalin was a "Tsar," despite the centralized state around him. He was also an industrializer and a modernizer, who initiated efforts to replace the party bureaucracy with a stable and coherent state/national one that actually knew what they were doing. For all his problems, he can be thanked almost as much as Lenin for bringing Russia out of Tsarism and into the 20th century.


He not only is not a Czar, but he CANNOT BE ONE. I never stated that he was a new Czar, but that the russian masses SEE HIM AS SUCH. He - IN THE EYES OF THE MASSES - becomes the good Czar. Everything that the masses wanted the old Czar (Romanovs) to be.

So continuing on my stream of thought, if the proletariat revolution is to reach socialism, it must be a total destruction of the cultural building of preceeding eras. Anything but this will produce a new 1991, and thats something never done in human history.

One of the common concepts under Marxism is that we can wait for one of those periods of economic crises that it inherently produces, to start a revolution. Because capitalism is an eternal crisis, managed to have its symptoms under control, until a time when it cannot be managed anymore and the crisis rapidly goes out of control. In the cultural sphere, the common sense more or less remains somewhat stable for long periods. Until a moment of economic crisis. 1929 is the prime example. German economic state after WW1 is another.

During those times, old ways of thought seems to not work. Political institutions cannot give answers to the problems of society. Deeply held beliefs cannot answer the masses questions. So we reach a momment where something called a crisis of hegemony develops. By having the old ways failed, the masses start to look at alternatives. The cultural struggle starts before the military revolution.

Germany was an ocidental styled democracy before Hitler rised to power, but one with shallow roots in germanic culture. The masses, facing the desperate times of economic downfall, started to disbelieve the burgeoise democratic values and started to turn towards socialism. To answer fears of socialist revolution, the ruling class turned to whatever it could use against socialism. Hitler and the nazism were their answer. Against the perceived weakness of the democracy, Hitler oposed the militarism of the wermatch. But he did not won by militarism alone. Behind Hitler, there was a big aparatus of propaganda. Even the momment were Hitler rised to total power needed a spetacular event, the Reichtag building fire. In other words, we can say that Fascism (in the german mode, nazism) and Socialism where at ideological struggle in Germany, and other parts of the world. More democratically developed countries like USA survived the hegemonic crisis (and one of the reasons for this can be found in my previous posts).

So, in hindsight we can say that waiting for anothe economic downturn cannot work if the comunist party does not prepare the proletariat for it. And, if you are developing the proletariat intelectually, why not go all the way into the excercise of popular democracy via the soviets ? Why not organize everything that is communist as a self-ruled soviet ? Why not give power to the soviets right now ?

I have more things to say, but for now, its enough.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 10 Aug 2010, 14:21
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Post 27 Jul 2014, 21:15
Quote:
The only sucessfull marxist revolution is the one that reaches comunism.

This is the most dogmatic thing I have ever read. So even the French revolution wasn't successfull because the Republic was overthrew, replaced by an Empire, then a monarchy?
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 20 Jul 2007, 06:59
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Post 27 Jul 2014, 23:37
Well, the October Revolution was a proletariat revolution, even though it was also fought by the peasantry. The issue is the matter of control, which was wieldged by socialists.

The French Revolution, likewise, used the proletariat, but was controlled by the bourgeoisie, who guided it according to its ideals.

In both cases there were agreements and concessions to allied classes, but they weren't allowed to lead.


Stalinista wrote:
The French Revolution actually was a bourgeois revolution. And, as we did in the USSR, they exterminated, silenced, executed the previous ruling class.


We? You must be nearly a hundred years old!


To get back on topic:

AldoBrazil wrote:
1 - First it replicates burgeoise strategy regarding culture. The burgeoise can very well educate their sons, they are a minority. So you can leave the proletariat relegated to ignorance. Its their project, and it is even in their best interests. But we are not the burgeoise. Our work is uphill. We are not fighting culturally only against the burgeoise, but against the traditional church, and a lot of ideas that come from much older times, some even proceding from the iron age times (greece, rome) etc. And one of those, where the proletariat revolution is diametrically oposed to the burgeoise project is the very same fact that in both modern and ancient societies, the mass of many was ruled by a group of few, and that the means of production was in the hands of few. Thats why its always easier to become alienated than to attain enlightenment. Thats why after a revolutionary strugle ends (like during the burgeoise revolutions), more easily comes a thermidorian period, than a continual revolution. Revolution is not cheap, and cannot endure ethernally.
2 - The idea that we can develop the proletariat conscience after the revolution is similar to someone taking power as credit. The proletariat lends power to the leadership, believing that the leadership will return the power to the proletariat as soon as possible. The leaders believe in themselves and that they will be able to do so. But a leadership is not an infallible group of super-humans. Even if most of then are honest, theres no true guarantee that they will do as promised. The proletariat has no real way of knowing. Worse is that while the state aparattus is set in motion in the leadership hands, neither the leadership nor the proletariat can know where they will reach. They have the general idea of where they are heading to, but they cannot know what they can expect in the way. So, having the state in a ditactorship of the vanguard mode, specially in the form of leadership of the few most able leaders of the vanguard, carries in itself the risks of being captured right in the middle of the operation, after power was transfered to the leadership and just before that power is transfered back into the proletariat.
3 - Joining the two points before, we have a situation where the leadership, being few, can be persecuted and replaced much more easily than the masses. And the masses, by their side, are not politicized enough to understand whats hapening. This is the point of the ones of Stalin take power. Thats what has been done to the jacobins (and what the jacobins done to themselves).


I think this characterization is a bit simplistic.
First, the bourgeoisie don't consciously leave the proletariat in ignorance. Their ideology makes them think that they are educating them "correctly". Teaching them integral knoledge, critical skills, culture, are low in their list of priorities, but it isn't fully a conspiracy
Of course, they think that Marxist ideas are poisonous, because to them, socialism is mistaken, so there's very little of that.

Second, as I'm sure you know through your personal experience, a lot of what we socialists do is educate the masses, through outreach, handing out bookles, books, holding discussion groups, courses, what have you. Proportionally, it takes a lot of the party's man-hours. Hell, this forum is part of the effort we feel we have to carry out. I know I feel guilty as hell for not participating as much as I should (two jobs).

In that sense, I don't think we have to be told that what we need is to spread our ideas and educate. Even socialist-leaning governments know this and spend more on education.

What I was saying and I believe a few others have also mentioned, is that this alone is not enough. That's an Enlightenment-derived viewpoint that was old even in Marx's time (and which led to positivism and other similar schools of thoughts, as a way of "answering" this). This is where ideology comes in, in that a truth has to be lived, to be experienced to a degree, in order to be "felt" as true. We could say that if you allign yourself to a certain truth, if you change towards it, only then do you perceive it more fully. They aren't "self-evident".

You might intellectually aprehend something (and that's a might), but you won't incorporate it and certainly won't fight for it if it doesn't correspond at all with your praxis, with your social practices and way in which you reproduce your world.

That's when the concept of the vanguard comes in. It isn't something that we "create" like some club. It is something that is there. There are those who experience class struggle, and it is those who instinctually come to proletariat conclusions, or adopt them when exposed to them, because they feel them as their own, they perceive them as correct.

It doesn't mean that the others are "dead" to it, because they too are proletariat, but they are more indifferent, and will only react when class struggle is heightened, since that means that proletariat ideas are gaining ground. The number of socialists will grow, but you always have some that are more aware than others, more experienced, more in tune than others. That's how life works. If we have to wait until "everybody" is on the same page, then we'll never achieve anything, because proletariat and bourgeois ideologies are enemies, and as your ideas begin to gain ground, people will naturally want to revolt, want to instill change. You can't stop it even if you wanted to.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 16 Jul 2014, 21:53
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 00:09
You dont need to put everyone on the same page, because that's impossible. But you need to teach enough for them to reach class conscienciousness. Putting everybody on the same level is impossible. But theres a "common denominator" of knowledge. That common denominator is called common sense in Gramsci works.

In other words, you must fight to make marxism become common sense. You will say that the proletariat can be lied to by the media and other oficial means of communication. But they cant, because when you understand something, you cannot "dis-understand". You can only be lied to about something you dont know.

Common sense them works to supply the people with easy answers to questions that the people happen to come by. By seen poverty, people ask themselves why there is poverty in the world. And them the common sense comes by to explain in a way that can be both comprehensible to the masses and in line with the objectives of the ruling class.

If the ruling class has to work, spend time, money and knowledge to indoctrinate (actively) the proletariat, this can only mean that the proletariat already have a disposition to ask itself why the world is as it is. And your argument that the ruling class doesnt actively restrain public education in order to alienated the proletariat is invalid when you see active work by the burgeoise class to create an hegemony out of the media, the schools etc.

For one :

When the ones like Fox News, CNN etc cover up a specific event, they can only do so inside a framework of ideas that have its root and porpuse in the class struggle. Its kind of applying a general idea to a specific case. When CNN explains the fall of soviet union (while it happened) as a result of the problems with centralized economy, it can only do so if there is already estabilished a concept in the common sense that the planed economy cannot work (it can, but media in the capitalist countries indoctrinated the population to believe it cant), then, after explaining that basic - deformed - assumption, they can go on to say that the fall of URSS is a specific event of this general idea. They do so by selectively mantaining the proletariat under ignorance about certain events and aspects of the world, because those certain aspects and events could detract from the story they want to tell. For me this is actively working to alienate, not the result of simply not caring. What they dont say is that it was the fall of that specific form of planned economy, that specific kind of socialism that was applied to URSS, because them people would start to ask themselves if there is another kind of socialism that could have worked.

Got the point ?

We say them that the media and other civil society entities work by reproducing the program of the ruling class. The ruling class has a specific set of needs and objectives that can only be meet by a certain set of means that must be legitimized in the eyes of the proletariat by a specific set of ideas. The media fits in this scheme to provide a mean for the ruling class to stabilish those. Its not that this is a great machiavelian plan to rule the world, on the contrary, without the aparattus of media in their hands, the burgeoise would have to live in a eternal state of war against the proletariat (something that happens when you reach a hegemony crisis) a capitalist police state. Something that cannot work in the long run. But if this is not created by a macheavelic plan, its not the work of a central agency of intelectual alienation, how it is created ?

It is done because the ruling class, via media, actively selects those thinkers who are going to speak and propagate ideas using the media. Being a capitalist entity, basically a company run as any other private enterprise, the media itself has his own set of goals, and much of those are compatible with the goals of the burgeoise class at large (we can have intra-class struggle, but the basic set of ideas and porpuses is equal for the burgeoise class anywhere in the world). So lets suppose we face a set of problems currently. For this set of problems, we can have a lot of thinkers around the world trying to think about how to solve them. A thinker more related to the proletariat will understand those problems in the framework of marxist ideology. A burgeoise thinker will think about the same set of problems in the framework of capitalist ideology. Who is the thinker who will be celebrated and spread by the stabilished media ? If a stabilished media happen to spread ideas of a socialist thinker, where will it get money for its operations ? Media works in the same pursue for profit as any other private enterprise, so this would be against its own interests. Thats why we need the organic intellectual. Someone who can, from inside the proletariat, create and spread interpretations for the problems faced by the society at large and the proletariat itself. And for this we must provide means of communication that are not controlled by the burgeoise class. Internet fits in perfectly.

Quote:
The French Revolution, likewise, used the proletariat, but was controlled by the bourgeoisie, who guided it according to its ideals.


And regarding the french revolution, the uprising was initiated as a popular movement. You can say that the penetration of burgeoise generated ideas into the popular mindset might very well have an contribution in them uprising. But the movement was popular. Later the revolution gets an direction in the hands of the jacobins, and finally in the hands of Napoleon. But it all started expontaneously.

But this point allows me to introduce another concept. The burgeoise was not always a reactionary class. The burgeoise class was actively revoluctionary during the years when the aristocracy ruled Europe. They fomented the enlightenment and created and spread knowledge that is still relevant today. What happens is that something that is progressive today can very well become regressive tomorrow.

I will use the music recording industry as example. At the start music could only be listened to by hiring a professional musician (or by having a musician in house). This meant that most of the proletariat and peasanstry where unable to enjoy music. Then came the cultural industry, via the development of the gramophone. The gramophone (and later the radio) allowed the proletariat to listen to music, because if hiring a musician to perform to you was costly, buying a gramophone and a vinyl disk was relatively cheap. This meant that the cultural industry had a positive and progressive impact into history. But, as soon as that cultural industry faces the disruptive technology of internet, the easy of sharing musical content, they retreat into a regressive state and try to rule internet for the sake of their own interests.

Regarding the french revolution, the burgeoise class, via their burgeoise philosophers, generate a lot of ideas that inspired the masses into rising against the french aristocracy. Some of those intelectuals even generating content that could very well be classed as proto-marxist. But, as soon as people rose to power, and the private property came into danger, the same burgeoise started to talk against the revolution. As soon as the revolution achieved the goals of the burgeoise class, they turned against it in the figure of the revolution leadership of the jacobins, planing to depose them and replace them for whatever figure that might happen to manage to supress the revoluctionary spirit present in the proletariat. That one was Napoleon. And the project of the burgeoise them became to stop the social advances and direct the revoluctionary energy into other states, via Napoleon's conquests. Napoleon so served two objectives. To supress the revolution at home, keeping intact private property but removing the aristocracy from political power and to modernize Europe in the same manner that France was modernized. Napoleon was later defeated and the congress of Viena tried to revert the basic advances made by the burgeoise in Europe. But this was impossible, and later a wave of burgeois revolutions sweeped again. (Thats what we hope for marxism in Russia).
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 04:23
AldoBrasil wrote:
You dont need to put everyone on the same page, because that's impossible. But you need to teach enough for them to reach class conscienciousness. Putting everybody on the same level is impossible. But theres a "common denominator" of knowledge. That common denominator is called common sense in Gramsci works.


I agree on class consciousness, that is exactly what we're talking about. It isn't enlightening them, but getting them engaged in class struggle, of being aware of their class interests, of seeing through bourgeois lies.

Education plays a big role, but so does praxis, be it the political climate, the economic conditions, the class structure, the state of imperialism, and so on and so on.

I'm not refuting what you said. I'm saying that it also needs to take into account all of these factors, which influence class strugle, and thus, how your message is received by the masses. When proletariat power is strong, so is its ideology, which means that more people will join the cause. The opposite is also true.
Thus, you always have a vanguard of class conscious workers.

Quote:
In other words, you must fight to make marxism become common sense. You will say that the proletariat can be lied to by the media and other oficial means of communication. But they cant, because when you understand something, you cannot "dis-understand". You can only be lied to about something you dont know.


I don't agree with this. Truth is not something that is static and "out there", "hidden" behind some veil and waiting for us discover it. Truth is something that is forged, which means that it is dependent on the conditions that bring it forth into existence. Marxism isn't abstractly true, it isn't ahistorically true. It resonates with a certain class, which gains awareness of its role in history.

If it were a matter of deception, then we would have to "educate" the bourgeoisie in order for them to see the error of their ways and wait for them to convert en masse. That's never going to happen, and not because they are "evil", or that they put up a charade to keep everyone in obscurity. Their ideology makes Marxists truths unacceptable to them. They have a world view, a model of how things work, which is incompatible with proletariat truths.

So its not just a matter of spreading The Word, or the Good News. It's more complex than that. We still do it, obviously, but when assessing class consciousness, and the potential for revolt, you have to look at things like the economy, class structure, unions, parties and a whole buch of other stuff.

---------

As for the rest of your post, yes, media are manipulative, schools indoctrinate. That's the nature of ideology and of the state as an agent of class domination. I agree that we need our own channels, our own discourse, our own organizations, schools, and so on. Socialists parties already strive for this. I'm not sure I see your point.

Pragmatically, what difference needs to be made in what we're doing with regards to what you are proposing? Educating? we already do that.
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 13:37
You still fail to see the difference.

Under a oriental society (Like Russian Empire was), the civil society is ill developed, and all power is concentrated at the state aparatus. On an ocidental society (such as even modern day Russia is) power is split across state and civil society structures. Think about this as a matrix of nodes, where each node is a civil society element, and each node engages in relationship with other nodes. Thats how civil society works. You cannot just grab power at the top, the state power, and forget about the rest of nodes in the political power. You have to grab one by one, to become stronger than your oponent. And regarding class conscienciousness, this is not just teaching enough to make the proletariat revolt (Like waving a flag). You need to teach them suficient to make them able to defend themselves against ideological attacks from the burgeoise. Knowledge must overcome the "revoluctionary phrase" and reach a certain critical mass that allows the proletariat to understand the world from a dialetical point of view. Pls dont say that this is impossible. Proletariat of today cannot be compared to the proletariat of marx times. Even in my country (wich is way more poor than yours) people are in contact with new technology all the time. They got smarter due to the advance in the technical knowledge needed to work. On the other side, its not just to work against their illiteracy, their ignorance, etc, but work against what was already seeded in their heads. They not only are not ignorant, but they are already full with the burgeoise program. We must replace that program with the marxist program. We must dispell oficial ideology for the marxist ideology. And the oficial ideology is quite sophisticated. The proletariat must be convinced, not as to be purely lead, but to be peers in a struggle where the proletariat itself will need to find new formulas and ideas to deal with current problems. Because we came from a single thrust war to one where we need to fight position by position, to reach a phase were, by having majority, we can finally take the state in a final war. Not that we must capture every position, but we must at least have a solid base. Lenin thought from a point of view of a trench warfare, where a single breach in the trench system could lead to victory in a single strike. We now have a much more complex set of state aparatus and civil society elements. We must win a manouver war.

Addendum:

So lets say the Greenpeace. Greenpeace (As much as i like its work) is deeply embedded into capitalism thought. What happens if we create a socialist version of Greenpeace or if we propagandize a socialist version of ecology in general, one that can make a bridge between capitalistic exploitation and ecological problems, so that Greenpeace itself recognizes it as a more developed form of ecology and most of its members adopt it ? We gain a node in the civil society structure.

The church, what happens if we develop a version of spirituality (That already exists in the form of liberation theology) that takes capitalism exploitation under a spiritual light ? We gain another node in the civil society.

And so on.

While the usual take of the communist parties was sectarian and satisfied with pure dennouncism and elimination of such elements, we take a new view and see them as allies in the struggle, people ready to help us in certain aspects of the hegemony war.

Because elements of the civil society are much more developed and penetrating than the comunist party, the civil society reacts by rejecting the sectarian communist party, because first the communist party rejected the civil society. Who is gonna win ? Civil society of course. And that answers why the communist parties are isolated and forgotten by most of the proletariat.

Addendum 2 :

Lets take a look at the pirate party. Is it a burgeoise endeavour ? Nope. But, all they know - or at least the stereotypical hacker knows - is that software patents and the form of intelectual property that capitalism works with, are hindering technological development in general. But, if you ask that hacker (provided that he is just a hacker and nothing more, something that only happens in the realm of ideas) how to deal with poverty, he will give common sense answers that generally gravitates around burgeoise concepts. So what can we do ? Develop a superior form of understand of how intelectual property works, why it was developed, and what this will produce in the longer term for minkind and workers. So as to bring the pirate party to our side. They wont forget about their objective (replacing capitalism intelectual property for something that doesnt hinder technological development) neither we are going to forget the party objectives (IE.: We wont become a single entity), but at least we are going to become allies in the struggle. Right now the leaders of the pirate party in scandinavia are under arrest, and the communist parties across Europe ignores it. A set of public protests against their arrests, done by communists, would signal the start of that alliance, and would do wonders to help propagandize their struggle as much as ours.
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Post 28 Jul 2014, 23:52
AldoBrasil wrote:
You still fail to see the difference.


Maybe so. If that's the case, I apologize. But my feeling is that we're talking past each other. Your previous post only addressed the first of the points I rased, and this one goes off in a tangent and starts to discuss different matters.

To avoid rambling off into different territory. I'll repeat that on your original post (as I understand it) you began to criticize vanguard tactics saying that we need to educate the whole of the proletariat. Some others and I replied stating that ideology and social relations make it so that the adoption of proletariat ideas implies not only being exposed to them, but also experiencing it. This means that while all proletariat have the potential for being revolutionary, some part of it, the most experienced, will get there first, and just how large the movement gets depends on many circumstances, of which education is one among many factors.

You seem to acknowedge this when you state:

Quote:
You dont need to put everyone on the same page, because that's impossible. But you need to teach enough for them to reach class conscienciousness. Putting everybody on the same level is impossible.


So this means that there will be a group that will be more revolutionary than the rest.

Before we go on, as a little aside, I'll say the following:
It is of crucial importance to understand class struggle, social phenomena, tactics of opression, economic domination, ideology, etc. etc. This is because we are not self-apointed directors of the revolution, rather, we need to understand how to push for a revolutionary situation and then how to best aid in having it suceed, under proletariat control. Marx knew this, which is why he sought to discover social laws. Lenin did this too, in looking to find what the proletariat's interests were, and using it to galvanize the population.

So, the crux of the matter lies in that we have to understand that phenomena such as the vanguard exist objectively, with or witout us. To say that we don't need it, or that we need to dissolve it by educating all of the workers is to go against reality.

Because, another objective fact is that class struggle will always carry a political dimension, meaning that there will always be thinkers and leaders who will give recipes on how to do things. That means that we will always have to jump in and battle bourgeois distorsions and wrong conceptions. It's not like the proletariat are waiting for us... We can't say "no, not yet, we need to educate more".


OK, back to the argument. You say that we can't expect everyone to be on the same page, but we need to activate class conciousness in everyone, in order to have a successful revolution. I say, of course! because otherwise you won't have a revolution at all. People need to be aware of there interests, at least on an instinctive level, in order to sucessfully topple the bourgeois regime. That's a given. It happened in Paris, it happened in Russia, it was happening in Chile until the coup.

So, I really think we have our work cut out for us, and don't see what the polemic here is about. We need to educate people? We know. We need to raise class conciousness (subjective circumstances for a revolution)? We know.

I feel that you, who don't source anything of what you criticize, are erecting imaginary opponents to lecture on stuff we already know about, but accusing us of not applying these things.

Here's another critique you offer:

Quote:
The idea that we can develop the proletariat conscience after the revolution is similar to someone taking power as credit. The proletariat lends power to the leadership, believing that the leadership will return the power to the proletariat as soon as possible. The leaders believe in themselves and that they will be able to do so. But a leadership is not an infallible group of super-humans.


This to me is a straw-man argument. We always, before, during and afterwards, work on developing class-conciousness. How can you have a revolution without class-awareness?

We're in a situation now where there's low class-consciusness. So, we work on spreading Marxist ideas. When things get better for us (do not only to this work, but a buch of other factors, as mentioned), we need to continue this, but also battle against distortions, opportunism, petit-bourgeois ideas, and so on. By that point, there will be a heightened class awareness, but as you admitted, some more than others.
Again, timing is important, and being informed of what's going on and using it to further the cause is crucial. This means that when revolution comes, it is not wholly by our choice, but by circumstances. After it happens, you will always have some people who are more educated on Marxism than others. That's a given.
Accusing socialists of intentionally keeping people in the dark until "after the revolution" is slanderous.

But perhaps, you might be talking about the matter of control, which is a different thing.

----------

In your last reply to me, you now talk about differences between an "oriental" and an "occidental" society (you really need to update your terminology, but whatever).

Quote:
Under a oriental society (Like Russian Empire was), the civil society is ill developed, and all power is concentrated at the state aparatus. On an ocidental society (such as even modern day Russia is) power is split across state and civil society structures. Think about this as a matrix of nodes, where each node is a civil society element, and each node engages in relationship with other nodes. Thats how civil society works. You cannot just grab power at the top, the state power, and forget about the rest of nodes in the political power. You have to grab one by one, to become stronger than your oponent.


Not even in Lenin's time was the revolutionary struggle limited to state power. The press, the spread of ideas, professional associations, schools, unions, all were big concerns for everyone involved.

Today it's no different, especially now that concepts like "bottom-up" are so popular.

Quote:
And regarding class conscienciousness, this is not just teaching enough to make the proletariat revolt (Like waving a flag). You need to teach them suficient to make them able to defend themselves against ideological attacks from the burgeoise. Knowledge must overcome the "revoluctionary phrase" and reach a certain critical mass that allows the proletariat to understand the world from a dialetical point of view. Pls dont say that this is impossible. Proletariat of today cannot be compared to the proletariat of marx times. Even in my country (wich is way more poor than yours) people are in contact with new technology all the time. They got smarter due to the advance in the technical knowledge needed to work. On the other side, its not just to work against their illiteracy, their ignorance, etc, but work against what was already seeded in their heads. They not only are not ignorant, but they are already full with the burgeoise program. We must replace that program with the marxist program. We must dispell oficial ideology for the marxist ideology. And the oficial ideology is quite sophisticated. The proletariat must be convinced, not as to be purely lead, but to be peers in a struggle where the proletariat itself will need to find new formulas and ideas to deal with current problems. Because we came from a single thrust war to one where we need to fight position by position, to reach a phase were, by having majority, we can finally take the state in a final war. Not that we must capture every position, but we must at least have a solid base. Lenin thought from a point of view of a trench warfare, where a single breach in the trench system could lead to victory in a single strike. We now have a much more complex set of state aparatus and civil society elements. We must win a manouver war.


Why do you insist in saying that we are not doing this. When has anyone ever said that it is impossible to educate the proletariat? How do you know what my country is? Why insist that socialists only want people "waving flags"?

We're all friends here. Stop painting people who are devoted to the cause as something they are not in order for you to preach them the cure.

Quote:
While the usual take of the communist parties was sectarian and satisfied with pure dennouncism and elimination of such elements, we take a new view and see them as allies in the struggle, people ready to help us in certain aspects of the hegemony war.


Well, there's a lot of that, for sure. Making pronounciations on stuff happening half-way across the globe and bitterly fighting against others who think differently on these issues half-a-world away.

But it's not all that. Go to a Communist Party, see what kind of work you can get involved in your community. You'll think differently. I know I'm very thankfull for the courses we organized, the workers meetings, student councils, and so on.
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