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The Communist Movement as seen from the eyes of a Cata

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Soviet cogitations: 8108
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 02:51
Embalmed
Post 07 Nov 2006, 06:39
The Communist Movement

Why factionalism can be okay


First off, the US is big. You can say france doesn't have near as many divisions as the US, but they aren't near as large as the United States is, so obviously the USA is going to have more divisions. If we truly want to unite the working class across the nation, we're going to have to overcome this, but this does not make sense as a current goal. Why is this?

The answer moves into my next point. Most people in the US don't view socialism as an option. Not only that, but communism, that crazy crap, is laughable or just plain evil. So, socialists will be unable to gain power in this state. It will be much more difficult to even truly make a difference at home and abroad. It will be a huge step when we're respected, even if Marxists have not convinced people of the need to move towards socialism. So the current goal of socialists should be to convince people that we really do care and that socialism and communism, even if faulted, aren't inherently illogical and impractical.

How do socialists accomplish this? Through service. Through reaching out to people. Through agitation and propaganda. We could take a lesson or two from Mao's "mass line." But as it is, it doesn't matter TOO much which party you're in, because none of them are going to make a difference on the political landscape now, at least in the national picture. Right now, our work is grassroots.

Secretarian parties like the RCPUSA are more harmful than the somewhat reactionary parties like the CPUSA because of this need for grassroots work. The CPUSA is at least attempting to accomplish our immediate goals even if I quesiton their ability to carry out our long term goals.

In the future the nature of our work chould change. It SHOULD change, if Marxism is correct. We could see a gradual, or perhaps sudden, trend towards socialism. Parties on decent terms will form coalitions to try to get some representation in bourgesie politics. As parties unite, the people will decide what party best represents their interests, even if it is somehow a secretarian Maoist party, although it would probably be a party like a revised CPUSA or the Free People's Movement who would be willing to ally themself with the left while still advocating revolutionary change.

Factionalism is tempoary if our parties are want it to be that way, although obviously some power hungery individuals do not. Currently, factionalism allows minor (very minor; they ARE socialist in the USA) parties to adapt to their environment, their beliefs, their people. Until such a time that people at least begin to view Marxism as valid, this breed of factionalism is progressive.

The need for revolutionary change


The CPUSA seems very dormant here. Their newsletter hardly says anything revolutionary and their entire program is based upon uniting with the "broader left" to defeat the "ultra right." Eventually they hope to be elected. How, then, are they different from the so called "socialist" party that is basically the left wing of the democratic party?

Compare this line of thought to Free People's Movement's.

"As mentioned previously, history shows us that the class that controls the means of production controls the
political and economic power, and is not willing to relinquish that power without a life-or-death struggle. In other words, in order for any real change to occur, revolutionary change is necessary. Bourgeois elections can provide no real change, for it is the capitalist system, not any particular representative, which operates in direct opposition to the interests of the working class and its allies.

While we support all attempts to better the conditions of the exploited masses, we reject the ability of electoral politics or reform to create any real and lasting change. Historical events, such as the election, and subsequent overthrow of Salvador Allende in Chile support our position.

Only a genuine socialist revolution, in which the exploited masses (under the leadership of the working class) take control of the means of production and create a socialist state, can pave the way for the transition from class-divided capitalist society to a classless – and thus free, just, and equal – society.

To effectively eliminate class antagonisms and make possible the completion of this transfer, the socialist state, under the administration of the representatives of the working class and its allies, must effectively suppress the capitalists, imperialists, and their agents, while at the same time expanding the role of the masses in every facet of society.

Once the socialization of the means of productions is complete, and the class antagonisms successfully eliminated, the people will be able to throw out the state completely, as they will finally have created a free, just, and equal society."

And

"'Democracy', as it exists now in most countries around the world, is bourgeois democracy, a system in which the people are free to elect their dictator for a predetermined amount of time.

Bourgeois democracy is nothing more than a disguised dictatorship of the capitalists over the exploited masses. Under bourgeois democracy, every few years, in a process that lasts only a few minutes, the masses are able to select a so-called 'representative' (all of whom truly only represent the capitalists) to rule over them for a predetermined amount of time. After these elections occur, for the remaining days , months and years until the next election, the masses return to being 'subjects,' without the ability to make the decisions which effect their lives..."

One thing the CPUSA points out in their constitution: Initially, the Russian Revolution was relatively bloodless, until imperialist forces intervened. Of course this is how it is hoped it would be. A revolution, a democratic revolution with the support of the masses, would be relatively bloodless, ideally, and this isn't a hope that is unpragmatic in the least. Still, this does not in any way change the fact that it IS a revolution which can deter the return of bourgesie rule in a way simply electing someone cannot under a state capitalist society. To truly think that the common people are represted in a state capitalist republic is naive.

Still, I do not ask for blood, but the means that has a real chance of being permenant and entaisl the least harm to people overall.

Conclusion: What makes a good party today


A good marxist party today is willing to learn from and direct the masses. It will unite with other revolutionary parties and to an extent reactionary parties, although it will take care to retain its identity. Finally it will not place a man before the people. Even while adhering to democratic centralism, and in part because of it, it will be run in a truly democratic manner.

I am highly critical of the CPUSA, but it is currently what I consider to be a true socialist party and an ally to the socialists in the USA, which I would not say of the RCPUSA, as devvoted as the RCPUSA's members are. Based on their idealogy and limited knowledge of their practical doings, I greatly admire the Free People's Movement, although the Worker's World Party is an example of a good party as well.
Last edited by Cata on 25 Jan 2008, 14:07, edited 1 time in total.
Soviet cogitations: 7674
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 11 Nov 2004, 02:08
Embalmed
Post 07 Nov 2006, 20:28
You do have some very good clear points. I know I openly knock what I concider "radical" groups, but this is because in MY opinion they've pushed the concept of factions a little too far. You can, and should have as many possible varying ideals under the socialist branch as possible to offer the greatest degree of democratic choice for the people, one party, therefore one group, is not the answer. At the same time I do believe these groups, though different from eachother should work together instead of being at eachothers necks.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Aug 2006, 17:42
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 07 Nov 2006, 21:01
Quote:
I greatly admire the Free People's Movement, although the Worker's World Party is an example of a good party as well.


I'm not at all familiar with the FPM..

the RCP are maoists and don't like to play with others..
the WWP are categorized as extreme trots yet they are only based in the US.. most trot parties are world affiliated.

Wondered what you felt about that.

on another note..

I know you are critical at times about the CPUSA, but compared to most, they are actually making an effort..

many do nothing..
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 02:51
Embalmed
Post 07 Nov 2006, 23:03
To Canuck:

The backstabbing one sometimes see's really is pathetic for a group that claims its idealogy to be internationalism. This why working with other groups should be integral, although NOT to the point where your party simply becomes a faction of another party, a union organizer, or propaganda vehicle and no more.

Working with the Maoists will be most difficult, however. A few lessons can be learned from them, but it will still be very difficult.

To Chaz:

Yeah, I don't really like Maoism. Maoism seems to be the only subset of Marxism that really expects itself to work in every situation, going against Marx and Engel's proclamation that the dictatorship of the proletariat would be different in different situations.

I would be slow to call the WWP "extreme Trots." They have a HEAVY trotskyist influence, but they still call the "degenerated worker's states" socialist. They admit that some things can be learned from Stalin and others. They're also active with the people through different things such as antiwar programs.

Their lack of an international organization is a setback, but there really is no international orginization that is dominating the seen right now for Trotskyists or really even Marxists.

The FPM seems to base themself on Marx and Engels more than anyone after them, although they draw from a wide varity of sources. I see evidence of strong Leninist influence as well as strong influence from Guavera.

What I don't really know enough about is what they're accomplishing. A party whose theories are dead on but doesn't get anything done isn't a good party. It's hard to know really, though, becuase Marxist parties are small enough to begin with, so if you choose a smaller Marxist party... Well, individual size doesn't matter too much because factionalism is okay right now as long as the factions exist to do grassroots work, but it's that much harder to gauge what kind of party they are.

I do hold the CPUSA above many parties, particularly all the Maoist parties I have looked into. As I've said, they can be an immediate ally for the socialist movement.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 19 Aug 2006, 17:42
Ideology: Marxism-Leninism
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Post 07 Nov 2006, 23:24
i think the extreme trot stance is labeled on them as they are not playing friendly with world trot organizations.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2006, 08:59
Party Bureaucrat
Post 08 Nov 2006, 03:38
Cata, I must say I am really quite impressed with what you write here. Clearly you are thinking things over with deliberation and an open mind. And, if I may say so, coming to more or less correct conclusions.

The RCP doesn't offer much to the masses, it is far too ultra-left. They've misunderstood what Lenin wrote on the matter. I think that their attitude to Iran is highly troubling and chauvinistic. And, finally they make too many idealist errors - they are smoking a lot of crack if they think the Bob worship is going to convince people that he is the big genius they say he is.

The WWP is a good party even if they are frigging Trots
Their anti-imperialist foriegn policy is quite correct. Unfortunately they are guilty of double-dealings with grassroots community groups and rampant sectarianism with other anti-war coalitions, etc. And they never explained publically what happened with the PSL. All I know is that they have an eternal secretariat which never comes up for re-election. That's bad.

The FPM is only a couple of years old, and I've already seen it morph from 1st-international proto-Marxism to whatever deal they've got going now. Despite that, they seem solidly anti-imperialist even though their roots are in the SP-USA & Trotskyism. I'd be afraid that they'd veer into reformism given their past ideological volatility. Personally, another minus is that I don't believe in "internationales" of any kind, which they do, not surprising given their Trot heritage.

Of course, the CPUSA has a glorious tradition but are pale shadow of their former self, organizationally and ideologically. Perhaps the worst is their outrageous Zionism. Their associated organizations refused to march under a banner that said 'Free Palestine' in anti-war demoes and they were absolutely silent on the recent Israeli slaughter of innocent Lebanese people. I don't know if they are trying to court liberal Jews or what, but it's an utter crime to turn a blind eye to the Israel issue. Even if Israel weren't a gendarme of the U.S., a crime is a crime.

Personally, I'm intrigued by an organization that combines most of the good parts of the parties you mention with none of the bad, callled the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (aka Fight Back). I find that the combination of principled anti-revisionism with their unconditional public support of anti-imperialist movements that "other Maoists" would turn their nose up at - FARC, Cuba, Hamas, EZLN, etc. - quite refreshing. They don't consider themselves a full-blown communist party per se, but are building towards a genuine one given precisely the conditions you state.

I'm not a member or a sympathizer or anything like that, but I think you should check them out.

+10 pts. Cata.
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"To know a thing you must study it." --Dagoth Ur
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 02:51
Embalmed
Post 08 Nov 2006, 04:13
I'm okay with Trotsky influence. I'm not so big on Trotskyist parties, although if the people decide they want Trotskyism, I say give them trotskyism.

Quote:
The FPM is only a couple of years old, and I've already seen it morph from 1st-international proto-Marxism to whatever deal they've got going now.


I'm not sure what you mean here.

Quote:
I'd be afraid that they'd veer into reformism given their past ideological volatility. Personally, another minus is that I don't believe in "internationales" of any kind, which they do, not surprising given their Trot heritage.


I think international orginizatins help, but as I said there's not a major international orginization. It just helps give a sense of unity between the working classes of the world and not just a nation, as well as being able to effectively support a certain area if a major issue arises.

I will look at that website you linked.

Out of interest, is there any party you feel you can allign yourself with or are you a freelance communist?

Edit: And thanks for the points. I've been thinking about this for a long time and meaning to say something for a while, although I was being too lazy to get all this out in writing.
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2006, 08:59
Party Bureaucrat
Post 08 Nov 2006, 06:28
pm me.
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"To know a thing you must study it." --Dagoth Ur
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Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 01 Mar 2006, 08:59
Party Bureaucrat
Post 08 Nov 2006, 07:20
Just saw this.

Quote:
Maoism seems to be the only subset of Marxism that really expects itself to work in every situation, going against Marx and Engel's proclamation that the dictatorship of the proletariat would be different in different situations.


Any "Maoist" that does expect some formula to work for every time and place doesn't deserve the tag "Maoist". To the contrary, Mao was renowned for polemicizing against, and rooting out this tendency in the Party. The famous essay On Practice is worth a read. Concepts that have become part of the lexicon of M-L like "Mass Line", "Practice", "from the people, to the people", etc etc were first popularized by Mao.

Mao Tse Tung wrote:
There used to be a number of comrades in our Party who were dogmatists and who for a long period rejected the experience of the Chinese revolution, denying the truth that "Marxism is not a dogma but a guide to action" and overawing people with words and phrases from Marxist works, torn out of context. There were also a number of comrades who were empiricists and who for a long period restricted themselves to their own fragmentary experience and did not understand the importance of theory for revolutionary practice or see the revolution as a whole, but worked blindly though industriously. The erroneous ideas of these two types of comrades, and particularly of the dogmatists, caused enormous losses to the Chinese revolution during l931-34, and get the dogmatists, cloaking themselves as Marxists, confused a great many comrades. "On Practice" was written in order to expose the subiectivist errors of dogmatism and empiricism in the Party, and apecially the error of dogmatism, from the standpoint of the Marxist theory of knowledge. It was entitled "On Practice" because its stress was on exposing the dogmatist kind of subjectivism, which belittles practice. The ideas contained in this essay were presented by Comrade Mao Tse-tung in a lecture at the Anti-Japanese Military and Political College in Yenan.


Generally, those people with the self-appellation "Maoist" or "Marxist-Leninist-Maoist" tend to make ultraleft errors over rightist ones, and ultraleftism (such as with Bordiga) often begets a kind of rigidity, which I think you might be mistaking for the whole "one-size-fits-all" type of errors in political work. Of course, the "one-size-fits-all" error is way too common as well, but of all the branches on the marxist family tree, it is most prevalent amongst the Trots. (Actually all of the errors are most prevalent amongst Trots.
)
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"To know a thing you must study it." --Dagoth Ur
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Soviet cogitations: 8108
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 02:51
Embalmed
Post 08 Nov 2006, 14:52
It's good that Mao didn't expect the "one size fits all" bit, but far too many Maoists think THEIR dogma is the only one worth hearing. I have seen some of this reflected in parties that are big trots. Mostly self proclaimed Trotskyist parties and not ones who just think Trotsky was right about quite a few things.

I do remember reading something from a Trotskyist party in Britain. It was about the situation in Nepal. They praised the Maoists for being truly revolutionary and not working within the bounds of the monarchy like some parties, but they were highly critical of them for not being Trotskyists.

Personally, between a choice of Mao and Trotsky, I'd run away. Accepting either of them as an authority doesn't appeal to me.

Edit again: I guess I can really only speak of prominent Maoists in the US. I do know for instance, though, the MIM and the RCPUSA don't like either, so I suppose Maoists at large could be better with expecting different situations to call for different needs.
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Soviet cogitations: 8108
Defected to the U.S.S.R.: 26 Jun 2006, 02:51
Embalmed
Post 09 Nov 2006, 18:30
I'm reading something now that's interesting.

Quote:
The Workers World Party (WWP) is a non-revolutionary, non-Leninist party. Like the CP, it talks in vague, utopian terms about "socialism." But it portrays this as the consequence of the "fightback." What this means in reality is that it sees socialism as a result of the struggle for reforms, instead of reforms as a by-product of the revolutionary struggle for socialism...
Praise Slatin-http://www.mltranslations.org/US/MLO/mlo1_1.htm


I still think they're one of the better parties though.
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