Autor: Emil

~ 01/01/12

-Originally posted at Revleft on 9th December 2011-

By now I’ve written extensively on the question of democracy, partyism, vanguards and more on this blog. Comrade RedBrother however had a few questions that made me realise that I’ve taken for granted some underlying principles.

I’ll post the comrade’s questions and my reply to him (that I sent through pm as visitor messages have a limit of 1000 characters) here for reference.

[Quoting user “RedBrother”]

Hey so I read your blog post, but I still can’t wrap my head around what we are actually united for. We don’t uphold the party line, we post dissenting newsletters, and we take different actions? What exactly is the purpose of this vanguard party without splits if we will all be acting as if it were a split organization. Unless we are united in action all the time and I misread what you wrote. One last thing, how would this work if say we disagreed over Libya at the beginning say I thought that the Libyan revolutionaries were imperialist agents, and someone else thought that they were genuine democratic revolutionaries. How would we take action there?

Given that the number of characters in the visitor messages is limited to 1000, I’ll reply here:

Hi there and thanks for reading my blog.

As for your question, there are several underlying theses in my position:
1. The working class has to liberate itself if it wants to transcend capital. This is done through the fight to reach communism.
2. This implies majoritarian politics, or, in other words, organising the working class as a class for its own. This as opposed to minoritarian politics of tiny grouplets trying to radicalise the working class and “con it into power” via the general strike. I’ve written here on that subject.
3. Since organising the working class as a class for its own isn’t going to happen “spontaniously” or in a short amount of time, this implies long term political education and organising work. Therefore we need a partyist project of trying to unite the class movement on a communist programme.
4. This inevitably means uniting diverse traditions in which the Marxist tradition may be a minority if we (the left) aren’t the initiators of such party-movement. The underlying point here is that unity can only happen if it is voluntary, which implies freedom of expression be it that there is a democratic vote on concrete decisions. Likewise, the Marxist left can use this political freedom to campaign for a communist programme.
4a. If the rightwing is powerful enough to use bureaucratic measures against the left, this means that the communists have to explicitly organise in a communist party. It however does not mean that we should stop to engage with the existing workers movement and fight for political freedoms within that movement.
4b. On the other hand, the Marxist left can be an initiator of a unity project around a communist program. It can do this by overcoming its own sectarian shadow and unite itself, thereby gaining a serious social weight and becoming a serious option for workers to organise around.
5. The point of radical democracy within our movement runs deeper however. In the first place is it the only way to politicise workers and get them to think and engage about politics themselves, as opposed to leaving politics to “the professionals”. This is a necessary step if the working class is to ever seize political power and become a ruling class.
6. Furthermore still, given that all states, in the last analysis, are party states, the democratic republican nature of our party will also be a reflection of our future state. That is, a radical democratic regime in which the people are genuinely sovereign and where there is therefore a genuine democracy given the vast majority of the working class within society. Therefore the dictatorship of the proletariat can only be a democratic republic, as Engels already pointed out in 1891.

I think Mark Fischer of the Weekly Worker put it quite well in a recent article about their 30 years of existence:

The second aspect of the method of TL which still holds today is that we are about uniting the revolutionary left under a genuine regime of democratic centralism – not as a set of organisational norms, but as an open process of winning and continually consolidating communist unity around a revolutionary programme.
(emphasis added)

In other words, proletarian unity can only be seen as a dynamic process, via democracy and therefore a “unity in disagreement”. The alternative, unity enforced through bureaucracy, is always in the interests of the capitalist regime (or, as history turned out, of the Stalinist regimes) never in the interests of workers self-emancipation, and for that reason reactionary and a prime target of communists.

I hope this explains 🙂

This concludes my series of Revleft blogs. Future postings may still occur and will be transferred directly to this blog too.

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