Wake Me When It’s Over

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Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:14 pm

08-03-2015#1
blindpig

Wake Me When It’s Over


Mainstream commentators-- both liberal and conservative-- would like us to believe that Presidential contests are like beauty pageants. Primaries allow the two-party “beauties” to appear before the judges (the voters) to show their wares. Televised debates are meant to expose the contestants’ political personalities. And, in the fine tradition of high-school-civics-book democracy, the people are allowed to decide the winners.
As polished and innocent as this shallow imagery appears, it hides a far more insidious process.
A far better comparison would be with the delightful humbuggery of the Wizard of Oz. Like Dorothy, we are deceived into confusing fantasy with reality. And our corporate media refuses to pull back the curtain to expose the deceit.
Republicans
Take the Republican primary, for example. With 16 (or more) candidates announced as primary contestants, it looks like the textbook-picture of democracy: a political flavor for every Republican. Of course the truth is that most of the candidates have no hope of winning the nomination, but do hope to gain political advantage, jobs, or future consideration. Many candidates appeal to the storm troopers of the Republican Party, the angry bigots, religious zealots, and unhinged war mongers; these forces serve as a social base for a future fascism. But they present a painful contradiction for the Republican Party, a party first and foremost serving the interests of monopoly capital. They can, and have won regional and local power, but they will not win a national election. The leaders of the Republican Party know this. They also know that the vulgar xenophobic right will not necessarily or consistently carry out the corporate agenda.
That's why the Donald Trump campaign is such a problem for the Republicans.
A recent lengthy Wall Street Journal commentary (July 25/26, 2015) featured on the front page of the week-end Review section addresses this problem. Written by a prominent senior fellow at the right-wing Hoover Institute, Peter Berkowitz, the article expresses the tensions in the Party and calls for reconciliation, while promoting the interests of wealth and corporate power. Clearly, the Trump phenomenon is of big concern to Republican king makers. Berkowitz euphemistically distinguishes between “social conservatives” and “limited-government conservatives.”
His social conservatives are the Republican neo-fascists, the Doctor Strangeloves, who would like to boil minorities in oil, nuke the Iranians, and impose Old Testament law on the US. Since World War II, they have been both an essential element of the Republican electoral effort and a hindrance to winning national office. Republican leadership trumped nuke-happy General Douglas MacArthur with the saner, business-friendly, and genial General Dwight Eisenhower in 1952. When Barry Goldwater, a nuclear terrorist and neo-segregationist, won the 1964 nomination and was crushed in the general election, the point was driven home: the wacky-wing of the Republican Party must be mollified, but kept out of national contests.
While Reagan courted and appeased the social conservatives, his imprint is most felt with his restructuring of the relation of labor-to-capital, to the benefit of capital. To that extent, he was the ultimate limited-government (read: corporate) Republican. He served capital well, while fostering a small-town, Midwestern tradition-loving image to appease the rabid-right. While he may have been the ultimate con man, his ease in constructing images and his persuasiveness account for the respect won from supposed political adversaries like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
The Reagan approach-- attack taxes, unions, public services, benefits, pensions, etc. while coddling the haters and those rushing toward Armageddon-- served as the template for Republican national politics until our time. Unfortunately, Donald Trump-- a figure with B-grade acting chops rivaling Ronald Reagan's-- threatens to break the template. Trump's independence imperils Party stability. His open disdain for the rules and conventions demanded by the Republican leadership upsets the process. His imperviousness to Party criticism frightens the Party's watchdogs. His freedom from financial entanglements beyond his own resources erases possible leverage. But most of all, Trump's threat to run in the general election terrorizes Party big wigs.
Trump has brought Republican social conservatism to center stage, presenting a possibly fatal problem to the Party. While some polls show him with a lead, that lead constitutes, at best, 16% of the possible Republican primary voters. Republican leaders know that that will not translate into a majority in a general election, given an electorate largely hostile to the Republican Fringe. Berkowitz, fearing a debacle, urges moderation. He cites rising star Governor Nikki Haley as an example of the kind of tactical acumen needed in this campaign. Her ready sacrifice of the symbolic Confederate battle flag at the South Carolina state capital demonstrated her “maturity,” while safely securing the symbol for “...'those who wish to show their respect for the flag on their private property'.” The games our politicians play!
For Berkowitz, the options are clear. The candidates best representing Republican interests are the limited-government (corporate) candidates, namely, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, and Scott Walker. At the same time he believes that they must be good at “blending and balancing the demands of both schools.”
No one should be confused by the conciliatory tone. Berkowitz and the Republican leadership prefer, insist upon a candidate dedicated first and foremost to serving monopoly capital. They will not allow a campaign sacrificed to nut-case principles. But insofar as Trump may provoke a bloody split or bolt the Party, they are filled with dread.
Undoubtedly, they will get a corporate candidate (likely Jeb Bush, who is raising funds at an unprecedented pace), but at what price?
Democrats
Leftists can only wish that the Democratic Party had these issues. We can only imagine that Hillary Clinton wakes up every night in a cold sweat, dreading the next morning's news about Bernie Sanders. That is not happening.
Unlike the Trump campaign, there is no danger of the Party's left wing (the so-called “progressives”) bolting or disrupting the general election. Sanders has assured the Party establishment that he will not run independently of the Democratic Party or attack the Party or the primary victor. He guarantees that he will remain loyal to the Party throughout the general election-- a loyal soldier. He refuses to attack Clinton, arguing that he prefers the high road. In other words, he eschews Trump's independence.
Like Trump, Sanders polls as high as 16% among Democratic primary voters, far below Clinton's numbers. But unlike Trump, his most loyal followers pose no threat, make no demands on the Party leaders.
As millions of dollars flow into Clinton's campaign coffers, she benefits from both the Sanders and the Trump campaign. The afterglow of the Sanders' populist revival will deflect critics of her corporate allegiances and rabid foreign policy. Trump’s rousing of the Republican Taliban will rekindle the “defeat the ultra-right” crowd who always accept the Party's tacking to the right to win over the “vital” center. We've seen this script before.
So we stand in 2015 in the same position we stood in 2007. The media and commentariat are doing their best (hundreds of millions of advertising dollars are engaged) to create the excitement of a contest where the outcome will ultimately be decided more by fundraisers than by voters. Campaign veterans in both parties estimate that the winning candidate and (her) opponent will spend over a billion dollars before the election.
In this context, a polite “insurgency” within the Democratic Party will not leave a lasting mark on the political scene. To make a difference, an insurgent would need to begin years before an election and build a formidable mass base to counteract the power of money and the entrenched Democratic leadership. The candidate would need to commit to building a movement that would encompass state and local organizations while promising to sustain movement building beyond the current and even future elections. That has not happened in the past and appears most unlikely with the Sanders campaign.
For young idealists inspired by Sanders's departure from political banality, one can only hope that they will learn valuable lessons about the institutional inertia of the two parties and shed any illusions about “knights in shining armor.” Less optimistically, quixotic campaigns like Sanders's, and Howard Dean's before him, can leave a stain of cynicism and inaction.
Is Bernie-mania a second coming of Obama-mania, an exercise of fantasy politics on the part of the left? The test for Sanders supporters who are seasoned veterans of the political wars will come when Clinton wins the Democratic primaries. Will they docilely rally behind her and work for another pro-corporate, war-mongering candidate offering a dubious lesser-of-two-evils? Or will they seek a principled third party candidate (like Jill Stein) who offers a long, unsure, and arduous path, but a path possibly offering real change?
Zoltan Zigedy
zoltanzigedy@gmail

http://zzs-blg.blogspot.com/2015/08/...-its-over.html

Geez, you too ZZ, Jill Stein?
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:17 pm

08-04-2015#2
Dhalgren
Geez, you too ZZ, Jill Stein?
I think that Zoltan is trying to comment within the framework of "the possible", but it is truly depressing.
To make a difference, an insurgent would need to begin years before an election and build a formidable mass base to counteract the power of money and the entrenched Democratic leadership.
This is the key. He is speaking solely about an "insurgency" that would pull "progressives" away from the Democrats.
We "need to begin years before an election and build a formidable mass base to counteract the power of money and the entrenched" American political leadership - that means working class, that means communists. It may take thirty years to build such a working class party, but it must be done.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:18 pm

08-06-2015#3
Kid of the Black Hole
This is the key. He is speaking solely about an "insurgency" that would pull "progressives" away from the Democrats.
We "need to begin years before an election and build a formidable mass base to counteract the power of money and the entrenched" American political leadership - that means working class, that means communists. It may take thirty years to build such a working class party, but it must be done.
Yes, it can be done. But we have to do some exceedingly unpleasant housecleaning first. IMO.

I apologize for my absence of late, but I have been thinking things through very carefully from as many sides as possible before bringing it to public attention (which granted, is mostly the three of us since Anax is worryingly absentee).

I am not good at putting things delicately..

The Zigedy/Keeran bloc (Refounder's movement) is questionably Marxist. One of the lynchpin's of their analysis is what happened in the Soviet Union. In addition to questioning the conclusions they draw on this matter, I question the scholarship (which COMPLETELY reverses the story at some points to arrive at a predetermined conclusion). Further, Zigedy too often lapses into base economism.

I intend to greatly elaborate on these charges, but suffice to say that I believe the moment draws near when we will have no choice but to articulate a break with Zigedy/Keeran. I realize this may sound laughable (three nobodies "breaking" with an virtually unknown blogger!) and counterproductive, but remember that "determination is negation". The only way to hone a materialist outlook is to pare it against competing ideas.

Like I said, I'm prepared to talk about this at length.
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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:20 pm

08-06-2015#4
Dhalgren
Yes, it can be done. But we have to do some exceedingly unpleasant housecleaning first. IMO.

I apologize for my absence of late, but I have been thinking things through very carefully from as many sides as possible before bringing it to public attention (which granted, is mostly the three of us since Anax is worryingly absentee).

I am not good at putting things delicately..

The Zigedy/Keeran bloc (Refounder's movement) is questionably Marxist. One of the lynchpin's of their analysis is what happened in the Soviet Union. In addition to questioning the conclusions they draw on this matter, I question the scholarship (which COMPLETELY reverses the story at some points to arrive at a predetermined conclusion). Further, Zigedy too often lapses into base economism.

I intend to greatly elaborate on these charges, but suffice to say that I believe the moment draws near when we will have no choice but to articulate a break with Zigedy/Keeran. I realize this may sound laughable (three nobodies "breaking" with an virtually unknown blogger!) and counterproductive, but remember that "determination is negation". The only way to hone a materialist outlook is to pare it against competing ideas.

Like I said, I'm prepared to talk about this at length.
I would greatly appreciate hearing your thoughts and taking us through the process you covered. I am past ready for movement. Zoltan has been a single voice in opposition to the wholesale opportunism of Webb et al. But much of his analysis has seemed oddly off-key. I would like to hear a discussion of not only this, but of where we are and where we need to be.
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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:22 pm

08-06-2015#5
blindpig
Yes, it can be done. But we have to do some exceedingly unpleasant housecleaning first. IMO.

I apologize for my absence of late, but I have been thinking things through very carefully from as many sides as possible before bringing it to public attention (which granted, is mostly the three of us since Anax is worryingly absentee).

I am not good at putting things delicately..

The Zigedy/Keeran bloc (Refounder's movement) is questionably Marxist. One of the lynchpin's of their analysis is what happened in the Soviet Union. In addition to questioning the conclusions they draw on this matter, I question the scholarship (which COMPLETELY reverses the story at some points to arrive at a predetermined conclusion). Further, Zigedy too often lapses into base economism.

I intend to greatly elaborate on these charges, but suffice to say that I believe the moment draws near when we will have no choice but to articulate a break with Zigedy/Keeran. I realize this may sound laughable (three nobodies "breaking" with an virtually unknown blogger!) and counterproductive, but remember that "determination is negation". The only way to hone a materialist outlook is to pare it against competing ideas.

Like I said, I'm prepared to talk about this at length.
Zigedy too often lapses into base economism.
OK, I can see that, it is the overwhelming urge to 'do something' which can lead to this. It is the easier road but leads nowhere.

Yeah, it is a hoot, laughable, but what the fuck, somebody gotta do it.

The travails of the last couple years have had me pondering a lot too. Although not the sharpest knife in the drawer(understatement) and with hardly the chops to express myself properly it seems that the only thing that can get our side back in the saddle is RIGOR. Serious and consistent application of materialist analysis.(Hell, dunno if I can do that) And that of course just the basis, because what is needed is nothing less than Lenin's "professional revolutionary", lots of them, with the unavoidable hardship and self-sacrifice. This revolution thing ain't easy, no walk in the rose garden(Mao said that?) and that is counterintuitive to the zeitgeist. Not an easy 'sell'. Materialists analysis should make the necessity of that course clear, however daunting. "Revolution for the hell of it" was so much easier but I guess you get out of it what you put into it.
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:24 pm

08-06-2015#6
Kid of the Black Hole

You guys make me smile so much this morning. Anax once told me that you guy were "the core" even if everyone else veered -- or begged -- off (and "everyone else" is a larger group than former pop indy/bell members). He was right a hundred times over.

To begin the critique of Keeran requires some background information, especially about Soviet history, but here are some key points that I aim to develop (and, hopefully, we can develop things collaboratively because it will take some doing)

1. Keeran's claim that counterrevolution starts with Nikolai Bukharin are not only bunk but a simple reproduction of a Western slander that the West whipped up AFTER realizing that Bukharin/NEP had come to serve as a symbol for liberalization in places like Czechoslovokia. Even anti- Soviets like Stephen Cohen dispute the direct connection (writing that "Bukharin was no democrat") while playing up the link in general (this in the early 70s).

2. It seems that the wave of (US) scholarship from the late 60s was interested in rejecting/supplanting the Trotskyite narrative that allowed only Trotsky as a "programmatic alternative" to 'Stalinism'. Instead Trotsky is written off as motivated mainly by personal differences with Stalin the man (as opposed to the politician). The idea of "programmatic alternatives" need to be dissected.

2a. This point may be an aside to the larger argument, but Cohen et al are broadly wrong about Trotsky even if their analysis does hold up when considering Trotsky's personal background and individual failings.

3. The NEP was wildly successful but essentially sparked a civil war in the countryside. It is important to develop a bit about Trotsky because it is in his views on the peasantry that we find a cipher to the conflict within the party about how to handle agriculture and the rural population in general. Tangentially, this will also explain Trotsky's HIGHLY bizarre behavior from 1926 onward for the last 15 (mostly irrelevant) years of his life.

3a. some modern estimations contend that collectivization of agriculture did not greatly impel Soviet industrialization. Typically, this conclusion is taken as an indictment of the rapid, hastily implemented and very aggressive program of Stalin as unnecessary or misguided. I am interested in exploring the data on this question which I think has some *limiited* validity but I am more keen to argue that dekulakization was largely a POLITICAL move than an outright economic necessity as it is often presented (of course the two go hand in hand so the case I make will be at a high layer of abstraction and quite contingent). Given that economic factors are to be seen as less (but not in-)consequential -- this lets us leave alone the question of trying to quantify how productive it was in the short term (in the long term not modernizing agriculture was completely inimical to socialism)

4. "Stalinism" (more properly War Communism) was an extension of the Civil War/Allied Invasion and was fundamentally an argument playing out in real time over the role of Party in society. It is the EXACT SAME underlying disagreement that split Lenin and the Bolsehviks from Martov and the Mensheviks (and Trotsky). Trotsky and Stalin came to represent the two poles of the debate (Tsritsyn/Stalingrad is an exemplar of what was at stake)

I have to do some work outside but I plan to return to this post within the hour.
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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:26 pm

08-06-2015#7
Kid of the Black Hole

Continuing (quick note -- the "s" key on my keyboard is sticking so there may be an inordinate amount of typos due to this)

Jumping past the Great Patriotic War, Khruschev was NOT a revisionist if such a thing exists. The concept of revisionism itself is highly suspect. The primary charges leveled to make the case of revisionism are Destalinization and Detente/Peaceful Coexistence and these are drawn largely from Sino/Slav sources.

5. After Stalin's death the head of the secret police, Beria, became the de facto "prime mover" of the Party (due to Soviet internal politics and the fact that Beria was an ethnic Georgian like Stalin, it was not directly possible for Beria to become the "leader" of the Party which was ostensibly Khruschev since other distinguished politicians, like Molotov were content to play more retreating roles.

5a. During his so-called "100 Days" before he was arrested and subsequently executed, Beria basically revealed him to be..Gorbachev!!! This was one hell of an about face (similar to Bismarck in its stunningness).

You can go through Keeran's book Socialism Betrayed and tick off items on his check list -- Beria followed the same course. The entire CC agreed with his policy of Destalinization (which preceded Khruschev although not so melodramatically as in the Secret Speech). Beria moved (naturally, as head of the police? I'm not sure) to empower the state at the expense of the Party, freed scores of prisoners -- around 1 million some of them common criminals -- and immediately began stoking ethnic differences and political conflict in Belarussia, Georgia, Azerbajhan, and so on. Oddly, Western historians see this move as a cynical ploy by Beria to consolidate his own power..even as virtually the same moves are viewed in entirely different light when Gorbachev pursues them.

There was a also shift in agricultural policy, although it is slightly unclear to me what the ramifications of this were as there was a feud between Khruschev and Beria (and others who leaned more toward the "intelligentsia" such as Shepilov) on certain building projects.

There was near capitulation on the issue of the GDR which was in deep crisis at the time. Beria's Memorandum was begrudgingly accepted by the CC on the grounds that something had to be done. The only concession Beria was forced to make was redacting the call to "halt the construction of socialism in Germany" and instead urging a slowing. This resolution was forced down the throat of Ulbricht (GDR leader) and NOT exclusively by Beria.

Lastly, Detente was already in the air. There were quick negotiations regarding an end to the Korean War after Stalin's death and some friendly gestures by the Soviets toward the Americans intended to signal a less strident posture.

5b. This is a personal opinion and I am open to reevaluating the matter, but I feel that Beria's arrest could have easily corresponded to 1991 had the Gang of Eight arrested Boris Yeltsin. There are very large implications to be explored if this opinion is even *defensible* (let alone if it "true" which of course is very murky since it is a counterfactual). One thing that bolsters the case in my mind is that Beria was NOT executed for excesses in the Stalin period. In fact, that time frame was assiduously avoided in the proceedings (in the West they claim this is because the rest of the CC would have to implicate themselves). He was cast as a wrecker of socialism after Stalin's death and some questionable elements of his past were dredged up (probably unfairly -- Khruschev was veritably obsessed in proving that Beria had been a double agent 40 years earlier as a teen)

The largest point here is that far from betraying socialism, Khruschev marshalled the opposition that likely SAVED the Soviet Union.

5c. Detente was really what precipitated the Sino/Soviet split although it was consummated on PRACTICAL and NOT IDEOLOGICAL grounds (and it took over a decade for that consummation to occur). The Soviets were looking at a Europe were socialism appeared on the rise in parliaments across the Continent and repression was relatively low. Of course from their perspective the issue was easing tensions and pursuing bilateral disarmament -- this was easily the biggest threat to them and the world order established out of the aftermath of the War.

5d. Meanwhile, in China, repression loomed very, very large all across Asia of communists, unionists, and other worker activists. The US had an entrenched Bulwark in Taiwan that was intolerable. Still, they needed the USSR for self defense purposes (getting the bomb was a high priority for CCP for this reason). Of course there were many signs of the division -- the Great Leap Forward was in many ways an attempt to show up the Soviets.

But things didn't truly come to a head until China felt comfortable in its own skin (not to downplay the constant internecine turmoil). At this point much of the rhetoric -- which was always off and on and often contradictory for years and years -- came to a point and was ratcheted up. "Revisionism", "betrayers" et cetera. It also coincided with a great period of internal upheaval where the same rhetoric lent the ideological backbone of the many, many "Campaigns" initiated by Mao.

5e. Stephen Gowans has argued that Peaceful Coexistence was mainly a slogan with little actual content that was used in the hope of dialing down mutual aggression without capitulating much of anything. Sure it pissed off communists in the West but its not as if they were going to foment revolution either way (the Soviets took a dim view of the matter dating at least back to when Trotsky kept stalling the signing of Brest to give the German masses time to wise up and rise up..which didn't happen)

Gowans is mistaken here because Khruschev/the Soviets clearly saw disarmament as an existential issue and were by all accounts very sincere on the matter. In fact, the story goes that specialists were withdrawn from China after Gromyko (a guy who had a job to do and did it solidly) was told by the Chinese that 300 million deaths were an acceptable cost to drive the US out of Taiwan. This gives you an insight into the DEEPLY abiding differences in mentality between the two states.
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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:28 pm

08-06-2015#8
Kid of the Black Hole

I am reserving the final conclusions for a separate post for emphasis. There may be more as we rearrange some of these points and add additional material so consider this a tentative outline.

1. "Revisionism" is NOT a sustainable position. It is a primrose path that leads you to conclude that almost EVERYONE is a wrecked/betrayer/revisionist. Zhou Enlai was at least partially responsible for drawing up the policy shifts of Deng. Was he a betrayer? Many, many more examples can be provided (even, dubiously, the case of Trotsky).

2. The fall of this USSR was a POLITICAL counterrevolution and not (necessarily) an economic collapse. Keeran is well aware that Gorbachev was the chosen successor of Andropov (and Gorb basically ran things during the Chernenko interim anyway, since Chernenko had End Stage Renal Disease or something). To advance the theory that Gorbachev was the ultimate sleeper agent for the West is to make him out to be Alexander Yakovlev -- and it is not a question of nuanced differences IMO.

I personally feel that the only way Keeran can even hope to advance his case is to outright replace Gorbachev with Yakovlev as his villain. Gorbachev as the chief antagonist is facile and too problematic. Yakovlev was the chief architect of glasnot and perestroika and also the man responsible for stirring up (and mostly replacing with Westernized cronies) the intelligentsia who became the drivers of the counterrevolution. It is estimated that this action was carried out by less than 100 men through journals, newspapers, tv, and other media.

2a. Even Yakovlev conceded that the demise of the USSR was not foreordained and it could have proceeded in a technocratic direction a la China. In saying this he basically gloats that they were successful beyond their wildest dreams.

3. This is not a direct conclusion from the above, but IMO it is worth getting to know Bukharin. Of all the Old Bolsheviks he is the only one who reminds me of Engels. I don't think there is much risk of overstating his prominence as a theorist of the Soviet Union because he was THAT significant in the development of theory (he was the first to give a systematic critique of marginalism/Bohm-Bawerk..who is the guy quoted in my signature).

I think an evaluation of Bukharin will flow naturally if we pursue the items I've already listed above so for now this can be relegated to a footnote. Trust me, the more you get to know him the more you're going to like him.
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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:31 pm

08-06-2015#9
Kid of the Black Hole
because what is needed is nothing less than Lenin's "professional revolutionary", lots of them, with the unavoidable hardship and self-sacrifice.
Exactly this! Lenin later questioned whether the experience could be replicated outside of Russia where they had a 50 year period of hardening (see his State and Revolution). My arcing thesis is that every issue within Really Existing Socialism in some way boils down to the role of the Party and this in turn is directly connected to the conception of the Party in the first place, which dates back to Lenin (and Lenin more or less committed political suicide on several occasions to safeguard the conception that eventually became Bolshevism).

All betrayal essentially comes from the wavering, schizophrenia, and opportunistic vacillations of the unreliable elements (thats Gorbachev to a "T" for instance -- which is not the same as the master of intrigue manipulating the puppet strings such as Yakovlev and possibly Beria). The more sinister elements are not betrayers for the simple reason that they only loosely subscribe to socialism when it suits them -- even that may be a generous characterization.

Lenin and Martov famously split over the very *slightest* difference in the definition of what constituted a Party member. Two or three words of difference. The echoes of the underlying dispute continue to be felt even today.
Zoltan has been a single voice in opposition to the wholesale opportunism of Webb et al. But much of his analysis has seemed oddly off-key. I would like to hear a discussion of not only this, but of where we are and where we need to be.
My intention is not to discredit Zigedy or deny credit where it is due. However, sharpening our thinking and ourselves is paramount. One of the reasons I put on hold the idea of calling a founding Congress such as we were discussing is because in thinking about who would participate I came to the conclusion that any organization would be riven by too much dissent/strife to get off the ground. Trying to jam Bruce Dixon and/or Glen Ford into a Bolshevik-styled party not only wouldn't work, it would detract from what they are doing. Their contributions are excellent and much-needed but need to be augmented/advanced/channeled on solidly communist footing.

That task is where we come in. Everyone else is going to backslide to some degree (look at the disaster with the Houston CP). When we find others who ARE reliable, we'll know it because they'll stick around.
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Re: Wake Me When It’s Over

Post by blindpig » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:35 pm

08-06-2015#10
Kid of the Black Hole
Although not the sharpest knife in the drawer(understatement) and with hardly the chops to express myself properly it seems that the only thing that can get our side back in the saddle is RIGOR.
My brother feels exactly the same way. In fact, he is reticent to post for exactly that reason. He feels ill-equipped to post because he has not studied Marxism in any depth. Personally, I don't worry so much about being "wrong" . I try to recognize my own shortcomings as best I can and I try to not be so brash that I can pull back when I inevitably overstep . Being wrong is ok to a point (except on the big things) because learning is an ITERATIVE process.

Let me cheer you up with a piece by Rosa Luxemborg in her Junius Pamphlet (written in prison):
Violated, dishonored, wading in blood, dripping filth – there stands bourgeois society. This is it [in reality]. Not all spic and span and moral, with pretense to culture, philosophy, ethics, order, peace, and the rule of law – but the ravening beast, the witches’ sabbath of anarchy, a plague to culture and humanity. Thus it reveals itself in its true, its naked form.

In the midst of this witches’ sabbath a catastrophe of world-historical proportions has happened: International Social Democracy has capitulated. To deceive ourselves about it, to cover it up, would be the most foolish, the most fatal thing the proletariat could do. Marx says: “...the democrat (that is, the petty bourgeois revolutionary) [comes] out of the most shameful defeats as unmarked as he naively went into them; he comes away with the newly gained conviction that he must be victorious, not that he or his party ought to give up the old principles, but that conditions ought to accommodate him.”[3] The modern proletariat comes out of historical tests differently. Its tasks and its errors are both gigantic: no prescription, no schema valid for every case, no infallible leader to show it the path to follow. Historical experience is its only school mistress. Its thorny way to self-emancipation is paved not only with immeasurable suffering but also with countless errors. The aim of its journey – its emancipation depends on this – is whether the proletariat can learn from its own errors. Self-criticism, remorseless, cruel, and going to the core of things is the life’s breath and light of the proletarian movement. The fall of the socialist proletariat in the present world war is unprecedented. It is a misfortune for humanity. But socialism will be lost only if the international proletariat fails to measure the depth of this fall, if it refuses to learn from it.
(incidentally, the betrayal of the 2nd International was perhaps not QUITE as damaging as the fall of the SU..but it was damn close. Yet it was instrumental in forging the Men of Steel that followed).
"We ask no compassion from you. When our turn comes, we shall not make excuses for the terror."

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