Three or four types of consciousness?

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  1. Die Neue Zeit
    Die Neue Zeit

    I posted this reply in the thread above:

    So the real question is how do people develop revolutionary consciousness; how do we get from where workers are now to a radical understanding. You suggested in another discussion that it will be from people learning about socialism/anarchism and getting an understanding of communism that will lead to a revolution. If people don't get this consciousness through struggle and radicalization, it seems like you are suggesting that socialist consciousness can only come from propagandizing and spreading the word.

    Although I think it's obviously important to figure out politics and try to understand how to change the world, action is just as important: people have to strike and then ask why the bosses won't let them have a simple common sense (to workers) raise or benefit for our politics to be relevant to them.
    There are three or four types of consciousness: tred-iunionizm and left populism, class consciousness, socialist consciousness, and perhaps a fourth consciousness that I can't name.

    In my experience, socialist consciousness is spread through "education" in "educate, agitate, organize."

    Class consciousness is a different animal from the first type, because this involves posing the question of political power (usually by means of a party and not through syndicalism).

    The fourth type of consciousness, if it can be even called that, would indeed refer to your "action" musings, which come directly from Bakunin and Sorel, not from Marx. This is based on "agitation" in "educate, agitate, organize."

    The most contentious part, of course, deals with Bakunin and Sorel and the whole notion of "moving the masses into action" (Macnair). Thoughts?
  2. Lynx
    As with theory, some insights can only be found through practice (action).
  3. Die Neue Zeit
    Die Neue Zeit
    regardless to whether you believe that workers councils are "ad hoc" or not, you have to understand that Kautsky was wrong about the "consciousness coming from without" thing and Lenin essentially addressed theoretical issues with WITBD before he passed on saying that what he wrote was bias in light of the fight against "Economism"
    You're reading that "scandalous passage" the wrong way.

    There are two or three kinds of consciousness that need to be considered, and "from without" needs to be put into perspective:

    1) So-called "class consciousness," which if understood from a traditional Labour perspective does come from inside the class as a whole;
    2) "Socialist" or "revolutionary" consciousness which can come from inside the class but originates outside the class movement (outside the class as a whole means coming from sources like tenured professors who are coordinator intellectuals and not proletarians) - I wrote my theoretical and programmatic works thus far as a "schoolmaster" outside the class movement; and

    3) Political consciousness/awareness, which is something not addressed in previous theoretical works of mine. This is because, at that time, I never fully understood how to fully define Broad Economism. The trick is to recognize that the "struggle for socialism" is economic and not political, thus meaning that proper class struggles (derived from real class consciousness being part of political consciousness/awareness), ordinary labour struggles up to and including radicalization towards mass labour unrest, and "socialist struggles" are three different animals. Today's deficit of political consciousness/awareness is what prevents ordinary folks from being more politically active beyond marching to the voting booth every few years. Until now, I never fully understood just how more profoundly true and important the Orthodox Marxist concept of "false consciousness" is than Gramsci's theory of hegemony. Where does this political consciousness or awareness come from? All I know so far is that, like socialist or "revolutionary" consciousness, generally it comes from outside any potential worker-class movement but not necessarily the class as a whole.

    BTW, Lars Lih's excellent commentary on Lenin's pamphlet, which explains away my first two points above, can be found on Google Books:
  4. Die Neue Zeit
    Die Neue Zeit
    I didn't know about my earlier position on four types of consciousness, so let me reconcile the two viewpoints above (the second being a repost from my History thread critique of spontaneous workers councils).

    Generic political consciousness/awareness is the "fourth consciousness that I can't name." From this, however, stems actual class consciousness - "posing the question of political power (usually by means of a party and not through syndicalism)."
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