Thread: Is there a difference between the terms communist/workers/peoples revolutionary party

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    Default Is there a difference between the terms communist/workers/peoples revolutionary party

    What is the difference between a "Communist Party" a "Peoples revolutionary party" or a "party of labor" or a "workers party"? I know back in the Soviet days they had specific meanings that refered to specific stages of development.... Or am I wrong? Does anyone know what I'm talking about?
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    Nope. They all mean an authoritarian oligarchy shrouded with the veil of an organisation for the good of the People.
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    According to Shakespeare:

    What's in a name? That which we call a rose,
    By any other name would smell as sweet
    There is American Party of Labor which is Marxist-Leninist and Labor Party (UK) which is Social Democratic. The name of party isn’t main thing. The main thing is ideology, I think.
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    Ideology and practice.
    Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full.-Leon Trotsky

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    I'm refering specifically to Cold War jargon, for example: the Khmer Rouge started out as the "Khmer People's Revolutionary Party", a people's revolutioanry party being a party that works to mobilize all the revolutioanry strata in society where the material conditions for socialist revolution are lacking. "Peoples revolutionary partiess" appeared all over the "undeveloped" world (like Mongolia). I was wondering if anyone had any more information on this and about what the other names meant among M-L organizations back then
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    It doesn't matter what the party is called, it matters what the programme is. That being said, Lenin stopped calling himself a social democrat and started calling himself a communist to differentiate himself after social democracy supported WWI. I think we may have to "re-brand" ourselves again to remove the taint of Stalinism. The use of worker seems to have been used initially by Trotskyists to distance themselves from the "official" Communist Parties which were Stalinist. The "People's Revolutionary" term has often been used in lesser developed countries where there was a small proletariat. Almost a popular front term for a party.
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    It doesn't matter what the party is called, it matters what the programme is. That being said, Lenin stopped calling himself a social democrat and started calling himself a communist to differentiate himself after social democracy supported WWI. I think we may have to "re-brand" ourselves again to remove the taint of Stalinism. The use of worker seems to have been used initially by Trotskyists to distance themselves from the "official" Communist Parties which were Stalinist. The "People's Revolutionary" term has often been used in lesser developed countries where there was a small proletariat. Almost a popular front term for a party.
    I think that you're taking Kamil's question a bit literally. S/he was asking about the conceptual distinctions made within the terms of Marxist-Leninist theory, not just about the labels used.
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    Nope. They all mean an authoritarian oligarchy shrouded with the veil of an organisation for the good of the People.
    Are you fucking serious?
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    Historically, during the early 1920s, the Third International had all of its sections change their name to "Communist Party" to reduce ambiguity. With a few exceptions, the Comintern sections stuck with the name and the Moscow line until the late 60s / early 70s at the earliest.

    This wasn't always the case with the ruling parties of the states that the USSR set up after World War II. Poland was run by the Polish United Workers' Party, the GDR by the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED), Albania by the Albanian Party of Labor and the DPRK of course remains ruled by the Workers Party. Czechoslovakia, Hungary Romania, and Bulgaria were ruled by their respective Communist Parties. In China and Vietnam the parties also kept the name Communist Party. Cuba was a unique case - after the merger of the 26th of July Movement (M26J) and the Popular Socialist Party (PSP) the new party was actually called the Communist Party, a label that had previously been discarded by the PSP.

    Anti-Moscow communist parties have had wildly different names. For instance, "Revolutionary Communist Party" in Britain was used by a prominent Trotskyist party, but in the US and Canada it's been used by Maoist parties. "Workers Party" was actually the name of the above-ground, legal wing of the early US Communist Party (before 1924). It was adopted by a small party led by A.J. Muste in the early '30s, which then fused with the Communist League to briefly become the Workers Party of America. After a brief entry in the Socialist Party, the Trotskyists emerged with the name Socialist Workers Party, which has stuck for many different groups around the world.

    As for the name "People's Revolutionary Party," this seems to have come out of the Mongolian People's Party, which simply had the word "Revolutionary" added into it. If it caught on after that, it was probably as a reference to Mongolia.

    Now, a lot of different third-world groups have had the word "front" involved, such as the FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) or the FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front) in Nicaragua and El Salvador. These usually involve the fact that they are not simply a party but are usually a popular front, of revolutionary and nationalist fighters, in a guerrilla war.

    There's often a lot of history in a name. But they won't tell you everything.
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    They are all different names for a Communist Party, one reason they use these different names is because the word 'Communist' to many people, even workers, symbolises evil thanks to Western propaganda.

    Always be careful though, a Workers party or Labour party may just be a liberal or social democratic party,
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    Always be careful though, a Workers party or Labour party may just be a liberal or social democratic party,
    In the case of a "Labour Party", that's to be expected. A "Labour Party" is traditionally the political wing of a national trade union movement, something within which very few Leninist or Marxist-Leninist tendencies have ever been able to achieve primacy without active state intervention in their favour. The various Marxist-Leninist "Labour Parties" could quite accurately be described as engaging in false advertisement, if it wasn't for the fact that the usage was so self-evidently spurious as to fool nobody whatsoever.
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    In the case of a "Labour Party", that's to be expected. A "Labour Party" is traditionally the political wing of a national trade union movement
    This is actually only true in a limited way. That is, the "Labour setup" of social-democracy (the political wing of the trade union movement) is a specific anglo-saxon (that is, the UK and its former colonies) phenomena. I haven't seen it in that form on "continental" Europe, where social-democracy traditionally has had much looser ties to the trade unions (and consequently have much less of a class character).

    Labour in the UK on the other hand still has a close TUC link and for that reason maintains a (contradictionary) class character. That is, at least during election times the working class is specifically addressed as a class. This is not the case in "continental" European social-democratic parties, or at least not to the same extent.

    This is something not widely understood for some reason, so I thought I'd write it out for once. I believe this has strategical implications in how communists should relate to the Labour parties, which is different from how we should relate (if at all) to the social-democratic parties. But that is of course a long running debate.
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    Not necessarily. Our party here calls itself the New Democratic Party, and calls itself a social-democratic party. The NDP's predecessor was the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation.

    I should also refute your "looser ties to the trade unions (and consequently have much less of a class character)" statement. The first part is true, but the pre-war SPD and inter-war USPD had more of a class character in spite of the first part of your statement.

    Why? They had a workers-only voting membership policy.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

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    Not necessarily. Our party here calls itself the New Democratic Party, and calls itself a social-democratic party. The NDP's predecessor was the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation.

    I should also refute your "looser ties to the trade unions (and consequently have much less of a class character)" statement. The first part is true, but the pre-war SPD and inter-war USPD had more of a class character in spite of the first part of your statement.

    Why? They had a workers-only voting membership policy.
    I guess I shouldn't have been so generalising. In fact, I was just pointed to the fact that the trade unions started to exert considerable political pressure on the SPD from 1909 onwards, no doubt playing a role in its degeneration to trade-unionist (that is, bureaucratic and within the system) politics. Said otherwise, the SPD became more like Labour in this period.

    Today however, things have moved on and the social-democratic leaderships are now far to the right of your typical union leadership. In the Labour parties this is countered by the remaining trade union link, while the "continental" social-democracy has drifted onwards and lost any class character.
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    "Continental Social Democracy," even at present, is still more left wing than Labour. Note this crap:

    Union wants F-35 job guarantees
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
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    "Continental Social Democracy," even at present, is still more left wing than Labour. Note this crap:

    Union wants F-35 job guarantees
    In that case we need to decouple the notions "left" and "right" from class, which was my original point

    I.e. the "continental" social-democracy may be more leftwing on this or that issue. It doesn't however address the working class as a class. Its discours is that of tax cuts, "knowledge economy" (regarding education), giving small businesses a fairer chance, etc. So, in discourse it's not very different from, say, the Christian-Democrats, be it that they're more to the left of it.
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    ^^^ You could argue, in that case, that it was "Marxism-Leninism" of all the left ideologies that really had the closest links with the working class (hence the jabs at "petit-bourgeois" Trotskyism):

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/class-neve...771/index.html
    http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.p...3&postcount=34

    It's all because of the class demographics legacy the Lenin Levy left behind, for good and for ill. It's also because they achieved universal unionization, a hallmark failure of social democracies.
    Last edited by Die Neue Zeit; 12th August 2011 at 01:49.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)
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    I know this thread is a month old, but "People's Revolutionary Party" and "Labour Party" were used to refer to a Party which, in the view of Lenin and Stalin, could not quite properly be considered a "Communist Party."

    See for instance this: http://www.marxists.org/archive/leni...21/nov/05b.htm
    Comrade Lenin’s answer:
    “I have been in the revolutionary movement myself for thirty years and I know by experience how difficult it is for any people to liberate themselves from their external and internal enslavers. Although Mongolia is a cattle-breeding country and the bulk of her population are nomad herdsmen, she has achieved great progress in her revolution, and most important of all, has made good these successes by creating a People’s Revolutionary Party of her own, whose aim is to become a mass party uncluttered by alien elements.”
    The Mongolian delegation’s third question: “Ought not the People’s Revolutionary Party be transformed into a Communist Party?”
    Comrade Lenin’s reply:
    “I should not recommend it, because one party cannot be ‘transformed’ into another.” Comrade Lenin explained the essence of a Communist Party as a party of the proletariat, and said: “The revolutionaries will have to put in a good deal of work in developing state, economic and cultural activities before the herdsman elements become a proletarian mass, which may eventually help to ‘transform’ the People’s Revolutionary Party into a Communist Party. A mere change of signboards is harmful and dangerous.”
    And Hoxha's meeting with Stalin in 1947: http://www.marxists.org/reference/ar...alin/meet1.htm
    On this occasion, I also gave Comrade Stalin a general outline of the social-class structure of our Party and explained that this structure faithfully reflected the very social structure of our people.

    "This is the reason," I said, "why communists of peasant social status at present comprise the largest number of the members of our Party. The policy of our Party in this direction is that, step by step, parallel with the growth of the working class, the number of worker communists should increase respectively."

    While assessing the policy which our Party had followed towards the masses in general and the peasantry in particular as correct, Comrade Stalin gave us some valuable, comradely advice about our work in the future. Apart from other things, he expressed the opinion that since the biggest percentage of its members were peasants, our Communist Party should call itself "The Party of Labour of Albania". "However," he stressed, "this is only an idea of mine, because it is you, your Party, that must decide."
    Dimitrov noted in his diary that Stalin wanted the Communist Party of Bulgaria transformed into a Labour Party as well. From The Diary of Georgi Dimitrov, pp. 413-414: "You have to establish a Labour Party in Bulgaria. Unite within such a party your own party and the other parties of the working people (for example, the Agrarian Party). It is not an advantage to have a workers’ party and then call it Communist. Earlier, the Marxists had to isolate the working class within a separate workers’ party. At that time, they were in the opposition. Now you participate in governing the country. You must unite the working class and the other working strata on the basis of a minimal program, and later there will be time for the maximal program. Peasants consider the workers’ party as alien, but they will look at a labor party as their own. I strongly recommend that you do that. A labor party or a worker-peasant party is very suitable for a country like Bulgaria. That would be a people’s party. I can assure you that you would lose nothing; on the contrary, you would only gain. From the point of view of the country’s international position, that would only make your tasks easier for you. In character the party will be Communist, but it will have a broader basis and a convenient mask for the present period."
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  30. #19
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    Ismail: What about 'Party of Labour'? There seems to be an obvious distinction between 'Labour Party' (the Social Democratic concept) and 'Party of Labour' (often seem to be Hoxhaist/M-L hardliners). Where does this come from, i'd be interested to know?
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    Ismail: What about 'Party of Labour'? There seems to be an obvious distinction between 'Labour Party' (the Social Democratic concept) and 'Party of Labour' (often seem to be Hoxhaist/M-L hardliners). Where does this come from, i'd be interested to know?
    "Party of Labour" and "Labour Party" are the same thing as far as Stalin was concerned. As I noted in my post Stalin suggested it for the Albanian and Bulgarian Communists because of the strong influence the peasantry had in both countries. Obviously the British Labour Party was different from this conception of the word and Stalin obviously realized as such.

    Of course in the modern world, where most countries do not have a significant peasantry, it can just be used as another name for "Communist Party," and obviously the Albanian Communists having "PLA" instead of "CPA" as an acronym didn't change the fact that they were by far the most "hardline" of parties in the Eastern Bloc.

    Also note the following:

    "We now know that on 20 April 1941, at a closed dinner at the Bolshoi Theater, Stalin... [r]effering to the fact that the American Communists had disaffiliated from the Comintern in order to avoid prosecution under the Voorhis Act... declared,

    'Dimitrov is losing his parties. That's not bad. On the contrary, it would be good to make the Com[munist] parties entirely independent instead of being sections of the CI. They must be transformed into national Com. parties under various names—Labor Party, Marxist Party, etc. The name doesn't matter. What is important is that they take root in their own people and concentrate on their own special tasks. The situation and tasks vary greatly from country to country, for instance in England and Germany, they are not at all the same. When the Com. parties get strong in this fashion, then you'll reestablish their international organization.'

    Stalin continued:

    'The [First] International was created in the days of Marx in anticipation of an early world revolution. The Comintern was created in the days of Lenin in a similar period. At present the national tasks for each country move into the forefront. But the status of Com. parties as sections of an international organization, subordinate to the Executive of the CI, is an obstacle.... Don't hold on to what was yesterday. Strictly take into account the newly created circumstances... Under present conditions, membership in the Comintern makes it easier for the bourgeoisie to persecute the Com. parties and accomplish its plan to isolate them from the masses in their own countries, while it hinders the Com. parties' independent development and task-solving as national parties.'"
    (Alexander Dallin & Fridrikh I. Firsov. Dimitrov and Stalin: 1934-1943. Hew Haven: Yale University Press. 2000. pp. 226-227.)

    So obviously by 1947 Stalin retained his position: utilize "Labour Party" (or in the Albanian case, "Party of Labour") to stress the unity of the proletariat and peasantry under People's Democracy, but that doesn't actually mean it ceases being a party led by communists.
    * h0m0revolutionary: "neo-liberalism can deliver healthy children, it can educate them, it can feed them, it can clothe them and leave them fully contented."
    * rooster: "Supporting [anti-imperialism] is reactionary. How is any nation supposed to stand up [to] the might of the US anyway?"
    * nizan: "Fuck your education is empowerment bullshit, education is alienation, nothing more. You indulge in a dying prestige for a role in a bureaucratic spectacle deserving of nothing beyond contempt."
    * Alexios: "To the Board Administration: Ismail [...] needs to be eliminated from this forum."
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