Thread: Socialism's Future May Be Its Past

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    Default Socialism's Future May Be Its Past

    One hundred years after Lenin's sealed train arrived at Finland Station and set into motion the events that led to Stalin's gulags, the idea that we should return to this history for inspiration might sound absurd. But there was good reason that the Bolsheviks once called themselves 'social democrats.'


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    Interesting. It's more than foolhardy, though, to assume that a revolution today will be in any better of a position to carry out an uncompromising procedural democracy.
    While we should learn from the mistake of "making a virtue of necessity," the necessity is still there to sustain a revolution in the midst of inevitable resistance. If the initial resistance in Russia was largely from the old feudal ruling class, the resistance of global capital today will only be more stubborn and dangerous.

    Also,

    Worker-owned cooperatives, still competing in a regulated market
    lol.

    Even so, this writer has some good points.
    "I'm a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will." - Antonio Gramsci

    "If he did advocate revolutionary change, such advocacy could not, of course, receive constitutional protection, since it would be by definition anti-constitutional."
    - J.A. MacGuigan in Roach v. Canada, 1994
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    Rejecting the Bolshevik model will be a pre-requisite for successful revolution.
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    Interesting. It's more than foolhardy, though, to assume that a revolution today will be in any better of a position to carry out an uncompromising procedural democracy.

    My understanding is that a greater proportion of the world's population has been proletarianized than ever before.



    While we should learn from the mistake of "making a virtue of necessity," the necessity is still there to sustain a revolution in the midst of inevitable resistance. If the initial resistance in Russia was largely from the old feudal ruling class, the resistance of global capital today will only be more stubborn and dangerous.

    Also,

    Worker-owned cooperatives, still competing in a regulated market


    Agreed -- this is the half-assed anarchist 'market socialism' material-economic model, which happens to retain *exchange values* (in inter-communal bartering of goods / resources / materials, effectively *commodifying* them).



    Even so, this writer has some good points.

    ---



    Rejecting the Bolshevik model will be a pre-requisite for successful revolution.

    This is just as dogmatic regarding revolutionary strategy as the *centralization* model that you abhor, a vanguard party.

    I'm strategically *neutral* and non-sectarian over this matter, because I think much regarding revolutionary strategy would depend on *actual* class struggle (upheaval) circumstances at the time. We shouldn't presumptuously *prescribe* a concrete approach before we're even *at* the point of insurrection, though I happen to think that we'd probably need some kind of overall *coordinating body* -- perhaps a simple mass-participatory 'vanguard' of revolutionary workers, as here at RevLeft -- to tackle the probably-inevitable counterrevolution-from-above.
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    Rejecting the Bolshevik model will be a pre-requisite for successful revolution.

    You aren't looking for a revolution and you are not a revolutionary. You are an eschatological devotee. You are awaiting an end that will never happen because the wait is the only thing that will sustain you in the political world.
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    One hundred years after Lenin's sealed train arrived at Finland Station and set into motion the events that led to Stalin's gulags, the idea that we should return to this history for inspiration might sound absurd.
    Lenin's sealed train set into motion the events that led to the foundation of the USSR - the highest social achievement of mankind,like you or not. Only those nation who have ever reached this top can "return to this history",for all others it is still an unachieved ideal.

    The begining sounds quite demagogic ,so there is no use of continuation of reading.
    Any anti-communist is a dog. - Jean-Paul Sartre.
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    My opinion is, as long we follow the original ideas we should do fine. Lenin had the right idea, when a weak country leader appears, he needs to be taken down. Sometimes by the same way Bolsheviks did.
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    Lenin's sealed train set into motion the events that led to the foundation of the USSR - the highest social achievement of mankind,like you or not. Only those nation who have ever reached this top can "return to this history",for all others it is still an unachieved ideal.

    The begining sounds quite demagogic ,so there is no use of continuation of reading.

    Please note that those aren't *my* words -- they're from an article not-authored by myself.
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    This is just as dogmatic regarding revolutionary strategy as the *centralization* model that you abhor, a vanguard party.

    I'm strategically *neutral* and non-sectarian over this matter, because I think much regarding revolutionary strategy would depend on *actual* class struggle (upheaval) circumstances at the time. We shouldn't presumptuously *prescribe* a concrete approach before we're even *at* the point of insurrection, though I happen to think that we'd probably need some kind of overall *coordinating body* -- perhaps a simple mass-participatory 'vanguard' of revolutionary workers, as here at RevLeft -- to tackle the probably-inevitable counterrevolution-from-above.
    Unless you think the Bolshevik model is the only model (surely this view would be dogmatic), then how is it dogmatic to reject the Bolshevik model that happened in 1917? I am a member of a centralised party, not a federalist one. Centralised does not mean a vanguard.
    I don't think rejecting the Bolshevik model is a sectarian approach any more than defending it unless you think that there is only one alternative model. At least acknowledging there might be one other model would be one more than implying there is only one by criticising socialist opponents of Bolshevism as 'dogmatic'.
    Of course in reality there are many models that could be tried and the Bolshevik one has failed in the West repeatedly. If the main thing you need is a vanguard, why hasn't there been a socialist revolution yet?
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    Unless you think the Bolshevik model is the only model

    I don't.



    (surely this view would be dogmatic),

    I just said as much:



    Rejecting the Bolshevik model will be a pre-requisite for successful revolution.


    This is just as dogmatic regarding revolutionary strategy as the *centralization* model that you abhor, a vanguard party.


    then how is it dogmatic to reject the Bolshevik model that happened in 1917? I am a member of a centralised party, not a federalist one. Centralised does not mean a vanguard.

    We should clarify our use of terms here -- please note I mentioned that an always-alert-and-active (24/7/365) mass-based 'vanguard' could *literally* emerge from RevLeft-type participation, from all over the world.

    I'd be interested in *your* definition of a non-vanguard, centralized revolutionary organization.



    I don't think rejecting the Bolshevik model is a sectarian approach any more than defending it unless you think that there is only one alternative model.

    My position, again, is this:



    We shouldn't presumptuously *prescribe* a concrete approach before we're even *at* the point of insurrection


    At least acknowledging there might be one other model would be one more than implying there is only one by criticising socialist opponents of Bolshevism as 'dogmatic'.

    I don't mean to imply that there are only one or two models of world insurrection out there -- we would need to be *flexible* with our strategies and tactics, as objectively called-for by the actual prevailing conditions of widespread proactive class struggle at the time.

    Here's an example of a dogmatic position, because it presumes a certain empirical layout of real factors surrounding stepped-up class struggle:



    Rejecting the Bolshevik model will be a pre-requisite for successful revolution.

    ---



    Of course in reality there are many models that could be tried and the Bolshevik one has failed in the West repeatedly.

    See, this is similarly dogmatic because you take the historical conditions of 100 years ago to be appropriate for direct comparison -- almost copy-and-paste -- to the social conditions for class struggle today. More presumption, more prescription.



    If the main thing you need is a vanguard, why hasn't there been a socialist revolution yet?

    What about the Arab Spring of 2011 -- ? How about Occupy in the U.S., from the same period -- ?

    I'm not saying that there *has* to be a vanguard, but it would most-likely be a beneficial tool of working class struggle and coordination.
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    Presumably you're not an autonomist against any sort of prescription? I'm not an autonomist so I'm saying some strategies are more effective than others.

    I'm saying the Bolshevik model is a waste of energy and destined to fail not just because it was tried a hundred years ago but because there are dozens of parties following the Bolshevik model today and none are successful.

    By contrast a non-vanguard centralised organisation has all members having an equal say in decisions on the party direction (decided by a vote if necessary), not a central committee who hold all the cards, are privy to certain information, determine policy, take the decisions then the rest are expected to carry out their decisions.

    I'm inclined to think this was more familiar in the pre-Leninist massive socialist parties in the West, early SPD, Socialist Party of America etc. Eugene Debs was quite dismissive of leaders which would be one reason why Occupy was probably right to reject vanguardism from the outset.
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    Presumably you're not an autonomist against any sort of prescription? I'm not an autonomist so I'm saying some strategies are more effective than others.

    I'll graciously copy-and-paste it for you:



    This is just as dogmatic regarding revolutionary strategy as the *centralization* model that you abhor, a vanguard party.

    I'm strategically *neutral* and non-sectarian over this matter, because I think much regarding revolutionary strategy would depend on *actual* class struggle (upheaval) circumstances at the time. We shouldn't presumptuously *prescribe* a concrete approach before we're even *at* the point of insurrection, though I happen to think that we'd probably need some kind of overall *coordinating body* -- perhaps a simple mass-participatory 'vanguard' of revolutionary workers, as here at RevLeft -- to tackle the probably-inevitable counterrevolution-from-above.

    ---



    I'm saying the Bolshevik model is a waste of energy and destined to fail not just because it was tried a hundred years ago but because there are dozens of parties following the Bolshevik model today and none are successful.

    Ha.

    As if the socio-material conditions in the world stay *static*, like an obedient Petri dish, for more political experiments to be performed on it, with the unsuccessful ones able to be cleanly eliminated for all time thereafter.

    There are no suitable conditions of upheaval going on today, like there were in Russia in 1917 -- more wishful thinking on your part.



    By contrast a non-vanguard centralised organisation has all members having an equal say in decisions on the party direction (decided by a vote if necessary), not a central committee who hold all the cards, are privy to certain information, determine policy, take the decisions then the rest are expected to carry out their decisions.

    I don't advocate any standing, substitutionist, elitist body like the one you're describing -- here's from a past thread:



    Hi my question is under Socialism are Bosses/Management/Supervisors/Industry Representatives still used or needed since the Workers own and control the Means of Production and the State yes I know Socialism is not the same as Communism in Marxism I am just curious because if there are 150 Workers at a Factory in a Socialist State don't you still need a Boss or Management or Supervisors at the Factory just like in the Soviet Union they still needed Leaders in Government I have read that in the Soviet Union and under Socialism that the Workers vote for their Bosses Management or Supervisors the Soviet Union had Workers Councils and Factory committees and Trade/Labor Unions


    No, I don't think any *substitutionist*-type work roles would be necessary in a fully worker-socialized work environment, as long as there's fundamental agreement *in advance* on what the plan is. (In other words we should see any given project as ultimately being directed by *policy* -- if the local-workplace politics can be resolved around a singular monolithic agreed-upon *policy* then the real-world *implementation* of such wouldn't be problematic because everyone's already *agreed* to a certain (logistical) plan for such in advance.

    I developed a unique approach to this post-capitalist labor-and-administrative situation, which is an overall, emcompassing model -- one aspect of it is relevant to this discussion:

    communist administration -- Distinct from the general political culture each project or production run will include a provision for an associated administrative component as an integral part of its total policy package -- a selected policy's proponents will be politically responsible for overseeing its implementation according to the policy's provisions


    is this correct it is Democracy in the Workplace thank you for your time did Marx ever say this ?

    Socialism has been proposed in many forms. The most common is social democracy, where workers vote for their supervisors, company policy, and industry representatives to regional or national congresses.


    I find this conventional approach to be a non-starter since it implicitly creates a kind of elitism based on whether one's duties are productive-labor-oriented, or are more *administrative*-labor-oriented. Sure, one could have duties that include some of each, but that's not what's being proposed here -- it's a division of labor that resembles the current class divide a little *too* much.

    Another problematic with this conventional 'voting' approach is that it establishes administrative duties as an *institution*, no matter who's a part of it, or how little or long they stay in that kind of position -- the *institution* would have to be preserved, maintained, and defended from any and all threats, giving it an inherently *separatist* kind of social status that's similar to elitism if not being elitist outright.

    https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads...47#post2882647


    ---



    I'm inclined to think this was more familiar in the pre-Leninist massive socialist parties in the West, early SPD, Socialist Party of America etc. Eugene Debs was quite dismissive of leaders

    which would be one reason why Occupy was probably right to reject vanguardism from the outset.

    Occupy didn't have its shit together because it eschewed taking explicit political positions, at a minimum:



    October 5, 2011 - 19:04 #24

    radicalchains

    My two pence

    It seems rather obvious to me that in part at least the 'anti-political' bent is a result of Stalinism and the belief that all communist/workers' organisations are tyranny and end up ruling over people. Having said this I do not think 'apolitical' or 'anti-political' are valid descriptions of this phenomena. The actions and events clearly are political. The bulk (maybe not, who knows what percentage?) of the participants may reject existing political organisations and what is associated with them but they will be forced to organise more coherently if they want to take things further. The level at the moment of both conciousness and organisation seems to be quite rudimentary although gives the appearance of being impressive to those involved and looking on - a result of decades of counter-revolution, cynicism and so on.
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    In my opinion, I think people are a little too hard on the Bolsheviks. I mean they had one helluva time trying to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Marx and Engels wouldn't have been even a little bit surprised that Russian socialism failed in the long run just as Cuban, Chinese and North Korean socialism are also complete failures. It is extremely hard to make socialism work in developing countries when the developed world is working to undermine everything you do at every turn. And yes, people are way too hard on Mao and Stalin.

    I believe that it's absolutely imperative that those of us (leftists) in the developed world do everything we can to undermine first world hegemony in the global fight against capitalism. Had we done our jobs correctly over here then perhaps things would've turn out differently and the so-called "Bolshevik model" would've been a successful one.
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    I'm not interested in 'undermining first world hegemony', I'm interested in helping bring about socialism in both the developed and developing world. As Marx said, we should be ruthless in our criticism, if you feel that is unfair on the Bolsheviks (who've failed in the West just as in the East), then poor Lenin.
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    Rejecting the Bolshevik model will be a pre-requisite for successful revolution.
    Which "Bolshevik model"?

    Rejecting the parliamentary cretinism model will be a prerequisite for successful revolution.

    The OP is right about the title of his thread, because one particular model, if understood and applied comprehensively, does provide a path forward. It's unfortunate Idler treated this with merely a passing mention, and for the wrong reasons.
    "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'm not interested in 'undermining first world hegemony', I'm interested in helping bring about socialism in both the developed and developing world. As Marx said, we should be ruthless in our criticism, if you feel that is unfair on the Bolsheviks (who've failed in the West just as in the East), then poor Lenin.


    The choice before us is 'socialism or barbarism'. The working class is still the only class with the power and the will to topple capitalism. It is necessary to have a class conscious working class revolutionary movement. Bob Darke's hook shows that the CPGB, far from wanting to create a new world of social justice simply wanted to create a new centralised dictatorship with itself at the head Revolutionaries are at war with the capitalist system and the ruling class. It is a class war. The CPGB turned this around and considered the working class its enemy, to be beaten into shape. This is the mistake the Leninists make. They want to be the new ruling class. There have been, and will continue to be, some brilliant revolutionaries who have joined Leninist or Trotskyist, or Maoist parties. But as soon as they start to follow the Party line without question, knowingly misleading their fellow workers, they become part of the problem rather than the solution. The revolution will depend on the working class breaking free of unquestioning discipline and obedience to authority. It will rely on the working class approaching problems by trying to understand them rather than blindly following a 'Party line'. We don't need an intellectual, or otherwise, elite to give us orders. We have to act with solidarity and mutual respect, not the contempt that the CPGB and its descendants treat us with.

    I have no problem with this critique -- it's a valid one.

    *My* issue is that I don't see any alternative models to the 'leading party' / Bolshevik-type one being proposed, aside from my own.

    Sure, we'll get some *localist* examples / anecdotes, like this one:


    How could we cope if capitalism failed? Ask 26 Greek factory workers

    https://www.revleft.space/vb/threads...actory-workers


    But if we wanted to do the revolution *worldwide*, all at one time, what would be a good way to go about doing *that*, to avoid piecemeal approaches and bourgeois encirclement of localist gains -- ?

    If you're not interested in 'undermining First World hegemony', then you're not really politically against bourgeois rule.
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    Which "Bolshevik model"?
    The vanguardist model.
    Rejecting the parliamentary cretinism model will be a prerequisite for successful revolution.
    I don't think there's a conflict between rejecting the vanguardist model and rejecting the parliamentary model.
    The OP is right about the title of his thread, because one particular model, if understood and applied comprehensively, does provide a path forward. It's unfortunate Idler treated this with merely a passing mention, and for the wrong reasons.
    I'm gonna take a guess that you're going to gloss over the relatively successful models of the SPD (and the approach Liebknecht argued for), Socialist Labor Party, Socialist Party of America and point to Russia in 1917 as a model for today in the West in 2017.
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    I'll respond by addressing your third point first. I was referring to the pre-WWI SPD itself as the very model of Old Bolshevism. This model did so much more for workers everywhere than the World Socialist Movement ever has.

    To your first and second points: the pre-WWI SPD was regarded as a vanguard party par excellence within Old Bolshevism. The WSM advocates a parliamentary road with neither a real strategy nor a clear understanding of constitutional roadblocks.
    "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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    The WSM doesn't advocate a parliamentary road. Even if you accept 'Old Bolshevism', it was widely agreed at the time was a departure from existing practices. Hence the pamphlets from Luxemburg, Kautsky etc.

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