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We Need Mass Democracy
                Real organization cannot be built on a foundation of sand
If we can create a mass anti-imperialist organization where decisions and struggle are based on mass democracy -- then we will capture the imagination of serious activists everywhere -- and be in a position to change the dynamics of the entire antiwar movement. Ben Seattle

Should the party center
be able to gag party members?

Ben criticizes the commonly held cargo-cultist view
that the leadership of party of the working class
will be able to use "democratic centralism" to prevent
its internal party critics from making their criticisms public.

Should the party center
be able to gag party members?

Posted by Ben Seattle May 1, 2005

(excerpt from the original)

-----Original Message-----
From: Ben Seattle
Sent: Sunday, May 01, 2005 4:28 AM
To: 'pof-200'
Subject: [pof-200] WF # 41 -- / gagging party members / telling
the workers not to think


(2) Should the party center be able to gag party members?

The LRP has a theory of party organization which holds that party
members do not have the right to publicly criticize the decisions
of the party majority -- unless the party majority gives them
permission to do so.

DJ's reply (April 23, pof-200) that "in some tactical situations,
disagreements would not be broadcast" completely misses the
significance of this.  First, DJ fails to give a single example
or scenario of such a situation.  Apparently, in the abstractland
where DJ spends too much of his time (disclaimer: that's my
opinion -- not a proven fact) it is not necessary to give a
meaningful example or scenario to illustrate an important
principle or argument.  More importantly, DJ overlooks the fact
that if the party center had the right to shut up party members
(ie: in a situation it considers "tactical") this would establish
the principle that the party center (ie: whichever faction has
achieved a majority) -- has the authority to control the entire
flow of public information from all party members -- and
therefore has the right to shut up its critics 
[ie: critics within the party -- clarification by Ben, Nov 2005].

If the party center can gag its critics -- this would mean that
party members who are convinced that public exposure is necessary
to correct the mistakes of the party majority -- would need to
leave the party (ie: and lose much of their contact with other
party members) in order to criticize it publically.

Nor is it only DJ who has this cargo-cultist view of party
organization.  I looked at the LRP's 2003 "political resolution
of the COFI" (section "G") and confirmed that the LRP has a
similar view: the party minority, according to the LRP -- only
has the right to make its views known "within" the party.  Note
this well -- if you only have the right to make your views known
within the party -- this means that you do not have the right to
make your views known outside the party.

Neither I nor any experienced militant activist with a brain
(disclaimer: this is my opinion -- not a proven fact) -- would be
part of an organization which we could not publicly criticize
without permission.  No genuinely mass revolutionary party can
posibly emerge in modern conditions without party members having
the right to alert other activists (and mobilize progressive
opinion against) party principles or policies which are mistaken
or which threaten the health or mission of the party.

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