Cargo-Cult Leninism vs. Information War
Workers' Rule:
Is it Dead or Alive?

The question that we cannot escape concerns the degeneration of the Soviet and Chinese revolutions of 1917 and 1949.
If these revolutions appeared to be successful and then degenerated -- does this mean that future attempts at establishing workers' rule will inevitably suffer the same fate?
Appendix A:

Comments from
readers
Alex and Paul
Appendix B:
What Does Victory
Look Like?

A chart comparing the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (embryonic vs. with immune system)
across 8 dimensions
Appendix C:
Who will control the gift economy? Does planning require a central authority? Do we need a single plan for the entire economy? Will we use carrots and sticks -- or our internal compass? Who is the ultimate authority?
Appendix D:
Ben answers three of Eric's questions
Finding Marx's endorsement on a piece of toast One party to rule them all?
How to Build the Party of
the Working Class

We need mass democracy
Real organization cannot be built
on a foundation of sand

The Media Weapon community (and POF email lists)
more from Ben Seattle

Appendix A:
Comments from readers Alex and Paul


------------------------------------------------------------
Alex - April 27
------------------------------------------------------------

-----Original Message-----
From: Alex G.
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 11:03 AM
To: Ben Seattle
Subject: Re: (draft) Ben replies to Eric Gordon (part 1)
Cargo-Cult Leninism vs. Information War

Hi Ben,

There are only a couple of problem that I'd like to address here:

> In this same article Joseph also claimed that the working class
> would run this advanced society by means of a single political
> party.

Even though you already did this in your last reply to Joseph, 
I think it would be helpful if you included the passage in question, 
i.e. the part about the working class ruling through "its own 
political party."

Secondly, while you do state this clearly enough to me in the 
article, I think this should be stated even more directly:

The problem is not that the CVO really wants a world where 
democratic rights are suppressed or that they directly promote 
such a thing.

The problem is that 
a) their desciptions of future society
.. can be confusing and/or misleading,
.. and 
b) they fail to confront the_question_of
.. democratic rights during workers' rule
.. in their agitation.

The bottom line is that their agitation does nothing to add 
clarity to these important issues, and thus, while it may not 
promote illusions directly, by not confronting them, the CVO 
allows these illusions to flourish.

So perhaps adding a sentence or two that really drives this 
point home is in order. It may seem redundant, but the CVO 
and others have a history of misunderstanding you, so I think 
it pays to be redundant.


-- Alex


------------------------------------------------------------
Paul L - April 27
------------------------------------------------------------

(Ben added paragraph breaks for readability)

-----Original Message-----
From: hekmatista
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 3:55 PM
To: pof-300@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [pof-300] Single Party or Multiple Party D of P?

The recent exchange between Eric (of CVO?) and Ben has been 
interesting and productive. I will not attempt to address the 
question of the transitional economy or its stages, though I realize 
it is connected to the issues of freedom of proletarian speech and 
association and the issue of single party/multiple party 
workers'democracy.

For now let me limit myself to the locus of power in the d of p.

If we assume that in the leadup to revolution, one 
party or tendency gains enough traction within the class to have the 
leading ideas, programs, and slogans of the class, then, yes, that 
single organization will AT THAT JUNCTURE be the expression of the 
interests of the class as a whole. 

Chances are it will obtain a 
majority of delegates to whatever form of workers' councils or 
workers' parliament (it's not a dirty word, refer to James Connolly) 
arises as the instrument of direct class democracy. The likelihood 
that ALL the advanced workers will belong to that single party, 
however, is low. How many "vanguards" do we have right now? In 
looking at the lists of self-proclaimed Leninist parties in any one 
of the advanced countries, I fail to see how their cadres will put 
aside historical differences between Stalinists, Hoxhaists, 
Trotskyites, Maoists, Council and other Left Communists, the left 
wing of social democracy (which always breaks with their right in 
revolutionary situations), not to mention syndicalist, and anarchist 
groupings. 

By the time we arrive at a revolutionary crisis there 
will no doubt be far fewer organizations; most of the currently 
existing ones will have long since died for lack of genuine class 
roots, the better ones will have proletarianized themselves beyond 
recognition, fusions, splits, etc. will have reconfigured the 
ideological landscape, BUT THERE WILL STILL BE SEVERAL organizational 
expressions of the will of the class. 

Back to the hypothetical 
situation of one of these parties being dominant and having the 
correct mass line at the point of crisis; what shall that party do 
about the others that have a different take on what is to be done?

Obviously the c c of the dominant party will believe that they are 
objectively correct and the other parties are objectively 
compromising the chances of the class successfully moving forward 
toward communism; just as obviously, the c c's of the various other 
parties will believe the same in reverse. Keeping the assumption 
that the largest, most authoritative party has won the following of 
the mass workers' organizations, in their majority, but not their 
unanimity, what should be the form in which that one party fights for 
its line as against the lines of other workers' parties? 

Remember, 
the other (subjectively, at least) workers' parties are the free 
associations of WORKERS, just as the neo-bolshevik majority party is 
a free association of workers. To believe the resolution of such 
matters is merely a tactical decision of the majority party's 
leadership is to believe that the locus of the proletariat's 
political will is IN THAT PARTY. Historically, it may well be, AT 
THAT JUNCTURE. However, to invest the one party with that power, to 
identify it PERMANENTLY with the interests of the whole class, 
inevitably leads (and has led) to degeneration and the 
reestablishment of an alien ruling class, from within the party 
itself. 

On the contrary, to identify the locus of the class 
dictatorship with the organs of direct workers' democracy, whether 
soviets or whatever forms the historical moment creates, means that 
the (inevitably) temporary majority must as a matter of PRINCIPLE not 
of tactics, approach the other workers' parties on a basis of 
political struggle, not suppression of the (inevitably) temporary 
minority parties. 

The class itself will select appropriate policies 
in their direct assemblies, which will at one point make one party 
the dominant one, at other points another. Complete freedom of 
speech and organization for all workers is essential for this to 
occur, obviously. Principled parties who wish to perform a vanguard 
role must needs proclaim the absolute freedom of speech, press, and 
agitation of ALL workers' tendencies. Just who is the vanguard at a 
given moment is not written in the stars; the working class will 
decide, and what it decides, it can also change.

Cargo-Cult Leninism vs. Information War
Workers' Rule:
Is it Dead or Alive?

The question that we cannot escape concerns the degeneration of the Soviet and Chinese revolutions of 1917 and 1949.
If these revolutions appeared to be successful and then degenerated -- does this mean that future attempts at establishing workers' rule will inevitably suffer the same fate?
Appendix A:

Comments from
readers
Alex and Paul
Appendix B:
What Does Victory
Look Like?

A chart comparing the "dictatorship of the proletariat" (embryonic vs. with immune system)
across 8 dimensions
Appendix C:
Who will control the gift economy? Does planning require a central authority? Do we need a single plan for the entire economy? Will we use carrots and sticks -- or our internal compass? Who is the ultimate authority?
Appendix D:
Ben answers three of Eric's questions
Finding Marx's endorsement on a piece of toast One party to rule them all?
How to Build the Party of
the Working Class

We need mass democracy
Real organization cannot be built
on a foundation of sand

The Media Weapon community (and POF email lists)
more from Ben Seattle