Ben Seattle
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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. In other words: we will win.

On the other hand, if we fail to understand what mass democracy is -- then we will end up with
a typical organization that will accomplish relatively little and
which will eventually evaporate.
In other words we will lose.

July 2008 - Sept 2008
In honor of those who have fallen xxxx xxxx xxxx xxxx x
SAIC and the struggle for sobriety
The Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee
and the struggle for sobriety
(and a high productivity of labor)
in the antiwar and revolutionary movements

• Ben Seattle • July 17, 2008 • 2,000 words
-- also includes --
• "Ben is a liar and demagogue" -- Frank replies, July 25
• The Road to Sobriety (part 2) -- Ben Seattle, Sept 7

• Showdown on Seattle Indymedia (Sept 7 - 13)
Sparks fly! SAIC supporters X9 and Eric call Ben various names.
Ben replies with excerpt from "Ozymandias" (1817).
(if seaimc is down, the thread is cached here)

April 2008 - May 2008
Cargo-Cult Leninism vs. Information War
Workers' Rule:
Is it Dead
or Alive?

Ben replies to Eric Gordon
• May 16, 2008
• 7,000 words in main article
4 appendices, 5 diagrams

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?


• Once again on Ben Seattle, planning, and the role of the proletarian party
Eric Gordon, April 14, 2008
• Ben requests Eric to give a link to his reply
Ben Seattle, July 19, 2008

Nov 2007 - Feb 2008

How to Build the Party
of the Working Class

Ben Seattle • Feb 22, 2008
• 6500 words in one main article
10 sidebars + 2 diagrams + illustrations

The most important task for revolutionaries in
the present period is the creation of a genuinely revolutionary organization (or system of organizations) capable of uniting everything healthy in the progressive and workers' movements and laying the foundations
for a mass workers' party that can overcome
both the reformist and sectarian diseases and unite
the majority of the working class around a program
centered on the overthrow of bourgeois rule

• Main article: • Why do we need organization? • What form
will our organization take? • Party will emerge from network
• Network will self-organize around revolutionary news service
• Poles of attraction will emerge • The revolutionary pole
• The reformist pole • Competing agendas • Emergence of mass organization without reformists
• The experience of Russia (1903 to 1912) • The experience of the Communist International (1919 to 1935)
• Cargo-cult attempts to clone Lenin's party • We cannot "grow" a small group into a mass party
• Which is better ? Building a brick wall -- or casting a wide net ? • Can we build "a party of a new type" ?
• Cargo-cult method cannot create the revolutionary pole • Revolutionary core will emerge from primal struggle
• Charts: • Development of split in the Russian Party (1903 - 1911) • Party may emerge from a mass organization
• Sidebars: • We need answers to these questions • A revolutionary news service will be the central task that will unite all the warring factions of the left • Attempts to create working class parties and an international organization of the working class • Do we create a mass revolutionary party by (1) building a brick wall or (2) casting a wide net ? • What does the word "party" really mean ? • What is Political Transparency ... and why do we need it? • The revolutionary party will need an open and informal community to help it spread its influence and resolve its disagreements • We must resolve the crisis of theory--and dare to talk about our goal • What will be our common work? • Who's Who in the Ecosystem?

             Reply to a cargo-cult Leninist:

Powerful Agitation Requires Confronting the Crisis of Theory

Ben Seattle • January 26, 2008 • 13,000 words

1. Intro: powerful agitation requires
    a marriage between our current
    struggles and our future goal
2. The politics of workers' rule --
    Many independent organizations
    will exist
3. The proposal to rename
    the communist movement
4. The struggle to build a party:
    community, political transparency
    and confronting the crisis of theory
5. Economics in the transition period:
    and the struggle of the working class
    to exercise control
6. The struggle for integrity:
    The issue is line, not author

   

Ben criticizes Joseph's article • Joseph lashes out at Ben

Joseph, Ben and Alex grapple with principles

Joseph • Jan 9 • CVO "index" page on Ben Seattle
• Joseph provides links to his articles - but not to most of Ben's replies

May - Sept 2007

Building a Community of Information War
Ben Seattle's 2007 Annual Report • May 2007 • 7200 words


Includes: SAIC -- trapped in Stephen Covey's first quadrant • The sad results of urgency addiction
• Urgency junkies consider me an impractical dreamer
• Why SAIC needs transparency • Transparency: threat or menace ? • The road forward

Frank replies to Ben
Frank • May 24, 2007 • 6800 words

Ben’s politics in general---are instructive in showing how the sloughing over political questions can lead one into a sterile desert.

After 15 years of internet fire
and thunder from the sidelines of
the movement in this country,
and 15 years of trying to get
anyone he can to join with him
... as elitist internet generals waging "information war", all Ben has to propose to his "informal community" is political parasitism upon
the living work of others.

"Cargo-Cult Leninism" vs. Political Transparency
What principles of organization will serve
the antiwar and revolutionary movements?

The revolutionary mass organization that we need will rely
on the energy and experience of activists in open struggle
to resolve opposing views on the way forward
Ben Seattle • June 30, 2007 • 8800 words in 22 sidebars + illustrations

• "Information War" Program for SAIC • Where is my organization?
• What is political transparency? • The opposite of transparency (stonewalling)
• The relationship of the revolutionary mass organization to the mass of activists
Ben's "Information War" Program for SAIC

1) Reach out to a
national audience

2) Work to build
a community


3) Dare to talk
about our goal
• The problem with pragmatism • Is Ben a "black hat" ? • The "rate of information metabolism"
• Cargo cults and cargo-cult Leninism • Join our group – We can do your thinking for you
(Why do supporters of left-wing groups often drink the kool-aid ?) • What is revolutionary theory?
(GLUE to hold us together? – a STICK to beat heretics? – or a LIGHT to help us see?)
• The Spectre of Endless Discussion • What is Ben’s idea of a "trend of trends"?
• Is Ben an anarchist ? (Watch out for his Trojan Horse!) • Showdown at final congress of MLP
• Confronting a refugee from theoretical needs of class struggle (Ben Seattle vs. Joseph Green)
• Foundations of revisionism ("Marxism-Leninism" is anti-Marxist, anti-Leninist & revisionist)

Alex, Frank and Ben grapple with principles

Alex writes to Frank and SAIC concerning fundamental principles.
Frank replies. Ben joins the discussion on the pof-200 and -300 lists

What does victory look like?
Ben Seattle • Sept 9
• includes chart: "DP vs. the DP-embryo" and
Lenin's comments on a Bolshevik "two-party system"

May 2006

Letter to Comrade Edward:                                            
The Road to Information War
A longer-term view of the tasks
of building anti-imperialist
and revolutionary organization
in the U.S. in the early 21st century
Ben Seattle • May 1 • 3500 words
• Why do we need to build an open community?
• The case for putting more of an effort into national distribution
• The case for developing theoretical tools that
   allow us to confront the more serious questions

We cannot build our movement around the goal of a world in which society -- and everything which we have fought and sacrificed for -- is in danger of suffocation -- in which everything is hanging by a thread. Our goal must be victory.


We cannot ask
the working class
to sacrifice for this struggle if we cannot
hold up the light of theory and illuminate
the path to victory.

This is why it cannot be the period of martial law (ie: the rule of a single organization with the power to suppress its opposition) which might conclude a possible civil war -- but the period after in which the working class makes daily use of the fundamental democratic rights of speech and organization to defend its role as master of society -- which we must recognize as workers' rule (or, if you will, the dictatorship of the proletariat).


    Replies:

            • Edward's reply • May 5 • 300 words / Ben replies to Edward • May 6 • 800 words
            • Frank's reply May 6 • 2200 words
            • Ben replies to Edward and Frank • May 6 • 900 words

            • Replies from Joseph Green, MB, Frank • PDXIMC thread • May 14, 16 & 17 • 5700 words

Joseph replies that Ben's letter to Edward lacks serious theoretical content, and asserts
that Ben is "neither honest nor honorable" because he supposedly denies the existence
of the extensive theoretical work of the Marxist-Leninist Party.
MB criticizes the posts for being difficult to understand and alienating and expresses skepticism that the authors really gave a damn about making their ideas accessible.
Frank replies that it is all Ben's fault because Ben is "spamming our ears
with his sectarian nonsense".

            • Make Hay while the Sun Shines • (Ben replies to Michael) • May 20 & 25 • 4300 words
              Building the movement on a solid foundation
              requires accountability and political transparency

We need a security culture to protect activists, and the movement, from harassment and intimidation from the state and from employers. But we can't let this stop us from taking advantage of the current window of opportunity, in which we have the democratic rights of speech and organization, to openly share our experience and build focus on the principles that will make our movement powerful:
        1. We must break from the stranglehold of reformist thinking and tactics
        2. Powerful actions are based on mass action and the mass movement
        3. Political disagreements must be openly discussed and debated

            • Stay tuned to this channel ... more to come ...

March - April 2006

CIW # 55 -- Ben replies to Frank: spontaneity, meatspace and
my 3 point program for SAIC

Ben Seattle • March 4, 2006 • 2400 words

(1) why caro-cult Leninists fear "spontaneity"
(2) cyberspace vs. meatspace ?
(3) my three point program for SAIC

Frank Replies to CIW #55
Frank • March 24 • 870 words

Frank argues that Ben has not replied
to any of the substantive questions
that Frank raised back in November.
Instead, Frank believes that Ben
just pours on more abuse and slander.

information war is central
to building the movement

Ben Seattle • March 26 • 1300 words

Until we can clearly and openly address the legitimate concerns of hundreds of thousands of activists -- we cannot have ideological superiority in information war.

Unfortunately, the theoretical journal that Frank supports has never explained that democratic rights (such as the right to speech and the right to organization) will be necessary in order for the working class
to exercize its rule as a class.

the failure of our community
and our tasks

Ben Seattle • April 2 • 3000 words

A materialist study of the conditions of a modern, stable society (ie: with a modern functioning economy and infrastructure, etc) will make clear that a working class state with the support of the majority of the population would not need to: (1) merge the party and the state -- or -- (2) suppress the democratic rights of workers These things will be neither practical nor necessary in the conditions of a workers' state that enjoys the support of the majority of the population in a modern stable society.

November 2005

Proposal for:
The Open and Democratic
Anti-Imperialist Network for
Mass Action and Information War

Ben Seattle • November 7 • 1800 words
• mission statement
1. democratic rights
2. democratic (and accountable) decision-making
3. program of work to build a revolutionary channel

Frank retreats from
his attempt to ban Ben

Frank • November 13 & 18 • 9300 words

Frank replies to Ben's public criticism and to Ben's proposal for an open and democratic anti-imperialist network.

Frank also explains why he proposed
that Ben be banned from meetings of the
Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee (SAIC).

And Frank explains why he retreated from
his proposal: It would have been too difficult to provide activists with a "convincing explanation" for the need to ban Ben.

Frank on the
Media Weapon community
and the Crisis of Theory

Frank • November 24 • 3300 words

Frank explains why he believes that
Ben's focus on the potential of the internet
represents the worship of spontaneity.

Frank also describes some of the circumstances surrounding the breakup of the MLP in 1993 and the theoretical confrontation between Ben and the CVO.

Ben's theoretical views on future classless society, according to Frank, represent
"an anarchist vision" because Ben
refuses to recognize the need for
a "central economic-planning apparatus"
and instead believes that commodity production and the market place can be overcome by an economy made up
of independent economic units
in competition with one another.

Activists have the right to know what the fuck is going on
Ben Seattle • November 9 • 820 words

Ben's main criticism of the
Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee (SAIC)
-- is that it is not sufficiently open politically.

Ben would like SAIC to have a page on its website where activists could go to learn about the various political currents in and around the organization (ie: so that they can find this out without having to read an Indymedia post). And Ben would like the group to give readers the ability to post comments on its website about its agitation (ie: so that readers could do so there as easily as they can do so on Indymedia).

Ben thinks that Indymedia is great. But any organization that is serious about mass democracy will send a clear signal to activists everywhere that they do not need to google ancient indymedia archives in order to know what the fuck is going on.

The future of SAIC
Ben Seattle • November 7 • 2400 words

Ben has two basic problems with SAIC.
The reasons Ben considers SAIC to be a dysfunctional form of organization are:

a) SAIC is not organized in a way that is consistent with the kind of mass democratic decision-making and struggle
that our movement needs.

b) SAIC has no commitment to
a long-term program of work to capture
the attention and imagination of
serious activists on a national scale.

September - October 2005

Are anti-imperialists
afraid of open politics?

Ben Seattle • Oct 15 • 2200 words

The development of an anti-imperialist pole of attraction within the antiwar movement requires an "open politics" organizational model that will allow activists to "see inside" our organization and participate and intervene in the struggles that determine our direction.

This essay also criticizes Frank's proposal
to ban Ben from SAIC meetings.

Frank proposes that
Ben be banned from
public SAIC meetings

Frank • October 13
(excerpt from private email)

Ben ... shouldn't be allowed
into meetings
of members
(i.e., working meetings), or meetings
of members and people looking
to perhaps be members
(publicly-announced meetings).

Real organization requires a commitment to transparency
Ben Seattle • Sept 6 • 2000 words

This is an open letter from Ben Seattle
to Edward, a member of SAIC and
the pof-200 discussion list.
(Edward has since stated that
a number of his views are incorrectly described by Ben in this letter.)

What kind of Organization does the antiwar
movement need?

Ben Seattle • Sept 20 • 2500 words

An organization capable of overthrowing
the system of imperialist rule
cannot be built on a foundation of sand.

Only principled, transparent and long-term collaboration between serious activists can:
1. organize a decisive break from the
confinement of liberal-imperialist politics,
2. mobilize the masses in their millions and
3. chart the course forward to a world without
imperialist war or capitalist exploitation

earlier in 2005
Should the party center
be able to gag party members?

Ben Seattle • May 1 • 480 words

Ben criticizes the commonly held cargo-cultist view
(using the example of the League for a Revolutionary Party (LRP)),
that the leadership of the party of the working class
will be able to use "democratic centralism" to prevent
its internal party critics from making their criticisms public.

2001 - 2003
What is to be done?
Ben Seattle replies to Wilhelmina • November 2003 • 3200 words

Note: related to this article is my May 2006 description of my experience with Seattle Indymedia.
Of all the tasks which are decisive for the antiwar movement one stands out at this time: An interactive news site fueled by the energy of activists and readers is too important to be left in the hands of social-democracy. (Includes: A sword in the hands of Spartacus • Dare we talk about the decisive tasks? • The digital fire--and healthy revolutionary cooperation )

SAIA Recoils--then Liquidates itself
Ben Seattle • July 2002 • 2200 words

The liquidation of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Alliance
and the struggle to create a revolutionary channel

17 Theses
Ben Seattle • July 2001 • 2800 words
17 Theses on the destiny of
(1) the concept of workers' rule --
and (2) the emerging revolution
in communications
-- and its significance for the awakening
of proletarian political life
and consciousness

Why do we need mass democracy?

Along with other reasons, we need mass democracy
to successfully fight the reformist and sectarian diseases.

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