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3964Re: Re: Proof of the pudding

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  • Peter Boyle
    Jan 5, 2004
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      I am flicking back through posts on this lists after taking a bit of a break from it, seeking to make a few comments that may provoke (while, needless to say, working up some of my now legendary "vitriol").

      ozleft wrote:

       "There exists a scholastic and academic historico-political outlook
      which sees as real and worthwhile only such movements of revolt as
      are one hundred per cent conscious, ie, movements that are governed
      by plans worked out to the last detail or in line with abstract
      theory (which comes to the same thing). But reality produces a wealth
      of the most bizarre combinations. It is up to the theoretician to
      unravel these in order to ... `translate' into theoretical langauge
      the elements of historical life. It is not reality which should be
      expected to conform to the abstract schema. This will never happen
      and hence this conception is nothing but an expression of passivity."

      Antonio Gramsci, The Modern Prince

      First, who expects reality to "conform to the abstract schema"? Maybe Bob Gould does with his permanent but untested schema for working inside the ALP. As one reader of this list noted recently, Gould affects an orientation to the ALP but his real orientation is to the DSP.

      Second, poor Antonio Gramsci has used by so many to justify a retreat from organising for revolutionary socialism. But Gramsci was a hardcore Leninist and recognised Lenin as "the greatest modern theoretician of the philosophy of praxis" and having "constructed the doctrine of hegemony as a complement to the theory of the State-as-force" (as Gramsci saw Lenin's Two Tactics of Social Democracy as teaching that the proletariat should aim to exercise hegemony through the leadership of allied classes).

      Which brings to mind Gould's recent revelation that he sees socialist revolution as a kind of coup!

      Gould wrote:

      Some of what is said here is real nonsense, but the sort of nonsense that gives a hint of the kind of crude organisational preoccupations that drive the DSP leaders. When they say: "For this transformation to take place, the vast majority of working people have to become
      conscious socialists", etc, they're breaking completely both with any notion of making a juncture with workers influenced by Social Democratic reformism, and with any Leninist realism.

      No "peace, land and bread" for the DSP leadership, in their new, born-again ultimatist pseudo-Marxism.

      My response: Perhap's Gould's Trotskyist framework makes him forget the fact that the revolution of 1917 began as a bourgeois-democratic revolution. Hence the demands "peace, land and bread" expressed in immediate terms the alliance of workers and peasants that made that revolution.

      In a socialist revolution in a country like Australia, the majority of workers would have to be won over to socialism and away from social democracy. "Peace, mortgage and a sausage sammy" won't be the catchcry in the Australian revolution, I'll wager.

      But whatever that catchcry is (and I wouldn't even try and imagine it right now) is will coe at the end of a process of winning the mass of workers away from loyalty to this system to movement to build a socialist alternative. A mass revolutionary party will have to be built for that to happen and the little steps the small numbers of socialists in Australia take today can either bring that closer or make it recede. I'd call this realistic.

      What Gould counterposes is a socialist strategy to con workers into making a revolution! An abstract and ridiculous schema if you ever saw one.

      Of course, socialists make "a juncture with workers influenced by Social Democratic reformism", forming united fronts where possible to get the maximum unity against various attacks by the ruling class. But these fit within a revolutionary strategy to win workers away from the class collaborationist politics of social democracy.

      Peter Boyle

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