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Re: State capitalism

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  • balmer_dave
    It wasn t a personal attack, much, apart from I was beginning to think you were deliberately denying the obvious, but you have `redeemed yourself as you
    Message 1 of 26 , Mar 29, 2010
      It wasn't a personal attack, much, apart from I was beginning to think you were deliberately denying the obvious, but you have `redeemed' yourself as you appear to have admitted that;

      "capitalism survived Romanov rule, Kerensky rule, and Bolshevik rule"


      You sort of asked a sensible question;

      "the Bolsheviks represented the rule of the xxxxx."

      And;

      "the class that rules is going to determine whether the capitalists are going to exploit mercilessly, or whether their gluttony stands a chance of being tamed."

      On the second point I don't think there was that much in the way of `bourgeois' or `private capitalism', as in the concession system etc, after 1925; it was probably only marginal before that.

      If that is sort of what you meant.

      So (State) capitalism was being operated by the state which was the Bolshevik party alone, or a one party state.

      So a few examples of that;


      V. I. Lenin
      Speech At The First All-Russia Congress Of
      Workers In Education and Socialist Culture
      July 31, 1919


      "When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party and, as you have heard, a united socialist front is proposed, we say, "Yes, it is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not shift from that position because it is the party that has won, in the course of decades, the position of vanguard of the entire factory and industrial proletariat."

      http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/lenin/works//1919/aug/05.htm


      "Why have a Party, if industrial management is to be appointed ("mandatory nomination") by the trade unions nine-tenths of whose members are non-Party workers? Bukharin has talked himself into a logical, theoretical and practical implication of a split in the Party, or, rather, a breakaway of the syndicalists from the Party."


      http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TPC21.html



      "We refuse to understand that when we say "state" we mean ourselves………. the vanguard of the working class. State capitalism is capitalism which we shall be able to restrain, and the limits of which we shall be able to fix. This state capitalism is connected with the state………….. the advanced section of the workers, the vanguard. We are the state."



      http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm


      I have obviously dotted stuff out there for clarity as Lenin is being disingenuous.

      First of all the membership of Bolshevik party under Lenin never went above about 700,00, I think, and it was eventually purged down to about 400,000 ish.

      (I can probably find that kind of stuff if you want.)

      The Mensheviks after being banned attempted entryism, but then they were banned from joining and were expelled.

      With a few amazing exceptions.

      So it was never more than 1% of the population or probably even 10% of the working class population.

      It certainly, as Lenin said, didn't represent the entire proletariat.


      "But the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised through an organisation embracing the whole of that class, because in all capitalist countries (and not only over here, in one of the most backward) the proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, and so corrupted in parts (by imperialism in some countries) that an organisation taking in the whole proletariat cannot directly exercise proletarian dictatorship. It can be exercised only by a vanguard


      for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised by a mass proletarian organisation. It cannot work without a number of "transmission belts" running from the vanguard to the mass of the advanced class, and from the latter to the mass of the working people. In Russia, this mass is a peasant one."


      http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TUTM20.html


      Not only that but `real proletarians' didn't go to work in factories, they went into the Bolshevik party and government presumably, and people who worked in factories weren't workers etc.


      "There we have to deal with workers. Very often the word "workers" is taken to mean the factory proletariat. But it does not mean that at all. During the war people who were by no means proletarians went into the factories; they went into the factories to dodge the war. Are the social and economic conditions in our country today such as to induce real proletarians to go into the factories? No. It would be true according to Marx; but Marx did not write about Russia; he wrote about capitalism as a whole, beginning with the fifteenth century. It held true over a period of six hundred years, but it is not true for present-day Russia. Very often those who go into the factories are not proletarians; they are casual elements of every description."



      http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm


      Despite the hazard of not being sure what a worker was according to Lenin, he did occasionally give us an idea of the numbers of workers in the Bolshevik party and government.

      "Does every worker know how to run the state? People working in the practical sphere know that this is not true, that millions of our organised workers are going through what we always said the trade unions were, namely, a school of communism and administration. When they have attended this school for a number of years they will have learned to administer, but the going is slow. We have not even abolished illiteracy. We know that workers in touch with peasants are liable to fall for non-proletarian slogans. How many of the workers have been engaged in government? A few thousand throughout Russia and no more."


      http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/SCM21.html



      Again and again we get same idea that the workers en mass and in general are not fit to participate in the running of state capitalism.

      As to who the Bolsheviks were etc and who they represented etc etc it is not a particularly important point from a Marxist historical materialist analysis.

      But they were probably the Bourgeois intelligentsia and ambitious social climbers etc.



      The point is that given the same basic set of circumstances history repeats itself, somewhat comically in the sense that the actors imitate their predecessors and their failures. Thus from Karl;

      "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.


      Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language."


      http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm



      This is the theoretical substance of Ted Grant's analysis, although I could quibble with the details;


      "If Cliff's argument is correct, one could only conclude that the same thing happened with the Russian as with the French Revolution. Marx was the prophet of the new state capitalism. Lenin and Trotsky were the Robespierres and Carnots of the Russian Revolution. The fact that Lenin and Trotsky had good intentions is beside the point, as were the good intentions of the leaders of the bourgeois revolution. They merely paved the way for the rule of the new state capitalist class."


      http://www.tedgrant.org/archive/grant/1949/cliff.htm

      Lenin never pretended much that he wasn't "borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language."

      Eg;


      Can "Jacobinism" Frighten the Working Class?

      http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/jul/07a.htm


      Marx prophesised that capitalism would follow feudalism with the rule of a capitalist class, in this case a state capitalist class.

      With basic similarities to previous capitalist revolutions.


      The Bolsheviks set themselves up as a class apart to run state capitalism.

      Theoretically it wouldn't be long before the ideological `superstructure' of the Bolsheviks would become modified by its own economic `base'.

      And they would become state capitalists in spirit as well as in name.


      And the Bolsheviks would inevitably represent their own state capitalist interests, just as the capitalists ordinary do.



      People like Grant knew that Russia was State Capitalist and the theoretical analysis about what had happened was thrashed out behind closed doors.

      And we see it in Ted's article, following Cliff breaking ranks with a compromise 'solution'.

      The devastating State Capitalism stuff is of course in (Left wing childishness and the petty-bourgeois mentality, Collected Works, Volume 27, page 335)

      That Ted `accidentally' mentions.

      Incidentally they probably picked that up from Trotsky himself;


      I. The Program of the International Revolution
      or a Program of Socialism in One Country?
      (Part 2) 1928

      At the beginning of the same year, i.e., 1918, Lenin, in his article entitled "On Left Wing Childishness and Petty Bourgeois Tendencies," directed against Bukharin, wrote the following:

      " If, let us say, state capitalism could be established in our country within six months, that would be a tremendous achievement and the surest guarantee that within a year socialism will be definitely established and will have become invincible."

      http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti02.htm





      --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Ken Ellis <kennethellis@...> wrote:
      >
      > In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "balmer_dave" <balmer_dave@> wrote:
      >
      > > Hi Ken
      > >
      > > Well I am refusing to move on until you throw away your Trotskyite, `out of
      > > your senses', get out of jail card of Russia `appeared to be state capitalism'
      > > or `could have been categorised' as 'state capitalist'.
      >
      > That sentence appears like a personal attack, while I've been thinking we
      > were having fun with theory and history, and I was enjoying learning new
      > tricks from you. Now this, and I don't know how to make heads nor tails out
      > of it.
      >
      > In the meantime, we can probably agree that capitalism survived Romanov
      > rule, Kerensky rule, and Bolshevik rule.
      >
      > Capitalism is only an economic system. The Romanovs represented feudal
      > monarchical rule, Kerensky represented bourgeois rule, and the Bolsheviks
      > represented the rule of the xxxxx. To me, the class that rules is going to
      > determine whether the capitalists are going to exploit mercilessly, or
      > whether their gluttony stands a chance of being tamed.
      >

      >
      > KE
      >
    • petergbryant
      Hi Dave Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in What is to be Done? taken from Kautsky s 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard
      Message 2 of 26 , Mar 30, 2010
        Hi Dave

        Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?" taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without" position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky did hold to the view that socialism, as a "science" of evolutionary historical development, was indeed brought to the working class from without - typically by a middle class intelligentsia. But I think what is more significant about Lenin's tactics as enunciated in What is to be Done? is that they don't demonstrate very much about Bolshevik practice. Eg. in the wake of the 1905 revolution Lenin said that "the working class is instinctively, spontaneously, Social Democrat". This implies a clear rejection of Kautsky's 1901 (and Lenin's 1902) position. No doubt Marcos would see in this yet further proof that Lenin was a "liar" and an "opportunist". I see him quite differently. He was a clever tactician who changed his mind from time to time relative to changes in Russian political conditions. That seems a lot like common sense to me.

        The 1924 Kautsky article you posted might be, as you say, "vaguely similar" to Kautsky's 1901 commentary (as quoted by Lenin) but I think you would really be pushing it to show that Kautsky supported a vanguard conception of the revolutionary party or (at least) that he was an elitist who wanted to manipulate the workers. I take it that you read the part where he says "if a strong party rooted firmly in democratic institutions fails to win a majority, this fact is an incentive to enlighten and train the backward masses in order to embark on the next attempt with increased strength and better prospect of success". OK, we can all squirm at the phrase "train the backward masses" but it sounds pretty weak to me if used as an attack on Kautsky's credentials as a democratic socialist. The most that can be said against Kautsky's view that a socialist consciousness takes shape outside the working class is that it can provide a theoretical justification for a socialist party transforming itself into a party of professional politicians and manipulators. But it is still only a theoretical justification. I haven't seen hard evidence that Kautsky, and other politicians in the SPD and (later) the USPD, acted accordingly. The transformed, reformist character of the SPD after 1914 was more a reflection of the reformist consciousness of its trade union base in the German working class, rather than a consequence of SPD leaders' manipulative politics.


        --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "balmer_dave" <balmer_dave@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi Peter
        >
        > As we all know I think Lenin used Kautsky as theoretical justification for the bolshevik's vanguardism,Blanquism and Jacobinism etc;
        >
        >
        >
        > WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
        >
        >
        > we shall quote the following profoundly just and important utterances by Karl Kautsky on the new draft program of the Austrian Social-Democratic Party:
        >
        >
        > "Many of our revisionist critics believe that Marx asserted that economic development and the class struggle create not only the conditions for socialist production, but also, and directly, the consciousness (K. K.'s italics) of its necessity. And these critics aver that England, the country most highly developed capitalistically, is more remote than any other from this consciousness. Judging from the draft, one might assume that this allegedly orthodox-Marxist view, which is thus refuted, was shared by the committee that drafted the Austrian program. In the draft program it is stated:
        >
        > 'The more capitalist development increases the numbers of the proletariat, the more the proletariat is compelled and becomes fit to fight against capitalism. The proletariat becomes conscious'
        >
        >
        > of the possibility and of the necessity for Socialism. In this connection socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue. Of course, Socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, just as the latter, emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery of the masses.
        >
        >
        > But Socialism and the classs struggle arise side by side and not one out of the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge. Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so; both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia (K. K.'s italics): it was in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern Socialism originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian class struggle where conditions allow that to be done.
        >
        > Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the proletarian class struggle from without (von Aussen Hineingetragenes) and not something that arose within it spontaneously (urwüchsig). Accordingly, the old Hainfeld program quite rightly stated that the task of Social-Democracy is to imbue the proletariat (literally: saturate the proletariat) with the consciousness of its position and the consciousness of its task There would be no need for this if consciousness arose of itself from the class struggle. The new draft copied this proposition from the old program, and attached it to the proposition mentioned above. But this completely broke the line of thought. . . ."
        >
        >
        > Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology being developed by the masses of the workers themselves in the process of their movement* the only choice is: either the bourgeois or the socialist ideology. There is no middle course (for humanity has not created a "third" ideology, and, moreover, in a society torn class antagonisms there can never be a non-class or above-class ideology. Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen bourgeois ideology.
        >
        >
        > http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html
        >
        >
        > You could of course argue that Lenin may have been to some extent ripping Kautsky out of context in 1902, as was Lenins habit, but I think that would be the case to be proved rather than asserted.
      • Marcos
        I am not basing my ideas about on Lenin, from the thin air, I studied Leninism and Bolshevism for several years. He was not only a tactician, anybody can be a
        Message 3 of 26 , Mar 30, 2010
          I am not basing my ideas about on Lenin, from the thin air, I studied
          Leninism and Bolshevism for several years. He was not only a tactician,
          anybody can be a tactician, he was a politician like any other capitalist
          politician, and he was one of the first commissars that give the order for
          the shooting of the first workers protests, and the killing of the
          anarchists, therefore, the work carried by Joseph Stalin was part of the
          unfinished work of the Bolsheviks. When Leon Trotsky was head of the red
          army, he was also party of that despotism, even more, Stalin was able to
          take his posts because he lost popularity among the Russian workers. There
          are hundred of evidence that shows that the vanguard party was copied from
          Kautsky and Lasalle, and there are many evidences that show that four of the
          major works of Lenin have been copied from others thinkers. Leninism is
          still a danger trend, and ideological poison within the working class
          movement. What is to be done ? It is total aberration of the most basic
          ideas of socialism. Kautsky started to abandon his socialist ideas around
          the 1900, and several of the ideas adopted by the Bolsheviks they already
          existed within the second international, the third international was created
          in order for the Bolshevik to take control of the so called communist
          movement, and socialism was transformed form a revolutionary movement into a
          reformist movement and an appendix of the bourgeoisie.


          On 30 March 2010 09:08, petergbryant <peterbryant6@...> wrote:

          >
          >
          >
          >
          > Hi Dave
          >
          > Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?"
          > taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard
          > quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without"
          > position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky
          > did hold to the view that socialism, as a "science" of evolutionary
          > historical development, was indeed brought to the working class from without
          > - typically by a middle class intelligentsia. But I think what is more
          > significant about Lenin's tactics as enunciated in What is to be Done? is
          > that they don't demonstrate very much about Bolshevik practice. Eg. in the
          > wake of the 1905 revolution Lenin said that "the working class is
          > instinctively, spontaneously, Social Democrat". This implies a clear
          > rejection of Kautsky's 1901 (and Lenin's 1902) position. No doubt Marcos
          > would see in this yet further proof that Lenin was a "liar" and an
          > "opportunist". I see him quite differently. He was a clever tactician who
          > changed his mind from time to time relative to changes in Russian political
          > conditions. That seems a lot like common sense to me.
          >
          > The 1924 Kautsky article you posted might be, as you say, "vaguely similar"
          > to Kautsky's 1901 commentary (as quoted by Lenin) but I think you would
          > really be pushing it to show that Kautsky supported a vanguard conception of
          > the revolutionary party or (at least) that he was an elitist who wanted to
          > manipulate the workers. I take it that you read the part where he says "if a
          > strong party rooted firmly in democratic institutions fails to win a
          > majority, this fact is an incentive to enlighten and train the backward
          > masses in order to embark on the next attempt with increased strength and
          > better prospect of success". OK, we can all squirm at the phrase "train the
          > backward masses" but it sounds pretty weak to me if used as an attack on
          > Kautsky's credentials as a democratic socialist. The most that can be said
          > against Kautsky's view that a socialist consciousness takes shape outside
          > the working class is that it can provide a theoretical justification for a
          > socialist party transforming itself into a party of professional politicians
          > and manipulators. But it is still only a theoretical justification. I
          > haven't seen hard evidence that Kautsky, and other politicians in the SPD
          > and (later) the USPD, acted accordingly. The transformed, reformist
          > character of the SPD after 1914 was more a reflection of the reformist
          > consciousness of its trade union base in the German working class, rather
          > than a consequence of SPD leaders' manipulative politics.
          >
          > --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com <WSM_Forum%40yahoogroups.com>,
          > "balmer_dave" <balmer_dave@...> wrote:
          > >
          > > Hi Peter
          > >
          > > As we all know I think Lenin used Kautsky as theoretical justification
          > for the bolshevik's vanguardism,Blanquism and Jacobinism etc;
          > >
          > >
          > >
          > > WHAT IS TO BE DONE?
          > >
          > >
          > > we shall quote the following profoundly just and important utterances by
          > Karl Kautsky on the new draft program of the Austrian Social-Democratic
          > Party:
          > >
          > >
          > > "Many of our revisionist critics believe that Marx asserted that economic
          > development and the class struggle create not only the conditions for
          > socialist production, but also, and directly, the consciousness (K. K.'s
          > italics) of its necessity. And these critics aver that England, the country
          > most highly developed capitalistically, is more remote than any other from
          > this consciousness. Judging from the draft, one might assume that this
          > allegedly orthodox-Marxist view, which is thus refuted, was shared by the
          > committee that drafted the Austrian program. In the draft program it is
          > stated:
          > >
          > > 'The more capitalist development increases the numbers of the
          > proletariat, the more the proletariat is compelled and becomes fit to fight
          > against capitalism. The proletariat becomes conscious'
          > >
          > >
          > > of the possibility and of the necessity for Socialism. In this connection
          > socialist consciousness appears to be a necessary and direct result of the
          > proletarian class struggle. But this is absolutely untrue. Of course,
          > Socialism, as a doctrine, has its roots in modern economic relationships
          > just as the class struggle of the proletariat has, and, just as the latter,
          > emerges from the struggle against the capitalist-created poverty and misery
          > of the masses.
          > >
          > >
          > > But Socialism and the classs struggle arise side by side and not one out
          > of the other; each arises under different conditions. Modern socialist
          > consciousness can arise only on the basis of profound scientific knowledge.
          > Indeed, modern economic science is as much a condition for socialist
          > production as, say, modern technology, and the proletariat can create
          > neither the one nor the other, no matter how much it may desire to do so;
          > both arise out of the modern social process. The vehicle of science is not
          > the proletariat, but the bourgeois intelligentsia (K. K.'s italics): it was
          > in the minds of individual members of this stratum that modern Socialism
          > originated, and it was they who communicated it to the more intellectually
          > developed proletarians who, in their turn, introduce it into the proletarian
          > class struggle where conditions allow that to be done.
          > >
          > > Thus, socialist consciousness is something introduced into the
          > proletarian class struggle from without (von Aussen Hineingetragenes) and
          > not something that arose within it spontaneously (urw�chsig). Accordingly,
          > the old Hainfeld program quite rightly stated that the task of
          > Social-Democracy is to imbue the proletariat (literally: saturate the
          > proletariat) with the consciousness of its position and the consciousness of
          > its task There would be no need for this if consciousness arose of itself
          > from the class struggle. The new draft copied this proposition from the old
          > program, and attached it to the proposition mentioned above. But this
          > completely broke the line of thought. . . ."
          > >
          > >
          > > Since there can be no talk of an independent ideology being developed by
          > the masses of the workers themselves in the process of their movement* the
          > only choice is: either the bourgeois or the socialist ideology. There is no
          > middle course (for humanity has not created a "third" ideology, and,
          > moreover, in a society torn class antagonisms there can never be a non-class
          > or above-class ideology. Hence, to belittle the socialist ideology in any
          > way, to turn away from it in the slightest degree means to strengthen
          > bourgeois ideology.
          > >
          > >
          > > http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html
          > >
          > >
          > > You could of course argue that Lenin may have been to some extent ripping
          > Kautsky out of context in 1902, as was Lenins habit, but I think that would
          > be the case to be proved rather than asserted.
          >
          >
          >


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • balmer_dave
          Hi Peter I think the quotation from Kautsky in What is to be done has to be taken in context of what he said elsewhere in the pamphlet as a more objectionable
          Message 4 of 26 , Mar 30, 2010
            Hi Peter

            I think the quotation from Kautsky in What is to be done has to be taken in context of what he said elsewhere in the pamphlet as a more objectionable statement.

            Where he doesn't let his `concrete realities' get in the way of abstract Marxist principles or theory.




            page 37
            "We have said that there could not yet be Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It could only be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc.[*]

            The theory of Socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical and economic theories that were elaborated by the educated representatives of the propertied classes, the intellectuals. According to their social status, the founders of modern scientific Socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose quite independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement, it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of ideas among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia."

            http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/WD02i.html



            This is of course is described by `orthodox' Leninists and the likes of the ICC as his 1902 position, which he is supposed to have recanted in his two steps back pamphlet and bending the stick the other way to counter economists arguments etc.

            However in power he returned to the exactly the same argument;


            THESES ON THE FUNDAMENTAL TASKS OF THE SECOND CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

            Published in July, 1920

            page 187



            "On the other hand, the idea, common among the old parties and the old leaders of the Second International, that the majority of the exploited toilers can achieve complete clarity of socialist consciousness and firm socialist convictions and character under capitalist slavery, under the yoke of the bourgeoisie (which assumes an inIinite variety of forms that become more subtle and at the same time more brutal and ruthless the higher the cultural level in a given capitalist country) is also idealisation of capitalism and of bourgeois democracy, as well as deception of the workers.

            In fact, it is only after the vanguard of the proletariat, supported by the whole or the majority of this, the only revolutionary class, overthrows the exploiters, suppresses them, emancipates the exploited from their state of slavery and-immediately improves their conditions of life at the expense of the expropriated capitalists --

            it is only after this, and only in the actual process of an acute class strugg]e, that the masses of the toilers and exploited can be educated, trained and organised around the proletariat under whose influence and guidance, they can get rid of the selfishness, disunity, vices and weaknesses engendered by private property; only then will they be converted into a free union of free workers."

            http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TSCI20.html


            Trotsky, his Menshevik contemporary, clearly viewed Lenin at the time as a Blanquist, Jacobin and opportunist.


            In fact the Mensheviks/Trotsky thought that what the Bernstienian reformists and the Bolsheviks had in common was that they were both opportunists, but located in different stages of economic development.

            And an opportunist in a pre capitalist society was a Bolshevik, and in capitalism a reformer of capitalism (and state capitalism) on behalf of and in the interest of the workers of course.

            And gradually improving capitalism (and state capitalism) in a series of steps or rungs on a ladder to communism.



            http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/WSM_Forum/message/41418


            On Kautsky etc, there is probably always going to be a spectrum or scale of views on vanguardism so making an absolute yes or no analysis is not that useful I think.


            --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "petergbryant" <peterbryant6@...> wrote:
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > Hi Dave
            >
            > Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?" taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without" position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky did hold to the view
          • petergbryant
            Dave I was a bit confused about your latest post because I thought the quote you gave from What is to be Done? (p37) was Kautsky s words but now I see it is
            Message 5 of 26 , Mar 30, 2010
              Dave

              I was a bit confused about your latest post because I thought the quote you gave from What is to be Done? (p37) was Kautsky's words but now I see it is Lenin. I don't find his words unexceptionable. The first para is the standard "consciousness comes from without" argument, and the second para gives an historical account of the social origins of the theory of socialism. I don't find this second para fundamentally at odds with the historical evidence. Theoretical socialism did indeed grow out of the "philosophic &c. theories elaborated by educated representatives of the propertied classes, the intellectuals". Do you disagree with Lenin saying that Marx and Engels belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia? Russia provides the clearest example of social democracy as a theoretical doctrine growing out of the intelligentsia. Without the intelligentsia in Russia there would never have been a Bolshevik revolution. I don't disagree with anything which shows Lenin as a vanguardist. I am only criticising the argument that he got it from Kautsky and that, by implication, Kautsky was a sort of supporter of vanguardism himself. Or at least an elitist who was a political manipulator of the working class.

              You say that "Trotsky, (Lenin's) Menshevik contemporary, clearly viewed Lenin at the time as a Blanquist, Jacobin and opportunist." Yes, he also thought Lenin was brutal and ruthless, which he certainly was. But in 1917 (as I am sure you already know) Trotsky presented a totally different view of Lenin: "...His (Lenin's) behaviour seemed to me inadmissible, terrible, shocking. Yet at the same time it was politically correct and therefore indispensable from the point of view of organisation." What Trotsky was recognising was that to survive as a disciplined revolutionary party in Tsarist Russia at the time, you had to be hard otherwise you'd end up in Siberia or in Switzerland. I don't think it gets to the heart of the matter at all to simply dismiss Lenin as a rank opportunist or a Machiavellian.

              The problem with Kautsky is that he was a rigid determinist (which he got from Engels) who believed that in the course of time, the evolution of the productive forces of capitalism along with the parallel growth of working class consciousness would lead inevitably to socialism. He became an exemplar of the "unripe time" doctrine, castigating people like Rosa Luxemburg who, eg. advocated the use of the mass strike as a lever of revolution. Kautsky would always say that "the time was not yet ripe". The moment for revolution never arrived. Inevitably, he became a passive political figure at a time when voluntarism, not determinism, was in the ascendancy in European Marxism. But I broadly agree with you that there will always be a spectrum of opinion on his views, making an absolute yes or no analysis unuseful.

              Peter (in Oz)


              --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "balmer_dave" <balmer_dave@...> wrote:
              >
              > Hi Peter
              >
              > I think the quotation from Kautsky in What is to be done has to be taken in context of what he said elsewhere in the pamphlet as a more objectionable statement.
              >
              > Where he doesn't let his `concrete realities' get in the way of abstract Marxist principles or theory.
              >
            • petergbryant
              Where is the hundreds of evidence that shows that the vanguard party concept was copied from Kautsky and Lasalle ? I ve never seen it. On Lenin s own
              Message 6 of 26 , Mar 30, 2010
                Where is the "hundreds of evidence that shows that the vanguard party concept was copied from Kautsky and Lasalle"?
                I've never seen it. On Lenin's own admission, the greatest influence on his ideas after Marx was the Russian Chernyshevsky. He even took the name of his pamphlet What is to be Done? from Chernyshevsky. Chernyshevsky's main ideas flow all the way through Bolshevism from 1902 on: the necessity of violent revolution, the leadership of an elite group of dedicated revolutionaries, the pernicious nature of liberalism and political democracy, the ends justifies the means. You can add in other revolutionaries like Tkachev and Nechaev and you've got the full pantheon of Bolshevik revolutionary heroes. They didn't need a Kautsky to teach them! Kautsky was only influential because he was regarded as the leading Marxist in Europe and the intellectual head of its largest revolutionary socialist party. Kautsky gave the imprimatur of Marxist orthodoxy to Lenin's work, at least up to 1914.

                I don't believe that Kautsky "started to abandon his socialist ideas around 1900". As a rigid economic determinist, he remained a firm believer in the inevitability of socialism to the end of his days. He arguably compromised his commitment to revolutionary socialism because of his stress on unity and organisation, but then as a leading light of the SPD , the biggest socialist party around, and with representatives in the Reichstag, and with a mass base dominated by a trade union consciousness (reformism), he didn't have the luxury of being able to ignore political/tactical questions like: should we vote with the bourgeois parties on a particular issue? and should we join a coalition which includes our parliamentary opponents? etc etc. If, as I am sure you believe, Kautsky failed as a socialist, I think should ask yourself whether Kautsky's failure was also the failure of democratic socialism everywhere.


                Peter (in Oz)


                --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, Marcos <UPRalmamater@...> wrote:
                >
                > I am not basing my ideas about on Lenin, from the thin air, I studied
                > Leninism and Bolshevism for several years. He was not only a tactician,
                > anybody can be a tactician, he was a politician like any other capitalist
                > politician, and he was one of the first commissars that give the order for
                > the shooting of the first workers protests, and the killing of the
                > anarchists, therefore, the work carried by Joseph Stalin was part of the
                > unfinished work of the Bolsheviks. When Leon Trotsky was head of the red
                > army, he was also party of that despotism, even more, Stalin was able to
                > take his posts because he lost popularity among the Russian workers. There
                > are hundred of evidence that shows that the vanguard party was copied from
                > Kautsky and Lasalle, and there are many evidences that show that four of the
                > major works of Lenin have been copied from others thinkers. Leninism is
                > still a danger trend, and ideological poison within the working class
                > movement. What is to be done ? It is total aberration of the most basic
                > ideas of socialism. Kautsky started to abandon his socialist ideas around
                > the 1900, and several of the ideas adopted by the Bolsheviks they already
                > existed within the second international, the third international was created
                > in order for the Bolshevik to take control of the so called communist
                > movement, and socialism was transformed form a revolutionary movement into a
                > reformist movement and an appendix of the bourgeoisie.
                >
              • Ken Ellis
                ... Close enough to what I meant, and I m glad to see you write that private capitalism played an insignificant role in the Soviet Union. ... That s pretty
                Message 7 of 26 , Mar 31, 2010
                  In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "balmer_dave" <balmer_dave@...> wrote:

                  > It wasn't a personal attack, much, apart from I was beginning to think you
                  > were deliberately denying the obvious, but you have `redeemed' yourself as you
                  > appear to have admitted that;
                  >
                  >> "capitalism survived Romanov rule, Kerensky rule, and Bolshevik rule"
                  >
                  > You sort of asked a sensible question;
                  >
                  >> "the Bolsheviks represented the rule of the xxxxx."
                  >
                  > And;
                  >
                  >> "the class that rules is going to determine whether the capitalists are going
                  >> to exploit mercilessly, or whether their gluttony stands a chance of being
                  >> tamed."
                  >
                  > On the second point I don't think there was that much in the way of
                  > `bourgeois' or `private capitalism', as in the concession system etc, after
                  > 1925; it was probably only marginal before that.
                  >
                  > If that is sort of what you meant.

                  Close enough to what I meant, and I'm glad to see you write that private
                  capitalism played an insignificant role in the Soviet Union.

                  > So (State) capitalism was being operated by the state which was the Bolshevik
                  > party alone, or a one party state.
                  >
                  > So a few examples of that;
                  >
                  > V. I. Lenin Speech At The First All-Russia Congress Of Workers In Education
                  > and Socialist Culture July 31, 1919
                  >
                  > "When we are reproached with having established a dictatorship of one party
                  > and, as you have heard, a united socialist front is proposed, we say, "Yes, it
                  > is a dictatorship of one party! This is what we stand for and we shall not
                  > shift from that position because it is the party that has won, in the course
                  > of decades, the position of vanguard of the entire factory and industrial
                  > proletariat."
                  >
                  > http://www.marxistsfr.org/archive/lenin/works//1919/aug/05.htm
                  >
                  > "Why have a Party, if industrial management is to be appointed ("mandatory
                  > nomination") by the trade unions nine-tenths of whose members are non-Party
                  > workers? Bukharin has talked himself into a logical, theoretical and practical
                  > implication of a split in the Party, or, rather, a breakaway of the
                  > syndicalists from the Party."
                  >
                  > http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TPC21.html
                  >
                  > "We refuse to understand that when we say "state" we mean ourselvesŠŠŠ. the
                  > vanguard of the working class. State capitalism is capitalism which we shall
                  > be able to restrain, and the limits of which we shall be able to fix. This
                  > state capitalism is connected with the stateŠŠŠŠ.. the advanced section of the
                  > workers, the vanguard. We are the state."
                  >
                  > http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm
                  >
                  > I have obviously dotted stuff out there for clarity as Lenin is being
                  > disingenuous.
                  >
                  > First of all the membership of Bolshevik party under Lenin never went above
                  > about 700,00, I think, and it was eventually purged down to about 400,000 ish.
                  >
                  > (I can probably find that kind of stuff if you want.)
                  >
                  > The Mensheviks after being banned attempted entryism, but then they were
                  > banned from joining and were expelled.
                  >
                  > With a few amazing exceptions.
                  >
                  > So it was never more than 1% of the population or probably even 10% of the
                  > working class population.
                  >
                  > It certainly, as Lenin said, didn't represent the entire proletariat.
                  >
                  > "But the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised through an
                  > organisation embracing the whole of that class, because in all capitalist
                  > countries (and not only over here, in one of the most backward) the
                  > proletariat is still so divided, so degraded, and so corrupted in parts (by
                  > imperialism in some countries) that an organisation taking in the whole
                  > proletariat cannot directly exercise proletarian dictatorship. It can be
                  > exercised only by a vanguard
                  >
                  > for the dictatorship of the proletariat cannot be exercised by a mass
                  > proletarian organisation. It cannot work without a number of "transmission
                  > belts" running from the vanguard to the mass of the advanced class, and from
                  > the latter to the mass of the working people. In Russia, this mass is a
                  > peasant one."
                  >
                  > http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/TUTM20.html
                  >
                  > Not only that but `real proletarians' didn't go to work in factories, they
                  > went into the Bolshevik party and government presumably, and people who worked
                  > in factories weren't workers etc.
                  >
                  > "There we have to deal with workers. Very often the word "workers" is taken to
                  > mean the factory proletariat. But it does not mean that at all. During the war
                  > people who were by no means proletarians went into the factories; they went
                  > into the factories to dodge the war. Are the social and economic conditions in
                  > our country today such as to induce real proletarians to go into the
                  > factories? No. It would be true according to Marx; but Marx did not write
                  > about Russia; he wrote about capitalism as a whole, beginning with the
                  > fifteenth century. It held true over a period of six hundred years, but it is
                  > not true for present-day Russia. Very often those who go into the factories
                  > are not proletarians; they are casual elements of every description."
                  >
                  > http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1922/mar/27.htm
                  >
                  > Despite the hazard of not being sure what a worker was according to Lenin, he
                  > did occasionally give us an idea of the numbers of workers in the Bolshevik
                  > party and government.
                  >
                  > "Does every worker know how to run the state? People working in the practical
                  > sphere know that this is not true, that millions of our organised workers are
                  > going through what we always said the trade unions were, namely, a school of
                  > communism and administration. When they have attended this school for a number
                  > of years they will have learned to administer, but the going is slow. We have
                  > not even abolished illiteracy. We know that workers in touch with peasants are
                  > liable to fall for non-proletarian slogans. How many of the workers have been
                  > engaged in government? A few thousand throughout Russia and no more."
                  >
                  > http://www.marx2mao.net/Lenin/SCM21.html
                  >
                  > Again and again we get same idea that the workers en mass and in general are
                  > not fit to participate in the running of state capitalism.
                  >
                  > As to who the Bolsheviks were etc and who they represented etc etc it is not a
                  > particularly important point from a Marxist historical materialist analysis.
                  >
                  > But they were probably the Bourgeois intelligentsia and ambitious social
                  > climbers etc.
                  >
                  > The point is that given the same basic set of circumstances history repeats
                  > itself, somewhat comically in the sense that the actors imitate their
                  > predecessors and their failures. Thus from Karl;
                  >
                  > "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages
                  > appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the
                  > second time as farce. Caussidière for Danton, Louis Blanc for Robespierre, the
                  > Montagne of 1848 to 1851 for the Montagne of 1793 to 1795, the nephew for the
                  > uncle. And the same caricature occurs in the circumstances of the second
                  > edition of the Eighteenth Brumaire.
                  >
                  > Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do
                  > not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances
                  > existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all
                  > dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just
                  > as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things,
                  > creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of
                  > revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to
                  > their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in
                  > order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and
                  > borrowed language."
                  >
                  > http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm
                  >
                  > This is the theoretical substance of Ted Grant's analysis, although I could
                  > quibble with the details;
                  >
                  > "If Cliff's argument is correct, one could only conclude that the same thing
                  > happened with the Russian as with the French Revolution. Marx was the prophet
                  > of the new state capitalism. Lenin and Trotsky were the Robespierres and
                  > Carnots of the Russian Revolution. The fact that Lenin and Trotsky had good
                  > intentions is beside the point, as were the good intentions of the leaders of
                  > the bourgeois revolution. They merely paved the way for the rule of the new
                  > state capitalist class."
                  >
                  > http://www.tedgrant.org/archive/grant/1949/cliff.htm

                  That's pretty cold, but maybe he has a point there, especially while
                  considering apparatchiks like Khrushchev and Brezhnev.

                  > Lenin never pretended much that he wasn't "borrowing from them names, battle
                  > slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in
                  > time-honored disguise and borrowed language."
                  >
                  > Eg;
                  >
                  > Can "Jacobinism" Frighten the Working Class?
                  >
                  > http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/jul/07a.htm
                  >
                  > Marx prophesised that capitalism would follow feudalism with the rule of a
                  > capitalist class, in this case a state capitalist class.
                  >
                  > With basic similarities to previous capitalist revolutions.
                  >
                  > The Bolsheviks set themselves up as a class apart to run state capitalism.
                  >
                  > Theoretically it wouldn't be long before the ideological `superstructure' of
                  > the Bolsheviks would become modified by its own economic `base'.
                  >
                  > And they would become state capitalists in spirit as well as in name.
                  >
                  > And the Bolsheviks would inevitably represent their own state capitalist
                  > interests, just as the capitalists ordinary do.
                  >
                  > People like Grant knew that Russia was State Capitalist and the theoretical
                  > analysis about what had happened was thrashed out behind closed doors.
                  >
                  > And we see it in Ted's article, following Cliff breaking ranks with a
                  > compromise 'solution'.
                  >
                  > The devastating State Capitalism stuff is of course in (Left wing childishness
                  > and the petty-bourgeois mentality, Collected Works, Volume 27, page 335)
                  >
                  > That Ted `accidentally' mentions.
                  >
                  > Incidentally they probably picked that up from Trotsky himself;
                  >
                  > I. The Program of the International Revolution or a Program of Socialism in
                  > One Country? (Part 2) 1928
                  >
                  > At the beginning of the same year, i.e., 1918, Lenin, in his article entitled
                  > "On Left Wing Childishness and Petty Bourgeois Tendencies," directed against
                  > Bukharin, wrote the following:
                  >
                  > " If, let us say, state capitalism could be established in our country within
                  > six months, that would be a tremendous achievement and the surest guarantee
                  > that within a year socialism will be definitely established and will have
                  > become invincible."
                  >
                  > http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1928/3rd/ti02.htm

                  Very good! The state capitalism point has been well made. Maybe now an
                  unresolved issue from the recent past can be reconsidered.

                  I had earlier blamed the failure of the Russian and other so-called
                  communist revolutions on what I consider a rather universal major tactical
                  error: expropriation.

                  In Capital, Marx advocated the expropriation of the expropriators, but, in
                  his early writings, he seemed to have written differently. He knew that
                  'human labor creates private property', which immediately raises the
                  question of how to abolish private property while billions of people are
                  toiling every day to create private property for themselves and their
                  exploiters. Marx even brought wages into the definition of private property.
                  So, that's our first serious socialist problem to solve: How to abolish
                  something that's in the constant process of being created.

                  Marx early on wrote about the inconceivability of abolishing private
                  property except as the abolition of labor, thereby providing us with one
                  plausible way of abolishing it. The other way, from the Communist Manifesto,
                  would have been if enough European monarchies were simultaneously replaced
                  with democracies with universal suffrage, and people insisted on using their
                  new proletarian dictatorship to enact the CM program, which 'by degrees'
                  wrests all capital from the bourgeoisie and converts it into state property.

                  However, the Paris Commune had little interest in expropriation, but Lenin
                  must have thought that the Bolsheviks could work miracles, and accomplish in
                  Russia what the Communards had little to no interest in doing. We have seen
                  the tragi-comic results. People taking expropriation to heart as a goal
                  seems to have been the cause of the failure of the Russian experiment, and
                  more than one country has re-privatized its means of production.

                  It should be pretty clear that no one is going to make that mistake ever
                  again in the future, i.e., prematurely try to abolish private property, only
                  to have it boomerang back on them in the form of gangster capitalism. People
                  seem to have learned at least one good lesson.

                  But soon there will be a time when property will no longer be property any
                  more, i.e., when everything reasonable anybody ever needs or wants can be
                  created on the spot with zero toil, and in little time, thanks to the
                  upcoming nanotech revolution. Finally, a decisive end to scarcity could
                  arrive in a very few decades. Popular interest in accumulating property will
                  fade away, and socialism will arrive, but there's nothing anyone can do in
                  the meantime to speed its arrival except by being good scientists and
                  engineers and further accelerating the productivity of labor.

                  KE

                  http://www.critiquejournal.net/uri35.pdf

                  "At the core of the highest phase of communist society, as described in
                  Marx¹s early writings, is the abolition of labour. The more famous abolition
                  of private property, the well-known abolition of the state, and the
                  lesser-known abolition of the division of labour are all conditional upon
                  the abolition of labour itself."
                • balmer_dave
                  Hi Peter Well the debate is beginning to spread out a bit so I will try to deal with all points without missing any. On Kautsky. His 1924 piece does as you
                  Message 8 of 26 , Mar 31, 2010
                    Hi Peter

                    Well the debate is beginning to spread out a bit so I will try to deal with all points without missing any.

                    On Kautsky.

                    His 1924 piece does as you said make you `squirm' a bit here and there as below, however there are worse examples of that kind of thing.



                    "In the Labour Revolution the entire working class is freed from middle class leadership, and the struggle of radicals against moderates is a struggle of the ignorant, unorganized, inexperienced, in other words, the most backward members of the working class against the trained, experienced, and most highly developed sections of the workers."

                    And;

                    "Consequently economic knowledge was only to be found amongst the bourgeoisie. This word is constantly used as if it were synonymous with the capitalist class, but this is a mistake. Bourgeois signifies the municipal citizen as distinct from citoyen, the citizen of the State. We understand by the term bourgeoisie the whole of the educated and comfortable section of the urban population, in contradistinction to the whole of the country population, the large landowners as well as the peasantry, and the poorer section of the urban population.

                    The bourgeoisie does not form a class in the economic sense; it is, like the "Third Estate," a collective name, which comprises various elements, intellectuals as well as capitalists, and in addition many sections that live, not from the exploitation of alien labour, but merely from their own labours, being frequently exploited themselves. The intellectuals among the bourgeoisie are perhaps more numerous than the capitalists."


                    http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1924/labour/ch02_b.htm


                    However like I said Vanguardism is a matter of scale and degree and often within the less egregious variations of it there are pernicious little seeds which if sown into the wrong kind of places are liable to develop into something else.

                    However that requires foresight or the benefit retrospective analysis. As we have the later, I think we should be fair when criticising others for lack of foresight on the basis of our retrospective analysis.

                    Although perhaps by in 1924 somebody like Kautsky could have been more critical of the vanguardist approach than he was and should have by that time already reached his 1934 position that we ourselves could cheer along to;

                    "that the liberation of the working class could be achieved only by the working class itself, that no paternalistic friend from the bourgeoisie, nor a select proletarian vanguard could accomplish this task for the masses. But like other Socialists he had to admit that the masses were not yet ripe for the struggle. How was this ripeness to be achieved? Through well meaning tutors from above? Grown-up people will not submit to the guardianship of tutors. Where this attempt is made either by Christians or by atheists it usually degenerates into a loathsome, priestly presumptuousness on the part of the tutor and a hypocritical submission of the tutored."

                    http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1934/bolshevism/ch02.htm



                    As far as retrospective analysis is concerned re vanguardism and Blanquism etc, and as Kautsky noted, M&E had held vanguardist positions circa 1850 and later rejected them as a consequence of retrospective analysis.

                    Blanquism, jacobinism and vanguardism when used by most are just generic terms used to describe general approaches and are derived from historical examples. What they are were well described by Engels, so to save myself the effort I will adopt that description.


                    "If, in all the longer revolutionary periods, it was so easy to win the great masses of the people by the merely plausible and delusive views of the minorities thrusting themselves forward, how could they be less susceptible to ideas which were the truest reflex of their economic position, which were nothing but the clear, comprehensible expression of their needs, of needs not yet understood by themselves, but only vaguely felt?

                    To be sure, this revolutionary mood of the masses had almost always, and usually very speedily, given way to lassitude or even to a revulsion to its opposite, so soon as illusion evaporated and disappointment set in. But here it was not a question of delusive views, but of giving effect to the very special interests of the great majority itself, interests, which at that time were certainly by no means clear to this great majority, but which must soon enough become clear in the course of giving practical effect to them, by their convincing obviousness."


                    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1850/class-struggles-france/intro.htm


                    They obviously rejected this position as is made clear in the same article.


                    There are then two lines of argument with this kind of thing I think.

                    A) We believe we have better understanding of what is good for you than you do yourselves and we will tell you what you need to do.

                    B) We believe we have a better understanding of what is good for you and will endeavour to try and make you understand that as we do so you can freely act on it yourselves.

                    I think the position of bourgeois intellectuals like M&E in this process a 100 years ago was a difficult one.

                    As the likes of M&E were the only ones to some extent that had the ability to have an enlightened and scientific understanding of capitalism and to counter the sophisticated and apparently informed and rational ideology of the capitalist class.

                    And you couldn't blame the working class for wanting to take into consideration rational arguments to inform action and not act by instinct alone.

                    For our bourgeois intellectuals, who may be corrupted and degraded themselves, drifting too far away from criticism and analysis in order that the working class can make up its own mind can lead to telling the workers what to do.

                    Which is one reason why we have no blue print from them probably,

                    In fact the whole of the `petty bourgeois or middle class' tends to be corrupted and degraded with ideas and `rights' of meritocratic hierarchy based on innate gifts or talents that deserve deference and reward.


                    And we see this reflected in the leadership organisational principles of Leninist organisations.

                    --------------


                    The problem of socialist consciousness coming out of the working class or out of the bourgeois intellectuals is always going to be a difficult one. As I think to some extent one informs the other both ways around. But if anything it did originate from the working class themselves and M&E picked it up from the League of the Just etc, and not the other way around.

                    And although this movement was `primitive' and full of `illusions' then so were the ideas of M&E at the time.

                    The Shakers and Whinstanley etc who knew what communism was were not informed by bourgeois intellectuals. And the absence of evidence of a deeper understanding of communism by the semi-literate working class is not evidence of absence.

                    Marx and Engels were unaware of the writings of Whinstanley.

                    ----------------

                    A justification for Lenin's principal of centralised organisation was undoubtedly the oppressive state in which it was forced to operate. But people are and were entitled to suspect that it was a cover story or `rationalisation' for a more deeply felt sublimated attraction to a more self serving petty bourgeois modus operandi.

                    Only now can we suspect to what extent Tony Bliar really believed that what he did was for the Iraqi people.

                    Where a particular kind self interest, that is best kept out of public and introspective gaze, influenced your reasoning.

                    And again it is entirely reasonable to view the ideas on the organisation within party holistically along with the general vanguardist approach of the party itself.

                    Which is what Trotsky, and Rosa did I think.

                    http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1904/questions-rsd/ch01.htm


                    ------------


                    There is no doubt that Trotsky later recanted his Our Political tasks, he did it in his My Life and before the Dewey Commission hearings I think without checking that out.

                    Actually I think he just penned it as a gifted scribbler from a draft written probably by Plekanov and Axelrod, it was a bit too clever for him and he was probably 'led astray'.

                    What makes it interesting is that it is rare example of Menshevik literature that has probably only survived thanks to Stalinist and Trotskyist feuding. And it is somewhat ironic that Trotsky later said that the Mensheviks would go into the dustbin of history.


                    There is another article by Kautsky were he starts to draw parallels between fascism and `Bolshevism'. It is probably interesting as a precursor to ideas that appeared a bit later from Bruno Rizi and Burnham.

                    http://www.marxists.org/archive/kautsky/1934/hitler/ch05.htm



                    If my posts seem a bit disjointed it is because it takes time and effort to weave these ideas seamlessly together and I am feeling lazy.



                    --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "petergbryant" <peterbryant6@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > Dave
                    >
                    > I was a bit confused about your latest post because I thought the quote you gave from What is to be Done? (p37) was Kautsky's words but now I see it is Lenin. I don't find his words unexceptionable. The first para is the standard "consciousness comes from without" argument, and the second para gives an historical account of the
                  • JAMES NORTH
                    Hi fellow workers, Well, I suppose the bourgeois intellectuals had the time on their hands to develop theories and dominate what needed to be working class
                    Message 9 of 26 , Mar 31, 2010
                      Hi fellow workers,

                      Well, I suppose the bourgeois intellectuals had the time on their hands to develop theories and dominate what needed to be working class movements. Their families weren't exactly going to starve if they decided not to go down the pit one day because they had some reading to do at the library instead.

                      Having said that, the working class didn't do such a bad job of achieving socialist consciousness without their economic-betters-but-intellectual-equals. I think the workers of the Paris Commune may even have taught Marx and Engels a thing or two. Why? Because, for all their knowledge, studying, theorising and arrogance working class emancipation was merely academic to them.

                      The bourgeois intellectuals had their day and where did it end up? Not socialism, that's for sure. What remains to be seen is what we workers can achieve ourselves.
                        JimN
                      http://freetimes3x.blogspot.com/
                      twitter freetimes3x




                      ________________________________
                      From: balmer_dave <balmer_dave@...>
                      To: WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Tuesday, 30 March, 2010 21:52:30
                      Subject: [WSM_Forum] Re: Kautsky & Vanguardism

                       
                      Hi Peter

                      I think the quotation from Kautsky in What is to be done has to be taken in context of what he said elsewhere in the pamphlet as a more objectionable statement.

                      Where he doesn't let his `concrete realities' get in the way of abstract Marxist principles or theory.

                      page 37
                      "We have said that there could not yet be Social-Democratic consciousness among the workers. It could only be brought to them from without. The history of all countries shows that the working class exclusively by its own effort, is able to develop only trade union consciousness, i.e., the conviction that it is necessary to combine in unions, fight the employers and strive to compel the government to pass necessary labour legislation, etc.[*]

                      The theory of Socialism, however, grew out of the philosophic, historical and economic theories that were elaborated by the educated representatives of the propertied classes, the intellectuals. According to their social status, the founders of modern scientific Socialism, Marx and Engels, themselves belonged to the bourgeois intelligentsia. In the very same way, in Russia, the theoretical doctrine of Social-Democracy arose quite independently of the spontaneous growth of the working-class movement, it arose as a natural and inevitable outcome of the development of ideas among the revolutionary socialist intelligentsia. "

                      http://www.marx2mao .net/Lenin/ WD02i.html

                      This is of course is described by `orthodox' Leninists and the likes of the ICC as his 1902 position, which he is supposed to have recanted in his two steps back pamphlet and bending the stick the other way to counter economists arguments etc.

                      However in power he returned to the exactly the same argument;

                      THESES ON THE FUNDAMENTAL TASKS OF THE SECOND CONGRESS OF THE COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL

                      Published in July, 1920

                      page 187

                      "On the other hand, the idea, common among the old parties and the old leaders of the Second International, that the majority of the exploited toilers can achieve complete clarity of socialist consciousness and firm socialist convictions and character under capitalist slavery, under the yoke of the bourgeoisie (which assumes an inIinite variety of forms that become more subtle and at the same time more brutal and ruthless the higher the cultural level in a given capitalist country) is also idealisation of capitalism and of bourgeois democracy, as well as deception of the workers.

                      In fact, it is only after the vanguard of the proletariat, supported by the whole or the majority of this, the only revolutionary class, overthrows the exploiters, suppresses them, emancipates the exploited from their state of slavery and-immediately improves their conditions of life at the expense of the expropriated capitalists --

                      it is only after this, and only in the actual process of an acute class strugg]e, that the masses of the toilers and exploited can be educated, trained and organised around the proletariat under whose influence and guidance, they can get rid of the selfishness, disunity, vices and weaknesses engendered by private property; only then will they be converted into a free union of free workers."

                      http://www.marx2mao .net/Lenin/ TSCI20.html

                      Trotsky, his Menshevik contemporary, clearly viewed Lenin at the time as a Blanquist, Jacobin and opportunist.

                      In fact the Mensheviks/Trotsky thought that what the Bernstienian reformists and the Bolsheviks had in common was that they were both opportunists, but located in different stages of economic development.

                      And an opportunist in a pre capitalist society was a Bolshevik, and in capitalism a reformer of capitalism (and state capitalism) on behalf of and in the interest of the workers of course.

                      And gradually improving capitalism (and state capitalism) in a series of steps or rungs on a ladder to communism.

                      http://tech. groups.yahoo. com/group/ WSM_Forum/ message/41418

                      On Kautsky etc, there is probably always going to be a spectrum or scale of views on vanguardism so making an absolute yes or no analysis is not that useful I think.

                      --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogrou ps.com, "petergbryant" <peterbryant6@ ...> wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > Hi Dave
                      >
                      > Thanks for all these references. The Lenin quote in "What is to be Done?" taken from Kautsky's 1901 commentary on the Hainfeld Program is the standard quote used to "prove" Kautsky's adherence to a "socialism from without" position. No, I don't think Lenin "ripped Kautsky out of context". Kautsky did hold to the view




                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • alb1342
                      This article is relevant here as it points out that even Marx learned socialism from workers (and didn t claim otherwise like Kautsky and Lenin) who hadn t
                      Message 10 of 26 , Mar 31, 2010
                        This article is relevant here as it points out that even Marx learned socialism from workers (and didn't claim otherwise like Kautsky and Lenin) who hadn't been to college like him:
                        http://www.marxists.org/archive/hardcastle/what_done.htm
                        Adam
                      • Marcos
                        Many of the concepts that were written in the Communist Manifesto they already existed prior within the class movement. Marx and Engels were not the teachers
                        Message 11 of 26 , Mar 31, 2010
                          Many of the concepts that were written in the Communist Manifesto they
                          already existed prior within the class movement. Marx and Engels were not
                          the teachers of the working class as was propagated by the Leninists, ( The
                          teachers and leaders of the proletariat ) it was the opposite,,
                          Lenin was not going to republish What is to be done ? because he
                          considered that it was only applicable to Russia, but, then ,they need it in
                          order to control the workers, and it became part of most of the
                          Marxist-Leninist parties of the world who were members of the Third
                          International, most of them did not know that they were teaching to their
                          members about the Prince Machiavelli of Russia


                          On 31 March 2010 12:15, alb1342 <alb342@...> wrote:

                          >
                          >
                          > This article is relevant here as it points out that even Marx learned
                          > socialism from workers (and didn't claim otherwise like Kautsky and Lenin)
                          > who hadn't been to college like him:
                          > http://www.marxists.org/archive/hardcastle/what_done.htm
                          > Adam
                          >
                          >
                          >


                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • balmer_dave
                          As Bray is mentioned he was one of the first to put Ricardo s labour theory of value and the nature of surplus value as part of a `communist theory. Frederick
                          Message 12 of 26 , Mar 31, 2010
                            As Bray is mentioned he was one of the first to put Ricardo's labour theory of value and the nature of surplus value as part of a `communist' theory.

                            Frederick Engels The Poverty of Philosophy – Preface;



                            Insofar as modern socialism, no matter of what tendency, starts out from bourgeois political economy, it almost without exception takes up the Ricardian theory of value. The two propositions which Ricardo proclaimed in 1817 right at the beginning of his Principles,

                            1) that the value of any commodity is purely and solely determined by the quantity of labour required for its production, and

                            2) that the product of the entire social labour is divided among the three classes: landowners (rent), capitalists (profit) and workers (wages)

                            These two propositions had ever since 1821 been utilised in England for socialist conclusions, and in part with such pointedness and resolution that this literature, which had then almost been forgotten and was to a large extent only rediscovered by Marx, remained unsurpassed until the appearance of Capital.

                            About this another time. If, therefore, in 1842 Rodbertus for his part drew socialist conclusions from the above propositions, that was certainly a very considerable step forward for a German at that time, but it could rank as a new discovery only for Germany at best. That such an application of the Ricardian theory was far from new was proved by Marx against Proudhon, who suffered from a similar conceit.

                            "Anyone who is in any way familiar with the trend of political economy in England cannot fail to know that almost all the socialists in that country have, at different periods, proposed the equalitarian (i.e. socialist) application of Ricardian theory. We could quote for M. Proudhon: Hodgskin, Political Economy, 1827; William Thompson, An Inquiry into the Principles of the Distribution of Wealth Most Conducive to Human Happiness, 1824; T. R. Edmonds, Practical Moral and Political Economy, 1828, etc., etc., and four pages more of etc.

                            We shall content ourselves with listening to an English Communist, Mr. Bray ... in his remarkable work, Labour's Wrongs and Labour's Remedy, Leeds, 1839."


                            And the quotations given here from Bray on their own put an end to a good part of the priority claimed by Rodbertus.


                            http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/pre-1885.htm

                            discussed in more detail below.




                            http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/poverty-philosophy/ch01b.htm


                            --- In WSM_Forum@yahoogroups.com, "alb1342" <alb342@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > This article is relevant here as it points out that even Marx learned socialism from workers (and didn't claim otherwise like Kautsky and Lenin) who hadn't been to college like him:
                            > http://www.marxists.org/archive/hardcastle/what_done.htm
                            > Adam
                            >
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