RedMarx

A Forum
It is currently Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:38 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]



Welcome


Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 8:27 am 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 392
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 8 time
Let's take a stroll through this forest of the absurd.

SA: I'm certainly willing to concede that reading, interpreting and discussing anything on its own terms First (immersion) is a conscious choice. I'm not going to concede that there is anything politically dubious or nefarious about it, or that doing so is evidence of anything else.

‘Take my word for it’ is not an acceptable political practice.

Bro: Getting hung up on particular things at various times is different than what (or why) you're reading at any given time, and/or how you read and discuss. The relationship of either one to substantive changes in your political trajectory aren’t direct or inevitable or (really) anything at all.

Noa: That article was written in good faith, and is the last thing I wrote before disengaging and writing what is my political position. Some background: at the time, there was enthusiasm about the media narrative regarding nationwide fast-food strikes, Wal-Mart (and supply chain) workers' strikes. You're absolutely right that what was really happening was "exposed" in various quarters. The article referenced in the text, "Fight for 15 Confidential," was a big part of this in the labor-left. Pretty sure the NYTimes and co. did so as well.

People unfamiliar with the terrain of the US labor movement could be taken in by the apparent outbreak of 'wildcat strikes', spontaneous demonstrations affecting multiple workplaces, etc. which in turn fed the political position that the content of struggles are in direct proportion to their form: "wildcat strikes = good" (except they weren't).
I didn't "swing 180 degrees". The method of that article is unchanged from what I wrote subsequent to it, including the criticisms of the political positions I held at that time. Earlier you said “btw, I'm familiar with your reasoning of conforming to the real practice of the class movement etc.,” but claim that article is evidence of something other than just that?

It’s an example of something, but not what you intended.

Z: That's like saying it’s not only acceptable, but best, to stay as far away from real life as possible and remain only on the terrain of harmless intellectual curiosity.

…/

I am convinced at the moment that somewhere in the theory, debates, political evolution, practice of the CP in the 1920’s-30’s is evidence of how state power changes the dynamic of the revolutionary movement. No shit, right? I don’t mean general tendencies or particular events, but the kernel of how state power does so in a more basic, universal way that isn’t particular to the USSR, the Russian revolution, the 20th century, etc. That’s the next step from investigating how forms of labor organization (like the trade unions) arise from and act within the class—and I do think at the moment that the same root is common to both forms. I don’t think you can investigate the trade unions without thoroughly evaluating people like Gompers and I don’t think you can investigate state power without thoroughly evaluating people like Stalin—including on their own terms as a facet of that investigation.

If any of you want to construe that any which way, so be it.

Starting and contributing to a thread that everyone (else) seems to be in consensus is a ‘ban-able offense’ from RedMarx is absurd. Raising topics and asking questions for the purpose of not raising those topics and asking those questions is absurd.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 9:03 am 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:41 pm
Posts: 619
Has thanked: 17 time
Have thanks: 25 time
Provided of course, you engage the substantive issues which you have not. That's the point. If you had engaged in a critical discussion of what Olgin raised, that would be one thing. You have not.

Now you state you are convinced that taking state power changes the dynamic of the revolutionary movement. As if that's a question. That's not a question. The issue is what are those changes and what economic forces, what relations of classes, drive those changes. SIOC is not, and was not, a "dynamic" of a revolutionary movement. The characterization of Trotsky as "counterrevolutionary in disguise" was not a change in the dynamic of a revolutionary movement.

I've never asked anyone to take my word for it. Certainly not you. But I asked you-- have you investigated the role of the official CPs in the Spanish Civil War? China? Germany? If not, then don't you think, before opining on the veracity of Olgin's critique, you might at least do that? Investigate those actual revolutionary struggles, and how the specific state power of the Soviet Union was deployed against the proletariat "consolidating" power?

Your thesis-- "state power" changes the "dynamic" of a revolutionary movement ipso facto-- simply because there is now state power, as opposed to the a)actual conditions that propel the revolution to power and b)then burden it with the legacy of the isolation, the lack of industrial development, the poor level of agricultural productivity,-- is nothing but an abstraction, ahistorical, and anti-materialist. It becomes, as I've pointed out, a justification for existing conditions... an ideology.

And proof of Trotsky's point... that the revolution in such isolation, with such burdens, must inevitably decay, and decay to the point of collapse, regardless of its consolidation of state power.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 12:47 pm 
Offline
Comrade
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:10 pm
Posts: 416
Has thanked: 26 time
Have thanks: 31 time
mhou wrote:
I didn't "swing 180 degrees". The method of that article is unchanged from what I wrote subsequent to it, including the criticisms of the political positions I held at that time. Earlier you said “btw, I'm familiar with your reasoning of conforming to the real practice of the class movement etc.,” but claim that article is evidence of something other than just that?

It’s an example of something, but not what you intended.


Again not making much sense.

The ICC's intro to your article summarizes that it "provides a good deal of evidence that far from being a spontaneous expression of the workers ‘from below’, this was essentially a campaign waged by updated forms of trade unionism and popular frontism."

Afterwards the ICC wrote that you "appeared to share our view of the trade unions as organs of capitalist control. Subsequently the comrade has revised his view of the trade union question"

http://en.internationalism.org/icconlin ... reply-mhou

If you now uphold unions as the real organs of class struggle, then you should even go along with their new astroturf tactic.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 2:08 pm 
Offline
Comrade
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:13 pm
Posts: 1761
Has thanked: 275 time
Have thanks: 572 time
The question of unions and astroturfing is rather off-topic in this thread, fine with me splitting that discussion away from this one to a new topic?

_________________
Creation isn't beautiful. You inspire the ugliest things.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 4:05 pm 
Offline
Comrade
User avatar

Joined: Thu Dec 27, 2012 6:10 pm
Posts: 416
Has thanked: 26 time
Have thanks: 31 time
I don't expect the thread can still be saved, but anyway I'll no longer interrupt.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 5:09 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 392
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 8 time
Bro: Feel free to do whatever with it. It looks like a discussion thread, it has questions and replies like a discussion thread, and yet, it isn’t.

Noa:

Quote:
Again not making much sense.


Then I'll make this as simple as possible. Follow from the top down:

Thesis 1: trade unions are organs of the capitalist state and trade unionism expresses the class interests of the bourgeoisie within the working-class.

a) The presence of trade unions and trade unionism in a given struggle signifies that the proletariat is diverted from its own class terrain and onto that of the bourgeoisie

b) Struggles which are either "against" or "outside of" the trade unions and trade unionism are struggles on the proletariat's own class terrain

c) Wildcat strikes (unsanctioned strikes by unionized workers, or spontaneous walk-outs by non-union workers) are struggles which are both against and outside of the trade unions and trade unionism and thus on the proletariat's own class terrain

On hearing the news that there are 'wildcat strikes' and spontaneous demonstrations of fast food workers, who are not unionized and are not directly posing the question of unionization, these are then an emerging struggle of workers on their own class terrain.

Theses 1 is reinforced through the actual experience of the fast food workers' struggles. It existed before the fast food workers' struggles, and finds its confirmation, on the basis of a), b) and c), in those struggles:

a) The fast food workers were not members of a union

b) The fast food workers did not walk-out or demonstrate for the purpose of forming, joining or posing employer recognition of a union

c) Because of a) and b), the fast food workers struggle is an example of the proletariat struggling on its own class terrain

a), b) and c) = Thesis 1 is validated.

I already pointed out that there was no original breakthrough reporting in that article (including in the article itself at the time), though I wanted to specifically point out that neither the fast food struggles or (relevant at the time) Wal-Mart struggles were isolated efforts but part of a much larger campaign and set of related initiatives coming out of PR firm offices in NYC and the Change to Win headquarters.

But, at that time (and anecdotally), it was troubling to see and hear enthusiasm for something, which most definitely wasn't a confirmation of Thesis 1, but was thought of or portrayed as such. It didn't seem like a big deal after the fact that it wasn't such a confirmation either.

Again, this is anecdotal, I don't have specific correspondence let alone published articles or anything else to demonstrate that. But, if an episode that's thought to confirm a theoretical framework doesn't really do so, I didn't like that it can just be discarded and ignored and folks go on adhering to that framework and waiting for something else to happen to justify it; to only 'collect' what's convenient for existing theory and derivative political positions.

Of course, that’s not unique to any particular organization, tendency, etc. Clearly, since the ICC accepted it as a contribution and published it, it’s not specifically targeted at them (nor was it intended to be).

The fast food example isn't a great one to make that point, but it's a short article based on conversations I had at that time. Subsequent and longer articles go into greater details on other episodes which were more pronounced; but, the basic point (elaborated in this reply, above) is the same.

The ICC's subsequent characterization that you quoted is extremely fair. I did share their position, then I wrote, at considerable length, how and why I didn't any longer.

Quote:
If you now uphold unions as the real organs of class struggle, then you should even go along with their new astroturf tactic.



I don't support Thesis 1, so therefore I support every single thing every union, union member, union supporter, union staffer, etc. does/did do/will do??

Your comment is like learning someone’s a communist and then asking them why they don’t just move to China.

It's necessary to actively seek what the working-class is actually doing and why regardless of its potential benefit or hindrance of existing theory, political positions or practice. That's really the main point, and one that I don't think is particularly controversial or difficult to understand.

You pull out an article I wrote 3 years ago as purported evidence of some kind of ‘psychological flip-flop’. In the main, I stand by what I wrote and why I wrote it. The specific political position I held at the time is far less important than how it changed—and that article is an example of ‘how it changed’.

What was the political position? That the trade unions were organs of labor and then ceased to be so. What is my current position? That the trade unions were organs of labor and have not ceased to be so. The end.

SA: ‘If you had engaged in a critical discussion…’, ‘provided of course, you engage the substantive issues’ is code for paying the toll, the price of admission, to immediately and unconditionally accept your conclusions and proceed only on the basis of morbid intellectual curiosity under a shared assumption that any questions raised aren’t really questions—since we already have the answers (i.e. yours).

From engaging with Bro wrote on what Olgin was getting at to engaging with you on the point of contention under the ostensible subject of this thread to attempting to accommodate every accusation and false flag question of yours, your perception of how this went is spurious.

Quote:
I have zero interest in engaging in another discussion about the "crimes of Trotsky"-- or Trotskyism as "counterrevolution in disguise." Nor do I think it makes it any better to disguise the discussion as "uneven and combined development" vs. "socialism in one country."


Could have fooled me with the elaborate set of questions you dared me to answer. Bullshit.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Sun May 28, 2017 8:27 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:41 pm
Posts: 619
Has thanked: 17 time
Have thanks: 25 time
Nice posturing. Too bad there's no substance behind it.

I think your mind is made up.....like it is about Gompers-- heir to and bearer of, in your estimation, of the principles of the IMWA, except of course for those anomalies, like supporting the Asian Exclusion Act and the US in the Spanish-American War.

Likewise, I think your mind is already made up in the "great debate" of Stalin vs. Trotsky-- with Stalin being the true heir to and bear of... the principles of Lenin... as if that means anything other than calling Lenin into question.

Your "immersion," or whatever you want to call, seems to miss certain critical features in the subject you are examining...

No, I don't intend to argue with anyone who thinks there is a shred of validity to the notion that "Trotskyism is counterrevolution masquerading as revolution."

Somebody wants to know what I think of U&C development... that's fine; my opinion of the 3rd Intl's actions and strategy in China? That's even better... but discussing completely specious, and dishonest assertions about Trotsky's "underestimation of the peasantry" or "defeatism" or lack of understanding of the "colonial revolution"??? There's no point to that. Did that on Revleft; done that hundreds of times in person, and I have yet to meet anyone who attributed any validity to the Stalin school, who was able to defend the position without reverting to patriotic subservience to the Soviet Union (the "homeland" of the world's workers) or crackpot assertions that Trotsky was, or might have been actually in contact with the Abwehr, looking to gather support for the overthrow of the Soviet states.

I didn't ask you to pay any toll-- I asked you assess Olgin's nonsense on the basis of the actual course of class and revolutionary struggles, and of Trotsky's analysis of those struggles, rather than some metaphysical shitbag of terms-- like "internal and external contradictions of imperialism" "integrated whole," "united front of proletarian and colonial revolution," those favorite mantras of the Comintern-- a mantra being a meaningless phrase when repeated over and over brings a certain calming and soothing feeling to the chanter.

Internal and external contradictions of imperialism-- a phrase functioning exactly like the terms "supply and demand" function for bourgeois political economy-- describes anything, means nothing.

Keep chanting.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 5:15 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 392
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 8 time
Quote:
I think your mind is made up.....like it is about Gompers-- heir to and bearer of, in your estimation, of the principles of the IMWA, except of course for those anomalies, like supporting the Asian Exclusion Act and the US in the Spanish-American War.


My mind is made up about Gompers.

Quote:
Likewise, I think your mind is already made up in the "great debate" of Stalin vs. Trotsky-- with Stalin being the true heir to and bear of... the principles of Lenin... as if that means anything other than calling Lenin into question.


'True heir'? Must have missed that section in Lenin's Testament.

Quote:
Your thesis-- "state power" changes the "dynamic" of a revolutionary movement ipso facto-- simply because there is now state power, as opposed to the a)actual conditions that propel the revolution to power and b)then burden it with the legacy of the isolation, the lack of industrial development, the poor level of agricultural productivity,-- is nothing but an abstraction, ahistorical, and anti-materialist. It becomes, as I've pointed out, a justification for existing conditions... an ideology.


Sure, because you clearly don't think that capitalist development and the class struggle operate according to laws (...except for U&C and permanent revolution).

Now you want to talk about China, U&C, etc. again?

I propose we use a different text as a basis of discussion. Specifically, this one:

https://www.marxists.org/archive/weisbord/Problems.htm

Albert Weisbord's "Problems of the Revolutionary Movement: A Statement of Views on Some Disputed Questions," with The Militant's attached commentary (1930). It covers exactly all of the subjects raised in this pseudo-thread (aside from my motives and character), it's short, it's an easy read, Weisbord was outside the CP at the time he gave his speech but not in any of the opposition groups, it's friendly to Trotsky... and it uses the term inner and outer contradictions of imperialism exactly once.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Mon May 29, 2017 10:57 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:41 pm
Posts: 619
Has thanked: 17 time
Have thanks: 25 time
I knew Weisbord personally in Chicago toward the end of his life and read this about 45 years ago.

I think his entire approach, this "meta" evaluation that says:
Quote:
Today imperialism has become so much weaker, today, so close is the situation in a number of countries to be a revolutionary one, that it is possible for an international Communist movement, PROVIDED IT HAS A LENINIST POLICY, and especially now when it controls a state backed by 150,000,000 workers and peasants, to develop situations otherwise still non-revolutionary into revolutionary situations, in DIFFERENT countries at DIFFERENT times.
-- misses the point. The point being that a "Leninist policy" isn't developed or bestowed upon class struggle by Leninists, as if Leninist policy, or Leninists exist as some sort of unified, homogenous force; some sort of distilled embodiment of "perfected class consciousness."

The "Leninist policy" of the April Theses was not the "Leninist policy" of "democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and the peasantry," nor was it the Leninist policy of "For a constituent assembly," nor was it a policy universally endorsed by the leading strata of the Bolsheviks. The revolutionary importance of a "Leninist policy" of an "international communist movement" was the recognition of the soviets as organs of distinct class power. This was brought about not by the "professional revolutionaries" of the Bolsheviks, but by the rank and file of workers, organizing in factory committees, and in the raions who began the petitions and the movement for the soviets to assume power. That those factory committee members and district soviets converged toward the Bolsheviks because of the Bolsheviks opposition to the war; the Bolsheviks opposition to capital punishment in the military created the opportunity for "Leninist policy"


Weisbord says:
Quote:
The five year plan, belated as it was, and its speedy execution, mark a tremendous step forward. The industrialization of the Soviet State must tend greatly to strengthen the revolutionary movement and tend to hasten the end of capitalism. But the economic progress of the U.S.S.R. does not BY ITSELF NECESSARILY lead to an advance of the world revolution. If with such an economic advance there should be fastened upon the Communist Parties still more of the theory of building socialism in one country, if this should lead not to an international but a national viewpoint, if this should in turn lead the C.I. leadership to playing with and a sacrifice of foreign sections of the C.I., if this should fastened the hold of the bureaucrats still more, if this should lead to Trotsky deportations and Blumpkin murders and violence to every Communist opposition movement, then indeed it is possible to state that unless the Communists throughout the world (aided by the very economic advance of the Soviet Union) can guard against this degeneration from Leninism it is possible to have an economic advance of the Soviet Union simultaneously with a setback to the world proletarian revolution. Trotsky’s exposure of the elements of Thermidor generating within the Soviet Union is absolutely correct.


"if this should fasten... if this should lead to" No shit, Sherlock. Of course it was going to fasten the hold of the bureaucrats, of course it led to deportations and murder, of course it was an attack on the proletariat, because socialism is not and cannot be electrification without soviets. The defeats of the proletariat internationally were not distinct and apart from the so-called "great step forward." After all, as you know, the CPSU was always the guiding force of the Soviet state and the 3rd International. The left opposition never was.

This is made more acute in the circumstances in wish the Bolsheviks assumed power-- in a country with stunted industrial development, with impoverished productivity in agriculture, and with a property relation in the countryside-- the peasant commune-- that has minimal engagement with or need for commercial exchange with industry.

This also undermines Trotsky's "over-evaluation" of the nationalized property relations as being equivalent to the "seeds" of socialism. The property relations cannot, in and of themselves, be mistaken for emancipation of the class, on a national level when the dominant mode of production, the dominant relations of the "integrated whole" of imperialism remain untouched, and those isolated "revolutionary" property relations have to confront the "historical" tasks of economic development previous the "responsibility" of capitalism. Under those circumstances, confronting those tasks previously the "work" of capitalism, the "revolutionary" property relations, in their isolation, become but analogues to those of capital-- that is to say, analogous in the biological sense-- having a different origin but serving the same purpose.

There is no/was no "socialist fatherland;" a "workers state" only has currency as a vehicle for advancing international revolution. If it doesn't do that, then it only sets the stage for the slaughter of the working class as the history of the fSU should make painfully clear to the most casual observer.


When Weisbord couples his criticism of "national revolution" in India with this:
Quote:
Nevertheless, and this is most important to understand, so long as a section of the nationalist Indian bourgeoisie is fighting British imperialism under the slogan of Freedom of India from Imperialist rule, so long as this movement unleashes the energy of the masses which otherwise could not be unleashed and so long as the masses have not been actively mobilized around the correct slogans and while the exposure of the native bourgeoisie is but in its incipiency, it would be manifestly incorrect for the Communists not to enter or to struggle for a national revolutionary front
, he effectively introduces the very confusion he seeks to eliminate.

How is it possible to invest in a "national revolutionary front" and not engage in class collaboration? In Syria, the national movement was almost exclusively the product of the nascent bourgeoisie, and not the petty-bourgeoisie, but big landowners, big commercial interests, and the handful of industrialists in the region. Even the Baaths knew enough not to engage in a "revolutionary front" with this "nationalist bourgeoisie."

We've been through this in any number of countries over any number of decades: the MNR in Bolivia, the UP in Chile, Vietnam, etc.

This mistake can be explained, in part, by the clarity of hindsight, the clarity that gives us the opportunity for a much better understanding of the material forces at work in uneven and combined development; the actual conflicts between means and relations of production that grafted on, and embedded in the conflict between capital in its "model form"-- of requiring the access to free, dispossessed labor, and the inability of capital to risk the revolutionizing of the property relations that circumscribe limit and keep that labor tethered to subsistence production.

Not taking advantage of that hindsight to refine our understanding of uneven and combined development as embedded in the expansion of capital and the obstacles, integrated, by that expansion into the processes of accumulation makes us worse than mistaken; it makes us fools, ideologues, gravediggers.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Moissaye J. Olgin, staunch defender of Trotsky
PostPosted: Tue May 30, 2017 8:10 am 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Wed Oct 08, 2014 4:41 pm
Posts: 619
Has thanked: 17 time
Have thanks: 25 time
Quote:
Sure, because you clearly don't think that capitalist development and the class struggle operate according to laws


The point, more or less, to Marx's critique is that such "laws" are at origin the relations between classes, and the reproduction of those relations; that's why the "law of value" is the "essential" law of capital accumulation and exist solely through the organization of labor power as value producing.


Do tell us what your versions of those laws of capitalist development are. Show us how those laws operate in imperialism as "an integrated whole." And do tell us how there can be laws of capitalist development and class struggle, but contradictions that are external to imperialism, and thus external, outside, those laws of capitalist development and class struggle.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 50 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
cron
Donate Now
Donate Now



Hosted by © 2017 FreeForums.org | Create a free forum | Powered by phpBB
About FreeForums | Legal | Advertise Here | Investors | Contact FreeForums.org
Report Violation

Design By Poker Bandits  

suspicion-preferred