RedMarx

A Forum
It is currently Thu Jun 22, 2017 1:40 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours [ DST ]



Welcome


Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: The Purpose of Intervention: A Discussion Text
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:22 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 392
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 8 time
Fredo:

Quote:
there is a pressure but depending on its consciousness and unity the class can reply to this pressure with struggle … or submission


Yes absolutely. There is no mechanical cause-and-effect relation, and the option not to resist or make demands is certainly also inherent to the dynamics underlying the class struggle.

Quote:
This seems to me a very schematic approach, that reminds me of the central dogma of the anti-party Brendel group ‘Daad en Gedachte’ in the Netherlands: "in social movements action precedes understanding". May be you believe the opposite. In fact class struggle is a dialectical process in which interaction between mass and minorities is essential.
I don’t see how this relates to what 'precedes or follows'.


I think all that it means is this:

A communist has to know they are a communist to be a communist. A worker doesn't have to know they are a worker to be a worker. The class struggle is where this distinction is manifested--and, as you said, the interaction between the two is essential. Labor's class struggles are not contingent on (revolutionary) class consciousness, but the potential for communism is.

It's not that one (trade unionism; action preceding consciousness) becomes the other (communism; consciousness preceding action) immediately/directly, only that they both exist as distinct expressions of proletarian class consciousness.

Quote:
Lenin simply wanted social democracy in Russia to grow into a party along German example.


Sure. But isn't it necessary to say the German party in its periods of legality and illegality (1878-1890) was the kind of party that was the model for Russia; something that, after it was legalized, the SPD (and most of the Second International) was abandoning by the time the RSDLP was being formed?

Quote:
Of course we have no workers councils today. But even small scale class struggle shows that the most effective form of organization is that of participation in discussing, decision making and acting of a maximum of concerned workers, electing revokable delegates for specific tasks and sending mass delegations for extensions to other workers. As to promote this, communist should not refrain from entering union meetings whenever this is appropriate. I lost my first job because of doing so, nearly 40 years ago, so don’t tell me I’m ‘theoretical’. But such agitational activity is completely different from entering the ‘reformist’ unions as to ‘win over the workers’ as the CI defended."


A relatively common feature of trade unionism even today is the ability to win or defend material gains (even at the smallest of scales; be it 1 worker who wins their job back after an arbitrary termination) without any of those organizational features--i.e. mandated/revocable delegates, mass meetings, general assemblies, flying pickets, etc.-- which suggests that these elements aren't necessary for effective action.

Certainly the extension and generalization of struggle(s) usually requires those elements, and the escalation to acute moments in the class struggle most certainly requires them.

There's definitely no question about the personal integrity of individual communists here, my apologies if it sounded that way. Finding practical revolutionary activity that isn't baseless and theory that isn't abstract is a constant challenge.

Quote:
The best you can do to prove your thesis are some exceptions of unions after 1914 that - for a longer period than 1 struggle - behaved as organs of class struggles: mostly smaller or new organizations.
Before 1914 there were enough bosses’ and state unions, or unions that became so; there is no discussion about that.


I don't think newer or smaller organizations have a record any different from those that are massive (several US trade unions have memberships of over 1 million) and older (have existed since the 19th century).

When those incidents of trade unions fulfilling their stated purpose as well as serving as fundamentally constructive forces in the class struggle start to accumulate, it suggests that the ascendant/decadent capitalism framework for understanding the trade union question is lacking. This is especially the case when the exact same organization can lapse in and out of such a progressive function, and display the most reactionary characteristics possible.

Quote:
In agree with that. By the way, Gorter made the same mistake.


Yes. I can't think of a figure associated with the 2nd and 3rd Internationals who did not adhere to the theory of the 'aristocracy of labor'.

Quote:
Till about 1920 the Bolsheviks believed they were lacking experience in leading the proletariat in a situation of democracy, ‘free’ trade-unions and workers parliamentary parties. Only when it became clear that a revolution from the West to save them from their isolation, and they needed compromises with capitalist states, they changed this position and re-evaluated their experiences in backward Czarist Russia where they believed they had to lead the proletariat in a bourgeois revolution.

It is simply not true that the German communists that later formed the KAPD were ‘very isolated from the class and displayed both practical and theoretical backwardness’. F.e. the 'astronomist' (Lenin) Pannekoek before WW1 (and during the war from Holland) was in close contact with workers in the German social-democratic party and trade-unions, specially in the German ports and shipyards. When the unions (that paid him as a teacher of the local party school) put pressure on him because of his position in the mass strike debate, he dismissed for one day a week to tour all over Germany to defend revolutionary positions in mass meetings. The KAPD consisted of the most conscious elements of the German proletariat and was the only proletarian party with a consistent revolutionary approach, be it not without mistakes.


Isn't the responsibility of the minority of the class with the most developed class consciousness to facilitate the advance of the less developed segments of the class-- in the midst of a revolution, when large fractions of the German working-class were moving toward communism, why elevate the question of tactics to one of principles? Granted, the terms of their re-entry into the KPD were not negotiable, but on what basis can it be argued that it was necessary to maintain a 2nd political party? Their emphasis on organizational forms (like the factory committees) as the method for determining class content (and revolutionary potential) betrays the content of the class struggle and the question of state power.

Quote:
Let me tell first, I don’t oppose practical to theoretical. I despise the academical approach of ‘modernist’ groups and sects.
Of course communists should be active on their working place (or as a student, unemployed or retired worker). This is why I published your text (as those of other groups on this subject) in he first place. The possibilities however are very different and mostly limited as a consequence of the actual low level of class struggle. Therefor communists should concentrate on organizing as minorities on base positions, analyze actual class struggle and spread these in the class with all their means. Activity on the workplace is secondary, be it very inspiring for finding a language that can be understood by a bigger audience than the tiny communist minorities.


Indeed. It's unfortunate that it's necessary to distinguish currents which operate on the fringes of the revolutionary movement, but they do exist and have a certain appeal exactly because of the conditions in the present environment. It sounds like we’re in agreement there.

I think the most important element of such participation through direct and personal links to the class struggle is the development of individuals given that the organized revolutionary movement is very small, and thus can't exert a direct developmental influence. Not only does such participation create immediate experience to analyze and draw from in the future, but can form the basis of tangible organization when multiple, otherwise isolated, individual communists begin to discuss and coordinate such efforts. This is a part of what we've been working toward with the publication of Anti-Capital and its link to Red Marx.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 
 Post subject: Re: The Purpose of Intervention: A Discussion Text
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:37 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 392
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 8 time
SA:

Quote:
soviets are suited to revolutionary struggle because they are organs of dual power, of the class struggling for state power to abolish the social formation of capital; trade unions were never that type of formation.

The soviets were organized as political bodies of deputies of the entire class; trade unions were not, and never have been so organized. Doesn't mean trade unions won't support such bodies, or act at some point, and in some instances to advance revolutionary struggle. Does mean trade unions are incapable of becoming the organs of dual power.


Agreed. The union-form is not now and never has been capable of being the organizational form of the proletarian dictatorship-- and to add to Bro's post:

Quote:
The soviets were adapted to the period of social revolution, the unions are adapted for permanence.


It's only when the councils are definitively turned red that state power can be seized and the council-form can become permanent as the organizational form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.

When you write, "No, "the way to shift the soviets" was not to alter their human architecture-- the change in human architecture was a result of the development of the class struggle-- the way the soviets were changed was by the mobilization of the working class against the war; against the provisional government through the factory committees, through the "neighborhood" soviets (raions, IIRC), and the explosive mobilization in the countryside against the landed estates" I think that's the nuts and bolts of how communists altered the human architecture of the councils-- like you said, it was a result of the development of the class struggle (which was increasingly organized and led by the socialist movement embodied in the revolutionary party).


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Purpose of Intervention: A Discussion Text
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:48 pm 
Offline
Comrade
User avatar

Joined: Wed Mar 30, 2011 7:13 pm
Posts: 1760
Has thanked: 275 time
Have thanks: 572 time
Yea, sorry for being imprecise with my language, I meant to say what mike outlined above.

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


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Purpose of Intervention: A Discussion Text
PostPosted: Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:53 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 392
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 8 time
For our purposes what really counts is the relationship of communists to labor organizations (when you wrote "So the way to shift the soviets from being organizations advocating return of state power to the provisional government was to alter their human architecture (not just leadership), why are the unions different in this way?")-- like Fredo said, we are sans councils (and have been for some time), so the question of the trade unions as the permanent class organization under the conditions of capitalism is a vital topic in the present.


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Purpose of Intervention: A Discussion Text
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 4:20 am 
Offline
Comrade
User avatar

Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:29 am
Posts: 5
Location: The Netherlands
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 0 time
Broletariat asks how trade unions transformed mechanically from organs of struggle within capitalism into mediators between classes.

He seems to suppose an internal process, such as bureaucratization? Of course bureaucratization is an aspect of the change that took place. Clearly there has been a shift of power from the masses (assemblies or congresses) of members to the minorities of boards and paid functionaries.

But we shouldn’t overlook that in the 19th century past, leading successful strike movements was dependent upon centralized knowledge of the position of relatively small enterprises, that where in mutual competition. A smart central leadership decided what employers could be put under pressure by selective strikes. This caused that trade unions where centralized organizations, dependent upon decision making by a minority of leaders.

When at the end of the 19th century the situation of dispersed, mutually isolated relatively small enterprises changed into that of being dominated by big enterprises, finance capital, the state and employers organization, the central leadership of the trade union movement started to adapt to this changed reality of capitalism by a policy favoring integration into the state.

Broleariat is right to distinguish between mediation between the classes in the favor of capital or in that of labour. The point however is that this different outcome is an answer of the existing order of the balance of forces between the classes as a result of class struggle. When the proletariat develops enough forces, the organ that has as its function to maintain capital and wage labour — the state — will take care to do some temporal concessions to the workers. And the other way round. When we see that the unions show this behavior from the end of the 19th century, and if we know what the state is, and how it works, then we see that the unions have become state organs. This became crystal clear during WW1 when most unions were recognized by all states as guardians of internal peace.

Let’s return to the original subject of this discussion: should communists be active on their work places? I already have answered this question positively. And I have added that when needed by the situation, communists should intervene in union meetings. I don’t like the term ‘intervention’ but in the case of communists participating at a meeting with workers, they should make clear to their colleagues the class difference between what the union propose and what the workers can do.

This is quit different from participating in such a meeting as a part of the union — a state organ, compromising between the classes with the aim of keeping social peace and derailing workers’ discontent.

For this reason, whenever and where possible, communists should not only be organized in permanent minority organizations on the basis of shared political positions, which include their position on the outlines of the evolution into communism, starting from a successful proletarian revolution. Whenever and wherever possible communists should work as well for the permanent minority organization of those few workers that are convinced of the need to defend workers struggles against attacks by the state and all its organs (including unions and left-bourgeois parties) and to prepare the extension of struggles that will give rise to the formation of workers’ councils that finally will destroy the bourgeois state. The minority organizations of class conscious workers at work will be ‘factory organizations’. Those of unemployed, studying or retired workers, will be ‘unemployed organizations’, as advocated by the Groups of International Communists in the Netherlands in the 1920-ties and 1930-ties. In the German Revolution these organizations had been at the origin of the Arbeiterräte in the sense that as conscious minorities they had propagated their foundation and their class autonomy against all organs of the state. Not surprisingly many of their members were elected into he councils, specially if they were communists well known by their fellow workers, organized in Spartacus, later KPD(S) and KAPD. The Italian Left had a similar way of organizing.

So far about for two kind of organizations of conscious minorities that can have a more or less permanent existence.These minority organizations have a function in respect to the class as a whole.

The proletariat for more than a century has shown not be able outside periods of struggle to withstand the pressure of capital and state against its mass organizations: general assemblies, elected and revokable committees, and their centralization in councils. I believe the effort to correct this situation by activity in unions, “altering their human architecture”, as Broletariat proposes, comes from a lack of understanding the changes that capitalism underwent now more than a century ago.

_________________
___________________________________________________________________________
Fredo Corvo

website: http://arbeidersstemmen.nl
blog: http://libcom.org/blog/fredo-corvo
mail [url]mailto:[email protected][/url]
___________________________________________________________________________


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: The Purpose of Intervention: A Discussion Text
PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 6:36 pm 
Offline
Comrade

Joined: Thu Oct 20, 2016 12:47 pm
Posts: 392
Has thanked: 0 time
Have thanks: 8 time
[Fredo: Apologies for the delayed reply]

Quote:
Let’s return to the original subject of this discussion: should communists be active on their work places? I already have answered this question positively. And I have added that when needed by the situation, communists should intervene in union meetings. I don’t like the term ‘intervention’ but in the case of communists participating at a meeting with workers, they should make clear to their colleagues the class difference between what the union propose and what the workers can do.

This is quit different from participating in such a meeting as a part of the union — a state organ, compromising between the classes with the aim of keeping social peace and derailing workers’ discontent.


Leaving aside the fundamentals of the trade union question, there is the immediate issue that arises when the development of the struggle cannot but take place through the union. An article in Anti-Capital #2 looked at two recent struggles (6 +/- months ago, 2016) in the US: the unionization of the Lipton Tea factory in Virginia, and a strike by workers at a candy factory in Pennsylvania. In both situations, the situation did not develop into something larger than the particular concerns of each specific workplace. Not only was there no perspective of open struggle, but even in the case of the strike in Pennsylvania, it would not have taken place without the union since the primary issue in that dispute was the workers’ pension fund—which is only for members of that particular organization. In such circumstances, to stand apart from the union would be to stand apart from the struggle. In such situations, which in the present environment (few strikes, few acute struggles) is more common than not, communist intervention/participation can only resemble a kind of abstentionism if the content of the struggle is judged as such beforehand on the basis you describe (unions = state organs, inhibit the proletariat, etc.).


Report this post
Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 16 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

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