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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:29 pm 
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You want a vanguard that has no responsibility to the working class as a whole. No thanks, that road leads to crossing the ice to take Kronstadt. I'm not a partridge, and you ain't gonna shoot me like one.


No, Blake I don't want any "vanguard" and moreover what I "want" doesn't matter. It's the notion that there is "leadership" of a class that somehow becomes the advance guard by abjuring precisely what supposedly makes a vanguard "class consciousness" in that it will blindly follow orders. That's what you're proposing not me.

I say the whole question of "leadership" is a bit more complicated, gritty, ill-defined, than some ridiculous medieval order of battle or chain of command, and necessarily so as the class can take power only to the extent that it creates organs of itself as a "whole" and only to the extent that "vanguards" are dispensed with, overcome, transcended, superseded, whatever and however you want to put it.

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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 12:33 am 
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I find myself in agreement with you S.Artesian. The whole question of "leadership" is complicated for communists. As you correctly put it: in order to take power the class has to "create organs of itself as a "whole" - like the workers' councils. But if it has also created a party, or an organization of revolutionaries like the Communist League, or the 1st. International, or the Bolsheviks (loathed by some) or the KAPD (emerged far too late) what are these organizations to do? Should they see themselves as a mistake, and a ghastly threatening error to the success of the class in liberating itself, and refuse to contribute to the revolution and disband themselves? Or should they see themselves as organically produced by the class, a valid part of the biological holism of the class, and do what they can in furthering the growth of class consciousness, and acting a bit like yeast in the dough?
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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 3:43 am 
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S.Artesian wrote:
First Fred, pay closer attention. I did not bring up the military analogy, the Marine metaphor-- Blake did, so direct your incredulity to him, not to me. I said the Marine metaphor doesn't work, is immaterial, as is the nonsense about the medieval order of battle...




If you use the term 'vanguard' to describe any kind of political organisation, whether you advocate it or not, you 'bring up a military analogy', because 'vanguard' is a term borrowed from military usage. All I did was demonstrate that you brought it up and used it to mean something other than a 'vanguard'.

A 'vanguard' is not a 'leadership'. Got it?



S.Artesian wrote:
...
I'm not insisting on any particular definition of the vanguard... but I am insisting that we recognize how the word has been used in relation to Marxist parties, the subject of this thread. You want to say "Oh that's not a real vanguard, because that's not what we mean when we say vanguard"??? Guess what. Tough titty. That's what the word means in association with discussions of the party. That's what's been the subject matter in dispute for about one hundred years.

"Vanguards" in class struggle are.... simply meaningless. That's the point...




'The point'... when you don't even know what a 'vanguard' is, and don't want anyone else to investigate what might be?

Define what you mean by 'vanguard' at least, please. Otherwise, Humpty, it's going to continue to be very difficult to discuss with you.


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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:27 am 
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Oxford English Dictionary, 5th Edition:

Vanguard-- noun; from... French avant garde

1. military. The foremost dlivision of an army or fleet.

2. (Those at) the forefront of political, cultural, or artistic development; the leaders of a movement, opinion, etc.

3. The elite party cadre which, according to Lenin, would be used to organize the masses as a revolutionary force and to give effect to Communist planning.

4. A variety of peach.

+vanguardism noun. The quality of being in the vanguard of a political, cultural, or artistic movement. vanguardist noun a person in the vanguard of a political cultural, or artistic movement.
___________

So, not putting too fine a point on it, for those of us using everyday English on this everday website, clearly every time you or anyone mentions vanguard you do not necessarily mean, and mean exclusively, its military application. And since I'm not talking about peaches, stretch yourself and try and figure out which of the remaining definitions apply in this discussion, if not both-- or what passes for discussion.

And oh, one more issue of historical accuracy. I did not bring up vanguard. I responded to others' making comments re vanguard.

Christ on a crutch, learn to read. Or as Ripley put it in Aliens "Did IQs drop sharply while I was away?"

PS: Since you feel confident enough to state that I don't know what a vanguard is, and don't want to, and don't want others to find out what a vanguard is, I feel a bit justified in stating that you are quite simply a simpleton and are probably more suited to taking flying fucks at rolling doughnuts than at providing the merest shred of intelligent analysis of.... well anything.

Short version: You're a moron. I'll end there before I say something a bit insulting like you're a fucking moron and a waste of time.

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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 6:41 am 
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Fred wrote:
I find myself in agreement with you S.Artesian. The whole question of "leadership" is complicated for communists. As you correctly put it: in order to take power the class has to "create organs of itself as a "whole" - like the workers' councils. But if it has also created a party, or an organization of revolutionaries like the Communist League, or the 1st. International, or the Bolsheviks (loathed by some) or the KAPD (emerged far too late) what are these organizations to do? Should they see themselves as a mistake, and a ghastly threatening error to the success of the class in liberating itself, and refuse to contribute to the revolution and disband themselves? Or should they see themselves as organically produced by the class, a valid part of the biological holism of the class, and do what they can in furthering the growth of class consciousness, and acting a bit like yeast in the dough?



I'm gratified that you grasp the difficulty, and nuance, of the situation. Yes parties will be thrown up, by elements from the class and elements outside the class. They "should" conduct themselves, well, as parties-- recognizing that whatever or however "advanced" as an advanced guard they might appear to be, they only appear so, and they only appear so because of the relatively confused, contradictory, unsettled, etc etc nature of the struggle at any particular moment, and the fact that the revolutionary struggle is that of a class finding its "own" voice.

That's all I've been trying to say-- a very modest proposal against various grandiose delusions of "leadership" being determined by "following orders."

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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:01 am 
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S. Artesian: do you think the Oxford is capable of providing nuanced and accurate political definitions? If the Oxford says Lenin thought that, it must be 'true', etc?

TFM: I'm really not sure that 'neither of those statements are true', and if either of them is, I certainly don't think that the case is 'obvious'. Care to explain why you do?


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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 8:13 am 
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[quote="Blake's Baby"]S. Artesian: do you think the Oxford is capable of providing nuanced and accurate political definitions? If the Oxford says Lenin thought that, it must be 'true', etc?

TFM: I'm really not sure that 'neither of those statements are true', and if either of them is, I certainly don't think that the case is 'obvious'. Care to explain why you do?


I think you're an idiot. See previous comment. Oh... I also think you don't know your *** from a hole in the ground. I think the OED is perfectly acceptable for providing the proper definitions of words in usage in the English language. One such word is idiot. Look it up and quite wasting everybody's time.

Fucking moron.
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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Tue Jun 18, 2013 2:18 pm 
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TFM wrote:
... We don't deserve or need a designation beyond 'people who understand communism's orientation and prospects from a scientific socialist perspective.'


Blake's Baby wrote:
Here's me thinking the word for that was 'communist'.


TFM wrote:
...I think the only two possible justifications for such a position would be that:
  1. Communism is an ideology to subscribe to; an obfuscatory dogma for understanding the world.
  2. Communist practice encompasses reading groups, activism, and other forms of consciousness-raising.

Obviously neither of those statements are true.


Blake's Baby wrote:
TFM: I'm really not sure that 'neither of those statements are true', and if either of them is, I certainly don't think that the case is 'obvious'. Care to explain why you do?


TFM wrote:
  1. because ideology isn't any sort of force capable of overthrowing commodity production and wage-labour.
  2. because consciousness is merely reflective of historical experience and not vice versa, so consciousness-raising is bound to be ineffective in fomenting class struggle.




No, still not getting it. You think that communism is either an ideology that isn't any kind of force, or that any activity aimed at changing consciousness (eg, the 'generalising class consciousness/lessons of struggle' beloved of the organisations) is bound to be ineffective. Is that right?

What then, in terms of actual activity, does being one of the 'people who understand communism's orientation and prospects from a scientific socialist perspective' consist of, in your opinion?


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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:09 pm 
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TFM wrote:
Blake's Baby wrote:
You think that communism is either an ideology that isn't any kind of force

No, I think it's a movement immanent to the proletariat, and that it's not an ideology at all. I don't know how you read that as the complete opposite.

In case it wasn't evident, "the only two possible justifications" were theoretical positions which I was accusing you of, as only they could lead to the conclusion that a communist is simply someone who "understands" the proletarian movement ("Here's me thinking the word for that was 'communist'"), when a 'communist' is obviously so much more than that. Basically I have no idea where you're getting your definition of 'communist' from, since 'communist' is actually a relevant category but you seem to identify it with an irrelevant one.

Blake's Baby wrote:
any activity aimed at changing consciousness is bound to be ineffective.

I agree with this and I hope everyone else does, too.

Blake's Baby wrote:
What then, in terms of actual activity, does being one of the 'people who understand communism's orientation and prospects from a scientific socialist perspective' consist of, in your opinion?

I think people who belong to this category do not perform any meaningful actual activity. Communist activity is separate from the activity of people who read and talk about communism.

For clarity's sake, this is how my posts should've been read all together (it would probably be more helpful to both of us if you replied to what's laid out in the following section and not the above):

wrote:
A 'communist' cannot be defined as one 'who [understands] communism's orientation and prospects from a scientific socialist perspective', because that would imply that communists are mere subscribers to theory - something which communism isn't, because communism a real movement within the class struggle which can and probably will change the world, and theory cannot do that. It might also imply that the practical activity associated with being a communist encompasses consciousness-raising.

There's no sense in conflating a category of people who like to theorise and lecture about communism with a category relevant to class struggle. "Practically, the most advanced and resolute section of the working-class parties of every country, that section which pushes forward all others": this is the most coherent definition of 'communists' and it takes class struggle into account. Communists thus constitute the vanguard—a metaphor for those who become militant before the proletariat-in-general does, with respect only to real position in class struggle and not theoretical standpoints. What remains to be elucidated is the extent to which the vanguard/communists—which "push forward" all other proletarians—are a manifestation of the historical forces that compel the Party into being.


So, by your definition, Lenin and Trotsky were not communists? Are you a communist? It seems to me that anyone that commits themselves to the overthrow of capitalism to replace it with the D of the P, might rightly call themselves "communist."

The history of the last 150 years is littered with failed revolutions -- situations where the objective circumstances for proletarian revolution were most propitious but the revolutions were crushed. Doesn't it make sense to view these failures as failures of revolutionary leadership. If not, then how do you explain it? Conditions haven't been ripe? The proletariat lacks the capacity for revolution?

I would suggest that there is a bidirectional dialectical relationship between the vanguard and the rest of the proletariat.


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 Post subject: Re: What is meant by The Party.
PostPosted: Sun Jun 23, 2013 1:43 pm 
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Quote:
I would suggest that there is a bidirectional dialectical relationship between the vanguard and the rest of the proletariat.


Great. So tell us, what exactly constitutes the "dialectical" in this relationship, and exactly how was it manifested, dialectically of course, during the period leading up to October 1917. and then the period afterward, which certainly marks a period of decline-- and tell us exactly the responsibilities that your "leadership" bears for that decline, because if the problem is one of leadership, then the very least we can say is that Trotsky and the Left Opposition demonstrated a colossal failure of leadership, and the "betrayal of the revolution" is certainly a product of their failure, their neglect, not to mention their actions.

Take your time.

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