Tonight there was an interesting debate on ##marxism on irc.freenode.net of which I was a contestant. The subject of the debate was "the party" and saw 5 debaters (one of which humble little me) explain their viewpoints and question others. The overall atmosphere was very comradely and is something many revlefters could take an example of.
You can find the complete log of the debate here
I was also enabled to put up an introductory text before the debate happened
, so I'll crosspost that here:
An introductory post made for the upcoming debate on the party on ##marxism.
A few basic theses:
- Capitalism, by virtue of the way it operates, creates the working class. The working class is the only consistently revolutionary class in the sense that it is the only class that benefits from a radical break with the past and propel humanity forward to communism, an end of its misery.
- Under class society, the state is an instrument of the ruling class. Thus, under capitalism we see a very specific form of state as opposed to, for example, feudalism. We see a state that is designed for the interests of a tiny minority and as a result is design in a very vertical way: Professional bureaucrats, an army/police apparatus, the “rule of law”, the concept of elections (which is anti-democratic!) and the international financial markets are all key institutions of the state. States do not exist in a vacuum, but are part of an international state system, which reflects the global tendencies of capitalism. In the last analysis the international state system represents the interets of the capitalist class-collective.
- If the working class is to perform its historic task of revolutionary transforming society to communism – a society of free producers – it has to be transformed from a mere slave class, to a class-collective of its own, with its own political agenda of revolutionary emancipation. This is not a spontaneous process, nor something that happens through mere labour struggles. What is needed is a political agenda that has basically three tasks: a) The weakening of the capitalist state, undermining its rule, with the evental aim of toppling the contitutional order of the capitalist state; b) forcing concessions that enable the working to politically be free to organise and lift the heavy burden of economic exploitation by the capitalists as much as possible; c) to organise a counter-culture opposed to capitalist society in the form of cooperatives, unions, cultural societies, educational collectives, community centers, etc.
- These three tasks come together under the political banner of a party-movement. Since “party-movement” is somewhat of a neologism, I’ll shortly explain it: It is the living embodiment of the working class constituted as a class-collective that aims and works towards socialism, or working class rule. It builds a “society with the society” as a longterm task, which can take decades. But the eventual goal is to be ready to topple the capitalist constitutional order and wipe away all state institutions mentioned in point 2 and replace them with institutions that fit majoritarian rule.
- The binding factor, really the alpha and omega, in all this is the question of democracy. It is through the fight for democracy that we can point out the lies and hypocrisy of the capitalist class, it is through democracy that we can build a genuine mass movement of millions where there can exist “unity in disagreement”, it is through democracy that the working class can be lifted out of its slave status and be educated as a potential ruling class and it is only through democracy that the working class can seize power and build towards a communist future.
5a. The true democratic form has, as an aside, nothing to do with elections (which is an oligarchic form of rule, not a democratic one), but has everything to do with ancientAthens, where lottery decided which people ruled for a short amount of time. This was the form Aristotle once despiced as the “rule of the poor”, since it was the masses that swayed the scepter. This is nowadays more commonly known as demarchy (as it would just confuse everyone if we kept the name of “democracy”, despite the bourgeois lie).
5b. Since the actual “revolutionary moment” is the toppling of the capitalist constitutional order and since the party-movement is the actual constituded working class as a class-collective, this implies that the party-movement comes to power as a whole. So, demarchy has to be an integral part of the party-movement. Every party member has to be able to rule and be ruled.
- Since capitalism is a global system (with its own contradictions), the working class is also a global class and the alternative to capitalism can only happen on a global basis. This implies, at the very least, that if we want to build communism we need the capitalist core: North-America, Europe, Japan, China (not exactly a core-country just yet, but extremely important given its position as “factory of the world”). Once we won these, the rest can only follow.
6a. To start building towards a positive alternative to capitalism (though not establishing communism just yet), the best target is Europe. So, what we need a Europe-wide movement that starts fighting for democratic concessions vis-a-vis the EU/ECB/member states. This as opposed to nationalist demands to break away from the EU. We can only start building a positive alternative if we seize power on a continental scale at once. This implies a continental party-movement. Thus, the EU wannabe-state is our obvious target in this fight.
- As mentioned earlier, the working class-collective is not a spontaneous product of capitalist society, it just creates the possibility. It is up to communists to start the long-haul task of building the working class-collective and, as a result, the party-movement. For this to happen communists have to overcome their hopelessly backward and splintered position and unite, not around a common set of pet ideas, theories or a whole row of historical documents, but instead around a simple document that describes where we are today to where we want to go. I’m talking of course of a programme. The programme has two obvious basic parts: a) a part that describes demands that lead up to working class power and the toppling of the capitalist constitutional order and b) a part that describes the happenings from the seizure of power to the building of communism. Also, as opposed to unity on agreement we need unity of acceptance of the programme: You may disagree with it and organise to change it, as long as you comply by it as it is in force. What we need to agree on however is a much smaller (yet vital) set of principles: a) the independence of the working class, from the state and from other classes; b) internationalism as there are no viable national ways out of the system; c) democracy as the organising principle of now and for the future.
- So, that leaves us to where we are now: To start the battle for democracy, we need to start today and within the already constituted left. Because as much as the left is currently part of the problem in our fight to communism, its many committed militants are also the solution. Thus, we need to rebel against the status quo and revolutionise the revolutionary left!
Communists of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your sects.