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Thread: People's Histories, Blocs, and "Managed Democracy" Reconsidered

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    Default People's Histories, Blocs, and "Managed Democracy" Reconsidered

    People’s Histories, Blocs, and "Managed Democracy" Reconsidered

    “Without too much overreaching, we might say [Julius Caesar’s] reign can be called a dictatorship of the proletarii [the poor propertyless citizens of Rome], an instance of ruling autocratically against plutocracy on behalf of the citizenry’s substantive interests.” (Michael Parenti)

    In 2003, Michael Parenti illuminated much of the truth behind the traditional depiction of Julius Caesar as a tyrant and a demagogue, also beyond the “progressive Caesarism” suggested by the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci while in prison. In The Assassination Of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome, Parenti breaks through the traditional depiction set by the rich nobility of the Roman Republic and beyond, which like today’s bourgeoisie deemed the commoners contemptuous and worthy of little more than breads and circuses. Only a few were social reformers, starting with Tiberius Gracchus. The line of social reformers was a tragic one, a line in which almost all were assassinated.

    Enter a young Julius Caesar, an army officer with a program of social reform, if not social revolution: land reform, outright grants to the poor, public works and other employment programs for putting plebeians toward productive work, luxury taxes, partial debt relief, recognition of minority religions like Judaism as legitimate, and even a Maximum on Allowable Personal Wealth of 60,000 sesterces or 15,000 drachmas (but not one that was subject to populist adjustment by mass democratic means). Even in spite of his military successes, his plan to transfer power from the patrician Senate to the plebeian Tribunal Assembly led him to fall victim to a Senate conspiracy: assassination.

    Despite the limited participants in the class struggle of ancient Rome – the free rich and the free poor (and neither slaves nor provincial farmers) – it is unfortunate that the traditional depiction set by the rich nobility seeped into the revolutionary accounts of the likes of Wilhelm Liebknecht and Karl Marx himself, and from there into more contemporary revolutionary accounts like those of Jack Conrad:

    Julius Caesar in particular, because of his youthful identification with the popular cause, programme of land reform and stunning military successes in, and plunder of, Gaul and Egypt, was able to offer substantial gifts to a supportive, but not uncritical, citizen mass. Through their votes – and semi-autonomous street manifestation – Julius Caesar was able to skilfully outmanoeuvre and eventually bludgeon his aristocratic rivals into submission. The lowering presence of his legions helped too.

    He got himself appointed dictator perpetuus, or life-long holder of emergency powers. A Bonapartist domination which by no stretch of the imagination equates to what Michael Parenti – an apologist for "official communism" – calls "a dictatorship of the proletarii, an instance of ruling autocratically against plutocracy on behalf of the citizenry's substantive interests." Such a description is akin to projecting back in time contemporary Stalin, Mao, Castro, and Chavez myths.


    On the subject of army officers, people’s history found another army officer in Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. At least part of his program is in fact a combination of the programs of three 19th-century political figures with very different politics: anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon for his emphasis on workers’ cooperatives and communal power, democratic-socialist-yet-centralist Ferdinand Lassalle for his emphasis on “state aid” in social transformation as a means of agitating towards political action, and the statist Iron Chancellor Otto von Bismarck for his “social justice” welfare missions and a touch or two of social conservatism (like on enacting measures against those video games and toys which promote violence).

    At least rhetorically, Chavez has on questions of class struggle elevated himself above the likes of Mao and even Ho Chi Minh, discarding the so-called Great Helmsman’s class-conciliationist and illusory Bloc of Four Classes (workers, peasants, small-business petit-bourgeoisie, and so-called “national bourgeoisie” or “patriotic bourgeoisie”):

    The bourgeoisie keeps plotting to kill me. If they kill me, listen to me, do not lose your head! We have leaders, the party, my generals, my militias, my people. You know what to do. Just take over power throughout Venezuela, absolutely all, sweep away the bourgeoisie from all political and economic spaces and deepen the revolution!

    In so doing, he unwittingly stumbled upon the positions of the Second International on political and social change (not the kind of social revolution described in this work) in less developed countries where workers do not exclusively form the demographic majority, inspired by the radical sans-culottisme among the French Revolutionary lower classes in the dual avoidance of collaboration with bourgeois liberals and misplaced “permanent revolution” contempt towards the likes of small tenant farmers and sharecroppers (i.e., Engels and Trotsky), who can indeed be politically revolutionary even if not socially revolutionary. As noted in more reluctant and less generous terms by Mike Macnair in August 2010:

    It's true that the peasantry is forced to decide between the fundamental classes. But it's not true that, because the peasantry is forced to decide between the fundamental classes, it cannot find political representation or act in support of autonomous peasant goals, that is to say, patriarchalism, the setting up of an absolute ruler, a cult of personality whether it's of Lenin or Saddam Hussein or Robert Mugabe.

    For the purposes of this work, this revolutionary position on political and social change in less developed countries will be called the Bloc of Dispossessed Classes and National Petit-Bourgeoisie.

    What are the key ideas behind the Bloc of Dispossessed Classes and National Petit-Bourgeoisie, a strategy that, unlike the worker-centric Permanent Revolution, carries profound relevancy in less developed countries even today? Consider the following class coalition, which is bigger than the proletariat-led class coalition in an imperialist power:

    1) Proletarian demographic minorities, whose class organizations must achieve and maintain politico-ideological independence regardless of whether they lead this coalition or not;
    2) Dispossessed elements which nevertheless perform unproductive labour and can perhaps be called the modern proletarii (like butlers, housemaids, paralegals, all who work exclusively in luxury goods production and sale, and perhaps all who work exclusively in non-civilian arms production and trade);
    3) Proper lumpenproletariat, preferring legal work to illegal work (like prostitutes where illegal and rank-and-file gangsters);
    4) Coordinators, a dispossessed class apart from the so-called “prole” classes (like mid-level managers, tenured professors with subordinate research staff, doctors without general practice businesses, and bureaucratic specialists); and
    5) Demographic majorities of nationalistic or more optimally pan-nationalistic petit-bourgeoisie of urban areas (like small-business shop owners) and rural ones (like the more numerous small tenant farmers and sharecroppers), apart from those accommodating to the whims of foreign capitalists, but also part of a propertied class which, in an imperialist power, would belong to “one reactionary mass” (to quote Lassalle) of bourgeois and petit-bourgeois class coalitions.

    Since the “national” or even “pan-national” loyalty is held by part of the petit-bourgeoisie and not the bourgeoisie as per Mao’s illusion, all bourgeois elements are excluded before, during, and after the Bloc wages its oppositionist class struggle, which in turn could include a mix of People’s War, Focoist guerrilla warfare and the kind of political strikes or mass strikes in the cities that helped then-guerrillas Fidel Castro and Che Guevara topple US-backed tinpot tyrant Fuluencia Batista, and populist breakthrough (military) coups like those employed by many Soviet-supported anti-colonial movements or the one in 1970s Afghanistan. How, then, could the Bloc achieve the exclusion of the bourgeoisie during and after such class struggle come about while taking into account the leadership role of one following the footsteps of the Julius Caesar of people’s history? The answer, ironically, comes from the modern Kremlin, an example of bourgeois authoritarianism that was programmatically opposed earlier.

    According to Ivan Krastev of the Centre for Liberal Strategies in Bulgaria:

    It cannot explain what distinguish Putin's concept of sovereign democracy and Hugo Chàvez's concept of sovereign democracy.

    What is missing in western attempts to make sense of Putin's Russia is an insight in the political imagination of the current political elite in Moscow. What is missing is an interest in the arguments with which the regime claims legitimacy. Carl Schmitt could be right when some fifty years ago he noted that "the victor feels no curiosity".

    Sovereignty, a recently published volume of ideological writings edited by Nikita Garadya presents a promising opportunity to glimpse into the political imagination of Putin's elite.

    The volume is a compendium of excerpts from the president's state of the union speeches, newspaper interviews with one of his possible "successors" (deputy prime minister Dmitry Medvedev), the legendary February theses of Kremlin's ideologue-in-chief Vladislav Surkov delivered in front of the activists of United Russia, and a dozen essays and interviews in the tradition of enlightened loyalism.

    The book's ambition is to define and develop the master-concept of Kremlin's newfound ideology: the concept of sovereign democracy. The contributors – philosophers, journalists and military strategists - are regarded as key members of Putin's ideological special forces.

    […]

    The nationalisation of the elite took the form of de facto nationalisation of the energy sector, total control of the media, de facto criminalisation of the western-funded NGOs, Kremlin-sponsored party-building, criminal persecution of Kremlin's opponents (the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky) and the creation of structures that can secure active support for the regime in the time of crisis (such as the Nashi [Ours] movement).


    As implied above, it must be stated more explicitly that a de-liberalized, radicalized, substantively populist, and very left-oriented implementation of “managed democracy” that appeals to “sovereignty” is far from being the full minimum program for the demarchic commonwealth, the form of the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat” (as opposed to the Bloc of Dispossessed Classes and National Petit-Bourgeoisie), and that, by extension, Parenti’s “dictatorship of the proletarii” conclusion was indeed “overreaching.” For example, where is the management component in eliminating judges in favour of universal and full adjudication by commoner jury? In random selections for public office instead of elections, thus blunting the charismatic appeal of any would-be National/Pan-National/Paramount/Supreme Leader? In sovereign socioeconomic governments directly representative of ordinary people, thus putting such would-be Leader in a position of having to choose between socioeconomic matters and matters like high politics? In ensuing that such would-be Leader’s standard of living is at or slightly lower than the median equivalent for professional and other skilled workers, thus greatly humbling personal prestige? In recallability from popular recall, universal and full adjudication by commoner jury sanctioning representatives who violate popular legislation, lower representative bodies, political parties themselves, and other avenues – thus putting such would-be Leader in a very precarious position? In full freedom of class-strugglist assembly and association for the working class, such as in the formation of working-class militias, thus again putting such would-be Leader in a very precarious position?

    However, the aforementioned “managed democracy” may be compatible with the political section of a more orthodox minimum program, ranging from dynamic opposition to the threshold before the point whereby the working class must expropriate ruling-class political power. Consider these points, in addition to more basic ones like equal suffrage, for example:

    1) The reduction of the normal workweek (even for working multiple jobs) – including time for workplace democracy, workers’ self-management, broader industrial democracy, etc. through workplace committees and assemblies – to a participatory-democratic maximum of 32 hours or less without loss of pay or benefits has an ecological component, which implies some form of management. Further reductions corresponding to increased labour productivity, plus normalized planning and policy pertaining to reductions in the normal workweek below the participatory-democratic threshold and to related increases in labour productivity, also imply some form of management.
    2) The expansion of local autonomy for equally local development through participatory budgeting and oversight by local assemblies, as well as through unconditional economic assistance (both technical and financial) for localities seeking to establish local currency alternatives to government money, may enhance the prestige of the aforementioned “managed democracy,” and full communal power replacing the full scope of municipal power – from the neighbourhood level to the metropolitan level to even the megapolitan level, and thus actually replacing whole provinces, prefectures, and federated states altogether – alters the federal structure towards resembling a hourglass, increasing both the role of the lowest levels of power and the central government power, all at the expense of levels of power in between.
    3) Workplace democracy over mandated balance of content in news and media production, heavy appropriation of economic rent in the broadcast spectrum, and unconditional economic assistance (both technical and financial) for independent mass media cooperative startups would go a long way towards eliminating the inequality in access to and distribution of free speech that results from the mass media like RCTV and Globovisión not being fully independent from concentrated private ownership and control (not just from private ownership and control by those colloquially called media moguls or media tycoons, such as Rupert Murdoch).
    4) Most importantly, a closed-list proportional representation that both achieves full or near-full proportionality and allows even smaller parties to arbitrarily appoint to and remove from the halls of power those with party affiliations (even by means of random selection that is institutionalized internally) does not take into consideration which parties are allowed representation in the first place, unless one were to consider working-class freedom from formal political disenfranchisement due to class-strugglist assembly and association. Before being sidelined from politics, Lenin once told a foreign journalist, “However, eventually we will have a two-party system such as the British have – a left party and a right party – but two Bolshevik parties, of course.” Stalin insisted on official Popular Front governments in all Eastern European governments, comprised of official Communist parties in predetermined leading roles and agrarian, Catholic, left-nationalist, and minor parties in predetermined supporting roles. In short, a managed multi-party system committed in substance to a de-liberalized, radicalized, substantively populist, and very left-wing orientation can be compatible with an orthodox minimum program (and even more).

    Under the leadership of one following the footsteps of the Julius Caesar of people’s history, a Bloc of Dispossessed Classes and National Petit-Bourgeoisie coming to power in a less developed country and excluding all segments of the bourgeoisie from the political process – by means of a de-liberalized, radicalized, substantively populist, and very left-oriented implementation of “managed democracy” that appeals to “sovereignty” – would be a reenactment of Alea iacta est (“the die has been cast”), of committing treason against the Roman Senate by not disbanding one’s army on the way to Rome, of crossing the Rubicon, and of the original and genuine March on Rome (not Mussolini’s farcical Fascist coup d’etat).

    Within this “managed democracy,” the most obvious element is the National Leader or more optimally pan-national equivalent, even if there is no organizational emphasis here. Such role could move in and out of the presidency like Putin. Beyond extensive restrictions on “states of emergency,” the absence of strong veto power as wielded by US and Ukrainian presidencies or by a popularly elected dictator (overridden only upon a two-thirds legislative majority in all legislative chambers), and the inability to disband legislatures, the presidency itself could nevertheless be constitutionally stronger on the whole than various presidential systems, particularly Latin American ones, combined. Any existing veto power, while subject to aforementioned limits, could be stronger than a mere one-time ability to ask legislatures to reconsider certain legislation, as is the case in Hungary, Italy, and Portugal. From Peru’s model there could be an exclusively executive ability, exclusively only because of the absence of strong veto power, to deal with legislature-defeated bills and vetoed bills, like those dealing with questions on war and peace, by holding referenda. From the models of Brazil and Chile there could be exclusive legislative initiative in policy areas beyond just budget law and international trade affairs. From Ecuador’s model there could be the ability to force legislatures to explicitly vote down, within a certain number of days, bills submitted by the executive that have also been declared “urgent.” Meanwhile, from Venezuela’s model there could be the ability to legislate by decree. For the purposes of direct monetary and fiscal intervention, including the specific case of avoiding a US-style budget crisis initiated by a relatively stubborn legislature, there could be, from Colombia’s model, the ability to declare “economic emergency.”

    Additionally, from other executive models comes undisputed sovereignty perpetuo over all military and civil administration, including chief executives at lower levels (municipalities, provinces, prefectures, and federated states), something best described as “neo-patrimonial” in light of historian Yoram Gorlizki’s observation of “patrimonial authority coexisting alongside quite modern and routine forms of high-level decision making” that characterized the late Stalin era. The basis of this would be Byzantine-inspired “judiciary reorganization,” or the less euphemistic presidential “court packing” of specifically constitutional courts – apart from the regular court system and its supposed-to-be-independent judiciary – would facilitate more radical labour and social reforms at the expense of bourgeois federalism, against which the transition to full communal power could see the National Leader’s obvious influence on the developing communal bulwark. Despite all this power, the president should be subject to legislative confidence, and a National Leader outside the presidency should also be the leading member of a party (all the more so as president).

    Again, the most important element of this “managed democracy” is not the National Leader or pan-national equivalent, but the managed multi-party system.
    Tillman Clark noted the importance of mass politics even within this “managed democracy”:

    A tradition of dictatorial political leadership in Latin America that is best characterized by the image of the caudillo – an authoritarian but popular military leader – may seem appropriate to populism. But what separates the populist leader from the caudillo is that populism operates in a context of mass politics instead of dictatorial, singular power. In this sense, populist leaders must have a democratic form of popular support for their rule – either through street demonstrations and rallies or through constant calls to the voting booth. Populist mobilization, therefore, is an inherently top-down process that often feeds off a direct relationship between a leader and an originally unorganized mass of followers. But this is not nearly enough, as almost any original movement can be seen this way.

    […]

    Chávez applied the elementary populist discourse of “alien elements” – corrupt politicians, oligarchic elites, agents of imperialism, etc. – to justify the circumvention of traditional democratic procedures and institutions through the guise of manifesting the “popular will” as determined through the mandates of the voting booth.

    This tendency is best exemplified by the method through which the 1999 Constitution came into being; Chávez’ campaign pledge to elect a constituent assembly and overhaul the nation’s democratic institutions. Controlled by a 92% Chavista majority, thanks largely to a boycott of the elections by oppositional members, the constituent assembly moved quickly to claim extra-legal authority to re-found Venezuelan democracy. It proceeded to increase the size the judiciary to include more judges (sympathetic to Chávez) and shut down the congress in order to convoke new elections to “re-legitimize” public officials at every level of the political system. As such, having more than a two-thirds majority in Congress, the Chávistas had the ability to undertake a vast restructuring of the political system. With a two-thirds majority congress, a sympathetic and reformed judiciary, and the lack of voiced opposition in any democratic institution, there was little blocking the radical change many Chávistas hoped to bring to Venezuela and with this more or less domination of all aspects of governance, a wide variety of important changes were made to Venezuelan society during the first stage of the Chávez presidency, all of which cannot be noted here, that have continued and expanded in the second.

    […]

    Populism’s positive aspect lies in how it often ushers in a new mass democracy that transcends the old, traditional, and oligarchical politics, providing a new sense of dignity and self-respect for lower class sectors of society, who are encouraged to recognize that they possess both social and political rights. The negative aspect of traditional populism was its effect on democratic citizenship. Populism requires the “privileged link” between the masses through electoral functions and acclimations, but once in power, this leadership provided few institutional means by which citizens can participate in the functioning of government or hold it accountable. Elections were thus merely delegative formalities where the masses choose who to give authority and then retreat to a paternalistic position. It is in this regard that the unique nature of Chávismo populism holds hope.


    Accordingly, one such managed multi-party system committed in substance to a de-liberalized, radicalized, substantively populist, and very left-wing orientation – and thus worthy of at least critical support – could look like this:

    1) There is a big populist party of power on the "right" that appeals economically to the fringes of left-wing social democracy but, in accordance with the March 2010 draft party program of Die Linke (The Left party in Germany), is committed to things like: “public and democratically controlled ownership of general public service, social infrastructure, the energy industry and the finance sector as well as […] transfer large, structure-setting industrial companies to democratic social ownership and to overcome capitalist ownership”; “the prohibition of mass dismissals in companies not threatened by insolvency [and] the socially secured transfer of employees from shrinking branches into sustainable ones”; “a public future fund for helping out endangered yet economically viable enterprises, and promoting socio-ecological transformation [where] governmental aid should be allotted only in exchange for [permanently] according property shares to the public sector or to employees […] to be employed for changing management criteria”; “effective control and regulation of international capital flows and a ban on highly speculative investment vehicles, which jeopardize the stability of the finance system and hence of the entire world economy”; “wealth tax in the form of a millionaires’ tax of an annual five per cent on property exceeding one million euros in value”; and “the abolishment of humiliating means tests, and an end to the coercion into accepting jobs paid below the pay-scale or one’s qualification level.” However, this big party is the relatively conservative “Party of Order” on social issues like tackling violent video games (like banning them in Venezuela). Rightward orientation would be limited by executive influence, by the political orientation of parties further left, and by the overall need for coalition politics.
    2) There is also another big populist party of power, but one that is on the "left" and that appeals more economically to the Yugoslav model of market socialism, and might adopt the positions of Hyman Minsky and Swedish economist Rudolf Meidner to tackle structural unemployment and working-class savings, respectively (more on Meidner in the next chapter). Socially, this big party is the relatively liberal "Party of Liberty” which, in relation to the Die Linke, should definitely be supportive of “demonstrations and petitions for referendum and civil disobedience, but also with instruments such as political strikes and general strikes [as] the most effective forms of struggle.”
    3) There is also a third party or limited group of third parties standing in between the two big parties. One such party is in fact a "Labour" party – obviously one not trapped in dead ends like British Labourism, given the standards set above by the March 2010 draft party program of Die Linke. This "Labour" party's purpose is to serve mainly as a significant coalition partner to either of the two big populist "parties of power," like Lassalle's long-term orientation when faced with the choice of Bismarck and the bourgeois liberals, and like the more mainstream Green parties in Europe today as coalition partners to either of the two bigger parties. The "third party" position need not necessarily be a monopoly held by some "Labour" party. Green parties, “Pirate” parties for intellectual property reform, and other special-interest parties approved under executive influence could occupy this position, as well.
    4) The fourth party or limited numbers of fourth parties are class-strugglist left parties of various backgrounds. There can be parties that are traditional in allowing non-worker intellectuals, self-employed service providers, sharecroppers, and so on to be members. Most importantly, there can be a national or pan-national section of Class-Strugglist Social Labour that, through a workers-only voting membership requirement, helps achieve and maintain politico-ideological independence for the proletariat and for the broader strata of so-called “prole” classes. This “fourth party” position should refuse coalitions with either party of power or with those in the “third party” position unless the full minimum program of the Demarchic Commonwealth, the form of the so-called “dictatorship of the proletariat,” is met.
    5) Attempts to form political organizations to the right of the “Party of Order” would receive executive treatment not unlike the full spectrum of the Kremlin’s treatment of liberal opposition groups: immediate criminalization for actions like receiving funds from foreign capitalists and their governments, more mundane haranguing, collective monopoly on electoral registration to be held by the four parties or groups of parties (so that, like with the difficulties of third-party registration in the US, this further-right opposition would be forced to file endless stacks of papers, go through long waiting times, and so on), coordinated media taboos, and Potemkin diversions (pseudo-parties staffed entirely by public agents with the goal of dividing the further-right opposition, all the while making organizational and political mishaps at that opposition’s expense).



    REFERENCES



    Dictator of the Proletarii? by Paul D’Amato [http://www.isreview.org/issues/36/rev-caesar.shtml]

    The Assassination Of Julius Caesar: A People’s History of Ancient Rome (abstract) by Michael Parenti [http://www.michaelparenti.org/Caesar.html]

    “Caesarism”: was Marx wrong? [http://www.revleft.com/vb/caesarism-...185/index.html]

    Fantastic Reality: Marxism and the Politics of Religion by Jack Conrad [http://books.google.com/books?id=Ehf...sec=frontcover]

    Venezuela to Outlaw Violent Video Games, Toys by Christopher Toothaker, The Associated Press [http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=8748510]

    Chávez: "If I am killed, sweep away the bourgeoisie" by María Lilibeth Da Corte, El Universal [http://english.eluniversal.com/2010/...A3737731.shtml]

    A question on Third World struggles [http://wcrforum.com/showthread.php?tid=326]

    Permanent Revolution: Myths and Reconsiderations (video) by Mike Macnair []

    “Sovereign democracy”, Russian-style by Ivan Krastev [http://www.opendemocracy.net/globali...cracy_4104.jsp]

    Does Venezuela need "Managed" or "Sovereign" Democracy? [http://www.revleft.com/vb/does-venez...876/index.html]

    Democracies in Development: Politics and Reform in Latin America by J. Mark Payne [http://dspace.cigilibrary.org/jspui/...elopment.pdf?1]

    Ordinary Stalinism: The Council of Ministers and the Soviet Neopatrimonial State, 1946-1953 by Yoram Gorlizki [http://www.jstor.org/pss/3079882]

    Human Rights and Radical Social Change: Liberalism, Marxism and Progressive Populism in Venezuela by Tillman Clark [http://www.studentpulse.com/articles...m-in-venezuela]

    Program of the Left Party (First Draft) by Oskar Lafontaine and Lothar Bisky [http://die-linke.de/fileadmin/downlo...ogramme_en.pdf]
    Last edited by Die Neue Zeit; 20th December 2011 at 05:46.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    It would have been somewhat impossible to create a left-wing progressive system in ancient Rome, given the technological and cultural limitations of that era.

    Caesar tried to utilise the Proletarii to create a more stable system, simple because the Roman oligarchy was not only terribly oppressive, but also terribly unstable.

    Nero was more of the ultimate utopian. He tried to wipe out the aristocracy physically, establish a pharaonic system, create a sort of utopian paradise out of the city of Rome and replace Roman imperialism with some kind of idealistic dream about a world culture unified in the pursuit of beauty and the arts.

    The failure of Caesar is a testimony to the limitation of semi-egalitarianising social programmes in the conditions of the ancient world. While modern developing nations have more advanced technology, a lot of their technological base is resembling that of ancient Rome, in the fact that substinence agriculture and slum life is still an inherent characteristic of their societies.

    The only two developing nations (not superpowers) which could have successful programmes of that kind are India and Brazil, given their size. As for the rest of the world, the change has to start either in the United States, Canada (because of its sheer size and low population density, Canada would actually be an ideal host for a progressive social transformation), Europe, Russia, China or Japan.

    I think the conditions in western societies are a bit different. The institutions are too strong to mount a populist frontal charge into the heart of the system. Instead, a popular movement has to centre around a charismatic - preferably female - figure. Moreover, if we are going to mount anything today, it isn't enough with unions, but all kinds of political and non-political social movements need to be persuaded on the train, while focus should lie on an overtly emotional campaign with only a few slogans. The leadership must appear as less radical than they are, and utilise their first period in power to strengthen the organisation of their own supporters and build up alternative media channels.

    The leader also needs to be somewhat young and have a good appearance. She doesn't need to actually decide anything. The only purpose of leaders should really be to be more popular than their parties in order to attract extra votes.

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    Just quickly, if the working class is not the leading class, raising its own organs to take over society, what you are going to have is some form of capitalism. If that's okay with you, fine. It seems to be okay with the Maoists.

    In my opinion, this "Bloc of Dispossessed Classes and National Petit-Bourgeoisie" is a justification for state capitalism.

    RED DAVE

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimentio View Post
    Nero was more of the ultimate utopian. He tried to wipe out the aristocracy physically, establish a pharaonic system, create a sort of utopian paradise out of the city of Rome and replace Roman imperialism with some kind of idealistic dream about a world culture unified in the pursuit of beauty and the arts.
    Nero was the Pol Pot of Ancient Rome?

    The only two developing nations (not superpowers) which could have successful programmes of that kind are India and Brazil, given their size. As for the rest of the world, the change has to start either in the United States, Canada (because of its sheer size and low population density, Canada would actually be an ideal host for a progressive social transformation), Europe, Russia, China or Japan.
    We don't have the military power to fight and win another War of 1812.

    I think the conditions in western societies are a bit different. The institutions are too strong to mount a populist frontal charge into the heart of the system.
    As per your correspondence question, I said in my commentary above that any potential class bloc in the imperialist powers would be narrower. I evoked Ferdinand Lassalle's "one reactionary mass" when he described all other classes besides the proletariat. I wouldn't go as far as he did, but certainly there is no "national petit-bourgeoisie" in these imperialist powers. The class bloc would consist only of the first three or four classes listed.

    I'll repeat my position on repeating but improving the organizing strategy of the Second International, one of the premises of that strategy being that real parties are real movements and vice versa.

    Instead, a popular movement has to centre around a charismatic - preferably female - figure.
    Being media-savvy isn't the same as being "charismatic." Yes, there are exceptions like Oskar Lafontaine, but the charismatic figure role can only go so far, unlike in developing countries.

    Moreover, if we are going to mount anything today, it isn't enough with unions, but all kinds of political and non-political social movements need to be persuaded on the train, while focus should lie on an overtly emotional campaign with only a few slogans.
    Since when did I advocate "links with the trade union movement"? Did you read my Politics thread on Anglo-Continental Labourism vs. Linke-ism? A workers-only voting membership policy is more than enough to start a "link with the working class."

    Other than that, you're learning more and more the positive lessons of Ferdinand Lassalle.

    The leadership must appear as less radical than they are, and utilise their first period in power to strengthen the organisation of their own supporters and build up alternative media channels.
    Quebec Solidaire has been a total disappointment. Appearing less radical and appealing (again) to identity politics has also blinded them to the pressing need for radical reform (not just social revolution). I place Hyman Minsky and Rudolf Meidner as benchmarks for whether or not someone's advocating radical reform.

    The leader also needs to be somewhat young and have a good appearance. She doesn't need to actually decide anything. The only purpose of leaders should really be to be more popular than their parties in order to attract extra votes.
    Maybe, so long as the charismatic figures are kept on a very tight leash by the party bureaucracy.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    Quote Originally Posted by RED DAVE View Post
    Just quickly, if the working class is not the leading class, raising its own organs to take over society, what you are going to have is some form of capitalism. If that's okay with you, fine. It seems to be okay with the Maoists.

    In my opinion, this "Bloc of Dispossessed Classes and National Petit-Bourgeoisie" is a justification for state capitalism.

    RED DAVE
    Yes, mass commodity production can exist without the bourgeoisie. Yes, I'm honest about open-mindedness on whether the working class becomes the leading class in developing countries (as opposed to Maoist rhetoric vs. class-collaborationist practice or "permanent revolution" inflexibility). And yes, this is calling for a non-bourgeois "state capitalism," in an attempt to spark a proper social-proletocratic revolution in more developed countries.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    The problem is that the public are used to certain discourses, namely that what is okay for Cuba and Venezuela cannot possibly work in Europe, due to the dichotomy between the first world and the third world in the mind of most people in the first world. Therefore, it would be much more advisable if a first world country - even a small one like Iceland - saw a populist breakthrough. In case Jón Gnarr wins the power in Iceland, it would probably spark a series of populist anti-establishment movements in western Europe as well.

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    That's why I mentioned Oskar Lafontaine.

    Anyway, this is the best rebuttal for avoiding "contempt for the peasantry"/"contempt for populist forces" assertions rightfully hurled at Trotskyists whose Third World successes are limited to places like Sri Lanka.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Die Neue Zeit View Post
    Yes, mass commodity production can exist without the bourgeoisie.
    How could this work in the terms of Marx's Capital? Are you essentially saying that this would be what the Fourth International called a deformed workers' state?

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    ^^^ [I'll respond to that shortly.]

    Happy New Year, RevLeft!

    With the new year comes a new political album for this subject:

    http://www.revleft.com/vb/album.php?albumid=845
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    Jacob Richter PM'd asking me to respond to a question and then linked me to graymouser's post. I'm not exactly sure what I'm supposed to be answering to be honest, so I guess I'll weigh in on the link between the bourgeoisie and generalised commodity production (Generalised, it's generalised commodity production. 'Mass' commodity production is another useless neologism). Generalised commodity production can exist without without a class of individual capitalists, that much is true. It cannot exist without capital, and some entity which represents it. It really depends on what we want to call the 'bourgeoisie'. I suppose the term is more fitting for 'fatcats' than some collective entity such as a workers' co-operative or the state being in possession of capital, but then again such usage would be a good way of pushing forward Richter's frankly weird views about how the working-class should sacrifice it's political independence in the 'third world' to give support to some imaginary Caesar mark II. I'm not sure on the ins and oughts of the whole 'deformed workers' state' theory. I know it refers to the 'peoples' democracies' set up after the second world war, which were controlled by the 'bureaucratic strata' from the start rather than having been the result of failed revolutions as per the Soviet Union. They didn't have fully nationalised industry, so I suppose the content in terms of economic relations would be the same, although 'deformed workers' state' has political implications which I wouldn't buy into if you offered me a 75% cut and all the vodka I could drink at the launch party.
    "From the relationship of estranged labor to private property it follows further that the emancipation of society from private property, etc., from servitude, is expressed in the political form of the emancipation of the workers; not that their emancipation alone is at stake, but because the emancipation of the workers contains universal human emancipation – and it contains this because the whole of human servitude is involved in the relation of the worker to production, and all relations of servitude are but modifications and consequences of this relation."

    - Karl Marx -

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zanthorus View Post
    Generalised commodity production can exist without without a class of individual capitalists, that much is true. It cannot exist without capital, and some entity which represents it. It really depends on what we want to call the 'bourgeoisie'. I suppose the term is more fitting for 'fatcats' than some collective entity such as a workers' co-operative or the state being in possession of capital
    For graymouser: This is the fundamental difference between all forms of monetary socialism and the lower phase of the communist mode of production, which is NOT "socialism":

    The societal abolition of the commodity mode(s) of production towards a higher mode of production where there exists detailed societal management over its own collective labour-time, over all use values, and thus over the allocation of all productive and other non-possessive property necessarily involves the replacement of money-capital with a system of non-circulable (and necessarily electronic) labour credit. This dispenses with M-M’, C-M-C’, M-C-M’, and of course M-C...P...-C'-M’, while the broader and complete convergence between socially necessary labour and surplus labour eliminates exchange value (again, not to be confused with use values) and thus commodities altogether.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zanthorus View Post
    but then again such usage would be a good way of pushing forward Richter's frankly weird views about how the working-class should sacrifice it's political independence in the 'third world' to give support to some imaginary Caesar mark II
    Comrade, so are you suggesting abstentionism re. Caesarean Socialist movements? While indeed politico-ideological independence via separate organization /= political leadership, class rule, etc., what should be done, or are you're suggesting that Lenin's two-stage RDDOTPP would have resulted in a similar "sacrifice" because the balance of class forces would have shifted towards the peasantry?
    Last edited by Die Neue Zeit; 2nd January 2011 at 02:28.
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    The main post does deserve some response, and I'll try to give it; but because of its length I fear a straight-up quote fest would become an unreadable mess. As someone* once said, "Omnia gallia in tres partes divisa est," so I'll try to take up three main themes here.

    First, on Caesar.

    Howard Zinn created the notion of a "People's History" and while his book on the history of the US, and several of the works that follow it, was interesting it creates the false notion of an entity called "The People" which is always oppressed and always opposed to the ruling elites. This is of course foreign to Marxists, who understand the world to be broken up into social classes relative to the means of production (and of reproduction). Historically it is at best a slippery proposition to determine who are "the people" from an intelligible standpoint. But Michael Parenti can only be said to be an abject failure in this regard.

    There were several legal classes in the Roman Republic. The patricians were the old-guard aristocracy, which ruled Rome through the Senate more or less unopposed until 133 BC when the Gracchi became the first manifestation of the changing balance of forces in the Republic. Then there were the plebs, who were citizens and members of gentes, but not of the patrician class. The plebeians elected their own tribunes who were the main power outside of the Senate, and also had their Gentile Assemblies which were more or less subordinate to the Senate. The plebs were sub-divided into several classes; at the top of the plebeians were the equites, who had considerable property, while at the bottom were the proletarii who had nothing. Of course, there were also the slaves who had no rights, and the manumitted slaves (liberti) who had only strictly limited rights. The slave system in ancient Rome was uneven; a lucky or educated slave could live well and buy his freedom, while many were simply worked to death in the mines or in the fields. Yet none of the ancient world we know would have existed without large-scale, institutional slavery.

    DNZ calls Caesar an "army officer," but in terms of modern armies with a professional officers' corps this is misleading. Roman men of the patrician class hoping to scale the cursus honorum - the succession of offices of praetor, aedile, quaestor, consul and censor that defined the successful politician - all had to do some military service as a preliminary. Caesar did better than most, and is well remembered as a general, but it is simply not true that it was unusual for a young Roman politician to enter the fray fresh from ten years of campaigning.

    Now, in the Roman Republic there were two main groupings of politicians; you can call them "parties" but the analogy is incorrect, as these were not parties in any modern sense of the term. They were at best "sides" in the long struggle to control the destiny of the growing Roman empire. They are referred to as the optimates and the populares; because translations are misleading it's best to refer to them by their Latin names. Neither faction had a specific program or agenda as such, although the populares had a sort of de facto program of grain distribution. They differed mainly in their approaches to politics. The optimates preferred to rule through the Senate, using its traditional offices to their fullest effect. The populares relied on the Gentile Assemblies and the Plebeian Tribunes to assist in their own ascents to power.

    What were the main conflicts in ancient Rome? Well, after 146 BC, you had a city governed by a small and rather conservative aristocracy that controlled the bulk of the Mediterranean basin, from Spain to Greece and across western north Africa. Within a century it controlled France, bits of Germany and Egypt. It was inevitable that the customary pact between the Senate and the plebeians would break down. Aside from the periodic uprisings of the slaves - which were brutally suppressed with crucifixions and so on - the main class struggle was between plebeians and patricians. But this can be deceiving; it was not principally a question of the poor proletarii but of the frequently rich equites who were a rising class. Caesar, and Augustus after him, did a tremendous amount for the equites as a class.

    So what did Caesar's reforms mean, in context? Well, nothing so radical as DNZ's stance requires. For instance, the law on personal wealth was not new, and it did not limit total wealth but rather cash holdings to 60,000 sesterces. The law was promulgated without terrific seriousness, as Caesar refused to take measures that would have ensured its actual enforcement; the idea was not to confiscate wealth at all but to increase circulation. There was a liquidity crisis after the civil war and the rich in Rome were hoarding large cash reserves. Caesar was simply taking a strict measure to cut into these hoards. Similarly, his land reforms were necessary - Rome had obtained humongous parcels of land and wasn't doing anything with them because the Senators essentially wanted all the spoils. Caesar forced them through. It did help the plebs, but the Romans were above all a pragmatic people. Caesar's law helped develop his base among the people and at the same time solved the long deadlock within the Senate over land.

    It hardly requires aligning oneself with Plutarch and Suetonius on a class basis to see that Caesar was not a dictator proletariorum but a dictator super proletarios; not of but over the proletarii. And this should be fairly superficial when you consider Parenti's other work is basically bald-faced apologia for Stalinism.

    The second part will have to be forthcoming and will deal with Venezuela.

    * Gaius Julius Caesar, Comentarii de Bello Gallico.

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    Quote Originally Posted by graymouser View Post
    The main post does deserve some response, and I'll try to give it; but because of its length I fear a straight-up quote fest would become an unreadable mess.
    Haha, is that a weakness in my posting style when I'm not posting stuff like the OP?

    I'll make this as brief as I can.

    So what did Caesar's reforms mean, in context? Well, nothing so radical as DNZ's stance requires. For instance, the law on personal wealth was not new, and it did not limit total wealth but rather cash holdings to 60,000 sesterces.
    Why did Parenti mention the Greek currency? Even in the case of increasing liquidity, it's still a good anti-hoarding measure, when considering capital stock over the past 10-20 years (capitalists sitting on their $$$ even after all the financialization, not investing). It goes under capital controls.

    You didn't critique all the other reforms besides this and land reform:

    - Outright grants to the poor
    - Public works and other employment programs for putting plebeians toward productive work
    - Luxury taxes
    - Partial debt relief

    And this should be fairly superficial when you consider Parenti's other work is basically bald-faced apologia for Stalinism.
    You're repeating the same thing Conrad wrote in my quote of him re. Stalinism. Also, I intentionally put my criticism of Parenti's "dictatorship of the proletarii" conclusion in mild terms, using his very own words ("overreaching").
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Die Neue Zeit View Post
    Why did Parenti mention the Greek currency? Even in the case of increasing liquidity, it's still a good anti-hoarding measure, when considering capital stock over the past 10-20 years (capitalists sitting on their $$$ even after all the financialization, not investing). It goes under capital controls.
    Parenti didn't read his sources in Latin - so it's possible that his translation of Cassius Dio used drachmas instead of sesterces.

    In any case, yes, it was an anti-hoarding measure. However, "capital" in the Marxist sense of course didn't exist as such in the ancient world, because of the slave system, so it's not really comparable to modern capital controls. (More generally it's very difficult to compare anything economically between today and 2000 years ago.)

    You didn't critique all the other reforms besides this and land reform:

    - Outright grants to the poor
    While this was certainly Caesar's biggest gesture as a popularis, given the rest of his policy it should be viewed through the lens of Roman pragmatism. There were two practical reasons why Caesar would have been expected to give money to the poor plebeians: it eased the social tension between them and the patrician class, and it increased his own personal standing with them.

    - Public works and other employment programs for putting plebeians toward productive work
    Public works were expected of great conquerors throughout antiquity, and Caesar ranked high on that list. This was totally typical, and his example was followed assiduously by every emperor of Rome.

    As for "productive" work by the plebeians - this was a utopia as long as the slave system existed. There was no way to make an institutional economy around waged handicraft industry as long as there were slaves who did it with the only price being their physical upkeep.

    - Luxury taxes
    The sumptuary laws were part of the internal struggles in the aristocracy within the late Republic and the Empire. You have to consider that the wealthy and powerful in ancient society were obliged to flaunt what they had, and Rome was certainly no exception. Caesar - whose public works and triumphs made his status quite clear - didn't want any rivals making the case that they too were in a position of strength.

    - Partial debt relief
    Ah. This one is actually pretty interesting. After the civil war, there were a lot of people who could not afford to pay their debts, and there was a groundswell of support for a complete cancellation of debt. Obviously the creditors wanted none of this. Caesar actually borrowed a strategy that had been used previously, valuing debts at what they had been before the war and subtracting interest paid, effectively cutting out (per Suetonius anyway) a quarter of their value. This was simply good statesmanship: Caesar settled a potential insolvency crisis among the population with a neat compromise that prevented the creditors from being ruined.

    What is of a piece in Caesar's measures is not their radicalism, but their pragmatic reality. Where Parenti misreads them is that this simple pragmatism meant material losses for the Senate and all of it fed into the increasing disenfranchisement of the aristocracy in favor of one man, Caesar himself. The question was who would rule the empire, and the Senate made a last desperate bid, but their forces were crushed anyway.

    You're repeating the same thing Conrad wrote in my quote of him re. Stalinism.
    I think it's a crucial point. Parenti's Caesar is primarily apologia and as such cannot be taken at face value.

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    Quote Originally Posted by graymouser View Post
    However, "capital" in the Marxist sense of course didn't exist as such in the ancient world, because of the slave system, so it's not really comparable to modern capital controls.
    Sure it did exist. M-C...P'...C'-M' may not have existed, but M-C-M' did courtesy of the merchants, especially the wealthier ones.

    There were two practical reasons why Caesar would have been expected to give money to the poor plebeians: it eased the social tension between them and the patrician class, and it increased his own personal standing with them.
    Those are the obvious reasons, but I really wonder what form the grants took. I don't think it was as crude as having a bunch of people driving a wagon of coins and then emptying that wagon's coins bit by bit like a procession. The less crude, the less effect on the easing of social tension.

    Ah. This one is actually pretty interesting. After the civil war, there were a lot of people who could not afford to pay their debts, and there was a groundswell of support for a complete cancellation of debt. Obviously the creditors wanted none of this. Caesar actually borrowed a strategy that had been used previously, valuing debts at what they had been before the war and subtracting interest paid, effectively cutting out (per Suetonius anyway) a quarter of their value. This was simply good statesmanship: Caesar settled a potential insolvency crisis among the population with a neat compromise that prevented the creditors from being ruined.
    What circumstances would have allowed him to enable wholesale debt jubilees, like in ancient Mesopotamia upon the death of a king or in Biblical Israel?
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    Default Caesarean Socialism in the Third World

    I offer this outline in addition to my longer "People's Histories, Blocs, and Managed Democracy Reconsidered" as a means of strategy in the Third World.



    CAESAREAN SOCIALISM

    Deferral of DOTP via the Bloc of Dispossessed Classes and "National"/"Pan-National" Petit-Bourgeoisie
    Simply put, in much of the Third World the proletariat is far from being in the demographic majority, and anything less than equal suffrage (except for the possible disenfranchisement of all bourgeois and "comprador petit-bourgeois" elements) such that the regime is not led by the working class is tantamount to minoritarianism.

    Greater flexibility for "March on Rome" to seize state power (People's War, Focoism, Breakthrough Military Coups, plus other means)
    This is related to the necessary deferral of the DOTP and its related political revolution.

    Political triad against liberal republicanism (independent working-class political organization, urban petit-bourgeois democratism, and peasant absolutism / autocracy / patrimonialism)
    Independent working-class political organization separates the Caesarean Socialist from the ever-reactionary Bonapartist. The combination of the latter two elements of the triad is a rejection of bourgeois oligarchy hiding under the mask of liberal republicanism ("democracy," "aristocracy," and "monarchy"). Through things like communal power, it acknowledges that the benevolent tyrant model doesn't work. After that, peasantry absolutism / autocracy / patrimonialism does indeed refer to the extent of the National (or Pan-National) Leader's control over the military, law enforcement and corrections, bureaucracy, and courts of constitutional law ("court-packing"), all against bourgeois federalism. This one person, though, whether in or out of la Presidencia, is accountable to the next point.

    Compatibility of party-based "managed democracy" with pre-DOTP orthodox minimum program and applying "managed democracy" towards autocratic and bureaucratic repression of the bourgeoisie and liberal opposition up to and including autocratic sovereignty over constitutional courts but not other courts
    The National Leader is the head of some party, but can be hired and fired by that party. The party system is inspired somewhat by the officially multi-party, Popular Front governments of Eastern Europe. The bourgeois and liberal opposition get the Lukashenko treatment, and the latter the additional Putin treatment. Politicized religious opposition gets the Bismarck treatment and then some.

    Economy to encompass all "steps toward socialism," all Economic Republicanism (real, Ricardian, and radical Bourgeois Socialism), and all National-Democratization (finance, energy, food production, international trade and trade policy, transport, communication infrastructure, construction, health, insurance, etc. where not covered by either "steps toward socialism" or Economic Republicanism)
    By "etc." in national-democratization, I don't mean all the other sectors of the economy. There would still be room for state-aided cooperatives, shopkeepers, small tenant farmers, sharecroppers, non-industrial fishermen, etc. plus non-worker intellectuals and really self-employed schmucks (and their market-bullying guild-like organizations) to do their thing.

    Possibilities for Minsky and Meidner on structural unemployment and working-class savings, respectively
    This is just a side note on additional labour and social measures of a radical character. Another example would be stakeholder co-management, but on a more populist basis (becoming in essence "co-determination" without the bourgeoisie) than a working-class basis.

    DOTP in between Caesarean Socialism and the post-monetary lower phase of the communist mode of production
    "The time will come [...] then it will be ridiculous to talk about “singleness of will” of the proletariat and the peasantry, about a democratic dictatorship, etc. When that time comes we shall attend directly to the question of the socialist dictatorship of the proletariat and deal with it at greater length." (Lenin, Two Tactics)
    "A new centrist project does not have to repeat these mistakes. Nobody in this topic is advocating a carbon copy of the Second International (which again was only partly centrist)." (Tjis, class-struggle anarchist)

    "A centrist strategy is based on patience, and building a movement or party or party-movement through deploying various instruments, which I think should include: workplace organising, housing struggles [...] and social services [...] and a range of other activities such as sports and culture. These are recruitment and retention tools that allow for a platform for political education." (Tim Cornelis, left-communist)

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    *bump*

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