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Thread: Reformism vs Revolution

  1. #1
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    Default Reformism vs Revolution

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    Last edited by Loony; 15th June 2015 at 21:10.

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  3. #2
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    Class-collaboration corrupts and gentrifies worker's organizations. The goal of the revolutionary left is to restructure society, not to reconcile class antagonisms which are absolutely irreconcilable.
    read this: http://marxists.org/archive/luxembur...tion/index.htm
    and the beginning of this: http://marxists.org/archive/lenin/wo...erev/index.htm

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    As taco recommended, check out Rosa Luxemburg's Reform and Revolution.
    "All immediatists [. . .] want to get rid of society and put in its place a particular group of workers. This group they choose from the confines of one of the various prisons which constitute the bourgeois society of 'free men' i.e. the factory, the trade, the territorial or legal patch. Their entire miserable effort consists in telling the non-free, the non-citizens, the non-individuals [. . .] to envy and imitate their oppressors: be independent! free! be citizens! people! In a word: be bourgeois!" -Amadeo Bordiga, "Fundamentals of Revolutionary Communism"

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    The problem with using the state is that the state was created for bourgeois class domination. The way the state operates and is organized, it cannot be wielded by the proletariat. As for the worker not being interested in revolution, it has to do with reform too. The politics of reform keeps the worker from revolting. I don't think revolution is impractical, but it is difficult to achieve. (As we saw from the revolutions of the past) I am not sure what you mean by bring down the capitalist from the inside, how would we achieve this? The bourgeois state cannot be reformed against itself.

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    The system does not allow for socialism. Socialism isn't going to be achieved by electing people to vote on various reforms for the sole sake of working within the system.

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    Ja. I see what you are getting at.

    Hmmm...

    There are so many ways and angles to look at this thing.

    Thank you for the recommendation, Taco!


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    Revolution. When you decide to elect politicians to make laws, they can become undone and voided by the next election cycle. Social Democracy isn't a democracy at all. The state holds to benefit for those in power. In the west we've seen elections become very expensive, and grass-roots funding can't compete with the major parties. Who supplements that? The rich, and that comes with strings attached.
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    Aha! Okay, I see where this is going...

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    C'mon guys, we all know reform is ultimately just putting off the inevitable. But it helps to give real people a real leg up on the road to tomorrow. Consider that even during pre-capitalism the bourgoisie employed both reform AND revolution.
    The total discounting of all reformism is part of the context behind Marx's "then I am not a Marxist" quote, his nephew was uncompromising on revolution, or something to that effect. Correct me if I'm wrong.
    We, as the so-called "vanguard" (not really in an institutional or structured sense), should agitate and agitate and agitate for revolution. Nevertheless, we must realize that there will be times where we will not be listened to, and always remember that the point is to empower real people.
    Save a species, have ginger babies!

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    Last edited by Loony; 15th June 2015 at 21:12.

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    How do you plan to make the transition from reformism into socialism then?

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    I think you may have it backwards. The working class is the frog. And as the frog we know all to well that in order to keep from being scalded over and over again, in spite of all our pleading, the pot(capitalism) must be destroyed. Would the "thing"(Bourgeoisie) that keeps putting us in it agree to help destroy the pot? Without the pot this thing can not eat so why would it work with the frog? Reform is that long slow death that comes with putting off revolution. Haven't we suffered enough? Now if your idea of agitation is a two front approach, working within the system while simultaneously working to destroy the very system that you've put much effort into, well it won't go unnoticed and is just suicide. This thing's only purpose is to accumulate and thus destroy. In the end it will even turn on itself.
    Don't ever stop remembering you're a frog comrade, you are the frog.
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    Ya, exactly. We should never advocate reformism. We just shouldn't discount its benefits; 8hr workday, etc.
    Save a species, have ginger babies!

    "Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth." ~Albert Einstein

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbeard View Post
    I think you may have it backwards. The working class is the frog. And as the frog we know all to well that in order to keep from being scalded over and over again, in spite of all our pleading, the pot(capitalism) must be destroyed. Would the "thing"(Bourgeoisie) that keeps putting us in it agree to help destroy the pot? Without the pot this thing can not eat so why would it work with the frog? Reform is that long slow death that comes with putting off revolution. Haven't we suffered enough? Now if your idea of agitation is a two front approach, working within the system while simultaneously working to destroy the very system that you've put much effort into, well it won't go unnoticed and is just suicide. This thing's only purpose is to accumulate and thus destroy. In the end it will even turn on itself.
    Don't ever stop remembering you're a frog comrade, you are the frog.
    Thank you for this. It gives me a new perspective. I think I mentioned in the first post that I'm still learning, and what you have said here makes a lot of sense. I will have to go and ponder now. You've given me lots of food for thought, and Taco has given me a bunch to read!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolution starts with U View Post
    Ya, exactly. We should never advocate reformism. We just shouldn't discount its benefits; 8hr workday, etc.
    Of course not, but there's a distinction between fighting for reforms and the ideology of reformism; I find that important to point out. One can fight for reforms but still see it only takes you so far, I think that's what the ICC for example mean when they say the system can't be reformed - it can't be reformed in the reformist sense, not that reforms themselves are futile.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Loony View Post
    This is really what I was getting at.

    I was thinking of reform along the lines of the frog in boiling water. I don't know if you've heard the analogy, but for those who haven't:

    If you take a frog and throw it in boiling water, it will jump out.
    If you take a frog and put it in cold water, but slowly heat it up, he will eventually boil to death.

    So this was my theory on the capitalist and reform. If you bring it on slowly, you give him a chance to adapt. Initially its not nice and he may grumble, but anyone can get used to anything. Then you turn up the water another notch. In the end the frog boils to death because the change was so gradual, and you have a better chance achieving this when you heat the water up slowly instead of trying to tie him down to a hot kettle.

    Reform is slow, but it is SOMETHING. And something is better than nothing. Whether via revolution or reform, both have the same goal in mind.

    The capitalist structures might still be in place, but a welfare state at least gives SOME relief. I'm not saying that it should stay at this, but surely its a step in the right direction?
    Actually the idea that a frog doesn't jump out of the water if it is heated slowly is a myth. Even if you heat the water slowly the frog will jump out when it gets too hot.

    The same thing applies to the capitalists. They don't just allow the reforms to be made without resisting. Just look at all the hate Obama got when he planned to introduce universal healthcare or for more extreme examples look at what Pinochet did in Chile in 1973 or what Suharto did in Indonesia in 1965. In both of those countries the parties indentifying as 'communist' attempted to change society by being elected into the government, rather than making a revolution and it still resulted in violent repression by the ruling class.

    This does not communists should never try to win elections. It just means that substituting the winning of elections in place of revolution does not necessarily prevent violence or make things easier. It's not that attempts to win reform are a bad thing, they just shouldn't be viewed as a replacement for revolution.

    An important question needs to be asked here: What is your definition of socialism? Because if you used the definition revolutionaries used, you would not be under the impression that it could be brought about through slow gradual changes. When we talk about socialism we are not just talking about a society in which people are well looked after by some benevolent government (a welfare state.) We are talking about a society in which the workers have democratic control over the economy or, as Marx put it, they become the ruling class. What we are talking about here is not a large number of little changes, but one really big change that the capitalists will resist no matter what.

    Also, let's not forget that leaving out revolution means leaving out the workers. According to reformists, the workers' only role is to vote for some brilliant hero who will save them from their misery. Of course that's better than a country being run by somebody who screws over the working class, but if we view such an election as the pinnacle of democracy, than our vision of democracy is rather impoverished.
    Stalin got it wrong. A million deaths under socialism is an atrocity. A million deaths under capitalism is a statistic.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jbeard View Post
    I think you may have it backwards. The working class is the frog. And as the frog we know all to well that in order to keep from being scalded over and over again, in spite of all our pleading, the pot(capitalism) must be destroyed. Would the "thing"(Bourgeoisie) that keeps putting us in it agree to help destroy the pot? Without the pot this thing can not eat so why would it work with the frog? Reform is that long slow death that comes with putting off revolution. Haven't we suffered enough? Now if your idea of agitation is a two front approach, working within the system while simultaneously working to destroy the very system that you've put much effort into, well it won't go unnoticed and is just suicide. This thing's only purpose is to accumulate and thus destroy. In the end it will even turn on itself.
    Don't ever stop remembering you're a frog comrade, you are the frog.
    My screen name accidentally has some connection or relevance to the discussion, yay!

    My personal pessimistic outlook makes me feel like revolution, in this country at least, is never goiing to happen. All the theories and analysis of the ongoing class struggle may point towards an event horizon but it's not happened yet and I just can't envisage (sp?) a time when it would happen...but you never know I guess
    This is why I take an interest in elections of any kind and will be pouring over the data from UK locals etc all morning.
    My heart says revolution, my brain grumbles 'vote for a socialist if there is one standing'.

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    I wouldn't use sayings or metaphores as an analogy to be honest. There are hundreds of others that contradict themeselves and don't really give any realistic view on the matter. It workes better the other way round, when you use them only to illustrate something that you've analyzied in a more scientific and materialistic way.

    As it's already been said, the reformism might result to be not effective enough. The countries that were heading step by step towards more equal and peaceful society were stormed by violent series of shocks in order to intimidate people and put them into a sort of regression. We can't fight such calluos and coldblooded system by throwing flowers at the police. It's either socialism or barbarism- and as the history shows, yes, it is possible to overthrow a system, so I strongly believe that it's gonna be socialism and we're not just hopeless creatures that are gonna exterminate themeselves.

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    Reformism, AKA Bernsteinism is the idea that Capitalism can gradually evolve into Socialism without the need for a revolution. Advocating a reform is not reformism. Reformism is explicitly characterized by a rejection of revolution, which is quite independent of advocating a given reform. One might say that advocacy of reform leads to reformism, but this is really just liberal "power corrupts" nonsense. It is class collaboration which explicitly leads to reformism.

    People are still going on about the old tripe of the state being an inherently corruptive institution? States existed before capitalism, and they will continue to exist after capitalism as well until the establishment of communism. A state is a tool for class rule, so by definition there must be a state under the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is only when classless society has been achieved that the state loses its character as a vehicle of class rule. The chief goal of political revolution is the conquest of state power.

    As a mode of production cannot be spontaneously abolished, there will be the need for the state for a long time to come following revolution, depending on the conditions.

    There is nothing ambiguous about what the state is; there are just a lot of crypto-anarchists out there who have metaphysical conceptions of power.

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