- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Friday, 09 September 2011 13:54
- Written by Mike Ely
The recent contribution by the Tennessee FRSO collective-- which appeared here under the name Reinventing the wheel? For a strategic communist method of work -- has explored important questions of theory and mass struggle in the last few days.
We will try to develop the discussion on this essays three particular reasons that communist mass work is valuable. For the moment here questions about views on theory and practice.
by Mike Ely
One thing that strikes me about this discussion is the lack of a common language. On one level, people are literally using some of the same words, but it becomes clear that many of them ("struggle," "practice," "mass struggle," "theory") may have very different meanings.
It is true (as Fieval writes) that many of us have probably read Mao's "On Practice" several times -- but I get the sense that we may have drawn different meanings from it. I even get the sense that some think that whatever Mao said should (automatically?) be assumed true or that it expresses the most important truths to affirm about some of these matters.
In a very short thread, we have repeatedly misunderstood each other, and (as a result) apparently argued from mischaracterizations. So one of my main reactions is to back off a bit, not assume I know what is being said, and be a bit patient at unraveling the meaning.
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Let me just start with one strand of the discussion concerning theory. And I will quote various parts of it in what follows.... to gather what was being said.
Wayne writes: We need to have a theory for understanding capitalist restoration (because we need to develop a communist movement now that is built in ways that, hopefully, can prevent restoration later). So some of us develop (say in the next three years) a theory of how socialism operated in previous attempts, and a theory of what we might do differently (how planning might operate, how political power struggles might be unfolded, how decision-making might unfold).
In putting forward this theory, how do we carry out this responsibility to test "theory in the agency that is producing it"? What happens if we can't do that?