- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Thursday, 10 October 2013 04:15
- Written by Revolutionary Communist Party, Canada
This is reposted for discussion from the Revolutionary Communist Party, Canada (no relation to the RCP USA). You can find the original posting here.
Marxist Students’ Association Re-launches Campaign to Bring Direct Democracy to the University of Ottawa!
The University of Ottawa Marxist Students’ Association recently re-launched its campaign to bring about General Assemblies as the highest decision making body for their local student union. The reform, which is set to be achieved by referendum, is hoped to be both a historical moment for Ontario universities as well as the beginning of a new culture of democracy and participation for the student body of the University of Ottawa.
The current decision making model employed by the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa follows a tradition representational model found in most modern liberal institutions. As a result of this, most of the student body has proven to be alienated from all form of governance. The long-standing political elite in power has been able to keep itself there for years while relying on the absurdly low 10% voter turnout to maintain its legitimacy. These liberal and bureaucratic practices unfortunately plague most student unions in Canada and have slowed the nation wide student movement to a painful crawl.
Following the Quebecois Example!
The Maple Spring of 2012 showed us once again that the student movement of Quebec is a force which can shake the very foundations of the bourgeois state. In comparisons, their Ontario counterparts have been unable to produce a single important change in their decades of struggle. In Quebec, participation in student unions is at an all time high thanks to their democratic model: General Assemblies.
GAs are a massive forum where the entire student body comes together once a semester to decide, democratically, how to run their student union. All students can propose motions, they may all debate and they all get one vote. This democratic practice has developed a strong culture of politicization and participation among the Quebec student population, allowing them to be mobilized massively in times of strike or crisis.
In an attempt to revive the long dormant Ontario student movement, the campaign to bring General Assemblies to the University of Ottawa is hoping to develop such a democratic culture among the Ottawa U’s membership. The organizers are currently collecting 1,500 signatures, the number required to demand a referendum, and plan to present it before the SFUO’s governing body before the end of October.
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Tuesday, 16 July 2013 06:58
- Written by Mike Ely
How should today's newly emerging communist movement prepare for future revolutionary opportunities? How do communists determine where to dig in? How do they identify those sections of the people to base themselves on? This pamphlet is an attempt to create a framework for answering those questions.
Special thanks to PN and Jed Brandt for their work in designing this pamphlet.
There is a difference between a structural and an evental view of revolutionary opportunity. If our opportunities are structural, then they might emerge wherever the interface exists between the oppressed and the oppressor, the rich and the poor. And so we can each disperse to our local site of that interface.
But if revolutionary opportunities are evental (i.e. conjunctural), then we could disperse ourselves all along that interface and nothing will happen (at least nothing
revolutionary). And we will be trying to make local issues and concerns into something they refuse to become. And we may find ourselves entrenched, pinned down and dispersed there along that interface when some major opening pops up in a concentrated and unexpected way.
I am a believer in the evental (conjunctural) view. The eruption is in sites that are not simply defned by the class structure of society or the structure of national-racial oppression. These sites (which are not merely locations geographically) are often unexpected, and even shocking in the forms the eruption adopts.
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Tuesday, 09 July 2013 17:06
- Written by Joe Ramsey
Dean discusses with Ramsey the need for a communist party, the lessons of the Occupy movement, and the question of how to conceive of communist subjectivity for our times -- the whole version will soon be published in the July 2013 issue of Socialism and Democracy
Division and Desire:
Jodi Dean discusses The Communist Horizon
with Joseph G. Ramsey
Joseph G. Ramsey: How would you trace your own relationship to communism as a cause and a concept? You attribute the notion of the communist “horizon” to Bruno Bosteels (who takes up the term from the Bolivian Marxist theorist and rebel turned politician Álvaro Gercía Linera). For how long have you viewed communism as your political horizon? How has this horizon shaped your theoretical and practical work? Has communism always defined the end point, the horizon for you?
Jodi Dean: I don’t think of the horizon—or communism—in terms of an end point. The horizon is the division that marks where we are. The division that marks where we are with respect to politics is that between communism and capitalism. This has been true at least since 1917 and arguably since 1848. It’s important to think of communism not as an end but rather as the only condition under which a politics adequate to the needs, demands, and common will of the people is possible. Under any other conditions, interests other than those of the people rule (coerce).
I find myself feeling anxious about the term ‘your political horizon’ because it makes it sound as if the communist horizon (that is, the fundamental opposition between communism and capitalism) was subjective or personal rather than objective. The communist horizon isn’t something specific to anyone. It’s a fact of the world, the event of 1917.
I didn’t think about communism via the metaphor of a horizon until I heard Bruno use García Linera’s term at a conference in Rotterdam in 2010. The conference, called “Waiting for the Political Moment,” was completely interesting in part because it gave me the sense not only that communism was back on the table (which was already clear after the Birkbeck conference) but that the tables had turned, so to speak. The arguments that had been so popular, the ones that had seemed to be winning in academic contexts, the ones associated with Foucault, Deleuze, deconstruction, a particular kind of post-structuralist theory, weren’t so persuasive anymore. The ones that were persuading people, that were the most compelling, were the ones coming from communist orientations.
Ramsey: How would you characterize your relationship to Occupy Wall Street, from a practical and a theoretical perspective? The closing chapters of your new book both unite with aspects of this recent social upsurge and offer sharp criticisms of some of the ideological common sense that was very influential in Occupy. I think here of your take on concepts of horizontalism, direct democracy, autonomy, etc. To put it sharply: What are the problems with these concepts as political organizers for our fledgling radical movement?
Dean: Most succinctly put: the problem with these concepts is that they deny or obscure antagonism. They are insufficiently divisive in several senses. They do not break sufficiently with the dominant ideology that urges people to participate and that celebrates individual freedom. Autonomy in Occupy doesn’t seem to be pointing to autonomy from organized parties (as the term has done historically in Italy, for example). Rather, it blends together with libertarian emphases on the consent of each individual person. Horizontalism (which may well have been a powerful ideal in Argentina, and I take it that at least part of the emphasis on horizontality in Occupy comes from Marina Sitrin’s important work on horizontalidad in that country) resonated in the US primarily because it is part of the current neoliberal environment. For example, corporations (particularly Google; the New York Times runs laudatory pieces on horizontal decision making in ‘hip’ companies about every six months) celebrate their flat structures, their inclusive decision-making, that make them flexible and responsive. Or, think of Thomas “The World Is Flat” Friedman. The uncritical uptake of horizontality in Occupy needs to be read in terms of its setting in a critique of bureaucracy, regulation, and expertise that has been deployed by the libertarian right against the welfare state, against any government control of the economy, and against the academy. It should also be read in terms of communicative capitalism’s emphases on connectivity and communication such that all opinions and ideas are communicatively equivalent.
There is another sense in which the concepts of direct democracy etc are insufficiently divisive—they proceed as if all political ideas are equal. We saw this in some of the anti-party rhetoric last fall. On the one hand, this rhetoric voiced a concern with breaking out of the chokehold of the mainstream political parties—and of course I agree with that. On the other, the refusal to draw lines makes it seem like libertarians, anti-Fed Ron Paulites, and anti-tax people are on the same side as people who want more control over the banking sector and people who are anti-corporate. Communists and socialists can work with the latter, but not with the former whose politics is basically one of expanding opportunities for the market.
Ramsey: Throughout The Communist Horizon you frame an opposition between desire, which you tend to align with communism, and drive which you generally identify as a form of enjoyment that ensnares subjects in the existing networks of communicative capitalism? What does it mean to formulate communism from the standpoint of desire? Is drive always politically bad/suspect? Or can we speak of a drive that would be oriented towards communism?
Dean: Drive isn’t oriented toward something; it’s shaped from loss and just attaches to any old thing, easily moving from one object of intense attachment to another (I’m tempted to say that with respect to politics drive manifests itself as a kind of political Asperger’s syndrome; you know, how everyone is at one moment obsessed with binary oppositions, then fracking, then “isms,” then debt). It’s a repetitive circuit that results from failure, where people get off (get a little nugget of enjoyment) from failing. So drive also structures melancholia, as we see in Freud’s discussion in Mourning and Melancholia where he uses the language of drive that he develops in the The Instincts and Their Vicissitudes. This language is reflexive, inward-turning as well as self-loathing. I argue that communicative capitalism (and consequently contemporary democracy as well as contemporary media networks) exhibit the reflexive structure of drive. Examples: getting stuck in the intertubes, clicking around, looking but not finding, repeating the same gestures, having the same pointless arguments, getting invested in them even when (or especially when) they don’t matter.
Now, it’s possible for drive’s repetitions to have destructive effects as with vicious circles in feedback systems or when bubbles burst in markets. Žižek describes this version of drive as a kind of prior clearing that creates the space for something new. I don’t disagree with this, but I don’t think it provides a politics (or, the politics it suggests is one of waiting for the rupture—which Žižek sometimes suggests when he appeals to Bartleby or when he emphasizes the importance of thinking rather than getting caught up in activity; I prefer to think of not getting caught up in activity in terms of working to break the hold of drive’s repetitions). Desire doesn’t turn inward; it looks outward, toward the horizon. A communism thought in terms of desire, then, is one that recognizes the necessity of breaking out of the trap of reflexivity, of installing a gap.
At this point, I am focused on thinking of communism in terms of a collective desire for collectivity. Because I understand communicative capitalism as structured in terms of drive, I don’t see the benefit in theorizing communism this way—communism is a break with this, a rupture of the circuit that lets us look outwards.
Ramsey: It’s difficult to miss the Lacanian influence here. I’ve seen some within self-identified socialist or communist circles writing about your book in somewhat dismissive ways, focusing on the ‘Lacanese’ you employ as if it is does more to obfuscate than to illuminate. What do you see as the value of Lacan here for radical theory and for the communist movement in particular?
Dean: The unconscious matters—we’ve been talking about desire and drive, both unconscious processes. Language matters. Understanding the subject matters. Psychoanalysis offers a theoretical apparatus that helps us think about these components of our thought and experience. It provides us with ways of addressing our attachments to dysfunction and self-hate, to perceived needs for guarantees and certainty, as well as to our ambivalence toward masters.
But, to use an odd cliché I may have never used before, ‘the proof of the pudding is in the eating.’ If people don’t find Lacan/lacanese illuminating, it will be obfuscating. It’s that way with any specialized discourse or vocabulary.
Maybe an example will help. In The Communist Horizon I use Lacan to suggest an idea of the party as situated at the overlap of two lacks, such as the people’s lack of knowledge of what they desire as well as the party’s own lack of knowledge, the fact that it can’t guarantee a particular future. Given these lacks, the role of the party is to keep the site at which they overlap open as the gap necessary for the collective desire for collectivity. The question is then whether this formulation helps us think of new or better ways to organize.
Ramsey: Would it be fair to say then, building upon these “two lacks,” that the party you envision must be one that is able both to learn and to teach, and moreover to incite and sustain the collective desire to both learn and teach?
Dean: Yes, particularly the latter insofar as sustaining desire requires cultivating a kind of relation or orientation to what is lacking. I sometimes wonder whether prior visions or versions of the communist party have overplayed its teaching role and then in a backlash against this overplaying ended up fetishizing some kind of authentic workers’ or people’s knowledge that the party has to learn. What if instead we recognize that the party is a collective and that collectives bring together people with different skills, experience, and knowledge? A communist party orients its collective toward the truth of communism. The primary task of the party is the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and establishment of communism. This is more than a pedagogy, to say the least.
Ramsey: In the book you cite Marx’s famous communist motto (a phrase that precedes Marx as well) “from each according to ability, to each according to need,” writing that “this principle contains the urgency of the struggle for its own realization” (15). I often speak of the communist kernel of hope as inherent in the fact that among the needs of human beings is the need to satisfy others’ needs (and perhaps to be or to feel needed by those others as well). How does your reframing of communism from the standpoint of desire relate to the (more traditional?) framing of communism as oriented towards the satisfaction of need, and the development of human abilities? How do need and desire relate within your thinking here?
Dean: Here’s the rub: we all know that people have needs. Even the worst capitalists know this. The political question concerns our relation to these needs. This is a matter of desire and will. Are needs to be addressed singularly or collectively? Desire, then, involves the politicization of needs.
Ramsey: Often it seems to me that communists put forth our goals as a matter of what we will eliminate or abolish (“the 4 Alls” etc. “the gaps” or divisions that are inherent in class society, etc). Not so much in terms of what we want to cultivate or unleash. Often when we speak of what we strive to unleash or cultivate (“global human flourishing” etc.) it is depicted as something that will come after the elimination or overturning of various oppressive institutions, ideologies, state structures, class relations, etc. I’m not suggesting that it is wrong to say we want to eliminate A, B, and C, or that we want to abolish or overthrow X, Y, and Z. But it sometimes seems to me as if desire and the pursuit of what we “really want” is positioned somehow “on the other side” of this abolishing, overturning, eliminating, etc. – now being the time for “self-sacrificing struggle” and the repression of desire for the sake of the greater good, of the collectivity, of the revolution down the road. Desire here may become something we’ll only get back to on the “other side” of some kind of revolutionary break. Nothing against revolutionary breaks, and the openings they provide, of course. But your focus on communism as a matter of desire–”the collective desire for collective desiring”–seems to me notable and refreshing as a way to bring that future flourishing we communists often imagine into the present, but in a way that still propels us forward towards cultivating human liberation. It gives a positive lean to communist subjectivity, even if that subjectivity continues to be defined (as desire) by lack.
Dean: I love the way you are putting this and will now have to use this! It’s nicely succinct and clear.
Ramsey: It seems to me that often on the radical left, we speak of pursuing the “satisfaction of human needs.” Everyone getting enough food to eat, clean, water, shelter, etc. All crucial stuff, obviously. But this emphasis on the emancipated society as a state of satiety and “satisfaction” may give short shrift to the way that – on another level– communism and liberation is not only, or even primarily, about satisfying people’s immediate material needs (though this too), so much as it is about cultivating a hunger, or, as you would put it, a desire. A political desire.
Dean: Sorry to keep interrupting but I like your expression ‘state of satiety and satisfaction’ and your evocation of a hunger — it reminds me of Benjamin’s critique of left melancholic hacks preoccupied with their digestion.
Ramsey: Something I’m just starting to think about is what the difference is between conceiving of communist politics as a matter of satisfying human needs – and cultivating new needs – vs. a matter of desire. What do you see as the stakes of foregrounding communism as a matter of desire?
Dean: The opening up of a gap so as to free us to envision new possibilities. You know how people tend to criticize the left for not having a vision, not having a goal, not having ideas? Well, this only makes sense for a left that has abandoned communism. Once we claim communism, then we insert ourselves into a logic of desire such that we have to think strategically as well as tactically, we have to start thinking in terms of what communism for us will look like and how we can get there.
Ramsey: In reading (and re-reading) The Communist Horizon I was struck by your rather complex, even vexed, relationship to the concept of the proletariat. On the one hand you give a forceful (and quite Leninist) account of the “dictatorship of the proletariat” as the organization of the exploited and oppressed to forcibly suppress the oppressor. Similarly you reflect that the current Left reluctance to identify with a Marxist term such as the proletariat may reflect chiefly the negative influence of decades of anti-communist (and anti-Soviet) propaganda. You in fact point out how Marx and Engels, as well as such contemporary Marxist thinkers as Étienne Balibar, contrary to pervasive anti-Marxist stereotypes, all have understood the proletariat precisely not as a straightforward empirical/sociological category limited to, say, factory workers, but rather as an open category encompassing all those who are structurally positioned opposite to and yet constitutive of capital and its ceaseless processes of accumulation.
And yet, after all of this rather firm defense of the concept, you reject the proletariat as a name for the subject of communism, at least in a contemporary US-European context. What struck me was the way, in the exact places where you reject the proletariat as a term (in favor of a notion of “the people as the rest of us” as shaped by and opposed to the process of proletarianization), you refer not just to the proletariat but to “the industrial” proletariat (77) and to “factory labor” (78). My question is: why the insertion of these qualifiers here? Is it possible to deploy a concept of the proletariat that is not centered on the site of the industrial factory? Why reject the proletariat as such, rather than just its narrow misconstrued empirical “industrial” image? Is your decision to reject the proletariat justified by the post/de-industrialization and/or financialization/precariatization of the US economy? Or more so by a pragmatic adaptation to contemporary ideology and popular misunderstanding? Is your sense that the proletariat as a concept—though used by Marx and Marxists in a more dialectical and dynamic sense that is intellectually still valid—is so mis-identified today with a narrow notion of clock-punching factory workers as to be politically unhelpful? Why not continue to fight for a dialectical notion of the proletariat (alongside the notion of proletarianization, which you more clearly uphold)? Why uphold the latter but not the former?
Dean: This is the part of my argument about which I am most ambivalent. As you suggest, financialization does not mean that there is no proletariat, especially when we follow Marx, Engels, and Balibar and recognize that ‘proletariat’ is not an empirical category. I ended up arguing for the idea ‘the people as the rest of us’, first, for pragmatic reasons. A year or so ago I gave a talk at No Space in Williamsburg. At one point, someone in the audience asked “who here is a proletarian?” No one raised a hand (I may be getting the details of this wrong, but this is how I remember it). So, even though a bunch of folks were unemployed and precarious, they didn’t feel right identifying themselves as proletarian. Since I was already fighting for the name communism (controversial to some folks), I decided not to hold on to proletarian. I also felt like there were good commie grounds for this, as Lukács argues in his book on Lenin. There he speaks of Lenin’s radical notion of the people.
Ramsey: And then of course there is your argument for speaking of the “sovereignty” rather than the “dictatorship” of the people (with people here substituted for the proletariat). What’s the significance of this shift in terminology?
Dean: The primary theoretical reason for the shift is that dictatorship is temporary. Arguments for the dictatorship of the proletariat occur in the context of the withering away of the state. I don’t accept such a withering away, particularly once we recognize the distributed and differentiated nature of contemporary states. State operations occur at multiple levels—local, municipal, national, international—and are distributed into a wide array of operations, from inspecting food production, to providing air traffic control, to funding infrastructure projects, to overseeing public health, to collecting and redistributing revenue. I don’t think these things will or should go away and I don’t think they should be handled via markets. They are matters to be determined by the people for their collective good. The state is a tool for the people to handle these things (of course, it isn’t now; now it’s the way capitalists keep themselves in power). I think it’s important to get away from claims regarding the withering away of the state—they seem to point to the end of politics, but politics won’t end as long as there are people.
Ramsey: This is very interesting, and not uncontroversial these days! Of course, perhaps predictably, some have criticized your book for continuing to uphold (some would say “falling back on”) the terms of Party and State. What is your response to those who argue that we must chart a communist road that does without these terms as anchor-points? How would the “State” which you envision for a communist movement be similar to or different from the state apparatus that exists today? Are we talking about taking over existing entities and running them under different leadership and with different methods or priorities? Or the sweeping away of existing institutions and the creation of new ones?
Dean: Here I agree with Žižek: politics without the party and the state is politics without politics. It’s a kind of hysterical provocation, or macho play-acting that eschews responsibility and reduces politics to fashionable sloganeering. Getting more specific can help: we can realize that there are different kinds of states and different kinds of parties. When people reject the party because they are rejecting electoral politics, they have a good point and a lot of history on their side. When people reject the state on the basis of the failure of socialism to develop into communism, they also have a good point. The underpinning of most of these discussions is a set of assumptions regarding the European experience, the Soviet experience, and the Chinese experience. But what if we attend more to Latin America? To Nepal? To the role of revolutionary communists in anti-colonial struggle? To the role of communists in anti-racist struggles in the US in the thirties?
We dismiss too much if we assume that the bad experiences of the French and Italians with their communist parties means that there is no role for an organization like a party in contemporary politics now. On the state: again, we can improve our thinking here by considering different state apparatuses and functions, the way they are distributed, the role of law, etc. I don’t think all existing institutions need to be eliminated—why reinvent the wheel? A jury system is a good idea. Layered institutions (local, municipal, county, state, region, nation, hemisphere) as well as economic sectors and sets of interests that crisscross one another also make sense for complex societies. And so does the rule of law – as long as this rule is exercised for and in the interest of the working class, the people as the rest of us (which is the basic idea of the dictatorship of the proletariat). Maybe the best way to put it would be in terms of the need to reevaluate all existing institutions from the standpoint of the people/working class, and seeing what is worth saving.
Ramsey: I was struck by the fact that there is nowhere in The Communist Horizon an overt argument for “communism” as being a better or more useful name for the emancipatory project than, say, “socialism” is. Why is communism the name of the horizon for you? What is the significance of the name here?
Dean: This is a good question. For the longest time I thought of myself simply as a socialist and didn’t worry about the difference. Then, I guess it was Negri who started to emphasize the accomodationism of European socialism (although on that note one can say the same about, say, the Italian communist party). The difference matters in terms of installing a gap: communism opens us up to something else in a way that socialism doesn’t. And why is that the case? Because we know that socialism doesn’t require the abolition of capitalism. It works for capitalism with a human face. Is this an option? I don’t think so. And, if it could be an option, it would only be in the context of the political space secured by active, militant communists.
Ramsey: And the fact that the über-capitalist dictatorship of China still refers to itself as “communist” and thus taints this name?
Dean: No one thinks China is communist.
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Sunday, 09 June 2013 18:14
- Written by kasama
¡Resistamos y luchemos! – Declaración del MKP (Partido Comunista Maoísta Turquía – Kurdistán Norte) 3 Junio 2013
Nota – El siguiente texto y declaración del MKP Turquía-Kurdistán Norte han sido extraídos del blog Maoíst Road (La Vía Maoísta) y tomado del blog Democracy and Class Struggle (Democracia y Lucha de Clases). La traducción al español es responsabilidad de Gran Marcha Hacia el Comunismo. Madrid, junio 2013.
(La serie de sucesos de resistencia y rebelión de masas que está teniendo lugar en Turquía, ha despertado gran curiosidad entre las personas de izquierda de todo el mundo. Pero con excepción de algunas discretas noticias e imágenes, la falta de declaraciones concretas de organizaciones de la izquierda turca nos ha dejado a todos un poco confusos y perplejos. Por lo tanto consideramos nuestra responsabilidad publicar una reciente declaración de una de las organizaciones de Turquía, el Partido Comunista Maoísta (MKP) – Turquía y Kurdistán Norte, que esperamos pueda arrojar alguna luz sobre las recientes revueltas de masas en Turquía.
Presentamos a continuación una versión traducida de la declaración original en turco del MKP que se puede encontrar aquí
Consejo Editorial de TND (Toward a New Dawn) [Hacia un Nuevo Amanecer] (traducida por el camarada Gediz y ha sido corregida ligeramente para mejor comprensión)
Democracia y Lucha de Clases agradece a los camaradas de TND por ponerlo a disposición de todos.
¡RESISTAMOS Y LUCHEMOS! – MKP (PARTIDO COMUNISTA MAOÍSTA – TURQUÍA- KURDISTÁN NORTE)
3 Junio 2013
El Partido Comunista Maoísta Turquía-Kurdistán Norte ha emitido una declaración sobre el incesante movimiento popular de masas.
"¡En tanto que las masa sean torturadas, abatidas a tiros y masacradas, los proletarios revolucionarios no pueden ser espectadores!"
"¡La lucha codo con codo está creciendo con las masas resistentes y alzándose!"
¡A nuestros camaradas que están luchando!
¡Aquellos que deben estar dirigiendo están actuando hoy como seguidores de las masas!
Los comunistas y revolucionarios están hoy atravesando otro examen. Es la hora de la lucha abnegada sin desestimar al movimiento como espontáneo. La definición del movimiento revolucionario o de la ola revolucionaria es que la práctica que las masas manifiestan.
¡Las masas son revolucionarias, su reacción es democrática, la rebelión y alzamiento es legítimo!
Como requiere nuestro papel de dirección, tenemos que estar en primera línea de la lucha con las masas incluso aunque se desarrollara con nuestra ausencia.
¡Resistiremos, lucharemos y pagaremos el precio!
¡En tanto que las masas sean torturadas, abatidas a tiros y masacradas, los proletarios revolucionarios no pueden ser espectadores!
A Nuestras Apreciadas Masas:
Las masas que están llenas de odio debido a la presión y violencia reaccionarias han sacudido a la clase dominante y al Gobierno turco.
Avanza el alzamiento en masa causado por el intento de destrucción del Parque Gezi para beneficio de la burguesía.
Una vez más, las masas que gritan han mostrado a los voraces neoliberales que el pueblo puede tomar su destino en sus propias manos. La fascista opresión salvaje del Gobierno del AKP no ha logrado detener la resistencia.
Las masas continuaron luchando y no cejaron en sus demandas democráticas incluso aunque resultaron heridas, detenidas, golpeadas y torturadas.
Pese al silencio de los escritores burgueses y los vendidos medios de comunicación turcos, la resistencia fue capaz de atraer la atención y apoyo del mundo.
La presencia de ingentes masas se ha convertido en la pesadilla para el AKP y la clase dominante opresora y reaccionaria, que ni siquiera reconoce sus propias leyes. ¡En el tercer día, las masas que comenzaron protestando por la destrucción de la naturaleza se han transformado en revolucionarias y las masas clamaban victoria por haber forzado al AKP a dar marcha atrás!
Los defensores de la reaccionaria y corporativa burguesía feudal y burocrática han seguido su tradición histórica y tratado de rebasar las demandas democráticas de las masas utilizando la violencia y un baño de sangre. Por el contrario, la creciente determinación de las masas ha hecho que el movimiento crezca y continúe pese a pagar un precio por ello.
Miles de personas en decenas de distintas ciudades se han unido como una sola en las calles para juntarse con la Resistencia del Parque Taksim Gezi.
La historia de las clases reaccionarias ha sido siempre la de oprimir y explotar a las masas y su propensión a causar cualquier tipo de dolor en ellas. A fin de mantener su gobierno y dominación, nunca se han abstenido de utilizar la violencia reaccionaria contra el pueblo oprimido y pobre.
Las clases reaccionarias organizadas que están recibiendo los beneficios del capitalismo siempre han mirado con desprecio a las masas y les han causado dolores bárbaros. Han promovido la alienación entre el proletariado y le han forzado a vivir en el hambre y la pobreza.
Pero el pueblo le ha recordado a la clase reaccionaria que son el pueblo los que son los verdaderos héroes y que con su propio destino en sus propias manos a través de las acciones revolucionarias, han causado que el sistema se ponga boca abajo. Las masas revolucionarias han demostrado de un modo inolvidable que la burla de la clase dominante, como "los tres o cinco con las piernas al aire" o "los saqueadores" carecen de base. ¡Este hecho histórico se ha materializado por completo en contra del fascista AKP a través de la resistencia de las masas, de las etnias y grupos marginados en Turquía-Kurdistán Norte!
El líder del AKP y la "República turca", el presidente Erdogan, insultó y humilló descarada y arrogantemente a las masas alzadas afirmando que eran "docenas de saqueadores". Incluso llevándolo a más amenazando: "Como partido puedo congregar a un millón".
Desafortunadamente para él, ¡una vez que estos "saqueadores con las piernas al aire" despierten, ni las amenazas ni los colmillos de vampiro apestando a sangre les detendrán!
El mismo belicista de doble cara Erdogan que criticó la dictadura de Assad por brutalizar a su pueblo, se ha hundido lo bastante como para llamar a sus propias masas "una pareja de saqueadores".
¡Lo que le hace tan andrajoso no es otra cosa que el mido de su propio pueblo alzándose!
El gobierno de doble cara del AKP está utilizando tácticas de "sacerdote-ejecutor" [una referencia a la masacre de los aztecas por los españoles] para reprimir las llamas del alzamiento mientras trata de contentar a sus propias masas.
Mientras Bulent Arinc, el portavoz del Gobierno Cemil Cicek y un par de dirigentes del AKP han tratado de suavizar a las masas diciéndoles que la demanda popular es democrática, Erdogan no está dando ningún paso atrás mostrando sus colmillos.
El proletariado y las masas no son lo suficientemente crédulas para dejarse engañar por estos trucos. Todas sus tácticas se golpearán contra una muralla de bronce y demolerá vuestro poder. La resistencia no ha terminado, continúa. La pesadilla de los reaccionarios que calificaron a las masas como "saqueadores" continúa. Quien es el saqueador y quien es el héroe ya se ha demostrado y continuará poniéndose al descubierto.
Nosotros, proletarios revolucionarios, no estamos absolviendo a los partidos fascistas burgueses tales como el CHP. El MKP ve la rebelión democrática de las masas como una reacción revolucionaria y saluda los alzamientos del pueblo oprimido.
¡Hemos jurado luchar contra la tiranía codo con codo con las masas y es nuestro deber revolucionario!
Con idéntica actitud, condenamos la tortura y violencia fascistas utilizadas contra el pueblo, y a cerrar filas para oponerse a esta opresión fascista. A fin de lograr un movimiento revolucionario más eficaz, adecuado y organizado, bajo la dirección del proletariado, ¡llamamos a todas las fuerzas democráticas y revolucionarias a unirse! Por esta razón, llamamos a todo el proletariado de Turquía-Kurdistán Norte, al pueblo pobre oprimido y a los camaradas a hacer combatir a la clase dominante reaccionaria al igual que al sistema capitalista.
Sabemos que con nuestra Guerra Popular y su fuego abrasador, seremos capaces de destruir este sistema reaccionario. ¡El gobierno del pueblo y construir el socialismo y finalmente el comunismo se logrará a través de la Guerra Popular!
Es nuestro deber y necesidad desarrollar la lucha revolucionaria uniendo las rebeliones de todas las masas democráticas y revolucionarias con la ideología del marxismo-leninismo-maoísmo bajo la bandera del proletariado.
¡Ningún obstáculo se puede alzar ante las masas populares! La fuerza reaccionaria hará que se materialice la fuerza revolucionaria.
La fuerza revolucionaria que se materializa en las manos de las masas es legítima y necesaria.
Porque es el método que se alzará contra las clases reaccionarias y conducirá a la democracia, la libertad y la sociedad comunista.
Las masas que se unen, resisten y luchan no serán derrotadas.
¡Igual que esta, todas las fuerzas reaccionarias y las clases que se apoyan en ellas están condenadas tarde o temprano a perder!
¡Son las masas revolucionarias y sus acciones revolucionarias las que escriben la historia!
¡Viva la legítima resistencia democrática y la lucha del pueblo!
¡Viva la rebelión revolucionaria unida del pueblo!
¡Viva la guerra popular!
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Saturday, 11 May 2013 21:45
- Written by Bromma
The following piece was written as a response to a new piece called "A Commune in Chiapas?" It first appeared on Kersplebedeb. Without endorsing all of its verdicts, I want to point out that is is both a powerful indictment of Euro-chauvinist fantasies about the Zapatista story, and an introduction to the complex process of mutual transformation through which the Mayan people transformed the Zapatistas, and the Zapatistas in turn transformed the people. It is highly relevent to our own discussions of what new communist beginnings might look like.
-Intro by Eric Ribellarsi
Class, Colonialism and the Zapatistas
I started off wanting to like “A Commune In Chiapas?” (This major essay about the Zapatistas, written for the English “liberation communist” journal, Aufheben, is distributed as a pamphlet by Arm the Spirit/Solidarity, Canadian anti-imperialist publishers who represent u.s. political prisoners such as David Gilbert, Albert Nuh Washington and Jalil Muntaquin.) I appreciated its willingness to criticize radicals who “project their hopes onto this ‘exotic’ struggle.” I was ready to agree with its skepticism about the rhetoric of Subcommandante Marcos, about romantic views of indigenous life, about social democracy masquerading as “civil society.” I was glad to see that the pamphlet included some background history about Mexico and a chronology of the Zapatista uprising. Most of all, I looked forward to its attempt to analyze the events in Chiapas from a class perspective.
I shouldn’t have got my hopes up. “Commune” is actually a pretty conservative piece of writing. Conservative in its view of class. Conservative in its distaste for national liberation struggles and radical anti-colonialism. Above all, conservative—even predictable—in its Eurocentric assumptions about Indians. A narrow form of academic Marxism acts like parental web-screening software, preventing the authors from seeing even the basic outlines of the Zapatista struggle.
The January 1, 1994 uprising in Chiapas resulted from a fusion of indigenous peoples’ struggles for survival with a band of revolutionary Marxist guerrillas. This fusion produced an innovative movement which slammed a body blow into global capital. “Commune,” on the other hand, was written by theoreticians who lack respect for indigenous struggle and apparently have little use for real-life revolutionary Marxist guerrillas. Not surprisingly, their main message is that the Zapatistas have limited historical significance.
The pamphlet’s aim is not so much to learn lessons from the Zapatista struggle as to grind ideological axes. The authors claim to represent the voice of moderation, avoiding what they see as twin errors: wishful thinking about Chiapas (which they ascribe to autonomist Marxists, among others) as well as a dismissive attitude among self-styled “ultra-left” groups in Europe. But actually “Commune” is squarely in the dismissers’ camp. Like them, it disdains what it calls “anti-imperialist and Third Worldist ideology.” Like them, it applies a series of formulaic litmus tests to the events in Chiapas, and judges the Zapatista struggle as essentially backward.
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Monday, 29 April 2013 18:28
- Written by Chepe Martín
What we needed was a new communism, and what we are getting is a new Keynesianism.
This piece first appeared on the blog of Chepe Martín, The Outside Agitator. The following is a draft. Expect an expanded piece soon.
It had been unduly hard to discern where the emerging and sexier trends in Marxism have placed themselves, veiled as they are in ultra-left aesthetics and memes. Sure, plenty of cues are present, but those might’ve been incidental and only indicative of a desire to suggest a broad selection of socialist thought.
The need to investigate has ended. The Jacobin have staked themselves as pink, when what we need is a nice maroon. Bhaskar Sunkara has written a piece for In These Times that has planted his flag down for a revisionist stand for democratic socialism, a turf that seems to be populated by a lot of these groups and editorial boards, including as well The New Inquiry.
It isn’t that democratic socialism is altogether a sad derivation from Marxism. In fact, the energy these people are bringing to the table is welcome, and I, for one, hope their project of growing the democratic socialist left is successful, particularly if it finds a strong tendency toward feminism, ecology, and decolonizing politics. If anything, I would see their project stronger. The historicity of the contemporary moment in social programs that Sunkara lays out is finely laid out although severely incomplete, including its disregard for gender, questions of self-determination, and the significant impact of anarchism, and even more so autonomism, on today’s active radical left. He is right as well that progressive (re: liberal but social democratic) reform is a welcome alternative to the “things must get worse before they get better” strategic thinking that come out of the ultra-left and insurrectionary corners.
But what I will say is that Sunkara’s vision is not the best that Marxism can offer, and it is not the breath of fresh air I might’ve hoped to see. What we needed most was a Marxism that takes all of the lessons of the 20th Century, including decolonization and feminism and the recognition of the failures of the Soviet model, and what it appears we are getting is a retread of the revisionist politics that Lenin and Luxemburg were fighting against. It is a socialism that in the end didn’t challenge empire, held workers back from fighting for power, and devolved into what was termed economism- that is, the fight of socialists for immediate economic gains in lieu of a synthesis between economic struggle and the struggle for political and social power. It is a socialism that pulled back on the insurrections in 1919 in Europe or in France in 1968, rather than having faith in workers and students and oppressed groups to experiment with the seizure power for themselves. What we needed was a new communism, and what we are getting is a new Keynesianism.
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Sunday, 10 March 2013 02:22
- Written by Communist Organization of Greece (KOE)
The Communist Organization of Greece (ΚΟΕ) was founded 10 years ago, in the 1st Congress that took place in January 2003, after a long period of multiform preparation since the ’80s.
During this decade major social and political movements, national and international, but also popular revolts, have taken place all over the world. Huge political, economic and social changes occurred not only in the international matrix but also in our country itself. These changes altered the international balance of power and the political map of our country. The main focus of these changes has been the degree to which the Greek people have become a major factor of political change through a complex process of social struggle and political self-awareness.
All these years KOE’s approach has been to grasp the political undergoing and the underlying causes that shape the people’s movement, and at the same time to articulate a course of political action that unifies the people’s struggle under a common perspective.
- For our organization, this has been a decade of ideological and social fermentation through participating in all new forms of struggle and the major political mobilizations of our people:
- KOE became active in the Greek and European Social Forum, the anti-globalization movement and a multitude of international meetings.
- At the same time, our organization has forged strong relations with major international movements and parties in an effort, on the one hand to make known their original characteristics in our country, and on the other to advance internationalist solidarity.
- KOE has also taken part in many solidarity missions in Palestine and elsewhere. Its members were on the first ship that defied the Israeli blockade of Gaza in 2008.
- Since 2008 KOE organizes annually the internationalist Resistance Festival, a meeting place for the ideas and the struggles represented by movements, collectives and militants.
- Recently it has strengthened its ties with various movements of the Arab Spring and has worked to enhance its position within the European Left.
A significant benefit for KOE is that through this process allowed itself to be influenced into reaching political insight and experience.
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Thursday, 14 February 2013 20:45
- Written by Doug Enaa
This new book may be of interest to our readers. Posting here is not an endorsement of its analysis.
From the website of Aaron Leonard:
The Heavy Radicals: The Revolutionary Union/Revolutionary Communist Party 1968-1980
Book to be published in early 2014
[The RU's] Bill Biggin and the Free Press are even more dangerous than the Panthers
— Philadelphia Police Commissioner, Frank Rizzo, 1970.
The Revolutionary Union / Revolutionary Communist Party was the largest Maoist organization to arise in the United States in the tumultuous period of the late 1960s early 1970s. This is acknowledged not only by other Left political trends, but also by the Federal Government, which had it as subject of no less than four Congressional Hearings in its key years. Oddly though it largely stands outside established histories of the period; it is not taught in the academy, appears hardly at all in academic papers, and is passed over in the more popular books of SDS and sixties radicalism.
The reasons for this are manifold. The organization is victim of its own discipline that had little interest in promoting its history beyond whatever campaign or controversy it was involved in at the moment. Further those leaving the organization were circumspect in talking about their time there — either out of standing respect for the group’s discipline, a desire to move on with their lives, or the belief that a return to "the mainstream" necessarily involved disassociating themselves from their sixties revolutionary past, or some combination of each.
There was also a penchant for the established media and other institutions to promote more sensational trends. Groups such as the Weathermen — while more marginal, were ideologically more amenable as emblematic of the ‘madness’ of extremes or despair of fighting for lost causes. It is also the case that the dominant culture in the United States has no interest promoting the concept of domestic revolutionaries embracing Maoism and undertaking the long term work of preparing for insurrection in a highly developed capitalist country.
Yet the fact remains that a significant Maoist formation did come about. In contrast to many who became radicalized quickly and nearly as quickly were in decline by the early 1970s, the RU/ RCP was ascendant in the same period. Indeed it attempted, not entirely unsuccessfully, to penetrate layers of the mainstream of U.S. society, including sections of the working class, and imbue it with a new radicalism. This stands as a counter-narrative to the dominant one of the sixties; that of activists rushing pell-mell back to accommodation with that mainstream as soon as the Vietnam war was over.
The death of Mao Zedong in 1976 and the corresponding turn in China from a socialist to a market economy would bring all that to an end. From 1977 on the group would undergo first a major political schism, then a period of prolonged - but never final - disintegration. The reasons being not just the tectonic shifts in the global terrain, but the too often blind adherence to questionable (and worse) principles and methods the communist movement had brought forward historically.
Regardless, for a time this group cohered some of the most radical elements of the day. Indeed, to attempt to understand the upsurge of that period without understanding the role of the RU/RCP is to miss something important. For all its faults the RU / RCP was the most influential component of the New Communist Movement. Further, contained in the RU/RCP's story are hard garnered lessons and crucial experience essential to those who today dare to envision a radically better world. Whether one is curious, sympathetic, or detractor; this book will serve as a primer and surprising window into a heretofore overlooked critical player in a wild and insurrectionary time.
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Thursday, 31 January 2013 18:57
- Written by Arturo, Gio, and Nat Winn
A debate is emerging sparked by a flier in NYC being handed out to striking bus drivers. This discussion touches on larger questions about revolutionary consciousness and strategy. The following comments first appeared on the Fire Next Time network blog. Other parts of the debate on Kasama can be found here and here.
Proletariat ideology is not merely a matter of theoretical analysis. It is a weapon and armory with which we must arm and surround the American working class and particularly those who face the enormous tasks confronting us in the present period. —CLR James, Marxism for Our Times
- Category: Communist Organization
- Created on Sunday, 20 January 2013 19:21
- Written by Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson
The following comes to Kasama from Kevin 'Rashid' Johnson, a prisoner and member of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter.
UNITY—STRUGGLE—TRANSFORMATION: LEADERSHIP & CADRE DEVELOPMENT (Right On! #27, Spring 2012)
The object of a revolutionary organization is to unite (and unite with), mobilize, organize, and lead masses of oppressed people to achieve fundamental economic, political and social change and collective security. Founded in 2005, the New Afrikan Black Panther Party Prison Chapter (NABPP-PC) arose within the most oppressed strata of U.S. society, the imprisoned masses, to take up the banner of revolutionary struggle on behalf of New Afrikans and all oppressed and exploited people. We aspire to become, but are not yet, a functional vanguard party of the oppressed.
We will be formally constituted once we transition to the outside, build bases in the oppressed communities, hold a founding convention and elect a free world central committee and an executive committee (politburo). We will be functionally constituted only when the oppressed urban masses embrace us as their revolutionary leadership.
Even while we remain a primarily prison-based organization, we have an important revolutionary role to play which is to transform the slave pens of oppression into schools of liberation. This is the first phase of our Party's strategy, along with transforming the oppressed communities into base areas of cultural, social and political revolution in the context of building a worldwide united front against capitalist-imperialism. The two aspects of our strategy are dialectically related and will advance the overall strategy of advancing the World Proletarian Socialist Revolution.
At this point, comrades are learning and struggling for ideological and political clarity on how to build and consolidate the Party's structure and a mass anti-racist, anti-imperialist and revolutionary movement around it. There are issues we need to work out relating to organizing on both the inside and outside. There are issues, some of them long-standing, that have been raised by our supporters and detractors we need to address. Some of these people do not understand, or refuse to accept, the need for revolutionary leadership, discipline and organization. There is also the question of who should be in leadership positions and how to achieve a balance between democracy and centralism.
On Organization and Security
The term “organizing” is often used loosely on the Left, especially by those who oppose forming, joining or subordinating themselves to any sort of disciplined political organization. Although they may exhort the virtues of “solidarity,” they actually practice extreme individualism, which runs counter to building a movement for collective social change.
Obviously, one cannot be a political organizer and not be part of a political organization. One implies the other. An organization is a body of people—not one person acting alone—who share common purpose and goals and have an organizational structure. The members must perform certain functions assigned to them that advance the purpose of the organization. This calls for leadership and a degree of discipline or everyone will be acting individually without accountability or responsibility, which is the definition of disorganization, and this leads to the opposite of “solidarity.”
Joining and remaining in an organization involves important considerations, such as whether one trusts, believes in, agrees with, and understands the organization's purpose and goals. To the more mature and committed members, these are issues of special concern and determine whether they will whole-heartedly commit themselves on a long-term basis to the organization and its goals and purpose. Transparency is therefore important so people know, understand and trust the organization and what it is about. Without this, the organization cannot have even the foundations for 'security.'
Comrade Safiya Bukhari, a former BPP and BLA cadre explains:
“By definition, security means freedom from danger, fear and anxiety. Individual and organizational safety and well-being begin with the knowledge of what you're about, what the organization is about, your limitations, your strengths and the organization's strengths. Knowledge is the key to security. History has shown that the best security depends on the internal strength of the organization and the internal principles of the people who make up the organization.”1As an example of solid organizational and individual principles, she points to the creed of the Republic of New Afrika (RNA), which states, “I will steal nothing from a brother or sister, cheat no brother or sister, misuse no brother or sister, inform on no brother or sister and spread no gossip.”
These principles, she observed, express...