Is Lenin’s Vanguardism Overblown? - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15207415
Wellsy wrote:Thank you for sharing!

What is your take on Lenin’s comment within the context of the conversation?

Do you think he was suggesting the importing of revolution through the minority of the trade unionists within the Swiss army?

Because he would seem somewhat of a dullard if he lacked any sense over a “war of position”. As there is truth in the point that a minority may not be sustainable. But then again, Lenin would argue that a minority class rules through ‘bourgeoisie democracy’.

The bourgeoisie were a minority in the late medieval period, but they took power from the aristocracy (also a minority) by the most ruthless and unscrupulous means until they, and not the aristocracy, were in power. The minority then became a 'majority', through their control of the mass media, the education system, the political system, and the law courts. This is how every social revolution, every major development of western civilisation, has proceeded. Why should it be different for the proletarian revolution? As Lenin rightly pointed out, the majority are stupid, in the sense that they tend to be unthinking conformists. If you wait for them, you'll be waiting forever. The French bourgeoisie didn't wait for the French peasants to come around to their way of thinking in the 18th century, any more than the British bourgeoisie waited for the rural cottage-dwellers to accept the need for huge factories and centralised mass production to replace small-scale cottage industries. They just imposed it on them, and by doing so created the modern world which 'democratic' people now wish to preserve. These 'democratic' people are rather like 'conservatives' - forever fated to be behind the door, a day late and a dollar short, being dragged along as part of the 'tail' of historical change. In the meantime, history will be made by people like the bourgeois revolutionaries of 18th century France, or by the bourgeois industrialists of 19th century Britain, or by Lenin's Bolsheviks - all of them minorities who made themselves into majorities by taking action.
#15207439
Potemkin wrote:The bourgeoisie were a minority in the late medieval period, but they took power from the aristocracy (also a minority) by the most ruthless and unscrupulous means until they, and not the aristocracy, were in power. The minority then became a 'majority', through their control of the mass media, the education system, the political system, and the law courts. This is how every social revolution, every major development of western civilisation, has proceeded. Why should it be different for the proletarian revolution? As Lenin rightly pointed out, the majority are stupid, in the sense that they tend to be unthinking conformists. If you wait for them, you'll be waiting forever. The French bourgeoisie didn't wait for the French peasants to come around to their way of thinking in the 18th century, any more than the British bourgeoisie waited for the rural cottage-dwellers to accept the need for huge factories and centralised mass production to replace small-scale cottage industries. They just imposed it on them, and by doing so created the modern world which 'democratic' people now wish to preserve. These 'democratic' people are rather like 'conservatives' - forever fated to be behind the door, a day late and a dollar short, being dragged along as part of the 'tail' of historical change. In the meantime, history will be made by people like the bourgeois revolutionaries of 18th century France, or by the bourgeois industrialists of 19th century Britain, or by Lenin's Bolsheviks - all of them minorities who made themselves into majorities by taking action.

Indeed, it would be hypocrisy to simply ignore the praises for the bougeosie revolutionaries who did not hold on their ambitious aims simply because there wasn't agreement with everyone.
I think if the emphasis on the majority is taken to an extreme, it can end up a view of politics as that of consensus, which of course doesn't exist and is part of the defense of liberalism.
https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/works/collaborative-ethics.htm
There is a serious problem with Consensus however, which has ethical implications; this is the paradox of the status quo: if there is no consensus, then the status quo ante is the default decision. Let’s suppose someone can’t hear what is being said in the meeting and proposes that the air conditioning be turned off; if anyone refuses to agree, then the air conditioning stays on. But let’s suppose the complainant had simply turned it off and then left it for someone to propose that it be turned on – it would remain off. Let us suppose that all the employees in a privately owned firm meet with the owner with a view to transforming the firm into a cooperative; everyone agrees except the owner; so, under the paradigm of Consensus, the firm remains in private hands. Clearly social transformation cannot be achieved by Consensus, because participation in a social order is compulsory, and there is no possibility of opting out.

https://www.ethicalpolitics.org/ablunden/pdfs/macintyre2.pdf
Maintenance of the illusion of “objectivity” is essential, and MacIntyre sees the universities as playing a crucial role in the maintenance of this illusion. Since academics rely for their livelihood on disproving each other’s theories, the resulting interminable and esoteric debate continuously re-establishes the impossibility of consensus.

“In the course of history liberalism, which began as an appeal to alleged principles of shared rationality against what was felt to be the tyranny of tradition, has itself been transformed into a tradition whose continuities are partly defined by the interminability of the debate over such principles. An interminability which was from the standpoint of an earlier liberalism a grave defect to be remedied as soon as possible has become, in the eyes of some liberals at least, a kind of virtue”. (p. 335)

Far from this failure to find any firm ground undermining liberalism, MacIntyre believes that it reinforces it, because one of the fundamental bases for liberalism is the conviction that no comprehensive idea (to use Rawls’ term) can enjoy majority, let alone unanimous, support. This then justifies the ban on governments pursuing the general good.

“Any conception of the human good according to which, for example, it is the duty of government to educate the members of the community morally, ... will be proscribed. ... liberal individualism does indeed have its own broad conception of the good, which it is engaged in imposing politically, legally, socially, and culturally wherever it has the power to do so, but also that in doing so its toleration of rival conceptions of the good in the public arena is severely limited.” (p. 336)

Such a ban on governments pursuing the social good of course serves a very definite social interest.

“The weight given to an individual preference in the market is a matter of the cost which the individual is able and willing to pay; only so far as an individual has the means to bargain with those who can supply what he or she needs does the individual have an effective voice. So also in the political and social realm it is the ability to bargain that is crucial. The preferences of some are accorded weight by others only insofar as the satisfaction of those preferences will lead to the satisfaction of their own preferences. Only those who have something to give get. The disadvantaged in a liberal society are those without the means to bargain.” (p. 336)

and consequently,

“The overriding good of liberalism is no more and no less than the continued sustenance of the liberal social and political order”. (p. 345)

So even though there is talk of majority, I think what is implicitly expressed by some speakers is that of consensus and the idea that one can't impose anything upon others and thus the status quo should prevail, an inherently conservative tendency to oppose any change.

However, the legitimacy of the majority vote as established by merchant and workers guilds is that there is a majority over a minority and the minority follows.
I guess the question is what is the place of the masses in politics. I would assert that Lenin was acutely aware of the issue of improving the situation in which many could participate meaningfully within politics.
https://www.marxists.org/glossary/terms/m/a.htm
Mass

Opposite of Vanguard.

Any social movement contains both a vanguard and a mass. The masses are large numbers of people who participate in a struggle or are involved simply by their social position, but are less committed or well-placed in relation to the struggle, and generally will participate only in the decisive moments, which in fact change history. On the other side is the vanguard, made up of people and groups who are more resolute and committed, better organised and able to take a leading role in the struggle.

The masses in a social movement are by their very nature diverse for they represent a large spectrum of humanity. Not only is the mass heterogeneous, but within the mass there are a myriad of networks and relations by means of which the masses enter into activity, ponder questions of policy, make judgments of leaders and make decisions.

The consciousness of the masses can be chaotic since all manner of views co-exist within a movement. A vanguard will generally serve one of two roles among the masses: it can come to dominate the mass, shaping and forming it according to the beliefs of the vanguard, or it can "point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire [mass]", and "always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole." (Source). It is the practical action of the masses however, which is the creative engine of all politics - smashing all illusions, punishing mistakes and exposing all fakes. When an idea is embraced by the masses, it becomes a material force of enormous power.


I guess this emphasizes why the likes of Lenin and in my earlier quote, Marx, wish for working-class institutions to be made up of a majority of working-class people. Things aren't professed from above but must be part of work within the institutions themselves in connection with communities and institutions of people.
The task isn't to passively wait for a spontaneous change because that is tailism, paralysis, which treats the world as a matter of theory independent of intervention and change by humans, that progresses independent of any human (social) subject.
One need not speak only of communists to see such a point...
https://www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen/Letter_Birmingham.html
Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
...
Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

The above to me makes me think of how it is the revolutionary that brings to light the conflicts in a society rather than try to hide and harmonize them as with a reformer.

I think when I say that there must be some kind of majority in order to sustain any new order, it is that any effort of a small group to attempt to establish themselves independent of any war of position, changing things within institutions to support them, will be impotent for a lack of legitimacy. Like a progressive politician that lacks a social movement or grassroots base in which to draw upon for support in pushing certain policies, they would remain an island surrounded by the uncooperative.
Of course though, one mustn't also fetishize prefigurative politics which collapses means and end and imagines itself living out the principles of the imagined utopia already. Where the goal is an endless transformation of institutions and that the only goal is cultural hegemony but not explicit political power, or then one may find themselves cracked down upon by violent means and not necessarily ready to defend themselves.
#15207442
Wellsy wrote:Thank you for sharing!

What is your take on Lenin’s comment within the context of the conversation?

Do you think he was suggesting the importing of revolution through the minority of the trade unionists within the Swiss army?

Because he would seem somewhat of a dullard if he lacked any sense over a “war of position”. As there is truth in the point that a minority may not be sustainable. But then again, Lenin would argue that a minority class rules through ‘bourgeoisie democracy’.


It's part of a summary of a 1.5h conversation. Some nuance lost I imagine.

Either way, it was mere talk between comrades (as much as a social democrat and Lenin can be).
#15207444
Potemkin wrote:In the meantime, history will be made by people like the bourgeois revolutionaries of 18th century France, or by the bourgeois industrialists of 19th century Britain, or by Lenin's Bolsheviks - all of them minorities who made themselves into majorities by taking action.


Ernst Nobs (the guy in the conversation) became the first social democratic federal councillor (highest office in Switzerland) a few decades later. And of course, social democracy has made great achievements in Europe in the 20th century. Just because it wasn't bloody doesn't mean it isn't history.
#15207473
I'm reminded of the following part from Wilde:



However, the explanation is not really difficult to find. It is simply this. Misery and poverty are so absolutely degrading, and exercise such a paralysing effect over the nature of men, that no class is ever really conscious of its own suffering. They have to be told of it by other people, and they often entirely disbelieve them. What is said by great employers of labour against agitators is unquestionably true. Agitators are a set of interfering, meddling people, who come down to some perfectly contented class of the community, and sow the seeds of discontent amongst them. That is the reason why agitators are so absolutely necessary. Without them, in our incomplete state, there would be no advance towards civilisation. Slavery was put down in America, not in consequence of any action on the part of the slaves, or even any express desire on their part that they should be free. It was put down entirely through the grossly illegal conduct of certain agitators in Boston and elsewhere, who were not slaves themselves, nor owners of slaves, nor had anything to do with the question really. It was, undoubtedly, the Abolitionists who set the torch alight, who began the whole thing. And it is curious to note that from the slaves themselves they received, not merely very little assistance, but hardly any sympathy even; and when at the close of the war the slaves found themselves free, found themselves indeed so absolutely free that they were free to starve, many of them bitterly regretted the new state of things. To the thinker, the most tragic fact in the whole of the French Revolution is not that Marie Antoinette was killed for being a queen, but that the starved peasant of the Vendee voluntarily went out to die for the hideous cause of feudalism.



https://www.marxists.org/reference/arch ... /soul-man/
#15207483
ckaihatsu wrote:I'm reminded of the following part from Wilde:

If Communists were actually freeing people, or to put it more precisely if Communists were actually freeing a lot more people than they were enslaving, then actions by a minority might well be justified, but they weren't.

I don't want some fascist, whether of left or right telling me what books I can read, what music I can listen to, what films I can watch. I liked Souxsie and the Banshees, X ray Specs and the Stranglers all of them banned by the Soviet Union and probably by his majesty Fidel Castro too.
#15207488
Rich wrote:
If Communists were actually freeing people, or to put it more precisely if Communists were actually freeing a lot more people than they were enslaving, then actions by a minority might well be justified, but they weren't.



You're ignoring the subject matter, which, in the quote, is *slavery*.


Rich wrote:
I don't want some fascist, whether of left or right telling me what books I can read, what music I can listen to, what films I can watch. I liked Souxsie and the Banshees, X ray Specs and the Stranglers all of them banned by the Soviet Union and probably by his majesty Fidel Castro too.



What you're describing is *state capitalism*, so, as with any top-down authority, there's most-likely mass disaffection with official policies and practices.

There's no such thing as a 'left-fascist', because that's a contradiction of terms.
#15207548
ckaihatsu wrote:What you're describing is *state capitalism*, so, as with any top-down authority, there's most-likely mass disaffection with official policies and practices.

What I'm describing is the Soviet Union, from its inception, before it was even called the USSR, before it was called RSFSR. The All Russian Soviet executive was a front from the start. Alliances with Left SRs, Menshevik internationalists, and Anarchists were all fronts. Behind the scenes the power lay with Bolshevik central committee and increasingly its political committee or political bureau. The workers had more power and agency in Franco's Spain than in Lenin and Trotsky's Soviet Union.

And just look at all the Communist parties and groups in democratic countries. Nearly all of them are highly authoritarian. If anything the Trotskyists are worse than the so called Stalinists. They usually have the forms of democracy but there's virtually no real content. Some of them behave more like religious cults than political parties. There was more genuine democracy within the provisional IRA than in most Trotskyist organisations.
#15207551
Rich wrote:
What I'm describing is the Soviet Union, from its inception, before it was even called the USSR, before it was called RSFSR. The All Russian Soviet executive was a front from the start. Alliances with Left SRs, Menshevik internationalists, and Anarchists were all fronts. Behind the scenes the power lay with Bolshevik central committee and increasingly its political committee or political bureau. The workers had more power and agency in Franco's Spain than in Lenin and Trotsky's Soviet Union.

And just look at all the Communist parties and groups in democratic countries. Nearly all of them are highly authoritarian. If anything the Trotskyists are worse than the so called Stalinists. They usually have the forms of democracy but there's virtually no real content. Some of them behave more like religious cults than political parties. There was more genuine democracy within the provisional IRA than in most Trotskyist organisations.



I really think you're missing the point, Rich. The party -- *any* party, including the bourgeoisie's own Democrat and Republican parties -- is to formalize and represent the class' *interests*.

This has already been covered on the thread:


Wellsy wrote:



The consciousness of the masses can be chaotic since all manner of views co-exist within a movement. A vanguard will generally serve one of two roles among the masses: it can come to dominate the mass, shaping and forming it according to the beliefs of the vanguard, or it can "point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire [mass]", and "always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole." (Source). It is the practical action of the masses however, which is the creative engine of all politics - smashing all illusions, punishing mistakes and exposing all fakes. When an idea is embraced by the masses, it becomes a material force of enormous power.



viewtopic.php?p=15207439#p15207439



Also:


A question for our Marxists DIAGRAM

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Components of Social Production

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#15209423
Here is a list of the problems I have with the idea of a small vanguard of the left seizing control of a country.

1. Every example from history has been highly authoritarian, has exercised press censorship, and, so far as I am aware, has ended up with a one-party system.
2. Nobody intuitively thinks this is democracy. In a democracy, you need to be able to vote out your leaders, or representatives at a minimum. The fact that liberal democracies basically have this, but also have widespread voter surpression, inperfect defence of individual rights such as freedom of expression , bodily autonomy etc. (leaving aside what economic rights individuals should have - a live issue on the left, and certainly not one we can entirely agree with liberals or conservatives on). Vanguardism isn't democratic on this definition. What we have in current (working) democracies is something we should build on, not that we need to chuck aside so we can get into power. Because who is We? If it is the working class and their allies, we have the vote. If it is not, it's merely some subgroup.
3. There is a sense in which allowing a vanguard to take control implies a tacit consent from the population, which is perhaps some small measure of democracy meeting a kind of minimum level of a social contract that we find in Hobbes. But this a very broad measure. Take the regime in Burma. They have the tacit consent, perhaps, of the majority of the population. But that is only because they have successfully managed to frighten them into submission. Similar arguments could be run with regards agreement by voter apathy - as is perhaps the case in Russia.
4. You might believe that the horrors being inflicted on the world by the capitalist system justify moving away from democracy for a short time, a long time, or even as long a time as is required. But then, you don't really believe in democracy - whether by the working class or any other majority of society. But that means abandoning the belief that the working class - or whoever, if you're an anarchist or whatever say - is capable of managing its own affairs at present. That cannot be said to be democratic, and really is a commitment to a class society - at least for some time. I am not saying which is the right choice here, I'm just arguing that attempts to say vanguardism as democratic as working to win socialist power and legitimacy by elections, democratic control of industry etc., are a fudge.


My own personal view is that the Bolshevicks and similar parties tried to take a shortcut (understandably - they were there and I wasn't, after all), but it backfired spectacularly.

Humanity may not have the time to attain a democratic, classless world by democratic means. We may not even have the ability. But if we attain this by undemocratic means, then we attain it by undemocratic means.
#15209482
The Young Wizard wrote:
Here is a list of the problems I have with the idea of a small vanguard of the left seizing control of a country.

1. Every example from history has been highly authoritarian, has exercised press censorship, and, so far as I am aware, has ended up with a one-party system.
2. Nobody intuitively thinks this is democracy. In a democracy, you need to be able to vote out your leaders, or representatives at a minimum. The fact that liberal democracies basically have this, but also have widespread voter surpression, inperfect defence of individual rights such as freedom of expression , bodily autonomy etc. (leaving aside what economic rights individuals should have - a live issue on the left, and certainly not one we can entirely agree with liberals or conservatives on). Vanguardism isn't democratic on this definition. What we have in current (working) democracies is something we should build on, not that we need to chuck aside so we can get into power. Because who is We? If it is the working class and their allies, we have the vote. If it is not, it's merely some subgroup.
3. There is a sense in which allowing a vanguard to take control implies a tacit consent from the population, which is perhaps some small measure of democracy



I think you're overly concerned with *formalities*. 'Vanguardism', in whatever sense, *can't* be a replacement for on-the-ground mass sentiment because -- on paper at least -- all representatives are *recallable*. That said, though, I'm not a Stalinist and I'm not arguing *for* bureaucratic elitism as the preferred mode of government / administration.

Vanguardism would be the *workers state*, and the vanguard would be like the delegates that countries send abroad for matters of state -- a *tiny* number of persons compared to the vaster interests that they formally represent (those of the working class).

'Revolution' *implies* / is-the-definition-of, a sufficient mass force from below that thoroughly displaces bourgeois class rule.

Finally, *any* kind of vanguardism -- even 'deformed', elitist kinds -- would be an improvement over the countries of the bourgeoisie, and their *present-day* 'vanguardism' for the interests of private capital.



Soviet democracy, or council democracy, is a political system in which the rule of the population by directly elected soviets (Russian for "council") is exercised. The councils are directly responsible to their electors and bound by their instructions using a delegate model of representation. Such an imperative mandate is in contrast to a free mandate, in which the elected delegates are only responsible to their conscience. Delegates may accordingly be dismissed from their post at any time or be voted out (recall).



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_democracy



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The Young Wizard wrote:
meeting a kind of minimum level of a social contract that we find in Hobbes. But this a very broad measure. Take the regime in Burma. They have the tacit consent, perhaps, of the majority of the population. But that is only because they have successfully managed to frighten them into submission. Similar arguments could be run with regards agreement by voter apathy - as is perhaps the case in Russia.


The Young Wizard wrote:
4. You might believe that the horrors being inflicted on the world by the capitalist system justify moving away from democracy for a short time, a long time, or even as long a time as is required. But then, you don't really believe in democracy - whether by the working class or any other majority of society.



You're indicating 'social democracy' -- which *doesn't* operate in the interests of the working class.


The Young Wizard wrote:
But that means abandoning the belief that the working class - or whoever, if you're an anarchist or whatever say - is capable of managing its own affairs at present. That cannot be said to be democratic, and really is a commitment to a class society - at least for some time. I am not saying which is the right choice here, I'm just arguing that attempts to say vanguardism as democratic as working to win socialist power and legitimacy by elections, democratic control of industry etc., are a fudge.



You're showing that you don't even understand the *idea* of what the vanguard is, or why anyone might advocate it.

Again, the current ruling class (bourgeoisie) has *its* various nation-states, some more successful than others. The countries of the international bourgeois ruling class do *not* operate in the interests of the world's workers, but, rather, to its *detriment* as 'free labor'.

The workers of the world currently do *not* have a government of their own, over a percentage, or all, of the world's political economy, yet the workers are the ones who put in all the efforts that make modern society possible.


The Young Wizard wrote:
My own personal view is that the Bolshevicks and similar parties tried to take a shortcut (understandably - they were there and I wasn't, after all), but it backfired spectacularly.

Humanity may not have the time to attain a democratic, classless world by democratic means. We may not even have the ability. But if we attain this by undemocratic means, then we attain it by undemocratic means.
#15209486
The Young Wizard wrote:
My own personal view is that the Bolshevicks and similar parties tried to take a shortcut (understandably - they were there and I wasn't, after all), but it backfired spectacularly.

Humanity may not have the time to attain a democratic, classless world by democratic means. We may not even have the ability. But if we attain this by undemocratic means, then we attain it by undemocratic means.




On 27 August, feeling betrayed by the government, Kornilov pushed on towards Petrograd. With few troops to spare at the front, Kerensky turned to the Petrograd Soviet for help. Bolsheviks, Mensheviks, and Socialist Revolutionaries confronted the army and convinced them to stand down.[17] The Bolsheviks' influence over railroad and telegraph workers also proved vital in stopping the movement of troops. Right-wingers felt betrayed, and the left-wing was resurgent. The first direct consequence of Kornilov's failed coup was the formal abolition of the monarchy and the proclamation of the Russian Republic on 1 September.[18]

With Kornilov defeated, the Bolsheviks' popularity in the soviets grew significantly, both in the central and local areas. On 31 August, the Petrograd Soviet of Workers and Soldiers Deputies—and, on 5 September, the Moscow Soviet Workers Deputies—adopted the Bolshevik resolutions on the question of power. The Bolsheviks won a majority in the soviets of Briansk, Samara, Saratov, Tsaritsyn, Minsk, Kiev, Tashkent, and other cities.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_R ... lov_affair
#15209495
ckaihatsu wrote:
'vanguardism' for the interests of private capital



---



Confessions of an Economic Hit Man is a semi-autobiographical book written by John Perkins, first published in 2004.[1][2]

The book provides Perkins' account of his career with engineering consulting firm Chas. T. Main in Boston. According to Perkins, his job at the firm was to convince leaders of underdeveloped countries to accept substantial development loans for large construction and engineering projects. Ensuring that these projects were contracted to U.S. companies, such loans provided political influence for the US and access to natural resources for American companies,[1]: 15, 239  thus primarily helping rich families and local elites, rather than the poor. According to Perkins, he began writing Confessions of an Economic Hit Man in the 1980s, but "threats or bribes always convinced [him] to stop."

Suggesting a system of corporatocracy and greed (rather than a unilateral conspiracy), Perkins claims the involvement of the National Security Agency (NSA), with whom he had interviewed for a job prior to joining Main.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessio ... ic_Hit_Man
#15209525
Orthodox Marxism seeks to replace something that is not a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie with something that is not a dictatorship of the proletariat. Cultural Marxism replaces the evil capitalist - innocent worker with a different dichotomy or dichotomies. So for example in the Rwandan genocide, the evil "Whiter" Tutsis were genocided by innocent "Blacker" Hutsis and their self hating Tutsi Cultural Marxist allies. As with Tolkien's orks there is much diversity and strife amongst both Orthodox Marxists and Cultural Marxists, but Cultural Marxists tend to adhere to the following caste hierarchy.

1 Muslims ,misogyny, homophobia and even racism by Muslims are all denied, excused or ignored by Cultural Marxists.
2 Morphological and Cultural race
3 All other "Oppressed" groups except women
4 Women. Women or "people who menstruate" are at the bottom of the Cultural Marxist hierarchy, denied even the identity of being called women.

What's left are the casteless or untouchables. Due for replacement. there is no redemption for them, but they can earn virtue by aiding in their own replacement and destruction.

Now it is often complained that Cultural Marxism and Orthodox Marxism are not comparable because it is claimed that Orthodox Marxism is materialist and Cultural Marxism is not. But arguably it is the other way round. Muslim dictatorships, morphological racial dictatorships and cultural racial dictatorships are entirely viable, where s a dictatorship of the proletariat is an oxymoron.
#15209535
Rich wrote:
Orthodox Marxism seeks to replace something that is not a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie with something that is not a dictatorship of the proletariat.




In Marxist philosophy, the dictatorship of the proletariat is a state of affairs in which the proletariat holds political power.[1][2] The dictatorship of the proletariat is the intermediate stage between a capitalist economy and a communist economy, whereby the post-revolutionary state seizes the means of production, compels the implementation of direct elections on behalf of and within the confines of the ruling proletarian state party, and instituting elected delegates into representative workers' councils that nationalise ownership of the means of production from private to collective ownership. During this phase, the administrative organizational structure of the party is to be largely determined by the need for it to govern firmly and wield state power to prevent counterrevolution and to facilitate the transition to a lasting communist society. Other terms commonly used to describe the dictatorship of the proletariat include socialist state,[3] proletarian state,[4] democratic proletarian state,[5] revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat[6] and democratic dictatorship of the proletariat.[7]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dictators ... roletariat



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Rich wrote:
Cultural Marxism replaces the evil capitalist - innocent worker with a different dichotomy or dichotomies. So for example in the Rwandan genocide, the evil "Whiter" Tutsis were genocided by innocent "Blacker" Hutsis and their self hating Tutsi Cultural Marxist allies. As with Tolkien's orks there is much diversity and strife amongst both Orthodox Marxists and Cultural Marxists, but Cultural Marxists tend to adhere to the following caste hierarchy.

1 Muslims ,misogyny, homophobia and even racism by Muslims are all denied, excused or ignored by Cultural Marxists.
2 Morphological and Cultural race
3 All other "Oppressed" groups except women
4 Women. Women or "people who menstruate" are at the bottom of the Cultural Marxist hierarchy, denied even the identity of being called women.

What's left are the casteless or untouchables. Due for replacement. there is no redemption for them, but they can earn virtue by aiding in their own replacement and destruction.

Now it is often complained that Cultural Marxism and Orthodox Marxism are not comparable because it is claimed that Orthodox Marxism is materialist and Cultural Marxism is not. But arguably it is the other way round. Muslim dictatorships, morphological racial dictatorships and cultural racial dictatorships are entirely viable, where s a dictatorship of the proletariat is an oxymoron.



By 'Cultural Marxists' I think you basically mean the *Democratic Party*, though the term you're using is misleading since the Democrats have nothing to do with *workers power* -- or 'Orthodox Marxism', as you call it.

Here's a historical treatment on the underdeveloped nation-state victims of Western imperialism:



The Russian advance began to frighten the rulers of western Europe, even when they still relied—as did Austria and Prussia—on Russia’s armies to crush revolution in their own lands. Their desire to maintain the Ottoman Empire as a barrier to Russian expansion dominated European diplomacy right up to the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, and became known as ‘the Eastern Question’. British governments were in the forefront of these efforts. Propping up the Ottoman rulers allowed them not only to check Russian power—which they saw as a threat to their own rule in northern India—but also ensured the Ottomans allowed British goods free access to markets in the Middle East and the Balkans.

The importance of this was shown in Egypt. Power in the country (together with adjacent areas of Syria, Lebanon and Palestine) had passed to a ‘Pasha’ of Albanian origin, Mohammed (or Mehmet) Ali, in 1805. He ruled in the name of the Ottoman sultan, but was in effect a ruler in his own right until 1840. He saw that industry was rapidly becoming the key to power and set about using the state to begin an industrial revolution in Egypt. He established state monopolies, bought modern textile machinery from Europe and employed skilled Europeans to show Egyptians how to use it. He also had iron and steel furnaces built, seized land from mamluke landowners and produced cash crops for export. The result was that by the 1830s the country had the fifth highest number of cotton spindles per head in the world and up to 70,000 people working in modern factories.128

But Mohammed Ali’s experiment was brought to a sudden halt in 1840. Britain sent its navy to help the Ottoman Empire reimpose its control over Egypt, shelling Egyptian-controlled ports on the Lebanese coast and landing troops in Syria. Mohammed Ali was forced to cut his army (which had provided a protected market for his textile factories), dismantle his monopolies and accept British-imposed ‘free trade policies’. A cynical Lord Palmerston admitted, ‘To subjugate Mohammed Ali to Great Britain could be wrong and biased. But we are biased; the vital interests of Europe require that we should be so’.129 The rulers of Europe’s most advanced industrial power were quite happy to impose policies which prevented the development of industrial capitalism elsewhere. Egypt experienced de-industrialisation over the next decades, just as China and India did—and then faced occupation by British troops when Mohammed Ali’s successors could not pay their debts.

Egypt had at least attempted to industrialise. There were few such attempts elsewhere in the Ottoman Empire, and the unimpeded access of cheap goods to their markets damned these to failure. This also applied to similar attempts in the Iranian Empire, which was sandwiched between the Ottomans, British India and tsarist Russia.



Harman, _People's History of the World_, pp. 363-364
#15211864
I agree - I don't understand what vanguardism is in this context. All I care about is whether it is democratic or not.

I agree that social democracy is not in the best interests of the working class - we don't even have it in the majority of countries in the world anyway. And even if we did, it would not be in those best interests. That's not what I'm interested in. I'm interested in whether we reform social democracy by democratic or undemocratic means. If you think that it can't be reformed by democratic means, then that is simply what you think. You are probably right - but that doesn't make the alternative democratic.

Ultimately, democracy isn't about what's in everyone's interests or not. It's in having the ultimate choice about how society is to be run - whether for good or ill. You might be right to decry Social Democracy for not being in the working class's interests - but that's irrelevant to defending it as democratic, or highlighting it's shortfalls from a democratic perspective.
#15211868
https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/philosophy/works/ot/zizek.htm
And here one should risk reintroducing the Leninist opposition of “formal” and “actual” freedom: in an act of actual freedom, one dares precisely to BREAK the seductive power of symbolic efficiency. Therein resides the moment of truth of Lenin’s acerbic retort to his Menshevik critics: the truly free choice is a choice in which I do not merely choose between two or more options WITHIN a pre-given set of coordinates, but I choose to change this set of coordinates itself The catch of the “transition” from Really Existing Socialism to capitalism was that people never had the chance to choose the ad quem of this transition — all of a sudden, they were (almost literally) “thrown” into a new situation in which they were presented with a new set of given choices (pure liberalism, nationalist conservatism ... ). What this means is that the “actual freedom” as the act of consciously changing this set occurs only when, in the situation of a forced choice, one ACTS AS IF THE CHOICE IS NOT FORCED and “chooses the impossible.”

This is what Lenin’s obsessive tirades against “formal” freedom are about, therein resides their “rational kernel” which is worth saving today: when he emphasizes that there is no “pure” democracy, that we should always ask who does a freedom under consideration serve, which is its role in the class struggle, his point is precisely to maintain the possibility of the TRUE radical choice. This is what the distinction between “formal” and “actual” freedom ultimately amounts to: “formal” freedom is the freedom of choice WITHIN the coordinates of the existing power relations, while “actual” freedom designates the site of an intervention which undermines these very coordinates. In short, Lenin’s point is not to limit freedom of choice, but to maintain the fundamental Choice — when Lenin asks about the role of a freedom within the class struggle, what he is asking is precisely: “Does this freedom contribute to or constrain the fundamental revolutionary Choice?”
#15213008
The Young Wizard wrote:
I agree - I don't understand what vanguardism is in this context. All I care about is whether it is democratic or not.

I agree that social democracy is not in the best interests of the working class - we don't even have it in the majority of countries in the world anyway. And even if we did, it would not be in those best interests. That's not what I'm interested in. I'm interested in whether we reform social democracy by democratic or undemocratic means. If you think that it can't be reformed by democratic means, then that is simply what you think. You are probably right - but that doesn't make the alternative democratic.

Ultimately, democracy isn't about what's in everyone's interests or not. It's in having the ultimate choice about how society is to be run - whether for good or ill. You might be right to decry Social Democracy for not being in the working class's interests - but that's irrelevant to defending it as democratic, or highlighting it's shortfalls from a democratic perspective.



I'll note that 'democracy' is a *process* and doesn't itself address the *ends* -- which to me is more to the point (of politics).

I'll proffer the following layout of 4 objective-reality (trans-paradigm) 'components' of social production, which posit that the worker has an inherent interest in *less* production, relatively, because more production necessitates more labor, in general. Ideally labor wouldn't have to work *at all*, and any given person would have more of their own personal life-time for themselves, assuming that that's materially possible.

I also include nature-at-the-moment (natural resources), and the inherited *infrastructure* that society has given us from the past -- these, too, have an inherent interest in 'less productivity', to the logical extent of being *left alone*.

As an interlude I'll just note that *all four* 'components' are *materially necessary* for civilization as we know it, and modern living wouldn't be possible *without* these elemental components of (industrialized) social productivity.

The worker at work is also an *individual* away from work, at some level (right before bed and right after waking up in the morning, at least). The *individual* has a personal interest in *more* productivity from society, so as to grow as an individual through having access to more and better material options, for a better quality-of-life.

Likewise, any 'administration' over social production -- government, basically -- also has an inherent interest in *more* productivity, to justify their role in society as production-facilitators.

Once one looks at such timeless objective inherent material interests, by production-oriented societal components, we can see that we shouldn't confuse 'process' (administration, basically), with *interests* / ends, which have everything to do with one's empirical relationship to the means of mass industrial production.


A question for our Marxists DIAGRAM

Spoiler: show
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#15216293
Potemkin wrote:As Engels pointed out, a revolution is “the most authoritarian thing there is”, almost by definition - one class seeks to impose its will on all other classes in society, by force if necessary. The vanguardism thing is therefore almost a moot point, since the working class itself is a vanguard.

Exactly. Wanting to destroy the powerful elite by creating another powerful elite is simply self-serving for the ones who want to keep all of the power. It's one of the very worst ideas in 20th century communism.
#15216295
Unthinking Majority wrote:Exactly. Wanting to destroy the powerful elite by creating another powerful elite is simply self-serving for the ones who want to keep all of the power. It's one of the very worst ideas in 20th century communism.

In theory, the “powerful elite” who take over after a successful proletarian revolution would be the working class themselves. This may or may not be what happens in practice, of course.

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