Question for ICC members

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Agent of the International's picture
Agent of the In...
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Feb 24 2015 01:18

I agree that its good to have a sketch of what a social revolution should look like, and I have tried to do that in my previous posts, although not completely. A sketch shouldn't be wish list of what you would like to happen, but it should at minimum highlight the prerequisites for a successful revolution.

Separate mass organisations as desired by Alf (or the ICC), regardless of what reasons or purposes attributed to these two separate sets of institutions, seems highly unlikely and unnecessary. The multitude of overlapping, mass organisations of the working class (most I assume would have been well established long before hand, others may spring up spontaneously) have to open up to all other classes, becoming in the revolutionary process organs of the 'population in general'. Why? Simply because it is through those same mass organisations that all means of production will be seized and held in common, to the exclusion of no one.

Now just because these mass organisations are of the 'population in general', or are responsible for organising popular militias for self-defense, doesn't mean a state has been established. You may wish it a state, but its not. The general mode of activity of the working class and its allies, operating through these mass organisations, is not the reproduction of existing class relations, or the reconstitution of new ones. Rather, it is the opposite; it is the destruction of class divisions once and for all.

A state is not just an "organisation of society" as alf defines it, making it sound like an humanitarian instrument, but rather a set of institutions which most basic function is the defense and reproduction of class divisions. A state is based on those latter divisions; it shares in the exploitation of the exploited class. This is the state in general. Its absurd to apply that category to the self-organisation of the working class and/or the 'population in general'.

Leo
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Feb 24 2015 14:19
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Separate mass organisations as desired by Alf (or the ICC), regardless of what reasons or purposes attributed to these two separate sets of institutions, seems highly unlikely and unnecessary. The multitude of overlapping, mass organisations of the working class (most I assume would have been well established long before hand, others may spring up spontaneously) have to open up to all other classes, becoming in the revolutionary process organs of the 'population in general'.

Like... democracy?

Quote:
Why? Simply because it is through those same mass organisations that all means of production will be seized and held in common, to the exclusion of no one.

I think the problem with this idea is that it presumes that everyone in the society, every class will want production to be seized and held in common. They will not. Obviously we can disregard the bourgeoisie, who has no say in this. A majority of the workers will. A majority of the peasants won't. I think a majority of the agricultural proletariat won't either because of the domination of the peasant culture in the countryside. It seems many Western theorists who are excited about the propsoects of building a classless society immediately after the revolution have forgotten the existance of peasants. Yet 48% of the worlds population lives outside the cities.

Some of the most backwards, racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary places in the world are in the countryside. I don't know if anyone posting here has even met an actual peasant. I have. It is an alien world.

The world of the peasant has pretty much remained as it was for thousands of years. When there is a proletarian revolution in the cities, the peasants will have one, and only one question: how will this affect crop prices. It is a natural question for the peasant because this is how the peasant relates to the cities.

Obviously, all the lands of the agrarian bourgeoisie will be confiscated by the proletarian commune in the cities. Yet there'll be the small peasants, non-exploiting, who don't want to be a part of the commune. There'll be all sorts of agricultural proletarians who'll prefer to have a small piece of land of their own rather than be part of a commune too. Participation in the commune can be encouraged: forcing it, however, is not a very good idea. If things come to forced collectivization (or communization if you want), there are two possible outcomes. Either it will mean the cities will starve or it will mean the peasants will be slaughtered.

And so, the consequence is a situation where the proletarian commune in the cities will allow - in fact organize the redistribution of the land in the countryside to the peasants. There will have to be trade between the proletarian commune and the peasants. Various sort of services will have to be provided to the country-side. Whatever they are called, certain regulations will have to be established for the quality of the crops. Certain limitations will have to be introduced to prevent the peasants from crossing certain lines, mostly dealing with patriarchal relations. All this is delicate, dirty work. Failure in maintaining the relations between the peasants and the commune means the commune will starve.

And then there are the peasants of the cities, the artisans. They may be less in numbers, but they are certainly not few. Some of them may want to join the commune. Others won't. They can't be forced as the peasants can't be forced. Relations will have to be established with them as well.

This means that the world will remain a class society even after the revolution. The disctatorship of the proletariat is a social order: the proletariat is the dictator over the peasants and artisans, not just the bourgeoisie from whom the proletariat will, dictatorially, take the right to exploit. It may be a more benavolant dictator over the peasants and artisans, yet it is a dictator nevertheless: it denies peasant fathers right to ownership of their wives or children, it denies artisans the right to be homophobic, it denies rights of inheritance etc. all of which, these social stata have tradinitionally lived accustomed to.

Now the state is at the same time an institution for maintaining a cer­tain cohesion, a social order and an institution for im­posing this social order. So the state, even if it is a semi-state, is the organ which arises from the existance of these classes and maintains the relations between the different classes of the world: and is an organ of force against these classes as well.

The state is thus not the proletariat, nor is it the proletarian commune. It is a specific organ, which has the role not of regulating the life of the proletariat but its relations with other classes. The problem is that it often doesn't just stop there. As an organ for maintaining, preserving the social order, that is a class society, even a semi-state is a conservative force which can very quickly become the hotbed of the counter-revolution in society. So, while the state is the organ through which the proletariat exercises its dictatorship over the other classes of the society, the proletariat in turn has to exercise its dictatorship over the state.

The state emerges, in whatever name, as a separate force in society as long as class divisions continue to exist, even if we don't call it the state or think the proletariat, with its councils will be the state. The danger of denying this is leaving the proletariat defenseless against this unevitable conservative force which will arise in a post-revolutionary world where a very, very traumatized generation of proletarians are trying to build a world commune.

Though I've left the ICC and have become rather critical of several of its characteristic positions, the point about the period of transition and the state, which itself comes from the Italian left in the 1930ies, is not one of them. Quite the contrary, I think it is the best of the ICC's traditional positions and I'd reccomend this article to anyone interested in this discussion.

Spikymike
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Feb 24 2015 14:44

Without denying the continued existance of genuine 'peasant's' and the 'peasant economy' or the difficulties such might present in the transition to communism global capitalism has moved on some since the experience of the 'Russian revolution' (and even the 'Spanish revolution') and the continueing changes in class composition will present both new opportunites as well as problems. So in the interests of linking some related discussions have a look at this: http://libcom.org/library/beyond-peasant-international-wildcat

baboon
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Feb 24 2015 18:18

I think that the "easiest" question, that of the civil war of class against class for the dictatorship of the proletariat, is one that will have its own problems and could be more protracted than we would like. But if, and once the proletarian dictatorship is established then the problems of a movement towards communism - which itself will take generations I would think - really come to light. Nothing is cut and dried by then because we may not be living in a society dominated by the bourgeoisie but the danger of the latter will persist not least from the continued existence of classes of non-exploiting strata. Elements of a state, a semi-state, will exist on the back of the existence of different classes and it will be a conservative organism par excellence. It's aim will be to try to propagate and maintain its own existence and here also lies the danger of a re-emerging bourgeoisie. If we look at the role of the state in various bourgeois revolutions over feudal society I think that we can say that its role was conservative then for the preservation of the status quo and this was as the bourgeoisie was able to gradually "buy" its way into power in a relatively gradual process and using proletarian force when revolution was necessary. For a communist revolution we can't wish the continued existence of classes and the state away but ensure a proletarian force stands over it keeping it in check, using it when necessary and, with the advance of the revolution towards communism, "lopping off" its worst and outdated elements until it shrinks away with the development of a new society.

I think the question raised above about an avant-garde of the proletariat is important - both for now and the future - and stress that the ICC doesn't see itself as the party but as one element that is a precursor to it. Just like any strike, in any revolutionar there will be an advanced minority of the class and just like any strike they should organise themselves on a clear class basis. I think whether or not revolutionaries today carry a union card is something of a secondary question. My opinion is why pay them (via your employer) if you don't have to? The main question of course is that revolutionaries who are workers (and most of the ICC members I know are workers) advocate independent working class action outside of the union framework.

On factory committees, these were very important during the Russian revolution and will have a major role to play but it must be the workers' councils that are sovereign and these should be entirely independent from any party.

proletarian.
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Feb 24 2015 19:26

Leo, why do you insist on saying "after the revolution" so and so...when for your schema to make any sense you actually mean after working class insurrection. What you describe surely IS the revolution - or an attempt anyway. This goes for anyone else with the same view. Insurrection or 'the seizure of power' is not a revolution.

On the 'it will take generations to get to a communist society' question I disagree. I know this was Marx's view and people repeat it but I think given technological advancement, the pitfalls and historic experience of counter-revolution etc the longer it takes the less likely it is to happen. For me, communist revolution must take hold pretty quickly. There is no chance it will take generations in my view because we simply don't have the luxury of time or peace.

petey
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Feb 24 2015 19:00

i have no opinion on the political questions above but i can't let this go:

Leo wrote:
Some of the most backwards, racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary places in the world are in the countryside. I don't know if anyone posting here has even met an actual peasant. I have.

so have i - my parents were peasants. my father was a common or garden bigot, but my mother wasn't, and my relatives still on the farm, though begrudging i could say, are hardly what you describe.

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The world of the peasant has pretty much remained as it was for thousands of years.

this is a tremendous simplification. the area i know was otoh wired for telephone for the first time in 1981; otoh the changes in social relations and religious ideology in the last two centuries there have been enormous.

i'm defining 'peasant' here as 'subsistence farmer,' an owner or a renter.

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Feb 24 2015 19:37

Hmmm, seems to me the ICC has a very rigid schema of revolution. Will there be separate public bathrooms for different classes?

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Feb 24 2015 19:40

Leo's description of the peasantry may be true of those he's met but it's certainly not true of those in Asia I've met nor of how I understand the situation more generally. Agricultural technical developments, media technology, tourism, political movements, the rise of the seasonal migrant worker/seasonal proletarian who sends home remittance and then returns to the land, the impact of being in relation to a global capitalist market etc have long had great effects on peasantries. Some of these changes are discussed here, in the context of one of the poorest countries in the world;

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The real and imagined village

Nepali Maoists talk about abolishing feudalism (or 'semi-feudalism') and again mystify terms. Rather than talking about capitalism and feudalism as modes of production they refer to various surviving cultural habits and institutions originating in feudalism as proof that feudalism still exists, rather than its remnants adapted to an evolved setting[11]. They confuse a moral judgement of conditions of exploitation in poorer countries with an analysis of production relations; i.e., how a surplus is extracted from labour in the context of Nepal's function in a global economy. The predominantly rural population of Nepal is not peopled by medieval serfs - but by a majority of smallholding farming families operating within a capitalist market (alongside some larger landowners, tenant farmers and rural landless labourers). While much peasant farming is at subsistence level, rather than market-driven, it is not this that solely defines the mode of production and its social relations. Many of the peasantry are unable to feed themselves year-round from their available land - and so pursue a semi-proletarian existence as migrating seasonal workers selling their labour power elsewhere. Many are also longer term migrant workers; a million peasant and urban sons and daughters work abroad and are integrated into the global economy as modern proletarians[12]. Their 'remittance' cash sent home has transformed the Nepali economy, in particular the property and land market.

Blinded by their redundant categories, the Maoists miss what is most interesting about recent developments in peasant life;

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It is commonly observed that traditional feudalism still prevails in the Madhesh. But, in reality, it has now been replaced by a labourer dominated society. About two to three decades ago, when labourers from Madhesh started going to Punjab, Haryana and also to ... for a quarter of a year ... Their migration was for a limited period, that is when they had no work for their engagement at home. It was a periodic employment migration. But, for the last two decades, labourers have been going to the Gulf countries for employment. In the beginning, the Muslim community took the lead. But now there is hardly any landless family that doesn’t have one or two members working in those countries. The common people have considered foreign employment as the only means of eradicating their poverty. Interestingly, they go there even after paying exorbitant interests on the money they take as loan for paying the agents towards their services and airfare. [...]
There is a glaring change in the living conditions of the people. They are mow living in the cemented brick-houses, which are replacing the thatched huts gradually. Cemented roofs or tiled roofed houses can be observed almost everywhere in the village. [...]

The second priority of investment of remittances falls on the procurement of land, which is the prime permanent source of income for the have-nots as it is very much needed to meet the food requirement. The availability of land for sale in abundance is yet another factor facilitating the transfer of ownership of land. The traditional landowners are desperate for selling off their land as there is a dearth of labourers in the villages. The dearth of labourers is attributed to the young workers having left the villages for foreign employment. The cost of cultivation has increased substantially. There is very little irrigation facilities and lack of timely and adequate availability of fertilisers. The ownership of land is gradually getting transferred from the haves to the have-nots, the new class of labourers. It can be safely said that nearly forty to fifty percent of the land ownership have been shifted during the last fifteen years from the traditional owners to the landless class.

Interestingly, the female members of the families are becoming landowners. Since the male members of the families are out of home to earn their livelihood, the female members of the families naturally become the land owners when any new piece of land is bought. For instance, out of four registrations we made, three registrations were in favour of female owners. This is really a milestone of social changes taking place in the remote areas. [...]
July 2010
http://www.thehimalayantimes.com/ful...&NewsID=249162

So here we have an odd, but modern, form of proletarian condition; village poverty - partly caused by insufficient land for subsistence of families - encourages migration for work abroad. This creates a labour shortage at home that encourages bigger landowners to sell their untilled land - to be bought by the remittance earnings causing the labour shortage. And so the earnings of the peasant-turned-emigrant proletarian can often be used to more fully establish the returning emigrant as landed peasant. (Or to expand the base of smallholders-cum-seasonal proletarians.)

Rural feudalism? No;

Quote:
At Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) [in Kathmandu], scenes of youths like Gaihres forming serpentine lines to board airplanes headed toward major labor destinations, mostly an unchartered territory for most of them, is not uncommon. Their aim is to reach the intended destination, not get duped by manpower agencies, and land on a decently-paying job. The expectation of their families is likewise.

Enter Kathmandu and head toward the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and you will see a much more chaotic scene: Anxious, curious, and confused aspirant migrants waiting to get their passport issued. [...]

Go farther away from the city center and you will see a completely different terrain. New buildings are popping up everywhere and there is an influx of migrants in and around city centers. Some of the villages lack the backbone of local economy i.e. youths. Elderly and kids are the main inhabitants of villages as youths have/are headed either to overseas labor destinations or to major city centers. Daily wages for manual labor have more than doubled. Interestingly, each alternate house either has a ‘cold store’ or a retail store—one wonders from where demand comes from. Perhaps, this is the best way to kill time. The opportunity cost of labor appears zero to them. There is no better way to waste labor than be self-employed—unproductive sales person waiting for customers in a place where pretty much every household owns a retail store!

The influx of money sent by migrants sweating and saving pennies overseas is changing the way we consume and invest. While consumption accounts for over 90 percent of GDP, gross domestic savings is equivalent to a mere 9.7 percent. Banks are becoming big fat kids from slim ones as remittances are constantly pouring in, facilitating instant easy lending to a handful of sectors. Due to political instability, squeezing returns on investment and pressure to maintain comfortable profit margin, banks are eschewing lending to traditional employment-generating sectors. Instead, money is channeled into construction, real estate, and import-consumption sectors. These sectors are referred to as “unproductive” i.e. they do not absorb much labor for employment given the scale of domestic investment.

In the last five years, construction and real estate sectors grew at an average of 4.5 percent and 7 percent annually, respectively. In real estate, credit flow doubled from Rs 7.71 billion to Rs 14.92 billion in the past two fiscal years. Unfortunately, GDP growth rate was around 3 percent and industrial sector growth just over 1 percent. Due to neglect and flawed priority, the contribution of remittances in stimulating the real sectors is minimal. [...]
Aug 2010
http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=...

The Nepalese banks have in recent years followed the global economy in its expansion of debt provision - predictably fuelling an inflated property market which is already falling into negative equity (i.e., properties now worth less than they were bought for) and which seems on the brink of a major crash.

The working class remaining at home, though expanding, remains a minority of a largely (80%) rural agricultural population. Nepal is sandwiched between the two emerging industrial giants of India and China; it is the relationship to those neighbouring proletariats that will likely define the chances ultimately of any radical movement of the poor in Nepal - which would need to have a very different character to the Maoist insurgency.

Elsewhere in the remoter poorer areas of the countryside aid shipments of rice rations by NGOs and government have, by creating a subsistence dependency, influenced the stagnation of agriculture and created a business chain of suppliers, importers, transporters, distributors and state and NGO bureaucrats that often remains keen to perpetuate this profitable dependence. Tourism in wealthier, more ideally situated, rural areas has in recent years also helped inflate the property market into eventual negative equity and is another connection to global markets. None of these economic conditions can be described as "rural (semi-)feudalism".

Nepal is not "feudal" but increasingly integrated into a global capitalist economy that uses less developed regions to source a cheaper mobile surplus labour power. Maoists may feel obliged to claim a dominant (semi-)feudalism still needing to be overthrown - as a convenient excuse to justify their capitalist goals and to try to make those goals appear differently motivated than rival parties. (They can also then claim that they are fulfilling some grand historical mission.) But it is not anti-feudal Maoism transforming the Nepali economy - but rather its relationship to global capital and its supply of labour power to it. The party squabbles over the political management of the Nepali state may be a long, slow and still unresolved process - but, as shown above, meanwhile global capital itself continues to develop the capitalist economy by its intense exploitation of the Nepali poor. The national management of that exploitation and its relationship with global capital (e.g., via those zones of hyper-exploitation - the Maoists’ beloved SEZs - and by attracting foreign investment) is the real point of contestation for all rival Nepali parties.

http://libcom.org/news/predictable-rise-red-bourgeoisie-end-mythical-nep...

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Feb 24 2015 19:47

We must be very fearful of them semi-states using the workers' toilets!

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plasmatelly
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Feb 24 2015 20:26

Was John the Baptist an ICC member, shurly he was?

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John answered them saying, "I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. "It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie."

Leo
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Feb 24 2015 21:30
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Without denying the continued existance of genuine 'peasant's' and the 'peasant economy' or the difficulties such might present in the transition to communism global capitalism has moved on some since the experience of the 'Russian revolution' (and even the 'Spanish revolution') and the continueing changes in class composition will present both new opportunites as well as problems. So in the interests of linking some related discussions have a look at this: http://libcom.org/library/beyond-peasant-international-wildcat

Seems interesting, I will take a look at it. You are of course right, I'm not claiming that today's country-side is economically identical to when it was early in the 20th century.

Quote:
Leo, why do you insist on saying "after the revolution" so and so...when for your schema to make any sense you actually mean after working class insurrection. What you describe surely IS the revolution - or an attempt anyway. This goes for anyone else with the same view. Insurrection or 'the seizure of power' is not a revolution.

I think this is partially a semantic discussion, but I'll try to elaborate what I think nevertheless. I don't think the term "revolution" has a single definition. Rather, to me it means: 1) The working class insurrection in a given country; 2) The working class insurrection in the whole world, that is the world revolution and 3) the revolution as a process until full communism or the period of transition.

Quote:
On the 'it will take generations to get to a communist society' question I disagree. I know this was Marx's view and people repeat it but I think given technological advancement, the pitfalls and historic experience of counter-revolution etc the longer it takes the less likely it is to happen. For me, communist revolution must take hold pretty quickly. There is no chance it will take generations in my view because we simply don't have the luxury of time or peace.

I appreciate how hopeful you are but I think you're unrealistic. I'm saying it will take generations not because this was Marx's view but when I look at the world I see how screwed up every human being is, including myself. We are all children of capitalism, our personalities were formed and deformed within a capitalist world. Every one of us is damaged. It'll take generations to shake off these traumas for the human species and in fact for the world.

Quote:
so have i - my parents were peasants. my father was a common or garden bigot, but my mother wasn't, and my relatives still on the farm, though begrudging i could say, are hardly what you describe.

I'm not claiming everyone who lives on the countryside is a bigot. I too have met several who aren't. What I said was that some of the most backwards, racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary places in the world are in the countryside. I think this is beyond dispute.

Quote:
this is a tremendous simplification. the area i know was otoh wired for telephone for the first time in 1981; otoh the changes in social relations and religious ideology in the last two centuries there have been enormous.

Yes, and there are internet cafes in villages in Turkey now. What remains unchanged is that the peasant engages in a direct relationship with nature, gets what he gives from it and goes on to sell his crops. Peasant culture is based on this basic social reality. Of course there are changes: production technologies can bring changes, migration is an important factor etc. I'm not claiming capitalism is out of the countryside - it isn't. Yet what doesn't change is the essence of being a peasant, the mental world of the peasant, the world as the peasant sees it.

Quote:
Leo's description of the peasantry may be true of those he's met but it's certainly not true of those in Asia I've met nor of how I understand the situation more generally. Agricultural technical developments, media technology, tourism, political movements, the rise of the seasonal migrant worker/seasonal proletarian who sends home remittance and then returns to the land, the impact of being in relation to a global capitalist market etc have long had great effects on peasantries.

I don't disagree with the impact of any of these changes, nor am I claiming that feudalism remains as a mode of production (although I'd be sceptical of any political movement based on the peasantry). What I'm trying to say is that peasantry as a class still exists and so does the peasant mentality and culture. To be honest, that's the impression I get from your quotes as it underlines exactly the presence of these cultural phenomena which is behind the Maoist arguement that feudalism remains.

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Hmmm, seems to me the ICC has a very rigid schema of revolution. Will there be separate public bathrooms for different classes?

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We must be very fearful of them semi-states using the workers' toilets!

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Was John the Baptist an ICC member, shurly he was?

If your idea of entertaintment is trolling a political discussion online, you really need to get a hobby.

factvalue
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Feb 25 2015 08:40

I’d just re-read an old piece of Bookchin's from when he was still an anarchist communist as Boomerang started this thread. In that piece he was mainly concerned with the question: Can the transition from a class society to a classless society and the transition from one class society to another really be explained by the same means? Social revolution, he says, is surely impossible without the proletariat but what power does the proletariat actually have when compared with the immense power that the bourgeoisie already possessed within feudalism, ideologically, materially and culturally, before assuming power politically? The proletariat doesn’t control economic life. What power does the proletariat possess which could go toe-to-toe with or ‘dictate’ to the terrifying military might of the bourgeoisie? Their army would have to be won over or the revolution would be utterly crushed as in Spain, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. So young people, from whose numbers the bourgeoisie recruit their armies, are also vitally important, as is everyone from that generation apart from the ruling class. As are peasants Leo, as in Russia for example:

Quote:
The problem of "who is to prevail"—the Bolsheviks or the Russian "masses"—was by no means limited to the factories. The issue reappeared in the countryside as well as the cities. A sweeping peasant war had buoyed up the movement of the workers. Contrary to official Leninist accounts, the agrarian upsurge was by no means limited to a redistribution of the land into private plots. In the Ukraine, peasants influenced by the anarchist militias of Nestor Makhno and guided by the communist maxim "From each according to his ability; to each according to his needs," established a multitude of rural communes. Elsewhere, in the north and in Soviet Asia, several thousand of these organisms were established, partly on the initiative of the Left Social Revolutionaries and in large measure as a result of traditional collectivist impulses which stemmed from the Russian village, the mir. It matters little whether these communes were numerous or embraced large numbers of peasants; the point is that they were authentic popular organisms, the nuclei of a moral and social spirit that ranged far above the dehumanizing values of bourgeois society.

The Bolsheviks frowned upon these organisms from the very beginning and eventually condemned them. To Lenin, the preferred, the more "socialist," form of agricultural enterprise was represented by the state farm—an agricultural factory in which the state owned the land and farming equipment, appointing managers who hired peasants on a wage basis. One sees in these attitudes toward workers' control and agricultural communes the essentially bourgeois spirit and mentality that permeated the Bolshevik Party—a spirit and mentality that emanated not only from its theories, but also from its corporate mode of organization. In December 1918 Lenin launched an attack against the communes on the pretext that peasants were being "forced" to enter them. Actually, little if any coercion was used to organize these communistic forms of self-management. As Robert G. Wesson, who studied the Soviet communes in detail, concludes: "Those who went into cornmunes must have done so largely of their own volition." The communes were not suppressed but their growth was discouraged until Stalin merged the entire development into the forced collectivization drives of the late twenties and early thirties.

Unlike petey, I grew up in a city surrounded by countless reactionary, brutal, racist, sexist and murderous shipyard and factory workers, so I’m not really convinced by the division you proposed between ‘town and country’:

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Hence it requires an act of high consciousness for the proletariat to use its power to achieve a social revolution. Until now, the achievement of this consciousness has been blocked by the fact that the factory milieu is one of the most well-entrenched arenas of the work ethic, of hierarchical systems of management, of obedience to leaders, and in recent times of production committed to superfluous commodities and armaments. The factory serves not only to "discipline," "unite," and "organize" the workers, but also to do so in a thoroughly bourgeois fashion. In the factory, capitalistic production not only renews the social relations of capitalism with each working day, as Marx observed, it also renews the psyche, values and ideology of capitalism.

Sorry for the long quotations.

proletarian.
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Feb 25 2015 12:22
Leo wrote:
Quote:
On the 'it will take generations to get to a communist society' question I disagree. I know this was Marx's view and people repeat it but I think given technological advancement, the pitfalls and historic experience of counter-revolution etc the longer it takes the less likely it is to happen. For me, communist revolution must take hold pretty quickly. There is no chance it will take generations in my view because we simply don't have the luxury of time or peace.

I appreciate how hopeful you are but I think you're unrealistic. I'm saying it will take generations not because this was Marx's view but when I look at the world I see how screwed up every human being is, including myself. We are all children of capitalism, our personalities were formed and deformed within a capitalist world. Every one of us is damaged. It'll take generations to shake off these traumas for the human species and in fact for the world.

Having personalities or traits formed and molded under capitalism, reactionary views, ideas and so on is not a barrier to communist society. We're not aiming for a perfect society here. It's the process as you rightly say that will change individuals and communist society itself, a new social order. It may take generations for individuals to change so drastically as you envisage but that doesn't mean we won't be living in a communist society at the time.Frankly, I'm less concerned about individual personality than food, shelter, sanitation,infrastructure, healthcare etc

proletarian.
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Feb 25 2015 12:27
factvalue wrote:
Elsewhere, in the north and in Soviet Asia, several thousand of these organisms were established, partly on the initiative of the Left Social Revolutionaries and in large measure as a result of traditional collectivist impulses which stemmed from the Russian village, the mir. It matters little whether these communes were numerous or embraced large numbers of peasants; the point is that they were authentic popular organisms, the nuclei of a moral and social spirit that ranged far above the dehumanizing values of bourgeois society.

What happened to the Left SR's then because I was under the impression they supported Democracy during the pre-revolutionary period, insurrection and aftermath. Is this simply wrong or did they change drastically?

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Feb 25 2015 12:53
Quote:
Leo's description of the peasantry may be true of those he's met but it's certainly not true of those in Asia I've met nor of how I understand the situation more generally. Agricultural technical developments, media technology, tourism, political movements, the rise of the seasonal migrant worker/seasonal proletarian who sends home remittance and then returns to the land, the impact of being in relation to a global capitalist market etc have long had great effects on peasantries.

Leo wrote:
I don't disagree with the impact of any of these changes, nor am I claiming that feudalism remains as a mode of production (although I'd be sceptical of any political movement based on the peasantry). What I'm trying to say is that peasantry as a class still exists and so does the peasant mentality and culture. To be honest, that's the impression I get from your quotes as it underlines exactly the presence of these cultural phenomena which is behind the Maoist arguement that feudalism remains.

OK, but that’s quite different from your earlier statement;

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The world of the peasant has pretty much remained as it was for thousands of years. When there is a proletarian revolution in the cities, the peasants will have one, and only one question: how will this affect crop prices. It is a natural question for the peasant because this is how the peasant relates to the cities.

(Leaving aside whether there was much of a cash crop market thousands of years ago wink ) I think there are complexities too often missed; it was only in the early 21st C that the urban global population went to above a 50% majority. So a large proportion of the world still lives in a rural environment and culture, at least part of the time. There are diverse peasant cultures and diverse classes within any general category of ‘peasantry'; eg, until the 1960s France had a majority rural population;

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"Not until the 1960s did the urban population surpass the rural population." ... "Until the middle of the twentieth century, agriculture was dominated by small holdings and family farms. Two factors have affected rural land holdings since World War II. There has been an acceleration of the rural exodus leading to a strong migration toward cities, along with a consolidation of farm lands that had been scattered through inheritance patterns." http://www.everyculture.com/Cr-Ga/France.html

But the conditions of the French peasantry weren’t at all static nor very similar to that of Asian or Latin American peasants, so I don’t think sweeping generalisations are very useful. Similarly, it’s taken a lot less than 1000 years to dramatically change the world of the Chinese peasant as they flood into the modern city factories and village land is enclosed by state bureaucrats and private capital.

Within the rural/village culture there exists class hierarchies of the landless, subsistence farmers, profitable crop traders, artisans, landlords etc. - and also the previously mentioned migrant workers. So a ‘peasant culture’ still exists but it’s anything but static, isolated and unchanging.

On Russian peasant communes; Marx exchanged letters on this with Russian populists and – partly based on his reading of Bakunin; http://libcom.org/library/notes-bakunins-book-statehood-and-anarchy-karl... - concluded the peasant mir could be a possible springboard for a direct passage to communism without going through capitalism; http://digamo.free.fr/shanin83.pdf

boomerang
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Feb 25 2015 15:56

i've been following the thread but haven't had time to respond yet. i hope to get to it this week. the time issue, though, isn't just the time it takes to reply, but the time it takes to think things over. sometimes i need to let things sit with me and mull them over.

with the issue of revolution i try to think extra critically about everything, even things that immediately make sense to me, because of the fact that we've never yet had a successful revolution* in history, and each of them has been spectacularly screwed up in one way or another. this teaches us a lot about what doesn't work, but there are still so many questions, and clearly it's such an easy thing to get wrong. the factor of unpredictability also complicates things a lot.

* (well, we've had successful revolutions of one class replacing another, but never a successful revolution that aimed to abolish class.)

when i do reply, i might just end up having more questions than conclusions, as usual. tongue

petey
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Feb 25 2015 19:24
Leo wrote:
I'm not claiming everyone who lives on the countryside is a bigot. I too have met several who aren't. What I said was that some of the most backwards, racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary places in the world are in the countryside.

who said they weren't? and the rest of the most backwards, racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary places in the world are in cities and towns. what's the point then of making such a statement?

Quote:
What remains unchanged is that the peasant engages in a direct relationship with nature, gets what he gives from it and goes on to sell his crops. Peasant culture is based on this basic social reality. Of course there are changes: production technologies can bring changes, migration is an important factor etc. I'm not claiming capitalism is out of the countryside - it isn't. Yet what doesn't change is the essence of being a peasant, the mental world of the peasant, the world as the peasant sees it.

that's what i'm denying.

Leo
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Feb 25 2015 23:18
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In that piece he was mainly concerned with the question: Can the transition from a class society to a classless society and the transition from one class society to another really be explained by the same means? Social revolution, he says, is surely impossible without the proletariat but what power does the proletariat actually have when compared with the immense power that the bourgeoisie already possessed within feudalism, ideologically, materially and culturally, before assuming power politically? The proletariat doesn’t control economic life. What power does the proletariat possess which could go toe-to-toe with or ‘dictate’ to the terrifying military might of the bourgeoisie?

The potential to strugge collectively, the power to launch a mass strike.

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Their army would have to be won over or the revolution would be utterly crushed as in Spain, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. So young people, from whose numbers the bourgeoisie recruit their armies, are also vitally important, as is everyone from that generation apart from the ruling class.

The basic idea here is thus one of a people's struggle against the state. The barracks and the workplace are similar structures, so the army proletarianizes most if not all the privates: so the struggle of the privates against their officers is of course part of the class struggle. Yet neither the soldiers nor young people are actually a class: there are many soldiers from a proletarian background, others are from peasant, artisan or petty-bourgeois backgrounds. Some, even are from bourgeois backgrounds. Then there is the situation where it's not in the interests of the privates to be sent to death, nor is it in the interests of their families. All these complicate things.

As for young people today, the unemployed young children of proletarians, students from proletarian families, precarious young workers etc. I'd say all of them are proletarians. A young person who's running a small shop, however, is not a proletarian.

In any case, I don't see the proletariat only as the workers in the factories, but there are distinctive class lines in society, and categories such as students, soldiers, youth etc. are categories made up of different classes, as is the general category of the "people".

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Unlike petey, I grew up in a city surrounded by countless reactionary, brutal, racist, sexist and murderous shipyard and factory workers, so I’m not really convinced by the division you proposed between ‘town and country’.

Oh I'm not denying that there aren't countless reactionary, brutal, racist, sexist and murderous shipyard and factory workers - though I'm pretty sure that the ratios are far lower compared to those among the petty-bourgeoisie, the artisans and the peasants.

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Having personalities or traits formed and molded under capitalism, reactionary views, ideas and so on is not a barrier to communist society. We're not aiming for a perfect society here. It's the process as you rightly say that will change individuals and communist society itself, a new social order. It may take generations for individuals to change so drastically as you envisage but that doesn't mean we won't be living in a communist society at the time.Frankly, I'm less concerned about individual personality than food, shelter, sanitation,infrastructure, healthcare etc

Sorry, but food, shelter, sanitation, infrastructure and healthcare does not equal communism. I'm not saying we're aiming a perfect society: I'm saying we will be fooling ourselves if we think communism can be built from day one.

Communism requires a certain form of consciousness which I believe can't be attained by the generation who brings down the bourgeoisie, or even their children. I think the human species will need to discuss issues which transcend our current vision in the road towards communism.

I guess I don't have so much faith in the ideal of humanity to the extent that I can expect the generations of human beings I've seen under capitalism to build full communism in day one.

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OK, but that’s quite different from your earlier statement;

I think I didn't manage to express myself well. By the world of the peasant, I meant it mainly as the world as the peasant saw it.

However, of course even if nothing of the peasant way of life changed, the peasant communities would still be technically changing, its members being replaced by others in every generation etc. So all measurements of change are relative: it's I think quite obvious that the countryside didn't change as dramatically as the cities.

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Leaving aside whether there was much of a cash crop market thousands of years ago wink

Small land-owners still traded with the cities for money - I mean after money was invented that is wink Slaves and serfs came and passed until the workers; the small peasant continued to sell his goods to the cities.

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I think there are complexities too often missed; it was only in the early 21st C that the urban global population went to above a 50% majority. So a large proportion of the world still lives in a rural environment and culture, at least part of the time.

Yeah, I think this is a good point and these are important developments which need to be analyzed and observed.

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There are diverse peasant cultures and diverse classes within any general category of ‘peasantry'

Certainly there are diverse peasant cultures, but they do have common aspects or tendencies. And of course the countryside is torn by class antagonisms too.

While nearly half of the world lives on the countryside though, if I remember correctly the agricultural sector constitutes a mere 6% of the world's GDP.

Villages which have had more contact with the world and various different cultures tend to be much better places. I don't think this is a councidence. For a village in isolation, and there are many despite all the capitalist developments in the countryside, the world consists of itself and a few other villages around it, and maybe a remote town which itself is not much more than a village. (In fact, remote towns tend to be far worse than villages, the peasant prejudices mixed in with the worst aspects of life in capitalist cities).

In the Turkish countryside there is a common ritualistic behavior which I've personally observed as well: whenever someone from a metropole visits, they stare at the visitor. Obviously this seems strange to visitors who are foreign to the peasant world (we once took American friends to a relative's village and they were a rather freaked out by it), yet it's actually quite a natural thing to do for them. A visitor from a metropole, or in fact anywhere distant, even if it's not a visitor from another continent but from the capital which is four hours from the village, is something quite rare there. Even a car passing by which has a different plate number is a strange car which doesn't escape the stares. I'd be quite surprised if this seemingly insignificant cultural behavior is exclusive to the peasants of Turkey.

Quote:
But the conditions of the French peasantry weren’t at all static nor very similar to that of Asian or Latin American peasants, so I don’t think sweeping generalisations are very useful. Similarly, it’s taken a lot less than 1000 years to dramatically change the world of the Chinese peasant as they flood into the modern city factories and village land is enclosed by state bureaucrats and private capital.

Within the rural/village culture there exists class hierarchies of the landless, subsistence farmers, profitable crop traders, artisans, landlords etc. - and also the previously mentioned migrant workers. So a ‘peasant culture’ still exists but it’s anything but static, isolated and unchanging.

It is not static, isolated and unchanging in the absolute, but it is relatively static, isolated and unchanging compared to the cities. I think the preconditions for making any generalization is recognizing that no generalization can be absolutely true.

I don't disagree with or disregard all the examples you've given but I'd categorize your example on China, in fact as not a change in peasant life but in fact its destruction. Peasants cease to be peasants when they flood the factories in the cities, even though aspects of the peasant culture will continue to live with them probably throughout their lives: even their children will carry it to an extent.

Quote:
On Russian peasant communes; Marx exchanged letters on this with Russian populists and – partly based on his reading of Bakunin; http://libcom.org/library/notes-bakunins-book-statehood-and-anarchy-karl... - concluded the peasant mir could be a possible springboard for a direct passage to communism without going through capitalism; http://digamo.free.fr/shanin83.pdf

Yeah - personally I'd been very excited when I first discovered the Zasulich letters. Unfortunately, I think he was wrong on the revolutionary prospects of the Russian agricultural commune and wasn't aware of the role it played as a part of the Imperial system in Russia (such as organizing tax collection and recruiting soldiers). More importantly, I think he was wrong on his assesment of the medieval agricultural commune. He looked at the agricultural communes in Germany history, including its surviving examples, and indeed people who made up these structures had been one of the main social components of the Muntzer rebellion against the ruling class. What he missed on all the medieval agricultural communes, however, was that the family institution remained at the heart of it, contrary to the archaic tribal communes destroyed by Rome which Marx thought, not wrongly, were not unrelated to the medieval communes.

In fact I think had the even more archaic, pre-Roman communes Marx talks about survived, they could well fit into a passage into communism skipping class society in its entirety. The Native American communities, where the family and patriarchy was merely present if at all and sexual orientations weren't oppressed - and which had a mode of life more in line with Marx's ecological views, provide a striking example. Unfortunately, resisting a centuries long genocide proved impossible with bows and arrows for them.

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who said they weren't? and the rest of the most backwards, racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary places in the world are in cities and towns

Towns? Certainly. Neighborhoods? Possibly. Cities in themselves? No. Certainly there are lots of individuals with backwards, racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary views in every city in the world. And there are lots of individuals, more than the former even in some cities, who don't. The cities are where the rejection of all these traditional views originated in after all.

The point is that there are many villages and many towns where almost everyone is racist, sexist, homophobic and reactionary. I don't think there is a single city which can be categorized like that.

proletarian.
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Feb 26 2015 00:27

I don't think I'm more optimistic than you Leo, well perhaps a little. I just think change can take place very quickly rather than being a long drawn out affair. And the fact that we'll all be dead if we don't get our arses in gear. By the way where does your "certain form of consciousness" come from if not from the struggle to "build" communism. I didn't actually say from "day one" I said must take hold pretty quickly.

jojo
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Feb 26 2015 02:16

proletarian wrote

Quote:
Having personalities or traits formed and molded under capitalism, reactionary views, ideas and so on is not a barrier to communist society. We're not aiming for a perfect society here. It's the process as you rightly say that will change individuals and communist society itself, a new social order. It may take generations for individuals to change so drastically as you envisage but that doesn't mean we won't be living in a communist society at the time.Frankly, I'm less concerned about individual personality than food, shelter, sanitation,infrastructure, healthcare etc

to which Leo replied that "food, shelter, sanitation, infrastructure, healthcare etc." doesn't equal communism. This is true. But a secure supply of food, shelter, sanitation etc. for everyone living on the planet is already such a negation of capitalism as to constitute an improvement in everyday existence and quality of life never before experienced by humanity. It may not be communism but it is a huge step in the right direction. It will do so much to liberate people from the psychological chains imposed by capitalism that it will feel like communism.

And, in fact, perhaps communism as such will never be achieved, but always be the goal. Once freed from capitalism's horrendous restrictions, the enormities of which are difficult to grasp while we are trapped inside them, the possibilities for further life enhancement, nurtured by intellectual, technological and environmental developments, may have no limits, and continually present new openings.

And proletarian could be right, that it needn't take aeons for positive change to begin once freed from this hell whole of a society. Added to which there's the matter that we'll all be dead "if we don't get our arses in gear" pretty soon. So when do we start?

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Devrim
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Feb 26 2015 05:42
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In the Turkish countryside there is a common ritualistic behavior which I've personally observed as well: whenever someone from a metropole visits, they stare at the visitor. Obviously this seems strange to visitors who are foreign to the peasant world (we once took American friends to a relative's village and they were a rather freaked out by it), yet it's actually quite a natural thing to do for them. A visitor from a metropole, or in fact anywhere distant, even if it's not a visitor from another continent but from the capital which is four hours from the village, is something quite rare there. Even a car passing by which has a different plate number is a strange car which doesn't escape the stares. I'd be quite surprised if this seemingly insignificant cultural behavior is exclusive to the peasants of Turkey.

Leo, Myself and E were in a village in Çorum once and we ended up talking to some old peasant men in a cafe, and one of them asked where we were from. She replied Ankara, at which point one of these old men announced proudly that he had once been to Ankara. All of the other old men were sort of nodding and saying 'oh yes, it's true...he once went to Ankara', in the way you might refer to an astronaut having been to the moon.

For those who don't know Ankara, the capital, is even less than four hours from Çorum.

Battlescarred
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Feb 26 2015 10:41

And your point is about peasants?

proletarian.
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Feb 26 2015 10:54

Reminds me of when Antony goes to London from the Royle Family.

jojo
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Feb 27 2015 00:46

The Thai capital Bangkok is only one hour from Pathum Thani but there's lots of peasants there too.

proletarian.
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Feb 27 2015 01:53

I was reflecting on some of what you have said Leo. Do you think since the Russian Revolution and revolutionary wave we are in a general period of transition? That perhaps is a poor or confusing term as we are clearly not heading towards communism at this moment. But perhaps Russia and attempts elsewhere where the "birth pangs" of a possible new society. I'm proposing although these attempts obviously failed since this time we remain in the same period of history - communism or barbarism (or whatever term, communism or Syria maybe?). i.e we're not just 'in capitalism'.

jojo
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Feb 27 2015 09:47

Leo, I don't see why "someone who's running a small shop" can't be proletarian. All over S. E. Asia there are persons serving as vendors of one thing or another, or running -.even owning (wow!) - small shops, because there's no other work available, and trying to sell stuff is all that's left to do if you want any cash at all. After all there's very little in the way of anything free in this area of the capitalist world order. Even school, and a minimum of medical health care (a possibly trained nurse rather than a more expensive doctor) requires a small fee. There's no unemployment benefi either, and even having a job hardly pays. Many young people are reduced to selling crap on the beach to tourists or on the streets in cities to anyone who'll buy - or prostitution of course. It is terrible to be condemned to a limiting existence such as this is. Only the climate makes it remotely bearable.

But to suffer the additional Indignation of being labelled a no-go for proletarianization, even at the most basic level, must be the final insult. So. It isn't true that someone running some rubbishy shop (probably "the owner" of the said rubbishy shop, as he cant afford to employ someone else to do it for him) is necessarily condemned to be a trumped up peasant or a poor imitation of a petty bourgeois shopkeeper for ever, but is capable of thought and resentment against his God-awful position in this deadly society, and might even develop inklings of class consciousness in encouraging circumstances.

And if he didn't have his "shop" he might have to sell a body part illegally to get his hands on any money at all, as happens for example in the Phillipines.

Battlescarred
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Feb 27 2015 10:43

And don't forget the militants who ever the last century or so were blacklisted and forced to sell matches, newspapers etc because they couldn't get work. Petty bourgeois economically but...
BTW I find the bigotry against peasants here appalling. The ICC like all Leninists have inherited the fierce prejudice against the peasantry that Kautsky initiated and passed on to people like Luxemburg and Jogiches and then Lenin and co.This led to the polarised war on the peasantry that the Bolsheviks waged and where extremely dodgy criteria as to who was a kulak were applied. Alongside the suppression of all other anarchist and socialist tendencies one of the most disastrous policies that the Bolsheviks enacted.
Ah well, i guess all of that makes me a petty bourgeois anarchist too...

boomerang
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Feb 27 2015 16:20

Yeah... still not ready to write a proper response but I have to just weigh in here for a sec and say that the whole "peasants are bigots" shit is not helping the left-com argument on these issues, and if anything just makes me have more doubts about other aspects of your position (that I may have had less doubts about otherwise), because I start to question whether the grounds for the "let's only give them partial inclusion and exclude them in every other way" is based on a sound analysis or just regurgitated prejudice inherited from the party-line of your political ancestors.

It's also incredibly boring to read all the long defenses of the "peasants are bigots" position. I'm trying to read your posts over thoroughly to fairly consider your points, but when that shit comes up I wonder why I'm bothering.

Let's not forget that during revolutionary times, the intense struggle radicalizes people's consciousness, and people can easily make huge leaps in their ideas about all sorts of things, including shedding old bigotries. But if we send the message, "This revolution isn't really for you," all the more reason for them to hold on to those nasty old views.

I also think Jojo makes a really good point about how for many of the urban PB, they really do have a very deep and pressing material interest to support revolution, and I'd say the same applies to peasants.

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Tyrion
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Feb 27 2015 17:05

I agree strongly with boomerang. I live in the United States, and as far as I can tell there's very little in the way of a peasantry here. Yet there's clearly no lack of incredibly reactionary views to be found here among wage-laborers. I'm not sure why it's reasonable to assume that any revolutionary situation would presuppose a decline of these attitudes among these proletarians, at least to the extent that such attitudes hinder class action, but peasants are irreconcilably backwards. After all, surely subsistence farmers have a material interest in communism, in ridding themselves of their landlords and their restricted access to the goods of the world that they don't themselves produce and the potential ruin brought on by a bad individual harvest. It's not as if merely making peasants into their own landlords addresses most of this, and if they pursue the petit-bourgeois route then they face the likely insurmountable pressure of competition from agribusiness outfits.

Leo
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Feb 27 2015 17:28
Quote:
I don't think I'm more optimistic than you Leo, well perhaps a little. I just think change can take place very quickly rather than being a long drawn out affair. And the fact that we'll all be dead if we don't get our arses in gear. By the way where does your "certain form of consciousness" come from if not from the struggle to "build" communism.

It comes from the ability to look at things more widely and in a larger perspective stemming looking the wounds our species and the world have taken from capitalism being slowly healed as we struggle to create communism.

Quote:
I was reflecting on some of what you have said Leo. Do you think since the Russian Revolution and revolutionary wave we are in a general period of transition?

No, I don't think so. I don't even think the period of transition began in Russia or any other part of the world where the proletariat took power - I don't think it can before the world revolution.

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Leo, I don't see why "someone who's running a small shop" can't be proletarian.

Because they own small shops?

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All over S. E. Asia there are persons serving as vendors of one thing or another, or running -.even owning (wow!) - small shops, because there's no other work available, and trying to sell stuff is all that's left to do if you want any cash at all.

Sure - in fact it's not even limited to South East Asia. I'm not condemning anyone for choosing to work like that out of necessity or even out of preferance. Being a worker is not, in my opinion, a moral choice of lifestyle. If my only alternative was either owning a small shop and running it by myself or working in a certain job, and if the former meant less working hours, a higher income and didn't involve any risks, I'd certainly prefer it. I wouldn't be a proletarian anymore though, I'd be an artisan.

Quote:
And don't forget the militants who ever the last century or so were blacklisted and forced to sell matches, newspapers etc because they couldn't get work. Petty bourgeois economically but...

Actually, I'd call them artisans of sorts rather than petty-bourgeois since they don't exploit anyone. If, however, they opened a shop and started employing workers, they'd be petty-bourgeois.

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BTW I find the bigotry against peasants here appalling.

Where is the bigotry? Have you ever even met an actual peasant? Have you ever spent time in an actual village? Have you ever worked in a farm? I have. I have peasants in my family. I don't have anything against peasants (I'm quite fond of the ones in my family, none of whom I would define as reactionary): I'm simply trying to analyze their situation and in fact, remind some of the posters who seem to have forgotten them of their existance.

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The ICC like all Leninists have inherited the fierce prejudice against the peasantry that Kautsky initiated and passed on to people like Luxemburg and Jogiches and then Lenin and co.

What you're doing here is called a falsification. First of all, for all its faults, the ICC is not Leninist. Second, no ICC members have commented on the peasants here. Lastly, the position of marxism on the potential of the peasants originated not in Kautsky but in Marx himself, who after all come up with the phrase "the idiocy of rural life". He also disagreed with Bakunin's populism which declared everyone other than the ruling class to be potentially revolutionary. And Lenin, if anything, was far more favorable towards the peasants at least on paper: the idea of a workers and peasants allience and government would be seen as nothing less than an abomination by Marx.

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This led to the polarised war on the peasantry that the Bolsheviks waged and where extremely dodgy criteria as to who was a kulak were applied.

Again, this is a falsified reading of history. In fact, Lenin's position lead not to the war on the kulaks but to the New Economical Policy.

Besides, what you're doing here is quite a shocking association by guilt since I've quite clearly expressed that forced collectivizations is a very bad idea because it would lead to a war between the workers and the peasants, and that's not a preferable situation no matter what the outcome.

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Ah well, i guess all of that makes me a petty bourgeois anarchist too...

I don't think it does. It just makes you someone who's a bit careless about his facts.

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whether the grounds for the "let's only give them partial inclusion and exclude them in every other way" is based on a sound analysis or just regurgitated prejudice inherited from the party-line of your political ancestors.

As far as I remember, I've never discussed the question of peasantry in my former organization. My position personally is based mainly on actually living in a country which still has a rather large population of peasants. When I talk to people in Turkey about life in villages in the countryside, they understand - even anarchists who're so sick of life in cities that they want to go and live in the countryside. What marxism says about the peasants fit my personal experiences and observations as well what I know of life in the countryside in the country I live in as well as others rather well.

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Let's not forget that during revolutionary times, the intense struggle radicalizes people's consciousness, and people can easily make huge leaps in their ideas about all sorts of things, including shedding old bigotries.

Your revolutionary times are not going to reach the parts of the countryside living in isolation.

In some parts of the countryside, certainly a section of the agricultural proletariat, hopefully a majority or at least a large minority will be acting as one with the proletarians of the cities and some of the rest will be supportive. The wealthy landownders will be bitterly against the revolution. I'm afraid a significant segment of the small peasants will rally behind the wealthy landownders, others might not, some hopefully will be supportive of the revolution, others might be suspicious but neutral. A larger segment of the tenent farmers, hopefully the majority will be supportive of the revolution though I think only a minority will act as one with the proletariat.

The thing is, all the people who I've defined as supportive of the revolution but not acting as one with the proletariat will want land, and will want to continue to produce on their land as they always have. My arguement is that this is a demand which the workers have no other choice than meeting, with certain anti-patriarchal conditions which I don't expect will be popular.

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But if we send the message, "This revolution isn't really for you," all the more reason for them to hold on to those nasty old views.

I think this is what you don't understand. You think something along the lines of "if only we're nice to the peasants and make them feel they are included they'll rally to us". It's not about how nice we are. As other posters have underlined, the countryside is divided into classes too. The proletarian revolution is the revolution of the agricultural proletariat too, certainly. The small landowners aren't going to feel it's their revolution because they aren't interested in a revolution. Not because they're stupid, in fact. They aren't. Because a revolution is not by itself necessarily for or against their interests, it isn't related to their survival. They know this better than idealistic revolutionaries who've never met a peasant in their lives trying to convince them it's their revolution too.

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I live in the United States, and as far as I can tell there's very little in the way of a peasantry here.

Yeah, I think that's the case for most posters here, which is why I seem to be having such a big difficulty in getting a point so obvious in any country where there is a significant strata of peasantry accross.

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Yet there's clearly no lack of incredibly reactionary views to be found here among wage-laborers.

Certainly: but I'm not talking about incredibly reactionary views to be found among peasants, I'm saying there are parts of the country-side, entire villages and entire towns, where literally 99,9% of the population hold these views.

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I'm not sure why it's reasonable to assume that any revolutionary situation would presuppose a decline of these attitudes among these proletarians, at least to the extent that such attitudes hinder class action, but peasants are irreconcilably backwards.

Because the proletarians have to get rid of those attitudes if they are to make a revolution or even to struggle and the peasants don't have to make a revolution in the first place.