devrim's group and the communist league

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petey
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Nov 6 2006 22:05
devrim's group and the communist league

i see in the new issue of worker's republic an excchange between the EKS and the CL. haven't read it, linked here for your theoretical pleasure. http://www.communistleague.org/pdf/wr/wr2006q3.pdf

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Devrim
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Nov 7 2006 11:23

No, neither have I actually. I read the thing that Leo sent to them, and I read about a page of their reply, but then I got stopped.
Dev

BB
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Nov 7 2006 12:22
Jack wrote:
They spend 2 pages "proving" that Marx and Engels were workers really to justify themselves. has to be read to be believed. grin

I gave up before then...

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Devrim
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Nov 7 2006 12:23

I don't think that we actually gave them much time, Jack. Leo wrote that 'open letter' when we argued with them on Revleft about the Lebonese war. It is a letter from him, not an offical group piece.
I stopped reading it when they spent a page saying that the links they had weren't important.
Dev

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Demogorgon303
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Nov 7 2006 13:24

Their stuff about Marx and Engels is definitely a bit of a stretch. In those days, being a clerk was absolutely a middle-class job. These days, much of that work has been proletarianised. As for journalism, that was middle-class then and its middle-class now. I wonder what they think of William Morris? Mind you, I imagine their workerism would appeal to many anarchists, given that so many exclude "managers" and the like from their organisations.

They do play down the links issue - I haven't checked it myself, but if they're going to link to organisations they don't agree with they should state explicitly what they think of them.

Their lecture about analysing democracy in a class framework (not wrong in itself) seems utterly bizarre if they're calling for bourgeois democratic rights and for recognition by the bourgeois state! The only democracy today that is useful to the proletariat is precisely proletarian democracy which can only be exercised by the proletariat's dictatorship over all exploiting strata (exercised through Soviets).

Their imperialist stuff seems to be the usual Leninist anti-Luxemburg line. They don't say much about how this impacts on the practice of internationalism, which is the crucial question here. The economics is important but doesn't constitute a class line. Nonetheless, it seems to fail to understand that both production and the market are not separate but dynamically related. Marx did point out that the commodity (essentially a market relationship) was the "cell form" of capitalism, after all!

On the other hand, their reply was fraternal in tone and they seem to be interested in genuinely discussing the issues. Judging from their "basic positions" - far too long to be called "basic" incidentally - they seem to be radical Trots flirting with some elements of Left Communism.

It would be interesting to see what the ICC think of their invitation to discussion ...

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Sam
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Nov 7 2006 13:58

That was pretty boring, especially the bit discussing if marx and engels were workers, like that is like a gold star for them if they are or something, almost trying to say that they are some sort of better person if they are a worker. Jack said

Quote:
Really, really mad twisting shit to justify liking Marx but having prolier than thou entry requirements.

It makes me think, is being more proletarian in the CL a bit like being a more holy person in the church? Is a proleterian background the CL's version of baptism?! A cleansing of all them bourgeois sins...
That's what the article seems to me anyway, that section of the article at least, was pretty inane, so was the links bit too.

petey
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Nov 7 2006 20:16
Demogorgon303 wrote:
their "basic positions" - far too long to be called "basic" incidentally

true, and they also have a program statement that occupies much small print, is quite detailed, and that seems at odds with their stated intention to be broad enough to engage many tendencies.

martinh
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Nov 7 2006 20:21
revol68 wrote:
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Mind you, I imagine their workerism would appeal to many anarchists, given that so many exclude "managers" and the like from their organisations.

and what's the problem with this?

More to the point, does it mean the ICC admit managers as members?

Regards,

Martin

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Khawaga
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Nov 7 2006 21:02
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In those days, being a clerk was absolutely a middle-class job. These days, much of that work has been proletarianised. As for journalism, that was middle-class then and its middle-class now.

As long as you work for a wage you are working class surely?

Jason Cortez
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Nov 7 2006 23:54

and if you don't work for a wage, your what?

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Demogorgon303
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Nov 8 2006 09:58
atlemk wrote:
As long as you work for a wage you are working class surely?

If only life were that simple. If that's the case then priests, members of parliament, even the police would belong to the working class! In broad terms, the proletariat has these basic components:

- is a wage-labourer
- is divorced from their means of production
- produces surplus value
- shares a "factory" form of organisation in their work i.e. division of labour, the fragmentation of production processes into distinct tasks within the work-place.

As Jack has said, I'm not and never have been a member of the ICC and I can't speak for their recruitment processes.

Personally, I would have no problem with someone being a "manager" or even a bourgeois and being a communist though. Communism isn't some kind of religion or lifestyle choice, it's a commitment to build the political consciousness of the proletariat. Many of the most militant organisations have been funded by bourgeois sympathisers: international travel, mass circulation of newspapers, etc. doesn't come cheap! On the other hand, there are some occupations which are completely anti-proletarian: police officer (or other role in the security state), MP, priest, drug dealer, etc.

Leo
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Nov 8 2006 10:03

I'm beginning to feel that this might not have been a good idea. I wasn't expecting them to publish it in their theoretical magazine when I wrote the letter. It was actually meant to be a thread on RevLeft forums. I honestly have to admit that I wasn't expecting a reply from their "central committee". Oh well, at least I created controversy =P Anyway, as the person who wrote the "open letter", I read the entire reply they wrote, and I will have to reply to it. After all their tone was "fraternal" and I can't leave the attacks on Luxemburg's analysis of imperialism and Bordiga's analysis of democracy unanswered, can I?

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Alf
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Nov 8 2006 20:25

In response to Martin H, we don't have an exhaustive list of jobs and professions you can't do, but some are clearly incompatible, like being in the police, or earning money in criminal ways that endanger the security and 'probity' of the organisation, as Demogorgon points out. With 'managers' it's more complex for precisely the reasons that Jack gives. There was quite a good discussion on this at the Solidarity (history of) meeting at the Bookfair, where quite a few people noted how Cardan's dichotomy between order givers and order takers had become increasingly fuzzy as modern capital tries to give everyone a little taste of management...But clearly when you get to the upper management echelons it's difficult to see how working at that level would be compatible with communist militancy. I think Demogorgon underestimates the contradictions here. Also, conditions have changed since rich radicals were prepared to donate funds to revolutionary organisations in Czarist Russia. This is extremely unlikely today, although not impossible. But that’s a different question from them actually becoming revolutionaries themselves.

I also don't agree that clerks in the 19th century were all middle class – what about poor old Bob Cratchett? - or that all 'journalists' are excluded from the working class either. There are, for example, masses of journalists who get precious little chance to spew out bourgeois propaganda and have to keep their heads down editing other peoples’ crap.

To Leo: I think it's right to be cautious towards the Communist League. I think they are still entirely in the framework of leftism, even if there may well be people in the group who are looking to break out of that framework. But I think it would be good to reply on the points they raise.

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Nov 9 2006 10:03
Quote:
and if you don't work for a wage, your what?

Then you're either capitalist, just very rich or being part of that group of reserve labour that is working class. Point taken though.

Quote:
- is a wage-labourer
- is divorced from their means of production
- produces surplus value
- shares a "factory" form of organisation in their work i.e. division of labour, the fragmentation of production processes into distinct tasks within the work-place.

I agree, but ontologically, being a wage labourer usually implies all of that. Objectively class is your relationship to means of production and whether you get a wage or not tells you a lot about who's in control. Still, it is too far of a simple definition since it lack any subjectivity. I think E.P. Thompson pretty much covered it with his "class is a happening" argument; it is empirical and sees class as praxis.

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888
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May 24 2007 01:47
Demogorgon303 wrote:
[ drug dealer, etc.

Why are drug dealers anti-proletarian? Does this make someone working in an off licence not proletarian? Also, I don't see why you need to produce surplus value. There are many jobs that don't (particuarly in government-run things).

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OliverTwister
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May 24 2007 03:10

To me dealing drugs isn't anti-proletarian, armed fights for control of territory are.

The Aufheben article about LA had a critique of gangs which I thought made a lot of sense (showing where they came from as essentially self-defense organs, and evolving into fighting for control of capital).

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Alf
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May 24 2007 07:38

Perhaps I should re-read the article. But I was appalled by it at the time - it seemed to be arguing for the proletarian character of the Bloods and Crips (at first, anyway...). If ever there was a pure product of capitalist decomposition, it's the urban gangs. There is nothing proletarian about them whatever. In fact they have become a major obstacle to the development of class identity and class consciousness, and are cynically manipulated by capital and the state.

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Joseph Kay
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May 24 2007 08:02

i think that article was based mostly on mike davies' book (city of quartz?), not sure, before my time. wasn't the thrust that the modern gangs grew out of the wreckage of the panthers et al who were consciously destroyed by the state? can't remember tbh

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jef costello
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May 24 2007 12:04
Joseph K. wrote:
i think that article was based mostly on mike davies' book (city of quartz?), not sure, before my time. wasn't the thrust that the modern gangs grew out of the wreckage of the panthers et al who were consciously destroyed by the state? can't remember tbh

I thought the gang culture in the major cities developed in the cities and began with homeless, often institutionalised kids turning to crime. New York and LA had massive gang problems. Big gangs work for capital in that they consolidate. Rather than having gang members fighting over control of a few blocks they administer them instead.

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May 24 2007 20:40
Jack wrote:
888 wrote:
Why are drug dealers anti-proletarian? Does this make someone working in an off licence not proletarian? Also, I don't see why you need to produce surplus value. There are many jobs that don't (particuarly in government-run things).

You're honestly trying to claim a smack dealer is no different to someone who works in an off licence (or even sells some illegal moonshine)?

When did I mention smack? What about weed? The original statement implied all drug dealers are no different to each other, that would include people who sell alcohol, LSD or cigarettes too.

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Devrim
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May 24 2007 20:50
Quote:
When did I mention smack? What about weed? The original statement implied all drug dealers are no different to each other, that would include people who sell alcohol, LSD or cigarettes too.

There is a huge difference between someone who works in a shop selling alcohol, or in a pub, and someone who is selling drugs. It is called a class difference. The workers in the office licence are workers. The people selling drugs, even at the lowest level, are a sort of lumpen petit bourgeoisie.

Devrim

alibadani
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May 24 2007 20:53

How many drug dealers want to join a revolutionary group anyway.

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May 24 2007 20:55
Devrim wrote:
Quote:
When did I mention smack? What about weed? The original statement implied all drug dealers are no different to each other, that would include people who sell alcohol, LSD or cigarettes too.

There is a huge difference between someone who works in a shop selling alcohol, or in a pub, and someone who is selling drugs. It is called a class difference. The workers in the office licence are workers. The people selling drugs, even at the lowest level, are a sort of lumpen petit bourgeoisie.

Devrim

Thats not how gang drug sales work. There is no difference between the runner, holder, money collector and lookout from any other employee. Its a very corporate structure actually. They're called workers or soldiers. the next levels up are referred to as middle-management or lieutenants. Bosses are called bosses more often than not. I'm not suggesting that this is productive positive class anything, but neither is working in a munitions factory for fucks sake.

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Devrim
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May 24 2007 21:30
thugarchist wrote:
Thats not how gang drug sales work. There is no difference between the runner, holder, money collector and lookout from any other employee. Its a very corporate structure actually. They're called workers or soldiers. the next levels up are referred to as middle-management or lieutenants. Bosses are called bosses more often than not. I'm not suggesting that this is productive positive class anything, but neither is working in a munitions factory for fucks sake.

Maybe not, but the world is not America. Maybe if you make all this money that you keep talking about you should travel a bit more. Although obviously criminal gangs are involved in the disrubution of drugs in lots of places at a street level drugs are sold not by organised gangs, but by individuals. And just to avoid getting into a moralistic argument about 'working in a munitions factory', I didn't compare it to that, I compared it to barstaff, and shop workers.

Devrim

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May 24 2007 21:37
Devrim wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
Thats not how gang drug sales work. There is no difference between the runner, holder, money collector and lookout from any other employee. Its a very corporate structure actually. They're called workers or soldiers. the next levels up are referred to as middle-management or lieutenants. Bosses are called bosses more often than not. I'm not suggesting that this is productive positive class anything, but neither is working in a munitions factory for fucks sake.

Maybe not, but the world is not America. Maybe if you make all this money that you keep talking about you should travel a bit more. Although obviously criminal gangs are involved in the disrubution of drugs in lots of places at a street level drugs are sold not by organised gangs, but by individuals. And just to avoid getting into a moralistic argument about 'working in a munitions factory', I didn't compare it to that, I compared it to barstaff, and shop workers.

Devrim

I can only talk about american street gang drug operations as thats where I live. Next time I make an observation I'll be sure to include a list of every neighborhood on earth I'm not specifically referring to.

Edit -> Note that I said gang drug sales in my original comment. Cock.

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Devrim
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May 24 2007 21:56
thugarchist wrote:
Edit -> Note that I said gang drug sales in my original comment. Cock.

Yes, impying as ever that all drug sales are gang sales, and that everything in the world is just how it is in Nevada.

Quote:
Next time I make an observation I'll be sure to include a list of every neighborhood on earth I'm not specifically referring to.

That isn't at all neccesary. "You could just change yor tagline to I have no idea what I am talking about beyond the relms of Nevada". That would serve the purpose equally well.

Devrim

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May 24 2007 22:02
Devrim wrote:
thugarchist wrote:
Edit -> Note that I said gang drug sales in my original comment. Cock.

Yes, impying as ever that all drug sales are gang sales, and that everything in the world is just how it is in Nevada.

Quote:
Next time I make an observation I'll be sure to include a list of every neighborhood on earth I'm not specifically referring to.

That isn't at all neccesary. "You could just change yor tagline to I have no idea what I am talking about beyond the relms of Nevada". That would serve the purpose equally well.

Devrim

I'm not actually from nevada, but thats neither here nor there. Gang drug operations basically have the same structure all over the US. Regardless, it doesn't imply that all drug sales are gang related. If that were true I wouldn't have included gang in the reference.

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May 24 2007 22:16
Devrim wrote:
There is a huge difference between someone who works in a shop selling alcohol, or in a pub, and someone who is selling drugs. It is called a class difference. The workers in the office licence are workers. The people selling drugs, even at the lowest level, are a sort of lumpen petit bourgeoisie.

Devrim

So (to use an example from my personal experience) the guy who works part time as a cleaner and sells a few pills to make a bit of extra money is "lumpen petit bourgeoisie"? Do you not think you're being a bit simplistic?

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May 24 2007 22:19
madashell wrote:
Devrim wrote:
There is a huge difference between someone who works in a shop selling alcohol, or in a pub, and someone who is selling drugs. It is called a class difference. The workers in the office licence are workers. The people selling drugs, even at the lowest level, are a sort of lumpen petit bourgeoisie.

Devrim

So (to use an example from my personal experience) the guy who works part time as a cleaner and sells a few pills to make a bit of extra money is "lumpen petit bourgeoisie"? Do you not think you're being a bit simplistic?

My ex used to crochet in her spare time and then sold the blanket or scarf or whatever. She's the next Donald Trump if you ask me.

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Devrim
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May 25 2007 02:30
madashell wrote:
So (to use an example from my personal experience) the guy who works part time as a cleaner and sells a few pills to make a bit of extra money is "lumpen petit bourgeoisie"? Do you not think you're being a bit simplistic?

Yes, it is very simplistic. My point was just that it is neccesary to start from a class analysis than one of moaral outrage.

Devrim

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May 25 2007 02:36
alibadani wrote:
How many drug dealers want to join a revolutionary group anyway.

A lot of small scale weed and coke dealers are in socialist or anarchist groups.

A lot of drug dealers do a normal proletarian job while they are not selling drugs.

As thug said, in organised crack selling gangs, the lowest rank (and most numerous) sellers are paid wages not commissions or anything.