Skip to main content

Class independent leadership is key

Class collaboration doesn't favor the working class. It never has. No matter how practical it seems, the working class always ends up being subjugated.

This situation reminded me of something I read a couple days ago.

As in revolutionary Russia, the importance of class independence isn't recognized by many on the left today (even within the "radical" left). The result is an NDP coalition with Liberals in Canada and sizable left support for Obama here in the States. Unlike the US and Canada, however, revolutionary Russia also had a large group of people who understood class collaboration to be a mistake. Victor Serge wrote the following some eighty years ago in his account of the Bolshevik led Russian Revolution:

Nothing is more tragic at this juncture than the moral collapse of the two great parties of democratic socialism. The Socialist-Revolutionaries had carried considerable weight, through their distinguished record and their influence in the countryside, on the intellectuals and middle classes and, not so long ago, among powerful minorities of workers: they had enjoyed every opportunity of taking power without any transgression of the established legality and of governing as Socialists. The country would have followed them. At its Fourth Congress the majority of the party castigated the Central Committee for not having done so. But the SR leaders, ridden by a fetishism for formal democracy, fearing more than anything else the anarchy of the masses and peasant jacquerie, and dreaming of a parliamentary democracy where their eloquence would have held sway, rejected the arduous Socialist road in favour of collaboration with the liberal bourgeoisie.

Serge goes on to the Mensheviks:

The Mensheviks, a minority of the Russian Social-Democratic Workers' party who had tussled over twenty years with the Bolsheviks (in factional struggles which were actually contests between revolutionary intransigence and Socialist opportunism), were influential in the industrial centres, among the intelligentsia, in the cooperatives, in the trade union leadership, and in the circles around the late government. They had contributed statesmen as remarkable, for their personal qualities and their revolutionary past, as Chkeidze and Tseretelli, and theoreticians and agitators as gifted as G. V. Plekhanov, the great founder of Russian Social-Democracy, Y. Martov, Dan and Abramovich. But the Mensheviks, with similar hesitations to those of the SRs, declared themselves on the side of class collaboration, 'democracy' and the Constituent Assembly, and against `anarchy', `premature socialism,' 'Bolshevik hysteria' and (even) civil war.

Compare the revolution in Russia to the revolution in Spain and we see how important class independent leadership is. The Russian Revolution would have no doubt failed had there been no answer to the policies of the SRs and Mensheviks.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Against Empire

It seems like no one outside of the “American Conservative” is thinking about the US as a declining empire. Contrary to what some thought, Trump has no interest in scaling back the US to a “normal” country. That wasn’t what MAGA meant. Quite the opposite, Trump and his goons think the post war international order isn’t US-centric enough. This is where Trump and the neoconservatives find common ground. 

What’s more interesting to me is the Democratic Party, and the liberal/left in general. The Dems are historically the war party, and they have renewed that patriotic passion in the Trump era. The shameful treatment of Ilhan Omar is a good example. This charge of her being “anti-Semitic” for questioning Israel’s influence in US foreign policy is disingenuous and disgraceful. (People are acting like we didn’t already go through this silly “debate” when Walt and Mearsheimer’s book came out over a decade ago. It’s infuriating. These are also the same people who can’t go a half an hour witho…
I’m really glad to see Paulsen and Lewis gone (especially Lewis who is particularly ghoulish), but I would be much more confident if the DFL would have kept Walz’s and Nolan’s seats. Many powerful Dems were already convinced of the “suburban strategy” (basically a mad dash away from anything labeled “populist”) and the midterm results are going to make them even more zealous. The problem is that this strategy is based almost solely on moral outrage and that burns people out. It’s simply not sustainable. And while I’m sure they’re good people who know how to say the right things, I don’t trust the political instincts of Craig or Phillips. 
The Sanders wing of the Democratic Party is the most interesting thing to happen to it since Vietnam and there is a real possibility it will be manuvered into irrelevance during the 2020 nomination process. This will make the Dems turn to suburban white collar professionals complete. It will also cede all populism to the right which will open the do…

The Best a Man Can Get

Paralleling the socially conscious corporation is the conservative critique of capitalism. Tucker Carlson, an odious character to be sure, has gone as far as saying family values are being “crushed” by market forces. How is the left going to explain this, let alone fight it, when to your average person the left is indiscernible from a massive corporation like Gillette? The right has already taken a chunk of what it means to be transgressive, particularly in England as they pretty well own the counter-culture, now they are set to become the new anti-capitalists while we cheer on advertisements. This is going to be a rough year.