As a matter of fact, the entire position of the opportunists in organisational questions already began to be revealed in the controversy over Paragraph 1: their advocacy of a diffuse, not strongly welded, Party organisation; their hostility to the idea (the “bureaucratic” idea) of building the Party from the top downwards, starting from the Party Congress and the bodies set up by it; their tendency to proceed from the bottom upwards, allowing every professor, every high school student and “every striker” to declare himself a member of the Party; their hostility to the “formalism” which demands that a Party member should belong to one of the organisations recognised by the Party; their leaning towards the mentality of the bourgeois intellectual, who is only prepared to “accept organisational relations platonically”; their penchant for opportunist profundity and for anarchistic phrases; their tendency towards autonomism as against centralism—in a word, all that is now blossoming so luxuriantly in the new Iskra, and is helping more and more to reveal fully and graphically the initial error.
This is the most important, the paramount, point of the programme, because it indicates what should constitute the activity of the Party in defending the interests of the working class, the activity of all class-conscious workers. It indicates how the striving for socialism, the striving for the abolition of the age-old exploitation of man by man, should be linked up with the popular movement engendered by the living conditions created by the large-scale factories.
TheParty’s activity must consist in promoting the workers’ class struggle. The Party’s task is not to concoct some fashionable means of helping the workers, but to join up with the workers’ movement, to bring light into it, to assist the workers in the struggle they themselves have already begun to wage. The Party’s task is to uphold the interests of the workers and to represent those of the entire working class movement. Now, what must this assistance to the workers in their struggle consist of?
Theprogramme says that this assistance must consist, firstly, in developing the workers’ class-consciousness. We have already spoken of how the workers’ struggle against the employers becomes the class struggle of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie.
Whatis meant by workers’ class-consciousness follows from what we have said on the subject. The workers’ class-consciousness means the workers’ understanding that the only way to improve their conditions and to achieve their emancipation is to conduct a struggle against the capitalist and factory-owner class created by the big factories. Further, the workers’ class-consciousness means their understanding that the interests of all the workers of any particular country are identical, that they all constitute one class, separate from all the other classes in society. Finally, the class-consciousness of the workers means the workers’ understanding that to achieve their aims they have to work to influence affairs of state, just as the landlords and the capitalists did, and are continuing to do now.
Bywhat means do the workers reach an understanding of all this? They do so by constantly gaining experience from the very struggle that they begin to wage against the employers and that increasingly develops, becomes sharper, and involves larger numbers of workers as big factories grow. There was a time when the workers’ enmity against capital only found expression in a hazy sense of hatred of their exploiters, in a hazy consciousness of their oppression and enslavement, and in the desire to wreak vengeance on the capitalists. The struggle at that time found expression in isolated revolts of the workers, who wrecked buildings, smashed machines, attacked members of the factory management, etc. That was the first , the initial, form of the working-class movement, and it was a necessary one, because hatred of the capitalist has always and everywhere been the first impulse towards arousing in the workers the desire to defend themselves. The Russian working-class movement has, however, already outgrown this original form. Instead of having a hazy hatred of the capitalist, the workers have already
Geneva, NY. Demonstrators in Geneva, NY protested against Monsanto in front of the district office of Congressman Tom Reed on May 24. The protest was part of a global March Against Monsanto. The company's genetically modified organisms and harmful pesticides threaten health, biodiversity, and sustainable food production throughout the world.
The Geneva demonstration was organized by Geneva resident, Kyle McGloon. McGloon said, "I feel like a lot of people are not aware of what is going on with our food and our government and wanted to spark some critical thinking."
Although Austria, Germany, France, and Switzerland are among the countries with partial bans on GMOs, the US lags far behind. Just this week, several counties in Oregon broke this impass, when they voted to ban the planting of genetically modifed crops in their borders. Monsanto currently spends upward of seven million dollars a year in lobbying efforts in the US.
Hobart and William Smith Colleges' Professor of Political Science Paul A. Passavant explained, "GMOs threaten small farms. In addition to poisoning the environment with their toxins, Monsanto puts small farmers out of business when common seed stores get contaminated with their genetically modified frankenseeds. We live in a strange world when the law allows Monsanto to sue small farmers out of business, but doesn't protect the rest of us from invasion from these genetically modified organisms.
This year's Geneva protest doubled in size from last year. McGloon was optimistic: "If I reached one person, I would be satisfied."
History Is A Weapon can't be trusted to follow the rules.
Lawrence & Wishart, who hold the copyright for the Marx Engels Collected Works, directed Marxists Internet Archive to delete all texts originating from MECW. Accordingly, from 30th April 2014, no material from MECW is available from marxists.org. But it's available at History Is A Weapon because we're jerks.
English translations of Marx and Engels from other sources will continue to be available.
Sandino's Daughters, Margaret Randall (Vancouver: New Star Books, 1981)
Dora Maria Tellez (a commander during the occupation of the National Palace in August 1978):
(talking about division into tendencies in the FSLN, which then reunited in 1977, pp. 53-54)
We were talking about the division--it was a period in which we broke with much of our dogmatism and rigidy. For example, we broke with many ideas and practices that tended to alienate women from the Organization. While this process was very positive and healthy for the Organization as a whole, it's also important to understand how and why that kind of rigidity develops.
Sometimes revolutionary organization--in order to grow--must step beyond the immediate reality and believe in something greater. There are often bloows so heavy that you have no choice to continue believing inw aht youa re fighting for and with even more confiction. And you can believe with such a firmness that you become rigid and unbending. Then perhaps at another moment, wheny ou have time to really analyze the situation, you can say, no, we don't have to believe that.
All the militants trained during that period are the same--forged in the struggle, with a tremendous commitment to the Organization and to the Nicaraguan people. That fith in the people, no one really knows where it comes from. I don't think revolutions are made by totally ordinary people. We revolutionaries are visionaries to a certain extent. That analysis may not be very formal, nor very political, but it's true.
What makes a man believe in his own potential as a man? What makes a woman believe that she is capable of anything? No one taught us. that is one of the great mysteries about the Revoltuion. They don't teach it to you at school. You don't learn to believe in humanity on the streets.
It becomes an obsessions--the people must rise up, they must. It begins with a vision, an imaginary idea. And holding onto that vision requires a constant process of nourishment. At first the Organization had very little capacity to analyze our people's experience. We had to understand that people are historically capable of maing revolutions, that they must and will make them--that's a historical law. But I never understood it as a historical law. I think many people didn't.
Tech entrepreneurship is not a harmless or benevolent force. The industry is built directly on the exploitation of millions of faceless people in the global south who are driven off their land and forced to do the dangerous and thankless work of extracting (at great ecological cost) the precious metals and other raw materials that enable the tech world to exist. Once the technology has been shoved down our throats through merciless advertising campaigns, mandatory cell phone upgrades, and jobs requiring instant connectivity of smartphones, we find ourselves tied to their world.
Unlike us, this beast has a head that can be targeted. Kevin Rose and other venture capitalists like him literally design and implement this entire exploitive system. They do it because they are drunk on their own power, caught up in a sense of importance bestowed upon them by the type of wealth most of us will never interact with. Kevin Rose will rise and fall with the elites of the dominant order. While we struggle to be included in the trickle-down of wealth through dehumanizing menial labor, these techies, entrepreneurs, and capitalists take over the world. Knowing that at the vanguard of this tech invasion are people like Kevin Rose only increases our desire to completely stop the current insanity.
Taken as a whole, Kevin Rose invests in startups that perpetuate the process of alienation under the guise of social technology. It is, admittedly, genius: create the technological conditions of alienation that drive people to desperately consume technological products that claim to combat the alienation produced by contemporary technological society. Tech is now about creating and selling the new indispensable commodity that everyone must have in order to be less bored, less lost, less ridden with anxiety. We want no part of this disgusting and creepy game being played by a bunch power deranged man-children.
To this end, we now make our first clear demand of Google. We demand that Google give three billion dollars to an anarchist organization of our choosing. This money will then be used to create autonomous, anti-capitalist, and anti-racist communities throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. In these communities, whether in San Francisco or in the woods, no one will ever have to pay rent and housing will be free. With this three billion from Google, we will solve the housing crisis in the Bay Area and prove to the world that an anarchist world is not only possible but in fact irrepressible. If given the chance, most humans will pursue a course towards increased freedom and greater liberty. As it stands, only people like Kevin Rose are given the opportunity to reshape their world, and look at what they do with those opportunities.
We know that your security advisors are taking our analysis seriously, so if you are confident that your system is the best, it would be wise to give us three billion to see if we fail. Our wager is that you are scared of the viable alternative we would create. If you are not scared, contact us at our Wordpress website. Send us a message and we can go from there. Otherwise, get ready for a revolution neither you nor we can control, a revolution that will spread to all of the poor, exploited, and degraded members of this new tech-society and be directed towards you for your bad decisions and irresponsible activities. We advise you to take us seriously.
For a world without bosses, rulers, or cops! Down with the Empire, up with the Spring!
PS: The following devices and programs were used in this action: Microsoft Word (for Mac) MacBook Samsung Nexus (powered by Google) Gmail Youtube Electrical SocketAga
A primary issue for CPUSA in 1930 was membership -- recruiting members, keeping members after they were recruited, and enhancing leadership. These problems were addressed yunder the generla theme of improving the organizational and political of shop and street nuclei. As a way of addressing the problem The Party Organizer published experiences from the specific districts.
Chicago: a meeting was described wherein 'old leading members' argued over whether unemployment was developing on a mass scale and over whether workers were radicalized. Six new members from Indianapolis refuted the old members. 'All of the Indianapolis new members spoke at the Section committee and without exception, expressed one desire and hope, namely that they expect to remain in the Party in order to be able to FIGHT and to gain KNOWLEDGE. These were the exact slogans put forward by these new members themselves."
The reason the Party was failing was because they weren't meeting new members' expectations of political life and political knowledge. Workers join to fight against capitalism and end up stymied by old members with no class struggle experience.
"Organizational looseness and lack of responsibility are one of the main factors responsible for the failure to keep new members and lead them to more activities."
Another story involved that of a new member from the Metal Trades Fraction who called a meeting and only five (of 90) showed up: this "gap between what he heard of our Party before he joined, and what he finds now when there is so little discipline, responsibility, and desire for actual participation in the class struggle" discouraged him a great deal (13).
The experience in New York was bitterly described:
"After a long wait the worker becomes a Party member. He or she has a membership book, attends the first meeting, and receives the first delusion. What did the worker expect when attending the meeting. Discussion on the struggle against capitalism, on the methods by which the toiling masses can be organized, political education to clarify the significance of the day to day struggle, and the duties of a member of the Communist Party. Instead of this the new member comes to a meeting where everything is discussed but the problems that he expected."
Another essay, "The Role of the Party Units in the Class Struggle"
When one observes the manner in which our unit work is organized and conducted at present, it becomes clear why we suffer from such a disproportion between the political influence and organized contact with the masses; why we lag behind; why we cannot keep new members; why the political level of the Party is so low; why we fail to draw new forces into our functionaries cadre more rapidly.
First, our units float in the air, so to speak. They are not anchored to any particular group of workers of a shop or street. They have no responsibility therefore to any workers and no means of determining the etent of their progress in winning workers for support of our revolutionary struggles. This results in an inward orientation. The test becomes simply whether they have satisfied the higher organs of the party. Whether they have carried out certain instructions as improving dues sales, etc. The units lose all initiative and all possibility for developing independent leadership and dire political responsibility to the workers. The work of the unity becomes mechanical. The political significance of the various tasks to be performed are lost sight of.
Members attend unit meetings only because it is required and not because they feel that by attending they willbe able to secure encouragement and directions that will make possible more effective revolutionary activity. In the course of time, they become accustomed to this situation (if they remain in the Party) and conclude that all that is required of a Party member is to appear at a unit meeting occasionally and pay up does. Thus the forces and energies of the Paryt are fittered away.
Only if our units properly organize their work, only if they direct themselves to systematic contact with the workers in the shops, only if the relation of our practical day to day tasks is clealry linked up with our general political aims, only if each unit become responsible not only to a higher Party organ but also to a group of workers whose struggles it undertakes to lead, will the Party as a whole be ab;e to realize our duties to the working class in the present period of deepening crisis and sharpening class struggle.
Red Sundays with the "Daily"
"Our broad influence among the workers must immediately be translated into organizational gains. Every Party member must become a Party organizer."
To this end, Sunday's become "Red Sundays" -- revolutionary work days.
"Comrade must go out in committees of two. They myst be aasigned certain streets or blocks. Revolutionary competition must be stablished between each committee or groups of committees in divided territory. This revolutionary work must be dramatized; comrades must understand it has to be a political undertaking of great importance to our Party. A certain hour must be set for the return of all comrades to the headquarters. A short meeting must be held so that the comrades can discuss their experiences and achievements and make these available for future guidance to all comrades."
This activity was about more than selling newspapers -- it was about connecting with workers, finding out where they live, who they are, where they work, what their lives are like. It's a way to establish contact with the masses.
By March 1930 Cannon was out. The problem of dedicated cadres nonetheless remained. Here are some excerpts from "New Cadres in Our Party" (pp 4-5).
The best instrument for carrying out the task of drawing in new proletarian forces into our leading cadres is an active bolshevik self-criticism. Evey unit should begin this self-criticsm under the leadership of the responsible Party Committees. Every functionary should be criticized with proletarian directness, his abilities judged not according to his eventual eloquence at meetings, but according to his ability in leading the nucleus, carrying out his tasks as leader of a special activity, as a literature agent, as industrial director, worker correspondent, etc. ...
Most of our Party members do not have any direct function in the regular daily Party work. The rest--the most active party members--are overburdened with work, some comrades having up to four or five functions, sometimes more. This is a wrong division of work--an 'exploitation' of Party forces which is inefficient and damages our activity as a whole. ... Better distribution of the function of our members!
It is a well known fact that Bolshevism clashes with reformism on organization questions no less decisively than on points of general politics. The looseness, laxity, and general flabbiness which characterized all shades of opportunism in the realm of organization is alien to the Communist Party. Lenin would never tolerate the idea that Paryt membership could be nejoyed by do-as-you-please people who took no part in the general work and activity of the Party and gave no account of themselves to the Party Committees. ...
The old socialist parties, all all reformist organizations generally, are characterized by an active bureaucracy and a passive membership. The 'business' of the organization is attended to by a small group of officials while the participation of the masses of the membership is largely formal and financial. It is obvious that this method and form of organization is not suitable for serious struggles in which the mass power of the workers must play the decisive role. Of course, this is not a defect in the eyes of the opportunitists since it is not their policy to struggle against capitalism but to adapt themselves to it. ...
The assignment of definite tasks to every party member and the construction of a whole net-work of responsible committees to supervise and regulate this work is Communist organization principle. ...
This leads to the construction of a flexible but strong party apparatus interwoven with the entire mass of the party members and drawing them all into active party work. ...
A glaring disparity exists everywhere between the plans and decisions of the Party committees and their practical execution. Passivity and indifference hamper the movments of the Party everywhere like a growth of poison vines. This evil can never be completely eradicated. How to reduce it steadily and increasingly to the minimum is the problem.
This task has two sides .... The Party committees and sub-committees must be galvanized into a more intense and better regulated activity and practice of assigning specific work to Party members and checking up on its performance must become more thorough and systematic. The practice of reporting on work done by the party members to the respective committees must be insisted on until it becomes the general and accepted order of things. Every party members must be trained in the habit of accounting for his specific work.
This pressure from the apparatus alone, however, will not solve the problem. Hand in hand with it must go a thorough-going campaign of education on Communist organization principles, together with widespread enlightenment on the party policies which are given life only by the multiform practical activities of the party members, and the reasons for them.
The key to successful mobilization for collective work is the permeation of the party members with enthusiasm and conviction. A general campaign of education within the Party on these questions, reinforced by a proportional intensification of discipline and accounting, will go a long way toward solving the work features of the present difficulties ...