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THE NEED FOR COLLECTIVISATION S.V. Khristenko
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darryl mitchell
2010-02-10 00:23:21 UTC
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S.V. Khristenko, All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks (AUCPB)
(Translated by Kevin Cain, leader of For Bolshevism-AUCPB in the UK)

THE NEED FOR COLLECTIVISATION
Already by the end of 1927, the decisive success of the policy of
socialist industrialization was ascertained. In the sphere of industry,
the question "who is who" was a foregone conclusion in favour of
socialism. A different picture was presented by agriculture. Gross
output of its main sectors - grain production - amounted to only 91% of
the pre-war level, and the commodity side of grain products sold for
the supply of towns, barely reached 37% of the pre-war level, and all
evidence suggests that there was a danger of further decline of
commodity grain production. No doubt that if such a condition continued
in grain farming, the country would have found itself in the face of
chronic hunger.

The owner of the grain market was the kulak (wealthy peasant farmer).
Making up 2.5 -3% of the total number of farms, kulaks harvested 70-80%
of commodity grain. Poor farmers, who were horseless, were in complete
bondage to the kulak. For the use of a horse, a poor peasant had to
pay "either a pood of grain per day, or a woman harvesting for five
days." They were crippling terms, but what could they do? The harvest
of the poor peasant was not enough to last until the next year, and so
he had to borrow grain from the kulaks to the next harvest. He had to
return twice the amount of grain! The kulaks demanded from the state
complete freedom of trade in grain. The state price for grain did not
suit the kulak – so the kulak decided – “I will not sell the grain, but
will dig it into a pit, and let it rot. And it was a mass phenomenon.
For concealment of grain in 1928, for example, in the Middle Volga
Region, 17 thousand kulak farms were put on trial.

WAYS OUT OF THE CRISIS
To get out of the crisis situation, it was necessary to transfer
agriculture over to large-scale production that can set in motion,
tractors and agricultural machinery and to raise several times the
marketability of grain production. The country faced two options:
either to move to large-scale capitalist production, which would mean
the ruin of the peasant masses, the loss of alliance between the
working class and peasants, a strengthening of the kulaks and the
defeat of socialism in the countryside, or take the path of
consolidation of small farms into large socialist farms, i.e.
collective farms.

It is clear that the Bolshevik Party and Soviet state could only take
the second road, the collective farm pathway of agricultural
development. This is what Lenin said: "Only if we succeed in practice
to show peasants the benefits of public, collective, cooperative
cultivation, only if we succeed in helping the peasant by means of a
cooperative, collective farm economy, will the working class, which
holds state power in its own hands, and the peasants actually prove
their case, and really attract over to its side firmly in this way,
millions of peasants.

XV CONGRESS. COLLECTIVIZATION. THE KULAK.
Such was the situation before the XV Congress of the Party opened on
December 2, 1927. Noting in his Report to Congress on the progress of
industrialization and the rapid growth of socialist industry, Stalin
put to the Party the task: "To expand and strengthen our socialist
commanding heights in all sectors of the economy both in the city and
village, heading towards the liquidation of capitalist elements in the
national economy. Noting the backwardness of agriculture, especially
grain production, comrade Stalin emphasized that such an unenviable
state of agriculture was posing a threat to the entire economy.
"The way out, - answered comrade Stalin – is to turn the small and
scattered peasant farms into large integrated ones based on social
cultivation of land, in the transition to collective farming on the
basis of new and higher technology. The way out is for the small and
tiny peasant farms to gradually but steadily, not by pressure, but by
example and persuasion, merge into large farms based on public,
cooperative, collective farming, with the use of agricultural machinery
and tractors, using scientific methods of intensive farming.”

The XV Congress decided on the full deployment of collectivization of
agriculture. The Congress adopted a plan for expanding and
strengthening the network of collective and state farms, and gave clear
instructions on how to fight for collectivization of agriculture. The
Party realized that, until the resistance of the kulaks was broken, and
until kulakism was smashed in open battle in front of the peasantry,
the working class and the Red Army will suffer from a shortage of
bread, and the collective movement of peasants can not take a mass
character.

Following the directives of the XV Congress of the Party, the party
launched a determined offensive against the kulaks. In its advance
forward, the party carried the slogan: reliance on the poor peasant and
strengthening the alliance with the middle peasant, carry out a
resolute struggle against the kulaks. In response to the refusal by the
kulaks to sell surplus grain to the state at a fixed price, the party
and the government carried out a series of emergency measures against
the kulaks, applied Article 107 of the Criminal Code on confiscation by
the court of surplus grain from the kulaks and speculators if they
refuse to sell this surplus grain to the state at fixed prices.

KULAK TERROR

The kulaks immediately realized the mortal danger to themselves by
collectivization and unleashed terror against the collective farm
activists and village correspondents. Not a week went by that the
newspapers did not report killings of village correspondents carried
out by kulaks. In the village of Molvino in Bogorodsky district, of the
Moscow province, an active rural correspondent of the county
newspaper "Voice of the working" and secretary Zakharov of the Komsomol
cell were shot and killed from behind a corner. In the village of Sabah
(Tatar Republic), kulaks brutally murdered active worker rural
correspondent Zakir Yusupov, who was exposing the tricks of the kulaks
in the newspapers. In Crimea, in the village Mushasha, kulaks killed
labourer-Komsomol Alexeyev, an organizer of the rural wall newspaper.
In Uzbekistan, Bai mercenaries slaughtered active worker comrade
Shukurov and his wife. The Orshansky district court sentenced to five
years in prison four kulaks from the village Lozovka in Krupsky
district for arson of the new farm "Iskra" and the destruction of nine
collective farm workers. Of interest are available a summary of
information of the hostile acts carried out against the collective
farms in the first half of 1931. In general, across the Soviet Union
during this period were attacked once - 8.1% percent of collective
farms, two times - 3.4%, three times - 1.4%, four times or more - 2.9%
of farms. Out of one hundred cases of attack, 21.9% were arson attacks,
poisoning of cattle - 7.4%, attacks on activists - 35.1% of cases,
damage to the collective farm machinery – 14.5% and others - 20.7% of
cases.

TURNING TO COLLECTIVE FARMS

The actual attitude by the mass of the peasants - poor, middle peasants
toward collectivization after the XV Congress of the Party had changed.
The peasant masses were definitely turning towards collective farms. An
important role was played by state and Machine-Tractor Stations, armed
with tractors and other machines. Creating MTS-s was fully supported by
Stalin in his speech at the XV Congress, where he quoted a letter from
Odessa peasants: "After seeing the work of the tractors, we do not want
poor small-scale farming, and have decided to organize a tractorized
socialized economy in which there will be none of the peasant patches
of crops. The organizing of tractor farms for us has already been taken
on by the Taras Shevchenko farm, with whom we made agreement”. On June
5, 1929, the Labor and Defense Council adopted a resolution on the
widespread establishment of MTS-s. It was a wise decision, which made
it possible to unload from the emerging collective farms the unbearable
burden of buying expensive agricultural technology, by providing for
high-quality maintenance and repair. The role of the MTS in raising the
level of Soviet agriculture was enormous. MTS-s lasted until 1958, when
Khrushchev had them liquidated. As has been written on the
Internet: "At the present time, due to the difficult financial
situation of many agricultural enterprises, as well as the development
of small farms, the need to form MTS-s has re-emerged!”
A country rhyme during the time of collectivization clearly shows the
position of poor peasants:

You kulak -
Enemy of the Soviet,
Who buries bread in the ravine, -
You will not bring back the days bygone,
Shall not lead the country to darkness.

A mass collective-farm movement unfolded, which especially gained
strength by the end of 1929, and gave unprecedented growth of the
collective farms. In 1928, the sown area of farms was 1,390 thousand
hectares in 1929 - 4,262 thousand hectares, and in 1930 the collective
farms had sown 15 million hectares. In his article "A Year of Great
Change" (November 7, 1929) Comrade Stalin said, "It must be admitted
that the rate of growth of the collective farms - is such speedy pace
of development unprecedented even by our socialized large-scale
industry, the pace of development is altogether on a grander scale." It
was a turning point in the development of the collective movement. This
was the beginning of a mass collective-farm movement. "What is new in
the current collective-farm movement?", asked Comrade. Stalin. And he
answered: "The new and decisive in the current collective-farm movement
is that the collective peasants are not in separate groups, as was the
case earlier, but entire villages, parishes, districts, and even
okrugs. And what does this mean? This means that the middle peasant has
gone into collective farms. This is the basis of that radical change in
the development of agriculture, which is a major achievement of Soviet
power ...”.

This meant that the task of eliminating the kulaks as a class, on the
basis of complete collectivisation was ripening or had ripened. The
massive entry of peasants into collective farms that unfolded in 1929 -
1930 respectively, was the result of all the previous work of the Party
and government. The growth of socialist industry, which began mass
production of tractors and agricultural machinery; the resolute
struggle against the kulaks during the grain-procurement campaigns in
1928 and 1929; a good experience of the first collective and state
farms - all this prepared for the transition to solid collectivization,
the entry of peasants into collective farms of whole villages, regions,
districts.

ELIMINATION OF KULAKS AS A CLASS.

Until 1929 the Soviet government pursued a policy of restricting the
kulaks. Soviet power heavily taxed the kulaks, demanded that he sell
grain to the state at fixed prices, limited to a certain size the
kulak's land use by the law on land lease and limited the scope of
kulak farming by a law on the use of hired labor on private farms.
At the end of 1929, in connection with the growth of collective and
state farms, the Soviet government made a sharp turn in relation to the
kulak. On January 19, 1930, Stalin wrote an article "On the question of
eliminating the kulaks as a class," which clearly and unequivocally
said: "The current policy of the party in the countryside is not a
continuation of the old policy, but a change from the old policy of
restricting (and ousting) the capitalist elements in the village to a
new policy of eliminating the kulaks as a class. "

This policy was embodied in the decree of the Central Committee of the
CPSU (b) on January 5, 1930 "On the speed of collectivization and
measures by the state to help farm development" . The decision made
important instructions that the main form of farm movement at this
stage was the agricultural cooperative, in which only the basic means
of production was collectivized. The Central Committee seriously warned
against any party organizations whatsoever, "decreeing" from above and
over the collective farm movement.

The most important was the decision of the Politburo of the CPSU
(b) "On Measures for the elimination of the kulak farms in areas of
complete collectivization" of 30 January 1930, according to which areas
of complete collectivization had been scheduled: to confiscate from
Kulaks the means of production, cattle, small agricultural and
residential buildings, processing, feed and seed stocks. Kulaks in
their degrees of opposition to collectivization were divided into three
categories. Kulaks-active counter-revolutionaries were referred to
concentration camps, less dangerous kulaks - moved to the sparsely
populated regions. The total number of liquidated kulak households in
all major areas was estimated at roughly 3-5%. Lists of kulak
households being evicted to remote areas, were set up by regional
executive committees by decisions of meetings of farmers, laborers'
marginalised workers assemblies and approved by the district executive
committee. Strict orders were given - to concentrate blows against the
true kulak households and certainly to prevent the spread of these
measures to any part of the middle peasants.

The order stipulated: eviction and confiscation of property not to
include families of the Red Army and the commanders of the Red Army. It
was planned: to send 60 thousand kulaks to concentration camps and 150
thousand kulaks subjected to exile to remote areas. Family members of
prisoners and kulaks deported to concentration camps can, if they wish
and with the consent of the local executive committees, stay
temporarily or permanently at the former place of residence. The
resolution clearly stated, what should be left to the deported kulaks
from their property. When arriving at their new place of residence,
they are to be provided with building materials and discount loans for
renovation, to which the state has allocated tens of millions of
rubles. The Central Committee categorically stated: "These activities
must be in organic connection with the real mass collective movement of
the poor and middle peasants and an inseparable part of the process of
complete collectivisation. The Central Committee strongly cautioned
against the existing in some areas of facts of substituting work on
mass collectivization by de-kulakization. Only in combination with the
most extensive organization of the poorest peasants and agricultural
labourers and rallying the poor and middle peasants by
collectivization, and necessary administrative measures on
de-kulakization can lead to the successful resolution of the tasks set
by the party against in relation socialist reconstruction of the
countryside and the elimination of the kulaks. "

During the collectivization, the kulaks were expropriated in the same
way as in 1918 when the capitalists had been expropriated in the
industrial field, with one difference, however, that the means of
production of the kulaks crossed this time not into the hands of the
state, but into the hands of peasants united in the hands of the
collective farms. This was a profound revolution, a leap from the old
qualitative state of society to a new qualitative state, equivalent in
its consequences to the revolution in October 1917. The originality of
this revolution is that it was from above, on the initiative of the
state, with direct support from below from the vast masses of peasants
fighting against kulak bondage, for the freedom of the collective farms.

EXCESSES DURING THE COURSE OF COLLECTIVIZATION

The resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU (b) on January 5,
1930 "On the tempo of collectivization and measures to help by the
state towards farm development" had made clear the implementation of
the new party policy in the countryside. On the basis of the policy of
eliminating the kulaks and the establishment of solid collectivization
a powerful collective movement was launched. Peasants of whole villages
and regions entered into collective farms and swept away the kulaks
from the path, and freed themselves from kulak bondage. But along with
the huge success of collectivization were soon detected shortcomings in
the practice of party workers and distortions of the Party policy on
collective farms. Despite the warning by the Central Committee against
excessive enthusiasm on the success of collectivization, many party
officials artificially forced collectivization, regardless of the
conditions of time and place, without regard to the degree of
preparedness of the peasants to join collective farms.

There were many violations and excesses. It was found that the
principle of voluntariness in collective farm construction was
violated. In some areas, voluntariness was replaced by forced joining
collective farms under the threat of de-kulakization, electoral
disenfranchisement, etc. There were rare cases in which peasants,
sometimes even - and the poor were improperly "catogorised" as kulaks.
Contrary to the instructions of the Central Committee that the basic
link of the collective farm movement was the agricultural cooperative,
which only the basic means of production are shared, in some places it
was carried out by a leap straight to the commune, along with the
socialization of dwellings, the subsistence and small-scale dairy
cattle, poultry and so on was conducted. All these excesses in
provocative aims were used by kulaks and their henchmen. Kulaks led
agitation for the slaughter before joining the collective farms,
assuring farmers that the farm animals "would be still taken away."
Kulaks themselves, by destroying and selling cattle, sought to "become
middle peasants." By March 1930,across the RSFSR, the number of pigs
decreased from the spring of 1929 by half, sheep – by a third, cattle -
a quarter, horses - by 12.5%. Kulaks widely used tactics of handing
their stocks of grain in interest-bearing debt to the poor and middle
peasants, and on inspection with "astonishment" claimed - we have no
surplus grain! The class enemy reckoned that the excesses and mistakes
made by local organizations during collectivization, would embitter the
peasantry, would cause revolts against Soviet power. And such
anti-Soviet action had taken place in the spring of 1930.

PUTTING RIGHT THE EXCESSES OF COLLECTIVISATION

The party Central Committee, having received a number of alarming
signals about the distortions of the Party line, which threatened the
collapse of collectivization, immediately began to rectify the
situation, began to turn the party cadres on the road to a speedy
correction of mistakes. On March 2, 1930 by decision of the Central
Committee article by Comrade Stalin "Dizzy with success. Questions on
the collective-farm movement. " was published . Stalin denounced the
actions of the authorities in the localities which were not included in
the accelerated plans for collectivization in particular, the premature
setting up of agricultural communes: "It is not the commune, but the
agricultural cooperative that is the main link of the collective farm
movement, the cooperatives are not socialized: i.e. peasant plots of
land (small gardens, orchards), dwellings, a certain part of the dairy
cattle, sheep, poultry and so on.” Stalin blamed "overzealous
socialiser" in "disrupting and discrediting" the collective farm
movement and condemned their actions, "pouring water into the watermill
of our class enemies."

The article by comrade Stalin had great political significance. It
helped the party organizations to rectify their mistakes and dealt a
severe blow to the enemies of Soviet power, their hope that on the soil
of the excesses, they would be able to set the peasants against the
Soviet power. The broad masses of peasants were convinced that the line
of the Bolshevik Party had nothing to do with the "left" excesses, that
were took place in the localities. The article brought comfort to the
peasant masses.

THE SUCCESS OF COLLECTIVISATION

By the opening of the XVI Congress on June 26, 1930, profound change in
the development of agriculture in the USSR had been achieved. The broad
masses of peasants had turned to socialism. On May 1, 1930 in the major
grain-growing regions, collectivization covered 40 - 50% of farms
(instead of 2-3% in the spring of 1928). Commodity production of
collective farms in three years had grown more than 40 times. Already
in 1930, the state received from the collective farms, excluding state
farms (the Sovkhoz), more than half of all marketable grain production
in the country. The collective-farm peasantry, as pointed out at the
XVI Congress of the Party in one of its decisions, "is a true and firm
support of Soviet power."

1931 gave a new growth of the collective farm movement. In the main
grain-growing districts, more than 80 percent of the total number of
peasant farms had been united into collective farms. Solid
collectivisation there was already largely completed. 200 thousand
collective farms (kolkhozy) and 4 thousand state farms (sovkhozy) had
seeded two-thirds of the total sowing area, but individual farmers -
only one-third.

THE STRUGGLE FOR QUALITY WORK OF COLLECTIVE FARMS
But collective farm construction has not yet been developed in depth,
but only in breadth - not through improving the quality of the
collective farms and their personnel, but by increasing the number of
collective farms and collective farms covering more and more new areas.
This circumstance is explained by the fact that the growth of the
collective assets, the growth of kolkhoz personnel was not keeping pace
with the quantitative growth of the collective farms. Hindering the
consolidation of collective were facts such as the lack of educated
people in the village needed to farm (accountants, office managers,
secretaries) and the lack of experience in conducting large-scale
collective farming. The collective farmers were the day before,
individual farmers. They had experience in farming small plots of land.
But they still did not have experience in leading large, collective
farms.

In view of these circumstances, were discovered serious flaws in the
early days of collective farming. It turned out that collective farm
labour was still poorly organized and labour discipline was weak. On
many collective farms, income ws not shared according to workdays, but
according to consumers. Often it appeared that a loafer got more bread
than a diligent, honest farmer. In connection with such deficiencies of
the collective leadership, interest of the farmers fell at work, there
was a lot of absenteeism, and even in the warmest season, part of the
collective farm crops remain unharvested until the snow and harvesting
itself was carried out carelessly leading to the huge losses of grain.
Lack of personal responsibility for machines and horses, the lack of
personal responsibility in work, weakened the collective cause and
reduced the income of the farms.

NEW TACTICS BY THE KULAKS. THE POLITICAL DEPARTMENTS UNDER MTS.

It was particularly bad in areas where former kulaks and pro-kulaks
managed to clamber into the collective farms and occupy certain posts.
Often, former kulaks moved to another district where they were not
known, and from there clamber into a collective farm to cause harm and
mischief. Penetration into collective farms by former kulaks was made
easier by the fact that in the struggle against the collective farms,
they abruptly changed their tactics. By now, they did not fire their
sawn-off shotguns, but pretended to be quiet, compliant, and obedient,
fully Soviet people. Penetrating into the collective farms, they tried
to break them from within, to break up the collective farm labour
discipline, messing up crop records and labour accounting. Kulaks were
betting on horse and livestock slaughter on the collective farms and
were able to kill a lot of horses. The kulaks damaged tractors and
machinery.

To put an end to the kulak sabotage on collective farms and to
accelerate the consolidation of farms, it was necessary to provide
collective emergency assistance and the serious help, advice and
guidance to people. This assistance was rendered to the collective
farms by the Bolshevik Party. In January 1933 the Party Central
Committee adopted a decision on the organization of political
departments in the machine-tractor stations, serving the collective
farms. 17 thousand party workers were sent to the countryside to work
in the political departments to help the collective farms. The
political departments of the MTS-s in two years (1933 and 1934) did
much work in addressing the shortcomings of the collective farms, to
grow the collective farm activists, to strengthen the collective farms,
to clean out collective farms from hostile, kulak, wrecking elements.
The political departments honorably fulfilled the stated objectives:
they strengthened the collective farms in organizational and economic
relations and educated new collective-farm staff, developed economic
management of collective farms and raised the political level of the
collective farm masses.

RESULTS OF COLLECTIVISATION

By the end of 1934, the collective farms had become a solid and
invincible force. They united by this time already about three-quarters
of all peasant farms throughout the Soviet Union and about 90 percent
of all farmland. In 1934, in Soviet agriculture 281 thousand tractors
and 32 thousand harvesters were working. A strong victory of the
collective farm system and associated development of agriculture gave
the Soviet government the chance to abolish the rationing of bread and
other products and to establish free trade in food products, to look to
the future with certainty.

A few words about the "remote" consequences of collectivization. Gross
output of a Soviet village as compared with 1913 for 60 years, for
example, grew 4,4 times, and productivity - 6 times. The USSR occupied
one of the first places in the world for food production: it produced
more wheat, rye, barley, sugar beets, potatoes and milk than any other
country in the world. In 1954-1961, the Soviet Union hd the world's
highest average annual growth rate of agricultural products – at 6%.
Compared with the record year of 1913, when it was produced 250 kg of
grain per capita, the USSR, increased these figures by 3 times.

THE VALUE COLLECTIVISATION

In summarizing, we can say - collectivization was absolutely necessary
and a vital stage of socialist construction in the USSR. Only by
completely destroying the power of capitalist owners in rural areas
could the people seriously aspire to build socialism in the USSR. Only
the care of the Bolshevik Party, the Soviet government of the
peasant-workers allowed it to get out of the quagmire of centuries of
poverty and injustice, start a new life, where everything depended on
their honest, kind, conscientious labour.

How great is the role of Stalin personally in the planning and
implementation of collectivization. This was in the formulation of the
basic goals, objectives, pace, methods of collectivization, and the
wise leadership of this process at each stage, which allowed to avoid,
bypass time, many terrible dangers, standing in the way of
collectivization - the social process that vitally affects the fate of
tens of millions of people.
------------ --------- -------
darryl mitchell
2010-02-16 17:44:42 UTC
Permalink
 .
III. The Obama Presidency
The working class and proletariat always has to show itself that it knows what it knows and then express this knowing by voting with their feet. Obama’s election is a game changer, far more important than the scores of black appointees under Bush W. administration. Obama was not appointed, but anointed and elected by an important voting section of the working class. Obama completes a task Colin Powell was poised to tackle, but blocked by the historically fascist Southern political establishment. The Southern base of the Republican Party favored Bush the second as “hit man” to realign America’s domestic and international politics.
Obama has something in common with Colin Powell. Nether arose out of the Civil Rights organizations, as did Jesse Jackson Sr. What all have in common is that they were made possible by desegregation and the Black Power Movement that emerged from the Civil Rights Movement.
The election of Obama further fixes what everyone understood was the supreme irony of our history: the color factor. The election of a black as president is a big thing, important as a benchmark of how far we have traveled in the post Jim Crow era. Defeating John McCain’s “America First Campaign” momentarily fractured the Southern political establishment, as it is expressed in the Republican party. The ideology of Southern reaction is outright fascism. The breach by a section of the voting Northern workers with the Southern political establishment propelled Obama into office. Workers in the heart of the industrial centers of the Midwest or the “Rust bowl“ were an important gravity well in effecting the breach and electing Obama. Their movement rippled throughout the country, giving Obama the decisive edge.
These workers have been and are being economically ruined. The Obama campaign momentarily captured the sentiment of this section of workers cast adrift from the Reagan Revolution and its legacy. The tendency of these workers is to spontaneously drift to the right as the first impulse to achieving a mass social consciousness. This is so because the natural impulse of workers facing layoff and ruin is to demand their jobs back or for restoration of the old social contract that made their relative prosperity possible.
In another era, Lenin called this the spontaneity of the masses during the period of the society transition from feudalism to industry and the tendency of the workers movement to drift to trade unionism. We face this spontaneity or spontaneous or elemental force - impulse, of the workers as they are being ruined by capital. This ruin is a very real thing.
Real time America on February 16, 2010 is in a profound crisis. 150 million Americans feel stress over layoffs and paying their bills on a consistent basis. Over 60 percent of Americans now live paycheck to paycheck. A record 20 million Americans qualified for unemployment insurance benefits last year, causing 27 states to run out of funds, with seven more also expected to go into the red within the next few months. In total, 40 state programs are expected to go broke. When you factor in all these uncounted workers -- "involuntary part-time" and "discouraged workers" -- the unemployment rate rises from 9.7 percent to over 20 percent. In total, we now have over 30 million U.S. citizens who are unemployed or underemployed. With a prison population of 2.3 million people, we now have more people incarcerated than any other nation in the world -- the per capita statistics are 700 per 100,000 citizens. In comparison, China has 110 per 100,000, France has 80
per 100,000, Saudi Arabia has 45 per 100,000. The prison industry is thriving and expecting major growth over the next few years. A recent report from the Hartford Advocate titled "Incarceration Nation" revealed that "a new prison opens every week somewhere in America."
Over five million U.S. families have already lost their homes, in total 13 million U.S. families are expected to lose their home by 2014, with 25 percent of current mortgages underwater. 1.4 million Americans filed for bankruptcy in 2009, a 32 percent increase from 2008. As bankruptcies continue to skyrocket, medical bankruptcies are responsible for over 60 percent of them, and over 75 percent of the medical bankruptcies filed are from people who have health care insurance.
Over 50 million people who need to use food stamps to eat, and a stunning 50 percent of U.S. children will use food stamps to eat at some point in their childhoods. Approximately 20,000 people are added to this total every day. In 2009, one out of five U.S. households didn't have enough money to buy food. In households with children, this number rose to 24 percent, as the hunger rate among U.S. citizens has now reached an all-time high.
A foreign audience need a context to understand these figures. The American government defines poverty for a family of four at $32,000 a year. 60% of the American working class makes $14 an hour which equals $29,120.00 based on working 52 weeks a year. Government statistics place 60% of Americans below the poverty level before the outbreak of the 2008 crisis.
The rate and velocity of the crisis means the spontaneous tendency of the workers to swing to the right, expressed in the demand for restoration of the social contract, must be tackled by American communists with propaganda that fits how these workers, at this moment, think things out.
This dynamic is interesting because in real time today, demanding restoring the old social contract is reactionary and impossible in America because the decay of capital and the technological revolution makes such restoration impossible. Yet, the exact same demand in the former Soviet Union is not reactionary, because it means restoring material socialism on the basis of the revolution in technology. The former Soviet workers and masses could no more escape their history as we can escape ours. Thus, a section of the communist current in Russia and the former Soviet countries cannot advance without raising the banner of Stalin. While it is true that a section of the bourgeois oligarchy has to raise the banner of Stalin to consolidate the people against military aggression, on the scale of Soviet history, no one can advance outside the banner of Stalin. This intersection of class and ideological “common” is a component of the living evolution of class
struggle and provides the communist incredible political space in Russia. Something more complex is taking place in our own political superstructure, in the person of Obama.
Obama is a bookmark as a game changer for several reasons and is compelled to call forth certain aspects of our Civil War history, with its emancipation of the slaves, as a condition for him to defeat his sectarian opponents in the Republican Party.
In the context of Black History Month, rather than say a “May Day” article, Obama’s election liquidates from history the peculiar phenomenon of the black leader. Although the economic basis sustaining the black leader and their specific organizations of mediation between classes long ago collapsed, the relationship between economic and politics are not direct and immediate. The economic basis of the black leader was the social structures creating a segregated market based on color. Where whites would not sell to blacks, black petty capitalist arose rather than just “colorless capitalist.” Under conditions where blacks were excluded from public power black leaders arose as “the man” to negotiate with the power structure on behalf of blacks.
Clearly Obama is not a black leader or “the man” that talks to “the man.” Obama is “the man” other “men” talk to and with. Nor could he be a black leader if he desired such forty years after desegregation. Even Jesse Jackson Sr. is trying with earnest to reform himself and remain relevant to somebody - anybody. The reason is the demise of the black leader as leader of blacks or what a decade ago was called "the peculiar phenomenon of the black leader."
 
 
WL.  
darryl mitchell
2010-02-16 17:49:30 UTC
Permalink
Black History Month: The legacy of the Soviets and the new narrative.
 
Some debts are hard to pay. When the selfless creditor leaves the flesh and enters history, one is left with legacy. Such is the case with the former Soviet Union. The mere existence of the Soviet Power opened doors for the colonial masses that probably would have taken another 50 - 100 years to open. This is so because the proletariat in the advanced countries were unable and often unwilling to consider emancipation of “their colonials.” Marx and Engels noted this tendency in the relation of the English proletariat with the Irish. Soviet power also indirectly impacted the struggles of the working class in the advanced countries in securing reform and concessions as efforts to maintain the loyalty of the working class with capitalists.
Each generation owes a debt to its dead. Paying the debt requires sifting through and rearticulating ones own history with fresh data and new insights, expressing ones location in history, as this history describes the progressive accumulation of productive forces. Thus, this new narrative consolidates the experience of a previously advanced fighting section of the American proletariat during the last phase of development of the industrial system and the first phase of the post-industrial world order. .
The October Revolution 1917 happened. The October Revolution ushered in the general crisis of capital, by withdrawing one-sixth of the earth from capital imperialist exploitation and erecting barricades beyond which capital could not advance on earth. The fortress (garrison state) of Soviet Power became an economic and political gravity well that the slaves of imperialism could enter to escape the ravages of world imperialism. History became divided into before and after October. After October the national question was bound up with the general question of the colonies of imperialism or reshaped by Lenin mouth into the national-colonial question. Lenin embraced change producing a new analysis when the world changed, and Lenin knew the world had changed because he led the change.
Lenin‘s party fostered the formation of the Third Communist International as means to protect the October Revolution and regroup the world communist insurgency. At the moment of its birth, it was understood that the Soviet workers and peasants were the cherish child of the world proletariat. We protect our children at all cost. Lenin called forth the Communist International for protection because he understood that we understood. The Comintern played an exemplary role in the struggles of the colonial peoples of earth.
The Comintern’s contribution to the national-colonial question in America lives forever in in our hearts and mind in America, provoking profound emotions. The seminal theoretical presentation of the issue was J.V. Stalin’s “Marxism and the National Question written 1913. To this day, no literature of single text for this period of time comes close to his presentation. Standing on the back of this text the Comintern’s October 26, 1928 and October 1930 resolutions on the Negro Question have attained a statue bordering on the sacred. To awaken one day in the 300 year war and discover you are no longer along is a profound emotion. The mere mention of the Comintern creates humility, loyalty and an irresistible impulse to dip one Red Banner in honor of those whose shoulders we stand upon. The Comintern documents changed the orientation of the communist movement world wide. This was not a bad thing. The emotion should not be lost to history. In America
the black was the “Negro Problem.” The Comintern said,
“No, you mean the Negro Question, or the issue of the slaves of capital imperialism.” This was enough - in 1928, for many of us to swear loyalty and fight for at least a thousand years. Loyalty is a tricky endeavor and in practical politics gyrates with competence. We want to try the impossible and get the right mix of both.
There are names - Americans, that should not be lost to history in our quest for a revolutionary conception of the colonial question. Harry Haywood - trained by the Comintern under the watchful eye of Stalin himself, produced Negro Liberation in 1949. James Allen, Claudia Jones, Pettis Perry and Nelson Peery. Much has changed since the Comintern’s 1928 and 1930 documents on the Negro Question.
History has a form and content, which the colonial question is not immune to. Form and content simultaneously provides the environment and condition for the other. One must always specify what one is talking about. The content of history refers to the ceaseless development of the productive forces; tools, instruments, machinery and energy source and deployment. Engels called this “the progressive accumulation of productive forces.“
The form of history, as used in this article, speaks of property relations and thus one ends up with a capitalist society, a feudal society or in the case of the Soviets, a socialist society. The content - essence of the industrial revolution, was the formation of industrial classes founded on a society infrastructure of electro-mechanical machines. In this meaning the Soviet Union was an industrial society as was America. Each society expressed a different property form of class and wealth. Classes decay - rise and fall, in their form and content as a normal process of evolution. The ultimate and fundamental impulse of society change from one mode to another begins as revolution or a qualitative change in productive forces. Qualitative change in the productive forces is a process unto itself.
A process is the totality of stages of development of dialectical motion. For instance, Henry Ford Sr. production methods marked a distinct quantitative boundary in the development of the quality isolated as “the industrial system” and capitalism in America, and socialism in the Soviet Union. Capitalism or socialism did not change qualitatively as society leaped from one quantitative boundary to the next. Nor did the industrial system become non-industrial based on crossing a quantitative boundary. Henry Ford Sr. or “Fordism” exists as a bookmark denoting a quantitative boundary in the development of the industrial revolution. Capitalism did expand quantitatively, witnessed as expansion, deepening the market and expanding heavy industry.
II.
 
The first American Revolution of 1776 inaugurated the epoch of wars for national liberation as a form of history. Following on its heels was the Haitian Revolution and Bolivar. The wars of national liberation predate the doctrine of proletarian revolution and as a form of history transformation would run another two hundred years closing out - as a history changing current, with the victory of the Vietnamese Revolution and unification in 1976. Slavery in America distorted everything the war of national liberation claimed as its goal.
The historic polarity between national liberation movements and imperialism was the basis for groups - nations, oppressed peoples, the oppressed gender, becoming aware of themselves, their conditions and fighting it out. This historic polarity as a form of history, was a driver of the transition from society anchored in the agrarian revolution to a new kind of society anchored in the industrial revolution.
The color factor was an insurmountable obstacle to the unity of the fighting section of our working class. This is no longer the case. In the formation of capital the form of history was driven by New World conquest and enslaving the African. New World colonization and African slavery gave impetus to navigation, science and industry. An enormous world wide ideological superstructure arose to justify and protect colonization of the world’s colored peoples. In America this ideology of destruction and enslavement arose on the basis of genocide of the American Indian and later the plantation system of slavery. Not all at one time but white supremacy arose and acquired a seemingly life of it‘s own.
African Americans tended to be looked upon and treated at best as if they were on the periphery of our country’s history. Their being marginalized throughout most of our history reinforces this view. Nevertheless, any serious inquiry into our history will show that the control, manipulation and exploitation of the African American was at the heart of every major and most minor decisions of the state prior to the Civil War, and a good many of them after. The control of the African American has been the political means by which the entire working class has been controlled and prevented from reforming the system, more in their favor. Each reform of the system strengthened the hand of capital.
Fortunately, history - as evolution and development of the productive forces of a society, steps into the social process in such a way as to unravel and shatter previously existing forms of the social contract and a given historic form of control of the working class.
It is always appropriative to mention the catalyst for change in society. In the past century the invention and deployment of the tractor and mechanization of agriculture, had far reaching social consequences for America. Not all at one time but inexorably. Mechanization freed eleven million sharecroppers from the land and cast them as a mobile labor forces seeking employment wherever it could be found.
Society change has a logic. When something fundamental to an existing economic relations and specific way labor is organized changes, everything dependent upon that, which was fundamental must in turn change. Not all at one time but a change wave is unleashed that must run its course. In the process of the change wave revolutionaries fight for change to benefit the proletarian masses the most. The tractor changed the organization of agricultural production and brought down the sharecropper system as one of the primary mode of the social organization of labor in the South. Millions of people were “kicked out of” a social position called sharecropping.
Of these eleven million sharecroppers - a distinct class formation in America, the majority were white, with five million being black. The lesson for revolutionaries is the dynamics of the destruction of a class and/or form of class. The form of a class changes under the impact of the technological advance. Qualitative changes in the productive forces creates qualitative changes in the form of class and property. The industrial revolution is a case in point. The serfs became manufacturing workers and with the advance of the industrial revolution industrial workers on the scale of history. Bourgeois property cast this industrial workers as a wage worker or proletariat. Technology creates the content versus the “property form” of class called industrial, as surely as the advance of technology created a class of software workers. The content of a class can undergo change, in front of and without changing the property form that cast a particular form of
worker proletariat.
Freeing five million black people from the land, in the context of an economic upswing, called into question segregation. Were two factories to be built one black and one white? Were two water foundations and two bathrooms to be built in every factory to enforce segregation as a system? What of two parking lots, separate lunch rooms and two seniority list for job advancement to be implemented in the unionized North? Were blacks to be shut out of production during the post WW II economic boom? Like Jacob at the battle of Jericho, the wall of segregation came tumbling down, but it required decades of intense social conflict pitting workers against worker. The Soviet experience and Black history.
The easiest way for Soviet communist to understand the American process is for one to understand Stalin in 1928 - 1936.
 
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WL.
darryl mitchell
2010-02-16 17:57:33 UTC
Permalink
IV.
Desegregation meant the destruction and liquidation of the black community as it housed all classes of black, due to segregation. There are communities of blacks but no black community. There are communities of whites but no white community or neighborhoods housing all classes of whites within them. Things have been roughly evened up in America. The vast communities in America, no matter what their color or nationality are more than less proletarian slums.
The demise of the black community entails the decay of the Negro people as a people. Black people still exist but not as they did between 1890 and say pre-1976.
The black community has its genesis in Northern cities rather than the plantation system. Jim Crow segregation (legal segregation) arose in the North between 1790 and 1810 and then was exported to the South post the Civil War. This segregation of the Northern black is in turn an aspect of the ethnic grouping of immigrant European communities settling in America. Southern slavery leveled a harsh penalty on the Northern blacks, forever living in the shadow of slavery. These Northern blacks were isolated in pockets of each city, excluded from the broader social life of the city. In this community existed all classes of blacks, due to their legal, illegal and extra legal isolation in American society. This exclusion was enforced by extreme violence by the state and the enforced by a decisive section of the old Anglo America of yesteryear.
The Negro people began their formation within the framework of slavery and acquired their characteristics under 90 years of segregation with its extreme pressure of the whites backed up by the state power. Such was visibly obvious when the 1928 and 1930 Comintern documents were written. Because segregation was a social structure in society, passing a law banning it and rendering it illegal was not sufficient to shatter it’s ritual conditioning. Social forces already in motion had to be brought into play in the political superstructure enforcing ritual behavior. The Southern white politicians could not shatter segregation because it meant the immediate loss of their political power, especially those dependent upon the voting block in the historic crescent shaped plantation area. The Civil Rights Movement became the vehicle to reform America.
On the heels of the Civil Rights Movement and growing out of it came the Black Power Movement. In the North cities like Detroit and Cleveland became intense battlegrounds with much blood spilled. Huge rebellions rock the country from Watts to Detroit followed by a period of armed conflict with the old organs of the state. “Arm yourself or harm yourself” became the watch word. In Detroit this insurrectionary like movement culminated in the “State of Siege Movement,” (literally this is what it was called) that toppled the local organization of political power ousting the Mayor, Police Chief and reorganizing city government. It is time to disclose the actual logic of the process.
The insurrectionary aspects of this movement was the outcome of an era of the masses battering the state until is became dislodged, polarized and rendered prostrate as supporter of Jim Crow. .First came the decade of protest against Jim Crow and countless marches, demonstrations and the struggle to dominant the streets in defiance of the police power. Then came the mass uprising. On the heels of the uprising evolved a spontaneous insurrectionary movement and armed conflict.
V.
I want to try to be clear to avoid misunderstanding about what legal segregation actually meant. .
For 50 years - between 1920 and 1970, Detroit had an extra legal curfew imposed on the black where they had to be off the streets at sun down or risk being jailed and shot. It was extra legal because no laws existed on the books but the “curfew law existed in fact” and was enforced by the police and understood by every level of local government. Exceptions were made for workers on the night shift and weekends when traveling to entertainment events.
Literally, if you stood on the corner talking, the police would drive up, roll down the window and say, “give me that corner.” This was a warning to disperse or be “beat down.” An elaborate system of communications developed where you were informed the police were 2 blocks away and closing in fast, allowing one to take to the alley ways.
Black power is what it was, as the demand for entry into the political system. In this sense the struggle of the blacks was no different than the struggle of the Irish, Italian or any other “national group“ that becomes large enough in a jurisdiction to take control of the “machine.” The color factor complicated the struggle of the blacks, meaning all the various groupings dominating the “city machine” had to be fought because their unity was based on the isolation and exclusion of the blacks. Black Power meant black political power or the politics of combating, inheriting and taking over the “city machine” in the North and the local political jurisdictions in the South enforcing fascist segregation. Thus, the path of the fight could only take place on the basis of the post legal Jim Crow segregated voting market, because white voters as a general rule could not and would not elect a black.
The refusal of whites to elect blacks during this period cannot be causally spoken of as “just” racism without qualification. Beneath the color factor is “the city machine factor,“ or the system of spoils and payoffs in every American city. Jobs in the police force and all levels of governments and city services are at stake. Awarding contracts for city services involves more than the actual workers hired and require the system of lawyers, accountants and land speculators every time a new road is built or a new housing development is proposed. This system evolved before blacks entered the industrial class and is based on nationality or the immigrant status of waves of European immigrants. The Irish had to built up their mass in a jurisdiction as did the Italian and Polish to grab hold of the city machine. Pretty much the same with the blacks + the color factor.
The demand for black police officers was an exceptionally brutal and violent struggle in Detroit and Cleveland. This was a period of desegregation that birthed the “Black Guardians” within police departments in the major cities. The Black Guardian were black police officers literally forced to fight the semi-fascist polices of their local police departments. More often than not, the Black Guardians played an exemplar role in protecting the social movement from fascist attacks by segments of the police department. This was certainly the case in Detroit. The point is that at a certain stage in the change process the structures of control become paralyzed and at odds with itself. An example of this I experienced was the case of protesting at Cooly High school in Detroit and not the one in Chicago named after the movie. In the process of the demonstration a police care literally ran into a mass of people injuring many. The police pull out their guns to
shoot us. The Black Guardian on the scene pulled out their gun and aimed them at the heads of the other officers and told them if they fired one shot they would shoot them. This happened because our struggle was just. Then there was the tip off to many of us that the police were in the process of preparing to raid the Black Panther office and kill them. This tip off allowed people to go to the Panthers office along with the press to halt the attack.
We are poised to experience a new form of the social movement and need to be mindful of how things happen. At the end of the day the majority of the people of our country are going to line up with the proletarian revolution because it is just.
Control of the police force also involves management of crime and drugs and who gets paid. The city machine and police get paid through various sources, including crime. In Detroit the struggle within the union and on the factory floor was electoral and extra legal, frequently erupting in gun play. This struggle is often misunderstood. The struggle of the lowest paid unskilled is always sharp and violent as these workers press to control the internal union organization in opposition to the skilled trades. The color form of this struggle, extremely intense in Detroit, meant challenging the company and union and armed conflict within the building trade hiring halls. This aspect of the social conflict is a proletarian insurgency rather than racial conflict. The form of the conflict appear as the color factor because the blacks were the last hired and first fired.
Within the police department a nasty struggle involving the police invading home and gathering of another group of police and shooting them. The press reported this as a mistaken raid on a suspected “drug den” when what actually happened was a regular night of “poker Friday.”
Finally, the 1967 Rebellion over rode the ability of the local police power to control the street. Watts 1965 and then Detroit 1967 rendered the police organization and city machine irrelevant and obsolete. The development of what is today SWAT units trace its legacy to Watts 1965 and Detroit 1967. The battle for the streets was won. Nothing short of continuous military occupation can win the streets back to the bourgeois power.
VI.
With respect to the UAW - autoworkers union, their “progressive” label as being left wing is unwarranted. It is not that Walter Reuther and his crew pushed the union from its progressive rail. Rather, Reuther institutionalized the latent semi-fascist features inherent to a trade union movement evolving in a pure capitalist country, decades after the industrial bourgeoisie has established its hegemony. After the industrial bourgeoisie establishes hegemony this means the battle to reform the system in is favor has been won, and society is reorganized along a rail that must run its course. Unions are a mixed bag of things, some good and some bad. Union are more good than bad at the front of the curve of the social process.
Unions are by definition exclusionary, compelled to service their members at the exclusion of non-members. This unavoidable feature of union is the result of the wage form of labor or capital. Capitalism is founded on converting everyone into a slave that has to sell their labor ability for wages to the owners of production. In turn you must compete in the market to sell your labor ability. When Marx writes that wage labor rest exclusively on the competition of wage earners for wages that is what he meant. An old America capitalist said the same thing by saying “I have enough money to pay one section of the working class to kill the other.” Unions function to dampen the competition of the laboring within their jurisdiction or the same trade. Without the selfless fight and activity by three generations of communists and militants, our union movement would have been horribly reactionary. In the struggle for the industrial form of unions the black
workers were decisive in places like Ford Rouge.
In a wider arena the color factor was also the central issue that prevented the breakout of the union movement in the 1930’s and 40’s. There was no way to advance and secure the unions without organizing the South. Organizing the South meant confronting the color factor head on and overcoming the historic split in the working class movement. The unions could not or would not take this step. One may choose either explanation because each explanation provides and becomes the environment for the other.
I can state without any hesitation that the color question was not tackled in any fundamental way, until the blacks achieved a critical mass that allowed them to tackle the question themselves. There is a lesson in this. The destitute proletariat will tackle questions for itself when it learns it has no other recourse.
In a country such as ours, there has never existed the “political space” for the evolution of an independent trade union movement or workers political parties. Nor did the political space exist for workers candidates as was the cause in developing bourgeois Europe. In Europe, the transition from feudalism to capitalism was bounded by the interactions of four primary classes - nobility and serf, capitalist and workers, and the need of the capitalist to rely upon the defeat of the feudal oligarchy, which in turn created the political space for the emergence of workers parties or social democracy. This was not the case in America.
Although it did not happen all at one time, the evolutionary path of the trade union founded on the old industrial order, cast them as an appendage of the State department = semi-fascist. The alternative to tackling the color question and the colonial entrapment of the core plantation area of the South, a colony, was a condition under which the trade unions became something akin to a labor front and an appendage of the State Department.
We do not want to confuse the color factor as it affected blacks throughout the totality of the multi-national state and the Southern Colonial Question - the Negro Nation, which is a geographic area corresponding to the old plantation system.
Before 1965, revolutionaries and people of good will fought every step of the way against color discrimination, but the lack of understanding of the political rather than biological nature of the race question made the color factor an insurmountable barrier. This happened because the American people became convinced that they were dealing with a biological rather than a political question. This point desires emphasis because the great economic and political changes taking place today are having a profound effect on the politics of race and color. The idea and ideology that blacks exist at a lower evolutionary stage than whites and unity of whites is needed to ensure the stability and cohesion of society is increasingly untenable.
An honest narrative of the American working class movement cannot avoid stating that the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organization of the 30’s and 1940’s) evolved as the unskilled organization of the white workers, bitterly opposing on complex levels, the entry of blacks into the ranks of the union and the labor force. Only when the Northern unions catastrophic defeat hung in the balance have blacks been able to wring out of the unions a molecule of justice. No where was this clearer than in the long history to unionize Ford. In this fight it was a narrow layer of communist, groups of black communists and people of good will that provided the critical balance in unionizing Ford.
Black Power was the necessary and inevitable out come of Civil Rights and the revolutionary collapse of Jim Crow and with critical hindsight served as the exact same kind of “form“ as the old nationality organizations of a previous generations of unskilled workers, minus the “European” language press. Today, in the period of Obama, this new narrative can reach the light of day.
With the destruction of legal segregation the infrastructure framework for the unity of classes constituting the black community was shattered as various classes and strata amongst the dark - the black and brown, took their place alongside of their counterparts. Specifically, this took shape as the dispersal of different classes of blacks outside the central cities of America.
The Voting Rights Act in turn was meant for the South rather than the North, and had the irony of allowing more whites entry to voting, who were excluded from the electoral process, due to the poll tax and ridiculous obstacles to registration. The control of the black and their isolation has always been directed at controlling the whites.
This shattering of the black community had its political repercussions within the political superstructure as the black politician found themselves in need of leaping to a broader political basis than the segregated voting market. This in turn demanded reforming the national political infrastructure historically blocking the black from “going national.”
The election of Obama completes a gigantic historical loop that has brought a sector of the proletariat fact to face with the bourgeoisie, and not in just a partial manner. Obama was elected by the voting section of the working class. The American proletariat, viewed as a class, does not vote in its majority.
VII.
There will always be leaders of various hues but the black leader as the leader of black people has entered the museum of history, alongside the water wheel, spinning gin, industrial capitalist and a host of artifacts of the bourgeois order. Obama makes it possible for a group of black reactionaries Sambo’s to attack tiny Cuba on the basis of their alleged government racism against dark Cubans, when everyone knows that dark Cubans are more equal in their society than blacks are in American society. While the life circumstance of dark Cubans inch forward with their society as a whole, the circumstance of dark Americans decay in real time along with that of a huge section of the proletariat. These so called champions of the rights of dark people around the world are worse than the poverty pimps of the 1960s and enemies of the working class.
Clearly the Negro people of the 1930s no longer exist. 40 years of desegregation has shattered the structures in our society that cast them as a people. The Comintern's documents of the past and various line of thinking that flowed from this thesis has been rendered obsolete.
 
 
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WL.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
darryl mitchell
2010-04-14 18:01:51 UTC
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test
darryl mitchell
2010-04-14 18:09:07 UTC
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In a message dated 4/12/2010 5:53:09 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time, _editor_revdem-***@public.gmane.org_ (mailto:editor_revdem-***@public.gmane.org) writes:
Speech by Mátyás Rákosi, General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party at the Meeting of the Central Committee, 17 May 1946 Date: 05/17/1946 Source: Archives of the Institute for Political History (AIPH), Budapest, 274. f. 2/34 Description: Speech by Mátyás Rákosi, General Secretary of the Hungarian Communist Party at the Meeting of the Central Committee, 17 May
1946.
 
“When we arranged the third International, I remember the trouble we went to show that we wanted a centralized, strong International with executive powers, similar to how Marx imagined the International in 1864, and not just the sorting office and so on that the second International became before the First World War. And this was the catastrophe of the third International. Because instead of every country looking separately for the conditions for revolution, and not trying the impossible task of centralizing and directing the whole movement, it directed it from the center. The result was that the parties gave up independent politics, continually looked in the direction of the center, and waited for its instructions. This view led the comrades to announce the discontinuation of the third International. And afterwards, now that the International has been discontinued, the parties are coming forth one after the other to say how the existence of the
International limited their progress, e.g. most recently we heard from our Yugoslav comrades how much such a central institution held them back, which, unaware of local conditions, sometimes demanded quite the opposite of what they needed. So such an International can no longer be established. On the contrary, the International should be such that it does not hinder the progress of individual parties, that it provides a means for individual parties to execute the tasks leading to the liberation of the proletariat, bearing local circumstances in mind. I should immediately say that as far as this is concerned, the new International cannot be compared to the previous ones. This will not be an organizing body; its task will be to compose, to help in making objections, to communicate the good or bad experiences of one country's communist party to that of another country, that they should learn from their neighbors' experiences and losses. This will
undoubtedly be very useful, as not just us, but communist parties the world over are beginning to feel that without the exchange of experiences and objections they cannot produce adequate plans on international questions.”
Comment
64 years after Rakosi speech for the formation of a new Communist International, one “unrepentant Marxist” and moderator of Marxism List echo’s the same sentiment in a lengthy six part series on the Four Communists Internationals.
(quote)
“In this, the third installment of a series of articles on attempts to build workers or socialist internationals, I am going to discuss the Comintern but within a narrow historical and geographical framework, namely the German revolution of the early 1920s. It will be my goal, as it was in an article written about 10 years ago titled The Comintern and German Communism, to debunk the notion of a wise and efficacious Comintern. As opposed to mainstream Trotskyist opinion, I do not view the Comintern prior to Stalin’s rise to power as a model to emulate. Looking back in particular at the role of Lenin and Trotsky, not to speak of outright rascals like Karl Radek and Bela Kun, the only conclusion that sensible people can be left with is that the German Communist Party would have been much better off if the Comintern had simply left it alone."
(end quote)
A Marxist unraveling of any social process involves a couple of things, namely approach and method. Although approach and method of inquiry becomes a uniform outlook for Marxists, the young comrades familiarizing themselves with Marx method are to understand that it is obligatory to always place things in their environment and context. Before attempting to capture the dialectic of the self movement of a thing, anything, the environment which is acting upon the context of class struggle, organization and the individual has to be described because it is the environment and its intimate interactive connection with living processes that sets the condition for development, change and the leap from one qualitative stage to the next. What is fundamental in the environment that everyone loves to call “the class struggle” is the material power of productive forces and their ceaseless changes. By productive forces is meant “means of production” + human
beings. “Means of production” are in turn “productive forces ” minus human beings. Of all productive forces on earth, the human mind is the most revolutionary. The human mind however functions in an environment and context.
If one is to make heads or tails of the Third Communist International, as the Soviet Legacy or the First International and the powerful gravity center subordinating Communist detachments to the central authority, one must accept their obligatory commitment to explain or describe the environment and context in which this powerful gravitation pull operated. In order to grab hold of the history of the Communist Internationals one must start at the beginning of their development and the environment that birthed them. This beginning is approached with the Marxist method and within the framework of Marx general law of the science of society.
We begin at the beginning with the understanding that the spontaneous, objective development of the means of production creates the social context - environment, for people to consciously choose how to create their history. Further, qualitative change in the means of production, say the industrial revolution, and the long period of its quantitative growth and expansion causes quantitative changes in the social organization of labor and forms of the working class movement. Such change in American history is witnessed in the emergence of trade unions in 1827, their growth, collapse and renewed growth. I this process we see the beginning of shift from highly skilled craft workers of the late 1800’s - (and their fight for craft unionism), to the development of mass production industries; the fight for industrial unionism and then the rise and fall of the industrial trade union movement.
In Detroit we have a unique opportunity to witness and write about the ending of one stage of the social process and the beginning of another stage. The auto workers union peaked with over 1,530,870 members in 1969 and today there is less than 355,000 members of which less than 100,000 are auto workers. Why did this change take place? What is it in the economic, social and political environment driving such change? Comrades, if I stood before any group of workers at any local union meeting and reduced the UAW to the action of a Walter Reuther and his struggle against his internal opponents - (aided by the state and intelligence agencies), and then describes the activity of our union based solely on each president including the knucklehead Gettlefinger, as a credible narrative on our union, I would be run out of this town. I would have to talk about the auto industry itself, its environment, its internal organizations and the organizations of the workers
into a specific kind of union.
Therefore, our revolutionary history is the record of the quantitative development of the industrial means of production and the subjective human or political response in the form of the rising and dying away of various forms of revolutionary organization. Then the actions of individual flesh acting out and responding to this environment can make sense. With the post industrial revolution underway we are implying and speaking of minimally a different form of proletarian association. Not because I say so but because in our daily lives we are at the cutting edge of a change wave expressing a profound level of destruction of the old form of the trade union movement. I’m not sure if it is our fortune or fate, perhaps both, to be at ground zero of dramatic changes in the form of the working class movement.
The modern, scientific communist movement began as manufacturing with its small, scattered workshops was replaced by industry with its concentration of thousands of workers in giant factories. The environment existed within a world still engulfed in feudal political, social and economic relations. This was the era of Marx. This development was expressed by the founding of the Communist League and the First Communist or Workingmen’s International founded in 1864. In 1848, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were called upon to write a manifesto for the League, which was called The Communist Manifesto. The Communist League then became for all practical purposes “The Communist Party.” Engels describes this period of the working class movement in his “On the History of the Communist League.”
“With the sentence of the Cologne Communists in 1852, the curtain falls on the first period of the independent German workers’ movement. Today this period is almost forgotten. Yet it lasted from 1836 to 1852 and, with the spread of German workers abroad, the movement developed in almost all civilized countries. Nor is that all. The present-day international workers’ movement is in substance a direct continuation of the German workers’ movement of that time, which was the first international workers’ movement of all time, and which brought forth many of those who took the leading role in he International Working Men’s Association. And the theoretical principles that the Communist League had inscribed on its banner in the Communist Manifesto of 1847 constitute today the strongest international bond of the entire proletarian movement of both Europe and America.”
The First International would be founded almost twenty years after the first program (Communist Manifesto) of the rising new class of proletarians had been shaped. Anyone that desires to make sense of the quantitative growth of the working class movement during that twenty year period can read all of the introductions to the various editions of the Communist Manifesto. In these introductions and prefaces Marx and Engels describe the growth in depth and breath of the proletarian movement. No where is the movement reduced to individuals within it.
The world - (planet earth), in 1848 up to the dissolution of the First International as a knowable specific environment was fundamentally agricultural or caught up in the great revolutionary change wave from feudalism to industrial production, or moving within the evolutionary leap from agrarian to industrial social relations or from the society of landed property as primary form of wealth to industrial society with money-capital and commodities expressing the primary form of wealth. In 1848 the organization of the workers or trade unions were at a very low and elementary stage. One could not really speak of “workers organization” as proletarian in the same meaning of the word today. Engels describes the character of the movement in clear terms.
(begin quote)
“The members, in so far as they were workers at all, were almost exclusively artisans. Even in the big metropolises, the man who exploited them was usually only a small master. The exploitation of tailoring on a large scale, what is now called the manufacture of ready-made clothes, by the conversion of handicraft tailoring into a domestic industry working for a big capitalist, was at that time even in London only just making it appearance. On the one hand, the exploiters of these artisans was a small master; on the other hand, they all hoped ultimately to become small masters themselves. In addition, a mass of inherited guild notions still clung to the German artisan at that time. The greatest honor is due to them, in that they, who were themselves not yet full proletarians but only an appendage of the petty bourgeoisie, an appendage which was passing into the modern proletariat and which did not yet stand in direct opposition to the bourgeoisie, that
is, to big capital — in that these artisans were capable of instinctively anticipating their future development and of constituting themselves, even if not yet with full consciousness, the party of the proletariat. But it was also inevitable that their old handicraft prejudices should be a stumbling block to them at every moment, whenever it was a question of criticizing existing society in detail, that is, of investigating economic facts. And I do not believe there was a single man in the whole League at that time who had ever read a book on political economy. But that mattered little; for the time being “equality”, “brotherhood” and “justice” helped them to surmount every theoretical obstacle.” (end quote)
It is worth noting that the mass of humanity destined to become the slaves of imperial capital were trapped in agrarian economic, social and political relations. Such is a brief general description of environment and context Marx and Engels grappled with.
The productive capacity of the rising industrial countries developed very rapidly within a narrow national framework. One could think of America during the same period - from 1836 thru 1852 or the time of the first Communist League and then from the writing of the Communist Manifesto - 1848, up to the outbreak of the Civil War and into the 1890’s. So long as the national production of a few advanced industrial advanced countries was restricted to the national market, more than less, the struggle - contradiction between the capitalists and the workers, intensified with a brutal force year by year. When Marx writes of the world market in 1848, this should not be understood to means a world market similar to what exists today. During the era of Marx what existed was at best an outline for what would 150 years later become a truly global interactive market.
The communist movement grew with strikes and uprisings by the workers within the boundary of various national markets. A hand full of followers of Marx and Engels fought to lead this activity and make the workers conscious of their striving for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The means of production rapidly went through several quantitative stages and the struggle between the classes subsided, more accurately shifted, as capitalists expanded their markets through conquering the economically backward areas of the world; bribing a layers of the rising industrial working class into political and military support of the system and pushing to wipe political feudalism from the face of the earth.
Engels summation of the history of the Communist League is instruction - tutorial, on the Marxist approach and method of history treatment. A lengthy quote is necessary.
(begin quote)
“With the Cologne trial the first period of the German communist workers’ movement comes to an end. Immediately after the sentence we dissolved our League; a few months later the Willich-Schapper separate league was also laid to eternal rest.
* A whole generation lies between then and now. At that time Germany was a country of handicraft and of domestic industry based on hand labor; now it is a big industrial country still undergoing continual industrial transformation. At that time one had to seek out one by one the workers who had an understanding of their position as workers and of their historico-economic antagonism to capital, because this antagonism itself was only just beginning to develop. Today the entire German proletariat has to be placed under exceptional laws, merely in order to slow down a little the process of its development to full consciousness of its position as an oppressed class. At that time the few persons whose minds had penetrated to the realization of the historical role of the proletariat had to forgather in secret, to assemble clandestinely in small communities of 3 to 20 persons. Today the German proletariat no longer needs any official organization, either public
or secret. The simple self-evident interconnection of like-minded class comrades suffices, without any rules, boards, resolutions or other tangible forms, to shake the whole German Empire to its foundations. Bismarck is the arbiter of Europe beyond the frontiers of Germany, but within them there grows daily more threatening the athletic figure of the German proletariat that Marx foresaw already in 1844, the giant for whom the cramped imperial edifice designed to fit the philistine is even now becoming inadequate and whose mighty stature and broad shoulder are growing until the moment comes when by merely rising from his seat he will shatter the whole structure of the imperial constitution into fragments. And still more. The international movement of the European and American proletariat has become so much strengthened that not merely its first narrow form — the secret League — but even its second, infinitely wider form — the open International
Working Men’s Association — has become a fetter for it, and that the simple feeling of solidarity based on the understanding of the identity of class position suffices to create and to hold together one and the same great party of the proletariat among the workers of all countries and tongues. The doctrine which the League represented from 1847 to 1852, and which at that time could be treated by the wise philistines with a shrug of the shoulders as the hallucinations of utter madcaps, as the secret doctrine of a few scattered sectarians, has now innumerable adherents in all civilized countries of the world, among those condemned to the Siberian mines as much as among the gold diggers of California; and the founder of this doctrine, the most hated, most slandered man of his time, Karl Marx, was, when he died, the ever-sought-for and ever-willing counsellor of the proletariat of both the old and the new world. (end quote)
 
.
Under these changed conditions of the expansion of the market and the growth of productive forces, the First International and its “Communist Party” collapsed, as did the first Communist League, with help from our bourgeoisie. To the highly personalized vision of the middle class intellectual the demise of the First International is due to personal/political conflict operating without a back drop or material environment accelerating the always present splits within the First International. The First International collapsed - dissolved, because the conditions on which it was founded changed. A force of history cannot be collapsed or dismantled based on personality conflict and political differences no matter how sharp such differences might be. Human will and the actions of the individuals impart of history junctures a personality but always in a context.
The First International was formed in correspondence to a specific environment. The environment and context is the state of development of the means of production, corresponding form of workers combinations - organizations, social consciousness of the workers and the activity of its class conscious sector. Change in form and kind of organization occurs when something fundamental to the society changes. When something fundamental in an environment begins changing , everything dependent upon that which is fundamental must in turn change or decay and become impotent.
darryl mitchell
2010-04-14 18:25:29 UTC
Permalink
 
II.
Marx speaks of changes in "workers combinations" in the Communist Manifesto describing the organization of the class into a party and how this organization is upset by the vicissitudes of capital. Capital as a social power exists in correspondence to the growth of means of production. Short of the destruction of humanity itself no force on earth could stop the transition from craft unionism to industrial unionism because these movements spontaneously arise as material expressions of the growth of capital and the productive forces. Thus, we communist approach such spontaneous movements as forces of history and strive to consolidate their shape and give them a conscious direction and self understanding.
The rise and fall of international organizations of communist and revolutionaries is always subject to the general law system that is changes in the productive forces and the growth of the division of labor. These changes in the means of production occur in relationship to production relations and the specific form of the social organization characteristic of a historical boundary. Domination of the organized sector or labor by craft forms of unionism express a distinct boundary or juncture in the growth of the means of production, as does industrial unionism as dominator. Today, we are at another juncture of development of means of production calling forth new forms of the spontaneous working class movement. Marx early struggle with shape of the proletarian movement and its intellectual content was expressed in books like "The Poverty of  Philosophy."  Although written as a critique, this book is hardly a response to or about an individual. Rather,
class outlook was being fought for and the revolutionary content of workers organizations was being formed.
In real time what American communist are striving to do is catch up with the change wave upon us and discern its salient features. Here is much of the Marxist legacy taught to the world proletariat by the Soviet detachment. Stalin would write that it is the task of communist to develop the ability to independently find their own bearing while experiencing changing and chaotic events. In America a section of the communist movement has caught up with the change wave and are fighting to shape the new form of the working class movement.
In order for something to change, something must change, that can be reduced to taking something away from a given process or adding something qualitatively new to a given process, and there is no way around this. The more things change the more change affect things. The environment changed and everything dependent upon and interactive with the environment was forced to change. Not all at one time but inexorably. What was changing was the means of production based on the advance of qualitatively new productive forces, whose sum total is called the industrial revolution and the growth of capitalism. No longer was the struggle of the advanced industrial countries simply based on the hardening of contradictions between national capitalist and national working class. Colonial exploitation offered capital greater profits and a chance to deploy national production, capital and people in servicing foreign markets.
The First International accomplished its goal. Its goal was completion of the political process begun in 1836 with the founding of the Communist League. Establishing the foundation of the new proletarian movement was the vision of the Communist League and became the cause of the First International. This cause is recorded in revolutionary history as Marx completion of the first volume of Capital in 1867 and its publication and distribution internationally. Capital 1 to this very day remains the Bible of the proletarian movement.
Forms of the working class movement and international associations of proletarians rise and fall and become obsolete in relationship with changes in the means of production and its corresponding expression in the social struggle. Such was the case with the first three Communist Internationals.
Here is how Lenin summed up things in "The Third International and Its Place in History."
"The First International (1864-72) laid the foundation of an international organization of the workers for the preparation of their revolutionary attack on  capital. The Second International (1889-1914) was an international organization  of the proletarian movement whose growth proceeded in breadth, at the cost of a  temporary drop in the revolutionary level, a temporary strengthening of  opportunism, which in the end led to the disgraceful collapse of this  International."
"The Third International has gathered the fruits of the work of the Second International, discarded its opportunist, social-chauvinist, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois dross, and has begun to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat."
(http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/apr/15.htm)
Lenin speaks of the First International as laying the foundation for the preparation of the revolutionary attack on capital. He further speaks of a "temporary drop in the revolutionary level, a temporary strengthening of opportunism," in the proletarian movement, or rather the proletarian movement in the industrially advanced countries during the era of the Second International.  Some of this "drop" in the "revolutionary level" was the result of the social-democratic parties becoming mass parties on the basis of the expansion of the system of capital. This expansion was bound up with colonial conquest and periods of stabilization of the system. Did folks in these industrially advanced countries all of a sudden experience a sudden drop in their IQ and mental faculties, or had the revolutionary movement taken in all kinds of diverse social forces, more than less petty bourgeois, with individuals reacting to a changed environment?
Young comrades might ask if our vision of the restrictions of the capitalist world of the era of Marx is something new and part of our evolved understanding of the revolution in the mode of production taking place in real  time. The answer is no. Read Lenin’s article on the "Place of the Third International" for yourself. We merely describe the changes in the productive forces exciting such changes to life. Our brand of Marxism and section of the proletarian communist movement has always held such a point of view. Allow me to  quote from a Soviet pamphlet writing during the time of Khrushchev and his  ousting from power and how these comrades describe the era of Marx. In their  general assessment of this era the Soviet comrades wrote:
(quote)
"We deal with this question in a historical sense. When Marx was alive, the development of capitalism was at an elementary level, determined by the limits  established by the feudal epoch. Within those limits (with the exception of the  U.S.A.) the capitalist world was quite restricted and its contradictions so  hardened and involved that Marx correctly conceived the overthrow of capitalism  as the result of a single world revolution, of a general revolutionary war.
But in the course of the fight for colonies and the development of monopoly capital there emerged the most important law of the capitalist system—the law of  its uneven development. The uneven development of capitalism did not leave room  for the intercontinental revolution. The economic situation, the strength of the  exploiters, and the development of the workers' movement in the different  capitalist countries varied considerably. However, this uneven development made  possible - and this Lenin saw - a break at the weakest link in the capitalist  chain. The Leninist theory of revolution in a single country was, without doubt,  a higher development of the theory of revolution."  (end quote)
The quote is taken from page 35 of the English publication of the Revolutionary Soviet Communist (B). I would date this pamphlet at 1964/66 or 45 years ago. In as few words as possible, how could an organization founded and based on the hardening of contradictions between worker and capitalist in national boundaries continue to grow and evolve when this framework has been shattered and been replaced by a different economic, social and political framework? Specifically modern finance capital or financial-industrial imperialism arose in America at the front of the curve based on financing the Civil War. The only world revolution on the agenda during this period was the continuation of the industrial revolution under the hegemony of the bourgeoisie. .
The expansion  of imperial capital in the advanced countries led to the division of the world into colonial spheres or the expansion of the closed colonial system, meaning direct colonies attached to the national capital of distinct countries. An entire layer of the population in the advanced  industrial countries acquired an economic life based in the exploitation of the  hundred of millions of slaves of imperialism. This took the form of direct  military adventures, establishment of settlements in the colonies, home production for these imperial adventures and import of cheap raw materials, gold and money capital from the colonies, resulting in a shifting of the political  struggle based on expansion of the market and bringing every greater layers of the working class into bourgeois commodity production. Further, the colonial issue would come to dominate the political agenda for one hundred years after the demise of the First International.
The Soviet comrades place history in its actual context speaking of feudalism as an existing economic, social and political relations defining the limits or frame work or context for the growth of capital during the era of Marx.
Under changing conditions and the growth of finance capital the First International collapsed. The form of the collapse as the struggle and strife between political actors is worthy of study, but never at the expense of a Marxist inquiry into the shape of history at each boundary of development. Engels sums up the  period of the First International and places it in a distinct historical period.
(begins Engels quote)
‘Tis just as well. The organisation belonged to the epoch of the Second Empire, when the labour movement was again beginning to become active, but when  the oppressions that prevailed throughout Europe made unity and abstention from  internal disputes absolutely essential. It was time when the joint cosmopolitan  interests of the proletariat could come to the front. Germany, Spain, Italy, and  Denmark had recently entered the movement, or were just entering it. In 1864,  throughout Europe (among the masses at any rate), there was still very little  understanding of the theory underlying the movement. German communism had not  yet found expression in a workers’ party, and Proudhonism was too weak to impose  its whimsies; Bakunin’s new-fangled idea had not yet found its way into his own  head. Even the British trade-union leaders felt able to participate is the  movement upon the basis of the program formulated in the Preamble to the 
Provisional Rules of the Association. It was inevitable that the first great  success should break up this simple harmony of all the factions. The success was  the Commune, which, as far as its intellectual inspiration was concerned, was  unmistakably the child of the International, although the International had not  stirred a finger to bring it into being – for the International is with good  reason made responsible for its creation. But when, thanks to the Commune, the  International became a moral force in Europe, the quarrel promptly broke out.  The members of each faction wanted to exploit the success on their own account.  The break-up of the organisation was inevitable, and speedily ensued. Jealousy  of the rising power of those who were ready to continue working along the lines laid down in the old comprehensive program, jealousy of the German communists,  drove the Belgian Proudhonists into the arms of the Bakuninist adventurers.
The Hague Congress was, in fact, the end of the International, and for both parties  in the International. There was only one country in which something might still  be done in the name of the International, and it was a happy instinct which led  the congress to decide upon the removal of the General Council to the United  States. But now, even there, its prestige has waned, and any further attempts to  galvanise the corpse to life would be a foolish waste of energy.
(end Engels quote)
darryl mitchell
2010-04-15 02:42:26 UTC
Permalink
II.
Marx talks about such change in "workers combinations" in the Communist Manifesto describing the organization of the class into a party and how this organization is upset by the vicissitudes of capital. Short of the destruction of humanity itself no force on earth could stop the transition from craft unionism to industrial unionism because these movements spontaneously arise as material expressions of the growth of capital and the productive forces. Thus, we communist approach such spontaneous movements as forces of history and strive to consolidate their shape and give them a conscious direction and self understanding.
The rise and fall of international organizations of communist and revolutionaries is always subject to the general law system that is changes in the productive forces and the growth of the division of labor. These changes in the means of production occur in relationship to production relations and the specific form of the social organization characteristic of a historical boundary. Domination of the organized sector or labor by craft forms of unionism express a distinct boundary or juncture in the growth of the means of production, as does industrial unionism as dominator. Today, we are at another juncture of development of means of production calling forth new forms of the spontaneous working class movement. Marx early struggle with shape of the proletarian movement and its intellectual content was expressed in books like "The Poverty of  Philosophy."  Although written as a critique, this book is hardly a response to or about an individual. Rather,
class outlook was being fought for and the revolutionary content of workers organizations was being formed.
In real time what American communist are striving to do is catch up with the change wave upon us and discern its salient features. Here is much of the Marxist legacy taught to the world proletariat by the Soviet detachment. Stalin would write that it is the task of communist to develop the ability to independently find their own bearing while experiencing changing and chaotic events. In America a section of the communist movement has caught up with the change wave and are fighting to shape the new form of the working class movement.
In order for something to change, something must change, that can be reduced to taking something away from a given process or adding something qualitatively new to a given process, and there is no way around this. The more things change the more change affect things. The environment changed and everything dependent upon and interactive with the environment was forced to change. Not all at one time but inexorably. What was changing was the means of production based on the advance of qualitatively new productive forces, whose sum total is called the industrial revolution and the growth of capitalism. No longer was the struggle of the advanced industrial countries simply based on the hardening of contradictions between national capitalist and national working class. Colonial exploitation offered capital greater profits and a chance to deploy national production, capital and people in servicing foreign markets.
The First International accomplished its goal. Its goal was completion of the political process begun in 1836 with the founding of the Communist League. Establishing the foundation of the new proletarian movement was the vision of the Communist League and became the cause of the First International. This cause is recorded in revolutionary history as Marx completion of the first volume of Capital in 1867 and its publication and distribution internationally. Capital 1 to this very day remains the Bible of the proletarian movement.
Forms of the working class movement and international associations of proletarians rise and fall and become obsolete in relationship with changes in the means of production and its corresponding expression in the social struggle. Such was the case with the first three Communist Internationals.
Here is how Lenin summed up things in "The Third International and Its Place in History."
"The First International (1864-72) laid the foundation of an international organization of the workers for the preparation of their revolutionary attack on  capital. The Second International (1889-1914) was an international organization  of the proletarian movement whose growth proceeded in breadth, at the cost of a  temporary drop in the revolutionary level, a temporary strengthening of  opportunism, which in the end led to the disgraceful collapse of this  International."
"The Third International has gathered the fruits of the work of the Second International, discarded its opportunist, social-chauvinist, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois dross, and has begun to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat."
(http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/apr/15.htm)
Lenin speaks of the First International as laying the foundation for the preparation of the revolutionary attack on capital. He further speaks of a "temporary drop in the revolutionary level, a temporary strengthening of opportunism," in the proletarian movement, or rather the proletarian movement in the industrially advanced countries during the era of the Second International.  Some of this "drop" in the "revolutionary level" was the result of the social-democratic parties becoming mass parties on the basis of the expansion of the system of capital. This expansion was bound up with colonial conquest and periods of stabilization of the system. Did folks in these industrially advanced countries all of a sudden experience a sudden drop in their IQ and mental faculties, or had the revolutionary movement taken in all kinds of diverse social forces, more than less petty bourgeois, with individuals reacting to a changed environment?
Young comrades might ask if our vision of the restrictions of the capitalist world of the era of Marx is something new and part of our evolved understanding of the revolution in the mode of production taking place in real  time. The answer is no. Read Lenin’s article on the "Place of the Third International" for yourself. We merely describe the changes in the productive forces exciting such changes to life. Our brand of Marxism and section of the proletarian communist movement has always held such a point of view. Allow me to  quote from a Soviet pamphlet writing during the time of Khrushchev and his  ousting from power and how these comrades describe the era of Marx. In their  general assessment of this era the Soviet comrades wrote:
(quote)
"We deal with this question in a historical sense. When Marx was alive, the development of capitalism was at an elementary level, determined by the limits  established by the feudal epoch. Within those limits (with the exception of the  U.S.A.) the capitalist world was quite restricted and its contradictions so  hardened and involved that Marx correctly conceived the overthrow of capitalism  as the result of a single world revolution, of a general revolutionary war.
But in the course of the fight for colonies and the development of monopoly capital there emerged the most important law of the capitalist system—the law of  its uneven development. The uneven development of capitalism did not leave room  for the intercontinental revolution. The economic situation, the strength of the  exploiters, and the development of the workers' movement in the different  capitalist countries varied considerably. However, this uneven development made  possible - and this Lenin saw - a break at the weakest link in the capitalist  chain. The Leninist theory of revolution in a single country was, without doubt,  a higher development of the theory of revolution."  (end quote)
The quote is taken from page 35 of the English publication of the Revolutionary Soviet Communist (B). I would date this pamphlet at 1964/66 or 45 years ago. In as few words as possible, how could an organization founded and based on the hardening of contradictions between worker and capitalist in national boundaries continue to grow and evolve when this framework has been shattered and been replaced by a different economic, social and political framework? Specifically modern finance capital or financial-industrial imperialism arose in America at the front of the curve based on financing the Civil War. The only world revolution on the agenda during this period was the continuation of the industrial revolution under the hegemony of the bourgeoisie. .
The expansion  of imperial capital in the advanced countries led to the division of the world into colonial spheres or the expansion of the closed colonial system, meaning direct colonies attached to the national capital of distinct countries. An entire layer of the population in the advanced  industrial countries acquired an economic life based in the exploitation of the  hundred of millions of slaves of imperialism. This took the form of direct  military adventures, establishment of settlements in the colonies, home production for these imperial adventures and import of cheap raw materials, gold and money capital from the colonies, resulting in a shifting of the political  struggle based on expansion of the market and bringing every greater layers of the working class into bourgeois commodity production. Further, the colonial issue would come to dominate the political agenda for one hundred years after the demise of the First International.
The Soviet comrades place history in its actual context speaking of feudalism as an existing economic, social and political relations defining the limits or frame work or context for the growth of capital during the era of Marx.
Under changing conditions and the growth of finance capital the First International collapsed. The form of the collapse as the struggle and strife between political actors is worthy of study, but never at the expense of a Marxist inquiry into the shape of history at each boundary of development. Engels sums up the  period of the First International and places it in a distinct historical period.
(begins Engels quote)
‘Tis just as well. The organisation belonged to the epoch of the Second Empire, when the labour movement was again beginning to become active, but when  the oppressions that prevailed throughout Europe made unity and abstention from  internal disputes absolutely essential. It was time when the joint cosmopolitan  interests of the proletariat could come to the front. Germany, Spain, Italy, and  Denmark had recently entered the movement, or were just entering it. In 1864,  throughout Europe (among the masses at any rate), there was still very little  understanding of the theory underlying the movement. German communism had not  yet found expression in a workers’ party, and Proudhonism was too weak to impose  its whimsies; Bakunin’s new-fangled idea had not yet found its way into his own  head. Even the British trade-union leaders felt able to participate is the  movement upon the basis of the program formulated in the Preamble to the 
Provisional Rules of the Association. It was inevitable that the first great  success should break up this simple harmony of all the factions. The success was  the Commune, which, as far as its intellectual inspiration was concerned, was  unmistakably the child of the International, although the International had not  stirred a finger to bring it into being – for the International is with good  reason made responsible for its creation. But when, thanks to the Commune, the  International became a moral force in Europe, the quarrel promptly broke out.  The members of each faction wanted to exploit the success on their own account.  The break-up of the organisation was inevitable, and speedily ensued. Jealousy  of the rising power of those who were ready to continue working along the lines laid down in the old comprehensive program, jealousy of the German communists,  drove the Belgian Proudhonists into the arms of the Bakuninist adventurers.
The Hague Congress was, in fact, the end of the International, and for both parties  in the International. There was only one country in which something might still  be done in the name of the International, and it was a happy instinct which led  the congress to decide upon the removal of the General Council to the United  States. But now, even there, its prestige has waned, and any further attempts to  galvanise the corpse to life would be a foolish waste of energy.
(end Engels quote)
III.
The historic problem of American Marxists is the failure to contextualize history as boundaries of development. Everything is quickly placed in a general environment called capitalism or "social relations of production" or class struggle without quantifying and distinguishing one historical period from another.
It is necessary to repeat that the scientific communist movement began as manufacturing with its small, scattered workshops was being replaced by industry with its concentration of thousands of workers in giant factories. It is interesting that the collapse of  the First International coincide with the beginning application of electricity  to industry or the quantitative establishment of the electro-mechanical process,  which displaced the primary role of the steam engine. A fluke of history or mere  coincidence or the quiet operation of the historical advance?
The same Marxist approach of quantifying history ought to be used in assessing the Second and Third International and most certainly an appraisal of the so-called Four International of Soviet haters. It is here we shall see that  this formation of primarily intellectuals of the imperialist centers was an ideological  detachment of middle class intellectuals expressing nothing  new of any quantitative shifting in historical boundary.
The Soviet haters of the Fourth International cannot state one single change in the historical  process necessitating a new Communist International to replace the Third  Communist International other than "we oppose Soviet Power as it exist, because we feel the Soviet Union is governed by a bad government. Although we are objectively fighting along side of the fascist and imperialist in seeking the overthrow of Soviet power, we of the Four International are different and the genuine revolutionary Leninists."
The flip side of the complaints against the Third International is basically, "they wanted to tell ’us’ what to do and the world would have been better off without the Third International."
This is not to say that the Third International did not contain its own internal life cycle. All forms of working class organizations contain an internal life cycle, as does bourgeois corporations. Workers organizations and bourgeois corporation are compelled to change and leap forward to a new reformulation or die. What drives the need for reform of the system and the organizational forms connected to a changing system is defined as quantitative changes, rather than qualitative changes in the material power of production.
Let’s back up a moment and look at American history.
Unlike Europe, America was capitalist from its inception; the total destruction of the Native American communal life left no feudal or communal hangovers. There was a large and widespread class of small producers. Most importantly, from time to time, as much as one-quarter of the toilers were slaves. During this period, until the end of the Civil War in 1865, the communist groupings were primarily immigrants who struggled very hard to impose their sectarian ideals on the actual American social struggle. However, the roots of the American communist movement lie in the broad populist struggle between the small producers and the emerging monopolies led by the robber barons of post-Civil War America. This circumstance is very different from conditions in Europe that lead to the formation of social democratic parties. These social democratic parties expressed the environment that birthed them, namely the collusion of all the new classes of capitalist society
waging a death battle against the class of the old feudal society. This circumstance combined with imperial expansion, colonization and then the emergence of finance capital in turn created the condition for stabilizing the petty bourgeois character of the Second International.
In Europe and America the communist and socialist movement was the subjective expression of the struggle of the industrial working class during the quantitative stages of industrial capitalism’s development. It is important to note that once bourgeois industrial hegemony was established, which is based on vanquishing its political and economic enemy tied to the old agrarian relation, the working class could only fight for a bigger slice of the economic pie in the advanced capitalist countries.. They were now part of the consolidated system and could only carry out struggles for social reform to reflect the quantitative development of the productive process. This reality shaped the communist parties of that period. Communists defended and expanded the science of society and propagandized their goals. They led the workers in militant economic and social struggles. Their fatal weakness was that they had to constantly strive to win the workers over to
their program. The workers had their own program that spontaneously arose out of their concrete economic needs within the context of the existing economic system. Therefore the communist parties were revolutionary in program and propaganda, but reformist in its practical work. This contradiction handicapped the movement in America and Europe.
The Soviet communists and more sober thinkers of the Comintern understood this dynamic. The more petty bourgeois radical elements of the Comintern deeply felt that revolution - world revolution was not only possible but at hand, because the productive forces of bourgeois society evolved in contradiction with the relations of production. The extreme left wing of this political tendency became political Trotskyism demanding world revolution and blaming the Comintern when such did not materialize in any of the advanced capitalist countries.
Let’s understand why we place so most emphasis, human energy and money on educating the rising leaders of our proletariat in Marx approach and method. Listen again to the intellectual approach of a Trotskyists, which summarizes  this crews general approach to history and revolution.
"It will be my goal,  . . . . to debunk the notion of a wise and efficacious Comintern. I do not view the Comintern prior to Stalin’s rise to  power as a model to emulate. Looking back in particular at the role of Lenin and Trotsky,  . . . . the only conclusion that sensible people can be left with is that the German Communist Party would have been much better off if the Comintern had simply left it alone."
Debunking the notion that the Comintern was wise or able to produce a desired effect in various sectors of the international communist movement, means examining the communist movement and its state of development before the rise of the Comintern or before 1919. Was the Comintern wise in 1919, as compared with the scattered groupings of revolutionaries world wide in that period? What was the state of the communist movement in China in 1919 - a favorite topic of Trotskyite, Germany, England, America, Austria, South America, Poland, Canada, etc. Further, how did Lenin characterize the task and goal of the Third Communist International? Was the Comintern wise in 1919, 1922, 1926, 1928, 1930, 1932, as compared with the scattered groupings of revolutionaries world wide in these periods?
Here, two events are pinpointed. The environment of feudalism in Europe which produced a social democratic movement, as the proletarian movement spread and was drawn into combat alongside the bourgeoisie against political feudalism. It is stated that this dynamic served as part of the environment for the domination of the petty bourgeois ideologist in the Second International. In Western Europe, socialist parties gained premierships as well as large representations in parliaments. In Eastern Europe and Russia the more overtly political struggle broke out into revolutionary upsurges, against economic and political feudalism.  By 1912, the economically undeveloped world was conquered and any further market expansion would have to be done by one imperialist power at the expense of another. World War I became inevitable.
The second point is the absence of feudalism in America and the class coalitions that emerged as the populist movement. American did not and never has developed a social democratic movement although many a communist have labeled various trade union leaders and a section of the Democratic Party "social democrats."
What again, was the specific role, purpose and origin of the Comintern?
"The Third International has gathered the fruits of the work of the Second International, discarded its opportunist, social-chauvinist, bourgeois and petty-bourgeois dross, and has begun to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat." (The Third International and Its Place in History) http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/apr/15.htm
"(H)as begun to implement the dictatorship of the proletariat." It would seem "the only conclusion that sensible people can be left with is" the fundamental role - purpose, of the Comintern might just be bound up with implementing the dictatorship of the proletariat, where the dictatorship of the proletariat existed.
Actually, the author quoted feels the same way about the Comintern’s impact on American communism and wrote in no uncertain terms that the Comintern should  have not demanded the American communist dismantle their European language press  and write in English and Spanish. I know this for a fact because I argued against this proposition, which amounted to continuing the systematic exclusion  of blacks, Mexicans and our native born proletariat from communism. Further, it  meant defeating the idea of a central press and organizing on the basis of  nationality at the expense of class. Consider the facts. In the early 1920’s there  were roughly 350,000 auto workers of which no less than 70% were native born speaking English. Auto production leaped forward with the implementation of assembly line production, which established a new quantitative boundary in the material power of production. Half of these workers lived in Michigan which contained
twelve of the seventeen auto manufacturers, including the three giants, Ford, General  Motors and Chrysler. Michigan accounted for 75% of all automobiles built in the country.
You tell me if it was wise to insist that the American communist develop a press in the language in which the native American proletariat spoke? Tell the Mexican  workers why it was better to have a Communist organization in America issuing  papers in European languages rather than Spanish and English. In Detroit and the  Midwest of the 1920’s roughly 58,000 Mexican workers had made this area their permanent residence, bringing with them their language. Many of these workers entered auto and established what today is Detroit’s Mexican Town.
It would seem that our own history confirms that the Comintern was in fact wise and effective in shaping, aiding and assisting the American  communist movement of that period. It is fine to wax poetic on the German revolution and endlessly bicker over the fortunes of the Chinese revolution during the 1920's. What of America? Once we consider our own history issues quickly divide and break down on the basis of clear class and nationality lines. On one side stands a generations proletariat - communists, of all nationalities. On the other side, protesting and condemning the "interference of the Comintern into our business" stands liberal middle class ideologists.
On the banner of the Comintern was written "Workers and Oppressed Peoples Unite." The era of the Comintern was an era of colonial revolts and national-colonial revolutions; the battle against German led European fascism and it was the ethical and moral duty of communist world wide to first of all aid in support and protection of the dictatorship of the proletariat and Soviet socialism. This ethical and moral duty was expressed in all kinds of ways and activity. Those American communists of the previous generation who enlisted in the armed forces with the expressed purpose of defeating and destroying German fascism fought on the correct side of history. European led German fascism and the fascist movement in America was a direct response to the October Revolution rather than the Stalin government, and the imperialist never hid their intentions. To this very day the ideologists of the imperialist loudly proclaimed that American imperialism fought on the
wrong side of WW II.
A couple of words concerning the Fourth International is in order.
First, the obvious in Marx method and approach is that the environment of one thing becomes the environment for other things and changes in the environment sets the condition for change - quantitative and qualitative, in the social process. Under the conditions of WWII demanding that the proletariat disengage from the fight and not confront German led European fascism was to ideologically and politically go over to the side of the imperialist fascists. We communist are never scared to take sides and make compromises even with untrustworthy people and political groups. Marx long ago taught us how to discern what is fundamental in the social process.
Second, individual personality is not sufficient to change an environment that  is an expression of the material power of productive forces. Wrong policy can cause one to collide with their environment and be rendered impotent, but the  form of international organization of the proletariat has to express the state  of development of productive forces, communications, development of capital and  whatever stage of the revolutionary process society is passing through. It is obligatory to ask the basic questions: "is the country I live in passing from agrarian relations with old classes connected to the landed property relations?" "What are the specific alignment of class and social forces we face in real time?" "What is our capacity as communists to impact the social process, since as Lenin put matters, we are only a drop in a bucket."
Lastly, it is based on an assessment of environment and circumstances of consolidation of the so-called Fourth International, formed outside of the revolutionary movement of the world proletariat and in opposition to Soviet Power that  leads to me calling it a band of counterrevolutionaries hell bent on the destruction of Soviet Power. That the proletariat was incapable of overthrowing capital in America or England never enters the heads of our mad cappers.
There is a material reason  why the Comintern had to force policy on the revolutionaries in the advanced capitalist countries. In our country the Negro Question was imposed with force on the CP - in 1928/29, to the delight of all the slaves of world  imperialism. Today, the physical mass of the proletariat of color is such that we can write our own history, which is in fact the history of not just the world  proletariat, but humanity itself.
The First, Second and Third Internationals were organized and evolved within a definable changed environment of material relations, expressing a distinct quantitative juncture in the development of the means of production. Not so with the Fourth. The Four International, according to its own documents was organized as  a political/military/ideological strike force against Soviet Power and its expressed aim was the overthrow of the Soviet government and state. Why? Because history is understood by these "intellectual giants" - mad cappers, as the operations of individual personalities rather than the Marxist conception of the role of the individual, within distinct junctures and boundaries of the historical process.
One can call for an international organization of the proletariat until they are blue in the face and such will not come of fruition until material conditions exists  making such possible and urgent. New forms of organization are called into existence based on changes in the material power of production. We are in such a period of time.
Thus, Comrade Chavez call for a new communist international, which builds upon any alleged insights of the Fourth International calls forth a question in my mind, which simply asks, "what did the Fourth International contribute of any note or importance?"  In my mind the Fourth International is bound up with all the political phenomena characteristic of the period of the Third International. They just fought Soviet power under various liberal imperialist banners.
 
WL.
darryl mitchell
2010-04-15 12:46:00 UTC
Permalink
End game
The political battles waged by Marx and Engels to give the First International an outlook and program independent of all ideology of the  propertied classes has been outlined and preserved as part of the Soviet  Legacy in "Marx and the Trade Unions."  "Marx and the Trade Unions," by A.  Lozovsky (pseudo, Dridzo, Solomon Abranovich) issued by International Publishers  dated March 14, 1933 Moscow, captures every fundamental political struggle Marx conducted in the First International.
It has been more than twenty years since I have had the occasion and need to restudy this wonderful text. Issued under the rising curve of Soviet power,  this text contains all the historical and theoretical errors of the period in  which it was issued. This period can be called the era of "Marxism-Leninism."
A historical era is historical precisely because no one in the era can discern their error. This is so because the social process has not attained a degree of development to bring froth the new distinct features of the entire process. Specifically, the means of production does not move in contradiction  with the relations of production but rather antagonism. The contradiction that  is means of production and relations of production is the internal drive and  impulse establishing the self movement of society as development of the mode of  production. The mode of production is driven through successive quantitative  boundaries of development. The quality that is being developed quantitatively  was industrialism. Today, the industrial revolution has given way to the post  industrial revolution and a new quality of means of production. The appearance  of this new quality of productive forces brings to antagonism - not  contradiction, the society
founded on industrialism.
The historical error is the conception of the "class struggle" of the proletariat as contradiction. The bourgeoisie and proletariat are birthed in contradiction as the unity of a production relations or social relations of production. These new classes - bourgeoisie and proletariat, are simultaneously  birthed in antagonism with feudalism and all the old classes (old production  relations) marking feudalism as distinct property relation or the landed  property relations, or a specific social system (mode of production). Under the  feudal system the serf could not overthrow the nobility because together them  constituted the building blocks of the mode of production. What was and is  required to displace a mode of production, is a qualitative development of means  of production, creating new classes and new relations of production.   Capitalist/industrial society, as a mode of production is no different in its  historical evolution as a mode of
production.
During the various boundaries of development of the industrial system and capitalism the proletariat at the front of the curve of development did not and  could not overthrow capital in the advanced countries until the means of  production began evolution in antagonism with the relations of production. At  the back of the curve of industrial development it was possible to impose a  communist regime on society during the leap from agriculture to industry. Such  was the case with the Russian October Revolution.
This distinct law was not formulated and articulated until the mid and late
1980’s by a small section of the American communist movement.
Reality Check
The decay of industrial unionism is no where more striking than in the state of Michigan and the historic Detroit nexus of automotive production. The practical activity of the proletarian movement in America demanded a revisiting  of this text. The post industrial revolution is the environment and context for  the decay of industrial trade unionism in the same way that the rising  industrial revolution was the context for the decay of craft unionism as the  cutting edge of the early trade union movement. What is different today is that  the struggle of the workers is spontaneously leaping outside the boundary of the  trade union movement.  A glance at the membership numbers of the auto  workers union is instructive.
(Note: These figures are for total membership rather than auto workers only. Air plane workers and agricultural implement workers are included in the early years. After the 1980 service workers are included. A real break down of all the numbers and category of workers would be revealing. At  this point I do not have such information. There are roughly 90 - 100, 000 active UAW  auto workers. And falling.)
UAW Average Annual Dues Paying Membership 1936 through  2008

1936         27,058                   1976   1,358,364
1937       231,894                   1977   1,440,988
1938       144,097                   1978   1,499,425
1939       155,845                   1979   1,527,858
1940       246,038                   1980   1,357,141
1941       460,791                   1981   1,275,313
1942       592,447                   1982   1,151,086
1943       908,374                   1983   1,057,376
1944     1,065,030                  1984   1,123,716
1945       891,840                   1985   1,161,171
1946       677,310                   1986   1,106,477
1947       855,933                   1987   1,002,675
1948       893,421                   1988     943,582
1949       936,702                   1989     921,926
1950     1,018,440                  1990     867,564
1951     1,184,507                  1991     861,658
1952     1,197,730                  1992     796,729
1953     1,418,118                  1993     750,436
1954     1,239,171                  1994     765,903
1955     1,328,634                   1995     756,538
1956     1,320,513                   1996     769,685
1957     1,315,505                   1997     764,089
1958     1,026,050                   1998     741,687
1959     1,124,362                   1999     746,259
1960      1,136,140                  2000     728,510
1961     1,001,018                   2001     715,621
1962     1,073,547                   2002     675,898
1963        908,374                   2003     654,733
1964     1,168,067                   2004     622,603
1965     1,326,136                   2005     598,648
1966     1,402,399                   2006     576,131
1967     1,403,792                   2007     512,560
1968     1,472,696                   2008     468,096
1969     1,530,870                   2009     355,000
1970    1,485,609
1971    1,264,902
1972    1,393,501
1973   1,501,910
1974   1,464,928
1975   1,356,670

The Walter P. Reuther    Library of Labor   and  Urban Affairs
Of the 355,000 UAW members for year 2009, less than 100,000 are autoworkers. The estimated figures for General Motors are 35,000; Ford 40,000  and Chrysler 25,000. The shift in the form of the trade union movement is expressed in the relationship between active-employed workers and non-active workers meaning retired workers.
There are roughly 800,000 retired UAW workers versus 355,000 active members. These retired workers have broken their connection with production and for all practical purposes exist and spontaneously strive to protect their economic interest outside the frame work of the trade union movement as it had  existed. Where in the past Marxists put forth the proposition that the struggle  of the workers had to be guided outside the connecting tissue - bond, that is  labor-capital at the point of production, or pushed and aided in leaping outside  the narrow trade union framework, this proposition is now obsolete.  The  spontaneous development of means of production, revolution in the means of  production, has entered the equation. A huge section of the proletariat has been  effectively shoved outside the civic society of the bourgeoisie and contains a  spontaneous logic that compels it to confront state and government as a fight  for survival. No
reform of the system can bring this new form of the proletarian  movement into the inner metabolism of bourgeois commodity production.
Hence, the form of the working class movement is undergoing change in real time.
Today we are on the threshold of a new proletarian movement that has escaped the vision of the entire American Marxist movement, except a small group of communists with historical roots in the industrial proletariat. After this  year absolutely no one will dispute the new character of the proletarian movement. Several events this year will alter the vision of the proletarian  movement. I would like to point out one of these events.
The auto workers union holds its Constitutional Convention in Detroit in a few months. A new president will be elected facing the ruin of the union. With a  membership of 355,000 and less than 100,000 auto workers the material basis of  the domination of autoworkers in the "auto workers union" has been undermined.  The auto workers union is no longer a union of auto workers. The "auto workers  union" is a new service type union with roots in a workforce being consolidated  on the basis of advanced robotics. This is not a theoretical proposition. The  new engine plants going on line in 24 - 36 months are mind boggling.
To pinpoint the dynamic that is taking place requires no more than one describing the social process without imposing ideology on facts. The North Jefferson Assembly plant, producing the world famous Jeep brand has roughly
3,000 workers in total. These workers are organized as Local 7 of the UAW
(United Autoworers union). Attached to Local 7 are 30,000 living retired workers. Who is going to dominate the union? Workers with a connection to production or workers without a connection to the  reproduction of capital? Simple question.
Of the 80,000 living Chrysler retired workers, 30,000 are Local 7 members.
The retired workers cannot move impendent of the great mass of proletarians with tenuous direct connections to the reproduction of capital because the demand of these workers are the demands of the most poverty stricken sector of  the American proletariat. Take the demand for health care. Health care cannot be  won from the employers because we - or rather, the retired workers, are not  employed. Our health care has already been detached from the employers. We have  already formed ourselves into small organizations independent of the employers  on the health care issue, but within the union framework. We are spontaneously  compelled to open out doors - union doors, to anyone and everyone interested in  a single payer health care system. This means "Everyone In and Nobody Out."
What is interesting is that these small groups expressing the new proletarian movement in America are 60% women 50% minority industrial  proletariat,
(rising to as high as 80% in our consistent meeting) and this configuration exist no where else in America  . . .yet.  What has  become painfully obvious is that this new form of the proletarian movement and  new form of "proletarian combination" expresses a new class striving in  antagonism with the exiting society. This is not an expression of contradiction  between relations and means of production because there is no internally  connection bond - tissue, to constitute a contradiction. We are not evolving in contradiction with an employer or an expression of the contradiction that is  labor and capital driving the reproduction of capital. We are outside the system devoid of means of production and devoid of the means to reenter production of surplus value. We remain consumers but this is tenuous. Today, a section of the  new proletarian movement is evolving in external collision with capital and the  state. This specific self movement is not
contradiction but the meaning of  "society moves in class antagonism."
We have long ago entered a new era of social revolution. Just as Marx and Engels sought to provide the First International with a proletarian consciousness are task is no different.
Proletarians Unite
WL.
Louis Proyect
2010-04-15 13:20:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by darryl mitchell
Thus, Comrade Chavez call for a new communist international, which
builds upon any alleged insights of the Fourth International calls forth
a question in my mind, which simply asks, "what did the Fourth
International contribute of any note or importance?" In my mind the
Fourth International is bound up with all the political phenomena
characteristic of the period of the Third International. They just
fought Soviet power under various liberal imperialist banners.
Actually, some of Chavez's closest allies were Trotskyists. Here's
something from part one of my articles on Hugo Chavez:

Like the government that it would eventually serve as midwife to,
the Patriotic Front was a joint civilian-military organization.
Miquilena and his civilian comrades, including ex-guerrilla
Douglas Bravo, were joined by Lieutenant William Izarra, who had
just retired from the air force. It should be noted that Izarra
had little in common with the rightwing Christian fundamentalists
that the American Air Force academy in Colorado Springs churns out
with alarming regularity. Gott describes Izarra as a
“revolutionary officer with Trotskyist leanings who had studied at
Harvard."

Full:
http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2007/04/15/hugo-chavez-and-the-venezuelan-revolution/

As far as the FI fighting Soviet power under "liberal imperialist"
banners, we should never forget that the CPUSA supported FDR
persecuting the Trotskyists under the Smith Act in 1941, thus
crossing class lines and preparing the way for their own
prosecution after the love affair between American imperialism and
the Kremlin went sour.

Although I admit that that Waistline would hardly be bothered by
people being put in prison under such thought control legislation,
given his undying admiration for the Moscow Trials.


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darryl mitchell
2010-04-16 14:37:43 UTC
Permalink
Full:
http://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2007/04/15/hugo-chavez-and-the-venezuelan-revo\
lution/
As far as the FI fighting Soviet power under "liberal imperialist"
banners, we should never forget that the CPUSA supported FDR
persecuting the Trotskyists under the Smith Act in 1941, thus
crossing class lines and preparing the way for their own
prosecution after the love affair between American imperialism and
the Kremlin went sour.
Although I admit that that Waistline would hardly be bothered by
people being put in prison under such thought control legislation,
given his undying admiration for the Moscow Trials.

Comment
I am not sure what any of the above has to do with why and under what conditions the form of the working class movement and International communist organizations have decayed and reformed - reconstituted themselves, in the past. The key to unraveling the historic specific form of the proletarian movement presents itself as the specific form of the organization of labor as this organization corresponds and express a material relation. This material relation is activated means of production and their state of development. Thus, the various international organization of communist were viewed through this lens.
The history and actions of the Communist Party USA occupied center stage in the development of American Marxism. Not because I say so but because of the actual process of the development of American Marxism and the Comintern fighting and pushing to cobble together American communists into a coherent organization. Thus, in my assessment of the history of the Three Communist Internationals, William Z. Fosters "History of the Three Internationals," (International publishers 1955) was revisited. Foster’s first 10 chapters are adequate in outlining the backdrop and environment of the growth of the "scientific socialism" movement (Chapter 2) when placed in the era in which this book was written.
All three communist internationals above all express a historically specific quantitative boundary in the development of capital and the industrial system or the social organization of labor. That the FI was formed as an ideological current in the same time frame as the Third International is without dispute. The FI did not express a distinct social organization of labor, the index separating the First International from the Second and the Second from the Third. One may attribute different motives to the FI, but at the end of the day it was and remained anti-Soviet. A Fifth Communist International, would in my estimate have to be founded and based on the specific form of proletarian movement in the advanced capitalist countries. The salient features of this new form of the social organization of labor has been tracked by some of us for the better part of 40 years and was described in my last installment based on hard data dealing with the auto workers
union and the emerging form of proletarian combination in the Midwest or as it is called "the rust bowl."
Since LP does not dispute this unraveling its seems we are in agreement that the form of the proletarian movement is leaping to a new stage.
II. Andy Stern recently resigned and his resignation foretell profound changes in the American  trade union movement. Although, I tend to stay away from speaking of individuals as historical process, there are times when such is appropriate. Today is such a time. Bill Lucy is slated to not run again for his position and of course the UAW gets a new president in June, Bob King. The recent tragedy of the mine workers is splitting a section of the trade union movement in real time. Stern has the distinction of visiting the Obama White House 21 times according to the guest list. Two of his lieutenants has been appointed to White House post. When these real time events are placed in a living context rather than ideological proclamation, Obama’s politics of "bipartisanship" becomes sensible.
I will commit to writing a brief article on the meaning of bipartisanship in real time because political theorists relate Obama actions to that of Lincoln and his assignment of enemies - pro-slavery forces, in his administration. What these events point to is a political struggle to shape the new stage of the political superstructure as capital enters into deep irresolvable antagonism with qualitatively new means of production.
III. The question of the Moscow Trails in contemporary American society is in fact a question of the evolution of our historically specific penal-industrial complex. This complex has outstripped anything that existed in the Soviet Union a decade ago. In my estimate we are dealing with new phenomena, which embraces the creation of what can roughly be called a penal-proletariat. Not proletarians merely criminalized, which occurs at the early stage of the working class movement when resistance to capital is as Engels describes matters, that of criminals. But, literally a "penal proletariat" outstripping the Gulag as a labor institute.
The concrete question faced by communists in our organizing is how to approach and organized a section of this penal proletariat, whose conditioning and institutionalization lend itself to organization? The fastest growing segment of this penal proletariat are white women in the Southern states with states like Florida in the lead. It is my estimate we have to really dig into our own history, after all its was it fact small organized groups of white Southern women that constituted the strike force against lynching in the immediate post Civil War period. Their escalating criminalization is mere to defeat the new form of the proletarian revolution.
My personal experience with this new phenomena of the penal proletariat dates back to 1989/1991, when my wife and I - (whose last job was in the Florida penal system), wrote the first modern small text dealing with how the felon could self organized themselves to avoid life in prison. I will reprint for this list the exact "Introduction" to this small booklet as it appeared in 1990.
WL
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darryl mitchell
2010-04-16 14:49:40 UTC
Permalink
The 1990 "Universal Almanac" contains the following figures; For 1986, 82% of all state and federal prisoners were repeaters, inmates who had committed crimes after serving a previous prison term or after being on probation or parole. Further, of all inmates a whopping 60% had been imprisoned two or more times, 45% three or more, and 20% six or more times. By 1987 the number of people in prison, on parole, or on probation rose to Three million-five hundred thousand, with 362,192-10%- being paroled and 2.2 million on probation. During the five year period 1983-1987 the amount of persons on parole, probation and in prison jumped Forty percent.
During the summer of 1990, the Justice Department released data stating that for the year ending June 30, 1990, the number of people behind bars grew by 80,000 to reach 755,425. This annual increase of more than 80,000 inmates from midyear 1989 to midyear 1990, was said to be the largest annual growth in 65 years of prison population statistics.
This same report stated that the overall prison population grew by 42,682 inmates, or 6 percent, in the first 6 months of Nineteen Ninety. For this same period the federal prison population grew by 8 percent, while the states prison population grew by 5.8 percent. As of June 30, 1990, there were approximately 43,541 women behind bars and 711,884 men. Scholars will no doubt debate and form theories to explain the explosive growth in the prison population that the above figure indicate. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of time or patience to delve into scholarly work examining that aspect of the human condition that leads men to prison. We simply note that the figures show that the majority of people in prison, have been in prison before.
The immediate problem that faces the convict as he leaves the prison gates, is how not to end back up incarcerated. Then there is the fellow that has been in and out of jail more times than he cares to remember. This man is more than the "three-time loser" of Hollywood and television fame. He runs the risk of being declare a habitual criminal, or in the modern language of the psycho-therapist, a socio-path. "Habitual criminal" means life in prison as the end game. The convict who is faced with the prospect of being labeled a habitual criminal, or who faces life in prison if he is taken before the judge again has an overwhelming need to change his behavior. He must either "bottom-out" on criminal activity, or face prison, insanity and a meaningless life/death. This man is the reason for the "call" for the formation of "Felon Anonymous".
The need for Felon-Anonymous arose in the course of counseling indigent men diagnosed alcoholic or narcotic addicts. At any given time 25% of the "house" had extensive arrest records, including jail terms. Approximately 10% of the "house" were court stipulated, meaning drug treatment or jail. Interestingly enough, some of these men had very little difficulty abstaining from drug and alcohol use, but found it virtually impossible to cast-off criminal techniques for living.
For many a convict, alcohol and narcotic use is an intimate part of criminal activity. We draw no fundamental distinction between the criminal-addict and the addict-criminal as therapists. Generally speaking, the convict of the Felon-Anonymous type is 35 years old, or older, male, reads at a 5th grade level and has a solid 20 year history in and out of jail. It is deeply felt that any alcohol or narcotic use on the part of the convict becomes another obstacle to him "bottoming-out" on criminal activity and another excuse not to confront his mental insanity, emotional deformity and spiritual degeneracy.
Although we cannot prove it, it is felt that most people in the course of a lifetime, commit acts that can be classified as crime. Felon-Anonymous cannot be an organization for anyone that has committed a criminal act. It is for the habitual criminal who desires to stay from behind bars.
Felon-Anonymous cannot become a discussion group glorifying our past criminal conduct. Actually, it is felt that the convict should not discuss his specific crimes until he has attended Felon-Anon meetings on a regular basis for at least 12 months. Under no circumstances are we to pass on information that can be used in the commission of crime. We desire to exist solely to provide a broad base for the habitual criminal to change his ways.
Only the most desperate convicts will seek out and form Felon Anonymous. Upon release from prison, such men do not join their local church. Generally, these men are incapable of conceiving life without crime, criminal friends and activity stamped with the behavior of criminal segments of society. Terrified at the thought of life in prison and trusting no one, these men are caught in a cycle of circumstances that tend to make a return to prison inevitable. It is the individual with a sense of pending inevitability who will clearly understand that a Felon-Anonymous and its conception of the 12 Step program can aid the convict.
At this writing there is no Felon-Anonymous organization. Yet there is a clear need for one. As Felon Anonymous comes into being it is important that we remain anonymous. Strict adherence to remaining anonymous will allow the early pioneers of this fellowship to consolidate a living organization, define and refine its content.
The call for the formation of Felon-Anonymous and work with the convict is an avocation inspired by the history of Alcoholics Anonymous. It should surprise no one that the living spirit of Bill W. enhances our purpose and sense of urgency. True to our living spirit, Felon-Anonymous is not to be an organization in the traditional sense of the word. There are no fees or dues; no membership cards or congratulatory rituals. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stay from behind bars.
The writing and publication of this basic text was made possible by "Sobriety International"  Sobriety International is not an Anonymous organization, but rather, a clearinghouse promoting sober living in all manifestations. Sobriety International has committed itself to aiding and assisting the formation of Felon Anonymous. All inquires can me mailed to Felon Anonymous, P.O. Box XXXXXX, Detroit, Michigan 482XX. Please send a self-addressed Stamped envelope with inquiry.

September 1991
 
(End)
 
 
The forthcoming resissue of this small booklet contains the following draft update.
 Part I: How this book came to be written Written in Detroit, Michigan twenty years ago, this small book could not be written today, with the same feel, urgency and insights. The writing of Felon Anonymous was no brain storm but grew out of very practical work in a drug client. The place was Detroit’s Elmhurst Home located at Linwood and Elmhurst. Elmhurst was a drug client for indigent men and women and then men exclusively.
The years were 1989/1990. I was employed at Chrysler Motors and laid off with seventeen years seniority. At the time our union contract stipulated that higher seniority workers could choose to be laid off so that younger men and women could keep working. Us “older workers” would be placed in a “Job Bank” and given opportunity to do non-auto related and/or develop new skills working 40 hour at a verifiable worksite. I volunteered to work at the Elmhurst Home.
The setting was the so-called “crack cocaine” epidemic and what turned out to be an explosion in the prison population of America. As the courts became willing pawns in another wave of politically inspired “Law and Order” campaigns, judges adopted a policy of sending drug offenders convicted of non-felon crimes to “treatment centers” or as it was called being “court stipulated.” More often than not, the “court stipulated” client was a drug abuser rather than a bottom alcoholic or bottom drug addict. This is not to say these individuals did not need help and drug therapy, they most certainly did. And it was a tradition of the 12 Step Movement to “raise the bottom” to try and aid those younger people on the path to rock bottom.
The behavior problems that appeared was the tendency of a large portion of the court stipulated population to “breeze through” the 90 day program, generally saying all the rights things and being very compliant. We began to call this behavior “jailing” or “doing ones time and letting the other person do their time.”
Bottom alcoholics and drug addicts generally were “beat up pretty bad,” having traveled the twenty to thirty year cycle of alcoholic insanity. By the time they made it to a client, the bottom alcoholic was whipped, and good. Most were open to help with resistance typical of bottom alcoholics and drug users. Once in treatment, these men and women would pass through various stages of awakening, a renewal of their physical and mental awareness and spiritual experiences just from sobering up.
Not so with the “court stipulated” person. The staff at Elmhurst were in the main a committed lot and directed by Dora Lindsey Wilder and her lead therapist Marion Powell. Powell was a tough task master demanding the utmost professionalism and documentation of each individual client, all the time. She read every single case file as a way of life and demanded consistent “one on ones” and consistent group sessions. While going over many files it became obvious we faced not only a totally new generation of so-called “crack addicts” - without a modality (method of treatment) but also criminals that had learnt the court system, how to bypass a jail sentence and possessed a capacity for “jailing it.” .
Many of the criminals were convicts and needed help. Some took to the 12 Step Program, others did not. In the course of many group sessions and individual sessions it became clear that we faced a complex of mixed behavior and the need to distinguish the criminal-addict from the addict-criminal. Actually, it was a client - an extremely astute and insightful man, Stanley.B., who pioneered for us the distinction between the Addict-criminal and Criminal addict. It was he who conceptualized the theory of the “criminal addict,“ with remarkable clarity. At first sight the difference is subtle. After thirty days one could distinguish between clients “jailing” and those passing through the stages of sobering up. The criminal addict did not sober up, but became simply “dry” remaining a criminal.
The convict, rather than the “crack addict” hauled before the court for a petty offense, did not want to return to jail, especially if he was a two time loser. We needed a modality for this individual and fast.
The criminal addict cannot be restored to sanity on the same platform or approach of Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous. The addict criminal can be restored with these programs. . The addict criminal enters crime as the result of their drug use which serves as motivation. Not so with the criminal addict who may indulge in drugs, “go overboard” and may even become an addict. Even when the criminal addict sobers up and stops “using” altogether, his behavior and mind set remains geared to the world of crime and a subtle acceptance of being institutionalized.
We began documenting our observations and Felon Anonymous was the result. A professional editor was brought into the project and the text cleaned up. Less than 50 copies of Felon Anonymous was passed out. This text is not the edited version which was placed on a floppy disk and lost over the years. This version is the first complete unedited text and contain redundancy and badly formulated sentences and structure. This version contains the break in all the pages and a minimum of changes, with the use of a spell check program. Hence, some page breaks confuse the page of the step with the Step. Some of this was corrected but most preserved to establish authenticity of the text and authorship. The actual written pages of the first unedited text, bad spelling and all will be placed on the Internet for those interested.
Several significant changes in formulation of some “Steps” were made. For instance in the original text, Step Three states: “MADE A DECISION TO TURN OUR WILL AND OUR LIVES OVER TO THE CARE
In this text Step Three is written: “MADE A DECISION TO TURN OUR WILL AND OUR LIVES OVER TO THE CARE OF “A POWER GREATER THAN OURSELVES.”
Several other Steps had the “statement purpose” changed to conform with the language of the 12 Step Program. I can no longer remember exactly why the original used a different articulation, but it had something to do with a modality for the criminal mind and how it conceives powerlessness and institutional authority as a “higher power.” Perhaps, the original language is best.
Then several new sentences have been added for clarity and old sentences rewritten. Gender words such as “him” “his self” and “he” have been replaced in some places and not others. The problem was attempting to stay true to the feel of the text. OF "THE GREATER POWER OF OUR UNDERSTANDING."Personal Comments on perspective I am not a convict, nor is there a claim of “innocent” although I have never been exactly sure why my fate was different from the other fellow. I shall not pretend that all is well in our country and point an accusing finger at the convict and millions caught up in the penal system and institutions of prison nation. Nor do I deny the heinous crimes of any individual. Some individuals need to be “locked up.”
In the twenty years since writing this text, America has become a nation of prisons or “Prison Nation.” An entire generation and society at large has been psychologically altered to accept the inevitability of jail time. My age, 57 has allowed me to witness the subtle manipulation and deep changes in the American psychology. Crime and criminalization in America is deliberate and driven by the inherent criminality of the economic system. So-called “free enterprise” is legalized economic crime against humanity, cloaked in bogus propaganda of freedom to choose. If one was free to choose, millions of people would not choose to be unemployed or work for starvation wages with no medical care. When you are born in prison nation, as is the case with a new generation, insanity appears as normal and being outside prison walls appear as freedom. This is not the case. We are in a gigantic prison with millions in lock down and private cells. Crime and
legalized criminals rule America.
In our country legalized economic crime drives illegal economic crimes creating a “for profit” business industry which today is a complex penal-industrial complex. This complex purpose is driven by the quest for private profit. Someone, somewhere makes money form every single person in the penal system. This system did not exist in my youth. When incarceration of citizens becomes a profit center, the entire society is restructured to ensure that millions of people end up in jails and prisons, one way or another.
America is the greatest jailer of a country’s citizens on earth and more and more takes on the features of a vast ugly police state. Under such conditions, where the inevitability of jail seems to have no beginning or end, a book like Felon Anonymous could not be written based on the existing emerging permanent police state. That is to say, this text was written before the consolidation of the penal-industrial complex, when society possessed a different orientation and different way of life. Thus, the power of this book, if it has any power and impact at all, is derived from having been written before America’s emergence as “prison nation,” and the domination of the air waves by endless images of violence, violent crimes, crime solving and crime fighting entertainment. A country that entertains itself through violence is violent.
I shall not pretend that our country has not changed dramatically in my life time, with millions pushed into poverty, corruption and despair, with a narrow layer of society living in obscene wealth and privilege. Having worked 30 years and retired from the automotive industry, America is no longer the country of my youth. America is under going revolution in its technology and way of life and society has lost its old factory life orientation with its “9 to 5“ life style framework.
“Jail them all and let the judge sort things out” is the system response to a changing society. America today is more than less a police state. At last count America was building one prison a week to house the millions of working class masses being locked outside of the “civic” society of bourgeois capitalists. These people - capitalists and their political minion, care nothing for anything living other than squeezing out private profits from misery.
The entire working class has been criminalized and “set up” to be jailed for any number of petty offenses. A “penal proletariat” or the “felon-proletariat,” is a new feature of American life, working for pennies an hour.
These people - capitalists and their political minion, are predators and criminally insane. Their station in life allows them to escape the hand of justice at this moment. These people - capitalist and political minion, control the federal authority and penal industrial system. A country willing to spend $40,000 a year to jail and house individuals and is unwilling to spend two cents for pencil and paper for school children is insane.
Yet, the human drama is still about individuals struggling to escape the apparent insanity of society at large and the prisons within ones own mind. It is to a degree, the prisons within our mind that makes us compliant to and passive sheep-like victims in prison nation. Thus, this book is not meant to keep one out of jail or prison, but to help in preventing one from returning to prison.
Today, in prison nation, Felon Anonymous is as relevant as when it was first written.
April 9, 2010
WL.  
  
 
 
 
darryl mitchell
2010-04-16 15:31:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Louis Proyect
Although I admit that that Waistline would hardly be bothered by
people being put in prison under such thought control legislation,
given his undying admiration for the Moscow Trials.<
 
Comment
Thought control is of course impossible. What can be controlled is the distribution of ideas and advocacy. Thinking at all times is a very private matter.
You do agree that the form of the proletarian movement has changed since the time of Marx and today we are on the threshold of a new form of movement as outlined in my brief comments on the environment and framework for the rise and decay of the Three International?
My attitude towards incarceration (people being put in prison) is established by my practical work in this field. Criminalization of the proletariat, specifically the lowest section of the proletariat is bound up with the wage labor form and later the actual imperial curve of capital development, which criminalizes the oppressed and formerly colonial peoples who come to reside in the imperial centers. In America the oppressed have traditionally called the criminalization “second class citizenship.“
The Moscow Trials had nothing to do with the criminalization of the proletariat, but rather expressed a sharp struggle within the ruling political authority of the Soviets. Perhaps, your question is my attitude towards capital punishment, rather than criminalization of the proletariat.
A vision that inflates the Moscow Trails as an index for 150 years of imperial banditry misses all that is important and critical in the life of the proletariat as a class. Exactly why is the Moscow Trials important to any section of the American working class today? I can frankly state that over the past 40 years not one single proletariat I have encountered has ever asked about the “historical significance” of the Moscow trials.
Perhaps, I am missing something but as I stand before real people giving reports to memberships of unions and teaching a couple classes on Marxism. I have never been asked anything about the Moscow Trials. It has always been my opinion that these Trials were aimed at Leon Trotsky, who at the time was living outside the Soviet Union. At any rate, I was born a couple decades after these events and tend to treat them as historical events. I earnest fail to see any significance in them for today. Most certainly no significance in unraveling the form of the proletarian movement.
WL.
Louis Proyect
2010-04-16 15:38:38 UTC
Permalink
Post by darryl mitchell
Thought control is of course impossible. What can be controlled is the
distribution of ideas and advocacy. Thinking at all times is a very
private matter.
What casuistry.
Post by darryl mitchell
The Moscow Trials had nothing to do with the criminalization of the
proletariat, but rather expressed a sharp struggle within the ruling
political authority of the Soviets.
But that's the problem. If you put a gag over the mouth of the
Marxist intelligentsia, the workers will be robbed of the
opportunity to hear open debates about society. The closing of the
Soviet "public sphere" to all points of view except Stalin's led
to apathy and eventually the collapse of communism.
Post by darryl mitchell
A vision that inflates the Moscow Trails as an index for 150 years of
imperial banditry misses all that is important and critical in the life
of the proletariat as a class. Exactly why is the Moscow Trials
important to any section of the American working class today?
It is only important to revolutionaries who are trying to move
forward. I found it rather interesting that you had so little to
say about Chavez's proposal for a Fifth International that would
transcend the truncheon Marxism of the Stalintern and the
sectarianism of the Fourth.

I imagine that you would prefer to relive the battles of the 1930s
and 40s.


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darryl mitchell
2010-04-16 16:12:49 UTC
Permalink
It is only important to revolutionaries who are trying to move forward. I found it rather interesting that you had so little to say about Chavez's proposal for a Fifth International that would transcend the truncheon Marxism of the Stalintern and the sectarianism of the Fourth.
I imagine that you would prefer to relive the battles of the 1930s and 40s.<<
Reply
The industrial form of the trade union movement is spent and I know of no other way to state this any plainer. A NEW FORM OF COMMUNIST ORGANIZATION OR A COMMUNIST INTERNATIONAL HAS TO EMBRACE THE COMMUNSITIC SPONTENOUS MOVEMENT OF THE PROELTARIAT AS IT EXIST IN REAL TIME AND EVOLVES OUTSIDE THE OLD INDUSTRIAL TRADE UNION FRAMEWORK.
I spend inordinate energy in describing exactly what phase the proletariat movement is at in America including data on the union movement. Then it was stated that the formation of a new Communist international would have to be based in the new form of the proletariat movement in the advanced capitalist countries. The evolving new form of the proletarian movement leaps beyond the industrial union form of association. Here is what was critical in assessing the form of the proletariat movement during the period of the Three Communist Internationals. Chavez’s proposal for a Fifth International was directly spoken to. In fact no where else have I read anything remotely embracing a concrete unraveling of the new form of the proletarian movement in America and at the front of the curve of capital development.
I am utterly baffled how you can claimed that I have not written about this decisive moment. The comments on Andy Stern, Bill Lucy and the upcoming election of Bob King as UAW president captures the specific unfolding moment. The data details of the auto workers union - (355,000 members with less than 100,000 auto workers), alongside of 800,000 retired members of the UAW is a real time assessment. Local 7 was pinpointed, which has less than 3,000 active workers - (at full tilt), against over 30,000 retired members. These 30,000 retired members of Local 7 exist in relationship to 80,000 retired Chrysler workers. This means a complex struggle is taking place in Local 7 to shape the entire Chrysler section of the UAW and through this the shape of the new emerging UAW.
Perhaps, I have stated things poorly.
Let’s state this different. Why should 255,000 non-auto members of the UAW be ruled and led by less than 100,000 active auto workers? Why should 800,000 retired workers, shut out of production have there material needs made secondary to 355,000 UAW members of which less than 100,000 are active autoworkers. THE FORM OF THE OLD INDUSTRIAL UNION MOVEMENT IS BREAKING DOWN AND HAS BROKEN DOWN.
Comrade, it is in fact you that consistenly drag any discussion on this list back to the Moscow Trials.
 
WL
Louis Proyect
2010-04-16 16:26:46 UTC
Permalink
Post by darryl mitchell
Comrade, it is in fact you that consistenly drag any discussion on this
list back to the Moscow Trials.
My advice to you is to forget about the 1930s and 40s. Of course,
this advice contradicts the very mission of this mailing list
which is to examine our collective navels about stuff that was
going on before we were born--except for me, of course.


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darryl mitchell
2010-04-16 17:37:27 UTC
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My advice to you is to forget about the 1930s and 40s. Of course, this advice contradicts the very mission of this mailing list which is to examine our collective navels about stuff that was going on before we were born--except for me, of course.<<
Reply
I accept your advise and suggest you accept it also since it was you that choose to drag the discussion of the form of the proletarian movement during each period of the Three Communist International back to an issue of the Moscow Trials.
The issue of the new form of the proletarian movement is exciting, which I why I write about it for compares outside the area when this new form of movement is sharpest. Our meeting and pushing forward is very different from the kind of movement most of us matured with. Here is why I wrote about the composition of the social forces in Detroit and the tectonic shifts underway. A proletarian movement evolving in external collision with capital - lacking a direct connection as surplus value production, is new in word history. 800, 000 retied workers of the UAW spontaneously compelled to fight for survival is most certainly new and apparently comrades outside our area of the class struggle are not aware of this motion taking place in real time.
These are interesting times worth writing about.
Marx period - era, was one of the craft form of unionism as was that of the Second International. The First and Second Internationals however occupied different periods - eras, in the evolution of capital. In Marx era a vision of world revolution based on the front curve of capital evolution was plausible, but not realizable. During the era of the Second International the communist movement in Europe evolved as a social democratic movement. America did not birth a social democratic movement, in my estimate. This is what is different that has escaped the grasp of American Marxism. We have not faced a social democracy or social democratic movement in our history. We have faced bourgeois political currents, as these political currents reformed the system through each quantitative boundary of development. The Third International coincided with the emergence of finance capital and growth of the industrial form of trade unionism in the advanced capitalist
countries. None of this has anything to do with the Moscow Trials which you raised, not I.
A new Communist International must correspond with the emerging new form of the proletarian movement under the impact of the post industrial revolution.
You do agree that the changes in the form of the working class movement is underway in real time America and this change is bound up with the decay of industrial unionism? If this is so Chavez call for a Fifth Communist International can be placed in a historically concrete context.
Allow me to offer you some advice. Less defensiveness toward those who are not of the Trotskyists school of thought. I am aksed questions about the conduct of the CPUSA towards Trotskyists which I have never written about or have an interest with. To me if you are a snitch or rat fink your ideological rationale for fnking is hardly worth any of my time or energy to comment on. I always wonder why such issues are imported into discussions. It is not like I write from a CPUSA point of view. If one writes about the real world working class movement there is no need to contain all replies in the old ideological struggle. You have written nothing about the American working class in years. Why is that?
WL.
darryl mitchell
2010-04-16 22:42:48 UTC
Permalink
Fosters "History of the Three Internationals" (1955 International Publishers) and A. Lozovsky’s "Marx and The Trade Unions" (1935 International publishers), together provides an exhaustive presentation of the concrete environment and framework of sectarian struggles waged by Mark and Engels to establish the materialist conception of history and to shape a class doctrine of proletarian revolt and revolution. Together both text utilize all the writings of Marx and Engels in their struggle against  Proudhonism, Bakuninism, Lassalleanism (and what is called "all other forms of German Opportunism in Marx and the Trade Unionism) an assessment of Owenism and the Fabians, anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, and comments on all important meetings, gatherings and conventions during the period of the First International.
A. Lozovsky’s is worthy of revisiting, (although an anarcho syndicalist thread is discernable in his writings) as he focus on the primary fighting organization of the proletariat during the time of Marx. Indeed, it is an irony of history that William Z. Foster, one time Secretary General of the CPUSA and perhaps the most militant and significant anarcho syndicalist in the American Marxist movement. It is both gentlemen approach to environment and framework that can shed light on the meaning of Chavez call for formation of a Fifth International. I assume this call means communist and socialist organizations rather than individuals and Marxist authors. This assumption is made because an International organization of communists and socialist that is not founded on the basis for fighting organizations would amount to nothing more than an international network of ideologists.
Here is how Foster opens his "History of The Three Internationals," which runs 580 pages including appendix and references.
 
PART I: THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL, 1864-1876
1.  General Economic and Political Background
The founding in London in 1864 of the International Working sen's Association—the First International—took place in a situation of a rapidly rising tide of capitalist development. The great discovery •voyages of the i5th and i6th centuries had given a big stimulus to capitalism by widely extending commerce and the cultivation of many local guild handicrafts. This general impulse was further greatly intensified, particularly in England, by the Industrial Revolution. This n in the middle of the i8th century and, according to Frederick I r.gels, concluded about 1830. The rapid expansion of capitalism, however, went right on. The whole development marked the begin-of the transformation of society from the agricultural-mercantile basij of feudalism to the industrial basis of capitalism.
THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION
The Industrial Revolution, which had its center in England, was marked by a very rapid growth and expansion of the coal, iron, and textile industries, as well as of the railroads. These developments were rased upon a whole series of revolutionary inventions. Among the more outstanding were those of Henry Cort in iron-making; of John Lay, James Hargreaves, Richard Arkwright, and Samuel Crompton in devising textile machinery; and of Thomas Newcomen, Richard Arkwright, and George Stephenson in the invention and application of the steam engine to industry and transportation. A key invention in ihis great series was the cotton gin, by an American, Eli Whitney, in which provided cheap and abundant cotton for the hungry new English textile industry. Among the more elementary economic effects of the Industrial revolution were that it shifted production from a hand to a machine basis,  substituted  huge   factories   for  small  workshops,  transferred
motive power from a wind and water basis to one of steam, revolutionized the transportation system by covering the land with a net-
16 HISTORY  OF THE THREE INTERNATIONALS work of railroads, canals, and roads, and the seas with great fleets of ships—at first wind-driven but eventually operated by steam—and it developed commerce from primarily a local scale to a world basis.
Principally because of its huge supplies of cheap coal and its strategic commercial location, England became the main center of the new industrialization. Between 1720 and 1839, its production of pig-iron increased from 25,000 tons to 1,347,000 tons, and whereas in 1764 England imported 4,000,000 pounds of cotton for manufacture, in 1833 it imported 300,000,000 pounds.1 By the middle of the igth century, England, producing the bulk of all manufactured goods, had become "the workshop of the world."
The Industrial Revolution soon spread from England to the Continent. In its early stages France, with many notable inventions to its credit, nearly kept abreast of England; but by the middle of the igth century, due largely to lack of available coal, France had fallen far behind. The Low Countries early became important industrial centers, and by 1850 Germany also was well on the way to industrialization. The latter country was handicapped, however, by its unfavorable commercial location, by many feudal hangovers, and also by being periodically overrun by wars. The United States, due eventually to far outstrip England, quickly felt the impulse of the Industrial Revolution. In 1790 the textile industry got under way in New England; by 1805 it had about 4,500, and by 1860 some 5,235,000 spindles in operation.2 In the meantime, a considerable body of industry—iron, shoe, lumber, was not until about 1850 that large-scale industrialization in the United
States got going full blast. As for Eastern Europe, it had very little industry at the time the First International was founded, and Asia, Africa, Australia, and Latin America had hardly any at all. (end quote)
Foster devotes nine pages to framing the historical specific environment of the transition from the scattered workshops to industrial combination, dating the emergence of trade unions to 1752. Such was totally outside the scope of my brief comments on examining the environment of each boundary in the stage of the development of capital and changes in the social organization of labor and workers - proletarian, combinations.
Chavez call for a Fifth International of Communist and Socialist cannot be separated from the need to protect the revolutionary process unfolding in Venezuela. More importantly this call comes at a time when the mode of production is undergoing the evolution leap on the basis of revolution in the means of production.
The preparatory work toward a new communist international would involve the most sharp theory struggle. Is American society in the throes of a post industrial revolution with all its social consequences to the social organization of labor and forms of the proletarian movement? With few notable exception the entire Marxist movement has in the main denied such a revolutionary transition is taking place, and consequently has been unable to position its meager forces along the revolutionary line of march. In 1989 the Marxist I choose to be with issued a report "Entering an Epoch of Social Revolution," which was mildly edited and issued in book form in 1991.
Today the social consequences of this post industrial revolution is such that everyone is compelled to admit that something fundamental has changed in the evolution of capital and the means of production. The modern data on the labor movement is devastatingly revealing with well over 60% of the American proletariat earning $14 an hour and less. And less . . . This data should be understood. $14 an hour for 40 hours work is $560 before taxes or $29,120 working 53 week without break. This figure does not include medical benefits of the scale of the generation of autoworkers I am a member of. More than half of the working class are below the official government poverty line, and falling.
Chavez call for a new international first of all means the creation of an international network of organizations that embrace and express this reality in its membership. Further, the new proletariat is female in America. Thus, what has historically been called the "Women Question" within Marxism is no longer posed as women outside productive laboring but rather the proletariat as female. There no longer exist any women issue that are not directly an issue of the life of the proletariat as a class.
Finally, the old historic bribery of a layer of the proletariat - not simply trade union leaders, concentrated amongst the historically oppressing peoples - not classes, has broken down with the increased "globalization" of capital. World social relations today no longer rivet on what was formerly called the national and colonial question. The direct colonial relations was jettisoned form history as the result of WWII and in the immediate post WWII era. Not all at one time, but very few direct colonies exist in the world today. The defining signature of the world social process is no longer governed by the anti-colonial revolts and revolutions. Today, the proletariat directly faces the bourgeoisie - capital, in all countries rather than the imperial relations dubbed financial-industrial capital. This was not the case during the era of the Third International. The era of the Third International is an era of national-colonial revolutions and the completion
of this process world wide.
Chavez call for a Fifth International comes in a new era of social revolution and means a fight to consolidate the new form of the proletarian movement world wide. Enormous new issues face communist because we are talking about a proletariat no loner concentrated in the large industrial combines characteristic of the rising industrial system. At this point we have managed to compile some concrete information on the new form of organization, but this information is still limited with no opportunity as yet for universal application. The decisive form of organization of revolutionaries being fought for at this time - not the proletariat at large, is that of a federation of activist that produce results and possess the capacity to dig into the proletarian masses. We have no interest in creating an on-line organization of writers, but rather writers of leaflets and pamphlets with a distribution capacity.
Just as the world proletariat is caught in the evolutionary leap, so is capital. World capital is led by American capital and its political minion. Obama’s tenure and attempt to recast the old historic relations of an old imperialism are not a foregone conclusion and subject to profound social forces we can impact in real time.
 
Ride just showed up got to go.
 
WL

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