Histomat: Adventures in Historical Materialism

'Historical materialism is the theory of the proletarian revolution.' Georg Lukács

Monday, January 28, 2013

Is Leninism finished?

Following on from the recent intervention of John Molyneux on the question of 'Marxism and the Party', Alex Callinicos has also now put up a defence of the Leninist tradition of building revolutionary socialist organisations on the model of 'democratic centralism' in order to counter some recent arguments made by the likes of Owen Jones in the Independent and ''Donny Mayo''  elsewhere, noting that 'the anti-capitalist struggle won't be advanced by relying on Labourism and the trade union leaders or by uncritical worship of the movements...'

Read the full article here

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At 3:43 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think one problem is , Alex Callinicos argument doesn’t work in it’s own terms If the Leninist model of the party is the most essential thing, if it is all that stands between us and a victory for General Kornilov/the left disappearing/endless sell outs, then the member who was the subject of the complaint would have stood down a long time ago. If loyalty to "the party itself" is being raised above all issues , there would have been a statement some time back on the lines of 'I do not accept the allegations made , they are not proven and are not being taken further my the person who made the allegations. Nonetheless , one member of the Disputes Committee felt my behavior was not ideal in other ways, and so for the sake of clarity, and to show how seriously we take women's rights, I am standing down from all positions in the SWP so we can move on' or whatever: The fact that "stong political leadership" or "disciplined" members of the leadership haven’t taken this elementary step shows that “democratic centralism” is being distorted by personal friendships, bureacratic inertia, and the like: I would think that the best solution to bring in some air would be a few more democratic measures: the idea that , for example, the individual election of CC members or election of full timers could be more destructive than the current strategy seems foolish to me. And the current leadership strategy – grab the control knob and turn it up to 11 – will likely just break the machine.
Solomon Hughes

At 6:45 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha, yes exactly! it's a bit like "those who make reform impossible make revolution inevitable" or whatever. If the leadership react to expressions of concern about an utterly serious case with expulsions, hectoring defensive denials, and the ousting of mildly critical voices from the CC then a much more radically democratic centralism is needed.

It's disappointing to see how many members are apparently falling into line though, apparently terrified by the new possibilities on offer.

What I find interesting in Callinicos' piece and elsewhere though, is the frequent assertions of the fatal harm that is entailed in public expression of disagreement. Now following a bureaucratic logic, this is self-evident, but for achieving socialism? Not so clear at all.


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