Spontaneity

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Spontaneity

Post by Red Aegis on Wed Jul 18, 2012 11:59 pm

I find myself pondering the concept of spontaneous revolutionary action and see some good arguments for both sides of the argument of spontaneity and vanguardism. It seems to me, however, that for those who favor centralization that they place a lot of trust in the belief that centralized leadership does not lead to oligopolic circumstances. I am not convinced.

Take this man for example:

He is not convincing at all, but raised some questions that were worth a minute of thought. If anything he swung me the other way from where he was pushing, which was towards centralization. He seems to think that by some magic sense of consciousness detection members of a party would be able to then feed that information to the leadership and await orders. That is pretty silly. He also said that if an organization has freely entering and leaving members then that is how a centralized organization can have democracy.

I think he was just a horrible advocate for centralization and would be interested to hear others' views on the subject, not just the video.

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Rev Scare on Thu Jul 19, 2012 12:30 am

Quite frankly, I must admit that I remain quite partial to a vanguard party. I believe Lenin is largely misunderstood in this regard.

The notion that spontaneous action, without years of revolutionary planning and organizing, will lead to a successful overthrow of capital is simply anathema to me. Perhaps there is merely confusion on the issue of semantics, but I believe mass organization invariably calls for a vanguard of sorts. It hardly need be authoritarian and centralized, but it must be present. People will not rise against the system if they have nothing to fight for. This alone requires the implementation of a unifying force.

When I think of "spontaneity," I think of Occupy Wall Street and impotent black bloc outbursts.

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by 4thsupporter on Thu Jul 19, 2012 1:49 am


Perhaps there is merely confusion on the issue of semantics, but I believe mass organization invariably calls for a vanguard of sorts. It hardly need be authoritarian and centralized, but it must be present. People will not rise against the system if they have nothing to fight for. This alone requires the implementation of a unifying force.

I hold a very democratic vision of the vanguard and see it more as a tool of orginization that will greatly assist the revolutionary movement by building conciousness and unifying workers, not some elitist party that attempts to seize state power.

spontaneity has always seemed as illogical as waiting for capitalism to fall victim to the dialectical process. I see no reason why orginization should be avoided to wait for successfull spontaneous(random) activism that may not happen during ones lifetime. this seems as smart as trying to live by using lottery tickets as your only source of income

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Rev Scare on Thu Jul 19, 2012 2:09 am

Well, as I have stated earlier, this issue might reduce to a quibble over semantics. The theoretical basis here is quite vague. Lenin's notion of vanguardism was rather democratic even up to the April Theses.

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Red Aegis on Thu Jul 19, 2012 10:38 am

I agree that there definitely should be organizing and propaganda before the revolution by those that want it to happen. What I am thinking a reasonable explanation for what spontaneity would be is: spontaneity is the phenomenon in which many people strike out in one or multiple ways against the Capitalist system. That would, I think, put both of your concerns out into the open since to rely on something like that would not be wise. As for the use of a vanguard, I would need to hear more details of your conception of it to be able to comment or question.

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Red Aegis on Sat Jul 21, 2012 2:12 pm

bump

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by GF on Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:31 pm

Red Aegis wrote:I agree that there definitely should be organizing and propaganda before the revolution by those that want it to happen. What I am thinking a reasonable explanation for what spontaneity would be is: spontaneity is the phenomenon in which many people strike out in one or multiple ways against the Capitalist system. That would, I think, put both of your concerns out into the open since to rely on something like that would not be wise. As for the use of a vanguard, I would need to hear more details of your conception of it to be able to comment or question.

So if that's your definition of spontaneity how exactly does it conflict with the notion of a vanguard party?

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Red Aegis on Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:18 pm

I've heard several definitions of a vanguard party. Some are silly, others chauvanistic, others fine. It depends on what you mean. I don't hold that revolution would happen without agitation. That would be foolish. There is nothing wrong with trying to coax a popular revolt, which is different from a coup.


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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Left Adherent on Sun Aug 19, 2012 4:47 am

Well in my opinion, the idea of utilising a vanguard is a hit/miss scenario.
The vanguard I refer to is the one present during the October revolution (Bolsheviks).

As we have seen in the last 3000 years or so, there has never been a shortage of people who act on their base emotions (greed, lust, anger etc) without sufficient mental maturity to reign those emotions in. That is to say, there have always been people who follow impulse or are driven by subconscious wants. It is clear that this is unlikely to change as socialisation has not reached the point where people are becoming more and more understanding of one another. In fact, I think it has gone backwards.

Machiavelli said "Human events ever resemble those of preceding times. This arises from the fact that they are produced by men who ever have been, and ever shall be, animated by the same passions, and thus they necessarily have the same results." (I will not give my interpretation of this quote unless someone specifically asks me to).

So on the basis of the above, forming a vanguard party will require men and women with a great understanding of how power corrupts (so they themselves do not become corrupted), foresight to decide whether an attempt at revolution would result in the need for a temporary one party state (required to remove counter-revolutionaries) and finally, willpower for self control and the inevitable dismantling of that state. If someone has to manipulate their way in to power or is allowed to, (Stalin) then it really shows just how ineffective the set-up is.

Without the understanding of how power can bind and blind a person, you cannot hope to resist it (applies to anything that is not understood). Without foresight and information based on the economic state of the country and how well equipped counter-revolutionaries are (Tsarist Russia was far behind other countries remember? The Bolsheviks couldn't have hoped to defeat the whites without a central bastion) then you are likely to get massacred as you have little resources or you underestimate the opposition. Without willpower, you won't be able to stand down afterwards. This is, of course, assuming that the people want a revolution. It's so difficult to ignite one without enough people being simultaneously (e.g. a whole class) threatened in some way (poor leadership, food shortages and war were a few issues that sparked the February revolution). Waiting in the wings seems to be the best idea as it will result in less important revolutionaries getting killed.

Anyway, finding the men and women suitable for such party is almost impossible. Why? Because so many people are socialised to accept Capitalism and nothing else. Communism has become a word synonymous with failure because it has been corrupted by the media. Even if there were ideal people, the chances of them locating each other, bonding socially with each other and all having a similar philosophy... you see my point? Either works or it doesn't. With the correct people, it will work. Without...

So I turn to the more realistic idea of spontaneous revolution that Anarchists frequently mention. Class consciousness will develop when it is the right time. Then the people can take it from there. That doesn't mean the leftist people waiting in the wings (such as the ideal people I mentioned above) are useless. They will be essential in organising voluntary and democratic militia units with the express purpose of preventing someone else from taking advantage of the power vacuum but not taking it themselves. People will naturally require leadership seeing as they have been dependent on it, so they will turn to a revolutionary party for direction or create their own local and directly democratic councils.

Phew.
EDIT: This is merely speculation.
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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Red Aegis on Tue Aug 21, 2012 11:43 am

Left Adherent wrote:Well in my opinion, the idea of utilising a vanguard is a hit/miss scenario.
The vanguard I refer to is the one present during the October revolution (Bolsheviks).

As we have seen in the last 3000 years or so, there has never been a shortage of people who act on their base emotions (greed, lust, anger etc) without sufficient mental maturity to reign those emotions in. That is to say, there have always been people who follow impulse or are driven by subconscious wants. It is clear that this is unlikely to change as socialisation has not reached the point where people are becoming more and more understanding of one another. In fact, I think it has gone backwards.

I think that evidence is required here. Why do you think that people are slaves to instincts, in other words?

. . . forming a vanguard party will require men and women with a great understanding of how power corrupts (so they themselves do not become corrupted), foresight to decide whether an attempt at revolution would result in the need for a temporary one party state (required to remove counter-revolutionaries) and finally, willpower for self control and the inevitable dismantling of that state. If someone has to manipulate their way in to power or is allowed to, (Stalin) then it really shows just how ineffective the set-up is.

The necessity of a one-party state as the best method for maintaining a revolution has yet to be established in my mind.

Without the understanding of how power can bind and blind a person, you cannot hope to resist it (applies to anything that is not understood). Without foresight and information based on the economic state of the country and how well equipped counter-revolutionaries are (Tsarist Russia was far behind other countries remember? The Bolsheviks couldn't have hoped to defeat the whites without a central bastion) then you are likely to get massacred as you have little resources or you underestimate the opposition. Without willpower, you won't be able to stand down afterwards. This is, of course, assuming that the people want a revolution. It's so difficult to ignite one without enough people being simultaneously (e.g. a whole class) threatened in some way (poor leadership, food shortages and war were a few issues that sparked the February revolution). Waiting in the wings seems to be the best idea as it will result in less important revolutionaries getting killed.

Your concerns of military strength are legitimate, but it still needs to be proven that a rigid, contemporary hierarchy is necessary. You are also correct that crises are catalysts for revolution.

Anyway, finding the men and women suitable for such party is almost impossible. Why? Because so many people are socialised to accept Capitalism and nothing else. Communism has become a word synonymous with failure because it has been corrupted by the media. Even if there were ideal people, the chances of them locating each other, bonding socially with each other and all having a similar philosophy... you see my point? Either works or it doesn't. With the correct people, it will work. Without...

I don't buy that. Propaganda can be broken and people can change.

So I turn to the more realistic idea of spontaneous revolution that Anarchists frequently mention. Class consciousness will develop when it is the right time. Then the people can take it from there. That doesn't mean the leftist people waiting in the wings (such as the ideal people I mentioned above) are useless. They will be essential in organising voluntary and democratic militia units with the express purpose of preventing someone else from taking advantage of the power vacuum but not taking it themselves. People will naturally require leadership seeing as they have been dependent on it, so they will turn to a revolutionary party for direction or create their own local and directly democratic councils.

Phew.
EDIT: This is merely speculation.

Could you expand on the specifics of what you mean by spontaneity?

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Left Adherent on Tue Aug 21, 2012 1:18 pm

Red Aegis wrote:I think that evidence is required here. Why do you think that people are slaves to instincts, in other words?

Lucius Cornelius Sulla. Driven by vanity and arrogance, believing to be favoured by Fortuna herself he ploughed forwards with his charm and good looks. Only at the end, when he had nothing more to gain, did he lay down his political power and authority to become a private citizen. Not once did he resist his emotional urges to realise that for the first time, he was actually damaging Rome's future. Breaking sacred law to set up camp in Rome was one of the biggest mistakes (not for him) he ever made in terms of foresight. He cared only for himself it seems and so he broke a law that was designed to protect the Republic and give it a chance to be improved without use of arms (allowing for a military dictatorship if broken). Why did he do this? Because he allowed himself to be dazzled by religion and myths.

Let us fast forward to modern times. If we replace one human with many and religion with the ever growing media, you will find that people are being dazzled by the norms and values that are being set by the rich owners of mass media corporations. The mass media, whether we like it or not, is how we receive our information. Old mass media (books, newspapers, radio etc) or new mass media (internet), it's still the same to the average person and that is where they get most information from. Go to a school and ask someone between the ages of 10 to 16 about Communism. If they are intelligent they will say that it was a "failure" or "brilliant on paper" but terrible in reality. Why? Because the media never gave people the full explanation of what Communism was concerning Russia or Cuba during the Cold War. They never told people that those countries didn't actually achieve pure Communism. So those people who were influenced by the media during the Cold War lived to tell their children about what they experienced, educating them with biased and poorly researched information. Sure not everyone did that. Someone on this forum might say "Nay! My children know full well what Communism is." but the majority of people don't know politics as well as that person or we wouldn't be discussing it. I think you get the idea now Very Happy

I don't buy that. Propaganda can be broken and people can change.


Not right now it can't. Not unless there is a reason for people to change or break their slavery. Currently the majority are content with their way of life and that will not change for a while yet.

Could you expand on the specifics of what you mean by spontaneity?


Simply "without premeditation". Nobody anticipates action. People in this case will unite because they are all affected by something that doesn't prejudice people as a class, but as a human e.g. High prices across the board. I think you get the idea?
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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Red Aegis on Tue Aug 21, 2012 4:07 pm

Left Adherent wrote:. . . you will find that people are being dazzled by the norms and values that are being set by the rich owners of mass media corporations. The mass media, whether we like it or not, is how we receive our information. Go to a school and ask someone between the ages of 10 to 16 about Communism. If they are intelligent they will say that it was a "failure" or "brilliant on paper" but terrible in reality. Why? Because the media never gave people the full explanation of what Communism was concerning Russia or Cuba during the Cold War. They never told people that those countries didn't actually achieve pure Communism. So those people who were influenced by the media during the Cold War lived to tell their children about what they experienced, educating them with biased and poorly researched information. Sure not everyone did that. Someone on this forum might say "Nay! My children know full well what Communism is." but the majority of people don't know politics as well as that person or we wouldn't be discussing it. I think you get the idea now Very Happy

I do get it but in my experience most leftists are the first leftists in their families, so more people are breaking out of the propaganda-forged mold.

Not right now it can't. Not unless there is a reason for people to change or break their slavery. Currently the majority are content with their way of life and that will not change for a while yet.

You cannot know that for sure. We must attempt to spread our views.

Simply "without premeditation". Nobody anticipates action. People in this case will unite because they are all affected by something that doesn't prejudice people as a class, but as a human e.g. High prices across the board. I think you get the idea?

That's not very specific. It is hard to offer criticism or agreement with your statement written how it is. I do disagree that it is impossible to know or to aid in a revolution for reasons stated in other posts.

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Left Adherent on Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:28 pm

Red Aegis wrote:That's not very specific. It is hard to offer criticism or agreement with your statement written how it is. I do disagree that it is impossible to know or to aid in a revolution for reasons stated in other posts.

So what would be more specific? What would I have to explain in a more detailed way?
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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Red Aegis on Sat Sep 08, 2012 8:05 pm

You said earlier that if the people become class conscious enough they will either flock to revolutionary parties or set up their own councils. That is true I think, but couldn't that flocking be called spontaneous?

I think that we can now say that the term is vacant of meaning. What do you think?

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Re: Spontaneity

Post by Left Adherent on Sun Sep 09, 2012 12:32 pm

Red Aegis wrote:You said earlier that if the people become class conscious enough they will either flock to revolutionary parties or set up their own councils. That is true I think, but couldn't that flocking be called spontaneous?

I think that we can now say that the term is vacant of meaning. What do you think?

I suppose we could just do without the label "spontaneous" and replace it with "voluntary". Or we could do away with labels and simply describe the event and refer to it as a transition.
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