MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

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MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

Post by DSN on Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:40 am

So apparently you can't be a Marxist unless you take Lenin's words and stuff them into Marx's mouth.



I'm a bit confused by the logic that MRN is applying to the concept of the vanguard party. Firstly, he says that rejecting the vanguard on the basis that it has (apparently) never led to socialism is an invalid argument, but later uses its "success" in building socialism to argue in favour of it.

Moving onto a more important question, what value should we place on what we have seen from the application of the vanguard party so far? It seems as though many people are set on gluing themselves to the storyline of past revolutions and what worked for them according to the material conditions of the time. Correct me if I am wrong, but was Lenin not focused on analysing Russia's situation during his lifetime? While I think that Lenin's work is worth reading, we do not live in early 20th century Russia or conditions which pertain to that period of history, so I fail to see the utter obsession with Lenin among contemporary Marxists.

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Re: MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

Post by TheocWulf on Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:28 pm

Political Necrophili, some on the left and right can't imagine a future that's not either Nazi Germany or Soviet Russia.As for the concept of a Vanguard Party I'm not against the idea as such but the historic German,Russian and Islimist variants leave much to be desired "absolute power corrupts absolutely" as they say.

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Re: MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

Post by DSN on Thu Jan 10, 2013 1:11 pm

Well from what I understand of the vanguard party, it was supposed to be a lot more democratic than it actually turned out. As I have quoted before:

"We ourselves, the workers, will organize large-scale production on the basis of what capitalism has already created, relying on our own experience as workers, establishing the strictest, iron discipline supported by the state power of the armed workers; we will reduce the role of the state officials to that of simply carrying out our instructions as responsible, revocable, modestly paid "foremen and bookkeepers" (of course, along with technicians of all sorts, types and degrees). This is our proletarian task, this is what we can and must start with when the proletarian revolution is accomplished. Such a beginning, on the basis of large-scale production, will of itself lead to the gradual "withering away" of all bureaucracy, to the gradual creation of an order--an order without quotation marks, an order bearing no resemblance to wage slavery-- an order under which the functions of control and accounting, becoming more and more simple, will be performed by each in turn, will then become a habit and will finally die out as the special functions of a special section of the population."
(The State and Revolution – Chapter 3, Abolition of Parliamentarianism)

So much for reducing the role of state officials to that of "simply carrying out our instructions". There's a lot of "we" talk in The State and Revolution, but it seems as though the USSR was much more about the party.

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Re: MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

Post by Isakenaz on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:13 pm

DSN wrote:So apparently you can't be a Marxist unless you take Lenin's words and stuff them into Marx's mouth.



I'm a bit confused by the logic that MRN is applying to the concept of the vanguard party. Firstly, he says that rejecting the vanguard on the basis that it has (apparently) never led to socialism is an invalid argument, but later uses its "success" in building socialism to argue in favour of it.

Moving onto a more important question, what value should we place on what we have seen from the application of the vanguard party so far? It seems as though many people are set on gluing themselves to the storyline of past revolutions and what worked for them according to the material conditions of the time. Correct me if I am wrong, but was Lenin not focused on analysing Russia's situation during his lifetime? While I think that Lenin's work is worth reading, we do not live in early 20th century Russia or conditions which pertain to that period of history, so I fail to see the utter obsession with Lenin among contemporary Marxists.

Alternatively you can't obsess about the philosophies of a 19th Century economist who would have had no idea of the situation that we in the 21st century face. Marx simply preached, Lenin tried to make Marx's ideas a reality. The Soviet Union didn't fail because of his or Stalins ideas, rather the apologists who followed and bent over backwards to find a compromise with the monster that is capitalism.
The Soviet Union might not have lived up to many socialists hopes, but it came the closest. We can wait for another thousand years before the utopian dreams of many Trots or Left Coms see reality.
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Re: MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

Post by DSN on Thu Jan 10, 2013 2:32 pm

But Lenin wasn't concerned with much beyond Russia and oppressed nations, was he?

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Re: MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

Post by Red Aegis on Thu Jan 10, 2013 4:28 pm

Isakenaz wrote:Alternatively you can't obsess about the philosophies of a 19th Century economist who would have had no idea of the situation that we in the 21st century face. Marx simply preached, Lenin tried to make Marx's ideas a reality. The Soviet Union didn't fail because of his or Stalins ideas, rather the apologists who followed and bent over backwards to find a compromise with the monster that is capitalism.
The Soviet Union might not have lived up to many socialists hopes, but it came the closest. We can wait for another thousand years before the utopian dreams of many Trots or Left Coms see reality.

What exactly makes a theoretical framework that rejects Democratic Centralism utopian? I know what you are saying in that Marx should be read critically, but his ideas merit reference on many subjects present in these discussions.

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Re: MRN: In Defence of the Vanguard Party

Post by Isakenaz on Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:21 am

[quote="Red Aegis"]
Isakenaz wrote:What exactly makes a theoretical framework that rejects Democratic Centralism utopian? I know what you are saying in that Marx should be read critically, but his ideas merit reference on many subjects present in these discussions.

My response to DSN's post about contemporary Marxists obsessing over Lenin, was not a criticism of Marx or his ideas, simply a defence of Lenin's place in the history of Socialism. To me Marx was a theorist, Leninin the practice. Without Lenin, who had been don't forget betrayed by other social democrats in respect of the 1914 war, socialism would have remained nothing more than a utopian theory ascribed to by middle-class intellectuals. A critical theory used by sociologists to argue against conservative values. My position as a Marxist-Leninist is simple, Marx wote it, Lenin created it. Leaders of the Soviet Union after Stalin, spent so much time blaming Lenin and Stalin for socialisms failure while all the time trying to cosy up to the capitalist west that they failed to see that their 'reforms' simply rang the death bell for socialism. Unless, of course, you subscribe to the ludicrous notion that China is really a Communist State.
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