Geary introduces you to the project.
We need a new mass party-movement
This is the very first article of a new political and journalistic project. We are a loose writers collective with a common set of principles:
First of all we owe you an explanation of who we are. This project flows from the “Orthodox Marxist” group, a fraction of the “Revolutionary Marxists” group on the webforum Revleft.com1, commonly reproached with terms as “Kautskyites”, “Kautskyite revivalists” or “neo-Kautskyites”. While we’re not referring to ourselves as such, it does have a kernel of truth as we place ourselves among those who reevaluate the legacy of Second International Marxism, a new current if you will which was marked with Lars T. Lih’s scholarly work Lenin Rediscovered – “What is to be done?” in context. As such we draw our inspiration from this scholarly current and other groups that perform similar work.
But we are an independent group of young comrades from around the globe seeking for answers. And in our quest for linking the dots, of which this website will surely be a reflection, we strive to give a more up to date content to these ideas, to “merge” the ideas of Marxism again with the conditions of the 21st century.
We don’t have a party line though and the articles will, certainly in the beginning, be more of a result of one’s own findings, than anything else. We are also open for contributions and if you like to do so you could reach us at email@example.com
Our political basis
So, how “loose” is loose? Don’t we have anything in common? Well, we do, obviously! The following is a short overview of the views we share:
As Marxists we stand for the reappropriation of the basic principles of the Marxist programmatic concept of the democratic republic. This means that the working class, through democratic and republican principles, collectively decides how the means of production are used against private ownership by state bureaucrats. It is the class dictatorship of the working class governed by democratic workers’ organs. It is the self-emancipation of the working class through the struggle for the working class to take political power.
These goals are crystallised in the communist programme. Because the programme is about the political take-over of the working class over society, it stipulates the strategic, objective, steps needed to reach our goal and overcome the undemocratic barriers that the ruling class – a minority – put into place to keep itself in power.
On the one hand, democratic-republic principles are, among others: the election and recallability of all public officials; universal military training and service, the right to bear arms and political rights in the armed forces; the election of judges and generalised trial by jury; freedom of information; and so on. It is also based on the extension of democratic forms of decision-making like workplace committees and so on.
On the other hand, these principles stand for a truly democratic way of organisation and discussion. It is the purpose of this project to start to engage in a theoretical discussion on political democracy, programme and republican values as a contribution to a cultural change within the left and the whole of society. This can only be done if we are open and respectful.
We call ourselves the “Marxist Center” for two reasons:
As we base ourselves on a reevaluaton of the revolutionary traditions of the Second International, we fight for a longterm strategy of “revolutionary patience”. This means an active opposition to “shortcuts” on both rightwing notions that want to enter coalitions in the name of “relevancy” and “realism” and leftwing notions that seek to reach working class power through mass strikist strategies.
We seek to be a center of debate and analysis based on these traditions. While our contribution will inevitably start humble, we aspire to grow and have an impact on the working class community.
For these reasons we aim for the following:
- To clarify our own ideas, first and foremost. This we aim to do by researching historical topics of interest, attempting to give our own analysis on current world events and engage in debate with eachother and with the wider (far left) community.
- To popularise the ideas of revolutionary Marxism. That is, both the ideas of Marx and Engels (“classical” Marxism) and the ideas of the early, Marxist, Second International that was fundamental for the formation of mass worker-class movements in Europe and elsewhere, notably also the RSDLP and the Bolsheviks that placed themselves in the same tradition.
- To add to, in however modest a way, a practical community. A common theme among our detractors is that because we emphasise open debate we want to setup a “talking shop”. While we can only begin humble and, in some respects, abstract, we aim for an actual party-movement and will aid any such developments and to help answer the most important question of our times what is to be done?
As Lenin put it, “without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement”2. Anyone that is up for the task, is happily invited to join the ranks of this project!
“Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past. The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living. And just as they seem to be occupied with revolutionizing themselves and things, creating something that did not exist before, precisely in such epochs of revolutionary crisis they anxiously conjure up the spirits of the past to their service, borrowing from them names, battle slogans, and costumes in order to present this new scene in world history in time-honored disguise and borrowed language.”
“The social revolution of the nineteenth century cannot take its poetry from the past but only from the future. It cannot begin with itself before it has stripped away all superstition about the past. The former revolutions required recollections of past world history in order to smother their own content. The revolution of the nineteenth century must let the dead bury their dead in order to arrive at its own content. There the phrase went beyond the content – here the content goes beyond the phrase.”
The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte. Karl Marx 1852
7 thoughts on “Hello world!”
Paul Werner (aka Hoipolloi Cassidy) says:
Congratulations, comrades! And good historical/social determination! (What the bourgeoisie call “luck.”)
Eddie Ford says:
Jacob Richter says:
“The goal of philosophers has been to analyze the world, the point however is to change it” should be quoted in the near future as a counter for those who emphasize analysis too much.
Patrick Byrne says:
Congratulations to the comrades fof the Marxist Centre rom The Socialist Network (http://changingsociety.socialistnetwork.org/)
Like you we think that the ‘leninist’ tradition’ is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what Marx and Engels were struggling for, and what the Russian Revolution actually represented.
Like you, we believe that the socialist movement has to champion the cause of real democracy. We hope that we can build a useful relationship together around the development of fresh ideas and analysis.
jody foster says:
this is sad
Geary Middleton says:
Why, may we ask, is this sad?
Also, I note that as per our commenting policy, we don’t allow short snarky commenting: “Engage substantively. No one-liners or snarkiness for its own sake.”
An excellent place to start. In many ways, I think our situation is more like the challenges of the Second International than the Third. The continuity between the early Kautsky and the democratic Lenin has always interested me, and I look forward to your analyses on the subject.