Monday, April 11, 2011

Prospects for Revolution: Canadian Perspectives 2011

Written by Fightback Editorial Board
Monday, 11 April 2011

“Revolution is never practical — until the hour of the Revolution strikes. Then it alone is practical, and all the efforts of the conservatives and compromisers become the most futile and visionary of human imaginings.” (James Connolly, Workshop Talks, 1909)

The Arab revolution changes the entire world situation. For the first time in generations, the concept of revolution has ceased to be an abstract idea. Revolution is no longer an impractical imagining, to paraphrase the great Irish revolutionary James Connolly. Instead, revolution is something very real and is discussed by all sections of society — some in hope, others in fear. It is seen as a real option to challenge the injustices of capitalist society; indeed, the only option that has made any progress in recent memory.

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RENEGADE EYE

20 comments:

sonia said...

A true Marxist revolution (as opposed to a half-baked revolt like in Egypt or a genuine counter-revolution like in Libya) isn't impossible, but it's highly unlikely. The reason is simple: no revolution (of any kind) has ever improved people's lives. It has always led to worse things: fascism, Stalinism, misery, economic collapse, etc. So there is no model, no inspiration for people to say: "we want to achieve what people in country X have achieved because of their revolution". Unfortunately for the Marxists, country X doesn't exist.

And that's why people meekly and passively accept the rising social injustices. They anger them, but this anger is never channeled into supporting a Marxist revolution.

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: I was hoping you'd see this post.

We've been through talking about revolution in the abstract. Everyone knows where you stand.

Even the deformed socialist model of 1949, was able to spread to virtually every third world country. One model of healthy socialism, would spread through the world. Even a country like Tunisia, inspired the world.

The main problem in the modern era is leadership. A Lenin and Trotsky have to be positioned right.

sonia said...

Ren,

deformed socialist model of 1949, was able to spread to virtually every third world country

I think that "deformed socialist model of 1949" had a name. That name was Stalinism.

And Stalinism did spread. But it wrecked all those third world countries thoroughly. Including Tunesia, Egypt and Libya.

We've been through talking about revolution in the abstract. Everyone knows where you stand.

I don't think you fully understand my position. Especially the concept of counter-revolution. Or the concept of permanent revolution.

Titan said...

no revolution (of any kind) has ever improved people's lives. It has always led to worse things: fascism, Stalinism, misery, economic collapse, etc. So there is no model, no inspiration for people to say: "we want to achieve what people in country X have achieved because of their revolution".

USA! USA! USA! USA! :)

The Pagan Temple said...

Canada-A tiny little dick in a gigantic, disease-ridden cunt that barely knows its there, but still manages to relay its infection.

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: I don't think you fully understand my position. Especially the concept of counter-revolution. Or the concept of permanent revolution.

You're going to tell me about permanent revolution?

sonia said...

Ren,

You're going to tell me about permanent revolution?

I know many countries that desperately need one. Especially Venezuela.

And Bolivia is undergoing a permanent revolution, with Morales rescinding a decree that raised fuel prices by more than 70 per cent, under grass-roots popular opposition. If only Venezuela had such a powerful grass-roots opposition...

Renegade Eye said...

Sonia: I don't know what is happening in Bolivia, something about petrol prices.

I've never heard anyone except Trotskyists, who have a clue, what permanent revolution means. Most on the left don't get it either.

Ross Wolfe said...

All I will say in response to the actual article is that the "universal middle-class" deception is doubly devious. Not only are property and available moneys/assets wildly disproportionate, but even these figures wouldn't accurately "classify" individual persons/families.

For Marx, the term "proletarian" had a VERY specific meaning. It had virtually nothing to do with income bracket. A proletarian is someone whose only means of livelihood, the only commodity that he can sell for any sort of compensation, is his labor. He has no means of production of his own with which to feed and clothe and house himself. Literally, his only commodity is his labor, which he sells to the highest bidder in the "labor market."

A member of the bourgeoisie owns the means of production and sufficient capital (self-valorizing value) such that his own labor-time need not be invested into the production of the commodities he sells. He can buy the labor of others to execute the production process for him, and even hire people for management to oversee and maximize the efficiency of his workers.

There has been a very distorted view in America and even other parts of the world that class is determined by income brackets. As Marx writes in the Manifesto, capitalism simplifies class relations. And while there are a wealth of gradations between the petit-bourgeoisie and the grand bourgeoisie, and the wage-slave to the university professor, the two fundamental classes of capitalism are not defined by mere quantity of income, but by the quality of their relation to the means of production.

Another thing is that the title "proletarian" usually signifies some sort of anti-capitalist class consciousness. So not every member of the working-class would be proletarian, by that definition. I remember Rosa Luxemburg remarked somewhere that England had a vast working-class population, but very few "proletarians." She was implying, of course, that most of the working class in England had already been assimilated to a bourgeois self-consciousness and thus lacked the revolutionary mentality to carry out real political change.

Thersites said...

Correct, no one should have any security in self-sufficiency as the bourgeoisie/petit-bourgeoisie currently do. Everyone needs to be an insecure and state-dependent wage slave who deliberately cripples/handicaps their own minds by acquiring a state-run education from a state-determined curriculum specializing in a new state-determined division of labour that allows state bureacrats to waste both the proletarian true believers (proles) labouring-lives away on the altar of state science projects dreamed up in the Grand Academy at Lagado AND also waste the entire planet's worth of non-true believers labouring lives away on those self-same ridiculous projects.

Dependency uber alles. There must be no means for human beings to become "whole" human beings and thereby escape wage slavery. All slaves, amd more importantly their children, must be returned to their owners through confiscation of capital assetts. Dred Scott is not a citizen of Missouri and his case SHALL NOT be heard!

Ross Wolfe said...

Marxism is anti-state. The state is the organ of class oppression. It would be necessary following a revolution (and the smashing of the old state apparatus) to install a state as a sort of administrative organ to oversee distribution. But this would gradually diminish, and the state would gradually "wither away" as society learns to govern itself.

Thersites said...

...and would whither away as they ran out of other people's things to distribute. ;)

Thersites said...

The Marxists should concern themselves TODAY with learning how to govern themselves, instead of insisting upon governing others.

It's a skill they obviously have little experience with.

Virtue cannot be taught (Plato, "Meno"), especially by a bunch of "Do as I say, not as I do" hypocrites.

Thersites said...

Permanent Revolution in action.

The Pagan Temple said...

Swords and guns don't wither, they rust, sort of like the Soviet Union.

Larry Gambone said...

As a Canadian, this is a first rate analysis. I only have one minor disagreement. Quebec labour unions are not syndicalist. The FTQ supports the Parti Quebecois. The CSN, to which I once belonged, (and respect) as a hospital worker, has few direct links with the PQ, but tends to support it. Back in the late 60's-early 70's the CSN was syndicalist-oriented pushing for worker-control socialism and direct action. This changed in the late 70's as the union became more like the French FO - class struggle-oriented, formally apolitical, but little syndicalist content.

Larry Gambone said...

"Marxism is anti-state" Thank you a thousand times Ross Wolfe. I have been saying this since I first read the Economic and Philosophical Ms in 1967. Both many anarchists and many supposed marxists disagree, but to me it was obvious.

The Pagan Temple said...

That's just the problem, Larry-the ones that disagree are always the ones that acquire power, because that's just their nature.

Thersites said...

their nature, indeed! ;)

Ross Wolfe said...

Ren, do you think I could post my most recent post on here? Where I answer the question you posed?