File spoon-archives/marxism2.archive/marxism2_1996/96-04-30.191, message 121

Date: Thu, 25 Apr 1996 06:20:13 +0200
Subject: Re: post-WWII marxism

Alex Trotter wrote:
> The closest thing to a proletarian revolution in the Western
> world, post WWII, happened in France at that time.


> And it wasn't much thanks to marxism.

Right - but hopefully marxists learned a lot.

> although there will be no shortage of claims that the
> only missing ingredient was a properly disciplined vanguard party
> of the leninist or ultrabolshevik persuasion.

Sure that was a sadly missing ingredient. Which ingredient
do *you* think was missing? It didn't succeed, remember?
(BTW: What does "ultra" mean?)

> It would be good to get away from the rhetoric of victimhood. Should the
> proletariat (i.e., humanity) identify itself as a mass of victims and
> nothing but? Don't blame us, we're just victims. Put the blame on Mame.

No, Alex, the proletariat should not identify itself as a
mass of victims - we do that all the time. We should se
ourselves as a class with the capacity to overthrow our
victimhood. But the problem remains: This hasn't happened yet.

I think we have to recognize that the class as such (as
a whole - not to mention "humanity" as a whole) don't
act as one uniform mass. They didn't in France, they didn't
in Russia 1917 - and they don't do it in the day-to-day

Some sort of unevenness is involved - and for the class
to actually *move*: Some sort of leadership.

The problem as I see it is that we have seen a number of
uprisings, revolutions - also after WW2 (notably: Poland
1980-81, Chile 1971-3, Hungary 1956) - where the *de facto*
leadership of the class made fatal mistakes (like the ones
you mentioned in an earlier posting about the Paris Commune).

These were often the omission of "actions which may or may not
have led to ultimate victory, but whose omission made defeat
that much swifter and more certain", as you wrote.

Who to "blame" then? Blaming "the mass of victims" doesn't
make much sense to me, as the problem was/is how the minority,
who actually had/have a perspective of overthrowing the 5th
Republic (France), the Jaruzelski regime etc., can win the
rest ("the mass of victims") for this perspective.

Of course you can blame "the mass of victims" for not
having taken up that perspective - but does it make
sense? I think not. And at any rate it is much more patronizing
than saying: OK, today Marxists are a minority *within the
class* (Marx was right on this one, as was Lenin), but we
aim to win a majority for our perspective of socialist
revolution, i.e. build a new class leadership.

> maybe theory is overrated. Didn't Goethe say, "gray is theory,
> green is the tree of life."

I think theory is essential to make that tree blossom.

Jorn Andersen


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