The Scottish Independence Referendum: The Great Diversion

Karl Liebknecht: “The basic law of capitalism is you or I, not you and I.”

One of the ruling class’s weapons in its armoury is its ability to mask the reality of the exploiter/exploited class relation. Its web of cultural constructs is aimed at obscuring that reality - and the weave of that web is religion, race, gender and above all, nationalism.

Nationalism isn’t “natural”. It is manufactured. It is the particularly manufactured ideology of the capitalist class. For them it is the perfect expression of their rule. They can pretend that in the nation we are all “free” even if some of us are freer than others because they have more money (as Bernie Ecclestone so dramatically proved recently in a German court[1]). And when the capitalists tell us we are “all in it together” their frame of reference is the nation. When they exhort us once again to salute those who fought for “King and Country” they are dragging us into defence of their material interests. After all it is their country. They own it (and this goes for the ruling class everywhere). Wars are actually for defending and extending their property and to get us to support war they appeal to our supposed common “nationality”. And nationalism in Scotland is as manufactured as anywhere else.

We don’t want to look at the kitsch aspects of Scottish nationalism – the reinvention of medieval robber barons and thugs like Bruce and Wallace as Scottish heroes, the disneyfied romanticism of appropriating supposedly ‘highland’ dress, pipes, or clans as national symbols (carefully ignoring how Gaeldom was once regarded with much the same affection in lowland Scotland as the Roma are in the home counties today). Rather, with the approaching referendum, we want to look at why Scottish Independence is just a diversion from the real issue based on a reactionary fantasy.

If a ‘yes’ vote created a Scottish state, it would begin life already crippled with its share of UK National Debt – a sum estimated by the National Institute of Social Research to be £143 billion. That debt will have to be serviced, as will the debt incurred in the functioning of any capitalist state – borrowing for investment, infrastructure, defence, the social wage (pensions, health, welfare etc). For example, Edinburgh, Scotland's capital, is currently paying £5.8 million a year interest on its new 8 mile tram line even before any repayment of the £776 million capital costs.. Naturally, services such as libraries, social care, teachers and nurses etc ( all part of the social wage) are discretionary spending, while interest repayments are written in stone. The UK state, despite its vicious hacking back of the social wage, its use of cheap migrant labour to help drive wages down, its attack on working conditions and wages, has so far been unable to cut its deficit – in other words far from being able to address its debt, it is daily increasing it. Again, that debt incurs interest – and that interest is set by global money markets that take a very close interest in state spending. The Scandinavian states, for long hailed as examples of successful welfare states, are seeing their social spending slashed because the money markets demand it. National governments are expected to be ‘responsible’ (i.e. shaft the working class) or pay the price when they come to sell bonds, gilts or raise loans. This is an inescapable fact of crisis ridden global capitalism – no country is immune.

Some peddle the claim that a Scottish State would protect the social wage unlike those Eton-educated toffs down in London (as if the functioning of a capitalist state had any intrinsic interest in the sociological origins of its functionaries – not too many ex-public school boys in Stalin’s Russia for example). Any effective difference in social spending between Scotland and rump UK would see investment drift southwards as tax and interest rates rose.

And as for the claim that ‘It’s Scotland’s Oil’ – well we saw how strong the argument that it’s Scotland’s oil refinery was recently – Ineos, whose ‘Scottish’ owners (based in Switzerland) after the Unite union had hamstrung the workers’ recent strike, demanded and got £150 million from the Scottish Executive. America wants a European base for its fracked gas sales to boost its profits and undermine Russia’s – and the Scottish Government, needing that investment, had to roll over. In a similar but minor vein, Donald Trump wanting a golf course[2] in the face of massive local opposition made the Scottish Executive lift its kilt and take one in the ‘National Interest’. Foreign capital investment, crucial to any Scottish state will expect, and get feather-bedded treatment in terms of grants and tax-breaks. What the workers will get can be seen in the brutal working conditions of the staff in the huge Amazon depot at Dunfermline. Any serious attempt by a Scottish government to improve working conditions there would see Amazon pack up and move elsewhere. No surprise in this – it’s how capitalism operates. The surprise lies only in the fact that so many are prepared to believe ‘We’re different up here’; that Scotland, a geographic abstraction, the consequence of distant historic struggles between rivals for power, now supposedly imbues its inhabitants with something meaningful, something that transcends the reality of a working class that alone produces all wealth and is international, and a capitalist class that expropriates most of that wealth. Workers in Britain, Brazil or Bangladesh have their exploitation and real interests in common, and nothing in common with the capitalist interests and functionaries and land owners that exploit them.

There has been a massive campaign around the referendum for more than a year now by the capitalist media in Scotland, trying to whip up interest. Leftists have joined in – mainly pushing ‘yes’ (‘we’ll be able to get rid of the Tories’ or ‘We’ll be able to pressurise a Scottish Government better than a London one’ or ‘we’re more left-wing up here - we don’t vote Tory’ or ‘splitting the British State will make it weaker’) though some like George Galloway push a ‘no’ vote claiming ‘it’ll split the British Labour movement and hand power to the Tories’. Underpinning both approaches is the notion that capitalist democracy has some value to the working class. It only underlines the Left’s value to the ruling class.

Others in Scotland have argued that at least a ‘yes’ vote will get rid of Trident, but even if Nato agreed, and could afford a relocation (which is unlikely), arguing for another geographic sector of our class to be lumbered with this genocidal weaponry is a victory for nationalism, not internationalism. Similarly, those who (naively) believe Scottish squaddies won’t be sent to fight foreign wars again fail to recognise that our class is an international class. Seeing anything positive about working class kids from Newcastle or Manchester or London fighting for imperialism instead of Glasgow’s or Dundee’s is again accepting the reactionary logic of nationalism.

There is only one internationalist response to this referendum – fuck it! The real issue for the world’s workers is that they face an increasingly dire future under whichever capitalist regime rules us. The world capitalist crisis has seen living standards falling across the planet. This has been going on gradually for decades but since 2008 it has increased dramatically. In this situation it is not surprising that there has been a rise of nationalist and populist movements. They all claim the “old parties” are to blame and they have the solution in their pocket. They all want us to believe that they can manage capitalism fairly, that they can magically escape the imperative of a global capitalist crisis. They all pretend that the accelerating attacks on wages, conditions and social wage are ideological (Nasty neo-cons, or Tories, or NuLabour, or greedy banks, or tax-dodging rich) rather than intrinsic to a rotten and rotting global system. Our only hope lies in getting rid of the system that produces such misery and such abominations. In the long run only autonomous working class struggle on our OWN terrain can hold out any hope for our future. In the short term, refusing to be dragged in to ruling class power plays is a crucial first step – seeing our class brothers and sisters sucked into nationalist traps in the likes of Ukraine, Libya, Gaza and Kurdistan only underlines the importance of this.

Shug

[1] Bernie Ecclestone, head of motor racing’s Formula 1, to avoid being tried for bribery (the man who paid him has already been gaoled) paid a £100 million sum (bribe?) into a Munich courthouse to avoid prosecution. Not an option open to everyone.

[2] Donald Trump was given permission by the Scottish Executive to build a golf course near Aberdeen over an area which included a protected area for wildlife, despite the opposition of local people.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Comments

I have a postal vote and put a, “Neither Yes nor No but World Socialism”,sticker on my paper.You can get these at spgb@worldsocialism.org

Here is a sample one.I hope the link works OK.

Neither_Yes_Nor_NO_Sticker.gif

No thanks. The sticker actually moronically says "A vote's always worth using even if there is nothing to vote for". Spoiled ballots are counted as participants in a capitalist racket. Indifference and ergo abstention is the only really proletarian response.

I resent the 'moronic'.It is a considered and deliberate response.I don't have problem with you disagreeing.The vote was won through struggle and is a part of the revolutionary struggle.It is saying a plague on both camps.

" part of the revolutionary struggle" does somewhat raise the question of why the ruling class and its media spend so much effort hyping up every election and referendumb. And yup, "The vote was won through struggle" but a wee bit of historical context wouldnt go amiss. Religious freedom was won through struggle too - maybe I should be nippng down to the chapel on Sunday.

Well go figure.In a bourgeois democracy they have to legitimse their 'policing' i.e. government when different capitalist interests come into conflict, some assent is required.In a revolutionary situation the ballot box can be used to capture control of the armed forces to ensure guns can't be turned on the workers.The capitalists of course,will be using it to shower reforms or the promise of them to prevent this take over by the proletatiat.But a politically conscious working class will need the maturity,won from struggle etc. to ignore these blandishments.

This all assumes a ruling class passively watching parliament being 'captured' . When it wanted to avoid even a bourgeois faction like Irish Nationalists being elected, it just rushed through the 1981 'Representation of the People Act' to keep them out. Anything even remotely approaching a politically conscious working class would see both elections and Habeus Corpus suspended in the 'national interest'. As always, the SPGB swallows the myth of the primacy of parliament. Modern capitalist rule is far more complex and sophisticated. Even in the limited context of parliament, the braying mob on the benches are little more than stage extras.

I'd recommend having a look at Clive Ponting's 'Breach of Promise' that shows how in the Labour administration of 1964 onwards the major defence and economic decisions by the executive were run past America for approval before even the cabinet were aware of them.

Oh well prophecy is your gift not mine.I will advocate using whatever means are to hand.Peacefully if we can first, then violently if we must.I certainly won't be looking to leaderist types rushing to barricades prematurely.

Without a majority of politically conscious workers you will have a jacobinistic/leninistic vanguardist bloodbath. With a mojority of politically conscious workers electing recallable delegates with no mandate save revolution will remove the red herring you posit re.labour party administration.

Oh well prophecy is your gift not mine.

It's not prophecy, it's just common sense and learning lessons from history. But the SPGB seem to think that nothing has happened since 1904.

Your assumption that we are for a jacobin or leninist vanguard rushing the proletariat to the barricades is a caricature and just one of the many lazy lies we have heard from your previous leaders over the decades. A revolution can only come about when the majority of the working class (not the majority of society which you equate it with) can no longer carry on living under this system. We'll be part of that. You will be exhorting us to calm down and head for the Palace of Westminster. Sorry about the "moronic" but as we learned that cretins only biologically survive to age 5 or so we could not think of another word for a 110 year old body.

The SPGB don't have any leaders.You have taken it much too personally. As for 110 year old body, well socialism is an idea much older than that .

The SPGB has made a number of contributions to Marxist theory one of which is recognition of leadership as a capitalist political principle, a feature of the revolutions that brought them to power, and utterly alien to the socialist revolution. The socialist revolution necessarily involves the active and conscious participation of the great majority of workers, thus excluding the role of leadership.

Some more of those:

8 Contributions to Marxian Theory

The Socialist Party has also made its own contributions to socialist theory, in the light of further developments, going beyond some of the theories of socialist pioneers like Marx and Engels. We set out below a number of these contributions: 1. Solving the Reform or Revolution dilemma, by declaring that a socialist party should not advocate reforms of capitalism, and by recognising that political democracy can be used for revolutionary ends. 2. Realisation of the world-wide (rather than international) character of Socialism. Socialism can only be a united world community without frontiers, and not the federation of countries suggested by the word "inter-national." 3. Recognition that there is no need for a "transition period" between capitalism and Socialism. The enormous increases in social productivity since the days of Marx and Engels have made superfluous a period, such as they envisaged, in which the productive forces would be developed under a State control, and in which consumption would have to be rationed. Socialism can be established as soon as a majority of workers want it, with free access. 4. Rejection of any further progressive role for nationalism after capitalism became the dominant world system towards the end of the 19th century. Industrialisation under national State capitalism is neither necessary nor economically progressive. 5. For the same reason, rejection of the idea of "progressive wars". Socialists oppose all wars, refusing to take sides. 6. Exposures of leadership as a capitalist political principle, a feature of the revolutions that brought them to power, and utterly alien to the socialist revolution. The socialist revolution necessarily involves the active and conscious participation of the great majority of workers, thus excluding the role of leadership. 7. Advocating and practising that a socialist party should be organised as an open democratic party, with no leaders and no secret meetings, thus foreshadowing the society it seeks to establish. 8. Recognition that capitalism will not collapse of its own accord, but will continue from crisis to crisis until the working class consciously organise to abolish it.

The majority of the working class is the majority of society.There are only two classes.There is no middle class, however some perceive themselves.You assume too much. I have been a part of working class struggles all my life in factories and weaving sheds and elsewhere.So why, when there is a majority for revolution, should we advocate getting their heads shot off. Such is infantile leftist posturing.

The SPGB has the correct analysis of what a socialist society involves and would be more credible if it did not indulge in dishonest debating tricks with those whom it disagrees. You have given us three examples of SPGB debating style just in these posts on our site.

  1. Outright lies about an opponents position (some of you have Master degrees in this). What "infantile leftist posturing" are you referring to? What evidence do you have that we have any truck with the notion of "jacobinism" or any other idea that the party takes power. Our tendency split with Bordigism in the early 1950s precisely on rejecting that notion. As it stated inthe 1952 Platfrorm "The proletariat does not delegate to anyone not even its class party the task of building socialism".
  2. Deliberately misreading the subject of a sentence. We refer to the SPGB as a "body" you divert the criticism by referring to the historical vision of socialism which was not our point.
  3. Completely distorting an argument already made. When we said to you that socialism will come about when the majority of the working class want it and not the majority of society we are not disputing that the working class are the majority of society but in the electoral system they are not. The abstention rate is not made up of the educated middle class. And this brings us to you rejection of capitalist principles. The one you don't reject is voting. You don't seem to grasp Shug's point that this is the main way to reduce workers to passivity in the face of the system. Going along with it only reinforces capitalist domination over every individual worker and reinforces the notion that rinning things can be left to our "betters" in the ruling class. Socialism is not just about a fairer society. It is a society of active participants unlike any other previously in history. Its either that or its is not socialism. And we don't get there by encouraging passivity.
  4. And of course there is always the accusation of your opponent taking something "personally" when in fact that its precisely your own attitude (its you who indulged in the biographical details to prove your superior working class credentials). There is nothing in the least personal in our political differences and we have many comradely discussions with individual SPGB members wherever we meet (some even subscribe to our press).

I won't reply to your comment on not needing a period of transition between capitalism and socialism as we are discussing that ourselves but there is an article on it criticisng the SPGB position (among others) in Revolutionary Perspectives 04 which has just come out.

The SPGB has the correct analysis of what a socialist society involves and

would be more credible if it did not indulge in dishonest debating tricks

with those whom it disagrees. You have given us three examples of SPGB

debating style just in these posts on our site.

  1. Outright lies about an opponents position (some of you have Master degrees

in this). What "infantile leftist posturing" are you referring to?


The posture of disavowing using the democratic process which workers have won the right to,flawed as it is, to propel socialists into the world's debating chambers,as recallable delegates for the purpose of propagating the revolution which is taking place outside of them and to confound any knavish tricks.


What evidence do you have that we have any truck with the notion of "jacobinism" or any other idea that the party takes power. Our tendency split with Bordigism in the early 1950s precisely on rejecting that notion. As it stated in the 1952 Platfrorm "The proletariat does not delegate to anyone not even its class party the task of building socialism".


I had a look it could be read that way.I'm not making such a charge of you.Disavowing the use of available working class democratic structures will open up the real probability of others being erected which are precisely jacobinistic.


You have split the proletariat into two classes.The better educated, higher salaried, ones, you designate as middle class.


  1. Deliberately misreading the subject of a sentence. We refer to the SPGB as

a "body" you divert the criticism by referring to the historical vision of

socialism which was not our point.

  1. Completely distorting an argument already made. When we said to you that

socialism will come about when the majority of the working class want it and

not the majority of society we are not disputing that the working class are

the majority of society but in the electoral system they are not. The

abstention rate is not made up of the educated middle class.


There it is .No distortion on my part.Clarification.The 'educated', 'middle class' as you call them, are working class.There is no middle class.So the working class 'are' the majority in the electoral system.They run capitaslism at the top and the bottom.If they 'have to' work for a wage or salary,even to send young Biggins to private school,they are working class.


And this brings us to you rejection of capitalist principles. The one you don't reject is voting. You don't seem to grasp Shug's point that this is the main way to reduce workers to passivity in the face of the system. Going along with it

only reinforces capitalist domination over every individual worker and

reinforces the notion that rinning things can be left to our "betters" in the

ruling class. Socialism is not just about a fairer society. It is a society

of active participants unlike any other previously in history. Its either

that or its is not socialism. And we don't get there by encouraging

passivity.


Marx must have been in the same frame of mind then. We insist that workers DONT vote for us if they want reforms, but only to indicate support for revolution.We stand purely on a revolutionary platform hence the miniscule vote.The vote is for themselves to run socialism.that is far from passivity.

I am sure you will be familiar with Rubel:

Rubel also frequently quotes, with approval, from Engels' Preface to the 1890 German edition of the Communist Manifesto:

“For the ultimate triumph of the ideas set forth in the Manifesto Marx relied solely and exclusively on the intellectual development of the working class, as it necessarily had to ensue from united action and discussion.”

Rubel even concedes (we say "concedes" since, as we shall see, he does not entirely agree with Marx here) that Marx held that the working class should take political action to end politics and the state and that one of the forms this could take was democratic electoral action:

“The economic and social barbarism brought about by the capitalist mode of production cannot be abolished by a political revolution prepared, organized and led by an elite of professional revolutionaries claiming to act and think in the name and for the benefit of the exploited and alienated majority. The proletariat, formed into a class and a party under the conditions of bourgeois democracy, liberates itself in the struggle to conquer this democracy; it turns universal suffrage, which had previously been ‘an instrument of dupery’, into a means of emancipation” (Marx critique du marxisme, p. 56).


  1. And of course there is always the accusation of your opponent taking

something "personally" when in fact that its precisely your own attitude (its

you who indulged in the biographical details to prove your superior working

class credentials).


Far from it, we have been actively engaged in the class struggle all our lives.It was the slur that we would be trying to prevent or impede the revolution, I was responding to.We would be as actively engaged as much in the day to day struggle as any others.It is a cariciture of the SPGB position that we would be discouraging of any suchevents .They would have beeen reflected already in the political process.


There is nothing in the least personal in our political

differences and we have many comradely discussions with individual SPGB

members wherever we meet (some even subscribe to our press).


Moronic isn't a personal attack? Then a pretended apology 'since cretins' die early.Kindova bushwhacked here.

Below is important as to my response

I came onto the site because I broadly liked your post re the Referendum. We quoted it on one of our blogs along with an AF article (broadly a similar stance to yours) .

socialist-courier.blogspot.co.uk

I posted the same post that I posted here on the Anarchist Fed site, and it elicited no vitriolic comment on it whatsoever.

scotlandaf.wordpress.com


I won't reply to your comment on not needing a period of transition between

capitalism and socialism as we are discussing that ourselves but there is an

article on it criticisng the SPGB position (among others) in Revolutionary

Perspectives 04 which has just come out.


Well, the work has been done,the transitional period is 'inside' capitalism on the way to socialism,we should see different forms and structures beginning to emerge,exciting times such as we have never seen and the vote might/will seal the deal with a minimum of bloodshed.

We really have to capture the machinery of government to stand down the armed forces from an attack on the revolution and to use, if there is any resistance to the will of the people.

Discount this at your peril.We can agree to disagree no problems.

Marx put too much faith in democracy? Well, that's his problem and I'll cut him some slack on that- but not people who mindlessly repeat what has been proven wrong by later historical experience.

You cannot "vote for revolution". Class conscious majority's do not express themselves by voting in bourgeois parliaments but in action. We have also never said that you will be an obstruction to revolution. You will be irrelevant. The fact that you once again refer to the fact that in the past the workers struggled for the vote demonstrates your fundamental inability to move with history as the young comrade Gepetto says. We do not agree to disagree. We continue to argue against this oxymoron that revolution can come only through the passive act of voting.

You continue to misrepresent my position (below)*.


"You cannot "vote for revolution". Class conscious majority's do not express

themselves by voting in bourgeois parliaments but in action.


They are not being asked to vote in a bourgeois parliament.

We have also never said that you will be an obstruction to revolution. You will be irrelevant.


Let us hope not so.I think we will find socialists of my kind fully engaged with what works best in the then revolutionary situation even if it means disbanding our organisation and joining others.


The fact that you once again refer to the fact that in the past

the workers struggled for the vote demonstrates your fundamental inability to

move with history as the young comrade Gepetto says. We do not agree to

disagree. We continue to argue against this oxymoron that revolution can come only through the passive act of voting. "


I have never argued this...'only'.

Of course, establishing socialism is not just a question of voting for a socialist candidate and waiting for a majority of socialist MPs to vote it in (much as people do today who vote for a party which promises some reform of capitalism).

People have to have organised themselves outside parliament into a mass democratic socialist party, into trade unions and other workplace organisations, into neighbourhood councils and the like.

The socialist MPs would be merely the delegates – the messenger boys and girls – of the organised socialist majority outside parliament.

So, we have in mind a democratic, majority political revolution which begins with the winning of political power via the ballot box by a socialist-minded majority. The majority then uses this control of political power to dispossess the capitalist class, declaring all property titles, all stocks and shares, all bills and bonds, all limited liability companies and corporations null and void.

This means that the means of production become the common heritage of all.

The socialist majority can also co-ordinate the physical take-over of the means of production by people outside parliament, organised and ready to do this and keep production going.

It is you who has to tell me how else the armed forces and the minute man missiles can be prevented from firing on the people.

No it wasn't his problem but his insightful reading of events which were undreamed of in his early days.The extension of the franchise could be capitalisms Achiles heel.His thoughts were on the bloodbath of the suppression of the Paris Commune.

And bourgeoisie will just sit and watch and the SPGB will ride the unicorn on the rainbow into socialism without spilling a drop of blood? Sorry only a kid could think this is a clever idea.

In real world capitalism would just pull a Pinochet out of its sleeve to disband the parliament and jail or execute troublesome MPs.

BTW hate to break it to you, but as long as the bourgeoisie holds power, you can't have "socialist minded majority". "Ideas of the ruling epoch are the ideas of the ruling class", etc., etc. Bourgeoisie controls the largest TV stations, newspapers, publishing houses etc. to influence the views of the masses and have at their disposal state education to condition people into being good obedient workers and citizens. And police to beat anybody who doesn't conform.

And before you accuse me of "Bolshevik jacobinism", "elitism" or anything- fortunately the working class doesn't need to be influenced by proper political views to establish its own dictatorship, as it was the Paris Commune in which there were hardly any communists, with Blanquists and Proudhonists being in majority.

This is a parody on a revolutionary situation.What is it you don't get? The revolution will already be on the streets in the factories in the unions in the councils.

Workers will be revolutionary in the army in government agencies on TV ,the media.There is a vast difference to a real revolutionary situation and dissent.

Capturing the various houses of representation will prevent the Pinochets of the world. That wasn't a revolutionary situation.When there is a real majority of workers as opposed to a tiny percentage is a different scenario tot the one which saw Pinochet come to power.

In any case government has to be transformed from an administration over people, into a facilitative administration of 'things'.

Let's take a look at the revolutionary situation that was once in Russia. What does the SPGB do when faced with it? Mourns its precious little Constituent Assembly so much as to embarass even the most fervent Kadet.

The revolution will already be on the streets in the factories in the unions in the councils.

On the streets you say? So not as peacefully as you claimed.

The Russian revolution was overthrowing feudalism not capitalism.

Capitalism in cities and feudalism in countryside.

I would not claim to tell the future ,but I would expect it to be extremely disciplined and peaceful.

Yes, the 'dominant' ideas are, as you say. Why is this? Capitalism seeks and has to manufacture assent. But our perceptions are tempered by real life. our assent is also conditional.We are not brain washed zombies.It doesn't matter if they call it 'macaroni' rather than socialism.There are already ideas floating about about free access.

The Zeitgeist movement is one example.This seems a pretty technocratic outfit to me but the point ,thet variance from the dominant paradigm.

The majority must perceive they have a common interest in getting rid of wage slavery.

It was a bourgeois revolution.Without a large enough capitalist class.Hence the establishment of state capitalism.

Splendid! So do you hold infamous Menshevik position about Russia "not being ready to socialism" and needing bourgeois revolution first? There are no national roads to socialism.

The Russian Revolution Socialist Standard April 1917

The outstanding feature of the past month in the domain of public affairs is undoubtedly the “Russian Revolution”. That this is an event of some importance in the development of human society cannot be denied, but its importance is far less than, and lies mainly in an altogether different direction from that which the capitalist Press of the whole capitalist world would have us believe.

Far from it heralding the dawn of freedom in Russia, it is simply the completion of the emancipation of the capitalist class in Russia which started in the “emancipation” of the serfs some seventy years ago – in order that they might become factory slaves. The revolution’s greatest importance from the working-class view-point is that it brings the workers face to face with their final exploiters.

worldsocialism.org


You will find much of interest in these archives.

I don't want to abuse ICL's hospitality by sticking up articles or extracts.

Archives

worldsocialism.org

But quoted article is from April 1917, and so talks about the February Revolution.

And one word about "peaceful revolution"- it's not that we're driven by some bloodlust while you aren't. As Engels wrote, if the peaceful abolition of private property was possible communists would be the last to oppose it*. However it's obvious that capitalist won't ever let this happen, and violence on part of the working class has always been just a response to the even more brutal bourgeois violence.

  • Engels similarly wrote on Marx in preface to the English edition of "Capital", that while Marx's study led him to conclusion "(...) that, at least in Europe, England is the only country where the inevitable social revolution could be effected entirely by peaceful and legal means", he still "(...) hardly expected the English ruling classes to submit, without a "pro-slavery rebellion", to this peaceful and legal revolution." So not so peaceful it turns out!

Also there's another question: what workers in un-democratic countries should do? Push for democratic reforms 19th century-style instead of direct assault against capitalism in its every form? This is where radicalism of the SPGB shows itself to be just empty words. It's really strange that they didn't support Allies in WW2... But they supported democratic reforms in the Eastern bloc countries, thus siding with the Western imperialism and against workers who suffered from resulting neoliberalisation of economy (and let's make it clear- I'm not defending previous regimes).

There was a revolutionary situation in Chile in 1973. People started to form workers' councils, as a clear sign of that. And this because of the helplessness of the "socialist" government against bourgeois sabotage. Workers were starting to do by themselves and this, you must admit, is intolerable for the bourgeoisie.

Anyway, the "socialists" had captured the house of rapresentation in 1970 and formed their own government, which had of course the support of the large majority of the working class: was that perhaps enough to stop the counterrevolutionary coup?

You know what could only (try to) oppose the coup? The working class in arms. And that's exactly what the "socialist" government prevented them to do approving a specific act against the detention of arms: and this because it trusted more the "sacrality" of the burgeois state and laws and its army (sic!) too than the working class who supported the government itself.

That's the best a "democratic elected socialist government" could do for its people: deliver them unarmed to their butchers.

  • "Sacrality" is probably an italianism. I mean sacredness.

They must do what they must do. It is not for me to prescribe for them actions on the ground in their own situations.It is nonsense to extrapolate democratic reforms,in a dictatorship situation,where trade unionists and dissidents could be shot, as in way support of any section of the capitalist class.

With democratic reforms come also the possibility of class struggle.You are being a little silly here.It was what the workers wanted in the eastern bloc countries which was important.

In a revolutionary situation it is unlikely that there will be too many of these un-democratic counties.

Workers will suffer from capitalism ,Liberal or neoliberal until they get off their knees and remove it(capitalism) from the face of the earth.

Revolutionary situation? Stuff and nonsense.'Socialist'my eye. You are going to have to move away from seeing social unrest and the class struggle as being 'revolutionary' situations.

The working class who 'supported' the government were supporting reforms.The fact of 'support' of any 'government' is indicative of a lack of socialist understanding.

worldsocialism.org

It is not obvious that capitalism won't let this happen.They will be powerless to stop it. No one can stop an idea which time has come.Just as the soviets, backed off ,so too will the capitalist class, if the factories and the streets are as one and genuine socialism,not reform, commands a legitimate majority.

Well as Engels became aware that it may well be possible with the extension of the franchise, he would have been as opposed to provoking a violent response by resorting to violent means prematurely. The ends determines the means.If they won't vote for revolution, then they won't fight for it.

It is however necessary to stress that if democratic peaceful means fail to deliver,if groups of officer types are staging resistance,then it is quite in order to use violence of the workers transitional state.

We have to capture the armed forces of the nation state to prevent them being turned against the people.

I put a link to the archives.There is more in those.If you read to the bottom or scroll to the bottom of the articles there is also more suggested reading.I didn't want to abuse being here by putting spgb stuff up.You wll have to do your own searching.Bear in mind this has gone slightly off topic.Apologies to the website comrades.

  • Book Review: 'Six Weeks in Russia in 1919'
  • Trotsky - the Prophet Debunked
  • The Revolution in Russia: Where it Fails
  • The Passing of Lenin
  • Book Reviews: "Deadly Waters", "Lenin", "So You Think You Know about Britain?"

You have instead to be aware that a duality of powers (bourgeois government AND workers' councils) actually is THE sign of a revolutionary crisis. Ever heard about the "cordones industriales" of 1972 - 73?

The Allende government was already put down on its knees by low-intensity war and economical sabotage. There were two ways out from this: the fall of the "popular" government and the return of the whole power in the hands of the bourgeoisie, or the proletariat - who, yes, had voted for and supported the government - taking their destiny in its own hands and pushing forward to a revolution. And this second thing is exactly what was happening: that's why the coup.

I was not mantaining that Allende's government was socialist, inverted commas exist for a reason. You have made things way too simple and missed the point about the situation in Chile at the time. "Este es un gobierno de mierda, pero es mi gobierno", says a popular quote from that time.

You should read this, if you only could read italian: tbagarolo.blogspot.it

It's pretty long and well detailed, too.

Sorry everybody for the OT, bye.

Thanks Ed for the link to the article.I manged to get the some of the gist of it via Google translator.

You're welcome!

With democratic reforms come also the possibility of class struggle.You are being a little silly here.It was what the workers wanted in the eastern bloc countries which was important.

Possibility of class struggle, you say? How come then for example the Polish working class was highly combative- as shown in 1956, 1970, 1976 and1980 - during the Stalinist rule, whereas since 1989 it mostly passively accepts neoliberal measures introduced by successive governments?

Marx hoped that in a democratic republic workers' attention would be no longer diverted towards fighting monarchy or aristocracy and class division would become more acute. However he did not live to see that democracy proved to be successful in preventing revolution by integrating workers with the capitalist state.

For example, how does the SPGB hope to avoid the fate of the social democratic parties? Electoral activity pushes aside any other forms of activity, especially "illegal" ones that threaten the bourgeois public order. For me it is problematic that the SPGB doesn't seem to want to contribute to the real movement in the working class in any way, but just wants to convert the majority to socialism someday... and this approach honestly reminds me of the utopian socialists (though they ignored politics).

We don't engage in electoral activities like the social democratic paties.The whole point of the sticker ballot thing I put up at the start of the thread was to stick them up all over the place where I live, as opposed to leaflets through the door, as people throw these away with out reading them especially with the referendum bumph.It wa salso less energy depleting from apersoanl point of view as I am less abled.

It has had some small success,from a small number of stickers, as a number of workers have investigated our site and got in touch.We don't seek to win 'power' by trickery. We unequivocally advocate the abolition of the wages system. We don't, as the left do, think that workers are too dumb to understand this. They reject it up until now.So what else is to be done? Our activities are mainly propagandist and educational,for the revolution.

No-one else is doing this as a political party.

The problematic you highlight is of your own perception.We actively engage in working class movements.I personally have been so active all my working life,I am retired now, even to being convenor or chair of union joint shop steward committees.

We don't pay political levies to the Labour Party or advocate in any way that workers should support them.Which the left do inside the unions.

We just don't attempt to lead them as the left do.

By the way it is pretty damn stupid to engage in illegal activities.

By the way it is pretty damn stupid to engage in illegal activities.

Does that pertain to, say, the wildcat strikes?

In much the same way workers in the west have had the shit kicked out of them economically and had their normal ways of organising disrupted.Smaller workplace units.McDonaldisation of economies.You name it.

You seem to be looking for any excuse to hang problems onto democracy ,flawed though it may be. I don't think they are being jailed for union activity yet in Poland just driven out as global workers.

I had hoped when I heard about the scare stories of Polish workers flooding into the UK, they would have brought some of the 'Solidarity' bottle with them but as capitalism is global, so we see similar developments in different parts of the globe and some differences as well in say south America at present.

You are unduly pessimistic, because the same democracy is capitalisms Achilles heel.

Nothing is forever.

That is up to the workers on the jobs.It is their risk.What I may have done as a worker I won't advocate as a socialist.There are times when it is appropriate and times when it is not.

"In much the same way workers in the west have had the shit kicked out of them economically and had their normal ways of organising disrupted.Smaller workplace units.McDonaldisation of economies.You name it.

You seem to be looking for any excuse to hang problems onto democracy ,flawed though it may be. I don't think they are being jailed for union activity yet in Poland just driven out as global workers."

It's really simple- workers during Stalinist period didn't need democratic rights and independent trade unions to struggle effectively for their interests. On the contrary, these institutions serve to contain the working class dissent. When they were missing, the struggle intensified and led the workers towards open confrontation with the state.

You are unduly pessimistic, because the same democracy is capitalisms Achilles heel.

Pretty much the contrary- after period of terror against the proletariat, it is the only form of government that can secure bourgeoisie's victory. Their rule can't rest on sheer force alone, so they seek reconciliation between contending classes, invite workers to take part in management of their own misery and exploitation. It effectively masks the capitalist class domination.

And remember, it were the democrats who stopped post-WW1 revolutionary wave.

It's really simple- workers during Stalinist period didn't need democratic rights and independent trade unions to struggle effectively for their interests. On the contrary, these institutions serve to contain the working class dissent. When they were missing, the struggle intensified and led the workers towards open confrontation with the state.

To achieve what? The state was their employer.Working class dissent is not necessarily revolutionary.It could be just as easily for, "2 nights and a Sunday at double time".

But of course governments seek to maintain consent.All the parties of capitalism seek to be the vehicles of this consent.So what ?

What WW1 revolutionary wave? The socialists were slaughtered, as many of them turned out to be patriotic nationalists after all.It was the parties of capitalism, many claiming to be socialists, who urged workers to slaughter their fellow workers.

The SPGB gave Lenin credit at the time, for listening to his troops who were voting with their feet away from the war.You can't hang that on us we opposed WW1 and 2.

To achieve what? The state was their employer.

So what? Should workers not confront their private bosses either?

What WW1 revolutionary wave? The socialists were slaughtered, as many of them turned out to be patriotic nationalists after all.It was the parties of capitalism, many claiming to be socialists, who urged workers to slaughter their fellow workers.

Do you have problems with reading comprehension? I wrote "POST-WW1 revolutionary wave".

The SPGB gave Lenin credit at the time, for listening to his troops who were voting with their feet away from the war.

So it turns out that "engaging in illegal activities" isn't so "damn stupid" after all? It was considered basically a treason, so... pretty much illegal.

You can't hang that on us we opposed WW1 and 2.

Speaking of WW2, it's really surprising that, considering your love of democracy, you didn't buy into that whole anti-fascist propaganda of the Allied imperialist camp. I appreciate that, but in practice the SPGB's stance on WW2 was more pacifist than internationalist and revolutionary defeatist. Internationalism of your political ancestors was only in words not in deeds. Though admittedly not much could be done anyway in such profoundly counter-revolutionary situation.

Of course workers should confront their bosses, but the market dictates when, what demands and by how much.

You are drowning under revolutionary waves.

The SPGB gave Lenin credit at the time, for listening to his troops who were voting with their feet away from the war.

So it turns out that "engaging in illegal activities" isn't so "damn stupid" after all? It was considered basically a treason, so... pretty much illegal.

Well, an army defeated and starving ,getting shot might be a risk worth taking in some circumstances.I stand by what I said in its context.I have already qualified that.

You do not appreciate that.We are not pacifists.You damn us and then admit "not much could be done".

There is damn all can be done with-out a majority of socialists.Not social democratic collaborators,former liberal bourgeois types wanting a nicer captalism.This is all the majority want now and did want, even post-WW1.

In the UK the elected a conservative coalition in Germany with all the rancour they elected the SPD and made the republic but it was a bourgeois one.

Leibnecht declaring a socialist republic didn't make it one.Very few of the German working class were revolutionary socialists. The vast majority of workers supported the SPD as a matter of course, including its general programme of the reform of capitalism. On the other hand, the revolutionary workers were tiny in number.

Their problem was that not enough proletarians wanted socialism. The November uprisings had been a reaction to hardship and tyranny, not a coherent wish to establish socialism.

Much as the Bolsheviks crushed all independent working class activity in Russia to establish their dominance, so too did the SPD in Germany to preserve the German capitalist state. The workers discovered to their cost the impossibility of fighting against a co-ordinated and well-armed state, and if little blood was spilt in the initial revolt much was spilt when it was put down.

You can't make workers revolutionary.Your organisation as mine, may even be defunct before socialism happens.It requires a majority.

You don't need to "make" workers revolutionary prolerat, because they are already, resulting from their exploited position in capitalist society. It was the activities of the working class, and their struggle against continuing exploitation which turned Marx and others into communists in 1847, not the activities of Marx and others who turned workers into fledgling communists. The working class won Marx to communism. Communism was neither a gift from the gods nor an invention out of the heads of bourgeois intellectuals. Theories about class struggle and the nature of the state after the revolution are theories based on and resulting from the analysis of the actual living struggle of the class itself, the result of historical actual struggle, not the product of ideas in people's heads. For example, the understanding that the working class cannot just seize hold of the bourgeoisie's state structure snd use it for proletarian purposes was the major gain of the 1871 Commune.

The bourgeoisie' s idea of democracy which requires the regular phony parade of bourgeois election procedures, one man one vote in private seclusion etc., is very suitable for a class whose aim is to hold onto, hide and perpetuate their exploitative class rule. But the proletariat during its dictatorship doesn't aim to perpetuate its own class rule, or maintain the state as an overall boss, and isn't exploitative anyway, and doesn't need to hide its intentions behind parliamentary charades, and doesn't want or need "representatives" such as the bourgeois elect from time to time, deciding how to run society for the benefit of a few.

The historically discovered form of proletarian democracy is the soviet or workers' council. Here there are no representatives of various vested interest, as in bourgeois parliaments. Here, in workers' councils, are actual real workers known to and approved as "deputies" by other class comrades, and recallable too, deciding together how to reorganize society so that capitalism will be disposed of for ever, and communism begin to emerge. I don't know whether they will be in a majority to begin with, but if they do things properly in the best proletarian democratic style, then they soon will be!

The major problem in Russia in 1917 wasn't that not enough proletarian's wanted communism, or didn't altogether understand what it was, but that the revolution failed elsewhere in Europe and that the Bolsheviks had gone ahead themselves and seized state power despite Lenin having rigorously pointed out in his "State and Revolution" that the working class can't use the bourgeois state for proletarian purposes! But we live and learn don't we? At least I hope so. Does the SPGB live and learn too? I hope so.

The major problem in Russia was, it was a capitalist revolution,without the capitalist class, and could not have been anything else. The revolution in Germany after the defeat in WW1, was the completion of Germany's capitalist revolution.

If the workers organised in councils,unions or however they are organised in the transition to socialism,(we don't prescribe how this will be..they may have revolutionised their present trade unions) don't seize the control of the state and its apparatus ,there will potentially be a bloodbath.

But the proletariat during its dictatorship doesn't aim to perpetuate its own class rule, or maintain the state as an overall boss, and isn't exploitative anyway, and doesn't need to hide its intentions behind parliamentary charades, and doesn't want or need "representatives" such as the bourgeois elect from time to time, deciding how to run society for the benefit of a few.

No one claims they do, but they still have to capture the state, using the franchise on a revolutionary platform ,to ensure the guns and the missiles and rockets, are kept in their armouries.

It would be crazy not to do so.

The other issue is that you lot seem to see a 'middle class' in all of this.

I dispute this analysis.

No one claims they do, but they still have to capture the state, using the franchise on a revolutionary platform ,to ensure the guns and the missiles and rockets, are kept in their armouries.

Capture the state? This is where we, and Marx (see 1872 intro to the Communist Manifesto), taking our lesson from the Commune, differ with social democrats. We don't capture the existing state machinery - we smash it. And we do this by dismantling all its institutions and using the armed workers councils - the one body thrown up by real working class history which has posed how we can run a mass society involving everyone which is at the same time not the old state in a new guise. We are not in favour of bloodbaths despite your final argument (I say final because to me Gepetto has brilliantly demolished all your others) being that we are just advocates of such a course. The February Revolution (which did not involve the Bolsheviks) was a spontaneous revolt which led to over a thousand deaths at the hands of the "pharoahs" (secret police) whilst October was a cakewalk as the vast majority of the proletariat organised in the soviets was already behind it. The democrats of the day (unelected of course) could not find enough troops to suppress it despite having had a forntight's notice that there would be some attempt at a takeover (which did not go according to any preconceived plan either as the Kerensky government provoked it by trying to close the bridges between the Vyborg and the centre of Petrograd).

The world revolution of the future won't be a rerun of 1917 even if we all use elements of that experience to illustrate our arguments but it will take something close to a miracle for the porperty-owning classes to peacefully cede power and their property to the working class. Our greatest weapon against it is our class consciousness. The greater the mass action the more paralysed the institutions of the state but this consciousness grows with the revolution (the SPGB never seem to understand what Marx was saying in the German Ideology about this) and there will be some who will lead the way putting themselves in danger until the wider movement develops.

There are enough diversions on this thread already for us to ignore your latest attempt to take us onto class analysis (start another thread if you want to do that one) but an organisation which concludes that the police, being wage workers, are part of the working class cannot have a clear idea of what the state is and what it means. And that is relevant to this discussion.

"No one claims they do, but they still have to capture the state, using the

franchise on a revolutionary platform ,to ensure the guns and the missiles

and rockets, are kept in their armouries."

"Capture the state? This is where we, and Marx (see 1872 intro to the

Communist Manifesto), taking our lesson from the Commune, differ with social

democrats. We don't capture the existing state machinery - we smash it. You can't claim Marx for this.And

we do this by dismantling all its institutions and using the armed workers

councils -

Great stuff you have minuteman missiles and rocket propelled grenades and laser guided bombs and tanks and all the training to go with them as well as the air force and navy to take out.the one body thrown up by real working class history which has

posed how we can run a mass society involving everyone which is at the same

time not the old state in a new guise. We are not in favour of bloodbaths

despite your final argument (I say final because to me Gepetto has

brilliantly demolished all your others)

In your dreams he has.You will create the bloodbath,create this self fullfilling prophecy, if you do not capture the armed forces and state repressive apparatus.Even Hittler knew, he had to win an election.being that we are just advocates of

such a course. The February Revolution (which did not involve the Bolsheviks)

was a spontaneous revolt which led to over a thousand deaths at the hands of

the "pharoahs" (secret police) whilst October was a cakewalk as the vast

majority of the proletariat organised in the soviets was already behind it.

It was still a bourgeois revolution.All quite irrelevant in the context of the present advanced techno-capitalist bourgeois democracyThe democrats of the day (unelected of course) could not find enough troops

to suppress it despite having had a forntight's notice that there would be

some attempt at a takeover (which did not go according to any preconceived

plan either as the Kerensky government provoked it by trying to close the

bridges between the Vyborg and the centre of Petrograd).

So? Your scenario will have workers demanding the restoration of order.

The world revolution of the future won't be a rerun of 1917 even if we all

use elements of that experience to illustrate our arguments but it will take

something close to a miracle for the porperty-owning classes to peacefully

cede power and their property to the working class.

Self fullfilling prophecy ahead of events.If they won't vote for it they sure as hell won't fight for it.Our greatest weapon against it is our class consciousness.

Which you deny to some sections of the working class.Creating the resistance.Those employed by the state sectors.The greater the mass action the more paralysed the institutions of the state

The more repression in response, unnecessarily so.You will have socialists and workers generally in combinations subject to suspicion and harrassment at the very least.but this consciousness grows with the

revolution (the SPGB never seem to understand what Marx was saying in the

German Ideology about this) and there will be some who will lead the way

putting themselves in danger until the wider movement develops.

Martyrs just what we need .Not enough martyrs.Blessed Cleishbotham .Sainted Gepetto.We will have underpants and Tshirts with your remaining faces splattered on them to go with Musso and Che.Heros in their own heads.Tell me the difference from the strap on bombers?

There are enough diversions on this thread already

From your lot.I only posted in broad,qualified support of your original posting. :-)for us to ignore your

latest attempt to take us onto class analysis (start another thread if you

want to do that one) but an organisation which concludes that the police,

being wage workers, are part of the working class cannot have a clear idea of

what the state is and what it means. And that is relevant to this discussion.

An analysis which splits the working class into middle class sections, such as you are doing, is sowing the seeds of counter-revolution and creating the very scenario from which you derive your flawed analyses.If they won't vote for it they sure as hell won't fight for it.

Where might I get my small arms training just in case,to be sure to be sure?

Prolerat, you began this thread with this

I will advocate using whatever means are to hand.Peacefully if we can first, then violently if we must.I certainly won't be looking to leaderist types rushing to barricades prematurely.

Now you seem to be retreating even from that endorsement that there might be a problem with a peaceful takeover. Instead you seem to be losing your heaad in repeating the same lazy lie. You are insisting that we are advocating a small minority takeover. This is a lie. It was not even true of the October Revolution of 1917 (which the SPGB at first supported). In July the Bolsheviks were urged by the sailors from Kronstadt to "take power" but recognising that they did not have majority support they refused. In October they more or less walked into power on the basis of the fact that 80% of delegates to the Second all-Russian Congress of Soviets were in favour of the overthrow of the (unelected) Provisional Government. The problem of Bolshevism was that it posited the revolution on the assumption that a world revolution would take up the challenge. The capitalists managed to avoid this (just) and the economic crisis inherited by the proletariat (made worse by the war imperialism launched against the working class) plus the institutional and political weaknesses of both Bolshevism and the Russian social set up then did the rest.

When I said that some people would be in danger by being the first to put their heads above the class war parapet I was not referring to self-confessed revolutionaries (this one is nearly as old as you so probably won't see it but Gepetto might) but to those sectors of the working class who are the first to say they can no longer stand living under this system. It is more than likely that the forces of law and order will dish out violence (I do not think Ferguson is an isolated incident in daily capitalist life) but at a certain point the mass movement will make this violence self-defeating (i.e increase the mass movement rather than crush it). It is not an ideal example but in Egypt it took 800 people to be killed for the Army to get rid of Mubarak. It took less in Tunisia to get rid of the regime there. And, of course the ruling class were able to give them "democracy" to hide behind the fact that nothing has changed. A real proletarian movement of the future has to be more conscious, more aware of the political traps of the system, more anti-capitalist, where resistance will be headed by mass strikes and hopefully that will bring about a quicker and less bloody victory. We don't have any notion that we will defeat the military on their terms but we do see demoralisation of the forces of order and some of them changing sides as part of the process of the dismantling of the state.

Though in the Egypt and Tunisia there is conscription. During the revolutionary wave of 1917-1927 also most armies were conscripted so it was easy to demoralise troops and make them turn against the commanders as soldiers were mostly workers and peasants. In many countries today (Europe especially) soldiers are professionals, what attitude should be taken towards them? Aren't they like cops?

Professional armies are not kitted out nor prepared to be cops in their own country in the face of mass civil disobedience. In the UK they have an organisation called the Territorial Army which is made up of ex-soldiers and volunteers. They recruited them to indoctrinate them so they will attack the domestic population if called upon to do so. However as the UK has tried to reduce arms spending in face of the economic crisis this TA has been converted into an adjunct of the professional army (they were sent to Afghanistan and Iraq for example). If you read Engels and Lenin on conscription they tend to welcome the arming and training of the working class via conscription - precisely why the British bourgeoisie abandoned it in the 1950s (nuking people is so much simpler). As you say the current reality makes the issue more complicated and dangerous but not I think substantially different. There is still some form of conscription in most European states.

Oh and the clincher in Egypt was not Tahrir Square but when the working class went on strike - within a week Mubarak was gone as his mates in the Army (which controls vast swathes of the productive process) could not tolerate that threat to their wealth.

I meant rather that they are like the policemen voluntarily becoming the goons of their respective bourgeoisie.

If you mean by "conscription" that young adults have their eligibility for military service judged, then yes, I guess it's the case in most European countries. However, the only countries in Europe in which there's still obligation to serve on active duty are Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Belarus, Finland, Greece, Turkey, Estonia, Ukraine and Russia.

Forgot about Denmark and Moldova... Also Cyprus which belongs to European Union and Caucasian countries that in Anglo-Saxon world are usually considered partially European.

I do hope this displays better than my last posting.Thanks for being patient enough to wade through the mess.


"Prolerat, you began this thread with this

"I will advocate using whatever means are to hand.Peacefully if we can first,

then violently if we must.I certainly won't be looking to leaderist types

rushing to barricades prematurely."

------------ "

I began the thread thus.,

"I have a postal vote and put a, “Neither Yes nor No but World Socialism”,sticker on my paper.You can get these at spgb@worldsocialism.org

Here is a sample one.I hope the link works OK."

In the aftermath to this posting, I certainly did say,"I will advocate using whatever means are to hand.Peacefully if we can first, then violently if we must.I certainly won't be looking to leaderist types rushing to barricades prematurely."

"

"Now you seem to be retreating even from that endorsement that there might be

a problem with a peaceful takeover. "

No I am not. Peacefully if we can comes first though.All the more reason for capturing the state.

"When I said that some people would be in danger by being the first to put

their heads above the class war parapet I was not referring to self-confessed

revolutionaries (this one is nearly as old as you so probably won't see it

but Gepetto might) but to those sectors of the working class who are the

first to say they can no longer stand living under this system."

Yes well that is just too bad.We are all in it togethr and the revolution has to be the informed organised act of the immense majority, not a few disturbed individuals, no matter how much they are hurting.

" It is more than likely that the forces of law and order will dish out violence (I do not think Ferguson is an isolated incident in daily capitalist life) but at a

certain point the mass movement will make this violence self-defeating (i.e increase the mass movement rather than crush it)."

If the state and its repressive apparatus is not captured by the democratic process, where we have a long standing democratic system ,however flawed ,then it will not be possible to hold agents to account.

"It is not an ideal example but in Egypt it took 800 people to be killed for the Army to get rid of Mubarak. It took less in Tunisia to get rid of the regime there. And, of

course the ruling class were able to give them "democracy" to hide behind the fact that nothing has changed."

It is really a very poor example. A majority for socialism won't be begging the army to take out tyrants and establish a 'fake ' democracy. They will be instructing them to lay down their weapons, unless they are called upon, by the workers as ruling class,to use them on hostile capitalist adventurers.

"A real proletarian movement of the future has to be more conscious, more aware of the political traps of the system, more anti-capitalist, where resistance will be headed by mass strikes and hopefully that will bring about a quicker and less bloody victory. We don't have any notion that we will defeat the military on their terms but we do see

demoralisation of the forces of order, and some of them changing sides as part of the process of the dismantling of the state."

Yes all of that and more.It is much simpler to win the hearts and minds of the army personnel,with all of the other workers, whom you have designated beyond the working class remit (police etc.), to socialism it is ultimately in their intersts after all..

The state has to be captured.

Freedom consists in converting the state from an organ superimposed upon society into one completely subordinate to it;

(Karl Marx Critique of the Gotha Programme Ch IV) marxists.org