Sie sind auf Seite 1von 3

forworkerspowerfrombelow

1 02 2013

In1968,theSWPspredecessortheInternationalSocialistsdecidedto
adoptaLeninistmodeloforganisation.Harmanarguedthatthe
BolshevikRevolutionwastheonlysuccessfulrevolution,andother
revolutions,suchastheParisCommune,weredefeated.YettheParis
Communewasaninspiringdefeat,withmasscreativityandanopen
fighttotheend.Incontrast,outsidetheyearofthemassesin1917,the
Russianrevolutionwasanuncleardefeat.ThecounterRevolutiontook
aLeninistform,originatingintheBolshevikparty.Themosthorrible
thingaboutthewaytherevolutiondiedinRussiaisthatthecounter
revolutionwon,andcalleditselfSocialism.[1]
HarmansroughpolemicaltargetwasoneofTonyClisinsights,
expressedinthe1959editionofhispamphlet,RosaLuxemburg,thatfor
Marxistsintheadvancedindustrialcountries,Leninsorganizational
positioncanmuchlessserveasaguidethanRosaLuxemburg.[2]
HarmandismissedthispositionasClisunscientificenthusiasm.He
thenjuxtaposedthespontaneityofworkersinstruggle
andorganisation,inacrudeversionofLeninsviewoftherelationship
ofpartyandclassinWhatistobedone.Hemadenoattemptto
analysetheconceptofdemocraticcentralismorthehistoryof
Bolshevism.Instead,Harmandishonestlydistortedthepositionsof
LuxemburgandtheyoungTrotsky.TheirdisputewithLeninwasthe
degreeofcentralismandtheweightofleadershipwithintheparty.In
HarmansheavyhandthisbecomesLuxemburgsfatalism:she
preferredtowaitforthespontaneousdevelopmentofthemasses[3]

TheyoungTrotskyspositionisalsomisinterpretedasdistrustingall
centralistorganisation.[4]
HarmanclaimedthatLuxemburgwasnotawarethat,ifthemassesare
notwonovertoasocialistworldviewoftheinterventionofconscious
revolutionaries,theywillcontinuetoacceptthebourgeoisideologyof
existingsociety.[5]HewasalsoawarethisLeninistviewwasa
onesidedpolemicagainstthesocalledeconomists,andsohechanged
tacktoclaimthattherealbasisforLeninsargumentisthatthelevelof
consciousnessintheworkingclassisneveruniform.Thisiswhya
strongcentralizedleadershipisconsiderednecessary.ButwhatLenin
actuallyarguedinWITBDwasthatsocialistconsciousnesswas
introducedintotheworkersmaterialstrugglefromtheoutside.The
continuityofasmallnumberoftalentedleadersandtheirtheoryis
whatwasdecisiveforLenin.
HarmansapproachseemstobebasedintheTrotskyisttraditionof
distrustofthechangingspontaneousmoodsofthemasses,whoare
assumedtohavealowculture.Thisprobablyoriginatesintheolder
Trotskysexperienceofstatebuildingandacceptanceofthe
dictatorshipofthepartyasthedictatorshipoftheworkingclassin
Russia1918to1923.InhisreplytoVictorSerge,Themasseshavenothing
todowithit,Trotskyassertedthatstrongcentralisationisnecessaryto
correcttheswingsinthemoodsofthemasses,andtocutthrough
amorphousdemocracy.Hewritesinanintoleranttoneasif
communistswereseparatefromtheclassandweresomehowimmune
tomistakes:Workersdemocracyisassumedtobeperipheral.[6]Ina
similarway,in1918Leninhadbecomequiteambivalentinhisattitude
totheworkers.[7]By1920,Kollontisummeduptheproblem:there
canbenoselfactivitywithoutfreedomofthoughtandactivitywe
givenofreedomtoworkingclassactivity.Weareafraidofcriticism;we
haveceasedtorelyonthemasses.[8]
ForHarman,tomerelydelightinthespontaneoustransformation,isto
uncriticallyacceptwhatevertransitoryproductsthisturnsup.He
assumesthisiswhatLuxemburgisallabout:theworshipof
spontaneity.ButtheworldismorecomplexthanHarmanspolemics.
TheBolshevikpartyuncriticallyacceptedthetransitoryproductsofthe
spontaneoustransformationoflandownershipbythepeasants,which
wasreflectedintheprogrammeoftheSocialistRevolutionaries.Inthe
MassStrike,LuxemburgexplainedhowSocialDemocratscouldnotwait
withfoldedarmsforthespontaneousoutbreakandtheiragitation
helpedmakethestrikesadramaticpoliticalstruggle.ButtheSocial
Democratshaddicultykeepingupwiththecreativedynamismofthe
massesin1905asin1917.Thecontinuityoftheclassstrugglewas
decisive.
Harmanclaimedthat,forLenin,thepartyisnottheembryoofthe
workersstate.Theworkerscouncilis.[9]Thisisatotallymisleading.
ShortlyaftertheOctoberRevolutionLeninchosetogroundthenew
regimeinthepartyleaders(Sovnarkom)withthepartyapparatus
fusingwiththestate.FactorycommitteesandSovietswere
emasculated.In1918,Trotskycomplained,thatnotallsovietworkers

haveunderstoodthatouradministrationhasbeencentralisedandthat
allordersfromabovewillbefinal.[10].Theroadtosocialismcould
passthroughStateCapitalism,onemanmanagement,capitalist
productionmethods,aslongastheBolshevikoldguardwasincontrol.
ThiswaspureutopianismorJacobindictatorship.Itwasalsopushing
theworkersbacknotadvancingtheirstruggle.
Theorganisationalformwhichwillemergeintodaysconditionsisone
whichwilllearnfromanticapitaliststruggles.Wehavetoremember
thattheformsofrevoltarealsopartofthesocialorganisationofthe
future.Sometimestheselfproclaimedvanguardscanbeinthe
rearguard:previouslyunorganisedworkerscanbecomemoremilitant
thanthelongtimeorganised.Politicsandeconomicsarenotseparate.
Thisunevennessispartoflife.Toartificiallyattempttostraighten
thingsoutfromtheoutsidecanoftenbeanattempttopushthingsback.
AlexCallinicosrecentlywrotelikeareactionarynewspapereditor
whenhewarnedofthedangersofcomradesexercisingpowerwithout
responsibilitywhentheymadecriticalcommentsontheinternet.
Openlyorganising,publiclydiscussingideas,communicatingand
sharinginformationisthefuture.Leninistvanguardismisthepast.
BarryBiddulph
Notes.
1TheInternationalCommunistcurrent,(2005)TheRussianCommunist
left,page89
2QuotedinChrisHarman,PartyandClass,1968,p.21.
3ChrisHarman,p.9
4ChrisHarman,p.8
5ChrisHarman,p.13
6 TheSergeTrotskyPapers,editedbyDavidCotterill,1994.page187.
7RichardSakwa,1999,TheriseandfalloftheSovietUnion
19171991.page128
8Asabovep.133
9Harmanpage,p.19
10PaulMattick,AntiBolshevikCommunism,p.66