Andrew Kliman in London

April 2024 Forums General discussion Andrew Kliman in London

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  • #110659
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    #110660
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    Robbo

    Quote:
    “retaining only what is absolutely essential to ensure the socialist integrity of the organisation.”

    We all understand the need to have a common acceptance of core beliefs to be an effective political organisation that doesn’t become a nebulous broad church that is for everything and nothing and is anything anybody wants it to be, where all can find a “home”…the Labour Party , perhaps.I found this book by of the WSPUS Isaac Rab “Life and Letters“ (online free at http://file27.pastebooks.org/pdf/role-modeling-socialist-behavior-the-life-and-letters-of-isaac-rab_1k4h3m.pdf ) of interest as it is the experience of a socialist striving for success in the sterile soil of "American way of life" in its heyday and his own attitude to what it means to be a socialist“Let's define a socialist. It is not how scholarly he may be in Marxism and the sciences. He may never have read a word of Marx or socialist literature. He simply needs to realise that: 1. Capitalism can no longer be administered or reformed in the interest of the working class or of society. 2. Capitalism is incapable of eliminating poverty, wars, crises, etc. 3. Socialism can solve the social problems confronting society today, since the material conditions are ripe for socialism, save the lack of a socialist majority.”To be more exact, I think all potential members would agree the following:The conscious, majority, political nature of the socialist revolution; Conception of History; the Law of Value; the Class Struggle; attitudes on leadership, reformism, and religion; the general nature of socialism as a system of society.However a socialist does not necessarily require an academic's grasp of Marxian economics such as perhaps the distinction between “labour” and “labour power.” Understanding this distinction is not an acid test of whether a person is a socialist or not! (However, it is true that there is a distinction between these two terms when it comes to describe the nature of capitalist exploitation.)The acid test of socialist convictions hinges on such factors as:Capitalism cannot be reformed or administered in the interest of the working class or of society;Capitalism, as a social system, is in the interest of the ruling class (albeit that capitalism, historically, is an essential stage of social evolution);Socialism is the solution to the social problems and irreconcilable contradictions of capitalism;Socialism cannot be rammed down the workers’ throats against their wishes;The socialist victory is dependent upon the fervor and enthusiasm of the determined, conscious socialist majority. These are the characteristics of a socialist; a coupling of the head and the heart, theory coupled with action.A socialist is one who recognizes and realizes that capitalism can no longer be reformed or administered in the interest of society or of the working class; that capitalism is incapable of eliminating poverty, war, crises, etc.; and that the times call for arousing the majority to become socialists to inaugurate socialism, now possible and necessary.”I think his attitude would be a more inclusive approach to take but yet preserves the "purity" of the partyAs he says [particularly directed at for LBird  )“Socialists welcome critical and searching questions. Thinking is not and never has been a violation of socialist discipline. Socialists are not dogmatic sectarians who are blindly and religiously faithful to socialist conclusions despite the lessons of unfolding experience. Should an examination of the real world prove the case for socialism to be invalid, it would be a serious reflection on those who continued to be socialists. That is why socialists are open-minded, in contrast to being broadminded. They do not tolerate exploded myths and superstitions. Yet they should be patient with individuals groping to find out what the score is. Especially is this true in a day and age when the material conditions of existence are ripe for socialism with the sole exception of maturity of social and political thinking. The only thing standing in the way of socialism today is the lack of socialists.”“The party is not going to emancipate the workers or do anything for them. There is no dichotomy or separation of the workers and the party. Abraham Lincoln was on flimsy ground when he spoke of “government of the people, by the people, and for the people,” because all governments are rooted in antagonisms of interests, YET it would be quite valid to say that the socialist party is the party of the workers, by the workers, and for the workers. The real socialist party cannot be apart and distinct from the working class; it has to be comprised of the whole human community. That is the general nature of any socialist party.Without in any sense implying that quoting The Communist Manifesto is, of itself, proof of anything, nevertheless, the Manifesto phrases this matter very well: Section II starts off that (the party) “always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole” and ends with “the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy.” In other words, the work of emancipation, the transformation of capitalism into a socialist society, the transfer of the means of living from the hands of the parasites into the hands of society as a whole, is the conscious, majority, and political action of the working class — the socialist party. The state does exist; it is the central organ of power. Title and deed to its ownership rests in the political control by the ruling class. The state is the instrumentality of class control. When the workers finally wake up, they will use their party to change the “civitas” of propertied society into the “societas” of communal society.Today, working-class understanding is at a very low ebb, therefore the membership in the WSM is puny. It is ridiculous to think of a rivalry between socialist parties competing to emancipate the workers. Should another genuine socialist party appear on the scene, immediate steps would be taken to merge. Herein lies the emphasis on the distinction between “socialist” in quotes and socialist in its scientific, revolutionary context. In fact, the thing that distinguishes the companion parties from all other alleged “socialist” parties is that we stand alone on being organised exclusively for the abolition of capitalism by the workers. ( not all socialists are members of the companion parties. There are many, many socialists who are not attached to any socialist party. But this has no bearing on the historic nature of the socialist party. There are innumerable factors to account for individual socialists not being members of a socialist organization, but to focus on this out of its context is only to confuse and confound the understanding of the nature of a socialist party.) There have been ups and downs in membership, in enthusiasm, and in organisational work. Many of these situations can be traced to personality clashes, personal problems, disappointments leading to discouragement, and the fact that we are all human beings with human failings and limitations. Possibly the biggest factor is that we are few in numbers and turn in on ourselves, instead of outwards in much-needed organizational and propaganda activity. Situations do arise because of emotional stresses and strains. Differences have assumed paramount importance. The objectives of socialism itself are reflected in the very nature of our organisational procedures, in much the same way as the other “socialist” parties’ organisational procedures reflect their concepts of leadership, dictatorship, etc. This is the salient item to bear in mind: there is a justifiable fear of emasculating scientific, socialist principles, based upon the evidences of the real world. Were the doors opened wide to mere sympathisers and well wishers, or those with non-socialist or even anti-socialist concepts, we would soon cease being a socialist party.”“Nor are we primarily concerned with the economic phase of the class struggle (unions) although we are always prepared to fight the economic struggles between the wage slaves and their parasitic masters over the division of the wealth produced by the workers. We are also always prepared to fight for civil liberties. Workers who are satisfied, contented slaves are poor prospects for socialist revolution. The fight for civil liberties is basic, just because democratic forms are powerful tools for socialist victory.”Apologies for length extracts (or paraphrasing in some bits) and i hope we haven't strayed too far from the thread topic

    #110661
    LBird
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    As he says [particularly directed at for LBird  )“Socialists welcome critical and searching questions. Thinking is not and never has been a violation of socialist discipline. Socialists are not dogmatic sectarians who are blindly and religiously faithful to socialist conclusions despite the lessons of unfolding experience.

    [my bold]They are 'dogmatic sectarians' and 'blindly and religiously faithful', almost every last one, to the religion of 'materialism'.We've had comrades arguing with me, who admit to not having read either Marx or Engels regarding 'materialism'. They've picked up some vague 'understanding' of 'matter', which is 'fixed and unchanging', and that this 'matter' is 'reflected' in 'consciousness', and which view just happens to fit both with Engels' piss-poor philosophising, and with bourgeois 19th century views about what 'science' is.If anything in the socialist movement, for over 100 hundred years, demonstrates the dogmatic, blind faith of religious sectarianism, it's the adherence to 'materialism'.Even the bloody thinkers of the bourgeoisie have dumped it, starting with Einstein and Bohr.'Matter', for the 'materialists', is simply 'God'.And He shall not be argued with.The 'lessons of unfolding experience' are that Marx wasn't a 'materialist'. If our 'knowledge' reflects matter, then once reflected, it can't change. So much for development, change and history.As our ideas change, so does our practice and thus understanding. This is 'theory and practice' or 'idealism-materialism'. And if human ideas are involved, those ideas are subject to democratic accountability.The notion that 'material conditions' determine consciousness is nothing but conservatism. In fact, it's a religion.Waiting for the 'material conditions' to have their effect, is just waiting for the day of revelation. It'll never come.The day socialists wake up to the recogition that physicists and mathematicians are ignorant liars, rather than an expert-elite who must be meekly followed, then we'll start to make some advance. They are the priests of the bourgeoisie.Think 'physicist-mathematician', think 'medieval monk'.That’s the ‘critical and searching’ attitude for socialists to have.

    #110662
    alanjjohnstone
    Keymaster

    I don't think we think ourselves as so perfect that we are beyond self-reproach. I merely wished to emphasise (as i have done previously) that we don't demand 100% adherence to non-core ideas and as far as i am concerned your views does not merit denial of membership…."Thinking is not and never has been a violation of socialist discipline."The point of referring to Rab was what i considered was his broader appeal to attracting new members. It maybe that your own insistence upon "not having read either Marx or Engels regarding 'materialism'." may be imposing academic Marxism…for instance , i have never read Engels Dialects of Nature, although i have seen many references to it…should i wear sack-cloth and ashes and self-flagellate because of that ignorance?I recall a debate long time ago about how we should actually write about socialism to convey the idea better to readers…and there was an interesting exchange on how politicos simply don't write simply…there apparently is a science to it but i forget the analysis name but any article can be submitted to it and come up with a readability score…i now hazard to suggest another mistake is expecting such a comprehensive knowledge when only a relatively few ideas are really necessary…One Edinburgh br member decided the important think was to get members then educate them…in practice it was a disastrous policy …because i think the promised education was never forthcoming…either through the branch lack of facility or the new members reluctance to participate…(in the IWW i witnessed the Little Red Card Member…someone with no interest in action but happy to show his membership card as proof of something)Anyway, Rab got his Declarion of Principles down to the basic skeleton of socialism, maybe we should endeavour as i think Robbo suggests, we do something similar…its worth thinking about 

    #110663
    moderator1
    Participant

    Reminder: 1. The general topic of each forum is given by the posted forum description. Do not start a thread in a forum unless it matches the given topic, and do not derail existing threads with off-topic posts.

    #110664
    LBird
    Participant
    alanjjohnstone wrote:
    It maybe that your own insistence upon "not having read either Marx or Engels regarding 'materialism'." may be imposing academic Marxism…for instance , i have never read Engels Dialects of Nature, although i have seen many references to it…should i wear sack-cloth and ashes and self-flagellate because of that ignorance?

    I think that the reason to read Marx and Engels is to criticise them! They certainly don't represent some 'academic ideal'! Lots of what Engels writes is nonsense, and lots of what Marx writes is incomprehensible!But, my opponents about 'materialism' argue from a position of profound ignorance, having read almost nothing whatsoever about 'materialism', and just push their 'faith', like a religious sect.You yourself have never claimed to have read or understood about science/materialism, which is fine by me, because you don't attempt to claim that I'm wrong. So, I have no problem with you not reading D of N. My advice? Don't bother!

    ajj wrote:
    i now hazard to suggest another mistake is expecting such a comprehensive knowledge when only a relatively few ideas are really necessary…

    The real issue is that the knowledge is necessary, if we're to run physics, and the rest of production.But, the real problem is that the academics won't explain in plain language to us, and pretend that we can't understand what they do.This is always robbo's problem with democratic science: he really believes that science should be conducted in 'latin-maths', rather than in plain English (or whatever daily language workers use).So, your 'mistake', alan, is not 'expecting such comprehensive knowledge', but failing to regard physics as 'only a relatively few ideas'.You must start from the political position that 'the physicist must explain to you in the way you understand'. If the physicist can't do so, don't vote for them next time!This bourgeois notion that the elite-experts can continue to speak maths-latin to us, just as priests spoke latin to the peasantry to baffle them, has to be rejected.If you don't have 'comprehensive knowledge', alan, blame the bourgeoisie, not yourself!First warning: 1. The general topic of each forum is given by the posted forum description. Do not start a thread in a forum unless it matches the given topic, and do not derail existing threads with off-topic posts. 

    #110665
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    gnome wrote:
    Andrew Kliman has agreed to give a talk at Head Office on Sunday, 5 July at 3pm

    This coming Sunday…..http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/event/talk-andrew-kliman-head-office-3pm

    #110666
    Ozymandias
    Participant

    Will Andrew Kliman's talk be filmed? 

    #110667
    Anonymous
    Inactive
    Ozymandias wrote:
    Will Andrew Kliman's talk be filmed? 

    Yes.

    #110668
    DJP
    Participant

    As a warm up for Sundayhttp://zero-books.net/blogs/zero/james-heartfield-and-me-debating-marx-on-facebook/

    #110669
    ALB
    Keymaster
    DJP wrote:
    As a warm up for Sundayhttp://zero-books.net/blogs/zero/james-heartfield-and-me-debating-marx-on-facebook/

    James Heartfield's article can be found here:http://platypus1917.org/2014/10/26/the-failure-of-the-capitalist-class-and-the-retreat-from-production/More on Andrew Kliman's views here on this other thread, about the meeting he did at our Head Office:http://www.worldsocialism.org/spgb/forum/events-and-announcements/andrew-kliman-speaking-uk?page=1#comment-24159

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