The Socialist Revolution

November 2020 Forums General discussion The Socialist Revolution

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 33 total)
  • Author
  • #204706

    How do forum members imagine a revolution happening. The traditional view has millions of workers becoming conscious Marxist materialists. I think we can dismiss that fond hope simply by experiencing daily life as members of the working class. Most people don’t receive basic dignity or respect in their daily contact with one another, let alone be valued for their minds. We cannot expect them to ever become much aware of their social history, or to even think in terms of historical analysis or be at all interested in it. Most people worldwide don’t have the luxury of cultivating other than a knowledge of specific skills needed for this or that occupation.

    So we can rule out, and with relief perhaps, the traditional scenario of the heroic worker armed with historical materialist awareness, as an outdated Bukharinist fantasy, I think (?) Even the command of language that the 19th and 20th century socialists had isn’t there any more, and it continues to decline.

    If I say it is a relief to be able to abandon this traditional scenario, that is because it made the likelihood of revolution impossible. If we open our minds, however, to less demanding scenarios, then the revolution is a possibility.

    Anatole France’s Monsieur Bergeret says things change largely imperceptibly. The changes creep up on us unperceived, or seen only in part, and then take people by surprise.

    So how do we imagine the revolution in non-traditional ways? What scenarios can be more realistically imagined?




    ‘Marxist Materialist’ is the definition of a socialist. Without mass consciousness there can be no socialism. Your elitist contention that the majority are incapable of understanding the world as we do has no basis. You imply that you are exceptional in being class conscious – that’s the definition of Leftist elitism. They are always telling us how anachronistic our language is but their novelty sloganeering only leads to disaster and cynicism.


    Does that sound like Lenin What is to be done?  We do not support that conception,( we have an article titled: What is not to be done)   as well,  we do not support the concept of leadership and elitism,

    Experiences have shown to me that workers can acquire class consciousness without the need for the external intelligentsia, and without class consciousness, a real socialist revolution can not take place.

    That concept has been tried for many years and it has always failed and it has proven that it is incorrect, even more, Lenin himself said that it was only a temporary measure applicable to Russia only, but the Leninists and the Stalinists turned it into a universal conception.

    Despite that Bukharin was the aptest of the Bolsheviks ( and Lenin took many ideas from him including state capitalism ) he knew what socialism really was  ( Like Julius  Martov despite his nationalism )  but his method to obtain socialism was completed wrong, and he was killed based on the same concept that he supported, we do have several articles describing Bukharin conception and he was one of the founders of the conception of socialism in one country which was also taken over by Joseph Stalin


    I do not know what do you mean by the revolution in a non-traditional way because a socialist revolution has never taken place in this world, we have had revolt performed by a minority which has only conducted toward reformism and state capitalism, not even
    France and Germany who had a large industrialized working class did not have a socialist revolution, they were revolts for reforms, the leftwingers are the ones who have said that they were socialist revolutions. The SPGB has two articles describing both situations

    Socialists have never supported the concept of the heroic worker, it was the Soviet Union who created that concept, of the heroic workers who served the socialist land and gave their life defending the socialist homeland, or the workers who worked extensively hours at the point of production in order to produce more surplus value for the capitalist state, and they were rewared for their wage slavery. I do not think those workers were armed with historical materialism awareness.

    Anatole France is not a good example of a materialist philosopher, indeed he was an idealist bourgeoise  thinker, he did not have a clue about the Materialist conception of history


    Has anyone else noticed the sleight of hand and contradiction of:

    Mutual Aid wrote: “…conscious Marxist materialists…”


    Wez wrote: “…Marxist Materialist…”?

    Simpy put, ‘consciousness’ requires more than ‘material’, and Wez’s excision of ‘conscious’ from Mutual Aid’s concept displays a return to 18th century materialism.

    Of course, MA’s formulation is the correct one, from the point of view of Marx’s politics and philosophy.

    So, Wez is incorrect to say “‘Marxist Materialist’ is the definition of a socialist“. That is actually the Leninist definition.

    The correct view for all democratic socialists is “‘Marxist Idealist-Materialist’ is the definition of a socialist“.

    Without ‘consciousness’ or ‘ideas’, there can be no democracy.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by LBird.

    Where I agree with Wez and Marcos, and therefore disagree with MutualAid, is about the political need for democratic, mass, conscious activity. To ‘rule out’ this, is to reject communism, in any form that Marx was arguing for.

    The political and philosophical problem, though, is that MutualAid’s need for an ‘elite’ in political activity, is mirrored by Wez and Marcos’ need for an ‘elite’, too, in ‘scientific activity’.

    The concept ‘Scientific Socialism’ (that all ‘materialists’ appeal to, just like Lenin did) is anti-democratic.

    Socialism must be based from the start upon the concept of democratic mass activity in all areas of social production. Without this political basis, an elite will be given power within social production, because it’s hard to imagine the proletariat building socialism without their ‘science’.

    ‘Scientific Socialists’ will go down the same political road as MutualAid, and place power in the hands of an elite. Marx warned about this tendency of the ‘materialists’, in his Theses on Feuerbach. They’ll separate society into two: the ‘knowers’ and the ‘ignorant’; they’ll keep their ‘science’ for the elite of ‘knowers’, and prevent mass democratic participation in ‘science’.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by LBird.

    Well, you have all misunderstood my message, and have inserted things in my name that I never implied.

    Talk about getting carried away with preconceived notions and rushing to judgment!


    “The traditional view has millions of workers becoming conscious Marxist materialists.”

    What traditional view would that be? Certainly not Bukharin (since, as a Bolshevik, he would have thought that under capitalism workers are only capable of reaching a trade union consciousness). Certainly not Marx (as he wouldn’t be so arrogant or such a megalomaniac). Not us either, since we have always talked about a “class conscious” working class majority; which only requires an understanding that capitalism cannot be reformed to work in the interest of the working class, an understanding of what socialism is and a desire to establish it involving political action. That does not require having read Marx’s philosophical writings or Engels’s Anti-Duhring or indeed any of their writings.

    As to “materialism”, most people today in the developed capitalist areas of the world are materialists in practice since, whatever they may profess to believe in when asked, in practice they live their lives without expecting some “non-material” entity to intervene in it.


    L. Bird, I am a materialist, but don’t expect everyone else to be.

    I am not an elitist, and also I don’t think the masses making revolution need to even know who Karl Marx was, or what “socialist” means. They don’t need to understand historical materialism.

    They can make revolution without having heard of us.

    You all (not L. Bird) rush to deny that A.F. was a socialist, and pin a label on him, but anyone can say something that is true, whether he’s a socialist or not. (Just as a socialist can – most of the time :-b – talk rubbish too).

    You are the idealists and the elitists, very much like Lenin in fact, if you think only of making the rest of humanity into copies of yourselves. In fact, you are wanting others to follow you, in fact if not in theory.

    (And might I suggest you study historical materialism more before rushing to proclaim yourselves HMs? I know that some of you believe in “free will”, for Christ’s sake!)



    Before world revolution can come about people’s ideas need to change on a huge scale. Otherwise it’s minority action imposed on the majority. There’s no way it will take people by surprise. That doesn’t mean we all have to be experts in political theory but people will certainy have to be aware of their position under capitalism and have the desire to change it.

    The campaign for socialism might in the meantime take people by surprise if it ‘goes viral’ (when it might still be only supported by a minority). The change from a small minority into a substantial majority might happen very fast and leave some of us reeling – the capitalist class most of all, let’s hope.


    • This reply was modified 4 months, 4 weeks ago by rodshaw.
    Matthew Culbert

    LBird is still being absurd, when he indicates specialists will be constitued as ‘elites’ in an advanced, commonly owned , democratic, production for use free access society. They will be no more so, than plumbers, infotech coders, or anyone else whose expertise is drawn upon.


    People will need to have come to the realisation that the urgent problems they are fighting all have a common origin: the monopoly by a minority of the means of production and distribution. That is all they need to become aware of, as various threads of current dissent come together and merge into that realisation. Then all the rest follows. There isn’t any need for them to conceive it in terms of Marxist vocabulary. That is not to say we should not continue to express it so, as we are conscious of the historico-analytical ins and outs. No one will be leading, and we ourselves will be just part of it.


    I agree, Matt.


    “You are the idealists and the elitists, very much like Lenin in fact, if you think only of making the rest of humanity into copies of yourselves. In fact, you are wanting others to follow you, in fact if not in theory.”

    I am not clear Mutual whether this is you quoting our feathered friend or your own view. It would be rather strange if the latter coming from someone who has put the Party case in the Socialist Standard and other publications for years. But I suppose the “if” would let you off the hook since we don’t actually think only of making the rest of humanity into copies of ourselves.

    Our role is merely to help the class struggle that is going on anyway become a conscious struggle to end the capitalist system of class ownership and production for profit and replace it with common ownership and production directly for use, in line with the development of the methods of production that have taken place.


    I was referring to those calling me elitist and Leninist, not the party as a whole.

    All I did was call for different members’ imaginings of revolution scenarios, and I am immediately attacked for saying I can see socialist revolution happening without any need for Marxist vocabulary moving people’s actions and without them all needing to be historical materialists. Then, instead of ideas on scenarios, I am verbally battered as a vanguardist!

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 33 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.