malthaussen wrote: One warning: Carey is a bit of a bigot, and his repeated put-downs of everything not American can become quite tedious if one is not American, or even if (in my case) he is American. Fortunately, they are not too frequent, and themselves cast an interesting light on the attitudes of educated Midwestern Americans in the early part of the last century.
Jorje Vidrio wrote:Has anyone read any of these titles?
Would any of these be worthwhile to read?
Our Political Tasks
[ It was only after the revolution of February 1917
that Trotsky joined the Bolshevik Party
and said this past position was wrong. ]
PART II [on IV parts] :
The content of our activity in the proletariat
[ Last chapter of Part II : ]
TO WORK THEN!
LONG LIVE THE SELF-ACTIVITY OF THE PROLETARIAT!
DOWN WITH POLITICAL SUBSTITUTIONALISM!
[ … End of this chapter : ]
(…) in so far as we have to deal with a more complex task – transforming [the most elementary political “instincts” of the masses] into conscious aspirations of a working class which is determining itself politically – we tend to resort to the short-cuts and over-simplifications of “thinking-for-others” and “substitutionism”.
In the internal politics of the Party these methods lead, as we shall see below, to the Party organization “substituting” itself for the Party, the Central Committee substituting itself for the Party organization, and finally the dictator substituting himself for the Central Committee; on the other hand, this leads the committees to supply an “orientation” – and to change it – while “the people keep silent”; in “external” politics these methods are manifested in attempts to bring pressure to bear on other social organizations, by using the abstract strength of the class interests of the proletariat, and not the real strength of the proletariat conscious of its class interests. These “methods,” as adopted by us and the content of our Party work. All in all, these “methods” lead to the complete disappearance of questions of political tactics in Social Democracy.
Comrade Lenin has expressly confirmed this in a certain thesis, which cannot be passed over in silence. Replying to Comrade Nadezhdin, who had complained of the lack of “deep roots,” Lenin wrote: “This is the high point of illogicality, for the writer confuses the philosophical, historical and social questions of the “deep roots” of the movement with the technical organizational problem of a more effective struggle against the police.” Comrade Lenin so cherishes this idea, that he takes it up again in his latest pamphlet: “To allege that we are the Party of the class,” Lenin says in reply to Axelrod, “in order to justify negligence on organizational questions, to justify the confusion of organization and disorganization, is to repeat the error of Nadezhdin, who confused “the philosophical, historical and social question of the deep roots of the movement,” with the problem of technical organization.” (One Step Forward...) So for Comrade Lenin, the question of “deep roots” is not a question of political tactics but a question of philosophical doctrine; if our doctrine, Marxism, supplies us with the “deep roots,” all that is left then is to carry out the technical-organizational task. Between the “philosophical” problem and the “technical-organizational” problem, there is one small link missing in the case of Comrade Lenin: the content of our Party work. Having dissolved the tactical aspect of the question into the “philosophical” aspect, Lenin has acquired the right to identify the content of the Party’s practice with the content of the program. He deliberately ignores the fact that [what we imperatively need, that is not those] deep “philosophical” roots (how stupid! as thought the imam of any sect does not, from a “philosophical” point of view, have some deep root or another!), but [this is the] real political roots, a living contact with the masses, enabling us at each decisive moment to mobilize this mass around a flag which is recognized as their flag.
This is why, in our view, organizational questions are totally subordinate to the methods of our political tactics, and, for us, the identification of the question of the organization of the proletarian Party with the technical question of “improving the struggle against the police” is total bankruptcy. Total – for, if this identification “is based on the conspiratorial character of our present methods of work (as Parvus says in the few energetic lines he devotes to Lenin’s system), it is because the struggle against spies eclipses the struggle against absolutism and the other, much greater struggle, for the emancipation of the working class.”
Organizational tasks are for us totally subordinate to methods of political tactics. This is why this pamphlet too, arising from differences on “organizational questions” takes tactical questions as its starting point. To understand the difference on the organizational questions one must go beyond them, otherwise you asphyxiate in a surfeit of scholasticism and logic-chopping!
[ End of Part II ]
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