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  The political method of the International Socialist Organisation

The political method of the International Socialist Organisation

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Th pliticl mthd f th Intrntinl Scilist rgnistin
(ssy)
 
Rstring th vlidity f th scilist prjct is nt mrly cdmic. Th vnts f 1989-90 hv bn sn s th dth f cmmunism nd scilism nd th finl triumph f Wstrn cpitlism.

Th stnding f Mrxism nd th whl scilist prjct hs nvr bn lwr. It is nt nly th frmr supprtrs f th strn urpn rgims tht hv dispprd (in th cs f th Cmmunist Prty f ustrli), r fdd (in th cs f th Scilist Prty f ustrli); th lft s whl hs suffrd mlis. Nithr th IS nr th SWP (bth frm nti-burucrtic trditins) prsprd, lthugh th IS hd cnstntly rgud tht th Svit rgim hd littl t d with scilism.

This inbility t gin frm th fll f ths rgims rflctd in prt thir smll siz, which nvr pprchd tht f th CP, r vn tht f th smllr SP. Bth th CP nd th SP qutd scilism with th USSR. Th IS nd th SWP wr ls victim t th viws f th ppulr prss, which cnfirmd tht wht th rdrs sw in th USSR ws scilism.

Scndly, dspit th prsnc f mny wrking-clss ppl in th chllng t th burucrcis in 1989-90, th wrking clss mrchd bhind thr bnnrs nd thr ws n mss indpndnt wrking-clss rspns t vnts, nr hs this yt vlvd in th pst-cmmunist fr-mrkt stts. This put bck furthr ny rvivl f th scilist ltrntiv in th ppulr mind.

r th IS r th SWP prtis tht w cn xpct t ply n imprtnt rl in th rvivl f th wrking clss pliticl ctivity nd th winning f th wrkrs t th scilist cus?

Cncrtly, this mns tht th wrking clss must dvlp cnfidnc in such Mrxist prty. It must hv fith tht th prty will tll thm th truth; tht th prty cn crrctly idntify th rl scil frcs invlvd; cn distinguish btwn rhtric nd th rl intrsts bing pursud; cn prciv th lng-trm intrsts f th clss nd th wy t chiv thm. Mst imprtntly, th wrking clss nds prty tht will nt scrific its pliticl indpndnc t n llinc with its ntinl cpitlist clss.

Lstly, in th r f imprilism nd th glbl cnmy, whr th wnrs f cpitl spn cntinnts, mr thn vr such prty must hv n intrntinlist prspctiv: tht is n which viws th struggl btwn th clsss s n intrntinl n.


Thr bsic Mrxist critri

 

W cn stt thr fundmntl guids t Mrxist prty if it is t crry ut th tsks f winning ldrship f th wrking-clss nd th mr immdit tsk f r-stblishing th vlidity f scilism s rl ltrntiv t cpitlism ftr th fll f th burucrtic stts. Fr Mrxist prty such critri r nt rbitrry, bcus thy r cntrl t Mrxism itslf.

Rmmbring Lnin's dictum: "Withut rvlutinry thry thr cn b n rvlutinry mvmnt"1 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html>, wht shuld distinguish Mrxist prty in its ffrts t undrstnd nd chng th wrld is th mtrilist cncptin f histry2 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html>, which strts with th ntur f th prductiv frcs nd th rltinships tht thy dtrmin btwn th clsss nd th struggl btwn clsss, which ws ntly summrisd by Mrx in his Prfc t Cntributin t th Critiqu f Pliticl cnmy <http://www.marx2mao.org/M&E/PI.html> (1857).

Scndly, frm Mrx's dictum tht th librtin f th wrking clss must b chivd by th wrking clss itslf nd frm Th Cmmunist Mnifst <http://www.anu.edu.au/polsci/marx/classics/manifesto.html> f 1848 t Th Civil Wr in Frnc <http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1871/civil-war-france/index.htm> f 1871, writtn ftr th fll f th Pris Cmmun, tht th nds f th clss struggl rquir tht th wrking clss must hv n indpndnt vic3 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> nd tht n thr clss r scil lyr cn substitut fr it.

Thirdly, nd flwing dirctly frm this, is th Mrxist cncptin f intrntinlism. It ws th intrntinl cntcts md during th curs f th Plish insurrctin f 1863 tht ld dirctly t th crtin f th Intrntinl Wrkrs sscitin (Th First Intrntinl) in 1864, which prclimd th nd fr "intrntinl prltrin slidrity"4 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> ftur rptdly mphsisd in Mrx's Civil Wr in Frnc.

Whn w turn t th Scnd Intrntinl, stblishd in 1889, it is th qustin f intrntinlism tht ws th surc f cntntin, whn in 1914 th vst mjrity f th prtis vtd fr wr crdits in th intrsts f thir wn cpitlist clss. This ws cntrry t th ntiwr rslutins pssd nly mnths bfr. Th Blshvik Prty f Lnin ws ntbl xcptin. ftr th bndnmnt f intrntinlism in 1914, th prtis f th Scnd Intrntinl, th "lbur prtis", cnfirmd thir ntinlist prspctiv nd thir rcncilitin with thir wn ruling clsss. T Lnin, nd th Third Intrntinl f 1919, th cncpt f intrntinlism ws cntrl.5 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> Th rvlutinry wv tht brught th Russin Rvlutin f 1917 quickly fdd, s did th tnttiv grip f th Russin wrking clss upn th nwly crtd Svit stt. It ws rplcd in th 1920s by n mrging Svit burucrcy bsd n th CPSU nd th Svit stt. Its ldr ws Stlin. Th trm Stlinism will b usd t dsignt viws tht xprss th intrsts f this scil lyr, th Svit burucrcy.

Th cnsrvtiv ntur f this nw scil lyr ws nwhr bttr dmnstrtd thn in th thry f scilism in n cuntry.6 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> This ws thry tht cut ff th Svit wrkrs frm th wrld's wrking clsss nd frm its dpndnc n rvlutin in th rst f th wrld.7 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> It ws n inwrd-lking plicy, which fcilittd th grwth f th burucrcy nd put wrkrs' lylty firstly t ntinl stt tht ws building scilism in n cuntry. Lik ll frms f ntinlism "Svit" ntinlism bund pprssd nd pprssr bhind th sm bnnr. It subrdintd th intrsts f th wrking clsss lclly nd intrntinlly t th intrst f ntinl burucrcy.8 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> Th criticl pint is tht bfr Stlin, Mrxists ppsd ppulr frnts, hwvr thy wr nmd, which subrdintd th intrsts f th wrking clss t ths f nthr clss r lyr.9 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html>

S th prspctiv f th Mrxists, nmly tht f th intrntinl wrking clss, is insprbl frm th nd f th clss t mintin its clss indpndnc. Th bndnmnt f n is th bndnmnt f th thr. Th plitics f scilism in n cuntry wr impsd n th wrld's Cmmunist prtis.10 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html>

Thir plitics wr nw dirctly rltd t th nds f ntinl Svit frign plicy s dtrmind by privilgd burucrtic lyr.

 

Rlting t th frmr USSR


In xmining th plitics f th IS nd th SWP, it is thir rltinship t th frmr USSR tht will b primrily xmind. Bth prtis tk s prt f thir rinttin, rjctin f th USSR s mdl f scilism, nd thir inspirtin frm th ids f Ln Trtsky. In th cs f th SWP it cm frm th intrntinl rgnistin f wrkrs' prtis clld th Furth Intrntinl, stblishd by Trtsky nd thrs in 1938. Bth prtis grd tht Stlin rprsntd dft f th wrkr's rvlutin, nd tht th rsultnt burucrcy ws nithr rvlutinry nr intrntinlist, but cuntr-rvlutinry lyr nxius fr sttus qu rltinship with imprilism (f which "pcful cxistnc" wuld b prim xmpl), which ws put hd f th intrntinl clss struggl.

Thr th similritis ndd. Th IS blivd tht cpitlism hd bn rstrd in th USSR nd tht it tk th frm f "stt cpitlism". similr viw hd first bn put by Jms Burnhm nd Mx Schchtmn in th dbt with Ln Trtsky in th US SWP during 1939-40.

Trtsky, n th thr hnd, rgud tht th Svit burucrcy ws cst but nt nw scil clss. H dscribd th Svit Unin s "dgnrtd wrkrs' stt".11 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> This diffrnc f dsigntin ws imprtnt. Fr th frbrs f th IS, scil, pliticl, nd cnmic rvlutin ws ndd t vrthrw stt cpitlism in th USSR. In cntrst, Trtsky nvisgd nly pliticl rvlutin, which wuld rmv th burucrcy nd rstr wrking clss cntrl f th stt withut rquiring fundmntl chng t th prprty rltins stblishd by th ctbr rvlutin. Trtsky furthr insistd n th uncnditinl dfnc f th Svit Unin in th vnt f imprilist ttck, whrs Schchtmn nd Burnhm rgud fr wrking-clss nutrlity. This ws stnc th British IS rptd during th Krn Wr n th bsis tht bth sids wr cpitlist. Finlly, nd mst imprtntly fr us, ths diffrncs btwn th IS nd th ustrlin SWP wr criticl in thir nlysis f th vnts in th USSR, in th yrs 1985-91.

It will b rgud tht th IS psitin ws nt Mrxist rspns bsd n th histricl mtrilist mthd f Mrxism, but mrl nd imprssinist psitin12 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> tht ws indqut s tl f nlysis nd which lckd thm int psitin tht lft thm ill-prprd fr undrstnding th pst-cmmunist scitis f th 1990s.


Nts t Th nd t rstr th scilist prjct


1. V.I. Lnin Wht is t b Dn? <http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/index.htm> Frign Lngugs Prss, Pking, 1973, p 28. S ls p 29, Lnin's lbrtin: "w nly wish t stt tht th rl f vngurd fightr cn b fulfilld nly by prty tht is guidd by th mst dvncd thry."

2. This is Mrx's dscriptin f his thry. Th trms "dilcticl mtrilism" nd "histricl mtrilism" which r mr xplntry, wr cind ltr. S Mrx by Dvid McLlln, Fntn, Lndn 1975, p 38

3. S ls Thss, Rslutins nd Mnifsts f th First Fur Cngrsss f th Cmintrn. Lndn, Plut Prss, 1980 p 396

4. Frnz Mhring, Krl Mrx <http://www.marxists.org/archive/mehring/works/marx/index.htm>, lln nd Unwin, Lndn 1936, p 327

5. V.I. Lnin, Wht is t b Dn? <http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1901/witbd/index.htm> p cit, p 29, nd Thss, Rslutins nd Mnifsts, p cit, p 124: "th mnciptin f th wrkrs is nt lcl, nt ntinl, but n intrntinl qustin". S ls Th Cmmunist Mvmnt by Frnnd Cludin, Pnguin, 1970, p 46, nd Funding th Cmmunist Intrntinl: Prcdings nd Dcumnts f th First Cngrss, Pthfindr Prss, Nw Yrk, 1987

6. Th first sttmnt f this nw scil lyr ws in th scnd ditin f J. Stlin, Fundtins f Lninism <http://www.marx2mao.org/Stalin/FL24.html>, 1924. This ws rvisin f th first ditin f th sm yr, which hd rptd th Blshvik rthdxy tht th victry f scilism in th USSR dpndd upn rvlutin in th dvncd cuntris. Frnnd Cludin, p cit, p 71-72. Fr dzns f xmpls f Blshvik rthdxy s Rbrt Blck, Stlinism in Britin, Nw Prk, Lndn, 1970. S ls Lninism undr Lnin by Mrcl Libmn, Jnthn Cp, Lndn, 1975, pp 360-61.

7. Th histricl cntxt f th Svit Unin frm 1923 n ws n f isltin s th pst-wr rvlutinry wv hd pssd. Th tnttiv Svit rpublics f Hungry nd ustri hd bn dftd, nd 1923 cnfirmd th filur f rvlutin in Grmny. Th nd t dfnd th rmining citdl in th Svit Unin culd hrdly b dnid. Th dft f th British 1926 Gnrl Strik nd th Chins rvlutins f th lt 1920s cnfirmd th pssimism but th imminnt xtnsin f th rvlutin.

8. F. Cludin, p cit, p 387 "th thry f scilism in n cuntry cn b sttd s th subrdintin f rvlutinry ctin in ny prt f th wrld t th intrsts f th Svit stt".

9. Th ppulr frnt ws tctic pursud by Cmmunist prtis frm 1934, ftr th victry f fscism in Grmny. It ws diffrnt t th unitd frnt, which ws n llinc f wrking-clss prtis rund limitd wrking clss dmnds. Th ppulr frnt ws n ttmpt t unit with sctins f th burgisi wh ppsd fscism n purly librl pltfrm. Wrking-clss dmnds wr subrdintd t chiving this llinc. Th Cmintrn hd sn th indpndnc f th Cmmunist prtis in rltin t th burgisi nd "thir cmplt frdm f ctin" s "th mst imprtnt histricl chivmnt f th prltrit". S Thss, Rslutins nd Mnifsts p cit, p 396.

10. Cludin p cit, p 117-124; ls Victr Srg, Frm Lnin t Stlin, Mnd, Nw Yrk, 1937, p 52. S Tm 'Lincln Int th Minstrm, Stind Wttl Prss, NSW, 1985 p 36.

11. Rprducd s In Dfnc f Mrxism <http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/works/1942-dm/index.htm>, Ln Trtsky, Nw Prk, Lndn, 1966. ndrw Milnr rgus tht th "dgnrtd wrkrs' stt" frmultin is bsd n th trnsitry, unstbl ntur f th Svit systm, which h climd prvd t b prptul. Th Rd t St Kild Pir, Wstgt, NSW, Stind Wttl Prss, 1984, p 86.

12. Th trm "imprssinism" rfrs t pliticl mthd tht mks judgmnts n th surfc pprnc f vnts rthr thn xmining th scil nd cnmic fundtins nd histry f th thing studid. nn-IS xmpl, th cnclusin tht Stlin nd Hitlr wr ssntilly th sm bcus bth thir cuntris dptd ttlitrin prctics, ignrs cmpltly th diffrnt clss rltinships nd rcnt histry f bth cuntris.

 

rigins f th Intrntinl Scilists


Th Intrntinl Scilists, stblishd rund 1972, hv hld th psitin f stt cpitlism n th Svit Unin sinc t lst 1974.1 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> lthugh th "burucrtic cllctivist" dsigntin ws still usd s lt s 1976,2 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> th thry dptd by th IS ws tht f Tny Cliff f th British SWP in his bk Stt Cpitlism in Russi.

Th stt cpitlist psitin f th ustrlin IS n th frmr Svit stts, nd th cnnctin with its mntr, th British SWP, hs rmind unchngd sinc tht tim. It is wht immditly idntifis th IS s sprt rgnistin n th fr lft, nd wht histriclly hs sprtd th stt cpitlist prtis frm th Furth Intrntinl3 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> prtis thrughut th wrld, which cntinud t rgu tht th Svit Unin rmind dgnrtd wrkrs stt.4 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html>

Th dbt btwn ths tw frmultins hs cntinud until this dy.5 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html> Th Intrntinl Scilists, s thy bcm knwn frm 1977, hv nvr wvrd frm r chngd thir stt cpitlist viwpint nd thy bliv th vnts in strn urp hv cnfirmd thir nlysis cmpltly. Thy hv lft th thrticl dfnc f th thry t thir British cuntrprts, but it hs rmind th fundmntl thrd in thir nlysis, which is pplid qully t th USSR, Chin, th pst-wr st urpn stts nd Cub, nd by July 1989 Burm, lgri nd Irq.6 <http://members.optushome.com.au/spainter/Gaffney.html>

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