Category Archives: Organisation

The Importance of Communes

The Russian Revolution & the experience of the Soviet Union helps clarify two important aspects of political theory:

1. The nature of working class democracy
2. The stages involved in the transition to communism

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The form of working class democracy was first clearly identified in what was the first workers’ revolution: the Paris Commune of 1871. This lasted just two months before the Communards were massacred in their thousands. The democracy of the Commune was not a parliamentary one. It was a working body as well as a law-making institution. Both executive & legislative. Not a talk-shop for puffed-up egos. Those holding office were paid the salary of an average manual worker. They could be recalled at any time. It was a much more participative democracy than the ‘vote once every five years’ so-called representative democracy of Westminster.

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The Case for Participatory Socialism

The material conditions that shape political consciousness are changing. Despite the Tory election victory, politics is catching up with economics with increasing numbers disillusioned with the political system & capitalist exploitation. People no longer expect to see their standard of living improve & the younger generation are considered lucky if they have a job & a home. The system is failing increasing numbers. More than ever we need an alternative & if we present the case well we really can change the world.

participate

The Material Conditions

Firstly, we need to understand the economics if we want to understand the politics. Finance capital is in a precarious position. For at least the last four decades it has reigned supreme with its neo-liberal ideology based on the free movement of capital & privatisation. The problem is it has been based upon debt, & this debt has now reached unsustainable levels. The crash of 2008 showed us its fragile nature. It is once again heading for a fall.

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The Trouble With Pigs

The pigs I am referring to are the pigs of George Orwell’s Animal Farm: the Communists. The animals that think they are ‘more equal’ than others. As a ‘pig’ myself, this is not an argument against pigs. Rather, I seek to answer the problem thrown up by ‘uneven consciousness’: how to give these people the organisation structure to intervene effectively in the class struggle & to spread their revolutionary class consciousness without them becoming a class in themselves?

Pigs

As many are aware, this subject has a long history. The debate has centred upon the role of a workers’ state & the internal organisation of revolutionaries. The Paris Commune of 1871 was arguably the first ‘workers’ state’. Today revolutionary groups do not define themselves by it, but they still do in regards to the Soviet Union. For Stalinists it was a workers’ state, for many Trotskyists it was a ‘degenerated workers’ state’, for Anarchists is was a ‘coordinator class state’, for others it was a form of ‘state-capitalism’. Did the Soviet Union act in the interests of working class or not? This is an important question, but more than a quarter of a century after the fall of the Berlin Wall & almost a century after the Russian Revolution, it should surely not be a reason for revolutionaries to organising themselves in separate groups.

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