Friday, August 10, 2007

On Our Current Crisis

The recent statement by comrade Lupe Matova published on Second Shift and circulated among members is said to be an attempt "to clarify some points on the proposal" that was presented to and passed by the CPSL membership meeting of August 5. However, only a small proportion of the statement is actually dedicated to this task; most of the text is rather a personalistic polemic against me -- a continuation of the personal attacks she threw at me in our conversations of August 6-7.

I have said from the beginning of this dispute that I am only presenting my own opinions on the issue. I make no claim to being anything more than an individual communist with a point of view. I feel I must emphasize this point because it has become clear that Lupe, as with other comrades of a similar political viewpoint, have developed an unhealthy obsession with me and what I have to say. It is as if they believe that, because other CPSL comrades agree with me at times, I have somehow brainwashed them and I am some kind of cult leader. I think the other comrades can speak for themselves on this point. I will only say that this kind of defensive approach, combined with the use of personal attacks, points to a method that is alien to communist principle.

I must admit, I am rather angry that I have been forced to write this document. My first commitment is to the Real Life class struggle and the fight for a communist society in it. My presence and activity on Second Life is a small subset of the activity that the Real Life organization I belong to, the Communist League [International], carries out on the Internet. And this activity is aimed at one goal: helping to build the unity of proletarians around the world. However, there is a small group within the CPSL that, for whatever reason, places an equal sign between Second Life and Real Life. "SL is RL", as they have stated. Personally, I think that this kind of simplistic equating of a virtual world and the real world demonstrates a lack of understanding and exposes exactly how out of touch with the real world these comrades are.

But that is a subject for another document.

In the text below, I will attempt to explain my view of the dispute and the reasons behind the accusations made by both sides. I will also seek to outline a solution to the problem that, I think, can be acceptable to all members.


In her statement, comrade Lupe says that "all the actions that will be carried out will be only after a DEEP debate on the themes in question". She further attempts to defend her proposal by saying, "By no means has it been the intention to pressure or to impose anything. This proposal only intends to activate the political debate." Finally, she attempts to leave herself a means of polemical escape by saying that the criticisms of the proposal "perhaps they can be owed to the bad formulation that I have been able to do of it or to the difficulty of the translation of the language."

As I said above, at no time does she present the text of the proposal itself to defend her assertions. Indeed, she attempts to explain away any of the dispute (and, by implication, attempts to marginalize the wording of her own proposal!) as a translation problem. Perhaps she is not aware that comrade Smoke Wijaya made a decent translation of the proposal and sent it to other CPSL members following the August 5 meeting? Then again, perhaps she is aware of what comrade Smoke did, and that is precisely why she is not willing to cite her own proposal. For the benefit of CPSL comrades, here is the section of the proposal that is in dispute (my emphasis):

"19 of August: debate on situation in IRAQ. In the week, would be done a communiqué of support to the Iraqi anti-imperialist resistance, that would devise according to the conclusions of the debate voted by majority and the concentration of corresponding protest that would be able to do Sunday following, August 26 tambien some mailbox so that all the comrades can communicate the different fights of workers from their countries

"September 2: debate on Venezuela, the revolution bolivariana Of the international movement: 'Hands out of Venezuela' al that previously will report so that publish in its pages the event and the subsequent communiqué of support that will devise, as well as the demonstration that would be able to do in the place of SL: Republic Bolivariana Sunday 2 of September.

"September 9: debate on Middle East. Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Of the same form, communiqué of support to the Palestinian resistance and al Palestinian town, perhaps with a referring special one al town of Gaza that suffers in these moments the greater repression, and a distribution of publicity, pamphlets and concentracíon of protest Sunday 16.

"September 23: debate on situation in Mexico. Communiqué of support to the APPOS of Oaxaca, and concentration Sunday 30. September 30: Analisis report and balance on the activities attacked previously, and new proposals for following quarter."

I must ask the comrade: How exactly there is going to be a "DEEP debate on the themes in question" when communiqués of support have already been mandated by the proposal? How "by no means has it been the intention to pressure or to impose anything" when specific political positions were included in the proposal? How is this "bad formulation" or "the difficulty of the translation of the language".

Is this bad formulation, bad translation ... or merely bad faith on the part of comrade Lupe?

To mandate and require these positions be included in "communiqués of support" is to impose a political line in advance of a discussion by CPSL members. It places the CPSL on record as supporting the so-called "resistance" in Iraq, the "resistance" (i.e., Hamas) in Palestine, the Bolivarian Revolution and the APPO of Oaxaca. And it does so before any of the debates on these questions has taken place. The discussions themselves become political theater, akin to the "discussions" that are common in bureaucratic organizations, where the position is decided before the first voice is raised.

To attempt to say that nothing has been imposed or that there is to be a deep debate on the questions before a position is taken, when the text of the proposal does the opposite, is grossly misrepresenting the intent of the proposal.


This is not the first time that there has been problems like this in the CPSL. Indeed, the first meeting in June had similar problems. In both cases, there was an attempt by those motivating the meeting to steamroller the membership into adopting the positions they wanted. At the June CPSL meeting, the problem was merely an overzealous chairperson who attempted to apply the organizational methods of bureaucratic trade unions to the CPSL, and in the process deprived members of some of their rights in the meeting. Compared to what took place at the most recent meeting, such action can almost be forgiven.

From reading the transcript of the August 5 meeting, it is clear that many members were allowed to believe that the proposal was little more than a schedule of discussions, and that no political positions were taken at the meeting. Neither comrade Lupe nor the chairperson of the meeting attempted to clarify the section of the proposal quoted above. When comrade Smoke attempted to raise his concerns about the proposal setting out political positions on these questions, he was attacked by both comrades Lupe and Keksakallu Klata for being "undialectical", "non-Marxist" and, by implication, opposed to engaging in political action.

But in all of the long-winded statements from these two comrades, not one of them directly addressed his concern: that the CPSL was setting political policy without having a discussion first. Instead, they buried his argument under a mountain of boilerplate rhetoric. This is the method of steamrollering. They flatten their opponent with a flood of flowery language, and crush them with a mountain of pointless (in relation to the criticism being raised) rhetoric and appeals. And, in the process, they push through their proposals and implement them.

Steamrollering is a well-worn and preferred method of bureaucrats -- especially bureaucrats in the self-described socialist and communist movements. It allows them to posture as "orthodox", "revolutionary" and even "democratic", while acting in the most shamelessly dictatorial manner, and imposing doctrines and positions that are antithetical to communist or socialist thought. From the social-patriots in the Second International to the Stalinites in the Third International to the many, many epigones of Trotsky in the Fourth (and Fifth?) International, this bureaucratic method has been used to silence political criticisms and mislead the membership into accepting the most vile of positions.

And speaking of misleading the membership, it should also be pointed out that comrade Lupe's proposal as presented to the meeting was not agreed to by the Organizing Committee. Only the schedule was agreed to by the O.C.; the language about "communiqués of support" was not agreed to by comrade Broz Decosta.


The bureaucratic method on display at the August 5 CPSL meeting carried over into the following days, but in a different form: personalism. The use of personal attacks is generally the lowest form of debate within a political organization. However, that did not stop comrade Lupe from using such tactics when dealing with the criticisms of her proposal and how it was pushed through the meeting.

Now, it is somewhat understandable that, in the course of a heated and sharp political discussion, that a comrade might call someone an idiot, or say they are crazy for saying a certain thing. It does not make it right, but it can be an understandable reaction. After all, we are all human and we all have emotions we must deal with. But such outbursts are one thing; it is another thing entirely to accuse political critics of having "personal problems" or "brainwashing" other comrades into agreeing with them.

Both accusations were raised by comrade Lupe against me in the conversations that followed the August 5 meeting. In her recent statement, she attempts to apologize for such personalism, but in the process she attempts to justify it by claiming it was my political criticisms that led to her personal attacks. That may be true, but it is not an excuse and cannot (and should not!) be used to justify her comments.

Both of the personal comments she made are worth examining, because they offer an insight into how such comrades view political opposition -- and, to a certain extent, view themselves.
For example, the charge of "brainwashing" and having disproportionate influence on comrades is an important one to consider. The implication in this personal attack is threefold: first, that comrades who agree with a particular criticism cannot think for themselves and come to agree with an opponent; second, that such comrades would never dare challenge the accuser unless they hid behind the person who initially raised the criticism; and, third, that the person who raised the criticism is somehow acting in an underhanded and unethical manner. The arrogance that such a personal attack is based on is quite apparent. It assumes in advance that they are somehow above their comrades and fellow party members, in terms of ability to think, analyze and understand things. Moreover, it makes them believe that any other member who demonstrates an ability to think, analyze and understand is a competitor and challenger.

And since such comrades genuinely believe they are an embodiment of all things communist (and, also by implication, are "orthodox" and above reproach), all those who might challenge them by daring to raise a political criticism are seen as tricksters, brainwashers or ... mentally unbalanced. This is where the charge of having "personal problems" comes from. The attempt to slander a comrade by implying are mentally unbalanced -- which is what is really meant by using such a term -- is tied directly back to the accuser's arrogance and belief in their own superiority over their own comrades. It is used not only to force the accused to defend themselves (that is, to attempt to disprove the accusation), but also to inoculate other members against the critic's views.

The use of this kind of personal attack against political opponents became common in the movement during the post-Civil War Soviet government (especially under Stalin, but also at the end of Lenin's life). Indeed, history shows that thousands of political dissenters -- communists, democratic socialists, anarchists, etc. -- were declared "mentally unfit" and not only stripped of their rights as political activists and citizens, but also committed to insane asylums and "sanitariums". This process was repeated throughout the "official" Communist parties around the world as a means of purging political opponents and those comrades deemed to be a thorn in the leaderships' sides. And this disgusting method of dealing with political opponents continues to this day in many sectors of the movement.

That this method has raised its head here should not be too surprising. It is unfortunate, but not surprising.


It is not surprising because of the contradictions within CPSL itself. That is, it is not surprising that these problems with bureaucratism and personalism have developed in the party, because the CPSL is not a completely proletarian organization and includes self-described communists that are in and from other classes -- members who are and/or are from the petty-bourgeoisie or bourgeoisie.

These methods of dealing with opponents and "competitors" are natural to the exploiting and oppressing classes. Modified forms of them are used by the bourgeoisie and petty bourgeoisie within the framework of the capitalist system on a daily basis. After all, if you are an owner or manager in a capitalist corporation, and your competitors are becoming a problem and are threatening your position, what better way to deal with them than to make others question their integrity, ability (both professional and mental) and stability? And what better way to corner the market than to crush your competitors and impose your authority in the industry?

Social being determines consciousness, Marx wrote. And no one from the exploiting and oppressing classes can leave behind the class consciousness they developed since birth by simply declaring one's self to be a communist. A clear and qualitative break with their social being must also take place if they are to make a similar break from their old consciousness. In today's society, where class antagonisms and divisions are much more clear and sharp, and the material ability to "de-class" no longer exists (due to the bourgeoisie's artificial maintenance and replenishment of the petty bourgeoisie, transforming it from a class of petty artisans and shopkeepers into one of "overseers, bailiffs and shopmen" -- managers, police and bureaucrats), only when a comrade from a non-proletarian background makes a clear and irreversible break from their previous class relations and integrates themselves into the working class can they develop a solid and unshakeable proletarian class consciousness.

(It should be mentioned here that, because of the dominant role of bourgeois ideology and the class-based division of labor in society, it is certainly common for proletarian elements that are active in a political organization dominated by non-proletarian "theoreticians" and "leaders" to take on the methods and, to a certain extent, characteristics of those elements. For example, an excessive amount of time as a local secretary or functionary, surrounded by non-proletarian elements and their "culture", can compel even the most honest and decent of proletarian comrades to adapt and act more like their peers -- to take on the bureaucratic, personalistic and dishonest methods of his or her colleagues.)

This understanding, based, in my opinion, in communist method (materialist dialectics) and experience (historical materialism), is admittedly still a minority view within the broader movement of self-described communists. The majority view, which is a falsification of the method used by Marx and Engels, and is based more on Hegelian idealism and Weberian sociology than Marxism, is that any person from any background can become a "proletarian revolutionary" as long as they proclaim their support for the correct political line. Which line that is, of course, depends entirely on which kind of self-described communist you speak to.

In this method, political doctrine is substituted for class consciousness. The forms of speech and thought used by Marx and Engels remain in place, but the content is qualitatively changed. In the process, the understanding of class itself is transformed. A class-conscious proletarian is no longer someone whose relations to the means of production and attempt to understand the world around them has led them to understand and fight for the overthrow of capitalist rule and, ultimately, the abolition of classes and class society. In this method, a class-conscious proletarian is someone who subscribes to particular articles of faith.

This latter point is a variant on Max Weber's concept of the Christian Corporatist Ethic, where the "community", held together by a set of ethics and principles, acts (or attempts to act) as a family and distinct social group. This concept trades material reality for "identity" and idealistic appeals to articles of faith (in the case of a self-described communist organization: "political line").


Within the broader movement, two particular trends are the most blatant and shameless when it comes to this petty-bourgeois conception of class and class consciousness: Maoism and Trotskyism. Both trends practice their own variants on the theme, but it is nonetheless the same theme. For the purposes of this document, I will limit myself to speaking only of the current that is relevant to the disputes in the CPSL, which also happens to be the current I am more familiar with: Trotskyism.

I will not attempt here to present my overall critique of Trotskyism as a political doctrine. It should suffice that comrades know I spent 15 years in the Trotskyist movement in the United States, and that I am more than familiar with the various sub-doctrines and trends within that movement -- including the three trends that are most visibly represented within CPSL. In fact, I spent time in or close to two of these trends in the past, and the third I observed very closely.

My overall problem with the Trotskyist comrades in CPSL is not with the general outlines of their doctrine -- that is, the overall principles that they claim to support. The fact is that I believe Trotsky did contribute some important analyses to communist theory during his time. His analysis of fascism, its class basis and dynamics are, in my opinion, very important for communists today to study and discuss. His theory of permanent revolution is not too far removed in principle from either Marx's "revolution in permanence" or Lenin's "uninterrupted revolution". (I happen to subscribe to Marx's "permanent revolution" myself.) And his attempt to understand the degeneration of the USSR is worth studying, even if you disagree with it (as I do). My problem with these comrades is the arrogant belief that their movement is the only one that fought against the degeneration of the USSR -- or, more to the point, that it fought them correctly and at the right time.

From 1918 to 1923, many different dissident communist trends emerged that sought to fight against the growing power of the petty-bourgeois bureaucracy within the USSR, including the trend I consider myself to be a supporter of: the Myasnikovists; the "Workers Group" current. It is worth noting that when these currents were raising the same demands and criticisms that were later raised by the Left Opposition, Trotsky and Stalin (and, yes, sometimes Lenin) stood together to denounce and attack them. It was only when these dissident movements had been crushed, their leaders held in prisons or "sanitariums", their publicaions banned, etc., that Trotsky opened up his fight.

In his essay, How Did Stalin Defeat the Opposition?, Trotsky writes: "To be sure, the banner of the Bolshevik-Leninists gathered tens of thousands of the best revolutionary fighters, including some military men. The advanced workers were sympathetic to the Opposition, but that sympathy remained passive; the masses no longer believed that the situation could be seriously changed by struggle. Meanwhile the bureaucracy asserted: 'The Opposition proposes international revolution and is ready to drag us into a revolutionary war. Enough of shake-ups and misery. We have earned the right to rest. We need no more of "permanent revolution." We will build the socialist society at home. Workers and peasants, rely on us, your leaders!' This nationalist and conservative agitation was accompanied – to mention it in passing – by furious slanders, sometimes absolutely reactionary, against the internationalists. It drew the military and state bureaucracies tightly together, and indubitably found an echo in the weary and backward masses. So the Bolshevik vanguard found itself isolated and crushed piecemeal. Therein lies the secret of the victory of the Thermidorean bureaucracy."

This is only partially correct. To be certain, by the time that the Left Opposition began its struggle, the class-conscious proletarians in the Soviet republic were tired and passive, and "no longer believed that the situation could be seriously changed by struggle". But this passivity and exhaustion was due in no small part to the role Trotsky played in crushing the proletarian oppositions that arose from 1918 to 1923, including the Workers' Opposition, the Democratic Centralists and the Workers' Group, which each had greater support among Soviet workers than the Left Opposition was ever able to gather. (Indeed, the Workers' Group numbered in the tens of thousands, and functioned as an underground organization!)


My point in this discussion about Trotskyism and its origins relates directly to the understanding of CPSL as a multi-tendency political-cultural organization. We have comrades that come from various political trends in the broader communist movement. They bring with them experiences and lessons, as well as historical perspectives, that can only serve to enrich and deepen our overall understanding of communist theory and practice. However, this kind of comradely educational and practical development is hindered when some comrades approach the organization with the belief that they hold the monopoly on what is and is not "Marxism" or communism. Unfortunately, the Trotskyist comrades come to CPSL with such a view.

You can read it in their statements among other comrades. Time and again, they present themselves as the only members who hold a "Marxist line", who are "dialectical", who want "revolutionary action". They appoint themselves judge and jury over the entire party, and have no problem passing judgment against their supposed comrades. Such self-serving arrogance is poison to a multi-tendency political organization. It does precisely what it has done in CPSL: force divisions between members; turn the organization inward instead of outward; compel members to make bureaucratic and personal attacks; move the focus of the struggle away from broader political issues and toward administrative solutions.

Such methods might be able to be contained, relatively speaking, within a political organization that has a single, unifying political doctrine -- a propaganda sect. But more often than not, these methods lead to splits and splinters, as contending factions attempt to prove who is the better judge of what a past communist theoretician might be thinking today. Such debates are reminiscent of the "debates" that religious leaders have over interpretation of the Talmud, Bible or Qu'ran. And they, too, often lead to schisms and splits -- and new sects that proclaim the Truth, the Light and the Way.

A multi-tendency political political organization requires a different culture among its members. Respect, trust and common experience become more important to organizational culture. Doctrinal differences must be placed in a broader context of general political principle and method. Material reality asserts its central role by demanding a common anchor and point of reference among comrades. Freedom of criticism takes on a different meaning -- a broader and deeper meaning. And unity in action, if it is practiced, means just that. It means that, even though each member may have a different doctrinal view on the particular question, there are common principles we all agree on and that is what motivates us to stand together for or against something.

I do not claim to be an expert on this subject, but I have spent the last five years in multi-tendency organizations, both in the U.S. and Britain, and I think I have learned a considerable amount about what makes a successful (and what makes a failing) multi-tendency organization.


It is with this in mind that I would like to address briefly the question of Iraq and the communist view toward it. Comrade Lupe, in her recent statement, criticizes me for not responding to her contribution to the discussion when she first posted it in June. I can accept that criticism, and I can understand that my lack of a contribution might be concerning, especially since I have made it clear to many CPSL members that I oppose any "communiqué" or other statement of support for the so-called "resistance" in Iraq.

As anyone who has discussed this question with me -- or, at the very least, has visited Currlin Hall -- is aware, I am a supporter of the growing proletarian movement for a democratic, secular and non-sectarian republic in Iraq. This movement is unified in organization such as the Federation of Workers' Councils and Unions, the Organization for Women's Freedom, the Union of the Unemployed and the Iraq Freedom Congress.

The IFC is the only movement fighting against the occupation, the Ba'athist/Islamist "resistance" and the sectarian militias. It has the support of broad sectors of the Iraqi proletariat, including most importantly the oil workers in Basra and Suleymania. They broadcast a daily satellite television program, Sana'a TV, and the IFC's Safety Forces patrol and protect several neighborhoods in Baghdad and a number of smaller towns and regions.
This work has led to the IFC being attacked on all sides. On July 4, occupation forces kidnapped and assassinated the commander of the IFC's Safety Forces. Only a week ago, sectarian militias assassinated the producer of Sana'a TV. Islamist and Ba'athist "resistance" forces have regularly engaged in exchanges of gunfire with the Safety Forces and have attempted on more than one occasion to bomb their offices and regional "People's Houses".

Nevertheless, the revolutionary-democratic movement organized by the IFC continues to grow, not only inside of Iraq but also as an international coalition. The Real Life organization I belong to, the Communist League, is active in the U.S. and British chapters of the IFC, and one of our members is an associate editor on the IFC's English-language newsletter, Iraq Freedom. Other members of the League work closely with Iraqi women's rights activists like Houzan Mahmoud. And League members have organized contingents at several antiwar demonstrations to raise the slogan and demand for a socially-progressive future for Iraq.

In my opinion, our method of approaching this question is based solidly on the method and experiences of those communists who came before us. We have cloesly studied how Marx and Engels dealt with the issue, as well as the debates within the Communist International in 1920 and 1922 on the national and colonial question and anti-imperialism. In those latter discussions, it is clear that they, like us, made distinctions between socially-progressive and socially-reactionary movements that present themselves as "anti-imperialist". Further, they drew a clear line of distinction between movements of disaffected or ousted elements of the ruling class and popular-revolutionary movements -- denouncing support of the former, either in general or in specific, as "social-democratic" and "opportunist".

I happen to agree with those characterizations of such support, whether it is labeled "critical" or not. It is not the role of communists to add a "revolutionary" or "anti-imperialist" character to a movement that is only incidentally and momentarily pointing their guns in the same direction as us, and it is not our responsibility to support or defend such a movement, especially since any victory they achieve will only be a prelude to their violent suppression of the proletariat. Instead, it is our responsibility to aid the organization of the working class in a country that is in a position like Iraq (or Afghanistan, Palestine, etc.) so that they may be able to step forward as a powerful independent force that can transform imperialist war into class war. And that understanding also requires those of us in the imperialist Great Power countries to engage in similar organizing among our class brothers and sisters "at home".

In spite of the differences between my political current and that of the Trotskyists, there remains a basis for marching together on the question of Iraq. For example, both our current and theirs agree on the need for an immediate, unconditional withdrawal of all occupation and private mercenary forces from Iraq. Both our current and theirs agree on the need for not one penny and not one person more to the imperialist war machine. And both our current and theirs agree on the view that the main enemy is at home. These three slogans can serve as a basis for united action against the war and occupation of Iraq. Beyond that, each current and trend should be able to express their views and even discuss them openly -- thus drawing wider circles of proletarians into the debate.


I have no doubt that similar agreement can be reached on the other questions that have been raised: Palestine, Oaxaca and Venezuela. It may indeed be the case that the position the CPSL takes is precisely what comrade Lupe wishes it to be. But the membership must have the first and last word on that!

At the upcoming CPSL Emergency Meeting (Sunday, August 12, 2007 -- 11 a.m. SL time; 1800 GMT), I believe it is in the best interests of the members of the CPSL to modify the proposal presented by comrade Lupe, to remove any language that describes "communiqués of support". In place of that, there should be language adopted that allows members to submit draft statements that can frame a discussion and can be either approved or rejected by the meetings and the membership. If there are opposing statements on an issue, they can both be discussed and voted on at the same meeting. If it is clear that it will take more than one meeting to reach an agreement, the schedule should be adjusted so that the next meeting is a continuation of the previous discussion.

In my opinion, this arrangement would resolve the immediate division within CPSL. However, it is clear that there are broader problems that must be addressed. There must be a kind of "cultural revolution" within CPSL, which would aid comrades who come from doctrinaire political currents in learning how to function as comrades and equals in a multi-tendency political organization. The use of bureaucratic and personalistic methods must cease, and all members should be on guard against them. Clarity must be a key priority in every meeting, whether we are discussing administrative/organizational or political issues.

Most importantly, it must become the personal responsibility of each active member of CPSL to do what they can to encourage other members to become active, to attend meetings and events, to participate in discussions and debates. We must begin to build a "culture of liberation" within CPSL, so that even the newest, youngest or least experienced member can learn, develop and grow into a theoretical and practical leader in their own right.

The victory over capitalism cannot succeed without a class-conscious and self-acting proletariat. We must not only practice the methods necessary to build such a movement in Real Life; we must also adapt them for our activity in Second Life. If we are going to act more as a political movement in this virtual world, then we should not forget the lessons we have learned in the real world.

NOTE: Translations of this document will be added in the comments section.

1 comment:

RB said...

Sulla nostra attuale crisi

La recente dichiarazione della Compagna Lupe Matova, pubblicata su Second Shift e diffusa tra i membri è detta essere un tentativo "di chiarificare alcuni punti nella proposta" che era stata presentata ed approvata dall'assemblea generale del CPSL del 5 agosto. Comunque, solo una piccola parte del documento è di fatto dedicata a questo obbiettivo. La maggior parte del testa è più una polemica personale contro di me -- una continuazione degli attacchi personali che ella mi ha portato nelle nostre conversazioni del 6 e 7 agosto.

Fin dall'inizio di questa disputa ho detto che io sto solo presentand le mie opinioni sul problema. Io non pretendo di essere niente di più di un singolo comunista con un punto di vista. Sento di dover sottolineare questo punto perché è emerso chiaramente che Lupe, come altri compagni che condividono un punto di vista politico simile, hanno sviluppato una non salutare ossessione nei confronti miei e di ciò che ho da dire. E' come se loro credessero che, siccome altri compagni del CPSL a volte sono d'accordo con me, io li abbia sottoposti in qualche modo a una sorta di lavaggio del cervello e che io sia una specie di leader di culto. Io dirò soltanto che questo genere di approccio difensivo, unitamente ad attacchi sul piano personale, evidenziano un metodo che è alieno al principio comunista.

Devo ammettere che sono piuttosto arrabbiato di essere stato costretto a scrivere questo documento. Il mio impegno principale è la lotta di classe in Real Life e la lotta per una società comunista in essa. La mia presenza e attività è solo un piccolo sottoinsieme dell'attività che l'organizzazione RL cui appartengo, la Communist League [Internazionale] porta avanti su internet. E tale attività ha un preciso scopo: aiutare a costruire l'unità dei proletari di tutto il mondo. Tuttavia, c'è un piccolo gruppo nel CPSL che, per qualche ragione, considera RL e SL come la stessa cosa. Come essi stessi hanno dichiarato, "SL è RL". Personalmente, io penso che una semplicistica equiparazione di un mondo virtuale e del modo reale dimostri una carenza di comprensione e faccia emergere esattamente come questi compagni vivano al di fuori del mondo reale.

Ma questo sarebbe il soggetto di un altro documento.

Nel testo che segue, cercherò di spiegare il mio punto di vista riguardo alla disputa a e alle ragioni che stanno dietro alle accuse mosse da ambo le parti. Cercherò inoltre di delineare una soluzione al problema che, io penso, può essere accettabile per tutti i membri.


Nel suo documento, la compagna Lupe dice che " tutte le azioni saranno portate avanti solo dopo un PROFONDO dibattito sui temi in questione". Lei ancora cerca di difendere la sua proposta dicendo che "in nessun modo c'è stata l'intenzione di fare pressioni o imporre alcunché. Questa proposta ha l'unico scopo di attivare il dibattito politico." Infine lei cerca di lasciarsi aperta una forma di via di fuga polemica, dicendo che le critiche alla proposta "forse potrebbero essere dovute alla cattiva formulazione che sono stata capace di dare, o alla difficoltà di traduzione del linguaggio".

Come ho detto sopra, in nessun momento lei presenta il testo della proposta stessa per difendere le sue asserzioni. Infatti, lei cerca di attenuare ogni disputa (e, per implicazione, cerca di marginalizzare la formulazione della sua stessa proposta!) adducendo a pretesto problemi di traduzione. Forse lei non è al corrente del fatto che il compagno Smoke Wijaya ha tradotto in modo abbastanza corretto la proposta e che ha fatto circolare la traduzione tra gli altri membri del CPSL dopo il meeting del 5 agosto? A beneficio dei compagni del CPSL ecco la sezione della proposta su cui verte la disputa

"19 agosto: dibattito sulla situazione in IRAQ. Nella settimana dovrebbe essere emesso un COMUNICATO DI SUPPORTO ALLA RESISTENZA ANTI-IMPERIALISTA IRACHENA che disporrebbe in accordo con i risultati del dibattito votato dalla maggioranza, e la concentrazone delle proteste susseguenti che potrebbero essere attuate la domenica seguente, il 26 agosto, così come alcune mailbox mediante le quali tutti i compagni possano comunicare le differenti lotte dei lavoratori nei vari Paesi"

"2 settembre: dibattito sul Venezuela, la rivoluzione Bolivariana e il movimento internazionale 'Hands out of Venezuela' da riportare preventivamente in modo che possano pubblicarlo nei loro siti, e seguente COMUNICATO DI SUPPORTO e dimostrazione che sarà tenuta in SL: Domenica per la Rivoluzione Bolivariana, domenica 2 settembre"

"9 settembre: dibattito sul Medio Oriente e il conflitto israelo-palestinese. Nella stessa forma,COMUNICATO DI SUPPORTO ALLA RESISTENZA PALESTINESE e le città palestinesi, forse con un riferimento speciale alla città di Gaza, che in questo momento soffre la maggiore repressione e distribuzione di pubblicità volantini e dimostrazione di protesta domenica 16 settembre"

"23 settembre: dibattito sulla situazione in Messico. COMUNICATO DI SUPPORTO A APPOS DI OAXACA e dimostrazione domenica 30.
30 settembre: analisi, ricapitolazione e dibattito sulle precedenti azioni e nuove proposte per la stagione successiva"

Io devo chiedere alla compagna: come è potrà essere un "PROFONDO dibattito sui temi in questione" quando i comunicati di supporto sono già inclusi nella proposta? Come "in nessun modo c'è stata l'intenzione di esercitare pressioni o di imporre alcuna cosa" quando posizioni politiche specifiche sono già incluse nella proposta? In che modo ciò può essere attribuito a una "cattiva formulazione" o alla "difficoltà di traduzione del linguaggio?"

E' questa cattiva formulazione, cattiva traduzione...oppure meramente malafede da parte della compagna Lupe? asserire o richiedere che tali posizioni siano incluse in "comunicati di supporto" significa imporre una linea politica prima che una effettiva discussione tra i membri del CPSL abbia avuto luogo. Essa pone il CPSL nella posizione di supportare la cosiddetta "resistenza" in Iraq, la "resistenza"(p.e. Hamas) in Palestina, la Rivoluzione Bolivariana e l'APPO di Oaxaca. E lo fa prima che alcuno dei dibattiti in questione abbia avuto luogo. Le discussioni stesse diventano un teatro politico come le "discussioni" che sono comuni nelle organizzazioni burocratiche, dove la posizione è decisa prima che il primo oratore abbia iniziato a parlare.

Tentare di dire che niente è stato imposto o che ci sarà un approfondito dibattito prima che una posizione venga presa, quando il testo della proposizione afferma il contrario, è un tentativo grossolano di mascherare l'intento della proposta.


questa non è la prima volta che si sono verificati problemi simili nel CPSL. Infatti, il primo meeting in giugno ha portato problemi simili. In entrambi i casi, c'è stato un tentativo da parte di costoro di pilotare il corpo del partito verso l'adozione le posizioni da loro desiderate. Al meeting del CPSL di giugno, il problema era meramente quello di una troppo zelante presidentessa che ha tentato di applicare i metodi delle organizzazioni sindacali burocratiche al CPSL, e nel processo ha privato i membri di alcuni dei loro diritti durante l'assemblea. rispetto a quello che è accaduto al più recente meeting, una simile azione potrebbe quasi essere perdonata.

Dalla lettura della trascrizione dell'assemblea del 5 agosto è chiaro che molti membri sono stati indotti a credere che la proposta fosse poco più di una agenda di discussioni, e che nessuna posizione politica fosse stata presa nel corso dell'assemblea. Nè la compagna Lupe, nè la presidenza del meeting hanno chiarificato i punti della proposta sopra esposti. quando il compagno Smoke ha tentato di esprimere i suoi dubbi circa il fatto che la proposta di fatto imponesse una linea politica su tali questioni è stato attaccato sia dalla compagna Lupe e da Keksakallu Klata con l'accusa di essere 'non-dialettico', 'non-marxista' e per implicazione, opposto ad ingaggiare azioni politiche.

Ma in tutta le lunghe dichiarazioni di queste due compagne, non una di loro ha risposto ai suoi dubbi: che cioè il CPSL stesse adottando una linea politica senza una precedente discussione. Questo è il metodo della 'cortina fumogena'. Si atterra l'avversario mediante un linguaggio fiorito e lo si smonta con una montagna di retorica e proclami di nessuna importanza (in relazione alle critiche ricevute). E nel processo, si spingono le proprie proposte e le si implementano.

la 'cortina fumogena' è un ben noto e il preferito metodo dei burocrati -- specialmente i buracrati nei movimenti che si autodichiarano socialisti e comunisti. esso dà loro la possibilità di atteggiarsi ad 'ortodossi', 'rivoluzionari' e anche 'democratici', mentre agiscono nella maniera più sfacciatamente dittatoriale, imponendo dottrine e posizioni che sono antitetiche al pensiero comunista o socialista. Dai social-patrioti nella Seconda Internazionale agli Stalinisti nella Terza Internazionale, ai molti e molti epigoni di Trotsky nella Quarta (e Quinta?) Internazionale, questo metodo burocratico è stato usato per tacitare critiche politiche e guidare i membri ad adottare le più vili delle posizioni.

E parlando di guidare in maniera scorretta, si dovrebbe anche evidenziare che la proposta della compagna Lupe così come presentata all'assemblea non era stata accettata dal compagno Broz Decosta.

(Scritto da HenryJames Milestone
Traduzione dall'inglese: Rock Bogdanovich

traduzione parziale, le restanti sezioni seguiranno appena possibile (N.d.T.)