CP's 38th Convention in Toronto May 21-23

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ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Unionist wrote:
You're just clearly upset that some of us dare to critique the Communist Party. And no, I'm not talking about those who equate communism with nazism. Deal with our critiques, please.

Uh, no. I have my own critique as well. It would be nice if some CPers actually posted here. Then you could really rip into them. heh.

At the moment I'm trying to work my way through their pre-Convention documents. It really seems like you are badly mis-representing their perspective - shadow-boxing with an opponent who isn't there. I read their documents as saying that they are trying to strengthen the mass movements (on their own terms) and they're also elaborating what they bring to the table: an awareness of the limitations of the bourgeois state, stuff like that. I don't see that as arrogant at all.

So let me paraphrase, as I see it. They want a larger organization, press, youth section, etc. so they can build the mass movements, bring their perspective to the table, advocate for socialism, etc.

Maybe show an exact quote from the Draft document. Use their wording and show how awful their approach is. No, really.

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I would have had more respect and curiosity about their program if they had said something about the need to strengthen ALL progressive and left organizations, movements, tendencies ...

An interesting point. Of course that would mean that others should do the same, no?

Certainly they take the view that it's either socialism or capitalism. There is no "third way". And there are plenty of Marxist intellectuals - the late E M Wood to give just one example - who share this view. It' s just plain, orthodox Marxism. Certainly not unique to the CP. Not by a long shot.

The "self-flagellation is the way to go" part of your contribution I'm not going to quote. Sorry, but that seems ... oh never mind.I would just ask how long this "self criticism" is meant to last. Clubbing yourself over the head is not going to win new members (which is a key goal of theirs) so this is kind of important.

I mean, a reminder here. One of the fundamental Marxist critiques of any mass movement - even the trade union movement I might add - is that as a movement none of them rise to the level of leading the struggle for fundamental change. That's not their goal. They don't see, they do not articulate, the need for revolution. But the CP is a revolutionary party. At least, that's their proclaimed aim. Fundamental change. They argue it is necessary for society to move forward, to improve the lives of the people. So they have to elaborate some steps on the way, some means to that end. And if we denounce them for the hubris for thinking that revolution is what's needed, while others we support and like do not think that, (like the mass movements) then we're really just denouncing revolution in general. If they are wrong about it, then by all means make some points about how this necessary revolution ought to develop or go. But if we leave this out then it's entirely fair to insist that we place ourselves on one side or the other: is fundamental change - socialism as some of us see it - needed to make our society better in the way that's needed for the common good, hence the necessity of revolution, or can society be improved by staying within capitalism? Revoltionaries insist on this and reformers want to avoid it. Shit or get off the pot. I think that's fair. 

If what you mean - that they're utterly worthless and inherently incapable of change (an interesting claim) - then by all means say so. But that's a different sort of argument. 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

You can't remove the context in which the Bolsheviks came to power. Russia was at the tail end of a killing spree the like of which had never been seen before (WW1). At the same time, there was a civil war going on (in Russia), with one side being supported by the countries of Europe and North America. Strange as it may seem, the Bolsheviks were pretty mild compared to the Czar and the powers of Europe that engulfed the continent in a slaughter that killed somewhere between 15 and 20 million people.

I have read lots of context for the Russian Revolution and the problems seem to all derive from the vanguard mentality of the CP under Lenin and Stalin. They left no room for alternate socialist visions only control by themselves on behalf of the workers. They did not want worker control they wanted vanguard control.

Here is a picture of my favourite Russian revolutionary's funeral. Shortly after this display of revolutionary solidity the Murderous Bolsheviks began the bloody purges of anyone who did not believe in the supremacy of the Bolshevik vision. Whether you like it or not that is the history of the CP in Russia.

I have also linked to a video of the funeral procession.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rt4SFsmOvlk

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In my riding we had a Marxist Leninist candidate running and she got 137 votes out of 69,000 votes cast. Barb is an articulate trade unionist but her message had no resonance in the riding.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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One quick comment. I think Venezuela is a successful example, not a negative one.

Particularly if you focus solely on their successes.  Housing for the people, subsidized necessities, and active incentives for regular citizens to become engaged in their own governance come to mind.

But galloping inflation, shortages of necessities, corruption, and an awkward mashup of the judicial branch and the executive branch aren't really something we should all look to emulate. 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Plenty of those are the result of the actions of the US-funded "opposition".

Of course.  As self-described socialists, by definition they're perfect.

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Why blame Venezeulan socialism?

Because the government was the only entity that could print up massive amounts of banknotes, set foreign exchange rates, decide who could or could not exchange Bolivars for tradeable currency, choose to remain at arms'-length from the Supreme Court and choose to say no to bribes and other corruptions.

ed'd to add:  I'm not at all saying that "socialism" is the problem here, FWIW.

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Do you think no one else was looking at what was going on?

The problem, for you and anyone else who would love to blame it all on Joe Biden, is that lots and lots of people -- some of them Venezuelans! -- have been paying attention.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:
But galloping inflation, shortages of necessities, corruption, and an awkward mashup of the judicial branch and the executive branch aren't really something we should all look to emulate.

Plenty of those are the result of the actions of the US-funded "opposition". Why blame Venezeulan socialism? Do you think no one else was looking at what was going on?

In particular, I think it would be better to speak of a richer democracy rather than (bourgeois) "incentives" for "engagement in their own governance". Christ. Did you crib that from the State Department website or something?

 

................................

A general question for all those who want to re-hash Russian history. I'm curious. Do you hold present-day Conservatives, Liberals and NDPers responsible for the actions of their political forebears in this and other countries? So, for example, if these political trends were discredited by their collaboration with the Nazis, say, in this or that country, [which in the case of Europe was many/most of the countries in Europe] or the ethnic cleansing, pass laws, and cultural genocide of First Nations in Canada, does this have an undeniable bearing on those parties today in Canada? Or is it only the Communists who must live up to this [double] standard? If Canadian Liberals and Conservatives led Canada into the mass slaughter of World War I, and if the NDP's predecessors cheered them all the way, can we relegate them to the historical trash heap because of such barbarity? And what if these parties support present-day (Ukrainian) fascists? Should we just sweep it all under the rug and say that it has no bearing on the present?

Truly, an interesting question.

 

 

Rev Pesky

kropotkin1951 wrote:
...I have read lots of context for the Russian Revolution and the problems seem to all derive from the vanguard mentality of the CP under Lenin and Stalin. They left no room for alternate socialist visions only control by themselves on behalf of the workers. They did not want worker control they wanted vanguard control.

All I can suggest is that you go back and read it again. You've missed some things.

kropotkin1951 wrote:
...the Murderous Bolsheviks...

It's interesting to me that someone can rail away against the 'Murderous Bolsheviks' and forego mention of the Murderous Capitalists that were the cause of unbelievable suffering in Russia and elsewhere. As I mentioned, there were some 18 million deaths in WW1, but that apparently wasn't enough because capital started another war just twenty years later that took roughly 80 million lives, culminating in the instantaneous vapourisation of 130,000 people in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. So in the thirty years between 1915 and 1945, some 100 million people were killed in the capitalist argument about who owned what, yet you don't see that as a problem. No, it is the Bolsheviks that were Murderous. Pardon if I have a little chuckle over that.

And the capitalist argument continues to this day, with untold casualties. And yet you, like Michael Moriarty, consider the problem to be the 'murderous psychopaths' (as Moriarty called the Bolsheviks). 

In late news, the USA killed another 150 in Somalia yesterday, but that's not a result of any murderous urges. It's just a necessary step in protecting ourselves from...

 

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

Rev, I think I can say with assurance that neither K. nor I have ever defended the atrocities of the U.S. Empire on this board. Your post is the worst of straw man arguments, and doesn't really even deserve an answer. It's called the "but what about" defense. When you are faced with defending an indefensible action, point out others that are as bad or worse. Bullshit 101.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

It's interesting to me that someone can rail away against the 'Murderous Bolsheviks' and forego mention of the Murderous Capitalists that were the cause of unbelievable suffering in Russia and elsewhere.

I expect capitalists to be murderous assholes and if you read my posts at all you will know I never fail to point that out in discussions except this is a discussion about the CP. It was Lenin and Stalin that murdered people like me for being anarchists. WTF don't you understand about that? That punitive action against the anarchist left in Russia heralded in a totalitarian government every bit as repressive as a capitalist state.

NDPP

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

It's interesting to me that someone can rail away against the 'Murderous Bolsheviks' and forego mention of the Murderous Capitalists that were the cause of unbelievable suffering in Russia and elsewhere.

I expect capitalists to be murderous assholes

Me too - but regretfully and increasingly, based on their demonstrated, public  support for imperialist ventures like Libya, Nazi Ukraine, Israeli-zionist terrorism,  Syrian dismemberment and regime change, NATO etc, must add Canadian 'progressives', liberal interventionists, R2Pers and sold-out social democrats as well. This is not the case, as far as I know with the 'murderous bolsheviks' of the CP. Not the dedicated activists I know and respect. 

Rev Pesky

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Rev, I think I can say with assurance that neither K. nor I have ever defended the atrocities of the U.S. Empire on this board. Your post is the worst of straw man arguments, and doesn't really even deserve an answer. It's called the "but what about" defense. When you are faced with defending an indefensible action, point out others that are as bad or worse. Bullshit 101.

I seem to have struck a nerve with you and kropotkin. I'll just remind you that my initial post only required that the context of the Russian revolution be included in the conversation. That context was a 'war to end all wars, ver.1.0' followed by a vicious civil war in Russia in which one side accepted arms and support from Europe and North America. Was that too much to ask? Apparently.

If you could point to a post you have made in which you have called capitalists 'psychopathic killers', please do so.

To add a little context of my own, my father was born in Russia at the tail end of the revolution. His family, being Mennonite and distinctly unloved by the locals, lost everything, and were lucky to get away to Canada. I grew up hearing all the stories about how bad it was. So I doubt there's much you could tell me that I wouldn't already have heard.

But the context of the times is very important in analysing what went on. The Bolsheviks win the 'revolution' in 1917, but Russia is still at war with Germany. At the same time, there is a civil war going on. A large part of the infrastructure of the country is destroyed, first by the Germans, then by the civil war. Confusion reigns. Disagreements arise within the Communist party about how to deal with the situation. The Bolsheviks have 'won', but the future of the party and the country is still very much in flux. Meanwhile you have Stalin positioning himself, and influencing events, while Lenin is close to death, and is increasingly sidelined by the results of an assassination attempt.

In the midst of the all of the atrocities that have taken place, and are taking place, and will take place, your concern is that the Bolsheviks are murderous. Well, this may be a bit of a shock, but those that opposed the Bolsheviks were murderous too. In fact, there was an overabundance of murder, more than enough to go around. In addition to murder there was starvation and disease, plenty of it. To gauge the Bolsheviks without looking at the situation they were in is to abandon criticsl analysis completely.

To go further, and castigate the Communist Party in Canada for what the Bosheviks did a hundred years ago, over which no Canadian had any control, is as reactionary as it's possible to get.

Oh, but just a minute, there was some Canadians that had control over those events. when Trotsky tried to return to Russia from New York in 1917, he and his family were removed from the ship they had taken passage on, and while Trotsky's wife and children were held in Halifax, Trotsky was sent to an internment camp. The story of that is pretty interesting, at least partly because it shows the official attitude of the Allies towards the Russian revolution.

Trotsky in Amherst

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..., In Amherst, meanwhile, Trotsky's micro-revolution was coming along very nicely. "He was a man who when he looked at you seemed to hypnotize you," remembered Capt. F.C. Whitmore. "He gave us a lot of trouble at the camp, and if he had stayed there any longer... would have made communists of all the German prisoners." Alarmed by Trotsky's success, the German officers protested to Col. Morris. "The British colonel instantly sided with the Hohenzollern patriots," Trotsky scornfully commented, "and forbade me to make any more public speeches. But this did not happen until the last few days of our stay at the camp." Morris eventually put Trotsky in solitary confinement...

 

 

 

iyraste1313

..i don't think this can be talked about without including the movements, which are the agents of change. they are not looking for a party...

...yes while movements truly are the agents of change, their demands are restricted to within the present system, which is what must be changed!

And if they do not look for a political agent for change they will lack legitimacy and repressed.....

the solution clearly is for a united movement to set up their own agent for transformation!...

 

.......system change doesn't just mean that we free ourselves from the yolk of capital but that we make decisions in a different way and at a community level. so this is where i see the work being needed. to build alternative decision making structures within the current political and economic system. and here i believe are the building blocks for a different world.

...true enough, re alternative decision making structures, but this is just a small part of it...Autonomy is one crucial part, meaning resistance to gain autonomy for communities and withing their eco regions...and autonomy means the right of people to determine their own decision making structures...so e.g, the rights of an indigenous people to reestablish their hereditary chief and councils system...

and No! maybe within, but much more crucial is to build our own network of organization outside the present political and economic system...a parallel system is essential! And yes use the institutions within but for our own purpose! And yes as it growns in strength it will be threatened...just food to help it grow!

and finally....¨ Whether this is terminal crisis, entropic drift, or merely the prelude to the ‘creative destruction’ that will kick-start a new round of accumulation, is still obscure....

...It´s not obscure...it depends on us! Whether we are prepared to build a viable alternative for people in this country...as so many will be doing elsewhere! And the collapsing financials is the food to nourish the alternatives!

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

If you could point to a post you have made in which you have called capitalists 'psychopathic killers', please do so.

Do you not read my posts? If you think I am an apologist for the imperial order then please show me where I have ever supported any of the US led invasions or their corporate oligarchy.

I can walk and chew gum at the same time just the same as I can condemn power hungry murderers from all sides of the political spectrum.  I actually believe in mutual aid, as my handle would suggest, and that is the opposite of vanguard control. The reason I hold those views is because of the abuses that people, from both the right and left, who see themselves as the saviours of others have inflicted on people around the world.

Slumberjack

Looking along the more familiar end of the given political spectrum, it's clear that there are far worst names to be called than communist.  It's just that the 19th century dialectic could stand a shot or two of frebreze by now.

Communization and its Discontents (pdf)

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Barely twenty years have passed since the collapse of actually-existing socialism and now the crisis of actually-existing capitalism, in its neoliberal version, is upon us. The shrill capitalist triumphalism of the 1990s, or the bellicose equation of capitalism with democracy that defined the ’00s ‘war on terror’, ring more than a little hollow in the frozen desert of burst "financial bubbles and devalorization. The commodities that make up the capitalist way-of-life have turned malignant, exposed as hollow bearers of debt servitude that can never be paid off.  The cry ‘No New Deal’ goes up as wealth is transferred in huge amounts to save the Financial sector. We are prepared for yet another round of sacrifice as structural adjustment and ‘shock doctrine’ return to the center of global capitalism after extensive testing on its self-defined ‘peripheries’. Whether this is terminal crisis, entropic drift, or merely the prelude to the ‘creative destruction’ that will kick-start a new round of accumulation, is still obscure.

Slumberjack

As it turned out, Stalin was wrong and Trotsky was correct.  Socialism can't be confined to one country surrounded by powerful enemies, as was the case with Veneuzela.  For Socialism to come into it's own politically, the threat of socialist political advances at least should be maintained globally, in keeping with globalized trade and labour.  That's why it's just as well that the NDP finally scrubbed the very word from their lexicon.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

iyraste

..my reference to building alternative decision making structures within the existing system is vs the tearing down of the old and building something new. another way to put it is building a new world inside the old. as far as your comments about working outside the system..there is no outside only inside.

..also i disagree with the restrictions or prerequisite you seem to place on autonomous decision making or movements. you either have autonomy or you don't. you can't decided before hand what people should be deciding, what is important or how they are organizing themselves etc.  i would like to point out that you do this a lot. this is the same problem i have with cp, the ndp or any other vanguard group.

eta:

And if they do not look for a political agent for change they will lack legitimacy and repressed.....

..the movements are the agents of change. what i believe this above comment suggests is a search for centralization. this is a mistake. it will provide the powers that be with a target. something the media could focus on in order to discredit. leaders to attack. and prone to making deals. the seattle battle was successful because the authorities had no fucking idea what was going on because there was no central organizing. as maude barlow put it in her book it was "10,000 mosquitoes" doing the organizing. autonomy is a better tool. they can't discredit everyone. the liberals in bc are trying to do that with clark's "forces of no" comment which is back firing on her big time.

Rev Pesky

kropotkin1951 wrote:
...Do you not read my posts? If you think I am an apologist for the imperial order then please show me where I have ever supported any of the US led invasions or their corporate oligarchy.

From Michael Moriarty:

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I would expect them also to become murderous psychopaths if they ever achieved power.

kropotkin1951:

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...the Murderous Bolsheviks

All I did was ask that the Bolsheviks actions be considered within the context of the time and place. Yes, considered in isolation the Bolsheviks did some things they should not have, to say nothing of the rise of Stalin, a development that set the working class back 50 years. Yet they did not live in isolation. They operated on an environment where millions had already been killed, people were starving to death every day, and the whole spectrum of capitalist countries was doing their best to bring an end to this upstart revolution.

If it had been left to the likes of Kropotkin, the revolution would have been over before it started. Mutual aid is a fine sounding phrase, but it's not part of the capitalist lexicon. And when it comes to fine distinctions, capital's response to any revolution is just to start shooting, and let the fine distinctions work themselves out.

And by the way, if you want your comments on Bolsheviks to be taken a bit more seriously, drop the caps when you use the word 'murderous'.

From yraste1313:

Quote:
.......system change doesn't just mean that we free ourselves from the yolk of capital

Normally I wouldn't comment on a spelling error, but I think this is a misuse, not a spelling error. The 'yolk' of capital is what you get on your face, the 'yoke' of capital is what they use to keep workers at the plough...

Again, I apologize for that, but I think my mother was frightened by an editor.

Slumberjack

Rev Pesky wrote:
Normally I wouldn't comment on a spelling error, but I think this is a misuse, not a spelling error. The 'yolk' of capital is what you get on your face, the 'yoke' of capital is what they use to keep workers at the plough...

Unless 'yolk of capital' is intended as 'egg on the face,' which implies an embarrassment.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

epaulo13 wrote:
...system change doesn't just mean that we free ourselves from the yolk of capital but that we make decisions in a different way and at a community level. so this is where i see the work being needed. to build alternative decision making structures within the current political and economic system. and here i believe are the building blocks for a different world.

Interestingly enough, that is precisely what the soviets were, local organizations that took over local administrations. But of course they couldn't achieve many things because they needed an overall authority. It was the Bolsheviks who turned the local soviets into a government.

It a bit disingenuous to think that capital will accept 'alternative decision making bodies' without putting up a fight. After all, they allow local control to some extent now (city and municipal governments), but that control has pretty strict limits. Vancouver, f'rinstance, has control over local concerns, but the Port of Vancouver, which exists wholly within the boundaries of the various cities of the lower mainland is ruled by the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority (Port Metro Vancouver). All the major ports in Canada are governed by similar port authorities, and they are all under the authority of Transport Canada.

So you can have your local 'authority' but the minute that authority challenges the greater authority (federal government), your local authority is brushed aside. The question then becomes, how to make the local authority stronger than the federal authority. That is when the trouble starts, because the federal authority will never agree to cede their decision making power, and in the end, you will be forced to unite the 'local' authorites in some overall plan. 

What happened in Russia was the local soviets sent delegates to larger soviets, and so on. What all have to understand is that there can be no such thing as a parallel power. The government of this country would see that as clearly as the Czar saw it.

That's when the fun starts...

..capital will never accept a different path. it will rather see humanity wiped out then change path. it is out of control. state aggression is always a threat but it's not as simple as you might think to deliver. i would suggest the path of capital includes harsh state. now would be a good time for us to resist publically and enmass. maybe even block this harsh state from moving forward as quickly as it was under harper. and then i hope for a financial crash that will end capital's current agenda. hope and struggle that's all we have.  

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
To go further, and castigate the Communist Party in Canada for what the Bosheviks did a hundred years ago, over which no Canadian had any control, is as reactionary as it's possible to get.

Depends what the CPC's opinion of those Bolsheviks is, here, today.

Do we still have "much to learn" from them?  Were they simply "doing what they had to"?

I think that part of the problem with ideological Communism is that it's kind of like a religion, in that criticism and "revisionism" are frowned upon.  If it was perfect way back then then it's perfect now too.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

Rev Pesky wrote:

If it had been left to the likes of Kropotkin, the revolution would have been over before it started.

You are really dismissive of all the workers and socialists who actually made up the Russian revolution. If the only people rising up were the Bolsheviks they would have been massacred before they got anywhere close to power. It was not Lenin and his gang of thugs it was thousands of real people throughout Russia who won the revolution. He wasn't even in the fucking country when the people took over. He came back to steal the newly won peoples power.

They usurped a popular uprising for personal power because they believed they knew better than the working people who rose up all over the country and overthrew the Tsarist order. In the end that mindset coupled with their willingness to shoot socialists who disagreed with them was historically the biggest set back to socialism around the globe.

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Rev Peskey wrote:
To go further, and castigate the Communist Party in Canada for what the Bosheviks did a hundred years ago, over which no Canadian had any control, is as reactionary as it's possible to get.

It is, however, a handy way to avoid discussion of the upcoming Convention, policy matters, visions of the future, including versions of socialism, and so on. What with the retroactive political criticisms of the Communists (Russian history), jettisoning of fundamental concepts (who needs socialism anyway? Let's all just "get along" !?), none of this silly Convention matters need to be discussed at all.

And as for actually READING any of their stuff, we all KNOW it's "inherently" evil.

Well, I intend to read the stuff and make my own critique. You can't critique the NDPs revolutionary program, or their idea of socialism because , well because it doesn't exist .... 

 

aka Mycroft

The Communist Party should really consider changing its name as it's a barrier to many people. It's also not really "tradiitional" when you remember that at its height (ie when it was actually able to elect an MP, MPPs, MLAs and city councillors) the party was known as the Labor-Progressive Party. 

swallow swallow's picture

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Rev, I think I can say with assurance that neither K. nor I have ever defended the atrocities of the U.S. Empire on this board. Your post is the worst of straw man arguments, and doesn't really even deserve an answer. 

Indeed. 

Good luck to the CP delegates - they've got a tough hill to climb. I hope they work for coalitions with other leftists even if they don't control the coalitions -- as some of their Quebec comrades did in joining the Union des Forces progressistes in 2002. 

iyraste1313

the movements are the agents of change. what i believe this above comment suggests is a search for centralization....

nonsense.....clearly you do not understand my positions ....a political movement can be based on decentralist units in federation...the key is to have a political agent that come together to build an alternative platform, clearly something the populists movements in their local struggles are not! prepáred to do, not to mention because of their lack of consultations and discussions often are just reformist at base...it is essential to have such a legal political movement..protection for its base non violence groups

.... you either have autonomy or you don't. you can't decided before hand what people should be deciding...

clearly you do not undertand the ideas of regional or bioregional autonomy, an alternative to the centralist systems of the State left and corporate based right

quizzical

iyraste1313 wrote:
clearly you do not undertand the ideas of regional or bioregional autonomy, an alternative to the centralist systems of the State left and corporate based right

egalitarian autonomy is how i've come to understand your ideas on this.

i just guessed that by bioregional you meant those who live in areas based upon biological similarities, concerns and proximity. is this what you mean?

we belong to Fsr Ft George region of northern BC but we have monetary ties, cultural, social and evironmental goals in common with all the communities in the Columbia Basin watershed to the south. it's a much larger area than our regional district. it's my image of what you mean by bioregions.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

aka Mycroft wrote:
The Communist Party should really consider changing its name as it's a barrier to many people. It's also not really "tradiitional" when you remember that at its height (ie when it was actually able to elect an MP, MPPs, MLAs and city councillors) the party was known as the Labor-Progressive Party.

I think the LPP related to a time when the CP was an illegal or semi-legal organization (3x in CP history they were criminalized). But it's a fair question. I would , however, pose it slightly differently. The name Communist relates to political organizations that adopt an orthodox Marxist (or Marxist-Leninist) approach, share some organizational criteria, such as democratic centralism, and so on. There were so many socialist parties at one time, prior to the establishment of Communist Parties around the world, that the name socialist is probably taken in 16 different varieties. I mean, they want to clearly convey that they're for socialism, so either socialist or communist seems appropriate.They might have the worry that others, anti-Communists, might appropriate their name if they did not use it.

Here is how I might put the same question differently. If you look at the ideological battle, the war of ideas, and you add in the case of a country like Canada a deliberate immigration policy of government, over many decades now, to invite or make welcome so-called dissidents from former socialist countries (the US still has this law in which Cubans that make it to the USA and touch land get all sorts of freebie emigration perks, whereas Haitians, Dominicans, etc. get no such treatment) and a general anti-Communist political orientation (there are many that are not, tis true) , the "brand" that is Communist has taken such an ideological beating that it begs the question: is Canada, for example, so hopelessly anti-Communist that any organization that takes that name loses all sorts of prospective members that they might, otherwise, have a chance to recruit or get support from?

Yes, it's possible. But it's also true that becoming a Communist is no path to social advancement for an individual. It may still be a marker for the state to add your name to a list of those who will be assigned to concentration camps in the case of civil unrest, blacklists still exist, and as anyone who is a high profile and effective activist knows, and not just Communists, there are a hundred doors that are closed to you, many of which you never even hear about. That's how it is. You're viewed as a threat.

It takes courage to be a Red. The name is just one more marker of that and it's not nearly as important as what you do. So maybe the name isn't that big a deal to change, or need to change.

I don't think they're interested in recruiting a bunch of wimps. heh. One observation I have about Reds that I've known is that, other than the red diaper babies that are probably becoming fewer and fewer, they're a remarkably individualistic bunch. No, I don't mean they shun collectivity. I just mean that it takes a certain toughness and determination, in a country like Canada, to muster the courage to sign that membership card. You know people are going to shit on you and you do it anyway.

And maybe that's as it should be.

Some people have suggested here that the Reds lack some basic humility, or read that into their political framework. I think, frankly, they eat humble pie from day 1. And large helpings too.

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

iyraste1313 wrote:

the movements are the agents of change. what i believe this above comment suggests is a search for centralization....

nonsense.....clearly you do not understand my positions ....a political movement can be based on decentralist units in federation...the key is to have a political agent that come together to build an alternative platform, clearly something the populists movements in their local struggles are not! prepáred to do, not to mention because of their lack of consultations and discussions often are just reformist at base...it is essential to have such a legal political movement..protection for its base non violence groups

.... you either have autonomy or you don't. you can't decided before hand what people should be deciding...

clearly you do not undertand the ideas of regional or bioregional autonomy, an alternative to the centralist systems of the State left and corporate based right

..your posts on babble, i believe, form part of your positions. one can talk about autonomy but the devil is in the details and your posts make clear how you feel about things. this is what i base my remarks on. having said that i'd be interested in exploring this further but this is not the thread to do it in. in 2013 i began an autonomy thread that didn't get much interest. that can be utilized. maybe you can provide links to bio/reginal autonomy here.

Rev Pesky

Slumberjack wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:
Normally I wouldn't comment on a spelling error, but I think this is a misuse, not a spelling error. The 'yolk' of capital is what you get on your face, the 'yoke' of capital is what they use to keep workers at the plough...

Unless 'yolk of capital' is intended as 'egg on the face,' which implies an embarrassment.

 

I think that's what I was trying to say...Embarassed

Rev Pesky

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

If it had been left to the likes of Kropotkin, the revolution would have been over before it started.

You are really dismissive of all the workers and socialists who actually made up the Russian revolution. If the only people rising up were the Bolsheviks they would have been massacred before they got anywhere close to power. It was not Lenin and his gang of thugs it was thousands of real people throughout Russia who won the revolution. He wasn't even in the fucking country when the people took over. He came back to steal the newly won peoples power.

They usurped a popular uprising for personal power because they believed they knew better than the working people who rose up all over the country and overthrew the Tsarist order. In the end that mindset coupled with their willingness to shoot socialists who disagreed with them was historically the biggest set back to socialism around the globe.  

I suggest reading 'The History of the Russian Revolution' by Trotsky, to see what he actually thought and did. And by the way, Kropotkin returned to Russia at the same time as Trotsky. So, using your words, 'He wasn't even in the fucking country when the people took over...etc.'

In fact the people didn't just 'take over'. The progress of the revolution was very uneven, usually with the major cities far ahead of the countryside. In the meantiime, Russia was still in a state of war with Germany, and the 'Allies' were scared stiff that Russia would reach a separate peace with Germany, so were actively supporting those opposed to the revolution. To suggest that by 1917 the revolution was over, and all the Bolsheviks had to do was swoop in and pick of the pieces is ridiculous.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

That Trotsky book is good for something else as well. Until i read that I was a total science nerd. Suddenly, history became interesting. Until then, i was brainwashed to think history was dull and Canadian history was the most dull of all. Lev Davidovich got me started.

swallow swallow's picture

I'm intrigued. Did he say anything about Canadian history?

Unionist

I find the discussion of Stalin's crimes etc. in this thread to be diversionary. "Stalin would have killed me, so that's why I hate the CP of Canada" doesn't really advance the conversation much.

The Communist Party of Canada has a long history of self-sacrificing activism in favour of the interests of the Canadian people - and they've suffered persecution here because of it. And I personally know dedicated militants of that party that I'm proud to sit, plan, and march with, whether in the struggles of the workers or other social movements.

The only problem I personally identified in their program (at least, the sections quoted above by ikosmos) is their apparent delusion (or that of their leadership? don't know) that the growth of their group is somehow the decisive issue facing the movement - that they are destined to lead us to salvation. The sooner they surgically remove that little delusion from their ideological makeup, the better for all of us.

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

I also have know many activists who were proud members. But it is a fact that the CP is entwined with the Russian revolution. It supplanted the other socialist and labour parties in 1921. That is also part of its history and personally I find the name off putting but not the people I have met who are involved.

Quote:

The Canadian Communist Party began as an illegal organization in a rural barn near the town of Guelph, Ontario, on May 28 and 29, 1921. Many of its founding members had worked as labour organizers and as anti-war activists and had belonged to groups such as the Socialist Party of Canada, One Big Union, the Socialist Labor Party, the Industrial Workers of the World, and other socialist, Marxist, or Labour parties or clubs and organizations. The first members felt inspired by the Russian Revolution, and radicalised by the negative aftermath of World War I and the fight to improve living standards and labour rights, including the experience of the Winnipeg General Strike. The Comintern accepted the party affiliation as its Canadian section in December 1921, and thus it adopted a similar organizational structure and policy to Communist parties around the world.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communist_Party_of_Canada

One of my favourite labour songs is No More Reds in the Union because I believe it is also historically accurate.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZGlQXBjZ64

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Unionist wrote:
The only problem I personally identified in their program (at least, the sections quoted above by ikosmos) is their apparent delusion (or that of their leadership? don't know) that the growth of their group is somehow the decisive issue facing the movement - that they are destined to lead us to salvation.

I really think you're reading far more into this than is deserved. Their own growth is simply THEIR OWN DECISIVE ISSUE, not THE decisive issue, etc. They even try to outline why this is so ... their aim to assist, from their own perspective, all these mass movements, etc. by bringing their socialist perspective, the necessity of socialism, blah blah. I mean, who else does this in an organized way? Some individual socialists? Be serious. 

[Edited to add: this could actually be identified as a glaring weakness of the CP. I mean, their sine qua non is socialism ... and yet a good case could be made that they don't spend enough resources on this. Instead, a kind of milquetoast "progressive" approach, for all the right movement issues, but not enough of their own unique message for socialism. At least, that's the CP I know about. Perhaps they have changed this in more recent years.]

I mean, think about it. A much larger CP, even, God forbit, a MLA or MP or so, and by Christ the authorities would be having connipshins. And frankly that would be a good thing. It would box the ears of the NDP and suddenly they would "re discover" the importance of elaborating an alternative vision, etc. Or the state would make the CP illegal under some false flag pretext, etc.

Don't kid yourself for a second. Even a microscopic CP is viewed as a threat. Don't ever forget it. Despite all the sometimes bluster against the NDP, there are plenty who understand one of the main purposes of our beloved Social Democrats is to provide a ne plus ultra beyond which "respectable" people dare not go, or even think about.... An organization that says (a) socialism is a necessity; (b) that necessity can only come about through fundamental change; (c) some things and theorizes about how to get closer to that necessity, and imagines the impossible; (d) puts the working class at the heart of that change, whenever it comes; (e) refuses to abandon the sacred principle of internationalism, come hell or high water; and (f) never abandons the cause of peace - will always be needed.

Do you really want to argue that these things should be done on an ad hoc basis? By osmosis, perhaps? Give your frigging head a shake. They have to be done in an organized way or they won't be done at all. Some of these are fought for by others, that's true,  but all of them are fought for by the Reds only. Maybe the CP isn't the vehicle to move these things forward, they probably aren't (just look at the CP's role in the Cuban Revolution)  but the fact that they argue for these things gives them radical credibility in my books.

Be objective. Sure they suck, but they're right about a lot of things. Why is that? I believe it's because they're still trying to bring revolutionary theory to the movement. And I am still firmly convinced of Georgi Plekanov's assertion that "without revolutionary theory, there is no revolutionary movement in the true sense of the word". [So maybe the question you want to ask is "How do they have the theory wrong?" etc. ] Is this arrogant or presumtious? Maybe. Who else is going to do it? Christ. Who else even wants to do it? But can any person who wants to apply Marxism to today's world, someone who argues for socialism as a necessity, avoid agreeing that this is essential?

Georgi was right. He's still right.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
[Edited to add: this could actually be identified as a glaring weakness of the CP. I mean, their sine qua non is socialism ... and yet a good case could be made that they don't spend enough resources on this. Instead, a kind of milquetoast "progressive" approach, for all the right movement issues, but not enough of their own unique message for socialism. At least, that's the CP I know about. Perhaps they have changed this in more recent years.]

So you're basically saying that the most salient criticism of the CPC that you can think of is that they aren't left enough?

iyraste1313

Instead, a kind of milquetoast "progressive" approach, for all the right movement issues, but not enough of their own unique message for socialism. At least, that's the CP I know about. Perhaps they have changed this in more recent years.]

...likewise I haven´t either been following closely......they seem to be cheerleaders, which is great! for many progressive and union causes, clearly in their admirable attempt to unify what they consider to be progressive forces......so I am eager to see if they are now trying to renew their foundation......based on some analysis?

The fundamental problem I can´t but reiterate enough is that they promote movement politics to support the Party...no criticism intended......instead of building a movement which would dictate to a Party, or rather utilize the 1000% corrupt electoral system to promote a holistic movement...economics, finances, technologies, social and cultural in practice!

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
[Edited to add: this could actually be identified as a glaring weakness of the CP. I mean, their sine qua non is socialism ... and yet a good case could be made that they don't spend enough resources on this. Instead, a kind of milquetoast "progressive" approach, for all the right movement issues, but not enough of their own unique message for socialism. At least, that's the CP I know about. Perhaps they have changed this in more recent years.]

So you're basically saying that the most salient criticism of the CPC that you can think of is that they aren't left enough?

ah, no. This criticism is that they are doing a lousy job of what they claim is critical. And I can even give a rough idea why. The CP has been silenced (not silent) and made illegal many times in Canadian history. They simply watered down their public face of being the party of socialism. And it's true that the idea doesn't get a lot of traction for many. But, hey. Even Bernie Sanders has shown that in the land of the yahoo and the home of Donald Duck, socialist ideas CAN get traction. So that's not good enough. 

I mean, they should be providing a socialist solution to every political problem they have an opinion on. [ETA: and maybe less time on problems that can be solved within capitalism.] If you look at a political magazine like Monthly Review in NYC, what you will see is that they always come back to the necessity of socialism. But maybe the CP here in Canada is taking the long way around. Too long.

"Not left enough" fails to convey the exact problem (and its remedy).

My two bits anyway.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The CP has been silenced (not silent) and made illegal many times in Canadian history.

When was the most recent time?  I'm asking for a year.  For how long have they been "silenced"?

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Well, they're good on the message of unity. If they can't get " Workers of all lands, Unite!" correct then they better just pack up house. But that's not the issue.

There's an interesting chicken and egg component here. They need more members to accomplish what they'd like to do. But their theoretical development is under-developed, so they don't attract the members that they so desperately need. I'd like to see some more [adult] dialectics in their analysis. I mean, if Marxism really is the cat's meow when it comes to theory, then show it. Prove it. Apply it to Canada with a socialist solution to an intractable capitalist problem. Then you show socialism is ... necessary ... and capitalism is ... an obstacle to progress.

And there's another critique of the CP. Their theoretical level is, well, ... leaves, I think, a great deal to be desired. And maybe just cowboy primitiveness in theory, a kind of bible-thumping wooden Marxism,  is what really bugs unionist and chaps his ass (as they say in Texas).

Bugs this cowboy too.

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Well you have to look at periods when the CP was illegal and also other times when they are semi-legal, blacklisted, etc. Let me give you a simple example. A public issue comes up, of concern to everyone - and progressives most of all - and they are simply blocked out from participating in public events around the issue. Others get to monopolize the message. So, that's a kind of silencing. And if they're very small, it's easy to do. To shut them up. Democracy isn't just who gets the most votes; democracy is also about diversity of views in public debate, etc.

You know, this is an interesting expression. Silent. Silenced. They mean two different things. The G&M newspaper "edited" the speech of Nelson Mandela upon his release from the apartheid dungeons.

"I would like to thank the Churches of South Africa," he said, "when other voices of protest were silenced."

Guess what the Globe and Mail did? Silenced became ... silent. As in not saying anything. That's quite a different meaning, don't you agree?

The same speech by Mandela was also edited by the G&M  to remove all reference to the thanks he gave, from the bottom of his heart, to all the activists, alive and dead, many of whom he identified by name, of the South African Communist Party who contributed to the glorious struggle to end the barbarous apartheid regime.

That was 1990 or thereabouts. It would be a good exercise for skeptics such as yourself to actually look up the G&M "version" of the speech and the actual text that Mandela spoke and compare them. Forgive me if I say that I doubt you will ever do such a thing.

This sort of thing happens a zillion times. Yeah, they are silenced. How do you go about itemizing such things?

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Well you have to look at periods when the CP was illegal and also other times when they are semi-legal, blacklisted, etc.

I asked about the period(s) when they were illegal.

In terms of the state, I don't even really know what "semi-legal" actually means.

Quote:
It would be a good exercise for skeptics such as yourself to actually look up the G&M "version" of the speech and the actual text that Mandela spoke and compare them. Forgive me if I say that I doubt you will ever do such a thing.

Consider yourself forgiven -- you're correct that I won't, because I don't live in South Africa.  I'm not asking about South Africa.

Quote:
This sort of thing happens a zillion times. Yeah, they are silenced. How do you go about itemizing such things?

You could begin by just telling us about them in Canada.

 

 

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

In 2016 the elite in Canada is not afraid of the CP so they have no problem with it. They are far more afraid of the First Nations activists than any group of communists. Of course that does not mean that CSIS or the RCMP doesn't have spies in the organization but then again they even spy on the Council of Canadians.

swallow swallow's picture

Quote:
Sure they suck, but they're right about a lot of things.

That would be a great party motto, actually. 

WIth their defence of the USSR line dropped (no longer terribly relevant), the CP may well have something to contribute. It would be great if they made a case for bringing everything back to the need for socalism. 

iyraste1313

When was the most recent time?  I'm asking for a year.  For how long have they been "silenced"?

Not too long ago, the federal elections officer tried to shut them down, seize their assets, forcing a long legal battle which they actually won...sorry I can´t be more specific on details...but it was an important legal battle for small and emerging political parties in Canada...

But of course the CP´s weakness has more to do with continual fractionalization, the most recent when some of the supposedly more creative people seized a good portion of the assets before going bankrupt and disappearing...this was in BC, I think one of these rebels is now a happy member of the reigning municipal party of Vancouver

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:
In terms of the state, I don't even really know what "semi-legal" actually means.

lol. Or you don't want to. Here's an example. The Canadian regime - for many decades - carried out a policy of cultural genocide against First Nations people. One of the ways they did this was to have pass laws. Look them up. South African had them . They copied Canada, as a matter of fact. Now what happens when historians look up the legal record on these pass laws?

Well, they didn't exist. Not on the books, anyway. But then, if you examine the correspondence between the RCMP and the government of the day ... you find angry objections by the RCM Police for having to enforce illegal laws.

And now some of these passes are coming to light. Semi-legal. Get the picture, smart guy?

Not that you really give a shit anyway.

Quote:
"It would be a good exercise for skeptics such as yourself to actually look up the G&M "version" of the speech and the actual text that Mandela spoke and compare them. Forgive me if I say that I doubt you will ever do such a thing."

Consider yourself forgiven -- you're correct that I won't, because I don't live in South Africa.  I'm not asking about South Africa.

Wow. You really are obtuse. But I knew that. Nothing that lends credibility to the Reds gets published. Even in Canada. And that affects Canadians. Get the picture, genius? lol.

 

 

 

ikosmos ikosmos's picture

swallow wrote:

Quote:
Sure they suck, but they're right about a lot of things.

That would be a great party motto, actually. 

WIth their defence of the USSR line dropped (no longer terribly relevant), the CP may well have something to contribute. It would be great if they made a case for bringing everything back to the need for socialism. 

The critique I've noted above is that they've failed to do so and have no one to blame but themselves. Self censorship, as it were. The MSM media does it all the time. But the Reds seem to be infected by the same ideological disease.

 

Slumberjack

Quote:
... a conscious political and organizational effort to invigorate the extra-parliamentary movements, and an ideological struggle to shed illusions about the bourgeois role and character of the capitalist state.

We're under the influence of materialism and mass consumerism.  How do the bourgeois, the little bourgeois, and the proletariat; who mostly dream about updating their status to that of the bourgeois and beyond; shed their illusions about Capitalism's role and character when most people are like, 'duh, where's mine?'

iyraste1313

We're under the influence of materialism and mass consumerism.  How do the bourgeois, the little bourgeois, and the proletariat; who mostly dream about updating their status to that of the bourgeois and beyond; shed their illusions about Capitalism's role and character when most people are like, 'duh, where's mine?'...

...thanks for this, which is the quintessinal problem! Precisely the same amongst the supposed withit generation of youth, who party party party and when the funds run out, back to the oil patch or wherever they can make their big bucks, to party some more......

understandable what with so cynical a bunch of authorities that control our institutions of control....

so what to do?

First it will take some courageous souls with some heart to take the risks and sacrifices to demand and enact solutions......

the second may have some effect as look at the BDS movement, the natural healing movements.....

...what I propose as ever is boycott! The corporations and as much as possible the institutions of authority, to create our own!

But the clincher and game changer is the finances and economics...when the big bucks stop, watch out! if of course there is leadership and organization to absorb all this potentially violent energy...or things will quickly tuen fascist in its ugliest form!

Now is the time to be coming together to talk about all this! The World Social Forum may be a good venue to start!

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Not too long ago, the federal elections officer tried to shut them down, seize their assets, forcing a long legal battle which they actually won...sorry I can´t be more specific on details...but it was an important legal battle for small and emerging political parties in Canada...

From Wikipedia:

Quote:
New electoral laws mandated that any political party which failed to field 50 candidates in a general federal election would be automatically de-registered and its assets seized. The CPC was not in a position to run 50 candidates in the 1993 federal election (it fielded only eight candidates during that election), and therefore its assets were seized and the party was de-listed. The CPC had sought an interim injunction to prevent its imminent de-registration, but this legal action failed.

A prolonged thirteen-year political and legal battle, Figueroa v. Canada ensued, which won the support of widespread popular opinion, reflected in a number of members of parliament openly supporting the challenge and other small political parties joining the case, most notably the Green Party. Never before had a single court challenge resulted in legislative action on three separate occasions to amend a standing law. Bill C-2 (2000) amended the Canada Elections Act to (among other things) remove the unconstitutional seizure of party assets for failure to field 50 candidates in a general election and provided for the full refund of candidates’ deposits. The party had its deregistration overturned and its seized assets restored. Bill C-9 (2001) reduced the threshold from 50 to 12 candidates for the party identifier to appear on the ballot. Bill C-3 (2003) scrapped the 50-candidate rule altogether for party registration. This victory was celebrated by many of the other small parties – regardless of political differences – on the principle that it was a victory for the people's right to democratic choice.

I'm not sure that really qualifies as some kind of anti-Communist persecution, though.

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