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 Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Thread Started on Jul 9, 2005, 7:28pm »

Okay, let's critique this Bob Avakian document as a special project. Let's go through it line by line and then move on to the next section.

From Bob Avakian's Conquer the World @ rwor.org/bob_avakian/conquerworld/

II. More on the Proletarian Revolution as a World Process.

Here I just want to make a few points briefly—specifically, more on the material basis of proletarian internationalism. The article which I referred to earlier was entitled “On the Philosophical Basis of Proletarian Internationalism” because it dealt with the question of internal and external (the internal basis and the external conditions of change of a thing); but of course philosophy is based on matter and the philosophical basis is the reflection of the material basis. This is all linked to a deeper grasp of this question of the fundamental contradiction of the bourgeois epoch on a world scale and how all this is integrated into this overall process; and further we have to grasp how this applies even to the situation of socialist countries existing during this period, that is, the period of worldwide transition from the bourgeois epoch to the epoch of world communism.

One of the main things that I’ve been grappling with and that came out in the 1981 May Day tape36 and so on is the problem, if you want to put it this way, of the lopsidedness in the world. This is linked to the question of the contradiction of the forces and relations of production on the one hand, and this interpenetrating with the base and superstructure, on the other—both within specific countries, including socialist countries, and overall principally on a world scale. And all this has much to do with the complexity and tortuousness of the process of proletarian revolution towards the advance of communism worldwide.

What do I mean by this lopsidedness? Lenin, of course, insisted on the basic distinction between the handful of advanced imperialist exploiters and imperialist states and the great majority of the world’s people in colonial and dependent situations. But the problem has developed in a more acute way in the sense that in a handful of advanced countries is concentrated—perhaps even in an absolute quantitative sense, but certainly qualitatively—the advanced productive forces in the world. In those countries, and not unrelated to this, the proletariat, broad sections of it and the masses generally, to put it in crude, simple terms, are sometimes not that hungry and not that desirous a lot of the time of radical change. There are strata and sections that are, but it’s not that often that broad masses of people are demanding radical change in the whole social structure. On the other hand, there are vast areas of the world where the masses are living in desperate conditions.

Now one of the things that really infuriates me about these social chauvinists and people who say, “What’s the difference, imperialist country or not imperialist country, they’re all on the capitalist road and they’re all developing capitalism, some are 100 years behind the others, some of them are so many machines behind the others and so forth,” is that it’s very easy for people sitting in one of these imperialist countries, even in the European imperialist countries, to say this. In these countries the trains run all on time, trucks drive the goods from one end of the country to the other and there’s an integrated market (not that everything’s smooth and even, because that’s not the way of anything, and certainly not of capitalism) and if there’s a serious crisis the unemployment rate is 8%. But in the vast bulk of the world 8% unemployment would be a miracle—it’s 30 or 40% all the time, let alone when there’s a really acute crisis. And outside of a few pockets, these places are extremely backward and the railroads don’t even reach to most of the areas, much less run on time, and the goods aren’t moving rapidly all over the country, and there is not an articulated economy (in the sense of the advanced capitalist economies where the linkages between different sectors and between investment and consumption make for integrated national economies).

It is an infuriating thing, this imperialist economist chauvinism where people say capital is capital, what’s the difference what the nationality of the capital is. They think they’re being very profound talking about production relations when they see it narrowly in a national framework and don’t see that an extremely important production relation for the world as a whole is the production relation (which is what it is) between imperialism and these oppressed nations. That’s also a production relation and it’s a decisive one in the world as a whole and it’s more important than the production relation between a factory worker and a warehouse worker in the imperialist countries.

In any case, on the one hand are these advanced countries where most of the productive forces are concentrated but the revolutionary sentiments and level of struggle of the masses and consciousness of the masses is generally, and most of the time—at least so far—not on a very high level. Which is not at all the same—perhaps it does need saying but shouldn’t—as the line that revolution is not possible or there’s no real prospect for it, even now, in these advanced countries.

And on the other hand, in most of the world the productive forces are backward; such development of the productive forces as there is is under the domination of finance capital and imperialism internationally, which distorts and disarticulates these economies. The people are in much more desperate conditions, much more desirous of radical change; yet they are also in much more backward, primitive conditions, much less concentrated and socialized (about which there is in this sense something fundamentally important) and frankly, while desirous of change and capable of being rallied more readily to support for revolution, generally the stage of revolution there is one of bourgeois democracy, even if of a new type. And even if the possibility exists, and we should stress the possibility and not the certainty, that it can be developed under the leadership of the proletariat (that’s another mechanical law of revolution that needs to be declared illegal, namely that any revolution against imperialism in those countries can only be led by the proletariat), nevertheless, there’s a problem. While people are desirous of radical change and can be mobilized more quickly and readily for revolution, though not without contradiction and not simply and easily but more readily behind the banner of revolution, nevertheless the stage of revolution and the content of revolution, even if it is under proletarian leadership, generally corresponds to bourgeois democracy and to the stage of national liberation.

All this represents and makes for a further complication in the process of proletarian revolution throughout the world. In the West—and I am talking about the West in terms of the imperialist countries, including the Soviet Union—it’s proven to be more difficult in this period to make revolution than in the East, the East being the colonial and dependent countries in what’s been called the “third world.” But it’s also proven to be extremely difficult to lead and maintain revolution where it can be and where it has been more readily made, and there’s no easy way out of this.

Of course, if we succeed in making a qualitative breakthrough (which it would be) in seizing power in one (or more) of the imperialist citadels, that would in fact be a new leap forward for the international proletariat and would create new freedom, although we should have no illusions that making revolution in an imperialist country means that the proletariat when it comes to power will inherit that country and its productive forces as they were, for example, five years before the revolution began—and probably the world war too. Nevertheless, that would still represent a qualitative leap of a certain kind. But it would not and could not change the fact or eliminate the problem that there is a further complexity because of this lopsidedness as I’ve described and referred to it.

All this then poses problems, yes, but what it also does, on the other hand, is to heighten the importance of internationalism and, at the same time, the importance of grasping and deepening our grasp of the whole motion of spirals leading to conjunctures when all the contradictions on a world scale are concentrated and heightened, including the possibilities for revolution. This is opposed to views which either deny, fail to grasp or, if recognizing some of this, deal incorrectly with the question of the spiral motion internationally toward conjuncture, and oppose to it erroneous notions such as those represented in the theory of general crisis, the linear type views to which I referred earlier.

So this poses problems but it deepens and heightens the importance of our understanding of imperialism and our need to grasp this correct methodology and analysis precisely because, as I said, even if gains are maximized at every point—even at the decisive points of worldwide conjuncture—not all will be won at once, in one conjuncture or even, in all likelihood, in just a couple of go-’rounds. Therefore, this problem of how to deal with this lopsidedness, how to make the greatest breakthroughs and then how to make socialist countries bases for the world revolution is going to be with us and is going to assume very acute form. We’re not going to be able to just wish away the problems related to socialist states emerging in an imperialist-dominated world. In all likelihood, whether or not we make a breakthrough this time around in terms of a revolution in one (or more) of these imperialist citadels, even a relatively lesser one, there will still be these problems. Whether or not such a breakthrough is made, we’re still not going to be able to wave away the problem that there’s going to be imperialist encirclement and that the pressure, both material and ideological, that such encirclement is going to exert on the proletariat in power and on its socialist state will be immense.

It’s a problem of how to actually carry out what’s been forged to a higher level in the Party’s Programme, that is, carrying forward the socialist transformation in that country (those countries) where breakthroughs occur as a subordinate part of, not just a base area in the abstract but as a subordinate part of, the world revolution. That’s a question we have to begin grappling with right now, precisely because if we carry out the correct line with the correct methodology there may be—if not in the U.S. then in some other imperialist citadel(s), and perhaps in the U.S. itself—that actual leap forward of the seizure of power when the question will be very much and pressingly on the agenda. And, of course, these basic principles apply and are crucial for the international proletariat wherever (in whatever type of country) it makes the breakthroughs and establishes socialist states.

But beyond that there is a particular question I want to address: How far can you go within a single socialist country? Just to say that it’s been proven and settled historically that socialism is possible in one country—even if we unbeg the question by coming to a deep understanding of what socialism is and say that there is a real socialist road and it’s possible to go and stay on the socialist road, at least for a significant distance, to use the analogy of a road—it still hasn’t even been settled that it’s possible to have socialism in absolutely every country under every circumstance. The fact that it’s been possible to do it in certain countries in certain times doesn’t prove it’s possible to have socialism in every “one country” at all times. But even more than that there is, I believe, and this is something I’m trying to come to grips with, and only beginning to grapple with, a limitation, though not an absolute limit in a mechanical sense, on how far you can go in a single socialist country.

Here I want to say that there’s been the old charge that we’ve pled “not guilty” to and to which now we have to plead “innocent as charged”: that’s the old charge that’s been hurled in a perverted way of course by the imperialists that socialist countries in particular, as they frame it, have a need themselves to expand and conquer more of the world or else they run up against their limitations. And I think we have to plead innocent as charged to that. For a long time we’ve been denying it and pleading not guilty and charging slander. And now I think we have to plead innocent as charged and by that, of course, I’m talking about something qualitatively different from the need of the imperialists for spheres of influence to export capital, to exploit more people, to try to transform the world in their image, or better said, distort it under their domination.

We shouldn’t get metaphysical here either on the other side, that is, be absolutist about the limitations on how far you can advance in socialist transformation in one country. But, still, there is a basic truth here and I’m not talking about the need, as is actually imperialist slander, of a socialist country as a country to have raw materials and to dominate more territory and to get the resources and people of different countries under its domination. I’m not talking about that—that’s just the mirror the imperialists are holding up to themselves.

In terms of maintaining power and advancing further on the socialist road—and not just from the standpoint of a socialist state but in particular from the standpoint of the international proletariat—the question is much more that there is a limit, as I said, to how far you can go in transforming the base and superstructure within the socialist country without making further advances in winning and transforming more of the world; not in terms of conquering more resources or people as the imperialists do, but in terms of making revolutionary transformations. (This was just hinted at and pointed to in a general way in that letter, “On the Philosophical Basis of Proletarian Internationalism.”)

As far as I understand it, the reason for this is, first of all, that there is the ideological influence, as well as the actual military and political and other pressure, from the imperialist encirclement. But there’s also the fact that this is the era of a single world process and that has a material foundation, it’s not just an idea. What may be rational in terms of the production, even, and utilization of labor power and resources within a single country, carried beyond a certain point, while it may seem rational for that country, is irrational if you actually look upon a world scale. And that reacts upon that country and becomes an incorrect policy, not the best utilization of things even within that country, and begins to work not only against the development of the productive forces but, dialectically related to that, against the further transformation in the production relations (or the economic base) and the superstructure.

It is not possible to go on forever in a linear country-by-country way, to go on a separate dialectic within the socialist countries, even with its twists and turns, even beating back at times capitalist restoration and supporting the peoples of the world: at a certain point this is going to turn into its opposite—for material reasons, as well as interpenetrating with ideological and political and even military reasons.

There’s a truth here which, correctly grasped with materialist dialectics, strengthens proletarian internationalism and can strengthen, if applied consciously, the revolutionary struggle of the international proletariat overall through its unavoidably long, tortuous path and struggle marked by critical conjunctures, by sudden turns, dramatic upheavals and leaps.

This calls to mind that in the Communists Are Rebels37 pamphlet, this question is put to the side, so to speak, and necessarily, overall, to focus on specific contradictions that are concentrated on there. For example, it simply says on page 11 in the pamphlet, “You are familiar with our analysis of how the class struggle within a socialist country interacts with the class struggle internationally and the fact that the fight against capitalist restoration in a socialist country and to achieve the advance to communism can only be successfully carried out in unity with the whole international revolutionary struggle and on a worldwide basis,” which is not wrong overall, but at the same time, as is shown in the differences, that is, the advances from the Party’s draft Programme and Constitution to their final versions, our understanding of precisely this point has been developed even qualitatively in a certain sense.

That is, we have sharpened our grasp of the fact that proletarian internationalism is and must be the foundation for the proletariat and its party in all countries. Before power is seized this is a crucial question, but even more so once power has been seized. And it’s in the sense of all this that I say that we can and should willingly and defiantly plead innocent as charged to this allegation that we need to keep advancing and winning more of the world, or else our gains will turn into their opposite.
« Last Edit: Jul 19, 2005, 12:08pm by prairiefire » IP: Logged

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 Re: Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #1 on Jul 11, 2005, 1:53am »


Quote:
The article which I referred to earlier was entitled “On the Philosophical Basis of Proletarian Internationalism” because it dealt with the question of internal and external (the internal basis and the external conditions of change of a thing); but of course philosophy is based on matter and the philosophical basis is the reflection of the material basis.


For all his talk about material analysis, it would be nice if Avakian actually did some! Avakian is the ultimate dogmatist windbag.


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What do I mean by this lopsidedness? Lenin, of course, insisted on the basic distinction between the handful of advanced imperialist exploiters and imperialist states and the great majority of the world’s people in colonial and dependent situations.


So far so good.


Quote:
But the problem has developed in a more acute way in the sense that in a handful of advanced countries is concentrated—perhaps even in an absolute quantitative sense, but certainly qualitatively—the advanced productive forces in the world.


Well, actually Lenin did speak of capital being exported to the colonial world. The idea that the instruments of production, a big part of the productive forces of the first world , are simply advancing isn’t really true. In fact only about 20% of Amerikans are even employed in the productive sector anymore. This is commonly spoken of as the de-industrialization of Amerika or even as “out sourcing.” Of course, Avakian’s dogmatic and bumpkin style, he doesn’t cite anything to back up his claims about advanced productive forces being concentrated in the first world. Why? What is the subtext? It’s to sneak in the idea that Amerikans deserve more because they are more productive. It’s yet another back door way to justify his labor aristocratic politics.


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In those countries, and not unrelated to this, the proletariat, broad sections of it and the masses generally, to put it in crude, simple terms, are sometimes not that hungry and not that desirous a lot of the time of radical change. There are strata and sections that are, but it’s not that often that broad masses of people are demanding radical change in the whole social structure.


Wow! Bob, you’ve almost understood Lenin. It’s called a labor aristocracy and they are not revolutionary. As Lenin said, “the seal of parasiticism affects whole nations.” Also, Engels spoke of the bourgoisification of the English working class.


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On the other hand, there are vast areas of the world where the masses are living in desperate conditions.


Yes, it’s called a proletariat - and they are in the 3rd world. Most production is done outside Amerika now.


Quote:
Now one of the things that really infuriates me about these social chauvinists and people who say, “What’s the difference, imperialist country or not imperialist country, they’re all on the capitalist road and they’re all developing capitalism, some are 100 years behind the others, some of them are so many machines behind the others and so forth,” is that it’s very easy for people sitting in one of these imperialist countries, even in the European imperialist countries, to say this.


Bob fakes left, only to run right. Avakian speaks of chauvinism - look in the mirror Bob. His facts are just plain wrong. Most production isn’t happening in Amerika anyway. Most production, including advanced production, is happening outside of Amerika and the real proletariat is making near to starvation wages. The idea that an Amerikan worker, or even Amerikan production as a whole, is more productive is simply not true.


Quote:
In these countries the trains run all on time, trucks drive the goods from one end of the country to the other and there’s an integrated market (not that everything’s smooth and even, because that’s not the way of anything, and certainly not of capitalism) and if there’s a serious crisis the unemployment rate is 8%.


Here Bob sings the praises of the parasitic mall economy as though it were actually producing something. Less than a quarter are even employed in value creating industries. If they don't create value then they are not having surplus value appropriated. These workers are not exploited. They are what Marx called parasitic. Amerikkka barely has a productive sector. It's a giant means of management and distribution. Amerikkka is a mall writ large. It is a bunch of rich people shuffling around goods and services to each other. Well, the production has to be going on somewhere! It isn't happening at the mall! The value that makes this parasitic economy possible is produced outside (for the most part) u$ borders. Last time I checked, they weren't growing beans in the back of Starbuch's.

In his fuzzy thinking, just because Amerikans have a lot of high tech gadgets then, Amerika must have an advance productive base. Just because Amerika is a dumping ground for all the latest high tech toys doesn’t mean that it has advanced forces of production. In fact, it barely has production at all. Not a lot is actually made in the u$ anymore. There are some excpetions of course, agriculture and the military sector come to mind.


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But in the vast bulk of the world 8% unemployment would be a miracle—it’s 30 or 40% all the time, let alone when there’s a really acute crisis.


It’s called super exploitation. This kind of unemployment allows the capitalists to pay sub-living wages. This is one of the main reasons production has been declining in the so called “advance” nations.


Quote:
And outside of a few pockets, these places are extremely backward and the railroads don’t even reach to most of the areas, much less run on time, and the goods aren’t moving rapidly all over the country, and there is not an articulated economy (in the sense of the advanced capitalist economies where the linkages between different sectors and between investment and consumption make for integrated national economies).


Actually, in so far as production goes, some of what Avakian calls “backward” nations are the most productive. These are the nations which are actually creating value. Hence, they have a proletariat. Some have more of a productive base than the u$. Avakian is a kind of bumpkin empiricist. He looks around Amerika and sees all the high tech glitz and glam. He then assumes that Amerika must be more advance productively. Then, he turns his head toward the 3rd world, and assumes that they must be less productive because they don’t have all the toys Amerika does. Well, they’re the ones making the toys.


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It is an infuriating thing, this imperialist economist chauvinism where people say capital is capital, what’s the difference what the nationality of the capital is.


Bob’s best move - the fake left.


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That’s also a production relation and it’s a decisive one in the world as a whole and it’s more important than the production relation between a factory worker and a warehouse worker in the imperialist countries.


Bob’s second best move - the run right. Here Bob wants to just call everyone who is a wage earner proletarian. You’re still only talking about less than 25% of Amerikans even if you included warehouse workers. That certainly doesn’t add up to a proletariat. Bob wants to include all wage earners including service, retail, and management. He wants to say everyone involved in what RCP=u$a terms “realizing capital” is a proletarian. This is one reason he doesn’t mind shooting for 90% of Amerikans. He throws out Marx and Lenin. This totally ignores that even those 25% or whatever are overpaid. They are paid in excess of they value they create. They are a labor aristocracy is the truest sense.


Quote:
In any case, on the one hand are these advanced countries where most of the productive forces are concentrated


False. Productive forces are not concentrated in the first world. Lenin spoke a long time ago about production becoming stagnant in imperialist nations. But, with the increase in parasiticism, the productive base is actually regressing in the imperialist countries. Most production is in the 3rd world now. Bob is stuck in some stereotype of the advanced West and the backwards East. It isn’t that simple Bob.


Quote:
but the revolutionary sentiments and level of struggle of the masses and consciousness of the masses is generally, and most of the time—at least so far—not on a very high level.


Stating the obvious. Bob wants to say Amerikans are suffering from some kind of false consciousness. In reality, the labor aristocracy knows that it benefits from imperialism. Its whole parasitic lifestyle is based on keeping the world in perpetual servitude. Amerikans have a hell of a lot more to lose than their chains! They have SUVs, CD players, VCRs, TVs, plastic surgery for pets, and Pokemon. Avakian really sees the majority of Amerikans as more deserving - they are not rich enough. They deserve more - well, someone is going to pay. And, the RCP=u$a needs to work on some basic math skills and figure it out. It’s the vast majority of humynity that pays for your democratic extension of the Amerikan dream. One Avakian supporter wrote that socialism is a nation of millionaires or even billionaires. This youth understood the reality of Avakian even better than Avakian himself.


Quote:
Which is not at all the same—perhaps it does need saying but shouldn’t—as the line that revolution is not possible or there’s no real prospect for it, even now, in these advanced countries.


Bob thinks that the labor aristocracy is going to make revolution. There is no proletarian revolution where there is no proletariat. I advise Avakian to go read some Marx.


Quote:
And on the other hand, in most of the world the productive forces are backward; such development of the productive forces as there is under the domination of finance capital and imperialism internationally, which distorts and disarticulates these economies. The people are in much more desperate conditions, much more desirous of radical change; yet they are also in much more backward, primitive conditions, much less concentrated and socialized


Yes, the 3rd world is revolutionary all right. It is because they have a proletariat! They also have an industrial base, something which the u$ lacks!

Avakian is a mix of bald dogmatism and just incorrect facts. It is false that the u$ is more productive than the 3rd world. Avakian has to hang tooth and nail onto this false idea that the u$ is more productive in order to claim there is an Amerikan proletariat. But, it is just false dogmatism. Avakian is a dogmatic windbag.


Quote:
All this represents and makes for a further complication in the process of proletarian revolution throughout the world. In the West—and I am talking about the West in terms of the imperialist countries, including the Soviet Union—it’s proven to be more difficult in this period to make revolution than in the East, the East being the colonial and dependent countries in what’s been called the “third world.” But it’s also proven to be extremely difficult to lead and maintain revolution where it can be and where it has been more readily made, and there’s no easy way out of this.


Here is Avakian striking at the heart of Leninism. He is on one level making a banal claim. Yes, revolutions are hard to make. Again, a banal claim, he says revolution in the 1st and 3rd world face different challenges - true enough. On another level, Avakian’s motive is to deny Lenin. To say that revolution has an equal chance of success anywhere - this is to deny that the center of world revolution is in 3rd world. It is to deny Stalin and Mao, to deny that the principle contradiction in this era is between imperialism and the oppressed nations. Instead, Avakian’s is a Trotskyist move, to say the principle contradiction is a trans-national proletariat and a trans-national capitalist class. This is the fuzzy thinking behind his two “90/10”s, i.e.: 90% of Amerika can unite against the top 10%. And 90% of the world can unite against the top 10%. Do the math Avakian.


Quote:
Of course, if we succeed in making a qualitative breakthrough (which it would be) in seizing power in one (or more) of the imperialist citadels, that would in fact be a new leap forward for the international proletariat and would create new freedom,


The very next line is his Trotskyist fantasy of a labor aristocracy making revolution. The implication is that 1st world revolution is possible and will be the decisive breakthrough for sustained socialism. This is the old Trotskyist dogma that the technological first world will play the decisive role in socialist revolution. It is a total dogmatic denial of the facts.


Quote:
All this then poses problems, yes, but what it also does, on the other hand, is to heighten the importance of internationalism and, at the same time, the importance of grasping and deepening our grasp of the whole motion of spirals leading to conjunctures when all the contradictions on a world scale are concentrated and heightened, including the possibilities for revolution. This is opposed to views which either deny, fail to grasp or, if recognizing some of this, deal incorrectly with the question of the spiral motion internationally toward conjuncture, and oppose to it erroneous notions such as those represented in the theory of general crisis, the linear type views to which I referred earlier.


Okay, Avakian is right about rejecting a mechanical crises theory, but he doesn’t offer anything better! All he does is throw out a bunch of long winded dogma that amounts to little more than says “Go For it!” - which was their slogan in the 80s. Behind all the rhetoric, his analysis is as idealist and religious as any utopian anarchist. Avakian slides between Trotskyist social democracy and utopian end of the worldism.


Quote:
So this poses problems but it deepens and heightens the importance of our understanding of imperialism and our need to grasp this correct methodology and analysis precisely because, as I said, even if gains are maximized at every point—even at the decisive points of worldwide conjuncture—not all will be won at once, in one conjuncture or even, in all likelihood, in just a couple of go-’rounds.


At base, this is just a religious commitment to the fact that revolution will happen in Amerika. It’s pure dogma.


Quote:
Therefore, this problem of how to deal with this lopsidedness, how to make the greatest breakthroughs and then how to make socialist countries bases for the world revolution is going to be with us and is going to assume very acute form. We’re not going to be able to just wish away the problems related to socialist states emerging in an imperialist-dominated world. In all likelihood, whether or not we make a breakthrough this time around in terms of a revolution in one (or more) of these imperialist citadels, even a relatively lesser one, there will still be these problems. Whether or not such a breakthrough is made, we’re still not going to be able to wave away the problem that there’s going to be imperialist encirclement and that the pressure, both material and ideological, that such encirclement is going to exert on the proletariat in power and on its socialist state will be immense.


Fakes left with all the talk of lopsidedness, runs right by talking about the impossibility of socialism in one country. What is the subtext? That there needs to be a global revolution to break imperialist encirclement. This is pure Trotsky.


Quote:
That’s a question we have to begin grappling with right now, precisely because if we carry out the correct line with the correct methodology there may be—if not in the U.S. then in some other imperialist citadel(s), and perhaps in the U.S. itself—that actual leap forward of the seizure of power when the question will be very much and pressingly on the agenda. And, of course, these basic principles apply and are crucial for the international proletariat wherever (in whatever type of country) it makes the breakthroughs and establishes socialist states.


He thinks leading a first world revolution is the real prize - the key to international success. Can anyone say “Trotsky?” Of course, he offers no material analysis to back up his view. He thinks a labor aristocracy will make revolution - how? What is his basis for making this claim? He bags Marx. He bags Lenin. All he does is ramble on with some mystical notion that it must be possible - go for it!


Quote:
But beyond that there is a particular question I want to address: How far can you go within a single socialist country? Just to say that it’s been proven and settled historically that socialism is possible in one country—even if we unbeg the question by coming to a deep understanding of what socialism is and say that there is a real socialist road and it’s possible to go and stay on the socialist road, at least for a significant distance, to use the analogy of a road—it still hasn’t even been settled that it’s possible to have socialism in absolutely every country under every circumstance. The fact that it’s been possible to do it in certain countries in certain times doesn’t prove it’s possible to have socialism in every “one country” at all times. But even more than that there is, I believe, and this is something I’m trying to come to grips with, and only beginning to grapple with, a limitation, though not an absolute limit in a mechanical sense, on how far you can go in a single socialist country..


More Trotsky! He is right in one sense. You can only go so far in a single country - nobody denies that! But, what he wants to deny is sustained socialism in one country - especially a 3rd world nation. This is Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution. Avakian says socialism in one country is not sustainable without a 1st world revolution bailing it out in some way - breaking an encirclement. This is a mix of technological determinism and military determinism.


Quote:
We shouldn’t get metaphysical here either on the other side, that is, be absolutist about the limitations on how far you can advance in socialist transformation in one country.


Avakian contra Stalin. Avakian doesn’t think socialism in one country is really possible. This is not different from the Trotskyists who say that you can have some kind of socialism for awhile in a single country but inevitably without permanent revolution, it degenerates, deforms, reverses. This is a total denial of Stalin and Mao who thought that you could build and sustain socialism. Mao had something called the cultural revolution - continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. Avakian would deny the GPCR also.


Quote:
As far as I understand it, the reason for this is, first of all, that there is the ideological influence, as well as the actual military and political and other pressure, from the imperialist encirclement. But there’s also the fact that this is the era of a single world process and that has a material foundation, it’s not just an idea. What may be rational in terms of the production, even, and utilization of labor power and resources within a single country, carried beyond a certain point, while it may seem rational for that country, is irrational if you actually look upon a world scale. And that reacts upon that country and becomes an incorrect policy, not the best utilization of things even within that country, and begins to work not only against the development of the productive forces but, dialectically related to that, against the further transformation in the production relations (or the economic base) and the superstructure.


Here he advances some theory of productive forces. Avakian is saying you can’t advance and sustain socialism in one country. This is more Trotskyist defeatism for the 3rd world. It is also a denial of Maoism and its universality. Maoism says that cultural revolution sustains socialism, protects and advances it. Avakian thinks a first world bail out is decisive. Write “Trotsky” on your mirror Avakian!


Quote:
It is not possible to go on forever in a linear country-by-country way, to go on a separate dialectic within the socialist countries, even with its twists and turns, even beating back at times capitalist restoration and supporting the peoples of the world: at a certain point this is going to turn into its opposite—for material reasons, as well as interpenetrating with ideological and political and even military reasons.


Straight Trotsky. Socialism in one country won’t work says Avakian. The solution? A new Trotsky style international. Stalin dissolved the Comintern. Mao never created a new one. Avakian wants to deny the national character of socialist revolutions in the 3rd world and their largely independent development and instead substitute some Trotskyist vision of a world revolution lead by a world party.


Quote:
There’s a truth here which, correctly grasped with materialist dialectics, strengthens proletarian internationalism and can strengthen, if applied consciously, the revolutionary struggle of the international proletariat overall through its unavoidably long, tortuous path and struggle marked by critical conjunctures, by sudden turns, dramatic upheavals and leaps.


More mystical blather from the windbag guru - “it is possible, go for it!”


Quote:
That is, we have sharpened our grasp of the fact that proletarian internationalism is and must be the foundation for the proletariat and its party in all countries.


There is no Amerikan proletariat. There is not going to be a revolution made by Amerikans. To the charge of Crypto-Trotskyism? Bob Avakian, how do you plea?


Quote:
I say that we can and should willingly and defiantly plead innocent as charged to this allegation that we need to keep advancing and winning more of the world, or else our gains will turn into their opposite.

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 Re: Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #2 on Jul 18, 2005, 8:56pm »

Why doesn't Bob Avakian just drop the Maoist act? The whole point of this article was just that the success of revolution in the world depends on revolution in the first world. That's straight up Trotskyist permanent revolution!
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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #3 on Jul 19, 2005, 12:30pm »

It's hard to tell if Avakian is just a terrible writer or if he is consciously trying to fog things up in order to give himself cover for his Trotskyism. I'm guessing it's both.

What is absolutely amazing is how they are even tailing the "CP"=u$a now. They are using the whole "CP"=u$a line about fascism and the need for liberal compromise. The "CP" has been using this line at least since Reagan (maybe even earlier- maybe since Roosevelt?) in order to justify their democrat party politics. Now "RCP"=u$a is doing exactly the same. They are tailing the whole "anything but Bu$h" crowd with their new campaign. Some vanguard!

In addition to the covert attacks in _Conquer the World_, they've been making other attacks on the legacy of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution. They have been pushing a whole liberal approach to socialism - liberalism in art, liberalism toward class enemies, liberalism in persynal affairs, liberalism in sex (which is a step up from their anti-gay line), "less extremism" etc. Their push for liberalism in conjunction with the attack in _Conquer the World_ against continuing socialism and the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat, it all really comes down to an attack on the GPCR.

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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #4 on Jul 21, 2005, 12:15pm »

The ¢PU$A did indeed tail the Demokkkrats in the Roosevelt era. Eventually they ran their own candidates--gU$ Hall for pre$ident, various people for the $enate and other offices. None of those candidates was ever elected. As I recall, they stopped running gU$ Hall after Reagan's re-election in 1984 and started backing the Demokkkrats wholeheartedly from that time on.

Voting was always a requirement for ¢PU$A members; reading Marx and Lenin was not.
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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #5 on Jul 30, 2005, 3:50am »

Here are some notes on Epistemology and Avakian.


Quote:
"From the time of Conquer the World1 (CTW) I have been bringing forward an epistemological rupture" (Avakian, http://w2.hidemyass.com/index.php?q=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5pcnRyLm9yZy9hcmNoaXZlL21hcnhsZW5pbm1hby5wcm9ib2FyZHM0My5jb20vLi4vZXh0ZXJuYWwuaHRtbD9saW5rPWh0dHA6Ly9yd29yLm9yZy9hLzEyNjIvYXZha2lhbi1lcGlzdGVtb2xvZ3kuaHRt)



Quote:
"Revolution in the '80s - GO FOR IT!" RcP=u$a slogan


Avakian's "epistemological rapture" is a return to Trotskyism. Part of Avakian's break is to oppose Lenin, Stalin, Mao, and MIM. Avakian says that his turn to Trotskyism is a way to avoid becoming a "historical residue." He also describes Stalin's contributions as historical baggage.

Avakian, against Lenin and Stalin, says:


Quote:
[Stalin] came out with a whole theory about how, in the several decades World War 1, the workers in imperialist countries had actually gotten a stake in the fatherland - they'd won certain concessions, they'd formed trade unions, they'd won more democratic rights - so they actually had something to defend in the fatherland (Avakian, From Ike to Mao and Beyond p 245, from the chapter "Taking on Baggage from the International Communist Movement").


Avakian is refering to Lenin and Stalin's thesis of parasiticism as part of historical baggage.

It reflects something about the general level of education over there at RCP=u$a that Avakian is able to pawn off his Trotskyism as something new and different. Avakian speaks of his Trotskyism under the cover of an "epistemological break," he also goes into criticisms of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and Stalin. This is of no surprise to anyone who has read _CTW_.

Like so many topics Avakian blathers on about, he is indirect, longwinded and evasive. Avakian is afraid to say directly what his epistemological rapture amounts to. It is implied that this epistemological rapture is, like the rest of _CTW_, a break especially with Stalin and Mao. Even though Avakian goes on to present Trotskyist and Menshevik theories, Avakian presents them as a radically new. As was pointed out in an earlier post, Avakian advocates a theory of productive forces in opposition to the idea that 3rd world nations are capable of building sustained socialism on their own. Obviously this an attack on Stalin, but also on Mao and the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution and continuing the revolution under the dictatorship of the proletariat. For Avakian what is truly decisive is the first world bail out a 3rd world revolutionary state in terms of production and the military. Trotsky called Avakian's theory "permanent revolution."

Like Avakian, the web persynality Redstar2000 also argues that socialism in a 3rd world country is impossible. Both advocate variants of Menshevism. Redstar2000, like Avakian, also announces his methodological break with Marxism. He even refers to himself as a heretic and his eclectic mix of Menshevism and utopianism as "Marxism without the crap." Or, more accurately, "crap without the Marxism."

Avakian and Redstar2000 both make a lot of noise about breaking with the old. Avakian goes so far as to refer to Stalin and aspects of the GPCR as historical baggage. For all their noise, their break with the "old," amounts only to finding the older - Trotskyism and Menshevism.

Avakian describes his Trotskyism as an "epistemological rupture." And, "rapture" is the right word since Avakian dispenses with any material analysis. RcP=u$a opts for truth as revealed to the "main man" Avakian - who by the way has been described as irreplaceable, a bus driver on the road of revolution, football coach in the game of revolution, a fireman putting out the flames of capitalism, a living breathing Marx, the next Mao, and most recently and most offensive, they have claimed that Avakian is the inspiration behind Prachanda.

Avakian's real epistemological break is with science, with materialism and Marxism. For RcP=u$a, rational knowledge comes from visionary leaders, specifically, Bob Avakian. So much so that they codify his leadership in their 4 main points. At bottom, RcP=u$a has a religious approach to knowledge. Bob Avakian, not science, is the final word. So, RcP=u$a says he is their greatest asset. Bob Avakian is akin to a religious guru. Since Avakian is the living connection to truth, they must protect him and uphold him at all costs. Avakian and his followers, would do well to read Mao's _On Practice_:


Quote:
The most ridiculous person in the world is the "know all" who picks up a smattering of hearsay knowledge and proclaims himself "the world's Number One authority"; this merely shows that he has not taken a proper measure of himself. Knowledge is a matter of science, and no dishonesty or conceit whatsoever is permissible. What is required is definitely the reverse--honesty and modesty (Mao, _On Practice_).


Also,


Quote:
Rational knowledge depends upon perceptual knowledge and perceptual knowledge remains to be developed into rational knowledge-- this is the dialectical-materialist theory of knowledge (Mao, _On Practice_).


So, on the one hand there is Maoist epistemology; this is the scientific approach of MIM and its supporters. On the other hand, there is the dogmatic windbag guru-ism of Avakian. Now, there are those out there who basically know that Avakian is a fraud. Yet, at the same time they still think RcP=u$a's practice is good enough that supporting RcP=u$a is worth having to endure Avakian. They put up with Avakian - he is extra baggage. These forces share Redstar2000's strong pragmatic streak. They really don't see the connection of theory to practice. They basically say "yes, we know MIM is correct. However, RcP=u$a still has a superior practice despite the dead wood in the form of Chairman Avakian."

Mao answered these pragmatist critics:


Quote:
As against this, vulgar "practical men" respect experience but despise theory, and therefore cannot have a comprehensive view of an entire objective process, lack clear direction and long-range perspective, and are complacent over occasional successes and glimpses of the truth. If such persons direct a revolution, they will lead it up a blind alley (Mao, _On Practice_).


MIM's practice is based on scientific analysis. What practice is best, from a proletarian standpoint, is going to depend on the kind of situation your party finds itself in. Obviously, if you are living in a majority exploiter nation, your practice is going to be a lot different than if you are living in a proletarian nation. MIM has demonstrated over and over again what Amerika looks like from a scientific point of view. And, there is no significant Amerikan proletairiat. Now, in the thousands and thousands of pages of RcP=u$a literature, you will find page after page praising Avakian as a leader and the fountain of truth - but you won't find anything doing a calculation of global surplus value. This is the difference, in black and white, between science and dogma.

MIM, unlike RcP=u$a, is a Maoist organization. From a proletarian point of view, they have a far superior practice than RcP=u$a . But, the RcP=u$aers who assert otherwise can't even begin to justify themselves until they takes up science and actually do some investigating into global surplus value and what that means to the Amerikan class structure. Those RcP=u$aers who criticize MIM for not having an adequate practice are stuck in the same pre-scientific swamp as those who worship Avakian like he is some guru.

Very few take RcP=u$a seriously - as judged by their online readership. The only time anyone takes notice of them is when MIM polemicizes with them. From a proletarian point of view, MIM is superior in in every way.
« Last Edit: Oct 9, 2005, 2:09am by prairiefire » IP: Logged

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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #6 on Aug 7, 2005, 11:02am »

Admin has moved several posts in this thread to a thread entitled "the web personality strikes again." Those posts had to do mostly with the differences between the web personality redstar2000 and Maoism and less to do specifically with Avakian's Crypto-Trotskyist text _Conquer The World_.

The new thread containing redstar2000's posts and responses is: http://w2.hidemyass.com/index.php?q=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5pcnRyLm9yZy9hcmNoaXZlL21hcnhsZW5pbm1hby5wcm9ib2FyZHM0My5jb20vaW5kZXg0M2YwMjcwYWQ3OTVlN2Q5ZGM4N2RjNjI5NzM5MDUzZS5odG1sP2JvYXJkPW1hdGgmYWN0aW9uPWRpc3BsYXkmdGhyZWFkPTExMjM0MjU3MjM%3D

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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #7 on Aug 23, 2005, 3:08pm »

i blame myself for joining this site, i should have known that a site which puts marx and lenin into the same basket as mao is not for me.

Then i realized the membership is vehemently anti-trotskyist. can someone explain why?

On Bob Avakian and the RCP, that sh*t is scary, one read of 'Revolution' magazine should let you know that the RCP is basically a cult around Avakian.

Maoism... Mao believed that revolutions could be carried out without the working class.. thats how much faith he had in the proletariat.

And is it me or did the person in this post sayt hat there are actually socialist countries out here present ly? or was he/she referring to the fact that the means of production have been thoroughly socialized?

And if there is a problem with poster has a problem with trotskyism why doesnt he/she attack a group that actually claims to be trotsky and espouses trotskyism?
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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #8 on Aug 23, 2005, 3:48pm »


Aug 23, 2005, 3:08pm, rakim14 wrote:
i blame myself for joining this site, i should have known that a site which puts marx and lenin into the same basket as mao is not for me.

Then i realized the membership is vehemently anti-trotskyist. can someone explain why?

On Bob Avakian and the RCP, that sh*t is scary, one read of 'Revolution' magazine should let you know that the RCP is basically a cult around Avakian.

Maoism... Mao believed that revolutions could be carried out without the working class.. thats how much faith he had in the proletariat.

And is it me or did the person in this post sayt hat there are actually socialist countries out here present ly? or was he/she referring to the fact that the means of production have been thoroughly socialized?

And if there is a problem with poster has a problem with trotskyism why doesnt he/she attack a group that actually claims to be trotsky and espouses trotskyism?


Regarding Trotsky: I more or less take MIM at its word; I know what MIM says about Trotsky, but have not bothered to research it myself because there is just so much one persyn can do.

MIM says
1) Trotsky organized against Stalin and was willing to make alliances with anyone to try to get in power
a) The attempts at getting into power Trotsky was making would nevre have worked in a million years.

2) This is more important than Trotsky was a double dealing power hungry lowlife: He was theoretically wrong. He believed in instant global revolution led by the first world. Revolution does not and will not happen like that. There will be a series of revolutions throughout the Third World which, over time, will result in a Third World hostile to the imperialists: The imperialists will get cut off from the resources they steal, their economies will collapse and you'll have a lot of pissed off and confused labor aristocrats

3) This is the most important but least obvious critique: Yes, I'm taking these critiques in reverse order from least important but most obvious to most important but least obvious. Here it is: Trotsky was an idealist. He thought that his flawed mental model was reality. He put ideas ahead of facts. His daydreaming about the Nazis putting him into power reflect this.

a) Because the Trotskyites are daydreamers they've never run a succesful revolution anywhere -- correct me if I am wrong but I cannot think of one succesful Trotskyite revolution ever happening anywhere.

Here's what MIM says about Trotsky:
http://w2.hidemyass.com/index.php?q=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5pcnRyLm9yZy9hcmNoaXZlL21hcnhsZW5pbm1hby5wcm9ib2FyZHM0My5jb20vLi4vZXh0ZXJuYWwuaHRtbD9saW5rPWh0dHA6Ly93d3cuZXRleHQub3JnL1BvbGl0aWNzL01JTS9jbGFzc2ljcy90cm90c2t5Lmh0bWw%3D

Here is a search tool so you can dig for more:
http://w2.hidemyass.com/index.php?q=aHR0cDovL3d3dy5pcnRyLm9yZy9hcmNoaXZlL21hcnhsZW5pbm1hby5wcm9ib2FyZHM0My5jb20vLi4vZXh0ZXJuYWwuaHRtbD9saW5rPWh0dHA6Ly93d3cuZXRleHQub3JnL1BvbGl0aWNzL01JTS9zZWFyY2guaHRtbA%3D%3D


Hope this helps! Keep struggling!
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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #9 on Aug 23, 2005, 9:21pm »


Aug 23, 2005, 3:48pm, mousnonya wrote:
a) Because the Trotskyites are daydreamers they've never run a succesful revolution anywhere -- correct me if I am wrong but I cannot think of one succesful Trotskyite revolution ever happening anywhere.


There aren't any. You know damn well that the Trotskyists would trumpet the hell out of any minor success of theirs--and blame Comrade Stalin for its failure to thrive.

The Trotskkkyists have never actually done anything--other than betray the Soviet Union to the Nazis and the united $nakes. They're full of windy idealist rhetoric, and they're positively great at carping about others' alleged failures to meet the Trotskyist ideal, but they're not much good at achieving anything in the material universe.

In fact, it's hard to find Trotskyist parties in much of the Third World, where people don't have much use for the idea that they have to hitch their wagons to the "advanced" workers of the First World.
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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #10 on Aug 23, 2005, 11:53pm »


Aug 23, 2005, 9:21pm, ServeThePeople wrote:

Aug 23, 2005, 3:48pm, mousnonya wrote:
a) Because the Trotskyites are daydreamers they've never run a succesful revolution anywhere -- correct me if I am wrong but I cannot think of one succesful Trotskyite revolution ever happening anywhere.


There aren't any. You know damn well that the Trotskyists would trumpet the hell out of any minor success of theirs--and blame Comrade Stalin for its failure to thrive.



Ya think? I just wanted to be certain that there were no succesful trot revolutions anywhere ever before saying so!
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 Re: Avakian's Conquer the World Critique part 2
« Reply #11 on Aug 24, 2005, 1:19am »


Aug 23, 2005, 11:53pm, mousnonya wrote:
Ya think? I just wanted to be certain that there were no succesful trot revolutions anywhere ever before saying so!


Remember, Trotskyists' "revolutions" would start in the First World. Have you seen any revolutions in the First World countries? I certainly haven't.
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