The True Nature of a Revolutionary Marxist Party
Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer
This 2009 document is an explanation of how our approach to revolutionary politics differs from those of other organizations describing themselves as Marxist, socialist or Trotskyist. Here’s a quote:
In contrast, most workers’ parties think their separation is a virtue and seek to promote it
in all circumstances.
When they attend antiwar demonstrations or trade union events,
they are there only to sell their own respective publications. They are not there to promote
the united front. They use the united front to promote themselves.
The Revolutionary Dialectic and the Liberation of Humanity
Throughout the late 19th and 20th centuries, Marxists have struggled to conceptualize the dialectical method that underlies Marx’s scientific analysis of society and history. Because much of its logic has been borrowed from Hegel’s philosophy and Hegel is notoriously difficult to follow, many have found the concepts of the dialectic obscure and difficult to penetrate. The following essay by Ann Robertson, a lecturer at San Francisco State University, goes a long way toward making this complicated topic accessible to Marxist revolutionaries with no philosophic background.
An excerpt from the Introduction:
Anyone who is a serious student of social revolutions is eventually led to a diligent examination of the philosophy of Marx, who has probably wielded more influence on social transformations than any other theoretician. This endeavor in turn leads to an inquiry into the nature of the dialectic, a “method” which pervades not only all of the works of Marx but all of the works of those who adhere to the Marxist tradition. It is considered the indispensable tool, without which one simply wanders in the dark, stumbling over one misconception after another.
Table of Contents:
- Part I: Hegel’s Dialectic
- The Triadic Structure of the Dialectic
- In Defense of the Dialectic
- Examples of the Dialectic at Work
- Hegel’s Commentators
- PART II: Marx’s Dialectic
- PART III: Some Historical Examples
- The SWP Debate 1939-40
Marxism versus Anarchism: The Philosophical Roots of the Marx-Bakunin Conflict
This extensively annotated pamphlet will give the reader a grounded footing in the divergence between two revolutionary schools of thought. This divergence has played out over and over again in key historical episodes throughout the 19th and 20th centuries and into the present. An examination into the philosophical differences underlying the political conflicts between Marx and Bakunin will provide the reader with an indispensable guide in navigating through the present political landscape. While this essay highlights foundational, philosophical differences, it is entirely accessible to all readers who seek a more serious understanding of revolutionary politics. Complete or abridged versions of it have appeared in Italian, French, and German.
The tempestuous relation between Marx and Bakunin is a well known legacy of the history of western socialism. As co-members of the International Working Men’s Association, they seem to have devoted as much energy battling one another as their common enemy, the capitalist system, culminating in Marx’s successful campaign to expel Bakunin from the organization. While at times engaging in cordial relations, they nevertheless harbored uncomplimentary mutual assessments. According to Marx, Bakunin was “a man devoid of all theoretical knowledge” and was “in his element as an intriguer”, while Bakunin believed that “…the instinct of liberty is lacking in him [Marx]; he remains from head to foot, an authoritarian”.
Hugo Chávez and the Fifth Socialist International
In late 2009, Hugo Chavez announced his intention to forge a new revolutionary socialist international comprised of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela, and various parties and movements. Sadly it was not to be.
But for a year, the reanimation of the idea of a new socialist international force, with real, organic connection to the class struggle in many countries, was a valid and bold idea, and one long overdue.
In this collection, we have collected the various public documents in English, along with Workers Actions’ articles on the developments, along with an article by the Australaian socialist journalist, Kiraz Janicke, then reporting from Venezuela.
This project has been abandoned and seems unlikely to be revived. While it was fraught with missteps and half-steps, it took a bolder and more important step toward realizing a living breathing international political force in many decades.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: The Significance of Chávez’ Call for a Fifth Socialist International
By Bill Leumer and Ann Robertson
For the Fifth Socialist International, by Hugo Chávez
Venezuela’s Chávez Calls for International Organization of Left Parties, By Kiraz Janicke
The Caracas Commitment: Declaration from the World Meeting of Left Parties Agreements
1. Mobilization and Condemnation of U.S. Military Bases
2. Installation and Development of a Platform of Joint Action by Left-Wing Parties of the World
3. Organization of a World Movement of Militants for a Culture of Peace
4. Artillery of International Communication to Emancipate Revolutionary Consciousness
5. Mobilize All Popular Organizations in Unrestricted Support for the People of Honduras
6. Solidarity with the Peoples of the World
Declaration of Solidarity with the People of Cuba
Special Declaration on the Coup d’état in Honduras
In Defense of Chávez’ Call for a Fifth Socialist International by Ann Robertson and Bill Leumer