Bob Goupillot (RCN) makes a positive response to the article, The party we need, by Moshe Machover, founder member of the Israeli Socialist organisation, now living in England.
I was really heartened to read Moshe Machover’s article The party we need (WW November 7th 2013) as it succinctly summarises important aspects of our classes experience around political organisation.
Simply put we need a vision of an alternative society which is concretised into a more detailed programme. Further, he correctly states;
The other thing one needs is an organisation which pulls together the working class and its allies, an organisation armed with that alternative vision. That is what is missing and it is what we need.
So far so straightforward.
I would call such an organisation a communist party rather than Marxian as this acknowledges the contribution of the unnamed masses as well as other significant individuals in addition to Marx and Engels. I do however strongly agree with Moshe that Marxian ideas will form an important theoretical and practical cornerstone of such an organisation.
Incidentally I would not fetishise the term party for this organisation but such a term does have resonance within the working class and I suspect that this the term we will end up with.
I strongly agree with Moshe when he identifies the lack of understanding of the importance of working for and practicing thorough going democracy within working class and socialist organisations as a fatal block to our advance towards communism.
This does not seem to stem from the theory and practice of Marx and Engels (see Marx and Engels their contribution to the democratic breakthrough by August H Nimitz Jr.). I suspect that it has a number of sources. Moshe correctly identifies one,
A purely instrumental attitude to democracy….There is no sense…-of any advocacy of democracy as an aim, as an inherent and inseparable part of socialism. That is to say, I would define socialism in part as the generalisation of democracy; its extension into all spheres of social life.
A related issue is the development of leaderships who see themselves as having the best understanding and answers to all political problems all of the time. Thus there is a permanent temptation to short circuit and subvert democracy when the ‘less enlightened’ majority make a mistaken decision.
Such an elitist approach is entirely counter to my own experience of genuine democracy in operation e.g. during the Great Miners Strike 1984-5 and the poll tax revolt where less experienced comrades operating in an encouraging environment , on occasion, came up with solutions to issues that had stumped those with more experience whether these solutions were slogans for a poster or strategic orientations.
Democratic practice allows us all to make our best contributions in the present, develop as individuals and to best prepare for a society where ‘every cook can govern’.
Therefore those who take a lead in our struggles and organisations must be thorough going democrats. Further they should take it as one of their responsibilities to nurture an organisational atmosphere where the full and free development of each can be a condition for the full and free development of all. I would call this emotional intelligence. This is sometimes caricatured as just being nice. However, it requires a certain personal and political discipline to commit to interact in a respectful, comradely and egalitarian manner towards others in the working class and socialist movement. It requires a vision of a communist society, built on new foundations, where we will act and feel differently than we do under the baneful shadow of capitalism.
See Moshe Machover’s article, The party we need, at:- The party we need