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Left Communism
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Post: #1
Left Communism

What I currently know about it is that it is a range of ideals held between figures such as Anton Pannekoek, Herman Gorter, Amadeo Bordiga, etc.
An important thing to note would be the differences between the Dutch-German (Councilist) and Italian (Bordigist) variants of left communism, with the former being anti-Leninist and the latter being heavily Leninist. Both kinds of these left-coms agree that the USSR was not communist but state capitalist, though, Bordigists consider it to have been a dictatorship of the proletariat during the years of Lenin, which is not to say that it was communist, but rather at the process of the "construction of a communist society" (Q/A:7, http://www.revleft.com/vb/showpost.php?p...ostcount=1 ).

I will likely continue to develop this post later on.

Your thoughts on left communism?
04-07-2014 01:31 PM
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RE: Left Communism

If communism is already considered leftist...then does 2 lefts make a right?

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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04-07-2014 01:46 PM
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Left Communism

Your posts are weird.
This article on Lenin's polemic gives some context to the name:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Left-Wing_C...e_Disorder
04-07-2014 04:15 PM
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Left Communism

Interestingly, Wiki says, "To a considerable degree, Lenin's well known polemic Left-Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder,[2] is an attack on the ideas of the emerging left communist currents. His main aim was to polemicise with currents moving towards pure revolutionary tactics by showing them that they could remain based on firmly revolutionary principles while utilising a variety of tactics. Therefore Lenin defended the use of parliamentarism and working within the official trade unions."
So, I'm possibly wrong on what Lenin thought of parliamentarism and trade unions. I may have confused Trotsky and Lenin with each other on a position that Trotsky at at least one point had on trade unions. I'll probably need to read on Lenin's usage of the phrase "labor aristocracy" and any of his comments regarding the relation between the unions and the "labor aristocracy" to get a better general understanding.
04-07-2014 04:41 PM
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Left Communism

Communism is inherently leftist. It would have to be pseudocapitalistic to even approach the right wing.

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04-08-2014 06:18 AM
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Left Communism

Communism is idealy great but could never work.

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(03-20-2013 05:08 PM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  Stand up with pride and say "No! I will not be a McDonalds employee. I WILL BE A GARBAGE MAN!"

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Left Communism

Democracy is idealy great but it's not working...

Capitalism is idealy awful but it's working GREAT!

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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04-08-2014 10:45 AM
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Left Communism

Capitalism isn't ideally awful; it's ideally neutral. It takes the natural state of inequality and runs with it in a way that nullifies the negatives and bolsters the positives, in theory. Luckily for us, what works on paper here actually works in real life, which is more than can be said for most approaches.

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04-08-2014 10:55 AM
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Left Communism

Humans aren't ideally neutral. It all looks good on paper that doesn't try to shoot you and steal your money.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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Ky Offline
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Left Communism

Hmm, true. But I believe in humanity's potential for good, which is why I'm pleased to see how well capitalism is working.

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Left Communism

Yep. Works great!
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Left Communism

(04-08-2014 06:18 AM)DoA Wrote:  Communism is inherently leftist. It would have to be pseudocapitalistic to even approach the right wing.

There's a thread that's somewhat related to this:
http://www.revleft.com/vb/leninism-maois...index.html
One post which I find useful is from the user #FF0000, which he states that, "the "right wing" of socialism -- that's usually used to describe "Reformists" a la Eduard Bernstein"
What Bernstein's reformism was "is the belief that gradual changes through and within existing institutions can ultimately change a society's fundamental economic system and political structures [eventually into communism]. This belief grew out of opposition to revolutionary socialism, which contends that revolution is necessary for fundamental structural changes to occur." (Source:Wiki article on reformism)
We can say that he was in the relatively right wing camp of socialist theory as opposed to the left wing of it (Revolutionary Socialism/Marxism).
Specifically focusing on the name of "left communism", at best, I have a very ambiguous understanding of it because, as I have said, my introduction to leftism was not too long ago so obviously I'd be lacking clear answers.


(04-08-2014 08:46 AM)Alistoriv Wrote:  Communism is idealy great but could never work.

Concerning the human nature argument, there have been some interesting counter-arguments presented in the following thread:

http://www.revleft.com/vb/human-nature-a...index.html

By the way, I'd appreciate it if we all stopped sidestepping the topic sooner and actually discuss left communist theory and history.
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RE: Left Communism

Oh look, someone I agree with. 10/10

I don't have much time because of my shit schedule, but ake a look at this:

Quote:http://www.chomsky.info/articles/1986----.htm


When the world's two great propaganda systems agree on some doctrine, it requires some intellectual effort to escape its shackles. One such doctrine is that the society created by Lenin and Trotsky and molded further by Stalin and his successors has some relation to socialism in some meaningful or historically accurate sense of this concept. In fact, if there is a relation, it is the relation of contradiction.

It is clear enough why both major propaganda systems insist upon this fantasy. Since its origins, the Soviet State has attempted to harness the energies of its own population and oppressed people elsewhere in the service of the men who took advantage of the popular ferment in Russia in 1917 to seize State power. One major ideological weapon employed to this end has been the claim that the State managers are leading their own society and the world towards the socialist ideal; an impossibility, as any socialist -- surely any serious Marxist -- should have understood at once (many did), and a lie of mammoth proportions as history has revealed since the earliest days of the Bolshevik regime. The taskmasters have attempted to gain legitimacy and support by exploiting the aura of socialist ideals and the respect that is rightly accorded them, to conceal their own ritual practice as they destroyed every vestige of socialism.

As for the world's second major propaganda system, association of socialism with the Soviet Union and its clients serves as a powerful ideological weapon to enforce conformity and obedience to the State capitalist institutions, to ensure that the necessity to rent oneself to the owners and managers of these institutions will be regarded as virtually a natural law, the only alternative to the 'socialist' dungeon.

The Soviet leadership thus portrays itself as socialist to protect its right to wield the club, and Western ideologists adopt the same pretense in order to forestall the threat of a more free and just society. This joint attack on socialism has been highly effective in undermining it in the modern period.

One may take note of another device used effectively by State capitalist ideologists in their service to existing power and privilege. The ritual denunciation of the so-called 'socialist' States is replete with distortions and often outright lies. Nothing is easier than to denounce the official enemy and to attribute to it any crime: there is no need to be burdened by the demands of evidence or logic as one marches in the parade. Critics of Western violence and atrocities often try to set the record straight, recognizing the criminal atrocities and repression that exist while exposing the tales that are concocted in the service of Western violence. With predictable regularity, these steps are at once interpreted as apologetics for the empire of evil and its minions. Thus the crucial Right to Lie in the Service of the State is preserved, and the critique of State violence and atrocities is undermined.

It is also worth noting the great appeal of Leninist doctrine to the modern intelligentsia in periods of conflict and upheaval. This doctrine affords the 'radical intellectuals' the right to hold State power and to impose the harsh rule of the 'Red Bureaucracy,' the 'new class,' in the terms of Bakunin's prescient analysis a century ago. As in the Bonapartist State denounced by Marx, they become the 'State priests,' and "parasitical excrescence upon civil society" that rules it with an iron hand.

In periods when there is little challenge to State capitalist institutions, the same fundamental commitments lead the 'new class' to serve as State managers and ideologists, "beating the people with the people's stick," in Bakunin's words. It is small wonder that intellectuals find the transition from 'revolutionary Communism' to 'celebration of the West' such an easy one, replaying a script that has evolved from tragedy to farce over the past half century. In essence, all that has changed is the assessment of where power lies. Lenin¹s dictum that "socialism is nothing but state capitalist monopoly made to benefit the whole people," who must of course trust the benevolence of their leaders, expresses the perversion of 'socialism' to the needs of the State priests, and allows us to comprehend the rapid transition between positions that superficially seem diametric opposites, but in fact are quite close.

The terminology of political and social discourse is vague and imprecise, and constantly debased by the contributions of ideologists of one or another stripe. Still, these terms have at least some residue of meaning. Since its origins, socialism has meant the liberation of working people from exploitation. As the Marxist theoretician Anton Pannekoek observed, "this goal is not reached and cannot be reached by a new directing and governing class substituting itself for the bourgeoisie," but can only be "realized by the workers themselves being master over production." Mastery over production by the producers is the essence of socialism, and means to achieve this end have regularly been devised in periods of revolutionary struggle, against the bitter opposition of the traditional ruling classes and the 'revolutionary intellectuals' guided by the common principles of Leninism and Western managerialism, as adapted to changing circumstances. But the essential element of the socialist ideal remains: to convert the means of production into the property of freely associated producers and thus the social property of people who have liberated themselves from exploitation by their master, as a fundamental step towards a broader realm of human freedom.

The Leninist intelligentsia have a different agenda. They fit Marx's description of the 'conspirators' who "pre-empt the developing revolutionary process" and distort it to their ends of domination; "Hence their deepest disdain for the more theoretical enlightenment of the workers about their class interests," which include the overthrow of the Red Bureaucracy and the creation of mechanisms of democratic control over production and social life. For the Leninist, the masses must be strictly disciplined, while the socialist will struggle to achieve a social order in which discipline "will become superfluous" as the freely associated producers "work for their own accord" (Marx). Libertarian socialism, furthermore, does not limit its aims to democratic control by producers over production, but seeks to abolish all forms of domination and hierarchy in every aspect of social and personal life, an unending struggle, since progress in achieving a more just society will lead to new insight and understanding of forms of oppression that may be concealed in traditional practice and consciousness.

The Leninist antagonism to the most essential features of socialism was evident from the very start. In revolutionary Russia, Soviets and factory committees developed as instruments of struggle and liberation, with many flaws, but with a rich potential. Lenin and Trotsky, upon assuming power, immediately devoted themselves to destroying the liberatory potential of these instruments, establishing the rule of the Party, in practice its Central Committee and its Maximal Leaders -- exactly as Trotsky had predicted years earlier, as Rosa Luxembourg and other left Marxists warned at the time, and as the anarchists had always understood. Not only the masses, but even the Party must be subject to "vigilant control from above," so Trotsky held as he made the transition from revolutionary intellectual to State priest. Before seizing State power, the Bolshevik leadership adopted much of the rhetoric of people who were engaged in the revolutionary struggle from below, but their true commitments were quite different. This was evident before and became crystal clear as they assumed State power in October 1917.

A historian sympathetic to the Bolsheviks, E.H. Carr, writes that "the spontaneous inclination of the workers to organize factory committees and to intervene in the management of the factories was inevitably encourage by a revolution with led the workers to believe that the productive machinery of the country belonged to them and could be operated by them at their own discretion and to their own advantage" (my emphasis). For the workers, as one anarchist delegate said, "The Factory committees were cells of the future... They, not the State, should now administer."

But the State priests knew better, and moved at once to destroy the factory committees and to reduce the Soviets to organs of their rule. On November 3, Lenin announced in a "Draft Decree on Workers' Control" that delegates elected to exercise such control were to be "answerable to the State for the maintenance of the strictest order and discipline and for the protection of property." As the year ended, Lenin noted that "we passed from workers' control to the creation of the Supreme Council of National Economy," which was to "replace, absorb and supersede the machinery of workers' control" (Carr). "The very idea of socialism is embodied in the concept of workers' control," one Menshevik trade unionist lamented; the Bolshevik leadership expressed the same lament in action, by demolishing the very idea of socialism.

Soon Lenin was to decree that the leadership must assume "dictatorial powers" over the workers, who must accept "unquestioning submission to a single will" and "in the interests of socialism," must "unquestioningly obey the single will of the leaders of the labour process." As Lenin and Trotsky proceeded with the militarization of labour, the transformation of the society into a labour army submitted to their single will, Lenin explained that subordination of the worker to "individual authority" is "the system which more than any other assures the best utilization of human resources" -- or as Robert McNamara expressed the same idea, "vital decision-making...must remain at the top...the real threat to democracy comes not from overmanagement, but from undermanagement"; "if it is not reason that rules man, then man falls short of his potential," and management is nothing other than the rule of reason, which keeps us free. At the same time, 'factionalism' -- i.e., any modicum of free expression and organization -- was destroyed "in the interests of socialism," as the term was redefined for their purposes by Lenin and Trotsky, who proceeded to create the basic proto-fascist structures converted by Stalin into one of the horrors of the modern age.1

Failure to understand the intense hostility to socialism on the part of the Leninist intelligentsia (with roots in Marx, no doubt), and corresponding misunderstanding of the Leninist model, has had a devastating impact on the struggle for a more decent society and a livable world in the West, and not only there. It is necessary to find a way to save the socialist ideal from its enemies in both of the world's major centres of power, from those who will always seek to be the State priests and social managers, destroying freedom in the name of liberation.



1 On the early destruction of socialism by Lenin and Trotsky, see Maurice Brinton, The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1978, and Peter Rachleff, Radical America, Nov. 1974, among much other work.

If you haven't read Chomsky, I recommend it. He's the man. But yeah, so far I agree with your analysis.

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04-08-2014 03:29 PM
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Left Communism

Yes, capitalism works. Capitalism is "Yeah fucking do whatever you want but use my standardized money". Capitalism is about as close as you can get to natural economics without Anarcho-Communism or a bartering system.
This doesn't mean it works well.

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(03-20-2013 05:08 PM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  Stand up with pride and say "No! I will not be a McDonalds employee. I WILL BE A GARBAGE MAN!"

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Left Communism

Whether theory is practical or not, that is not what I intended to make of this topic, so perhaps I'll make it my effort to start posting exclusively about left communism on this thread with maybe an exception or two.
04-09-2014 12:07 PM
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Left Communism

May I ask of your fascination in attempting to really beat something till it turns to dust?

And while I'm for in-depth discussions, you are aware of the user base here?

And I personally believe that politics is a "skill" gained over time(or born with but still raw and requiring honing). Thus it requires time and personal experience. Thus just talking about it does not necessarily add to experience, as politics are more than just theories. Politics is the art of guiding society, of creating an idea(by one or the few) and having it supported by the many.

Politics is community, Philosophy is thought, science is nature and religion is belief.

Just stating this since the trend of "de-railing" is not necessarily just ignoring a topic, but rather moving into better known/understood paths branching off from the main topic.

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(06-14-2013 08:02 AM)Potato Wrote:  watch the fuq out, we've got an "intellectual" over here.

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Left Communism

Alright, exception #1
"And while I'm for in-depth discussions, you are aware of the user base here?"
Yes, I am very much aware of that as well as I am aware with users who believe I am not maintaining the status quo. I don't mind if some people don't like me for that but it is unnecessary to be confrontational over it.

"And I personally believe that politics is a "skill" gained over time(or born with but still raw and requiring honing). Thus it requires time and personal experience. Thus just talking about it does not necessarily add to experience, as politics are more than just theories. Politics is the art of guiding society, of creating an idea(by one or the few) and having it supported by the many."
1. Ironically, the description for this "Philosophy, Politics & Psychology" subforum happens to state, "Why humans do what they do, and theories of better ways of doing things."
Obviously, you state that it is your "personal belief", so what relevance does that have to something objective?
2. Anything you said about "building skill" as "politics" is irrelevant as I have never made it my intention to do so. What is the point of saying that, anyway?
3. In the case that you will possibly disregard the left communists because of what seems to be the abundance of theory only, I will say that by your very own "personal belief" of what politics are, it is still an applicable term to the left communists.

"Politics is community, Philosophy is thought, science is nature and religion is belief."
Ugh, more weirdness.

"Just stating this since the trend of "de-railing" is not necessarily just ignoring a topic, but rather moving into better known/understood paths branching off from the main topic."
Actually, I have rescinded my "sidestepping" comment (though I have never stated clearly, which is my fault), which you can assume that from my last comment that I have only made those statements towards myself in retrospect of the lack of desired content which I failed to post and I therefore "make it my effort to start posting exclusively about left communism". Again, notice how I only refer to myself in that post.
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Left Communism

Interesting stuff here, even if I haven't got the time to really pore over it right now. I'll say this, though: capitalism needs to be harnessed for the greater good. It works, but it needs to work for everyone. That's a big tenet of modern progressivism. And if we can't get there by policy, well..."when the people have nothing left to eat, they will eat the rich".

De-railing threads is a forum tradition, FYI. Doesn't mean we disrespect the topic, it usually means we take it in different directions or start a new one of the old discussion has seemed to end. Brainiac's...good at this. Too good.
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RE: Left Communism

Quote:1. Ironically, the description for this "Philosophy, Politics & Psychology" subforum happens to state, "Why humans do what they do, and theories of better ways of doing things."
Obviously, you state that it is your "personal belief", so what relevance does that have to something objective?
Ideas are not objective. Every idea is processed by every person differently. Simple thoughts are obviously the purest form. The more complex a theory gets, the more subjective it becomes to the mind of the thinker. The combination of life experiences, beliefs, and motivations all contribute to variances in the understanding of an idea. Thus my personal belief is as objective as your personal belief simply because there is no such thing as a singularly objective idea.

Quote:2. Anything you said about "building skill" as "politics" is irrelevant as I have never made it my intention to do so. What is the point of saying that, anyway?
The point is that we can't consider any discussion of politics as being purely understood as understanding it takes time. It's like swimming in a kiddy pool and using that knowledge to analyze an ocean. Obviously the kiddy pool and ocean don't have as much in common.

Quote:3. In the case that you will possibly disregard the left communists because of what seems to be the abundance of theory only, I will say that by your very own "personal belief" of what politics are, it is still an applicable term to the left communists.
Ok.

Quote:"Politics is community, Philosophy is thought, science is nature and religion is belief."
Ugh, more weirdness.

Yep...



Personally I believe left communism to be nothing more than a reaction of the form of communism adopted by the USSR. It's idea seem not to imply a unique form of communism but rather a re-iteration of what's considered a "purer" form of the ideology.

At least from what I've read of it.

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Post: #20
Left Communism

Also might I add that the eventual derailment of threads occurs as a natural progression of discussion. People tend to begin on one subject, but by the end of the conversation it's on a completely different one. It's natural and thus it will happen on threads. Fighting it will only stifle the progression of the discussion and cause people to lack interest. You see this discussion on derailing and derailment is a derailing of the original topic at hand, and is also caused by fighting the derailment of the thread, which caused the topic to change as well.

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04-10-2014 09:48 AM
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Post: #21
Left Communism

Exception #2
"Interesting stuff here, even if I haven't got the time to really pore over it right now. I'll say this, though: capitalism needs to be harnessed for the greater good. It works, but it needs to work for everyone. That's a big tenet of modern progressivism. And if we can't get there by policy, well..."when the people have nothing left to eat, they will eat the rich"."
What you want is a social democratic system.

"De-railing threads is a forum tradition, FYI. Doesn't mean we disrespect the topic, it usually means we take it in different directions or start a new one of the old discussion has seemed to end. Brainiac's...good at this. Too good. "
The bolded part better explains it.

I'll reconsider brainiac's weirdness for a later time, so not now because of a lame-sounding reason.

"Also might I add that the eventual derailment of threads occurs as a natural progression of discussion. People tend to begin on one subject, but by the end of the conversation it's on a completely different one. It's natural and thus it will happen on threads. Fighting it will only stifle the progression of the discussion and cause people to lack interest. You see this discussion on derailing and derailment is a derailing of the original topic at hand, and is also caused by fighting the derailment of the thread, which caused the topic to change as well."
I've got the message clear enough now.
04-10-2014 11:44 AM
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Chanku Offline
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Post: #22
Left Communism

Alright, but I don't think there is a thing as Social Democracy. Socialism is economical, not political. Socialism actually works really well with Democracy.

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04-10-2014 12:10 PM
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Post: #23
Left Communism

(04-10-2014 12:10 PM)Chanku Wrote:  Alright, but I don't think there is a thing as Social Democracy. Socialism is economical, not political. Socialism actually works really well with Democracy.

Are you familiar with either the Social Democratic Party of Germany or the Socialist Party of France and their history? I assume that "social democracy" came from what the parties termed themselves as and affiliated with early on in the late 19th century.
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04-10-2014 12:28 PM
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Absnt Offline
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Post: #24
RE: Left Communism

Quote:Personally I believe left communism to be nothing more than a reaction of the form of communism adopted by the USSR. It's idea seem not to imply a unique form of communism but rather a re-iteration of what's considered a "purer" form of the ideology.

At least from what I've read of it.

The form of "communism" adopted by the USSR was a farce. The use of the term Communism was basically used as a recruiting tool and a means of gaining power. If you read the history, I think it's pretty clear that the USSR leadership was pretty anti-communist, killing off local communists who were setting up local power.

What I'm getting at is that Communism, Socialism, etc were much more than just theories, they were acted upon in a couple of places in history, some instances of which were exploited and used to create something entirely devoid of what communism was supposed to be, what many revoutionaries fighting to help build the revolution in Russia and around the world wanted it to be. The leadership lied and cheated their way into power. Weather a centralized leadership is a good means of implementation or not is a tactical judgement, not really a commentary on an implemented communism.

Meh. I'm out of time again.

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04-10-2014 03:43 PM
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Post: #25
Left Communism

I have found this to be an excellent introduction to left communism:



04-29-2014 08:08 AM
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Post: #26
RE: Left Communism

(04-08-2014 08:46 AM)Alistoriv Wrote:  Communism is idealy great but could never work.

Concerning the human nature argument, there have been some interesting counter-arguments presented in the following thread:

http://www.revleft.com/vb/human-nature-a...index.html
[/quote]

Here is a better thread:
http://www.revleft.com/vb/human-nature-p...l?t=186324
05-13-2014 02:24 AM
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brainiac3397 Offline
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Post: #27
RE: Left Communism

(04-10-2014 03:43 PM)Absentinsomniac Wrote:  
Quote:Personally I believe left communism to be nothing more than a reaction of the form of communism adopted by the USSR. It's idea seem not to imply a unique form of communism but rather a re-iteration of what's considered a "purer" form of the ideology.

At least from what I've read of it.

The form of "communism" adopted by the USSR was a farce. The use of the term Communism was basically used as a recruiting tool and a means of gaining power. If you read the history, I think it's pretty clear that the USSR leadership was pretty anti-communist, killing off local communists who were setting up local power.

What I'm getting at is that Communism, Socialism, etc were much more than just theories, they were acted upon in a couple of places in history, some instances of which were exploited and used to create something entirely devoid of what communism was supposed to be, what many revoutionaries fighting to help build the revolution in Russia and around the world wanted it to be. The leadership lied and cheated their way into power. Weather a centralized leadership is a good means of implementation or not is a tactical judgement, not really a commentary on an implemented communism.

Meh. I'm out of time again.

Would the use of quotation marks have made this post less worthy? Biggrin

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05-13-2014 09:28 AM
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Post: #28
Left Communism

Bordiga opposed antifascism because he saw it as a strictly class collaborationist (with the bourgeoisie) movement.
I don't think any other notable left communist had this view.
05-13-2014 11:08 AM
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Post: #29
RE: Left Communism

(04-08-2014 10:45 AM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  Democracy is idealy great but it's not working...

We could all use a dictator.

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05-13-2014 11:55 AM
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Post: #30
RE: Left Communism

(05-13-2014 11:55 AM)DeadorAlive Wrote:  
(04-08-2014 10:45 AM)brainiac3397 Wrote:  Democracy is idealy great but it's not working...

We could all use a dictator.

Dictator...-ship of the proletariat, yo.
05-13-2014 12:04 PM
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