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revolutionary organisation

Ideas for the struggle #4 - Should we reject bureaucratic centralism and simply use consensus?

 

 

By Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

1. For a long time, left-wing parties operated along authoritarian lines. The usual practice was that of bureaucratic centralism, influenced by the practice of Soviet socialism. Most decisions regarding principles, tasks, initiatives, and the course of political action to take were restricted to the party elite, without the participation or debate of the membership who were limited to following orders that they never got to discuss and in many cases did not understand. For most people, these practices are every day becoming increasingly more intolerable.

 

A Tate Gallery for the New Left: Portraits, Landscapes, and Abstracts in the Revolutionary Activism of the 1950s and 1960s

 

Revolutionary Workers Party national secretary Ross Dowson,
campaigning to become Mayor of Toronto, Canada, 1948.

 

Ernest Tate, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s: A Memoir – Volume 1, Canada 1955–1965 (London: Resistance Books, 2014)

 

Ernest Tate, Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s and 60s: A Memoir – Volume 2, Britain 1965–1970 (London: Resistance Books, 2014)

 

By Bryan D. Palmer

 

Ideas for the struggle #3 - To be at the service of popular movements, not replace them

 

 

By Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

1. We have previously stated that politics is the art of constructing a social and political force capable of changing the balance of forces in order to make possible tomorrow that which today appears to be impossible. But to be able to construct a social force political organizations must demonstrate a great respect for grassroots movements, and contribute to their autonomous development, leaving behind all attempts at manipulation. They must take as their starting point the fact that they are not the only ones with ideas and proposals; on the contrary, grassroots movements have much to offer us, because through their daily struggles they have also learned things, discovered new paths, found solutions and invented methods which can be of great value.

 

Ideas for the struggle #2 - Convince, not impose

 

 

By Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

1. Popular movements and, more generally, the different social protagonists engaged in the struggle against neoliberal globalization both at the international and national levels, reject — with good reason — attitudes that aim to impose hegemony or control on movements. They do not accept the steamroller policy that some political and social organizations tended to use that, taking advantage of their position of strength and monopolizing political positions, attempts to manipulate the movement. They do not accept the authoritarian imposition of a leadership from above; they do not accept attempts made to lead movements by simply giving orders, no matter how correct they are.

 

Building a better movement

 

 

By Pete Dolack

 

September 6, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Systemic Disorder — All of us who struggle for a better world are disheartened that so many advances of the 20th century have been lost. The mounting crises of the environment, the global economy and ever more constricted political systems are unmistakably moving humanity toward a cliff. And yet social movements, for all the victories here and there, again and again fail to sustain momentum.

 

Why are we in this predicament? No single person or organization can fully answer such a question, of course, but we do need to seriously reconsider what has been done and how. In this spirit, Marta Harnecker’s “Ideas for the Struggle” is a document that merits wide discussion. Originally written in 2004 and updated this year, the paper consists of 12 short, closely linked sections. And although written with Latin America in mind, the ideas are borderless.

 

‘Ideas for the Struggle’: required reading for activists in these challenging times

 

 

By Steve Williams

 

August 30, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist RenewalIdeas for the Struggle should be required reading for all organizers, political activists and would-be revolutionaries in these troubling and challenging times.

 

Ideas for the struggle #1 - Mass uprisings or revolutions? The role of the political instrument

 

 

By Marta Harnecker, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal

 

1. The recent and not so recent popular uprisings that rocked numerous countries across the world have clearly demonstrated that
the initiative of the people, in and of itself, is not enough to defeat ruling regimes.

 

The relevance of Marta Harnecker's 'Ideas for the Struggle' today

 

 

Together with New and Old Project, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal is republishing a revised and updated edition of Marta Harnecker's "Ideas for the Struggle", a collection of 12 articles looking at the question of how to organise for socialism in the 21st century.

 

The path to power: ‘Let’s commit to the long haul’

 

 

The following discussion of strategy for social change, by Umair Muhammad, was first published under the title “An Altered Position,” as an afterword to the second edition of his book Confronting Injustice: Social Activism in the Age of Individualism.

 

By Umair Muhammad

 

August 17, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from John Riddell's blog with permission — During the summer of 2014 I became involved in an anti-pipeline campaign in Toronto. Part of the campaign against the oil pipeline involved occupying worksites. I myself was able to take part in two such occupations. The first occupation resulted in a one-day stoppage of work. The second stopped work for at least two days and resulted in work equipment being carried offsite. The occupations were in part meant to serve as precursors for larger actions to come, allowing the activists involved to build links and gain experience.

 

Spain: Podemos MP on understanding transversality

 

 

 

Podemos MP in Andalucia Juan Antonio Gil de los Santos

 

By Juan Antonio Gil de los Santos

 

August 10, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When the 15-M movement broke out onto the streets across Spain in 2011, it didn’t coalesce into a series of political parties on either end of the political spectrum. In fact, there was a common declaration that stood out among all of the indignados: “They don’t represent us”.

Partido, clase y marxismo: ¿Era Kautsky “leninista”?

 

 

[Original article in English here]

 

By Eric Blanc

 

June 3, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal traducido para Sin Permiso por G. Buster -- En los últimos años, los socialistas han discutido encarnizadamente sobre la cuestión de los llamados “partidos amplios”. Muchos han defendido que hay que desechar el modelo "leninista" en favor de formaciones más amplias, como Syriza, Podemos, el Partido Laborista británico, los Verdes, etc. Otros han rechazado participar en este tipo de organizaciones, con el argumento "leninista" de que la construcción de partidos marxistas revolucionarios independientes sigue siendo la tarea de organización estratégica de los socialistas.

 

Entrelazado con este debate ha habido una seria reevaluación del propio "leninismo". En particular, después de la publicación del monumental Lenin Rediscovered de Lars T. Lih, se han abierto algunas grandes interrogantes: ¿Rompió Lenin en la teoría y / o práctica con la estrategia "ortodoxa" articulada por el teórico marxista Karl Kautsky? ¿Fueron los bolcheviques, en otras palabras, un "partido de nuevo tipo"?

 

Marta Harnecker on strategies for social change: people's power and political instruments

 

May 28, 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At the recent Socialist Alliance's Socialism in the 21st Century Conference held in Sydney in May 2016, Marta Harnecker, a Chilean psychologist, writer, journalist and a prominent investigator and commentator on experiences of social transformation in Latin America, presented this paper on: People's power and political instruments.

Amadeo Bordiga and the development of a revolutionary core

 

Amadeo Bordiga

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 

"We do not wish to evangelize, but to ignite, and when the moment arrives the flame will burst forth."[1] These passionate words were uttered by the Italian socialist Amadeo Bordiga in 1912 and summed up his life's revolutionary mission: to organize for international communist revolution.

The Resolute Subject: Daniel Bensaïd, Voluntarism and Strategy

 

Daniel Bensaïd

 

By Doug Enaa Greene

 



To my brother, Daniel, who also made me see the possibilities contained in a moment.

 


April 4. 2016 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc, it has been fashionable to say that the time for communist politics has passed. One commentator went so far as to claim that “history had ended,” which meant capitalism was the only game in town. For many leftists, politics shifted from Marxist theory, revolutionary strategy and fighting to win, to begging the ruling class for “realistic” reforms. Yet there remained a stubborn few who refused to accept that capitalism was the sole vision on the horizon, but maintained a stubborn fidelity to Marxism and revolution. One of these was the French Trotskyist, Daniel Bensaïd (1946-2010), a key figure of the Ligue Communiste Revolutionnaire, a leading participant in the May 1968 general strike and a militant Marxist intellectual. Bensaïd practiced a critical and creative Marxism throughout his life that fruitfully engaged with other radical political thinkers, such as Blanqui and Benjamin, and he refused to believe that the last word on our future had been said. Rather, he argued that resistance to capitalism was not only possible, but he gave serious thought about what it would take to win. Daniel Bensaïd remains a powerful voice to argue for strategic thinking and developing a “resolute subject” that could overcome the crushing weight of the “objective situation.”

 





Marta Harnecker interviewed: From Allende’s Chile to Chávez’s Venezuela


For more by or about Marta Harnecker, click HERE.

Marta Harnecker interviewed by Isabel Rauber, introduction and translation by Richard Fidler

April 21, 2015 -- Life on the Left, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- Marta Harnecker (above), a Marxist writer and lecturer of Chilean origin, is one of the foremost international exponents of the revolutionary process in Latin America today.

In the following interview she outlines some of the lessons she has derived from her experience with the Popular Unity government of Chile’s Salvador Allende (1970-73) that are applicable to current attempts in Latin America to build “an alternative society to capitalism that is essentially democratic”.

David Renton: Learning to think like a revolutionary

Syriza election reaction Italy

By David Renton

February 23, 2015 -- Lives; running, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with the author's permission -- When I was young, I used to believe that I knew what a revolution would look like.

It would begin with a bitterly unpopular government and a political system which allowed no space for dissent to be expressed. Anger with the government would rise and, with it, popular organisation, until the will of the people would be like a great wave of water overwhelming every wall put up by the enemy. An alternative revolutionary government would be formed; it would derive its support from the workers, winning other classes to their side because of the wholly principled way in which it would deal with every social question.

Thoughts on reform, revolution, social change and elections in light of SYRIZA's win

Hugo Chavez and supporters at Chavez’s final campaign rally in Caracas on October 4, 2013, three days before his re-election as president.

Click for more discussion of SYRIZA, Latin America and revolutionary organisation

By Mike Treen, director of the Unite union in Aotearoa/New Zealand

February 19, 2015 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- The election of the radical left-wing SYRIZA party in Greece and a possible victory of the similarly radical party Podemos in Spain has raised the hopes of millions of people across Europe and the globe that we can put an end to austerity-type policies, put in place policies that will protect working people from the capitalist crisis and advance society to a new era of social justice governments.

The will to act: The life and thought of Louis-Auguste Blanqui

Doug Enaa Greene presented a talk on the life and thought of Louis-Auguste Blanqui to the Center for Marxist Education in February 2014.

By Doug Enaa Greene

Dedicated to my father

October 24, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- “I am accused of having said to thirty million French people, proletarians like me, that they had the right to live”.[1] These words are the opening remarks of then 27-year-old revolutionary, Louis-Auguste Blanqui's defence speech when he was tried for treason by the French state in 1832. Blanqui's words were nothing less than a declaration of war upon the rule of the bourgeoisie on behalf of a mercilessly exploited proletariat.

Marta Harnecker talks about 21st century socialism to TeleSUR English

For more by or about Marta Harnecker and her ideas, click HERE.

October 17, 2014 -- TeleSUR English, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Greg Wilpert interviews the well-known theoretician of the Latin American left Marta Harnecker. The Chilean-born author and activist is known worldwide for her writings on Marxist philosophy, Venezuela and Hugo Chavez, and the challenges facing the Latin American left in the 21st century.

Her latest book A World to Build-New Paths to 21st Century Socialism will soon be out in English. In the interview Harnecker discusses the differences between 20th and 21st century socialism and key strategic issues posed for left-wing movements today.

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