RE: [OPE] Political strategies of the American Left

Date: Sat Aug 23 2008 - 08:51:32 EDT

>  It has yet to find an effective form of> political organization based on the principle of "unite the many to> defeat the few" which can manage differences of opinion without the> endless splitting and rivalries.
Hi Dave:
Yes, but there are alternative models: for example, a confederation of 
autonomous organizations and affinity groups. The Algerian revolution 
relied heavily on such a model. Most often a relatively decentralized 
leadership structure - with, in some cases, layers of leadership -
have developed in response to state repression (e.g. the Hungarian Communist
Party in 1918 had at least 4 central committees so that in the event that the
members of the CC were arrested then the 2nd CC would become the 
There have been lots of differences in perspective in the EZLN in Chiapas
but there haven't been endless splits. Maybe we should ask why? 
> You can certainly have brief periods of riots or even upheavals but> not much progressive change can result from growing discontent and> unrest unless there are organizations already in place that can grow> into political forces of action. That, at least, is a lesson from US> history.
Perhaps, but is it the experience in all other capitalist social formations?
I don't think so. There have been examples historically (e.g. Hungary in 1918)
when the masses made a revolution without the support of any of the
major political parties. Indeed, in that case the leadership of the communist,
social democratic, and radical parties all argued that a revolution would be 
premature and doomed to failure. Independent working-class organizations
made a revolution anyway and then presented them with a fait accompli.
This makes very good reading, but I can't recall the exact source at the moment
(maybe Oskar Jazni?).  Basically, the leadership of popular and radical organizations 
(including Michael  Karolyi) hid in a room fully expecting that at any moment the 
state troops would barge into the room and kill them all. Instead, revolutionaries 
broke down the door and told the shivering radicals that they should form a 
government and applauded Karolyi as president!  Evidently, it didn't occur to them 
that there should be some form of direct democracy.
In solidarity, Jerry

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