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      Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

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      ChesterCopperpot

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      Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  ChesterCopperpot on Thu Jul 10, 2008 6:01 pm

      What exactly is the difference between Trotskyist revolutionary theory and Luxemburgist revolutionary theory? The ambiguous and poorly written wikipedia article suggests that Luxemburg was critical of some of Trotksy's less democratic activities, but that does not really explain how their theories differed. To make things more confusing, there are some self-professed Trotskyists like Alex Callinicos who speak glowingly of Luxemburg, and appear to support the Luxemburgist idea that the vanguard party should not rule in place of the people. Or am I wrong in my understanding that luxemburgists are less oriented around the idea of a vanguard party? Also if they reject democratic centralism, what do they reject it in favor of?

      luxemburguista
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      Re: Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  luxemburguista on Fri Jul 11, 2008 11:27 am

      There are a lot of differences. And they are with the Bolshevism in general. Perhaps the principal ones are:

      The conception of the revolutionary subject.
      The Bolsheviks think that the proletariat is incapable for itself of realizing the revolution. That's why it would need the party, which it must direct to the proletariat
      The luxemburgists we think that the proletariat is perfectly capable as class of doing the revolution. The parties are organizations of the class, but they are not essential. And less still they must direct nothing

      The question of the democracy in general.
      The Bolsheviks think that the dictatorship of the proletariat is exercised in accordance with their conception of the revolutionary subject. That's why that is actually a dictatorship of the vanguard-party.
      The luxemburgists we believe that the dictatorship of the proletariat exercises the proletariat as class as a whole, having to exist full freedom for all the tendencies that in the proletariat exist.

      The structure interns of the organizations in particular.
      The Bolsheviks think that their party must be strictly centralized, hierarchical and disciplined (that's why they formulate the "democratic" centralism), and composed by "professional" revolutionaries.
      The luxemburgists we think that the proletarian organizations must be composed by proletarians in general, they must no have hierarchies and we respect the free expression of the ideas (inside and outside of the organization) and the free experimentation (what for the Bolsheviks would be the dissidence).

      All this said in a very generic form. And based on the differences in the epoch of Rosa Luxemburg, Lenin and Trotsky. Today, we believe that, opposite to the Bolshevik parties and the democratic centralism, it is better to work as a species of network or tendency that respects the bases on that I have commented earlier.

      You can the criticism of Rosa against Bolsheviks in:
      http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1904/questions-rsd/index.htm
      and in:
      http://www.marxists.org/archive/luxemburg/1918/russian-revolution/index.htm

      You can see the differences between Marx and Lenin (and Bolsheviks) in the book of Wolfgang Leonhard "Triple Split of Marxism" (we published a fragment -in Spanish- in http://marxismolibertario.blogspot.com/2008/02/wolfgang-leonhard-la-triple-escisin-del.html

      And Trotsky did an excellent criticism in the same sense of RL in
      http://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1904/tasks/index.htm
      But the most of trotskyists unknown or hide this really "prophetic" book

      Our possitions (of Communist Democracy - Luxemburgist) you can see in
      http://democom.neuf.fr/communistdemocracy.htm
      and
      http://democom.neuf.fr/democraticcommunism.htm

      SALUD


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      dreamecho

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      Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  dreamecho on Fri Jan 30, 2009 7:18 am

      I have read some of the material available on line and additional questions have risen.

      - How do we act being members in left (Τrotsky tradition) parties that are not strictly Luxemburgist however do accept the existence of various tends which still have to act
      in a form of democratic centralism.What do we propose(and fight to vote) that will assist the transition to a more democratic and non hierarchical function within the party ?
      Internal referendums for all major issues that the central comμittee will have to abide for ? The option that each subsection may act independently as long as they act in accordance to general principles agreed ?

      - And a bit more wide ,how do we act in reference to
      society ?

      Any ideas , suggestions are welcome

      luxemburguista
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      Re: Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  luxemburguista on Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:28 am

      How do we act being members in left (Τrotsky tradition) parties that are not strictly Luxemburgist however do accept the existence of various tends which still have to act
      in a form of democratic centralism
      Personally, I don´t think that today it is useful to be member of bolsheviks parties or similar (as the anticapitalist parties started by IST or USFI in different countries). The empiric test is the situation of Respect, Refundazione, PSOL, Bloco de Esquerdas, United Left,...
      Nevertheless, every militant can decide what he does. This is the norm in the ILN.
      My option is very simple: in the social movements, which arise from the concrete struggles, the unity is real, because it arise from below, from the real and concrete situations (the workplaces,...). And this unity is necesarry by material causes.
      In the parties, the unity is determined by a general agreement. If this agreement isn´t real, it will not exist during a lot of time. And the bolshevism and luxemburgism are incompatible.
      Clearly, I don´t accept the ¿democratic? centralism, because I think that this can´t be democratic

      The option that each subsection may act independently as long as they act in accordance to general principles agreed?
      This is the freedom of experimentation. We defend this as indivisible of the freedom of expression. The comrades of the WDN (some of them are members of the ILN) said:

      Often, these groups dictate that members with minority opinions must conceal their views and support the majority. Finally, these groups are founded with a detailed program that covers everything from A to Z. Such organizations require members to agree to the entire platform. But since disagreements with some part of the program are common, the results are endless splits and tiny splinter groups. Lack of internal democracy leads to lack of real unity. We are something different. This is a network of those who agree in principal, not in detail. We all agree to the Statement of Agreement. Within that agreement in principal, we can disagree about everything else and democratically decide what we have to do

      I think that this is a good way to a real unity. But, do the bolsheviks allow this?
      The proletariat is diverse because everyone or every group has a diverse vision of how we can go to the socialist society. But is the proletariat, the whole class, who does the revolution. With its diversity. Not one part (one party).

      We (the militants of the ILN) are members of social movements (unions, platforms, collectives,...). And we are in our jobs and in our places with our companions. In these, we work with them, with all of them as far as possible, looking for the maximun unity. Because this is absolutely necessary for ours (and for them). We can do nothing without that unity and we have to do.

      Sorry for my poor english and greetings from Spain.
      SALUD


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      dreamecho

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      Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  dreamecho on Fri Jan 30, 2009 8:56 am

      Many thanks for your reply comrade.I will revert with further questions on a later stage.

      greetings from Greece

      yg

      Actually i am the one to apologize for my poor English.
      As far as i am concerned your English are very good !

      dreamecho

      Number of posts : 14
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      Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  dreamecho on Tue Feb 03, 2009 5:37 am

      Within that agreement in principal, we can disagree about everything else and democratically decide what we have to do

      Indeed and that is my question on the procedure.Do we use a referendum where all members vote for the decisions to be
      taken ?
      Do we struggle to find a common acceptable thesis that could be accepted from the majority and minority/ties ?
      I have noticed the example of one tendency taking the decision to talk publicly on behalf of the whole party instead as a tendency ?
      (And using their connection with the media to impose their point of view upon the whole party)
      Where should we draw the line ?

      JM Delgado

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      Re: Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  JM Delgado on Wed Feb 04, 2009 7:11 am

      En mi opinión LO PEOR de los trotsko-leninistas está en haber apostado por la “energia” o “potencial “revolucionario” de los movimientos nacionalistas, por la legitimidad democrática de todos y cada uno de ellos, lo que, en la práctica, equivale a legitimar y apoyar la fragmentación en nuevos estados etnica o lingüisticamente homogéneos, naturalmente NO SE HACEN RESPONSABLES DE LAS CONSECUENCIAS de enfrentamientos inevitables entre poblaciones concernidas por el mismo estado previamente existente, inficionadas o no de nacionalismos, vecinos o divididos por la adscripción de sectores de “etnias” al estado canónico preexistente: Reino Unido, Francia, Belgica, Italia, Grecia, y ello solo en Europa, sin olvidar Alemania “amputada” de la Prusia Oriental, y olvidando - ¡terrible! – las consecuencias de su politica “autodeterminista” en Africa, en Asia, en fin, unos pseudorrevolucionarios peligrosos, para la clase obrera a la que se le anima a “integrarse en su pueblo” y a ignorar o minimizar los enfrentamientos con el proletariado desinteresado de cuestiones nacionalistas en los estados tradicionales europeos: en su antiobrerismo nos consideran “españolistas” a los marxistas con pasaporte español que nos oponemos a su demencial apuesta por la fragmentación del estado en 17 miniestados lingñuisticamente homogéneos: la IST – en España el colectivo En Lucha – y la versión clonada del mandelismo, ahora Izquierda Anticapitalista, mantienen estas posciones. En su inconsecuencia se niegan a aplicar su “plantilla autodeterminista” en Bolvia, Venezuela, etc. JM

      Traducción de machine:

      In my opinion THE WORST of the trotsko-Leninists consists in having bet for the "energy" or revolutionary "potential" ” of the nationalistic movements, for the democratic legitimacy of each and everyone of them, which, in the practice, it is equivalent to legitimize and support the fragmentation in the new ethnic or linguistically homogeneous states, naturally THERE DO NOT BECOME RESPONSIBLE FOR THE CONSEQUENCES of inevitable clashes between populations concerned by the same state previously existing, infected or not of nacionalismos, nearby or divided for the ascription of sectors of "ethnic groups" to the canonical preexisting state: The United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Italy, Greece, and alone it in Europe, without forgetting "amputated" Germany of the Oriental Prussia, and forgetting: terrible! – the consequences of his political "autodeterminist" in Africa, in Asia, anyway, a few dangerous pseudorrevolucionarios, for the working class whom one cheers up to “ to integrate in his people ” and to ignore or to minimize the clashes with the proletariat disinterested in nationalistic questions in the traditional European states: in his antilabor they consider "españolistas" us, the Marxists with Spanish passport that we are opposed to his good-looking demencial for the fragmentation of the state in 17 ministates lingñuisticamente homogeneous: the IST – in Spain the group In Struggle – and the cloned version of the mandelismo, now Anticapitalist Left, they support these posciones. In his inconsistency they refuse to apply his “ staff autodeterminist ” in Bolvia, Venezuela, etc. JM

      luxemburguista
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      Re: Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  luxemburguista on Wed Feb 11, 2009 8:23 am

      I answer here to the questions raised for dreamecho, in english and then in spanish (I am in accordance with JM in the question of the nationalism).

      Voting is perfectly democratic. Also it is to look for the consensus. But I believe that it is necessary to raise the question in another form:
      1. We cannot think that the decisions of a political organization (even if it is very numerous) are the fundamental and only key for the revolution. To think this way would suppose losing of sight that there are the masses, in the process of mass strike, who are the key. And these masses will always be diverse.
      2. The democracy is the power of the people. The proletarian democracy is the power of the proletariat. And in any truly democratic system, the decisions of the majority are imposed. But the democracy has other essentials. One of them is the search of the consensus, which implies the aptitude to yield. Other is the respect to the discrepancy, which it implies not trying to impose just like that. And other is to start from the real need and from the material interest to look for the unity. Because if it is not realized well that is necessary, that they all are interested in, the unity will not be obtained.
      3. The proletarian democracy (that is the one that the revolutionaries we want) is indissolubly linked to the socialization. And the socialization implies the self-management on the part of whom they are directly implied. It is opposite to the imposition from any foreign, external, "central" power. That's why the luxemburgism denies the validity for the proletarian revolution of the so-called " democratic centralism " of the Bolsheviks.

      If we take examples, the question turns out to be clearer:
      In a job, the workers come to agreements because they know that it is strictly necessary to be joined opposite to the employer. And that's why they respect the unity on the base of the majority agreement.
      In a concrete struggle, the persons and groups come to agreements because they know that it is the only mechanism to achieve the concrete aim that is common to all. It is from those concrete struggles as wider processes develop. And it is from agreements in concrete questions as it goes over to more general agreements.
      In a political organization, it is supposed that there are a few general common bases to all his members. But: is it necessary to agree in everything? The members of any political organization act in diverse fields. Is an equal action necessary in different fields? A political organization raises global, general alternatives and not complete. Is it necessary that every partial element is identical? And, especially: does a political (any) organization have all the prescriptions, all the keys?
      The political organizations, the "parties", are constituted by subjective elements, not objective (in contrast to what it happens in a center of work or a territory). That's why it is not necessary that there is an only one party, not that in any party there is the only way of seeing the things.

      Is the freedom and the plurality possible without freedom of criticism and of experimentation? In my opinion, not.

      The Bolshevik organizations (all) start from the need not of unity, but of homogeneity. They want that all his members act like one only body. That's why they are strictly centralized. In the depth, they believe that there exists the possibility that someone (a central committee or even a person) has all the responses to all the questions. Be infallible. Or a "god".
      The luxemburgists we reject this way of organizing itself and what in reality it involves (the History has demonstrated sufficiently the implications). We believe that the organizations of the proletarian class must correspond with the proper proletariat, which is heterogeneous and diverse.
      Does mean that there are no tensions? Not. Does it mean that the majority will is not respected? Neither. But it is necessary to be able to look the things relatively. If they are a few specific comrades to whom is incumbent on a specific question, which are in a specific place: why to deny to them the aptitude to intervene as do they consider better? If there are diverse visions on the same matter: why not to reflect that these diverse visions exist?
      In the concrete case of the ILN, clearly we do not admit that a minority tries to impose his points of view to the majority. But also we know well that is absurd to try that all of us think, say or do the same. Only we group together because we are sure that we do more things together that separated. From that the organizational need emerges. That keeps us united, makes us look for consensuses and makes us respect the diversity. That and to know that we are not " the revolutionary subject " (as the central committees are thinking that they are in reallity ). We are only one more part of this subject.

      In spanish:
      Respondo aquí a las cuestiones planteadas por dreamecho (estoy de acuerdo con JM en la cuestión del nacionalismo).

      Votar es perfectamente democrático. También lo es buscar el consenso. Pero creo que hay que plantear la cuestión de otra forma:
      1. No podemos pensar que las decisiones de una organización política (incluso si es muy numerosa) son la clave fundamental y única para la revolución. Pensar así supondría perder de vista que son las masas, en el proceso de huelga de masas, quienes son la pieza clave. Y esas masas serán siempre diversas.
      2. La democracia es el poder del pueblo. La democracia proletaria es el poder del proletariado. Y en cualquier sistema verdaderamente democrático, se imponen las decisiones de la mayoría. Pero la democracia tiene otros fundamentos. Uno de ellos es la búsqueda del consenso, que implica la capacidad de ceder. Otro es el respeto a la discrepancia, que implica no tratar de imponer sin más. Y otro es partir de la necesidad real y del interés material para buscar la unidad. Porque si no se tiene claro que es necesaria, que a todos interesa, la unidad no se conseguirá.
      3. La democracia proletaria (que es la que los revolucionarios queremos) está indisolublemente unida a la socialización. Y la socialización implica la autogestión por parte de quienes están directamente implicados. Es contraria a la imposición desde cualquier poder ajeno, exterior, "central". Por eso el luxemburguismo niega la validez para la revolución proletaria del llamado "centralismo democrático" de los bolcheviques.

      Si tomamos ejemplos, la cuestión se ve más clara:
      En un trabajo, los trabajadores llegan a acuerdos porque saben que es estrictamente necesario estar unidos frente al patrono. Y por eso respetan la unidad sobre la base del acuerdo mayoritario.
      En una lucha concreta, las personas y colectivos llegan a acuerdos porque saben que es el único mecanismo para lograr el objetivo concreto que es común a todos. Es a partir de esas lucha concretas como se desarrollan procesos más amplios. Y es a partir de acuerdos en cuestiones concretas como se llega a acuerdos más generales.
      En una organización política, se supone que hay unas bases generales comunes a todos sus miembros. Pero, ¿es necesario estar de acuerdo en todo? Los miembros de cualquier organización política actúan en diversos ámbitos. ¿Es necesaria una actuación igual en ámbitos diferentes? Una organización política plantea alternativas globales, generales y no completas. ¿Es necesario que cada elemento parcial sea idéntico? Y, sobre todo, ¿tiene una organización política (cualquiera) todas las recetas, todas las claves?
      Las organizaciones políticas, los "partidos", se constituyen por elementos subjetivos, no objetivos (a diferencia de lo que pasa en un centro de trabajo o un territorio). Por eso no es necesario que haya un único partido, ni que en cualquier partido haya una única forma de ver las cosas.

      ¿Es posible la libertad y la pluralidad sin libertad de crítica y de experimentación? En mi opinión, no.

      Las organizaciones bolcheviques (todas) parten de la necesidad no de unidad, sino de homogeneidad. Quieren que todos sus miembros actúen como un sólo cuerpo. Por eso están estrictamente centralizadas. En el fondo, creen que existe la posibilidad de que alguien (un comité central o incluso una persona) tenga todas las respuestas a todas las preguntas. Sea infalible. O un "dios".
      Los luxemburguistas rechazamos esa forma de organizarse y lo que en realidad implica (la Historia ha demostrado suficientemente las implicaciones). Creemos que las organizaciones de la clase proletaria deben corresponderse con el propio proletariado, que es heterogéneo y diverso.
      ¿Significa eso que no hay tensiones? No. ¿Significa eso que no se respete la voluntad mayoritaria? Tampoco. Pero hay que saber relativizar las cosas. Si son unos camaradas específicos a los que compete una cuestión específica, los que están en un lugar específico, ¿por qué negarles la capacidad de intervenir como consideren mejor? Si hay diversas visiones sobre un mismo asunto, ¿por qué no reflejar que existen esas diversas visiones?
      En el caso concreto de la ILN, evidentemente no admitimos que una minoría trate de imponer sus puntos de vista a la mayoría. Pero también tenemos claro que es absurdo intentar pensar, decir o hacer todos lo mismo. Sólo nos agrupamos porque estamos convencidos de que hacemos más cosas juntos que separados. En eso consiste la necesidad organizativa. Eso nos mantiene unidos, nos hace buscar consensos y nos hace respetar la diversidad. Eso y saber que nosotros no somos "el sujeto revolucionario" (como sí creen serlo en realidad los comités centrales). Sólo somos una parte más de ese sujeto.


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      Re: Luxemburgism vs. Trotskyism

      Post  JM Delgado on Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:39 am

      Si tomamos ejemplos, la cuestión se ve más clara:
      En un trabajo, los trabajadores llegan a acuerdos porque saben que es estrictamente necesario estar unidos frente al patrono. Y por eso respetan la unidad sobre la base del acuerdo mayoritario.
      En una lucha concreta, las personas y colectivos llegan a acuerdos porque saben que es el único mecanismo para lograr el objetivo concreto que es común a todos. Es a partir de esas lucha concretas como se desarrollan procesos más amplios. Y es a partir de acuerdos en cuestiones concretas como se llega a acuerdos más generales.

      Tu ejemplo de como en que medida es justamente de la manera en que las luchas obreras, las huelgas, los paros, los encierros, se organizan, se acuerdan y se despliegan, se amplian mas allá de los centros de trabajos, son, de verdad, de verdad, un hallazgo, y lo son para mi que, creyendo haberlo visto casi todo, jamás se me había ocurrido que es justamente en la necesidad de coacción sobre los esquiroles, ejecutivos, representantes de la empresa, propietarios, está LA JUSTIFICACIÓN DE LA NECESIDAD DE LA DICTADURA DEMOCRÁTICA DEL PROLETARIADO.

      Hay que volver sobre esto, porque en los limites de esa legitimidad de coacción se han instalado a la vez las mafias, las burocracias estalinistas y, sensu contrario, la adopción de macanismos formales de representación, tomas de acuerdos, clonados de la democracia formal burguesa y sus trampas. Prometo volver, con ejemplos. JM.

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