The paranoia of the Weekly Worker is beginning to get in the way of your normally reasonably accurate, if distorted, reporting.
Paul Wiseman's claim of yet another plot against the heroic comrades of the CPGB is silly. At the time of writing I have yet to see sight of a resolution being drafted and proposed by one of our members regarding your organisation's attitude towards racists. It will be for our membership to decide if the matter is an emergency.
CPGB members in our area are welcome at our next meeting and to take part in that debate. I would expect our membership will hold strong views on this matter in light of the murder of Stephen Lawrence and other black youth in our constituency and the active BNP harassment of Lewisham teacher Alison Moore.
It would appear that the CPGB are not looking forward to this debate! The claim that I have raised this matter with the Network of Socialist Alliances and have been lobbying Jewish organisations to put the Weekly Worker in the dock is not true, but thanks for the suggestion. As the only nationally affiliated Socialist Alliance in London we are free to do this.
I would suggest comrades from the CPGB calm down. No wonder the LSA is too embarrassed to publish the name of the CPGB comrade who has been initially included on the provisional LSA list.
As Greg Tucker has indicated, all sorts of developments around Livingstone could emerge in the coming weeks and nothing is fixed. This mirrors the position of the Greenwich and Lewisham Socialist Alliance and indicates why Marcus Larsen's attempt to bounce us into supporting a narrow LSA list failed.
In reply to Tom Delargy (Weekly Worker February 10), I have written on many occasions on the theory of the proletarian democratic revolution. This is a democratic revolution led by the working class with the aim of achieving a workers' republic.
The democratic revolution is consummated by the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is part of the broader theory of permanent revolution. This is very different from the Stalinist idea of a bourgeois-led bourgeois democratic revolution, which has the aim of establishing nothing more than a bourgeois republic. I have specifically criticised and rejected this theory (otherwise known as stageism) on numerous occasions. I have also explained that the theory of bourgeois democratic revolution is a theory which serves the interests of the bourgeoisie by excluding the working class and limiting its political aims.
Those seeking to attack the theory of proletarian democratic revolution have a number of points they will need to prove. First, they should argue that the working class is not capable of leading the democratic revolution. Second, they should argue that democratic revolution must be led by the bourgeoisie and must be limited to a bourgeois republic. Third, they must show that democratic revolution is not appropriate for advanced capitalist countries. These are the basic propositions of the Menshevik-Stalinist theory.
I was therefore amazed to read Tom Delargy claiming that in the Republican Communist Network "Mary, Nick Clarke, and Dave Craig were given leave to lumber the lot of us with their Stalinist stages theory". This is the very opposite of what I have argued. Has Tom simply misunderstood this? Or is he deliberately lying to mislead the paper's readers? In his own letter he pleads with Allan Armstrong and Mary Ward to take note of what he actually argues. Tom should apply this advice to his own polemics.
Perhaps in the initial stages of a debate there is room for misunderstandings. But the argument in the Weekly Worker between the proletarian democratic revolution and the Stalinist theory of bourgeois democratic revolution has long since passed that stage. If Tom continues to misrepresent the truth, his political honesty will be called into question and his credibility will sink to zero.
Let me turn to the debate in the letters page following his report of the RCN meeting (Weekly Worker January 13 and February 3). I did not attend that meeting so cannot comment of the events there. I did however say (Weekly Worker January 20) that on the basis of analysing the motion, as presented by Tom in his January 13 article, there was weakness and ambiguity in its formulations. Tom now agrees. He writes that "having first read Mary's letter and now Allan's, there is not much doubt that we all voted for very different things". Exactly my point.
It is true that the RCN was set up on a compromise. But this is not, as yet, an unprincipled compromise. The first compromise was over international socialism. A second compromise is that we have not spelt out precisely the attitude of the RCN to the bourgeois republic. We agreed a method of dealing with this in a principled way. Eventually after a period of debate a majority position will emerge. But there will also be freedom for minority views. No doubt we will need further debate and clarification on the bourgeois republic. It was that lack of clarity that was reflected in the motion. A compromise - yes, but at present a necessary and workable one, at least as far as intervention in the Scottish Socialist Party is concerned. This is why I criticised the RCN motion, not from the angle of total opposition, but from a position of critical support.
Back to Tom again. Just in case he still has not noticed it - it is the proletarian democratic revolution. I support this theory against the Stalinist theory of bourgeois democratic revolution. For proletarian democratic revolution and against bourgeois democratic revolution - get it?
Recently I asked Dave Craig a question I have been asking him for some years: How can dual power, which by definition and historical fact is two fundamentally conflicting forces and states, be the expression of the single power of a bourgeois republic or constitutional regime? In the Weekly Worker (February 10) Dave gave me his usual dogmatic answer: "A dual power republic is a bourgeois republic with dual power." So, in case we did not grasp this assertion, dual power in a bourgeois republic is a dual power republic. This is not an explanation but a tautology, a formal definition without real political content.
Dave wraps up the revolutionary action of the proletariat in a bourgeois constitutional package. He does not understand what revolution is. If dual power is not seen through a constitutional lens, as integral to a bourgeois republic, then for Dave there is anarchy without class rule (see Weekly Worker July 29 1999). This novel claim is repeated when he writes: "In a dual power republic the bourgeoisie is still the ruling class."
If the ruling class or the bourgeois republic does not have authority how can the institutions of the ruling class or the bourgeois republic rule?
Where did you conceive your mission statement, 'What we fight for'? It appears naive and will not attract those such as myself who are communist but believe that it has nothing to do with many of the issues which you have mentioned. I do not believe in the authority of the nation state or self-determination of states, but in the principles of the autonomy of the individual.
The principle that the Irish should be granted independence is naive in that each Irish man and woman should be able to be allied to any political body that he or she chooses: few Northern Irish people have this power because the are oppressed by their own outdated beliefs in christianity. Sexism and racism are holding back the working class struggle by creating an internal conflict among us: black men fight for black men's rights, women fight for women's rights, but we should all be fighting for workers' rights. Until women and racial minorities accept their responsibility to the rest of the workforce the workers will not progress.
Leninism is not significant in the larger picture. Engels is the only source of information other than Marx that is of significant importance in pure communism. Lenin developed the ideas for use in his society which is of little importance, given that the revolution is far from nigh. Any attempt to organise all people into one party is futile.
In his reply to my criticism of his praxis approach Delphi (Weekly Worker February 10 2000) still does not establish that the importance of praxis, and moral and ethical criteria, for understanding class struggle are based upon materialist premises. Does he acknowledge that objective reality exists that is independent of our immediate consciousness, and is the basis for our human activity and thought?
Delphi argues that there is no guarantee that knowledge of scientific laws will bring about the inevitability of revolution. I agree with Delphi, and this was shown in my polemic with Roy Bull, in previous issues of Weekly Worker. I strongly criticised Roy Bull's fatalistic and rigidly predictive conception of Marxism. But do we then conclude that it is impossible to conceive the possible tendencies of development that could explain how revolution would occur? The working class in 1917 Russia were obviously spontaneously motivated by outrage about the imperialist war and the terrible poverty conditions, but this moral and ethical protest was developed into revolutionary class consciousness in connection to the growing political relationship between the Bolsheviks and working class.
Delphi raises the issue of utopian-ism. However, he does not establish the theoretical validity of utopianism, except as a possible motivational aspect of struggle. He does not ask whether it could justify a rigid and prescriptive approach concerning the future, and does not question whether utopianism is primarily an appeal to reproduce a nostalgic past. Marx's approach has been more explanatory about the future: the existing development of class struggle will continue to create new and exciting forms of a future classless society.