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Breaking from Tired Student Movements

[READ FIRST: due to the level of unprincipled "argumentation" that has been taking place in the comments section, where Anonymous commenters are accusing a revolutionary organization of "sabotage" and making all sorts of baseless accusations––due to the fact that half of the arguments against this article have relied only on throwing insults and barely debating the content of this article––I am going to be clear about my comments policy.  I have a job, I am not a student with too much time on my hands, and I've just wasted hours of work time dealing with asinine bullshit written by students who think they are revolutionary leaders.  Some of these comments, thankfully, finally engaged and produced a useful discussion.  Others are just poisonous and unprincipled allegations that not only attack the PCR-RCP as "counter-revolutionary" but also make the typical opportunist claims that anarchist militants are collaborating with cops.  Any more comments of this ilk, which produce nothing but the same stale repetition of rhetorical sloganeering, will be deleted.  Grow up and, if you think the position I'm advocating here is wrong, keep on organizing in the way that you see fit.]

Since students and youth from across Ontario and Quebec (including observers from New York and Boston) recently gathered in Toronto for the PCR-RCP initiated Conference for Revolutionary Youth and Students, it is somewhat ironic that Fightback put out a statement regarding the student movement, on the Monday following the conference, entitled Why No Student Movement in English Canada? The irony is not only that right at the moment of this piece's publication the germ of a revolutionary student and youth movement was already founded, but that this article's analysis (which was claiming to answer the same question and almost precisely at the same time) ended up being at odds with the analysis of the conference documents and conference proposals.  Even more ironic is that the author would cover some of the same territory, and make similar points here and there, of the conference's promotional pamphlet, circulated weeks earlier, but still draw the typical wrong-headed conclusions that we've come to expect from groups embedded in bourgeois legality.

What is most interesting about the approach taken by the above linked article is that it is paradigmatic of the myopia that has hampered the student movement for years: the desire to "take back" the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) from bad leadership in order to found a "united front against austerity".  The author rightfully notes that the CFS leadership apparently has no interest in student radicalism but then concludes, without any historical analysis of what a student federation is within the context of a capitalist state, that the solution is to fix this federation and transform it into some sort of "anti-austerity" project.  The logic is reformism because, just as one cannot transform a bourgeois party into a revolutionary party (and history has been quite clear on this point), one cannot transform any structure that depends on the capitalist state into an anti-capitalist vehicle.

Maybe the let's-fix-the-student-union position of this article is due to some sort of naivete, the fact that the author might lack the long perspective of someone who has been involved in student activism for more than four or five years.  After spending four years as an undergraduate, two as a Masters student, and seven as a PhD student (I shouldn't be admitting to 13 years as a student!), and in this time being involved in student activism, like many I have the experience, gained through struggle, of understanding the role that student federations such as the CFS have always played as well as what happens to people who want to enter the CFS and fix it from the inside.  Indeed, I've lost count of the number of well-intentioned activists who have disappeared into CFS fantasyland in order to change the leadership, conforming the institution to radical politics.  Many of them did become CFS leadership and, in this becoming, ended up just as much bureaucratic and social democratic as their forebearers.  At least I possessed the where-with-all to realize the stupidity of this practice and, by the time I was a graduate student, treated any activist who thought the CFS could be a viable political body if it was changed as out-of-touch with the concrete political reality.

In any case, the goal of a revolutionary movement should never simply be about fighting austerity––fighting cuts to welfare capitalism, fighting proletarianization––but about building a movement capable of challenging capitalism… And for a student and youth movement, this would require a connection with a broader and militant communist movement.  Indeed, the reason we do not have a student movement in English Canada (a question asked by the article in question but never truly answered) is not because of some failure to make the CFS truly represent students––because it does represent petty-bourgeois students which is the normative class identification in universities––but because there has been a tendency to channel the student movement in this institutional direction.

The lack of a student movement in English Canada cannot, in light of the Quebec student strike, be explained away by some idealist appeal to "the two solitudes" nor can it be asked in a context of over-fetishizing the Quebec student strike.  For even this student strike, though a significant rebellion, was also ultimately reformist and not a revolutionary student movement––as those activists heavily involved in this strike through the Mouvement Etudiant R√©volutionnaire (MER) who attended the PCR-RCP sponsored conference pointed out.  In fact, one of the express reasons for this conference was to address the lack of revolutionary perspective in the student movement throughout Canada rather than assuming that the so-called "Maple Spring" solved even the problem of austerity, let alone student radicalism vis-a-vis capitalism.  As a conference attendee reported:
"Comrades gathered also discussed the lessons to be gleaned from the heroic student strike in Quebec: especially, that a revolutionary politics and revolutionary programme must be the leading force in such a movement, and that a struggle for reforms can produce only reforms, not the revolution we need. For the maintenance of these revolutionary politics, it was also noted that revolutionary student activists must maintain a separation and independence from the established student federations, which, according to their very nature, can only ever be reformist."
Those students and youth in attendance from Montreal, Quebec City, Rimouski, Saint-Therese, Guelph, Toronto––even observers from Boston and New York City [shout out to readers in Boston and New York City!]––not only endorsed this general analysis, but were energized by the way it broke from the stale reformism inherent in the whole "take back the CFS" political line promoted by social democratic ideology.  For, as the 22 page document [the product of social investigation missing in the Fightback article, and which I will hopefully be able to make available as a download in the future] prepared by the PCR-RCP conference committee pointed out, again showing the irony of the above article:
"Most students' unions in English Canada are governed by the Corporations Act (including the CFS itself, which in every province, is comprised of three distinct corporations––National, Provincial, and 'Services').  This requires, among other things, that the organization remain strictly within the framework of bourgeois legality.  Of course, a break with bourgeois legality is necessary in the course of developing the revolutionary movement we need and carrying its purpose to fruition: the revolutionary overthrow of this system.  More than just an incorrect political directive, the commitment to this legality is written in the genes of the student unions and we must be well aware of this when charting our path to revolution." 
The document goes on to argue that the ignoring the CFS, rather than trying to "fix" its leadership, is the correct political line––a line which should lead to building an autonomous student movement that is not embedded in bourgeois legality.  And the students and youth who attended this conference not only endorsed this line––because they understood from experience and from discussion that the old way to do student politics has always been ineffective––but endorsed a variety of proposals that pushed for organizing students in high schools, colleges, CEGEPs, as well as indigenous and out-of-school youth.  Proposals that were also aimed at wedding the student movement to the proletarian movement in general, partly by recognizing that out of work students, especially those who do not have the privilege to go to university and those facing national oppression, will constitute a reserve army of labour for capitalism.


Here is a student, not in attendance, who might have benefitted from the conference.

Of course, the Fightback article also recognizes the need to connect the student movement to a broader working class movement, though they seem to think, without any significant social investigation, that labour unions and the NDP constitute workers mass organizations.  If the author of this article had bothered to examine the CFS leadership and its history, of which he is formally critical, he would probably notice that the ranks of said leadership are filled with NDP careerists and that the CFS is already intimately connected with this supposed "mass workers' organization"––and if this is the case, then it is already the kind of "proletarian" organization he wants it to be and doesn't need to be reoriented.

So what the author of Why No Student Movement in English Canada? fails to consider, let alone adequately address, is that the masses of students, and proletarian students in particular, are not paying attention to the CFS.  Most don't even know they are members to begin with!  This is because the very structure of the organization excludes––and is in fact necessarily averse to––mass participation.  And to characterize the problem as one in which "bad leadership" plays the focal role (as though Fightback could do a better job) serves only to direct time and attention toward this essentially meaningless game of "inside baseball".  Rather, what we ought to be doing is building a movement capable of the militancy and political clarity demanded by the struggle ahead.

But, as I noted, the Fightback article is simply paradigmatic of a common approach to student politics that, while imagining itself to be radical, is still caught within the reformist bounds of bourgeois legality.  Thankfully, those students and youth who participated in the recent PCR-RCP initiated conference, since they endorsed the analysis and proposals, will take a revolutionary perspective back to their own cities and hopefully begin building the kind of movement students, and especially proletarian students, across Canada need.

Comments

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    1. Smokin' hot, if you catch my drift...

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  2. How many people participated in that PCR-RCP conference compared to the number of students who join CFS-backed protests or the casserole protests in support of the Quebec student strike? You can pat yourselves on the back for your revolutionary purity, but in the meantime, who has more of an influence on Canadian students - the PCR-RCP or the CFS?

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    1. This is a ludicrous comment. By this logic, the Conservative Party is more important than any radical movement because of the forces it can mobilize. Moreover, let us look at the forces involved in the Quebec Student Strike: the MER, which is a PCR-RCP front, was one of the most radical groups involved and was the significant force behind the heights of that rebellion. And the CFS has never had any significance in student activism. Every student activist group I've been with has ignored them, every demo has happened without their participation, and if anything the PIRGS (as limited as they are) have been more significant.

      This isn't about "patting ourselves on the back" but about establishing a movement that has the politics necessary from breaking with the dead-end activism students have been pursuing for decades. Building something sustainable, something beyond bourgeois legality, is necessary for a marxist. Lenin spoke about this in his writings about students and youth, no? You don't start something like this by catering to an institution that cannot do anything and has never done anything.

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    2. Exactly, the Fightback logic says that no revolution should ever even begin, because when it starts it is never as powerful as other forces... They also criticize Maoists for not being revolutionary enough, and then hide behind reformist organizations and claim we are being irresponsible or breaking ourselves from the masses. Guess what Fightback? The masses of students are not involved in the CFS. Just because a big student bureaucracy can organize one very lame demonstration a year with tones of funding and full-time staff organizing it, does not mean they have power with students. Barely over 20% of students even vote in most student elections, and the upper layers of the CFS are even more distant. The Chinese Communist Party was started by a dozen or so people, but I guess they should have just liquidated themselves into the KMT, since that reformist organization had the real social force right? Oh wait, that's right, Trotskyist rant and rant against the decision to become involved in the KMT, saying it was a sell-out of the revolution...even though by their logic they should have liquidated themselves into that party. And no, the NDP is not more "worker" than the KMT was back then in my honest opinion.

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    3. Wait... Fightback criticizes maoists "for not being revolutionary enough"? Really? An organization that rejects militancy in favour of abiding by bourgeois legality, that thinks parliamentarian agitation is some great revolutionary strategy thinks it can call a tradition that has led and is leading people's wars "not revolutionary enough"? Wow.

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    4. Unable to answer the question posed by Mulciber, the ultra-leftists run around like chickens with their heads cut off, referencing every other random thing in their attempt to dodge the question. They should take a page from Mao and remember that masses are the real heroes of history, and study history enough to recognize that masses (at least in advanced capitalist countries) are oriented towards mass organizations and parliamentary processes. Once again, Lenin: just because parliament is historically obsolete, does not make it politically obsolete.

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    5. Actually, Noah, the question wasn't dodged and was adequately addressed. One could also argue that you (or Mulciber) for that reason didn't read what the article was about and dodged it altogether with shitty responses. This typical "everything that isn't opportunist is 'ultra-leftist'" response that you revisionists come up with is now something of a joke. I don't need to be lectured by someone who talks about studying history yet repeats every historical mistake of the movement with entryist bullshit and no analysis of the CFS beyond what was learned from past student movements that went nowhere.

      Really, did the Bolsheviks become a serious force because they were oriented towards parliamentary politics and this was the "mass organization"? Did the Chinese Communist Party treat the KMT as a mass organization or did they control their own political line? And do you actually believe the NDP is a workers' mass organization? Maybe you should read Lenin in context rather than demonstrating your understanding of him comes only from one text, which is "Left-wing Communism an Infantile Disorder" –– which is the worst thing he wrote, and actually a tactical position rather than a strategic one, and the only piece opportunists like to cite.

      Next time you concern troll without having any understanding of the arguments made here, and imagining that someone claiming that a structure is revolutionary just because it has resources constitutes an "argument", your comment will be treated as a troll comment. Just because you don't like the way a question was answered, and just because your political line is one that is utterly non-marxist but you want to pretend its marxist, doesn't mean your rhetorical claim is correct.

      Read some history, theory, and maybe what was written in the first place and then come back and comment.

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    6. Typical Maoist threatening to censor intelligent conversation. Because clearly I haven't ready any "history [or] theory." And I read your article, I just didn't think very much of it.

      You say that: ""Left-wing Communism an Infantile Disorder" –– which is the worst thing he wrote, and actually a tactical position rather than a strategic one, and the only piece opportunists like to cite."

      Why is it the "worst thing he wrote"? I know that it was the last major document which he made and in some ways seems the summation of the Bolshevik tactical approach (this is at least what Lenin argues), it seems a bit, well, odd, to excise it from what counts as 'valuable' under the works of Lenin. I wonder, will you publish my other comment? Probably not, but so be it. I hope to meet you someday in person so that you can teach a class on Maoism. It would be interesting to learn from such a Maoist individual such as yourself.

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    7. Also, the running around with our heads cut off his really funny considering that this article was talking about starting the germ of a student movement with a line radical students control. Also, for those of us with long experience in student activism before not being students (let me guess, you're just an undergrad and all this is new to you... if you're not an undergrad, and you've come through the ranks of student activism, you have to been blind-folded) this is a break from running around in circles like headless chickens––which is what the fightback article is advocating, more of the same nonsense that has been proved wrong by the very nature of the CFS. There's nothing wrong with using CFS or PIRG resources when you can, but to put all of your energy into reforming institutions by imagining they will solve student radicalism is a dead-end and has been proved to be a dead-end.

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    8. Actually this is not true. I never heard any critiques from fightback of maoists like the RCP, PRAC etc for 'not being revolutionary enough. (although there are indeed maoists who are not revolutionary enough, like the ones in the states doing work inside the democratic party, and they would be critiqued by fightback on that basis). Fightback critiques Maoists for being 'ultra left', not for being not revolutionary enough, which would be silly. And, from the perspective of fightback, maoists and anarchists ARE ultra left, which is fine by me, I don't mind being called ultra left by the right wing of the revolutionary left.

      And its true, Mulciber, that the CFS hasn't organized anything. The casseroles were NOT organized by the CFS, but by existing leftist groups and random conglomerations of people (i think the CFS reluctantly signed onto one once). The CFS organized some half-assed sit ins done by bureaucrats, and when I criticized on my blog their second and smaller action where they did the exact same thing as they did before, i got red baited! (by a member of the communist party no less, lol) They had a 'mass assembly' that was only by secret invitation, and their press release stated the outcome of the 'mass assembly' before it happened. The only thing they seem to have put together is some badly organized 'activist assembly'- AND they apparently aren't even having their annual ritualistic 'drop fees' protest this year. The PRIGS are indeed more significant.

      Now its very predictable that fightback would have this position, I mean, entrism (sorry, I mean 'long term work in the mass organizations) is their thing, and entrism in the CFS is no less principled than entirsim in the NDP (and no more, I would argue). What I find really interesting is anarchist reform attempts at the CFS. Not sure if you missed this piece, also published at the same time, by a common cause member (it was spreading mainly on facebook so you might have missed it), solidarity or else: http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/blog/anonymous-toronto/14847 I have other anarchist comrades who are not common cause members who similarly argue for doing internal work in the CFS through being elected to local university positions and the like- and they are doing some fairly significant work in many ways. Anyway common cause is currently locked in a huge battle with fightback over their slightly different approaches to work within the CFS, but I'm not necessarily seeing a huge difference in how they approach that work. And its interesting to me how a totally anti-parliamentary, anti-electoral orientation can nonetheless being doing work in the CFS, basically.

      In a lot of ways, the CFS is the real youth group of the NDP, its actually what produces future NDP bureaucrats, not ONDY (ontario new democratic youth) or whatever university NDP clubs they have.



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    9. @Noah: Please, don't fall back on liberal notions of "censorship" when I demand intelligent debate from you. The fact is that I'm threatening to censor NON-intelligent conversation, i.e. yours.

      1) You don't read, and you don't study history. Why was that book of Lenin's a problem? Because, as I responded to another comment of yours, Pankhurst was right. Study the British marxist movement and the context of this pamphlet and you will see what I mean. Lenin's advice wreaked havoc on that movement.

      2) And you always fall back on citing that piece and nothing else by Lenin, or showing any understanding of what Leninism meant historically. No understanding of imperialism, opportunism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, only "everything is ultra-leftism"––that is a rhetorical argument, not intelligent debate;

      3) Your inability to understand why the CFS is a problem and thus lack of experience and social investigation, tired repetitions of the article that was critiqued. Repeating an article is not an argument.

      4) Your assertion that everyone is wrong and "dodging the question" when they actually did reply and you've been dodging the most important questions by repeating the same ideological mess.

      5) Your mischaracterization of Maoism that is repeated quite frequently, is not very intelligent, and is thus not something that has anything to do with debate

      6) Your inability to understand intelligent debate.

      Read my comments policy: I am not a liberal, I don't believe in "freedom of speech" and I don't think it is "censorship" to promote intelligent debate by getting rid of commenters who do nothing to promote said debate and just repeat stupid arguments over and over and over.

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    10. Please, great teacher, who has the power to censor "NON-intelligent conversation, i.e." mine, educate me in the ways of Mao Zedong Thought:

      What did Leninism mean historically? Because you seem to advocate for Pankhurst and council communism over the building of a revolutionary party (Lenin).

      What is "intelligent debate" if not this exchange right here, which at least attempts to put good faith in what the other has to say?

      Oh I forgot, I don't read and don't study history, have no understanding of imperialism, opportunism, the dictatorship of the proletariat, lack experience and social investigation, ideological mess, mischaracterization of Maoism, not very intelligent, not something that has anything to do with debate, etc. etc.

      All of the above = ideology and rhetoric, if nothing else does. Or did you think you lived outside of ideology?

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    11. Wow, you're just making yourself look even worse. I have the ability to censor what I consider non-intelligent conversation here because it is my blog and since I spend a large portion of my life dealing with non-intelligent conversation as part of my job, I don't feel the need to continue arguing with people who keep repeating themsleves over and over and over. If you think this is a great "power" that makes me a "great teacher" you need to grow up. Start your own blog.

      You see, the thing with a regular commenter like Mulciber is that, even though we often disagree, he still makes arguments and engages in debate, sometimes for a long time, without lapsing into rhetoric. It is really funny how you have tried to turn the conversation back on me, and to imagine I think I live outside of ideology––did I say that?

      And it is not rhetorical to say you haven't studied history when you keep repeating arguments wrenched from historical context. I responded to your comments about Leninism below, you keep scattering between to points. Do I agree with Pankhurst's view of council communism? No, of course not. But I agree that she was right about how the movement in Britain should not have liquidated itself in the parliamentary process. That is all I am saying.

      Did you at one point put "good faith" in what I had to say? No: you jumped in here making insults and accusations, never once contributing anything interesting to the discussion. And this response is even more insulting, and more an example of what I was saying about your inability to contribute intelligently.

      As I have said elsewhere, historically Leninism is universally applicable because of the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the organized party, the theory of imperialism. Obviously this makes the Leninist approach superior as a whole to Pankhurst's approach, but this book's analysis of the british labour movement was not only wrong but also not even universalizable to organizations like the NDP or the British labour party of today. Does this mean that there aren't good things in that text? Of course there are important sections in that text. But here's something very important to know: every former Leninist who rejects everything Lenin says about the DoP, the state, imperialism, will say that he was correct in that book. Khruschevites cited from that book a lot. It is, as one person put it once, the "tomb that revisionists find themselves in."

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    12. Okay, last post. Here is a link to Lenin's letter to Pankhurst. You should also read his criticisms of the british workers movement in (sorry to repeat myself!) LWCaID. It should dispel the notions that a) Lenin encouraged "liquidation" (as if this was the same thing as entryism) and b) Pankhurst and the rest of the British labor movement was just a vessel of carrying out Lenin's will, when really she and others were severely criticized by Lenin. Then again, this criticism takes place in the "tomb that revisionists find themselves in," which from your perspective would include Lenin himself as a "revisionist" of Marxism, circa 1920 (!). If you consider Lenin at the time of 1920 to be a "revisionist," to have written a book which is fundamentally "revisionist" and "bad," then please don't try to tell other people that you are a "Leninist," because this is an absurd position to maintain and it makes the work of other Leninists much more difficult to teach what Lenin really stood for. You are Marxism-Maoism, sure whatever, but leave Lenin out of it.

      http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1919/aug/28.htm

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    13. I've read this correspondence and I know that he was critical of this movement. I also know that his criticism is grounded in an understanding of opportunism that emerges from the labour aristocracy (through his analysis of imperialism), and this is one of the important aspects of that debate and that document. I admit I was hasty about the "liquidation" line, but this is what his theory amounted to in practice––this is what entryism means, and what it ended up meaning, and that is what I was getting at.

      Nor did I argue that Lenin was a revisionist at that point or ever. What I said was that it was interesting that this document, of all of Lenin's documents, is the one that has historically been held up by revisionists over everything else he wrote. Why you would think that I was arguing that Lenin was revisionist at that point or ever is somewhat baffling. Your argument that I should leave lenin out of Marxism-Leninism-Maoism is, again, rhetorical and in bad faith. There is a historic argument that claims Trotskyists aren't Leninists, after all, and I think that that is a bad argument as well. My point on what "Leninism" is stands, as well as my points on science. Please stop with this rhetorical bullshit which is more like "I don't think you're a Leninist because I know Lenin better than you." It's facile and based, clearly, on a misunderstanding of what I'm arguing.

      So to return to LWCaID and to maintain, again, that I don't think Lenin was revisionist but that this wasn't one of his better texts, I think it was also a text that needs to be read in context and that *this specific* context considering the tactic of entryism is not even the context of revolution now. Can we still learn things from aspects of this text? Sure. But do I consider it less of a scientific text than some of his other texts (i.e. State and Revolution, Imperialism the Highest Stage of Capitalism, etc.), yes I do. And the time line argument is not a very good one. Engels wrote Feuerbach after Anti-Duhring, but the former is a far worse piece than the latter.

      Also did I ever say the British labor movement was just a vessel carrying out Lenin's will? No, but I said the tactical advise in that book did cause problems and did not work. Nor has it ever worked. Period.

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    14. Okay, real real last post this time. "I think it was also a text that needs to be read in context" - great idea! I would very much enjoy to facilitate a group reading of this text, let's arrange it. I think it would be very instructive for everyone involved. But I also want to point out that your very distinction between rhetoric/argument is non-scientific, that is, not based on the scientific study of language and communication (see: structuralism, Lacan). To say "no rhetoric allowed!" makes you sound like Bertrand Russell or something. In any case it is not a dialectical approach to communication. Then again, I guess this is to be expected for someone who spent 13 years inside an English-speaking university system. And btw I'm not claiming "I know Lenin better than you," yr probably older than me and probably more well read, but WHAT I AM SAYING is that you're repressing one particular text (which embodies a greater strain in Lenin's overall thought) which is KEY to understanding what Leninism means.That is, insofar as Bolshevism is a tactical orientation and a strategy for implementing revolutionary class struggle, and not just the scientific truths contained in S&R and Imperialism. It is not a nuanced error which you are making, but a very blatant one that is out in the open, but needs to be called as such. That is why I am so steadfast in insisting upon this point.

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    15. Fair enough.

      As much as rhetoric is important for form, there is a point where rhetoric ignores actual arguments and devolves into name-calling and all sorts of fallacies: that is the point I am making. The strength of Leninism is not based on rhetoric but on the content of Lenin's great works embedded in a revolutionary movement. I did not say "no rhetoric allowed" (because then that would ban the way I write) but my point is that leaning on rhetoric as logical argument is dangerous.

      Maintain all you want about LWCaID but here is the historical experience: the theory of insurrection has failed outside of the Bolshevik Revolution, entryism has never worked, and the Bolshevik revolution in and of itself was the product of a longer and protracted struggle begun in 1905 that wasn't theorized at the time. Moreover, simply relying on an entryist strategy without doing a class analysis of what is being entered is dangerous. At least in LWCaID Lenin was speaking about an armed labour movement that did have roots in the working-class. It is doubtful that the same can be said about the British Labour movement today or the NDP.

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    16. And also: thanks for stepping outside of the name-calling and making principled arguments. This is really what I encourage here, and is much more productive, and even if I disagree (and, inversely, you disagree with me) I find it more useful than mud-slinging––which is what happens, and what I end up participating in, when one side devolves primarily into rhetorical statements about "sabotage" and/or "true marxism". Please feel free to comment and engage with future posts and bring your perspective/criticism to bear in these discussions.

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    17. Sorry, statements about sabotage are not rhetoric and not mudslinging. Like the anarchists and ultra-leftists who work with the right against the CFS this "revolutionary" student movement (which is actually composed entirely of rhetoric) doesn't understand that its actions have consequences. Politics is not a game. Politics is not an intellectual exercise in affirmation of one's unique revolutionary "line." Politics is not a debate on a blog. When our students' associations are being liquidated and the gains made for students, women, and workers in them are being destroyed, actively promoting abstentionism, liquidationism, and ultra-left phraseology and sloganeering are sabotage. I am not interested int the intellectual exercise of deciding whether the national student movement or the unions "are" or "are not" revolutionary - the premise itself is absurd as Lenin could tell you. All you are doing is throwing your "fellow" students under the bus because they are not "revolutionary" like you declare yourself to be.

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    18. Well you can say all you want about how this is mudslinging, but then you just claimed that anarchists are "working with the right" which is utterly unprincipled.

      Yes indeed politics is not a game or an intellectual exercise, nor a debate on a blog. And yet here you are making it such a game and calling those who have done hard work outside of student associations wrong. You say you aren't interested in an intellectual exercise when all you're interested in is promoting bourgeois parliamentarianism. You say this isn't a game when you repeat the bad game-playing the student movement has been doing for years. Maybe you should read what Lenin says on "opportunism".

      And, by the way, I am not a student anymore. Furthermore, do you think the student strike in Quebec was due to the fact that people fixed up their student union or that they broke from that union and organized a separate coalition? Get the fuck off my blog: you're unprincipled, you've made no arguments, you've broken the comments policy, and you are just a wrecker who apparently has no long experience in the student movement, no engagement with concrete revolutionary politics other than agitating for some social democratic strategy and shitting on militants who have a lot to teach you from their experience, however flawed.

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    19. It is hilarious that you would mention the Quebec student strike, as if Quebec students organized by a few of them
      "declaring" themselves revolutionary and everyone else not revolutionary enough. In fact, years of patient and definite organizing to build assemblies with massive participation produced the conditions possible for students to decide to strike.

      It was not by a handful of people declaring themselves a "movement" and then conjuring up a line of demarcation separating them from other students or organizations. It is precisely that work in definite organizing that the RCP is unwilling and incapable of doing, so in lieu of that it constantly needs to self-affirm as "revolutionary" and declare everything else under the sun as "reformist."

      In fact, when people have tried to take up work towards building assembly structures outside of Quebec it is the RCP who have sabotaged it with absurd demands and ridiculously left ideas of promoting the idea of a student strike as a way to interest people in democratic structures. That's great, try going to organize a union in a workplace by telling people "go on strike now!" I'm sure they would love the idea.

      The fact that you think liquidation of the student movement and abstention from students' unions is somehow a pretext to, or a positive contribution to building up students' ability to make decisions in an assembly on campus is truly dangerous. Attacking the CFS over not being like you think student assemblies are in Quebec is precisely an exercise in sabotage INSTEAD of doing the organizing work required to build such structures. No matter the convoluted arguments, the CFS is truly not preventing anyone from doing this organizing.

      The RCP doesn't want to do this work so instead it blames the evil "reformists" and feels good about itself. You are truly promoting an ultra-left fantasy land that eschews responsibility for the harm you're doing. By the way, I did not accuse "anarchists" of working with the right, in fact most anarchists I know are do not absurdly and rabidly blame the CFS for their own failures like you do. I spoke of "anarchists" who bloc with the right against the CFS, of whom there are plenty, including "leftist" Toronto grad students.

      I will cease posting if that is what you like, but you have sufficiently exposed yourselves in the counterrevolutionary student conference as wreckers. You have done NO work outside the student unions, and don't try and claim that the RCP, especially in English Canada, is somehow identical to the Quebec student movement, which is not an ultra-left ultra-revolutionary ideological caste but an actual broad movement.

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    20. Did I ever say patient organizing wasn't required? Did I ever say the RCP was identical to the Quebec student movement? And where do you get off saying the RCP doesn't want to work when it has been working hard since its founding to grow into movement. Your claims about sabotage are still baseless, the complaints of an opportunist who sees any principled leftism as wrong.

      You seem like an undergraduate who has just acquainted themselves with revolutionary politics in the last few years so let me give you a crash course on the history of some of us who have gravitated towards the PCR. We are the people who have put in hard work in the student and labour movement over the years and seen the problems inherent in the approach you're advocating: thirteen years a student organizer for me, part of which was a labour union organizer that sapped up a lot of time – I'm not a child who thinks everyone who doesn't do what we've been doing and that has been going nowhere is somehow tantamount to revolution. We think it is necessary to break from this tired way of doing things because we've seen where it has led time and time again. Nor do we think blaming reformism is enough, hence the push on organizing concretely which is something the PCR comrades have indeed been doing, tirelessly, since their foundation, building their own structures while participating in other structures––and, by the way, PCR activists were indeed involved in CLASSE and all the organization from the past strike to this one, though they never claimed they were the principle force and wouldn't.

      So holding a conference demanding the birth of a radical student movement, and organizing along revolutionary lines, is somehow "counter-revolutionary"? How precisely does it wreck the movement you imagine you're controlling when the people involved are also people who have helped build multiple movements? You think this political ideology, which is revolutionary communism, is somehow "counter-revolutionary" and "wrecks" things? Ironic, really, since some in the history of the movement would say, and not without complete lack of proof, that the Trotskyism you seem to defend is what has wrecked the movement. The irony is that the line you're defending is precisely the counter-revolutionary trend you are projecting on others: your line is the line of Bernstein, the eventual line of Kautsky.

      And just to be clear, I have done a lot of work outside of student unions: in the labour movement, in the pro-Palestinian movement, in the anti-globalization movement… Need I go on? I for one do not think the PCR-RCP has become a prime force in the revolutionary movement, but it does seek to build something revolutionary again that has been missing from Canadian politics since the collapse of the WCP and En Lutte (maybe you could look up that experience in the 1980s and you might learn something about the Canadian revolutionary context, and the history of the movement). And yet you seem to imagine you're leading a revolution, that the student movement belongs to you, that you organized the Quebec Student Strike. Enjoy your fantasies.

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    21. You might note, oh defender of the CFS, that two of the student unions who disaffiliated in Quebec went on to have the first significant strike actions at their universities, ever. So I'm not sure this whole "disaffiliation from the right' arguments really make any sense. And besides, if you believe in democracy AT ALL (which clearly the CFS doesn't) you would allow universities to disaffiliate if they want instead of embroiling any attempt at disaffiliation in denials and lawsuits. One also might note that waves of successive disaffiliations from FEUC and FECQ in successive years of strikes have not only built up ASSE/CLASSE but led to significantly more militant/solidarity behavior from both other student unions, who have had to move left to compete with CLASSE.

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    22. The fact that you are suggesting that Conservative Party of Canada campaigns to de-certify from the CFS in most provinces would help produce some radical democracy where nothing existed shows you really have no understanding of what it's like on the ground on campus and you're in the same ultra-left fantasy land. Communists (I have no idea where I argued for Trotskyism ?) should be militantly defending the student movement and indeed the unity and indivisibility of the student movement from right-wing and ultra-left pressure to liquidate, while taking on the REAL organizing to build up assembly structures. Shameless self-promotion, ultra-left phraseology and this wrecking have nothing to do with a communist approach.

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    23. You clearly have a problem with reading, and it seems as if you conflated two responses into a single response. Where did anyone say "Conservative Party" campaigns to decertify would produce radical democracy? Are you intentionally misreading and trolling? This was never said anywhere, nor implied.

      I called your line "trotskyist" because it is historically close to a specific Trotskyist line. Again I ask you what you mean by militant student movement: is that the CFS? Because if you think so, then you're insulting those of us who have put in time to the said movement. Stop throwing around the charge of "ultra-leftism" inaccurately. Anything to the left of an opportunist is ultra-leftist, no? Since when are you the movement, since when is the CFS the movement, since when are you the gate-keeper of communism when you're just a Bernsteinian?

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    24. The ongoing campaigns to decertify from the CFS in English Canada are Tory campaigns and to a lesser extent Liberal and ultra-leftist campaigns. This is known. OPPORTUNISM is precisely this "revolutionary" student conference trying to jump on that bandwagon to liquidate the student movement. to score cheap political points and recruit naive people.

      I said communists should be militantly defending the student movement. Communists should be militantly defending CFS' unity as a national organization and participating in it earnestly. At the same time, Communists should be organizing on campus with the other students who want to build assemblies to take and enforce decisions.

      Trying to achieve the latter by ignoring the former and even worse, polemicising against the CFS, rather than against the Tories trying to destroy it is unacceptable for a communist. Communists should not be appealing to the crocodile tears of right wingers and liquidators crying about how the CFS is some evil undemocratic organization that stifles student initiative. That's opportunism. Communists have to be the most honest, the most steadfast,the most trustworthy, the most reliable, the most unbendable fighters.

      This "communism" you are promoting as far as the student movement goes is the most flimsy variety, where if there happens to be an opportunist, unprincipled trend working against the student movement you will seize onto it. It's worse and far less principled than entryism, as stupid as that is.

      Why not, for a change, take a look around at what's going on across the country and perhaps try to focus your "blows", as wispy as they are, against the enemy? If you have some valiant organizing task among students, who are the obstacles?

      It's rather perplexing, given the fight that students and workers are facing against the Harperites and lackeys like McGuinty, that you float on their tailwind to attack the student movement when there are weaknesses.

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    25. How is the conference "liquidating" the student movement. Organizing something without getting caught in tired patterns, not even trying to decertify, is somehow "liquidating" a movement? Again, you speak of a movement as if it is homogenous, as if you are its leader. You also don't understand the term "opportunism" do you?

      Arguing to effectively ignore the CFS is different from arguing for decertification or attacking the leadership, which is what the fightback article did. Again, you really need to read what was written rather than throw insults around, which is what you have done.

      You've ignored the comment about how so many of us have put in time in the movement, in activism, and that you, you who thinks you know the movement better than everyone even though you can't read political arguments or udnerstand history, know the best. Crawl back into your revisionist, liberal whole.

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    26. What's really strange is the conflation of the line promoted here and at the conference (i.e.: "Don't bother spending all your time attacking the leadership of the CFS or trying to take it over because it can't ever be what we need and nobody cares about it anyhow") with the line that we should be actively attacking the CFS, which has been put forward by... nobody.

      There are some who want to "work inside" it, pursuing whatever agenda; there are some who want to spend their time actively agitating against it, be they Trotskyist or anarchist; and there are some (like those in the nascent Revolutionary Student Movement) who thing both the above are a waste of time and want to build something independent.

      You're tilting at a windmill here and it's an embarrassment.

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    27. Wow, the opportunists went crazy with this article didn't they? Goes to show how tied in they are to the "official" student movement I guess.

      As far as my comments on Fightback thinking that maoists are not revolutionary enough, this actually comes from their analysis of the permanent Revolution. Any communists who rejects this theory (anyone but Trotskyists in other words) is not being a committed revolutionary, and therefore is not revolutionary enough. Tactically they consider Maoists to be ultra-left, but substantially they consider us to be to their right, because only they have the courage to call for near-simultaneous global revolution at any cost...though are completely unwilling to undertake the endeavor of even a single revolution. What they often don't realize is that Trotsky himself was very confused on this question and gives very conflicting answers about how to actually go about this. Anyhow, that is pretty off topic from this thread of conversation.

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  3. Fightback is well aware of the trajectory from CFS leadership to NDP bureaucrat, I think giving them credit where it's due is important. That said, this awareness doesn't stop them from being vocal about the CFS as a viable political project. Whether they actually believe that the CFS can be made into a "fighting union" or not is to be seen. Part of their strategy is to be the loudest critics on the scene as they think this affords them a leadership position. Their logic is that if the CFS won't move, the frustrated masses will remember Fightback's critiques, give them cred and ultimately join their ranks. It's a convoluted strategy.

    It's my cynical belief the leadership of Fightback does not see CFS reform as ever occurring. The whole CFS thing is a vehicle for them to put forward their ideas, gain notoriety and recruit people. In their view, the masses will eventually flock to them because they have the correct line. Their idea of organizing is setting up a table, selling their paper and publications, hosting discussions and pestering the CFS unions into hosting token events; how this will build the student movement is beyond me.

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    1. If Fightback is really just doing the CFS thing as a vehicle to recruit, then it is misleading the masses. And that makes me very sad, and angry!

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    2. i'm confused. i thought that making unsatisfiable demands on corrupt/reformist structures was a good way to affect mass consciousness when they see that the demands were unmet?

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    3. More often it requires you to actually promote the false consciousness that these demands are truly "meetable" (thus, worth fighting for), wasting peoples time, then breeding cynicism, burnout and disengagement.

      Better to treat people like adults and try to convince them of an actual revolutionary position.

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  4. Whether or not Fightback is well aware of CFS leadership becoming NDP bureaucrats is besides the point: the logic in the article is claiming that "taking back" the CFS means to bring it in line with the NDP––I was simply pointing out that this seemed to ignore the fact that the CFS already was in line with the NDP, so it wasn't the kind of solution the author seemed to think it was.

    To be fair a lot of groups push their line by agitating (with papers, with discussions, etc.) so Fightback isn't different on this score. What I find problematic about their way of agitation, though, is that it rejects militancy (even though it likes to throw out the word) and wants to abide by bourgeois legality. Nor has it bothered to start any campaign or initiative outside of student circles and demonstrations organized by other people.

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  5. Moreover, the strategy Anna Lisa mentions here is a dead-end one, since the masses of students aren't paying attention. It's the same fundamental strategic problem with their involvement with the NDP (to say nothing of the political problem, which is a horse that's been beaten well past death), only made into a caricature since mass participation in the CFS is many leaps lower than in the bourgeois parliamentary arena.

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  6. Hey JMP, long time no comment. Hope all is well with you and your new kid!

    Anyway, I just want to express my general agreement with you on this piece. During my time at the University of Waterloo I got to witness first hand on more than one occasion that black hole of student activism that is student unions and the CFS. Every time I saw comrades - from self-identified "Green Marxists" to radical queers - get into the milieu of the student union and CFS they just became little petty bourgeois student bureaucrats. If the radical student movement is going to move forward in Kanada then it is going to have to get away from the CFS.

    Also, no surprise Fightback got it wrong...

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    1. Hey thanks bermudaradical... As you can see the Fightback people are rallying and commenting complaints on here. All of which show no understanding of the argument in the first place.

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  7. The author thinks there is no student movement precisely because he is too busy criticizing CFS. So is he saying that when revolutionary students successfully take CFS over, that is the only time that the conditions are ripe enough for students to finally organize? It seems that Fightback just wants to reform CFS because they have no idea how AND/OR not patient enough to build a mass org.

    I'd rather let CFS administer my insurance benefits and sell me discounted metropasses & movie tickets for now - while I do the real task of organizing!

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  8. "embedded in bourgeois legality" as if the subjects who make up 'authentic' revolutionary movements are not also subjects of bourgeois law. Cute! The ultra-leftist fantasy of non-participation in parliamentary processes in order to facilitate some sort of more 'authentic' illegal struggle (which is very pleasurable for those who wish to constitute themselves as "revolutionary" subjects) is especially rich in Canada, where there are no guerillas in the mountains or people's movement to support them (unless you count the autonomous militant aboriginal movement). This criticism of Fightback comes from a position which is neither Marxist ("Ce qu'il y a de certain c'est que moi, je ne suis pas Marxiste") nor Leninist nor Trotskyist (revolutionary social-democracy). Then again, I suppose this is what Maoist politics are supposed to mean in Canada today. Too bad that Canadians live in an advanced capitalist country which is concretely very different from the place where Maoist tactics were first applied, and as such makes it fruitless to apply a Maoist strategic approach to our present political circumstances. In some senses, this would make the problems which we are facing easier to overcome, since all it would require is picking up guns. But remember what Lenin says to the ultra-leftists: Parliament is historically obsolete, this does not make it politically obsolete. The full weight of this statement is not sensed by the advocates of non-participatation in parliamentary processes. It requires dialectical thinking to be able to see through the bad 'either-or' of participation = reformist + non-participation = revolutionary.

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    1. This is not an "ultra-leftist" fantasy. Again, anything that is not opportunist is seen, by opportunists, as ultra-left. You're also conflating the reality of being embedded in bourgeois society with a more theoretically nuanced understanding of breaking with bourgeois legality––the latter is something all revolutionary movements that have been successful have had to do, and is about controlling a political line not about, as you seem to suggest, adventurism. So, misunderstanding what is meant here, and interested only in being respectable, you conflate the concept of breaking from the boundaries of bourgeois ideology with automatically picking up guns or doing illegal work––essentially straw-personing, and maybe if you had bothered to read what has been written on this issue, and opportunism, on this blog in the past (or maybe read Lenin on illegal work from 1905 onwards, and Lenin on opportunism) you wouldn't say something utterly ignorant.

      The best part is that, like everyone else, you seem to think that Maoism is about the tactics applied in China in 1949. The strategy comes from that, the tactics are different, and I've written on this at length here. I suggest you read what I mean; I suggest you go back and read this article and figure out what it is actually saying. I also suggest, as I suggested before, that you study marxist theory and its development, and what it means to wage revolution, before quoting only from that one Lenin text. He did write other things, you know, and the universal applicability of Leninism is not from that text––you do know that history proved Pankhurst right in that area, that Lenin's tactical suggestion ruined the labour movement in Britain? Think of this the next time you try to school me on dialectics and what you think dialectics means because the fightback position is tantamount to reformism and the larger dialectical question is how to use bourgeois rights in a non-bourgeois manner––which shouldn't mean submerging onself in complete bourgeois practice.

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    2. Yes there is a "ultra-leftist" fantasy. It is curious that you insist I haven't read your article, when I have. As if it is impossible for me to have examined your statements without disagreeing with them. It is much more symptomatic that you entirely dismiss "Left-Wing" Communism for no reason, blatantly disregarding Lenin's writings there as automatically false (this blog should be called M-M, since there is no Lenin to be found anywhere. Or basically you see things as if Mao replaced Lenin, when really we should be reasserting Lenin over Mao). This is a betrayal of Leninism from the strictest interpretation of what Lenin said and means. It is also a betrayal of the earlier Lenin, who discussed Bolshevism as "revolutionary social-democracy." Your flat-out rejection of social democratic processes means the introduction of "left-wing" communism. Holler and shriek about FB and opportunism all you want, but you're only sabotaging the spreading of the ideas of Marxism and the building of the forces of Marxism. Reconsider your assumptions about what 'entryism' means from a genuine Marxist perspective and you might have an epiphany.

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    3. I say you haven't read the article because none of your arguments really communicate to it. Instead you have put forward the same opportunist arguments without paying attention to nuance. Again you fall back on that one text and claim I'm anti-Leninist for seeing it as his worst text. So what is Leninism, Noah? Does it just break down to a single text by Lenin or does it stand over and above Lenin as something that is universally applicable. Is the tactic in LWCaID universally applicable when every time it has been tried it has failed? Maybe if you understood the development of revolutionary science (and hey, I have written a lot about this) you'd get what I mean. If your Leninism is just that text, or just a belief that everything Lenin said was correct (which is dogmatic and not scientific), then you really don't have a scientific understanding of said Leninism: you have eclecticism, you have no systematic analysis of the first world historical revolution in order to speak of "Leninism". Leninism is about the theory of the dictatorship of the proletariat, the theory of imperialism (which actually explains opportunism and all of the things Lenin had to say about people who reject militancy and labour aristocratic consciousness).

      Opportunism and revisionism sabotage marxism. How am I sabotaging things when I relate to a line that has produced revolutionary movements since the 1980s? How am I sabotaging things when I associate with a revolutionary mass movement out of Quebec that is building amongst the proletariat? Throwing around insults like this just make you look very uneducated and are in violation of my comments policy. You have not produced a significant argument except to throw baseless charges around, repeating and repeating a tired opportunist line as if it is revolutionary. The charge of sabotage is despicable and an abusive ad hominem. Grow up, study theory and revolutionary history, and stop thinking that your group's approach to revolution––which was rejected by the very tradition from which it came because it didn't work––is somehow successful just because of the only book of Lenin that you've read. Then come back.

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    4. Talk about straw man: because clearly I go around arguing for nothing but LWCaID. Imperialism and State and Revolution have equal importance in my books, etc. etc. This straw man of my position is just a way that JMP is able to avoid explaining his eclectic position on LWCaID. But I insist on repeating this: it is symptomatic of JMP's interpretation of Marxism that JMP picks and chooses his Lenin (excising LWCaID), as opposed to taking the development of the individual as a whole. No explanation is given for how Lenin could get this wrong, except maybe that he 'jumped the shark' or some other such nonsense. JMP is caught in a contradiction here which his particular eclectic brand of Maoism is unable to resolve.

      Despite everything you've said about me sucking and being not intelligent and not reading enough, I like you, JMP, since the problem right now is that we need more Marxism on a mass scale (vs. non-Marxism), not that one or another form of Marxism is too popular. But if you make tired old arguments against real Marxist-Leninists doing real work, following the methods of Marx and Lenin (and Trotsky), then you bring severe responses upon yourself. Also understand that Lenin was a work in progress. Important distinctions can be drawn between his theories before and after 1914, which ultra-leftists lacking in historical perspective tend to forget. I dare you to take Lenin seriously: not as a grabbag, but as a unified (and even sometimes contradictory) discourse. Without this, there is no Leninism.

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    5. It's a typical tactic of children who spend most of their time on the internet to resort to naming the "straw person" fallacy when they themselves are guilty of it. I indicated that you were centring Leninism on LWCaID because that was the only text of Lenin you were advocating *and* treating it as if it had universal applicability. Then, you claimed that because I thought it was a problematic text of Lenin's I didn't understand Leninism. What logical conclusion is derived from these premises?

      "The development of the individual as a whole." Leninism is not about Lenin, it stands above Lenin. To pretend otherwise is to be a dogmatist and treat Lenin as some sort of Saint rather than a human capable of error. What makes a scientific paradigm scientific: explanatory depth and universalizability in particular contexts, as well as both continuity and rupture with the previous scientific period. The point is not the individual and everything they said, but what pushed revolution further and can be applied to every particular context, and thus the understanding of Leninism comes from a systematic assessment of the Bolshevik Revolution led by Lenin, both its successes and failures. This is what scientific unity means, not just a laundry list of "Lenin said this, then he said this, and he said this then and then he said this then..."

      You don't seem to grasp this and instead fall back on biographical details, claiming you understand the "methods of Marx and Lenin" when you are demonstrating quite the opposite and, again, repeating yourself. [And have you bothered to read my comments policy.] At this point you're going into tangents of areas I've discussed thoroughly on this blog, and that have been discussed thoroughly in the ML tradition, as if you have some great understanding of these things when it is clear that, at least to my mind, you've discovered a version of marxism only recently and, like a typical sectarian, think everything else is "non-marxism". Hey, I don't think Fightback's approach is "not Marxist" I just think it's not a very good marxist approach, nor would I delude myself into thinking (as you do) that Fightback is "sabotaging the movement"––the movement is splintered, Fightback is locked within the student movement and not the proletarian movement, and sabotage happened a couple decades back and we're recovering from it.

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  9. "Lines" do not produce revolutionary movements. I don't have time right now but this absurd statement that a line created revolutionary movements is extremely indicative of the childish wrecking effort this ultra-left intellectual caste has now declared.

    It's funny you should describe the student movement as "tired" since it must be after spending the last years doing actual organizing under attack by Harperites and ultra-leftists working hand-in-hand. You think you can get together a few people and "declare" a "line", take on the arguments of the right and the ultra-left against the CFS and throw in the word "bourgeois" and that somehow makes you "revolutionary" - as opposed to everyone else, of course. This is idealism, pure and simple.

    The content of "revolutionary" is about the real world, not what a few people "declare." Declaring your few selves the most revolutionary, and everyone else "tired", "opportunist", "reformist", that is opportunism folks.

    To be clear, this "effort" will not exist within a few years, because the RCP does not and cannot organize, it simply draws attention to itself and stands apart from everyone else and sabotages. As you make your "declarations" that your "line" is "revolutionary" the Harperites are taking over students' unions around the country and liquidating the gains of students' real organizing over decades and doing immense harm to students.

    Guess what? The class enemy does not care about you. They're not interested in attacking, in theory or practice, your so-called "revolutionary" student movement. This is because it is nothing more than a shallow intellectual exercise at best, and at worst you are helping them do their jobs. I do not say this lightly but over the last year the RCP has proved without a doubt that it is not just useless like most left-wing groups, it is actively harmful in any activity it undertakes.

    Seeing the preparations for the "revolutionary" student conference I did think for a moment that perhaps this would be a real effort to organize or build something positive to attack the enemy and serve the interests of students and workers. That was obviously naive because as this blog post shows it is nothing more than a recruiting exercise to the anti-CFS "left" milieu of anarchists, ultra-leftist grad students, and others who openly or under cover are aiding the Harperites in trying to destroy all the independent organizations in the country.

    There is so much more to be written, and it would be more pressing to do so were it not for the fact that most people, leftists or not, have a gut aversion not only to the garbage you drunkenly tap out on this website but to the "efforts" the RCP undertakes, which mysteriously and consistently set themselves in opposition not to the ruling class or governments in this country, but as provocateurs and rabble-rousers interrupting others' organizing. That is why this "revolutionary" student movement you've declared, while it does not and will not ever really exist, is objectively a wholly counterrevolutionary student group.

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    1. Do I ever argue that "lines" create movements? No, but I am arguing for the importance. Why? Because Lenin argued that the unity of revolutionary theory is necessary for a revolutionary movement.

      Actually the class enemy does care about the PCR-RCP. You know why? Because they have been classified as a criminal organization by GAMMA and targeted specifically as part of the policing of political radicalism. And your idea that the PCR is harmful is a very strange notion considering the growth it has experienced and what it has accomplished. How the PCR sabotages anything is a bizarre claim to make; it is also unprincipled. Because you disagree with its approach it is "sabotaging" really? One could easily make the argument that sabotage and wrecking occurs with opportunism. And hell, there is a long tradition of Trotskyites being called "wreckers", though I think that is unfair and would never endorse it.

      Your arguments here are the same that I've been arguing with Noah, and don't say anything new. Not only are they unprincipled, ahistorical, and embedded within a petty-bourgeois movement that has done *no* concrete analysis of the concrete situation of Canada, but they seem to require petty insults rather than critical debate in order to function as an argument.

      People who want to be respectable, who want to have their bourgeois cake and declare themselves marxist, are objectively counter-revolutionary. Just calling what you don't like "counter-revolutionary" doesn't make it so. When you grow up and become a petty-bourgeois liberal, as most people from your set politics become, then I'm sure you'll be complaining about marxists in general.

      Unprincipled and asinine comments aren't welcome here since they violate the comments policy. Nor do I have the time or energy to keep responding to the same tired analysis that is anti-militant and collaborationist that I've responded to for a long time. My blog might be "drunken" but at least it comes from a position of better analysis and study and theoretical education than anything produced by Fightback.

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    2. Why don't you identify yourself instead of just insulting people from behind a veil of anonymity?

      --Ryan H.

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    3. Oh for goodness sake. If the argument here is that the RCP is fostering "Harperites" (didn't know that was a systematic ideology) then you're totally out to lunch and clearly have nothing to contribute.

      You're playing yourself here because you clearly have nothing of substance to say, and it shows.

      Truth be told, I don't think there's been a single comment of disagreement yet that actually engages with the content of this post, nor the line it espouses.

      (As a side note, of course ideas - like lines - aren't a material force until they're put into practice, but the thing we put into practice is important, hence the importance of a line... what a silly approach).

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  10. As someone who is indeed a radical canadian student, I can totally confirm all of this as well. I live in a region nearby a hand full of Canadian Universities, and attend one. I had no idea CFS was even thought of by left wing political movements. We all just treat it like it's part of the university - the corporation. Even left liberals and postmodern feminists that I've talked to had never seen CFS with any potential.

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    1. I think its a good thing that liberals and post-modernists don't support the CFS, they are reactionaries.

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    2. I think you missed the "even" part of that last sentence... as in, "wow, *even* those guys [along with many, many others] don't think the CFS has any potential?!"

      Not sure if you're the same anonymous as posted earlier but if so please write the central committee of your organization and request lessons in reading comprehension pronto.

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  11. Wow, i read this whole page and i feel like i have been at my computer so long i turned into a skeleton. This was much to think of. Frankly i love watching debates particularly between two sides that i respect because as a reader i can try to dialectically resolve the tensions in my understanding, observing where each party makes good points and makes mistakes. I'm not trying to say I'm some kind of universal arbiter. I'm just saying that I hope since we have the same goals, right? We can all work together and we can use evidence-based understanding to evaluate our efforts in whichever direction we might expend them. Thanks to fightback and thanks to JMP for making this an interesting and sometimes sectarian adventure.

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  12. The school I went to was a perfect example of why this "take over the CFS" line is nonsense. Leftists with good intentions got elected to the student association exec, and once they were in power they were utterly powerless to do anything outside of the already existing CFS line. They even ended up trying to sabotage anti-Israeli Apartheid campaigns because the CFS told them too.

    Trying to turn a corporation (or a bourgeois political party for that matter) into a revolutionary organization is just silly.

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  13. One thing I forgot to ask: Although you discourage working within organizations like the CFS, what about the fact that the Quebec student strike was largely organized within existing student organizations, particularly CLASSE? I know you're a staunch critic of "movementism", and the Quebec student movement certainly wasn't revolutionary in terms of its leadership, but they still accomplished quite a bit in 2012.

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  14. Seems like comments are being cut off even when I publish them, perhaps due to blogger's limitations. Mulciber asked whether or not I endorsed working with CLASSE. Yes: I don't see CLASSE as anything like the useless and liberal CFS and, back during the Quebec Student Strike, I pointed out how the MER was heavily involved with CLASSE. In fact CLASSE, regardless of its movementist limitations, was precisely a movement that broke from student federationist bullshit and organized in a parallel fashion––which is the point.

    Sorry for anyone else whose comments are failing to make it unto this string. I do publish them, and they appear in my "published" box, but for some reason they aren't appearing here.

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