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Pause For A Moment: yet again, what I'm all about…

Based on the odd comments and/or personal emails I've received from new readers about this blog, I figure that I should take the time to explain something about the general nature of MLM Mayhem that might not, at first glance, be obvious.  It seems that, at some random moment in the past year when my readership quadrupled (for reasons I still can't understand), a small population of my new readership is either curious or bemused as to what this blog is about aside from being marxist-leninist-maoist in tone. For example, there are a few readers who seem to be expecting robust posts on political economy and are a little confused when they encounter numerous posts that, as at least one commenter complained, seem to be more about an interior critique of the general left.

First of all, to extrapolate on my About page, this is partially a site where aborted academic labour is relegated.  As a semi-employed academic I spend a lot of time engaging with ideas, often writing journal and conference submissions, and so end up with a surplus of tangental ideas that I do not have the time or energy to transform into proper academic papers.  Thus, rather than allow these tangental ideas to die, I use this blog to turn them into hastily written drafts, polemics, or reflections so as to send them out amongst the interweb masses and hope that they are sent back to me, through comments, in the form of debate and dialogue.  I am not always completely committed to all of the notions I post on MLM Mayhem, but I do think they are ideas worth thinking through and so, in my blogging laziness, tend to hope that others will think them through for me in the comment strings and private, inquiring emails.

Secondly, I tend to write my entries after midnight, in the wee hours of the morning, in a whiskey fuelled haze.  Clearly this results in a somewhat belligerent tone, a strident use of language and categories, and a terribly increased level of typos… All of which has probably doomed me for ever hoping to have a secure academic job in the near or even distant future.  Due to alcohol and lack of sleep, it is not uncommon for entries to devolve quickly into polemics––which is not something I'm necessarily going to apologize for because, to be honest, it's easier to write about things that piss me off than to struggle through some sober interpretation of, say, Gramscian theory.  When things annoy me––and it is extremely late and there is a glass of cheap whiskey in front of me––it is much easier to write a blog post.  Hell, they write themselves… Especially when I'm offending a thousand social democrats by pissing on the grave of a proverbial sacred cow.  Polemics also mean more traffic, since they're more fun to read than dry philosophizing about theory, and so it's generally a "win-win" situation for me: fun to write and the pay-off of readers?  Who wouldn't be so strident and belligerent with this kind of scenario?  Well, definitely not some boring-ass blog whose author is trying to set hirself up as the new Zizek!

How I write my posts.

Thirdly, behind the form and practice of this blog, there is the fact of my academic training.  Even if I was writing sober and properly academic entries (which would probably kill all of my traffic within a fortnight because it would be a chore to read), I still wouldn't be producing anything significant in the political economy or original theory categories.  This is because, since I am trained as a "philosopher", my approach to my philosophical area of interest (marxism/communism/leftism/politics) is a philosophical approach.  As I tried to explain a little over a year ago, when I do talk about political economy I'm not doing political economy qua political economy but, rather, the philosophy of political economy.  On the whole, I'm doing something that we can call "the philosophy of marxism" (rather than "marxist philosophy" which is an imprecise semantic concept) and I'm even working, at this moment, on a draft of a book about this which will hopefully be published at some point in the next decade if I ever manage to land a dead tree book deal––something which is probably becoming less and less probable the more I post on this blog and make myself appear like some unbalanced failed academic maoist freak.

Philosophically approaching marxism is very different from crafting new marxist theory or developing political economy categories.  Philosophy-type academics are primarily trained to examine specific circumstances and/or categories and interrogate/force relations.  We are not trained to produce new theory but to investigate the terms of theory, to compare competing theoretical approaches, and to think according to rational categories, arguments, coherency principles, and, generally speaking, what something means and whether this meaning is logically expressed in its theoretical articulation.  Take, for example, the philosophy of science: this is where we look at scientific categories and inquire about the meaning of these categories, whether they are rationally superior to competing categories, whether they cohere to a general theory of science.  (Yes, I know I am simplifying but, good gods, it is now quarter after three and I am again working my way through a tumbler of whiskey!)  And so those of us who approach political theory in the same way our counterparts approach scientific theory spend most of our time crafting the same circumstantial project.

Form and tone aside, there is a reason that many of my posts, philosophically speaking, have to do with interior critiques of the general left.  What I am doing is comparing terms and relations, examining principles of coherence, and trying to figure out what theoretical approach is the most coherent according to its own terms.  Those approaches that fail to demonstrate such coherence, or that fail to resonate with the terms set out by theory to which they claim fidelity, I generally dismiss and, whiskey-fuelled and sleep-deprived as I usually am, will do so in a polemical manner.

Concretely speaking, it is not enough to declare fidelity to a certain theoretical approach; you have to prove that your discourse satisfies the demands of this approach and is the logical result of your core logic.  If there is a gap, a distance between terms, then those of us who are trained in philosophy become rather irate.  For example, someone who loudly proclaims that capitalism needs to be overthrown but whose theoretical practice is only about supporting capitalist electoral politics should be treated as politically and theoretically incoherent.  We would say the same thing, after all, about biologists who talk about evolutionary principles and yet still maintain six day creationist theorists.

So, for this reason, my blog often does devolve into critiques of the general left in my social circumstances.  Why?  Because I'm interested in the philosophical terms upon which this very left is founded and this is what my academic training has caused me to find the most interesting.  In the same way I am interested in the terms of debates between different marxist theoretical schools, political economies, etc.  As a leftist who was trained in philosophy I am orientated towards interior critiques of the terms of my politics.

Most importantly, though, because I am committed to the end of capitalism these moments of interior critique are necessary.  This is because all of us who claim we want to see the end of capitalism need to seriously consider the terms that would produce this goal.  (Yes, this might be a philosophical point but that is the point; philosophy has always been about the whys, about the meaning of things which exist in relation to other things.)  If we claim to seek the end of capitalism we need to ask: a) why is there often a gap between what we claim and what we do; b) why is nothing working to end capitalism according to all of the approaches we think should work; c) why are we doing things that are more liberal and less anti-capitalist… etcetera.

Thus, I am not only influenced by my philosophical training but am also influenced by what my fidelity to revolutionary communism has caused me to accept: the necessity of class struggle and the overthrow of capitalism––which has less to do with a random blog and more to do with concrete praxis in concrete life.  That is, being a communist who doesn't just talk about communism as a philosopher or academic (hence all my self-effacing critiques of communist intellectuals), but who is also interested in closing the gap between theory and practice, I also use this blog to interrogate the possible methods of resistance in my social context.  So if I complain about other approaches, and dedicate entire posts to these complaints, it is because I care about the necessity of overthrowing capitalism and trying to interrogate the possibilities of various approaches.  And those approaches that I find philosophically erroneous mean something more to me than a rational argument; I am more anxious of their theoretical deficiencies because the result will mean a setback for anti-capitalist agitation.

In these post-modern anything goes days it is unpopular to claim that one approach is more valid than another; now we live under the cloud of abstract "diversity" where one "reading" of a given event and historical conjuncture is just as valid as any other.  In this context it is bad form to argue for a theoretically principled and coherent position, philosophical reasons for doing so aside, because this is tantamount to "sectarianism" despite the fact that this is an erroneous definition of the term.  And yet I happen to believe that capitalism is far worse than the "bad form" of current activist politeness and that, in this context, it is more important to promote a strategy of overthrowing capitalism than one that amounts to little more to a "why-can't-we-all-get-along" strategy.  After all, we all can't get along because the all of us, philosophically speaking, would have to include all classes and all people who are dedicated to very concrete class perspectives.

So in this context a dedicated communist philosopher needs to ask what approaches best approach the goal they propose, what methods are the most logically coherent, and why should we care in the first place?  A massive question, to be sure, but one that my blog is dedicated to addressing––in perhaps a very messy and extremely eclectic manner––because I care about the end of capitalism.  (And I've probably just succeeded in hammering another nail into my career coffin, as well as pointing out the tension of this blog's existence within a capitalist controlled space!)  But this is a context that should always be one of struggle, where multiple lines need to contend, and I don't think it's wrong to line struggle with each other, in a principled and comradely manner, as we also work towards the prime struggle against capitalism.


  1. It was enlightening to read about your general, whiskey-soaked approach to writing this blog. The career thing is something that's very much on my mind as well when it comes to Marxist agitating. Although my career is media, not academia, I feel like the repercussions of being "outed" as a communist are even higher here. Marxism can at least occupy a space within the confines of the university, whereas most media organizations who might offer me a job are privately-owned and run on a capitalist basis (I'm aware many universities are as well, but I feel there's at least more of a tolerance for dissenting views in academia).

    Your thoughts on ideological coherence compel me to address the elephant in the room regarding our different political positions. I can see now, from your point of view, why you believe your approach to Marxism is coherent while mine is not. In your mind, the NDP is a bourgeois political party, and therefore, to be a Marxist who works within the NDP is a contradiction in terms. With this approach, it makes perfect sense that one would form an independent political party like the Revolutionary Communist Party (especially when you see Trotskyism and traditional Marxism as Eurocentric compared to Maoist ideas).

    From my perspective, however, the situation is reversed. I don't think that the NDP can be dismissed as simply another bourgeois capitalist party, because that ignores the strong influence that unions continue to hold over the party, incomparable to big business parties like the Liberals or the Democrats in the US. No matter how watered down its already-weak social democratic platform becomes, the NDP remains the party of Canadian labour. More to the point, it is a truly mass organization, with almost 130,000 members across Canada. No other workers' organization can compete with those kinds of numbers.

    As I remember in your post where you link to my blog, you ridiculed my support for the NDP by arguing that I couldn't see past the boundaries of bourgeois electoral politics. But I don't think that's true at all. In my mind, it's important to work both inside and outside the existing structures of government. People (other than yourself, that is) forget that the Bolsheviks did not start out as an independent mass party, but were simply the more radical wing of the Russian Social Democratic Labour Party. The Bolsheviks ran candidates in elections to the tsarist Duma, even while knowing that Nicholas' piecemeal reforms were a farce. They did this because enough ordinary Russians still had illusions in that political system that it was important for the Marxists to engage with them on all fronts.

  2. [continued from previous post]

    The RCP's strategy during the last federal election of a boycott may have seemed reasonable on the surface when you consider voter apathy, record low turnouts and the uninspiring platforms of all the major parties. But at the same time, a majority of the electorate did vote, and even those that didn't still (unhappily) accept the legitimacy of the elected government. My concern is that by ignoring parliamentary elections entirely, Marxists create a vacuum that the existing parties are only too happy to fill.

    Now, I'm annoyed by people who equate democracy with voting. The real struggle is not on Parliament Hill: it's in the streets, and in workplaces and schools. That's why organizing in those areas takes precedence over any electoral activity. But mine is an "all of the above" approach. Lenin talks about this quite explicitly in "Left Wing" Communism, An Infantile Disorder. And no, I don't think this is a dogmatic or idealist reading of the book at all. It's a perfectly obvious point: if you want to influence and organize workers, then you need to go to where the workers are.

    Finally, if nothing I said here has convinced you (and I don't expect it will - I'm just trying to explain my point of view), let me finish by pointing to the quote from The Communist Manifesto that explains why I will continue to work within the NDP for the time being:

    "In what relation do the Communists stand to the proletarians as a whole?

    "The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties.

    "They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole.

    "They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement.

    "The Communists are distinguished from the other working-class parties by this only: 1. In the national struggles of the proletarians of the different countries, they point out and bring to the front the common interests of the entire proletariat, independently of all nationality. 2. In the various stages of development which the struggle of the working class against the bourgeoisie has to pass through, they always and everywhere represent the interests of the movement as a whole."

  3. Correction: regarding the NDP membership, I meant to say that no other workers' PARTY can compete with those numbers.

    1. All I'm going to say here, considering I've written a lot about this, is that the position you endorse is actually the antithesis of philosophical coherence. Yes, this is an elephant in the room and so I'm going to come out and say that the organization whose line you maintain is one that is extremely opportunist and uses the term "ultra-leftist" to hide its opportunism. Considering that the only understanding of Leninism the IMT possesses is from Leftwing-communism, that tomb every opportunist finds themselves in sooner or later, and then ignores everything Leninism has written about revisionism or the Bolsheviks actually emerged as a party, speaks a lot to its understanding of history and theory.

      First of all, Lenin was addressing the British context and the Labour party then has nothing to do with the NDP. The NDP is not a workers party, no matter how you try to represent it, and any social investigation will tell you this. (In fact, I'd urge you to actually read the work I did during the boycott to understand, as well as what I wrote on the PCR-RCP.) Moreover, Lenin was wrong in the piece your organization is fond of over-citing while ignoring everything Lenin ever wrote about opportunism, class collaborationism, militancy, the national question, and all the things the IMT ignores from Lenin.

      Throwing down quotes and ignoring the historical development of communism movements and revolution won't help you here; really, it smacks of dogmatism. In fact, none of them [accurately apply to Fightback's strategy because: a) the NDP is a petty-bourgeois party (and also note that unions are not the proletariat at the centres of capitalism but a privileged strata of workers); b) Fightback has never carried out a serious social investigation and is *not* embedded in the proletariat; c) its praxis is more about being respectable than actually caring about class revolution; d) the last one is particularly funny because the PCR-RCP had involvement with the RIM which was the only legitimate group in the past thirty years that could speak of representing international proletarian struggle.

      When you say a majority of the electoral *did* vote you are again looking only at registered voters. There's also the fact that a vast majority of the proletariat did not register. Then there's the fact that the last provincial election (which has a higher registration) had the lowest ever turn-out where more people didn't vote than those who did. But on the whole let's look at the larger reasons why we push an electoral boycott: breaking from bourgeois ideology and opportunist practice (and I will ridicule the practice of a bunch of "communists" who tail the NDP, sorry, it's a joke and not even philosophically coherent when it comes to the principles of historical revolutionary communism, no matter if you can only cite one piece by Lenin) is necessary to build a party; major revolutionary movements have most often began by moments of strategic boycott in order to pull advanced sectors of the masses towards them––the accumulation of revolutionary forces, here, is key, and an organization that tails the NDP is not drawing in those with an advanced consciousness, in fact they are primarily drawing in students who want to live a respectable life, profess marxism, and probably end up becoming liberals if they don't realize the bankruptcy of this project (as some have done) at some point in the future.

      So let me repeat, the NDP *is* a bourgeois party and unions are embedded in the labour aristocracy; their rank and file have generally taken on a petty bourgeois consciousness, and do not represent the Canadian proletariat, and are only now becoming reproletarianized in this moment of crisis. Any class investigation will tell you this, and without investigation there should be no right to speak.


    2. [cont. from above]

      I also think it is bad history to use the example of the Duma as evidence for your strategy. Again philosophical coherence: you've made a serious category mistake here. First of all, there's the fact that Russia between 1905-1917 was not Canada of the current conjuncture. Secondly, the Bolsheviks began a period of guerrilla war in 1905 *before* participating in the Duma and thus were in the process of building the seeds of Dual Power (they would not have gotten involved in the Duma otherwise, or allowed themselves to be liquidated within parliamentarianism). Thirdly, the Bolshevik's participation in the Duma is more akin to what the Nepalese did recently AFTER THEY HAD SEIZED THE COUNTRYSIDE THROUGH PEOPLES WAR AND AFTER THEY HAD BOYCOTTED PREVIOUS ELECTIONS when they entered the parliamentary arena as what, at that time, was being defended as a tactic like the one the Bolsheviks used in the Duma. Interestingly enough, this strategy didn't work in Nepal in the 21st century even though what it was doing was far more akin to what Lenin did, and that party has gone revisionist. Point being: you're arguing for a strategy that is alien to the one your organization actually pursues, arguing it's the same because of the electoral system when you disdain all of the militancy an organization like the Bolsheviks actually performed, and where you haven't even looked at what it means to build a revolutionary and comprehensive party aside from organizing amongst the already organized left or performing the most banal entryism.

      Finally, if the real struggle is in the street as you say it is, maybe you need to walk away from an organization that has equated militants with the police (again, this is opportunist) and does not organize on a street level. One of the reasons I respect the PCR-RCP is because they do organize on a street level, and it is for this reason that they have emerged as the most significant communist party in Canada. They also have roots in the organic revolutionary movements of Canada (i.e. the anti-revisionist waves of the 80s like the WCP and En Lutte), whereas groups like the IMT (as with the SWP/IS, as with the Sparts, as with the IBT) are imports from other countries that have no organic connection with the class struggle here, hence their inability to do social investigation in a concrete manner and simply apply categories from elsewhere. Again: philosophical coherence.

      So to put it all in a very simple manner: I think organizations like the IMT fall philosophically short of being communist in that they do not satisfy what is demanded of communism based on the conceptual area delineated by the term and its historical unfolding through revolution. Considering how much I've written on the boycotts, the PCR, and opportunism, however, I don't feel the need to keep going. Nor am I interested in having a back and forth on this comments string because I've learned, long ago, the importance of ideological commitment and how it blinds us to logical arguments and the correct political line––hence the reason I was an anarchist at one point in my life.

    3. Don't worry, I wasn't interested in a long back-and-forth either, because I know we're each set in our particular positions. But I appreciate your critique. A good political discussion follows the form of the Hegelian dialectic, with the contradiction between two different viewpoints ideally leading to a higher understanding. Hearing your criticisms forces me to subject my own positions to greater scrutiny.

    4. Same here: line struggle is necessary for the development of stronger ideology, so I appreciate interventions from positions that are different from mine because even if they end up being positions I will never accept, they do produce some form of understanding in the moment of dialectical contradiction. If I come off some time as intense online, it is because I have been trained as that kind of person academically and am something of a polemicist when it comes to writing. Even if I disagree with you (and this only goes for other marxists and leftists and not reactionaries, lol) and come across in an abrupt manner, it has to do with the medium. Plus I argue in person with my good friends like this, and they with me, so I am not intentionally trying to be an asshole or anything.

      Hope you keep participating in discussions.

  4. Your readers love you even if you are "some unbalanced failed academic maoist freak." (lol'd)

    1. Oh, thanks! Well, some of you do. Some readers (probably not regulars and based on some comments) don't like me all that much.

    2. I love you too. from Kbl, Afg.

  5. You should just self-publish your book on Amazon, etc, in digital format. We communists need to get with the times! I often feel we don't do enough good propaganda work using the internet. We should make documentaries and such on communism to re-popularize it, or at least have something we can do video showings with. The Zeitgiesters might be foolish in that they have no idea how to achieve the communistic/futuristic world they envision, but they sure do know how to promote it.

    Also, I wanted to add that I completely agree with your analysis of Fightback/IMT. I used to be a member for years, and was even on the central committee. They even used to brag that I was the first real working-class person in their group (which was true, almost all of them are petti-bourgeosie or even bourgeoisie kids) Now I'm a supporter of the RCP and can't believe all the bullshit I used to believe for no other reason than it was repeated a million times. It took me about two years to overcome Trotskyism, and it all seemed to start with a questioning of the position of the IMT towards China. I then claimed that China could not be classified as capitalist, whereas the position of the iMT was that it had transformed into capitalism. Now that I have abandoned Trotskyism I don't believe I was correct in my arguments at the time, but I made them for reasons that were logically consistent within the Trotskyist framework.

    According to the IMT, all that is needed to transform Canada into a socialist country is to take the top 150 corporations into public hands and begin to establish forms of workers control in management processes, etc. An elected workers' government can carry it out, though it will meet with counter-revolution and at some point probably have to engage in a kind of civil war with the bourgeosie and its forces, but of course nothing is ever done to address this problem or plan for it organizationally. Anyhow, according to this definition of what socialism is, (the ownership of the central planks of the economy and institution of some form of central planning) China is still today socialist. However, because it has so many negative features and probably also because they just don't want to use the effort to defend it, they changed their catagorization of China to capitalist, arguing that the existence of a strong bourgeosie class and the existence of a market were sufficient grounds for their assertion. However, when I matched the program of Fightback to what actually exists in China, I found them to be nearly identical, save for a strong element of workers' control, and on this basis I, and others internationally, argued that the IMT position adopted was incorrect, and the traditional deformed workers' state anaysis should be maintained. Several members were expelled over this question and not given a chance to defend themselves, and the sweedish section broke from the IMT. I quit, disgusted with the organization and sick of comrades calling me "Stalinist" and launching into vicious attacks every time they saw me, claiming I was defending the Chinese beureocracy, even though I was just trying to be consistent with the IMT's own theories.

  6. The IMT positions on establishing socialism actually amount to no more than building a kind of state-capitalism. Their plan is to gradually wither away the free-market through control of large enterprises and banks, whilst leaving the small and medium bourgeosie completely untouched. Some of them do not even see a final elimination of the market. They give no real worry to the fact that these capitalist forces will continue to sabatage their government and socialized sector, give no thought to the creation of a socialist culture, and do not even envision anything beyond simple commodity production as a way of life. Their slogan is that under socialism we will all drive mercadies and have big-screen tv's. Socialism, therefore, does not create social change, but is simply an improved method of commoditee production (which I think is a dubious claim) For socialim to superseed capitalism, it therefore must be able to outproduce the most advanced capitalist countries in the production of consumer goods, which of course is impossible for any less-developed nation to accomplish. Therefore, those "backward" proletarians must wait for the "advanced" workers of the USA and western europe to donate a real socialist revolution to them, through giving them the advanced production capacity to create the material basis of socialism. From this position, everything China has done in the last thirty years should be seen as correct, or at least heading in the right direction. Of course though we can see that China is not heading in the direction of communism, but consumer driven capitalism. Obviously there is more to building socialism than simply the level of productive forces.

    When Marx and Engles were writing about England and France being ready for the revolution, they were writing at a time when these countries were far from our modern conception of an industrialized society and they certinaly would not have been able to produce a fine horse and buggy, a five bedroom estate, and a working library for every citizen in the first five-year plan. Shouldn't this tell Trotskyists that Marx and Engles didn't consider that a socialist society be able to meet all the consumer and often capitalist manufactured demands of its citizens and that in fact they invisioned an end to that society? After all, the basic material needs for human beings are not hard to meet, especially not in modern times. Where the difficulty really lies is the established desires created by commodity production, driven especially by those countries at the global centre.

    Anyhow, this has gone way off topic so I will stop. Anyhow, keep up the great work!

    1. Hello Adam F., and welcome to the comment debates/dialogue of this blog! Thanks for the insights gleaned from your experience in the IMT, and I'm glad to hear that you're a comradely supporter of the PCR-RCP. (As an aside: are you in Ontario? If so you should connect with its front groups slash mass orgs, like the PRAC or RSM. But if you're uncomfortable answering this question here, feel free to ignore it altogether!) Interesting points about China: as I'm sure you know, maoists have long since categorized China as a "state capitalist" country (and your analysis points to this), so your points about how the IMT analysis leads to the same end result, while at the same time rejecting actually existing Chinese market "socialism" but for the wrong reasons.

      No problem about going "off topic" –– I'm usually okay with this as long as it doesn't continue in the same comment string over and over and over –– since tangents often lead to interesting points. (Besides, your comments here connected to the comments of other people on this entry, so you were on topic with what was already stated!) Such as your last statement: "the basic material needs for human beings are not hard to meet, especially not in modern times… [w]here the difficulty really lies is the established desires created by commodity production, driven especially by those countries at the global centre." A lot of concepts in these two sentences, comrade, that cut to the core of communist theory: the movement from a false desire based mode of production to a needs-based mode of production [something one of my past marxist mentors turned me unto years and years ago], and the connection of this insight to the global structure of imperialism... Important stuff.

      As for self-publishing a book, when it comes to books I'm something of a dead tree sort of person. I mean, I did make a novel experiment into an eBook on here a while back, but otherwise I do hold unto, in an old-fashioned and perhaps fetishistic sort of way, the concrete book form. (It also makes a difference in terms of job applications, but that's another story!) And since this blog has more readers than an eBook ever would, in some ways there is no point in making an eBook since I already have an ongoing "eBook" here…

      In any case, thanks for the support. Please continue commenting!

    2. Thanks for the warm welcome!

      I'm connected with the group in Ottawa, whom I knew from when I was still a member of Fightback.

      After a long process of evaluating my political positions after leaving Fightback I ended up with the conclution that Trotskyism made fatal errors, especially in the way that it is interpreted and applied by groups today. It is done in an idealistic maner with little to no base in reality where grandious formulations are dreamed up (as long as they are mearly extrapolations of something Trotsky said) and then applied to the world. This leads to fatalistic errors, constant splits (because everyone has to agree with the all-encompassing grand anaysis and programe) and, of course, dogmatism and religious-like quoting of Trotsky, and, when necessary, Lenin's Leftwing Communism. Once I realized this, and did a review of the history of Trotskyism, it wasn't hard to see that I had been in error for seven years of my life. Of course admitting that is hard, but the facts speak for themselves. If we are to find the correctness of a practice, then we should examine how effective it has been, and we should evaluate the correctness of a theory by how well it corralates with the material reality. Trotskyism hasn't achieved a revolution, or come even close. It hasn't even created a mass party. The theory of course relates to the practice, as the practice should be act of bringing that theory into the material world. However, one could argue that various Trotskyist groups have simply been erring in their implementation of a correct theory. However, in nearly all Trotskyist groups (and I say nearly all because I don't know every Trotskyist group) you will find them actually altering the picture of reality to fit with their theories, and almost never examining reality and altering their theories to match it. Anyhow, that is why I decided Trotskyism was a dead-end for revolutionaries, so instead I looked towards theories that had actually succeeded, or partly succeeded, in the real world, theories which I had learned to demonize for my entire political life: "Stalinism" and Maoism. (By Stalinism, I mean of course Marxism-Leninism, and not specifically Stalin's implementation)

      Anyhow, in my Trotskyist days I had started the Carleton Marxist Student Association, which was an active on-campus discussion group mostly. It was there I met comrades who would later start up the PRAC in Ottawa. When I had come to abandon Trotskyism, and move away from the notion of electoral politics, I remembered some things they had said before that interested me, and so I got in contact with them, and they told me about the RCP. When I read the RCP program I was actually blown away, and more excited then I had been in a long time.

    3. As for Ebooks, the point is not to always stay an Ebook, but if your book is a relatively successful Ebook for its Genre, then you can use that as leverage to get in print. Publishing companies don't like to take risks, especially if it is leftist/communist oriented (unless of course it is a cheep faction book bashing communism). If you can show them it will make money, they will be more likely to publish it. You can use your blog to promote it, and maybe make a few bucks when people like me buy it for $4.99 off Amazon or wherever.

    4. Well right now I'm working on a book proposal for a publishing company that will hopefully allow my thesis to be converted into a book. The reason I am not interested in making it into an ebook (which I did do, as aforementioned, for a piece of fiction I wrote a while back––and it is available for download here) is that if I ever want to get a permanent academic job [not that I will, mind you, since the job market is what it is] I have to have my thesis published by an academic press––and academic presses will generally not republish things that have been ebooks first. Sadly, this is just the way it is.

      Glad to hear you're an Ottawa comrade, and your political biography is interesting. I never went through the Trotskyist rigamarole, but I did become politicized through the anarchist world, and then the autonomist marxist world, and resisted what I saw as "orthodox marxism" for a long time. But, like you, after being forced to look at actually existing reality and critical historiographies of the Russian and Chinese revolutions –– and after being forced to see the limits of the theory I endorsed –– I was drawn more towards Leninism and Maoism. I was also excited by the PCR-RCP's programme, though it still took me several years of interrogation and investigation (and also getting out of the trade union organizing trap I had fallen into) to support them.

  7. For those of us outside of Canada, an interesting article might be on the differences,in practice, between the Revolutionary Communist Party, Canada and Revolutionary Initiative.

    1. This would presume a public presence of the Revolutionary Initiative and a way to judge their practice beyond what they publish on their website––some of which is in agreement with the PCR (and was indeed influenced and taken from the PCR, i.e. the national question, Canada as an imperialist state, etc.) and some of which is not. They do not have an openly public presence and so, aside from comparing theory, it is difficult to make a comparison.


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