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On Breaking from Bourgeois Legality

Due to the massive number of comments on my previous post, some of which were ignorant and even unprincipled, I think it is worth spending some time discussing what is meant by "breaking with bourgeois legality."  Apparently this concept was a stumbling block for more than a few readers, many of whom wanted to interpret this statement as an argument for ultra-leftist adventurism––as if I was demanding that students arm themselves, engage in illegal activities, and embark on poorly conceptualized militant schemes just for the sake of militancy.

And yet I have written quite a bit on what I mean by "breaking with bourgeois legality", though I haven't always used these words, and have been quite clear that I am not advocating an adventurist strategy.  I am not the kind of lifestyle anarchist who thinks that the correct strategy is to "drop out" of society (as if this even possible) and that all of the rights the working-class has won in bourgeois society should be rejected due to some need for political purity.  Indeed, I have examined what it means to use bourgeois rights in a non-bourgeois manner, or how to understand social reform in a non-reformist manner, and so when I speak of "breaking with bourgeois legality" I do not mean an empty-headed rejectionist approach that will lead to either sectarian and/or self-defeating behaviour.  (So no, clever internet pundits, the fact that I have a degree and a casualized job does not mean I am contradicting what is meant by "breaking with bourgeois legality"… By this logic, walking on a sidewalk or using the healthcare system would violate my political commitments––a rather senseless position to hold.)

Of course, perhaps the fact that I was discussing the problem of organizing within the boundaries of bourgeois legality in the context of the student movement was the problem.  It is one thing to speak of this approach to organizing in general, but quite another to focus it upon a context wherein (and this is another of my long-standing complaints) large swathes of the mainstream left have submerged themselves.  And the fact that some commenters complained that critiquing a bureaucratic student union was an attack on the movement in general demonstrates how the boundaries of bourgeois legality are further narrowed by the horizon of university activism.  Well I'm not a student anymore, many people I know aren't students, and I didn't even attend the conference mentioned in the previous post due to my lack of student status and the fact that I have a newborn child.  (But I do have years and years of experience as a student activist, and I know from this experience that the radical elements of the student movement haven't had anything to do with the CFS, and I take issue with some anonymous commenter raving about how they are the movement, that the movement is homogenous, and that it somehow looks like their student union wet-dream.  Please: I was one of many people building some aspects of the student movement years ago, part of a movement fighting to preserve gains that you now think I'm trying to destroy.  Some respect and institutional memory, please!)

So what do I mean by breaking with bourgeois legality if I do not mean some banal rejectionism?  In a word, I mean anti-revisionism.  That is, I mean rejecting a model of organizing that, regardless of how it veils itself, is primarily, and in the last instance, reformist.  I mean precisely what Rosa Luxemburg meant when she attacked Bernstein's revisionism.  I mean precisely what the worldwide anti-revisionist movement meant when it attacked Khrushchev's doctrine of "peaceful co-existence with capitalism."  And because this is what I mean, I also mean precisely what Luxemburg and the Chinese Communists under Mao meant when they argued for a return to revolution-centred model of communist organizing as a response to organizing that was primarily centred on social reformism dressed up in marxist clothes.  In this context, then, when I speak of breaking with bourgeois legality I also mean building a movement based on Lenin's understanding that there can only be a revolutionary movement if it is unified theoretically and practically; in order to even begin building such a movement, one needs to step outside of those institutions that are embedded within the bourgeois state where one's "comrades" will necessarily end up being people who are anything from liberal to reactionary––a problem Lenin discussed when he spoke of the limitations of "trade union consciousness"––and whose ideology is intrinsically connected not only to these embedded institutions but to the entire reformist approach.  As I argued in the above linked article, social democrats are more than willing to fight for reform without the help of communists––the masses deserve more from people who declare themselves anti-capitalist.

So when some of us speak of breaking with bourgeois legality, the break we mean at this point is a break from the social consciousness that cannot see past a style of organizing that is limited by bourgeois legality.  The goal for communists must be revolution, the overthrow of the bourgeois state, and this cannot be accomplished if we imagine we can develop the subjective factor of revolution (a revolutionary party) within a context that is not at all interested in revolution, i.e. within institutions and projects beholden to capitalism.  Breaking this social conciousness is the first step in moving towards the goal of communism, the necessity of revolution, and we we will never be able to finally break from the limits of the bourgeois order if we do not organize in the way that every revolutionary movement that has been even slightly successful has organized before us.  As it was put in Long Live Leninism:
"Lenin considered it of prime importance for the proletariat to establish its own genuinely revolutionary political party which completely breaks with opportunism, that is, a Communist party, if the proletarian revolution is to be carried through and the dictatorship of the proletariat established and consolidated.  This political party is armed with the Marxist theory of dialectical materialism and historical materialism.  Its programme is to organize the proletariat and all oppressed working people to carry on class struggle, to set up proletarian rule and passing through socialism to reach the final goal of communism.  This political party must identify itself with the masses and attach great importance to their creative initiative in the making of history; it must closely rely on the masses in revolution as well as in socialist and communist construction."
You cannot break with opportunism if your strategy is to embed yourself in liberal institutions in an effort to reform them.  Nor does any amount of revolutionary rhetoric, where reformism is disguised as principled marxist behaviour, make your practice otherwise.  As Lenin wrote in 1923 about the petty-bourgeois ideologues of the Second International, reformists are people "who are afraid to deviate from the bourgeoisie, let alone break with it, at the same time they disguise[…] their cowardice with the wildest rhetoric and braggarty."  And simply by quoting one text of Lenin's out of context (i.e. Left-wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder), a text that was not really his most scientific (just because it was written in 1920 doesn't it make it more scientific than what he wrote earlier since age has never been a qualification for scientific veracity), is not enough to escape the charge of opportunism.  Bernstein and Kautsky, after all, appealed to passages in Marx and Engels to defend their opportunism––and I think it is fair to say that they knew their Marxist doctrine better than most of us (indeed, Kautsky was like the high pope of marxism at one time and was extremely influential on Lenin's theory)––but we know now that they were opportunists and renegades thanks to the efforts of Luxemburg, Lenin, and others.

But I will return to the problem of Left-wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder at the end…

Returning to the previous post and the tempest-in-a-teacup it caused, it is worth focusing on what I was actually arguing rather than pretending, as some commenters seemed to be, that I was advocating de-certification campaigns or any such nonsense.  The point was to ignore the dominant bourgeois-embedded student union, to not waste communist energy trying to reform it, and instead do in the student movement what should be done in the overall revolutionary movement: organize in a manner that is unified according to communist ideology parallel to student unions so that a movement would emerge with a clear anti-capitalist and revolutionary line––a movement that was capable of fighting from its theoretically articulate position and even applying pressure on the student movement as a whole––because if you control the line then you control the struggle.

Apparently the entire notion of organizing in a way that every revolutionary movement that has done anything has organized according to (the Bolshevik Party under Lenin did this, the Communist Party of China under Mao did this, etc.) is now treated as "ultra-leftism" and "counter-revolutionary" by some people.  One commenter raved over and over, until I had to ban them for repeating their asinine and insulting comments and refusing to make an argument, that the fact that some people wanted to organize outside of student union structures was tantamount to "wrecking" the student movement and working for the Conservative government.  So in today's context, I suppose, the only thing we should do is act as social democrats, work to get the New Democratic Party into power, and then this will give us the "wiggle room" to reform our way to revolution?  Here the logic is clearly opportunist, precisely the revisionism that the world historical communist revolutions have rejected.

But opportunists will see anything that is not opportunist as "ultra-leftist" and, as a good old friend of mine pointed out long ago, now what is often called "ultra-leftist" in the current Canadian/US conjuncture is what would be considered anti-revisionist marxism in the time of Lenin and Luxemburg. It is possible that Bernstein imagined Luxemburg as an "ultra-leftist", though the terminology was less coherent at that time, since she stood to the left of his opportunist understanding of marxism.  Thus, it is both tragic and farcical that when some of us speak of a return to organizing revolution as it has been historically understood by revolutionary communists, other marxists mobilize the term "ultra-leftist" to defend their opportunism.  This isn't new: some marxist groups have been doing this for a long time––I can still recall those days when, after some people thought that we should not inform the police of a demonstration, a certain marxist group deemed any march that did not collaborate with policing "ultra-leftist" and made a big stink about this supposed "ultra-leftism"… And this was just an anti-war demonstration!

Now this opportunism of working within bourgeois limitations is being defended by an appeal to Lenin's Left-wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder.  After all, since Lenin advocated an entryist tactic in 1920 in the context of a debate with British council communists, it must be a universal strategy of revolution for Lenin!  And so opportunism is again submerged by an appeal to the writings of an actual revolutionary.  Bernstein made similar appeals to Marx, going so far as to argue that what Marx wrote at the end of his life was more scientific than what he wrote earlier on and that he was even a "reformer" at the end of his life because, hey, he "admitted in 1872 that in countries like England it was possible to bring about the emancipation of the workers by peaceful means."  Sound similar to the way some people understand Lenin's 1920 analysis, in the context of England, and apply it to their practice? Again, history repeated as farce.  "We are all social reformers today," Bernstein goes on to write: "some in order to fortify present society [liberals], others in order to prepare the way for an easy and organic growth of a new cooperative society, based on common ownership of land and the means of production [communists]."  And this way of understanding communism as a "better" form of reformism––and thus somehow revolutionary––is still paradigmatic of revisionism today: we'll get into that capitalist institution and reform it better than liberals will!  Well, Luxemburg had something to say about this approach––and what she said was accepted by Lenin and every revolutionary up until today––and for those who haven't studied it because of their obsession with "ultra-leftism" I'd suggest looking it up before reading any further.

Moreover, aside from being written within the context of a particular (and not universal) debate, people who uphold Lenin's Left-wing Communism: an Infantile Disorder as some strategic document for every concrete context tend to ignore why he was advocating entryism at the centres of capitalism.  And the why can be found in that text's fourth chapter where Lenin talks about the principle enemy being "opportunism" and ultra-leftism (or anarchism) being the "penalty for the opportunist sins of the working-class movement."  Here Lenin is speaking of the opportunism that, as he argued time and time again, was a default ideology at the centres of world capitalism, theorized as "the labour aristocracy" (and isn't it interesting that a lot of people who cite this text reject the theory of the labour aristocracy?) and that, in these contexts, since the working-class was "bought-off" by so-called "super-profits" and was thus complacent, an infantile and petty-bourgeois anarchism often emerged in response to the stagnancy of the general working-class movement.  This text, then, was concerned with figuring out how a working-class movement hampered by opportunism, because it was at the centre of imperialism, could conduct itself in order to survive––without suiciding through anarchist "infantilism".

So not only have the people who uphold this text as justification for non-revolutionary practice used it to tar every movement that attempts to build itself according to Leninist principles as "ultra-leftist", but they ignore the fact that it was put forward as a tactical suggestion for their inherent opportunism.  Indeed, they have turned what was meant to be a conviction of opportunism into a virtue!  At this point, Lenin could power all of their movements with the energy generated from his spinning grave.

In the end we need to ask why there is such a knee-jerk reaction to any and all proposals aimed at building revolutionary movements according to the principles of the Russian Revolution under Lenin and/or the Chinese Revolution under Mao.  Rather than try to learn from both the successes and failures of the past world historical revolutions, there is this desire to reinvent the wheel over and over and over again.  Not only to reinvent it as movementism, but to pretend that we're being Leninist when what we are actually advocating is a practice that almost killed the communist movement in Europe.  As Bernstein wrote gleefully in 1899:
"All the speeches of the [SPD's] representatives breathe reform.  […] [T]he social democrats [at that time the term meant communist––it wasn't until after Bernstein and Kautsky that it became a slur for welfare capitalist ideology] formed an alliance with the middle-class democracy for the municipal elections, and their example was followed in other Wurtemberg towns.  In the trade union movement one union after another proceeds to establish funds for out-of-work members, which practically means a giving up of the characteristics of a purely fighting coalition… Everywhere there is action for reform, action for social progress, action for the victory of democracy."
 But Bernstein imagined that all of this reform was tantamount to revolution when all it was doing was wrecking the movement in Germany and leading to collaboration with fascism.  Why?  Because opportunism refuses to break from bourgeois legality and, when crisis produces monolithic capitalism, bourgeois legality becomes fascism.  In this context, all this reformist promise that Bernstein celebrated in 1899, imagining that his revolutionary enemies in that version of the SPD would be vanquished by his logic, was dashed to pieces when the Freikorps murdered Luxemburg and Liebknecht and Bernstein's SPD stood by, embedded as it was in bourgeois legality, and permitted these assassinations. And this is yet another reason some of us argue that we need to break––first consciously and eventually literally––from bourgeois legality and work to build an actually communist movement.


  1. Just more evidence that your whole outlook is idealist anti-revisionism instead of anti-revisionist practice and you have no idea what opportunism or bourgeois legality is. Your absurdly scholastic and mechanical view of Canada is that everything that doesn't rely on the same stock of phrases as you is "reformist" and therefore your merry band should devote all its attention to hysterical phrases and trying to separate yourselves from the working class, not to mention students. Your anti-revisionism has a paper existence, and while paper will take anything that's put on it, the working class won't.

    Your approach to the student movement (and the labour movement) is the most childish among the "left" in Canada, basically saying since the people's organizations are "corrupt/reformist/revisionist" (which in itself is a completely childish and scholastic outlook) because they don't preach "people's war" (a hysterical fantasy) or "MLM" (a fraud you cook up in your blog posts), therefore we shouldn't give a shit about them, while they are fighting the ACTUAL battles taking place across the country right now, and instead expend your efforts conspiring with a few people to talk trash about them, stand aside in the battles with the class enemy, profess indifference to the liquidation of the peoples' organizations, and playact with your "comrades", feeling good about yourself for being "illegal" unlike the tens and hundreds of thousands of working struggling for their existence. Shame on you.

    This has nothing to do with Communist practice, which since the time of Marx and Engels has worked to take part in the whole political life of a country, in all legal and illegal forms which it can, and to bring Marxism to the working class movement. Your theory and practice is an eclectic mix of anarchism (although most anarchists in Canada today are not actually as ultra-left as you are), left-communism (aka left opportunism, ultra-leftism), and your scholastic interpretation of "Maoism" which seems to try to appeal to 1970's radicalism. In the constant (while baseless and shallow) denunciation of Left-Wing Communism (An Infantile Disorder) as "unscientific" accompanying your absolute infantile rants you are unwittingly making this pamphlet relevant again. Congratulations.

  2. You're not doing yourself any favours by saying "No, we don't advocate the liquidation of students' associations and unions under attack from the Harperites, we just don't care and won't lift a finger in defence of students and workers."

    Literally nothing could disgrace and discredit Communism in Canada today more than this.

    1. I'm going to be clear about this once and not publish any of your empty-minded an repetitive garbage afterwords since, following the comments of a similar vein in the previous post, it is clear that you are ignorant, probably a student who just discovered marxism a few years ago, incapable of reading, have no understanding of the historical development of marxist theory, and just don't know how to make arguments. In fact, I bet your entire organizing is limited to student unionism that you think is amazing and at the vanguard of organizing everywhere.

      1) I defined bourgeois legality and opportunism. I explained the history of opportunism. i quoted arch opportunists. Simply saying that "you don't understand" while you have no analysis whatsoever except insults is not an argument; it is dogmatism.

      2) Your whole claim that I'm rejecting everyone who doesn't rely on the same stock phrases as me is bizarre because I've never said that. I said it is important to organize parallel to bourgeois institutions, I think it's a trap to get caught up in them... But I know people who do get caught up and I'm fine working with them in common fronts. Oddly enough this logic actually applies to you because you're the one on a serious sectarian rant, flinging all sorts of baseless accusations. This is wrecker behaviour and it is nothing more than a childish defense of rightism. Yes, you're a rightist and a liberal who thinks they're a leftist.

      3) Clearly you can't read because I was quite clear that breaking from bourgeois legality doesn't mean encouraging reckless and adventurist actions. Also, you don't understand what is meant by People's War as a theory; I suggest you read up on it before imagining you've caught me and putting words in my mouth.

      4) And you imagine you're leading ACTUAL battles? The fact that you do not identify yourself but denounce like a spartacist at a meeting of sectarians leads me to think that you have no real concrete experience in organizing and activism outside of recent student unionism. Either that or you're a child caught up in some religious-minded understanding of marxism. Like I said before: do yourself a favour and grow up. Just saying "shame on you" with baseless accusations about "ultra-leftism", all of them hot air blown from the arse of an arch-revisionist who could learn from reading Marx, Lenin, Mao and studying the history of revolutions, is trolling.

      [cont. below]

    2. 5) My interpretation of Maoism, MLM, is actually born from concrete revolutionary struggle. Things that matter more than the student movement in Canada like actual revolutions, including one that is going on in India right now. But I'm sure you consider that less important––so much for your understanding of tens and hundreds of thousands of workers struggling for existence. The thing is, the proletariat movement at the peripheries would laugh at your understanding of marxism and chase you out of their ranks as the rightist you are.

      6) Simply rejecting my argument regarding LWCaID as "baseless" without any counter-arguments is a true sign of baselessness. What was my denunciation of it, pray tell? You cannot even repeat it back. Why? Because you don't read. Again, this has been the general tone of all your ignorant emails which are about as "critical" as a Glenn Beck marathon.

      7) Your second comment puts up a quote that I never wrote, an argument that I have never made. It's actually a pretty bad argument and, in fact, if you could see what I'm arguing it is that a movement that actually belongs to students and workers can do more to protect the needs of students and workers then those movements bound up within bourgeois logic. I know this from experience, from long years spent as a labour union organizer––as a steward, in a flying squad, on my local's executive, going to inter-union meetings and embarking on inter-union goals, going on strike––and you know what? I still think it is necessary to support my union.

      8) And your understanding of communism is the biggest disgrace. In ten years from now you will be a social democrat, if not a liberal, because the foundations of your ideology are built on sand. You are like an SPD member who handed Luxemburg and Liebknecht over the freikorps.

      Do not bother coming back: you have broken most of my comment rules, you have contributed nothing to this discussion, you are clearly incapable of arguing anything useful, you only repeat yourself and throw insults, and you really aren't very smart.

    3. Wow, you seem to have touched a nerve here! I like the colourful use of the term "scholastic" though. Is that a new Trotskyist insult? I've been writing on humanist and early scientific critiques of scholasticism, so I'm a little surprised to hear that you are actually a devotee of Aristotle and Aquinas.

    4. Hi Jude,

      This person was lobbing similar insults in the last post––all abusive ad hominems without bothering to really engage in a substantive debate. After my last and final reply, they tried to reply back one time and went even lower, using other set marxist insults from the historical grab-bag (i.e. "eclecticism") without any explanation. [They also called me a "fraud" and a "liar" and a "terrible intellectual".] I suspect they are someone who has been taught how to slur people in a marxist manner but generally doesn't understand what these concepts mean. Evidence of this is in the way they understood "opportunism" in the comment string of the previous post, and how they claim I have no idea what "opportunism" is in this string even though I quoted directly from the arch-opportunist himself and they provided no argument as to how I didn't understand it. Just more insults and pompous claims.

      Whatever the case, it is good they stayed "anonymous" because everyone I know who has read their comments, from a variety of different marxist traditions, have only thought that they have made themselves look extremely ignorant and, while communist in form, definitely anti-communist in essence.

    5. Ello their JMP, my other attempt at posting didn't work due to a glich so I'll try again.

      First of all, for all of the accusations of "Ultra-Leftism", I don't get the feeling that this anonymous person has the best grasp on what that concept implies. Ultra leftism is not an abstract problem, but a concrete issue that has often proved to be the stumbling block of the wider left. Ultra-Leftism can be defined as a political outlook that is developed in the context of the left and not through investigation, and therefore tries to force an outlook on the world that simply doesn't correspond to reality or the issues relevant to the working class. When the white panther party demanded "sex in the streets and free dope" as a part of it's political programme, this can be seen as a manifestation of Ultra-Leftism.

      Despite all of the attempts of this anonymous to accuse JMP of being Ultra-Leftist, I feel like the IMT line, which often accuses other movements of ultra-leftism, fits the definition of what they often accuse others of being. They insist on upholding a "pure" Marxism of Trotsky and Marx's day and as a result fail to develop Marxism creatively to correspond to the concrete realities of the modern world, and end up employing a mechanical materialism in their analyses that would be antiquated even in Marx's day. For example I remember reading an article by the IMT about the oppression of LGBT folk, where they argued that heteronormativity and homophobia are just tools of the boss to divide the working class and cited some obscure incident in the 60's to justify their line.

      What I find problematic in this form of "materialist" analysis is that there seems to be an implication that if homophobia didn't serve to divide the working class, which it indeed does not, then it wouldn't be a valid thing to be concerned about, much like how the IMT dismisses the various South Asian nationalist movements as bourgeois false consciousness and advocates for a united socialist republic of south Asia, thus vulgarly dismissing thousands of brave men and woman who have died for the Independence of their country. It's almost as if they came to the obvious conclusion that the oppression of LGBT folks was wrong and said to themselves "Quick, how can we justify this opinion using Marx?" instead of asking themselves the correct question which is "How can we analysis this problem using Marxism?" Its this sort of attitude, which tries to avoid faults in one's political line by delibratly misinterpreting concrete situations to fit one's world view, which can be classified as Ultra-Leftism.

    6. Now that I am done with that, I'll get back to the question at hand. Now I'm going to go on a limb and say that it is essentially a question over how we get from point A to point B. Point A being where we are now, and point B being a socialist revolution. Right now I'd say there are about 5000-6000 communists of various schools in Canada. So how are we going to get to the point to where we can popularize our ideology to the extent that it can overthrow the state.

      Now, on one hand we can practice entryism in already existing spaces, such as the NDP and the student union. In every case, communists would represent a minority which would be unable to exerosize any power over these organizations. And the problem of these spaces is that that they are inherently by nature non-radical spaces, if not anti-communist spaces. Sure, they don't mind having a couple commies in their demonstrations to fill up the ranks about, but at the end of the day they represent a group of people who simply don't want to hear your politics. They don't want to be persuaded to Marxism, they're Social Democrats. That's not to say that we shouldn't try to convince these people, but when you do so in their parties you're in their home field sharing a space on their terms, and even if you shake up the rank and file the higher ups who might feel threatened by you can always purge you just like they purged the IMT in Denmark who were doing admittedly some very good work.

      The other alternative, the alternative of Lenin, Mao, Luxemburg,Borgida and every other revolutionary, is to start of with a space created by radicals themselves which radicals have ultimate control over. The advantage of this approach is that you've got a counter platform off of which you can launch your offensive, whether it's just a minor demonstration where you can debate passerbys honestly without having to hid your politics for the sake of entryism, or whether it's the beginning of a protracted people's war. At the end of the day, this is the only alternative that has worked historically, and because it corresponds with reality and has produced tangible results, I'd think that it's fair to say that the line of the RCP Canada is far from Ultra-Leftist.

      (Oh and since this is my second time trying to post here I admit that this post isn't as good as my last one, forgive me for my spelling mistakes I happen to have Dyslexia, though I do not pretend to be immune from criticism when my use of grammar requires it.)

    7. Hello Captain Sparkles the Red: it's good to see that your comments showed up in my inbox and that you bothered to retype your previously submitted and lost interventions. Dyslexia aside, there's no point in criticizing any problems of grammar and/or typos since, even without dyslexia, I tend to be guilty of shitty editing in my posts and comments here and I'm even willing to wager that this response will also contain at least one error I didn't catch.

      I agree with your points as a whole, and there are some things I would add…

      Ultra-leftism is indeed a problem but needs to be scientifically analyzed rather than used as a simple charge for some people to dismiss politics that might seem "to the left" of what they think is "proper leftism" otherwise people like Lenin would be "ultra-leftists" according to this way of seeing the world. Hence, your point about historical context is relevant. What is also relevant is understanding ultra-leftism as a phenomenon that, so to speak (and to paraphrase William Hinton in *100 Day War*), ends up "waving the red flag against the red flag"––that is, a political line that, often with a more-radical-than-thou veneer, causes significant damage to communism as a whole. the problem, though, is how to understand when and how an approach is doing such a thing. Clearly a communist movement has to, metaphorically speaking, "wave the red flag" unless it is going to be dishonest, blanquist, and thus pretend to be something other than communism (and then surprise the working-class by revealing itself suddenly as "communist" when this working-class thought it was something else all along). The question then becomes: how do we wave the red flag in a way to see who falls under it––to accumulate people with a revolutionary consciousness––without doing it in a self-righteous manner and/or demand adventurism, holier-than-thou militancy when the time isn't right, and all sorts of uncareful and messy approaches to building a movement. At the same time, people who think that "ultra-leftism" is anything that demands revolutionary action and organizing according to specific communist politics see any waving of the red flag as "self-righteous", even when it isn't, because it makes them feel bad. Nor should critiques of social democracy and opportunism, as the history of communist theory has taught us, or principled line struggles be treated as "waving the red flag to bring down the red flag" because if this was the case, then we should just tail every spontaneous movement and refuse to offer any theoretical line.


    8. Trying to produce and develop a space that is revolutionary, that does not shy away from communist theory openly or the necessity of ending capitalism in a revolutionary manner, however, is an arduous process that still needs to be solved. While I support and defend the PCR-RCP approach, like them I agree that while the PCR-RCP is a revolutionary party that seeks to become a vanguard and is organized according to Lenin's principle of "the advanced guard", the process is currently such that it is not *the* vanguard, nor can it declare itself as such until it proves itself at a moment of strategic defensive. So the question of how to get from the stage of accumulating revolutionary forces to the stage of strategic defensive, where a party can emerge as a vanguard party, is still something many of us are trying to answer in the context of Canada. Any party can only be a process in this context (and will always be a process even when its a vanguard party since no party is some perfect and angelic organization) while it attempts to extend its sphere of hegemony. It can only extend this sphere of hegemony, though, by being, as you say, a "counter platform"––otherwise its ideology and orientation will end up being liquidated in the concerns of non-revolutionary structures. (And this was why I wrote, a while back, on how we should understand Gramsci's theory of "hegemony" and "war of position".)

      Thanks for the comments; hope I wasn't doing damage to them by riffing off them here.


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