Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

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Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Admin on Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:38 pm

http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=11935

http://kasamaproject.org/threads/entry/debating-sawants-victory

Now as we all know, Kshama Sawant recently won a position on the city council of Seattle Washington. I think the articles I linked ask some questions which are worth engaging on a strategically level. Mainly:

1)How do Communist build long term infrastructure from struggles that can be used towards building a stronger movement. As the first article notes, we are seeing a evaporation of class politics and what few movements to manage to erupt aren't able to make a long term impact. So how exactly should the Communist left approach these questions and turn momentary ruptures into movements with long lasting impacts.

2) An important thing that black orchid collective has brought up is the fact that Sawant is essentially gilding on support from groups who could no longer fulfill their goals through supporting the mainstream democratic establishment. This raises an important question. Iit possible to "turn these groups to the left" by providing them an alternative, can we manage to bring these unions under our belt by delivering on electoral promises and use these unions as bases of support? Or will we in turn be changed by the unions?

3) Almost every major struggle, excluding those in India and Bangladesh, have been defensive struggles of the class in retreat. However Sawant's victory has raised the very real question of a 15 dollar minume wage and has managed to increase the movement towards that goal. How can we bring the class back on the offense? And is supporting Sawant and candidates like her a tangible part of such a strategy.
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by tater on Sun Feb 23, 2014 7:55 pm

1) Well, that's the million dollar question, isn't it? You have to have a "communist left" in the first place. Not just a bunch of nerds arguing on the internet. *irony*

2) It's more likely "we" will be changed by the unions if we attempt to change them. We don't need to change them or make common cause with the democrats. We oppose them from the left.

It is likely that Sawant was a breath of fresh air to many groups, as the Dems have probably stagnated with no real opposition in Seattle. That doesn't count for much really, New Dealists like sawant too.

3) Bring the class back on the offense? Another million dollar question. Again, that hinges on there being a real, tangible communist left.

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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Admin on Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:02 pm

It's true that Communism as a real force in American politics is almost wholly absent and that is always important to remember. But I suppose I should have added that I am talking about more general class politics which Communism naturally emerges from. How should the working class organize themselves to advance their struggles and how should communists involve themselves within that process.
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Remus Bleys on Tue Feb 25, 2014 7:09 pm

Well the class itself has to organize in a more revolutionary way that will extend beyond a mere trade and beyond a mere locality: the class has to constitute itself as a class in unity (the party, the soviets etc). There can be a potential time and place for "communists" to run in bourgeois elections but 2014 America isn't really one of them. To the question of Communist organization, all we can do right now is constitute ourselves as a political party. We are not activists, and whilst we should work with these rank and files, no illusions should be made about the "a turn to the left" for these unions. The Communist party should not attract liberals by screaming "a living wage" but rather, the invariant "abolition of the wage system." I don't mean to imply that we should shun all struggle (on the contrary genuine proletarian activity is to be supported) but as marx said "the working class is revolutionary or the working class is nothing."
The class "victories" (its vulgar to even call them that) are not "victories." Fighting for reforms is in no way "revolutionary" and the mere fact that communists are reduced to that simply shows that we are currently in an area of counterrevolution - the lack class politics, defencism, etc. Kshama Sawant parading as a socialist is too be discouraged, mocked, and exposed for what it really is. How many people really would have voted for her if they genuinely thought that she would implement the Communist Program? How can anything be drawn from this social democratic organization getting the seat of some council in a city? Can this victory even be considered "leninist" in any way?
Only a minority of the class is genuinely revolutionary. There is nothing that the Party can "do" to change that. The relationship between the class, the party, and the vanguard is a direct relationship. Yes the party is the result of history and yes it is the only thing that allows for the reversal of praxis, and of course the party should never leave itself out of the equations, but the thing is that principles matter. If we go and do the activism thing, if we fight for things because we want a nicer capitalism (not because it helps the revolution) then what seperates us from social democrats with fluffy rhetoric? How could fluffy social democrats seriously affect class politics? The Communist party should not tail the workers (are the workers really and truly revolutionary?), the communist party should instead demonstrate the real struggle, and be considered about that struggle. Communists aren't Sorelians, they aren't Blanqists, the party knows that without a revolutionary class (this can even be a minority!) they are nothing and can do nothing. The party shouldn't waste its time with filthy activism. We must know and understand to retreat, to gather our strength, assess the situation and figure out the next proper course of action. Before all of that, communists must "rediscover" the party, they must "restore marxism." That is the first step that american communists should take.
Camatte once said something very relevant to the CWI "Jesus chased the moneylenders out of the Temple, we must chase away all those who sell their theoretical goods calling them Marxism. "
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Admin on Sat Mar 01, 2014 4:47 pm

Although In general I think it is a more nucanced view I think that to an extent you neglect the importance of the demand for a 15$ wage. The demand in of itself is nothing special but what is important is that there hasn't been a single offensive struggle for improving conditions in decades. More or less all other struggles have been waged defensively to maintain old gains, a rising tide of class struggle would create a perfect arena for the blossoming of a communist body politics. So even though I am not sure that Kshama Sawant represents the best way to go about it I do think there needs to be a serious discussion of communist tactics and strategy
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Remus Bleys on Sat Mar 01, 2014 5:09 pm

Serious Communist strategy has to work actively against sawant, for the same reasons we must work against unions. First of all, we must determine if the class is genuinely demanding this or if it's just a would be populist sawant trying to sound radical. If this really has had a demand from the class, communists must struggle to win the class over to the party and not the bourgeois state (sawant is now a representation of the state, trying to throw reforms at the class in an effort of making it collaborationist once more.)
at the same time, communists know the fact that in this epoch of capitalism, reforms will typically be extremely minor and will be soon taken away (not to mention we have always only supported a reform only if it helps the revolution) and thus the party, the Communists, should never make this higher wage a goal, but rather something that is incorporated to all things that the proletariat despises, neatly wrapped up in and contained within our critique of capitalism.
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Yukiwhora on Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:23 pm

Fuck the demand for a 15$ wage. That's being reasonable and understanding of capitalist concerns, and no true revolutionary achievement will ever come out of accepting their view points. Demand 100$ an hour or get out - at least then it will be an outrageous amount that can never be provided and serve to agitate the bourgeois. Fuck political realism and rationality. Down with bourgeois morality and reason that infect all thinking in this way.
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Goblin on Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:47 pm

Wake me up when Seattle is socialist Razz
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by tater on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:43 pm

Goblin wrote:Wake me up when Seattle is socialist Razz

SOON COMRADE VERY SOON
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Admin on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:08 pm

Yukiwhora wrote:Fuck the demand for a 15$ wage. That's being reasonable and understanding of capitalist concerns, and no true revolutionary achievement will ever come out of accepting their view points. Demand 100$ an hour or get out - at least then it will be an outrageous amount that can never be provided and serve to agitate the bourgeois. Fuck political realism and rationality. Down with bourgeois morality and reason that infect all thinking in this way.  

While that might sound convienent I don't think that demand would be productive for anything other than wasting political energy and credibility
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Remus Bleys on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:07 pm



While that might sound convienent I don't think that demand would be productive for anything other than wasting political energy and credibility
Isnt that the woke point of the transistional demand? Demand the impossible?
I mean its not as if the 15 dollar wage is going to go anywhere.
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Re: Kshama Sawant and Communist Strategy

Post by Karinpon on Wed Mar 19, 2014 7:26 pm

Admin wrote:
While that might sound convienent I don't think that demand would be productive for anything other than wasting political energy and credibility

It is not convenient, and I think that is kind of the point. Do socialists want credibility in the bourgeois political game? There's nothing revolutionary about limiting your demands to what seems practicable within the bourgeois democratic framework. As socialists we should know that the working class is entitled to far more than the owning class will ever give. Petty minimum-wage rises aren't even appealing from a "bread and butter" perspective of class struggle.

P.S. I followed "Yukiwhora" here because I am pathetic and bored.
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