Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


Engel to Bernstein 1884

.. The March article was in spite of everything very good and the essential points are properly emphasised. The same applies to the article in the next issue [1] on the sermon to the peasants delivered by the member of the People’s Party; the only sore point there is that the ‘concept’ of democracy is invoked. That concept changes every time the Demos [2] changes and so does not get us one step further. In my opinion what should have been said is the following: The proletariat too needs democratic forms for the seizure of political power but they are for it, like all political forms, mere means. But if today democracy is wanted as an end it is necessary to rely on the peasantry and petty bourgeoisie, that is, on classes that are in process of dissolution and reactionary in relation to the proletariat when they try to maintain themselves artificially. Furthermore it must not be forgotten that it is precisely the democratic republic which is the logical form of bourgeois rule; a form however that has become too dangerous only because of the level of development the proletariat has already reached; but France and America show that it is still possible as purely bourgeois rule. The ‘principle’ of liberalism considered as something ‘definite, historically evolved’, is thus really only an inconsistency. The liberal constitutional monarchy is an adequate form of bourgeois rule: 1) at the beginning, when the bourgeoisie has not yet quite finished with the absolute monarchy, and 2) at the end, when the proletariat has already made the democratic republic too dangerous. And yet the democratic republic always remains the last form of bourgeois rule, that in which it goes to pieces. With this I conclude this rigmarole.
Nim [3] sends her regards. I did not see Tussy yesterday.


Engels 1891

 And people think they have taken quite an extraordinary bold step forward when they have rid themselves of belief in hereditary monarchy and swear by the democratic republic. In reality, however, the state is nothing but a machine for the oppression of one class by another, and indeed in the democratic republic no less than in the monarchy; and at best an evil inherited by the proletariat after its victorious struggle for class supremacy, whose worst sides the proletariat, just like the Commune, cannot avoid having to lop off at the earliest possible moment, until such time as a new generation, reared in new and free social conditions, will be able to throw the entire lumber of the state on the scrap-heap.


Marx Critique of the Gotha Programme

Even vulgar democracy, which sees the millennium in the democratic republic, and has no suspicion that it is precisely in this last form of state of bourgeois society that the class struggle has to be fought out to a conclusion — even it towers mountains above this kind of democratism, which keeps within the limits of what is permitted by the police and not permitted by logic.

 The highest form of the state, the democratic republic, which in our modern social conditions becomes more and more an unavoidable necessity and is the form of state in which alone the last decisive battle between proletariat and bourgeoisie can be fought out – the democratic republic no longer officially recognizes differences of property. Wealth here employs its power indirectly, but all the more surely. It does this in two ways: by plain corruption of officials, of which America is the classic example, and by an alliance between the government and the stock exchange, which is effected all the more easily the higher the state debt mounts and the more the joint-stock companies concentrate in their hands not only transport but also production itself, and themselves have their own center in the stock exchange.


The point being that Marx and Engels did NOT see the democratic republic as the mechanism for the dictatorship of the proletariat, but that the democratic republic was the "perfected" form for bourgeois rule.

I'm sure I can find similar sentiments in the writings of Lenin and Trotsky-- but the only point of doing that would be to underline how you distort the actual history as you do with Marx and Engels.

You're keep repeating "one man, one vote" and claim that's democracy.  Certainly it's just a slip that the phrase makes over half the population invisible.  

I'm sure Dimon and the rest of his ilk are grateful they're included in your formula.

I'm not about to waste time and go back and argue about whether or not Russian Revolution was possible as other than what it was, a proletarian revolution that could not accept, tolerate, or survive a constituent assembly.  The material conditions couldn't support socialism?  No shit, but those same material conditions could NOT support a  democratic republic.  It was either all power to the soviets or it was nothing. 

Argentina: Video Report about Teachers Struggle in Buenos Aires


Argentina: Video Report about the Struggle of the Teachers at the Instituto del Profesorado 103 in Buenos Aires

A Video (with English Sub-Titles) published by Convergencia Socialista (RCIT Section in Argentinia), 23.6.2022 and

In case you haven’t seen this

Michael Meeropol

anything in this set of suggestions that fits with the visceral reactions we are all having??

---------- Forwarded message ---------


As a way of thinking about how to become Concrete and Specific post Roe, I have put together an idea that I would like to discuss on Wednesday.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


I go with Rosa Luxemburg on the tragedy of the Russian Revolution. Of course, the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly was the right thing to do, but then the suspension of all elections and press and political freedoms was the wrong thing to do. Luxemburg made the same assessment of the Russian Revolution as Marx had made of Babeuf in the French Revolution: the economic conditions did not exist for the construction of socialism. The Bolsheviks then made a virtue out of necessity and invented disastrous theories of the state, party, and dictatorship. What's bullshit is Marxists like you sneering at one person, one vote. What do you think democracy is? And to say that the Russian Revolution wasn't for democracy and a Constituent Assembly ignores Lenin's and Trotsky's entire political careers up until January 1918.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


No oversight. Who since Hal Draper's "Marx and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat" in 1962 doesn't know that the democratic republic was the specific form of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Marx and Engles? Does adding the words dictatorship of the proletariat add some magical change to the meaning of democratic republic? Why should I have to add an explanation to a term that was commonly used by Lenin and Luxemburg to designate their primary political goal?

Who?  Probably the 300 million in the US who have no idea who Hal Draper was and who, when you say "democratic constitution" based on "one man, one vote" are going to take you at your word.

Sorry to be crude, but what your spinning is bullshit.   Your earlier remarks are all devoid of class content, and the "one man one vote" takes the cake. 

The "ideological struggle" for a democratic republic or a constituent assembly was not the inspiration for the Russian Revolution-- the soviets when turning to the Bolsheviks and away from the Mensheviks were not doing so to ensure the calling of a constituent assembly. The petitions submitted to both the Moscow and Petrograd soviets were petitions for the soviets to take power and replace the Provisional Government, end the war, and take action against the counterrevolution.

You have doubts about whether dispersing the CA was the right thing? There's no doubt it was the right thing, the mandatory thing.  The Mensheviks who  adhered to the programmatic demand for a democratic republic, who were loyal to a CA, did so in OPPOSITION to the proletarian dictatorship  and wanted the CA to replace the soviets.  

Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Marv Gandall

Replying to Mark’s latest:
We may disagree about what provoked the conflict, but that is less important than what is proposed to resolve it. 
You say we should call for an end to the war "as soon as possible with Ukraine's territorial integrity intact”. Last week you suggested that "the principled position on the invasion” would be to call for "Russia out of Ukraine and NATO out of Europe”.
I'm also for the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine. I don’t know anyone who is against it, including Putin. But how to get from here to there? The three major issues it seems to me are these: 
1) Does ending the war “as soon as possible" mean calling for an immediate ceasefire and negotiations, or does it mean, as some on the list argue, continuing the war and further equipping the Ukrainians until the Russians are weakened to the point they are forced to sue for peace and unilaterally withdraw from Ukranian territory? 
2) Do the predminantly Russian-speaking regions in the east and south of the country have the right, via an internationally-supervised referendum, to determine whether they want a) to remain Ukrainian citizens (presumably with some degree of autonomy in line the Minsk accords) or b) to secede from the country in favour of their own self-governing republics? It matters lees to me what they choose but that they be given the choice, a right we uphold with respect to Catalonia and Quebec.
3) Your call for NATO out of Europe”is very ambitious. It would be acceptable at this stage if NATO were only (!) to agree to stay out of Ukraine. Both Putin and Zelensky have stated a neutral Ukraine with adequate security guaratees could be the basis for a settlement. However, the statements by Blinken, Austin, Biden, and Sullivan indicate the US has an imperial interest in prolonging the fighting and weakening Russia
I too appreciate our discussion which challenges us to test our assumptions.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


What do you propose that will reduce the deaths more quickly? How does linking an explanation of why the Supreme Court exists at all detract from the demand for abortion rights? I don't see that a description of the nature of our political system and the goal of a democratic society conflict in any way. I go back to SDS President Paul Potter's speech at the first Washington anti-Vietnam War demonstration: What kind of system is that that produces wars abroad and poverty and injustice at home? We have to name that system. We have to name it, describe it, analyze it, and change it.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA

julia berkowitz

so, just out of curiosity, how many women do you think will die while we"re waiting for "democratic constitution?" 

On Sat, Jun 25, 2022 at 8:04 PM Andrew Stewart <hasc.warrior.stew@...> wrote:
Chile has a significantly different socio-political reality from ours. Their Constitutional Convention was essentially part of a much longer process seeking to undo the tremendous harms of the Pinochet era, which is rightfully and correctly construed as an instance of Yankee imperialism negating their national sovereignty and imposing upon them a Monroe Doctrine regime of terror. By contrast the forces that are responsible for the 50+ years of efforts to reverse the gains of the Warren-Burger Courts are deeply rooted and indigenous social phenomena within our settler-colonial society. The largest (nominal) socialist organization in the USA is DSA and they have only really grown to this size over the past five years (and furthermore are utterly marginal within the larger US polity in contrast with what the Right has built). Chile by contrast has a long-standing multi-party inter generational Left that has been building this momentum for 50 years. If any parallels are to be drawn, it would be a contrast between how the Chilean Left REBUILT itself after Allende died while the US Left wilted away while the Right rebuilt itself after the implosion of Nixon and Watergate. Only part of this would be truly attributable to the fact that the US has a Federalist system that is at once hyper-centralized AND simultaneously de-centralized whilst Chile has a Westminster-style parliamentary system.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


No oversight. Who since Hal Draper's "Marx and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat" in 1962 doesn't know that the democratic republic was the specific form of the dictatorship of the proletariat in Marx and Engles? Does adding the words dictatorship of the proletariat add some magical change to the meaning of democratic republic? Why should I have to add an explanation to a term that was commonly used by Lenin and Luxemburg to designate their primary political goal?

Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Mark Baugher

On Jun 26, 2022, at 12:27 PM, Marv Gandall <marvgand2@...> wrote:

With respect to Ukraine, and recognizing that you and others on the list generally accept the dominant narrative that the war is a consequence of Putin’s imperial ambitions,
Putin's strategy, real or imagined, is beside the point. Russia invaded Ukraine, a former vassal state. Something he has done before in Moldova and Georgia. Breaking off a piece of Ukraine's territory is what he was expected to do by some commentators (and Trump). Instead, Putin followed the Chechnya model and went for the capital. I find it hard to believe that the column headed for Kyiv was a feint. Either way, the warfare is asymmetric, directed at non-combatants. We should call for it to end as soon as possible with Ukraine's territorial integrity intact.

my starting point would be Mearsheimer's latest contribution - a factual debunking of that narrative which refocuses responsibility for this catastrophic and dangerous conflict where it properly belongs. That Mearsheimer belongs to the so-called “realist” school does not in itself invalidate his analysis.
I read his book, The Israel Lobby, and thought that he had the tail wagging the dog.
Well, we've covered this ground before. B. Sheppard provided a much shorter missive that touched on what I thought was persuasive in Mearscheimer's article but without putting Putin on the couch:

And I tried to give an alternative view in a post:

At this point, one is not likely to convince another, but we can learn from the exchange. It's an alternative information source to Big Media war propaganda.


Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


On Sun, Jun 26, 2022 at 05:09 PM, <gilschaeffer82@...> wrote:
democratic republic as the political form of the dictatorship of the proletariat

The issue of the democratic republic as the state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat hasn't been superseded

These last two posts are the only post in which you qualify democratic republic  as the state/political form of the dictatorship of the proletariat.  That's quite a shift.  All your prior posts -- the ones to which I responded-- lack any mention of class basis, and dictatorship of the proletariat.  Adding the qualifiers now is a little bit late but certainly supports my criticisms of your earlier posts.  Better late than never, I guess.  Must have been just an oversight.

Re: The Guardian on a New US Civil War


And? Our response? Our ideology? Our program? What did other people do when faced with an authoritarian, undemocratic political regime?

Re: The Guardian on a New US Civil War

Andrew Stewart

I have to admit that these sort of imaginings are so utterly inept and devoid of any understanding of how the American federalist system works that it borders absurdity.

At the basic core of the discussion is the difference between the federal government prior to the American Civil War and afterwards. There was a certain amount of room for debating the exact nature of the federal government and how the states should relate to it. Should the state governments be subordinate to the federal government (about the issue of slavery) or not? 

Gore Vidal quipped that Lincoln really was a revolutionary thinker and leader because he dreamed up this thing called “the republic” (which at that point only actually existed in his head!) and ran a massive war in the name of the defense of this construct that nobody else could really describe or name!

By contrast we live today under a government descended from Lincoln’s construction that is at once both highly centralized AND decentralized! Furthermore, the dynamics are such that the Right dominates the government whilst the liberals are far too cowardly and frankly inept to even imagine secession from the Union. The Democrats are not experiencing a crisis of legitimacy in the broad public, everyone from women’s groups to trade unionists are absolutely welded at the hip to Pelosi and Schumer despite their inept failure in creating one of the greatest boondoggles of recorded history!

A Russian musician mounts a modest antiwar protest and pays the price

Charles Keener

I pasted in the text since the Washington Post may have a paywall.


In Putin's Russia, antiwar protesters face prison and abuse - The Washington Post

Alexandra Skochilenko faces 10 years in prison, bullying and abuse as Moscow makes examples of small-time activists

RIGA, Latvia — Five weeks after Russia invaded Ukraine, a whip-thin 31-year-old musician walked into a supermarket on Maly Street in the Russian city of St. Petersburg, carrying her guitar and tiny stickers about the war. In a small protest action, she stuck them on top of price tags.

“The Russian army bombed an art school in Mariupol where about 400 people were hiding from shelling,” read one. And another: “Weekly inflation reached a new high not seen since 1998 because of our military actions in Ukraine. Stop the war.”
But a shopper snitched to police, and the musician, Alexandra Skochilenko, now jailed pending trial, confronts a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and, she says, harrowing abuse.
Russians routinely face fines, jail and stigma for protesting the war. But some small-time activists are getting singled out for worse — prosecution on charges of terrorism or hate crimes that carry prison sentences of a decade or more — to deter others from engaging in even the mildest dissent.
Skochilenko’s price-tag caper drew the aggravated charge of spreading disinformation about the military “motivated by hate.” Another woman, an art teacher from the north of the country, is facing terrorism charges for posting a picture on social media of President Vladimir Putin in flames with the caption “burn in hell.” A Russian Orthodox priest was arrested in St. Petersburg for stating on video that Russian soldiers killed in Ukraine would go to hell. And a Moscow municipal deputy, jailed pending trial, was charged for opposing the war during a council meeting. All face sentences of up to 10 years.
Russia’s antiwar movement has proved persistent, despite violent crackdowns on street demonstrations and a government campaign encouraging ordinary Russians to turn in dissenters. But the severity of punishments, which vary widely, is sowing confusion and fear. No one is sure why one person gets a small fine, another gets a large one and someone else can get a decade in jail. The cruel unpredictability acts as a chilling deterrent, as it did under Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
While in jail awaiting trial, Skochilenko was bullied and faced sexual aggression, according to her lawyer. At first, she was packed into a freezing cell with 17 other people. The toilet did not work, and the roof leaked. She was later moved to a cell for six inmates, where the self-appointed “boss” and other prisoners tormented her. Russia’s Federal Penitentiary System did not respond to a request for comment.
For weeks, she was denied the gluten-free diet she needs because she has celiac disease. She developed abdominal pains and lost weight.
But Skochilenko said that her abusive treatment has only magnified her protest. “My detention and the cruelty to me has made my act public and given it such magnitude,” she said in comments to The Washington Post, conveyed by her lawyer.

Always kind of different

Before Skochilenko’s arrest, she loved organizing free jam sessions, making video clips, drawing sweet cartoons with deep messages and playing electroacoustical instruments at back-to-nature hippie festivals. Even when she was a schoolgirl, when she lived in one room of a crowded communal apartment with her artistic mother, she was a charismatic child who did the unexpected, according to her friend Alex Belozyorov.
“She stood out from the crowd. She was kind of different and always attracted people’s attention. She wasn’t interested in the things ordinary schoolgirls of her age were interested in. She was creative and artistic,” Belozyorov recalled.
Several years ago, she taught drama and film studies to Ukrainian children at a summer camp in the Carpathian Mountains in western Ukraine. When Russia attacked Ukraine this winter, she imagined bombs raining on those children, according to her partner, Sonya Subbotina, 29. Friends in Ukraine called Skochilenko from bomb shelters, crying.
“Before the war — before she got news from her friends in Ukraine — I wouldn’t call her an activist,” said Subbotina, a pharmacist. “It was not hatred that was her motive but her humanity and the fact that she really cares about people in Ukraine. She wanted the people who think Ukrainians should be killed to realize they are being lied to.”
After Skochilenko was reported to police for replacing the supermarket price tags, they used CCTV to track her to a friend’s apartment. When the police showed up at his door days later, he called her in a panic. She rushed to his aid, unaware police were setting a trap. Five police officers were waiting to arrest her.
During an interrogation that lasted until 3 a.m., investigators attacked her sexual orientation, according to Skochilenko’s lawyer and friends. Police told her to “find a normal man and have babies.” Later, during a search, a prison guard put her hands in Skochilenko’s underpants and touched her indecently, Subbotina said.
In court, Skochilenko smiled and made a heart sign with her hands. But prison was destroying her, said friends and her lawyer. She lost nine pounds in a few weeks.
The cell “boss” and other inmates forced her to stand all day. The “boss” denied her access to the toilet for hours on end and made sure she missed meals. She ordered Skochilenko to sweep the cell, then said it was not done right and made her do it again.
“Then the other inmates joined in this bullying, saying that Sasha [Skochilenko] stank. They forced her to wash her clothes from early in the morning. That’s all she was doing, just washing her clothes from morning till night,” Subbotina recounted.
The cell “boss” cranked up the volume on the pro-war propaganda being broadcast on the prison television, playing it all day from early morning. “They turned on the state television news and then they all just stared at her, because according to the charges, Sasha is not a patriot and is almost a traitor to the country,” said her lawyer Yana Nepovinnova.
The lawyer said Skochilenko has been plagued by poor health. After a public outcry, she was eventually moved away from the bullies, and prison authorities finally made sure gluten-free food parcels were delivered to her.
But other health problems have mounted. Last month, a prison dentist removed her wisdom teeth but did not suture the wounds. Doctors also diagnosed an ovarian cyst, and last week she was moved temporarily to a psychiatric ward because she is bipolar.
“It is extremely hard for her. She’s a young, smart, educated woman. And because of the jail conditions, her health is deteriorating,” Nepovinnova said.

Reminiscent of totalitarianism

A local antiwar activist, Dmitry Skurikhin, 47, said that singling out people, seemingly at random, for harsh punishment was “a classic method” used by Putin’s regime to quash dissent. “You terrify a few people, and everyone else will be frightened,” he said.
Andrei Kolesnikov, analyst with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said the severe penalties are part of a broader effort by Putin’s regime to suppress civil activity and, in part, reflects the influence of the hard-line security chiefs who surround the president.
The authorities’ efforts to turn the public against dissenters and encourage people to snitch on neighbors and colleagues, he said, are “more reminiscent of elements of a totalitarian regime. This harshness of responses to any and all legal individual protest activity does not stem from the fact that Putin wanted it. It is an initiative of the state authorities, the security forces: a demonstration of their power and of who is the boss in the country.”
In her early weeks in prison, Skochilenko had been childlike and fragile, constantly crying, according to Nepovinnova. “She is very strong now and brave, and she wants to fight the charges. She thinks about the strategy of her defense, and she wants to help other inmates.”
Skochilenko told The Post, “I’m not an activist. I am an artist, a performer.” She considers her time in jail as an antiwar protest, calling it her “largest work.”
“It not only cannot be stopped by our authorities,” she said, “but it comes with their full support and funding.”

Ukraine's EU membership comes with severe strings attached | Editorial | The Morning Star

Kevin Lindemann and Cathy Campo


Ukraine's EU membership comes with severe strings attached

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks during a joint press conference with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, left, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, June 11, 2022.

LAST WEEK’S decision by EU heads of government to grant EU candidate membership to Ukraine and Moldova was reported with uncritical acclaim by Britain’s main political parties and the mainstream media.

It was taken as read that fast-tracking Ukraine in particular into the EU will be good for all concerned, especially for the people of that beleaguered country.

All that is necessary now is for Ukraine and its government to demonstrate that they comply adequately with the much-vaunted democratic, economic and social “values” and perspectives of the EU by the end of this year.

If the answer is Yes, negotiations for formal accession will begin. In the past these have normally taken years, if not a decade or two. In Ukraine’s case, barring a catastrophic outcome from the war with Russia, the timescale is likely to be a lot shorter.

Then, we are led to understand, the alleged benefits of EU membership will be showered upon the Ukrainians.

Yet the small print of the EU documentation that accompanied last Thursday’s announcement indicates that this will not be a path strewn with roses.

Ukraine’s economy was already a basket case even before Russia’s brutal military assault.

Indeed, it has been so ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the capitalist counter-revolutions that gripped its former constituent republics.

As the EU Commission’s Opinion to the European Parliament and European Council confirmed on June 17, Ukraine’s GDP per head was less than one-third of the EU average last year.

Millions of Ukrainians work abroad, their remittances keeping domestic demand afloat. Investment is low and corrupt native oligarchs wield substantial economic, political and media influence.

The gender pay gap is such that female workers receive little more than three-quarters of the average male wage.

But the EU Commission is impressed by the Kiev government’s efforts to contain inflation and maintain control over public-sector deficits and debt in line with EU monetarist limits.

What is needed now is “large-scale privatisation” of state-owned enterprises and reforms to “enhance labour market flexibility,” say neoliberal capitalism’s unelected champions in Brussels. Plus unfettered access for outside (ie western European) capital to the Ukrainian economy.

These, the commission reckons, will help Ukraine fulfil two vital conditions for EU membership now applicable to all would-be entrants: first, to have a “functioning market economy” and second, to “adhere to the aims of political, economic and monetary union.”

The same stipulations were contained in the commission’s recommendations in the case of Moldova.

Of course, the overriding motives for Ukraine’s swift accession to the EU are now geopolitical more than economic. President Vladimir Putin’s invasion has had that unintended effect.

When the country’s Rada, or parliament, amended the constitution in February 2019, after the Maidan coup and the suppression of the Communist Party and its MPs, it was to incorporate membership of both the EU and Nato as strategic national aims.

But it is also clear what else may await the workers and peoples of Ukraine and Moldova: more privatisation, unemployment, emigration, deregulation, austerity and foreign control of what is left of their economy.

And to think there are still socialists and trade unionists in Britain and elsewhere who imagine that the EU is some bountiful project to promote the common interests of the workers and peoples of Europe.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


I should have added that you can't escape these ideological issues by appealing to the Soviets as the new historical form of the dictatorship of the proletariat. They never worked as democratic political institutions. The issue of the democratic republic as the state form of the dictatorship of the proletariat hasn't been superseded.

Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression

Marv Gandall

Ken mistakenly believes Trotsky’s second essay entitled "Independence of the Ukraine and Sectarian Muddleheads” is in contradiction to the first one he wrote several months earlier in 1939. entitled "The Problem of the Ukraine”. or that it, at least, undercuts my assertion that Trotsky's support for Ukrainian independence was conditional on the result being a Soviet Ukraine led by the socialist proletariat rather than a capitalist Ukraine led by the bourgeoisie. 
Ken will recall that the LSA, to which we both belonged, adopted and slightly modified the slogan in calling For An Independent Socialist Ukraine. We did so, following Trotsky, precisely to demarcate our position from that of the right-wing nationalists in the Ukrainian Canadian diaspora who were calling for an independent Ukraine purged of socialist influence.  
Trotsky’s second essay, on which Ken’s case rests, was written in response to Hugo Oehler, a dissident Trotskyist who objected to the slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine. Oehler did so not because of the qualification that an independent Ukraine had to be “Soviet” but because he considered that the overthrow of the Stalinist leadership in the USSR would make the very question of Ukrainian independence redundant. Trotsky's essay indicted Oehler as a “sectarian” because he was "opposed to the slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine.”
In addition to Trotsky's comments in his first essay, I also cited these comments drawn from his second essay equally underscoring Trotsky’s opposition to a capitalist Ukraine:
"The petty-bourgeois Ukrainian nationalists consider correct the slogan of an independent Ukraine. But they object to the correlation of this slogan with the proletarian revolution. They want an independent democratic Ukraine and not a Soviet Ukraine.”
"There is not the slightest basis for hoping that the comparatively impoverished and backward Ukraine will be able to establish and maintain a regime of democracy. Indeed the very independence of the Ukraine would not be long-lived in an imperialist environment.”
"The slogan of a democratic Ukraine is historically belated. The only thing it is good for is perhaps to console bourgeois intellectuals."
Ken has overlooked these comments, and I would urge he and other doubters to reread both essays. There is nothing in either which suggests that Trotsky was anything other than implacably hostile to the idea of an independent Ukraine led by the bourgeoisie, as it is constituted today. If there are formulations which contradict the above in either essay, it would be helpful if Ken could be more specific in identifying these.

Re: Counterpunch: Slavoj Zizek Does His Christopher Hitchens Impression


Here are certain extracts from the article Ken cites that are of critical importance:

The slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine is of paramount importance for mobilizing the masses and for educating them in the transitional period.

And then there's this:

the advanced workers of Great Russia must even now understand the causes for Ukrainian separatism, as well as the latent power and historical lawfulness behind it, and they must without any reservation declare to the Ukrainian people that they are ready to support with all their might the slogan of an independent Soviet Ukraine in a joint struggle against the autocratic bureaucracy and against imperialism.
The petty-bourgeois Ukrainian nationalists consider correct the slogan of an independent Ukraine. But they object to the correlation of this slogan with the proletarian revolution. They want an independent democratic Ukraine and not a Soviet Ukraine. It is unnecessary to enter here into a detailed analysis of this question because it touches not Ukraine alone but rather the general evaluation of our epoch, which we have analyzed many times. We shall outline only the most important aspects.
Democracy is degenerating and perishing even in its metropolitan centers. Only the wealthiest colonial empires or especially privileged bourgeois countries are still able to maintain nowadays a regime of democracy, and even there it is obviously on the downgrade. There is not the slightest basis for hoping that the comparatively impoverished and backward Ukraine will be able to establish and maintain a regime of democracy. Indeed the very independence of the Ukraine would not be long-lived in an imperialist environment. The example of Czechoslovakia is eloquent enough. As long as the laws of imperialism prevail, the fate of small and intermediate nations will remain unstable and unreliable. Imperialism can be overthrown only by the proletarian revolution.
The main section of the Ukrainian nation is represented by present-day Soviet Ukraine. A powerful and purely Ukrainian proletariat has been created there by the development of industry. It is they who are destined to be the leaders of the Ukrainian people in all their future struggles. The Ukrainian proletariat wishes to free itself from the clutches of the bureaucracy. The slogan of a democratic Ukraine is historically belated. The only thing it is good for is perhaps to console bourgeois intellectuals. It will not unite the masses. And without the masses, the emancipation and unification of the Ukraine is impossible.

Trotsky's argument for independence does not abjure class struggle, when dealing with the Stalinist Soviet Union. The independence advocated is always linked to a soviet Ukraine, never is the class agent omitted.

The primacy and independence of the proletariat is the thread that links all of Trotsky's work and life, from 1905-1940.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


Your replies are either truisms or historically inaccurate. 1) Of course, any "democracy" without force is no democracy at all. 2) Democracy isn't "abstracted" from class; democracy is class, i.e., the Chartists, Marx's and Engels' demand for democracy in The Principles of Communism, the Manifesto, and critiques of the Gotha and Erfurt programs. 3) As I said, the demand for a democratic republic as the political form of the dictatorship of the proletariat was not limited to Russia or backward landlord autocracies. It was the universal demand of the Second International parties, including the American Socialist Party. in any country that did not have universal and equal suffrage, which was all of them except Norway before WWI. 4) Nothing about the demand for a democratic political system precludes explaining how the exploitation of labor is enforced by an undemocratic political system run for the benefit of the bourgeoisie. You seem to forget Lenin's criticism of Economism. The class struggle can't be limited to the economic conditions of the working class but must include the political demand that the state be controlled by the vast majority in the interests of the vast majority.

Re: Abortion rights: Today we mourn, tomorrow we organize! – Communist Party USA


On Sun, Jun 26, 2022 at 03:17 PM, <gilschaeffer82@...> wrote:
What's the cart and what's the horse? For more than thirty years, the ideological and political goal of the Russian Social-Democrats was to establish a democratic republic, the same goal as that of all the parties of the Second International. Then in 1918 the Bolsheviks shut down the Constituent Assembly. Whether that action was right or wrong given their conditions, it was the agitation for a Constituent Assembly over the previous thirty years that formed the ideological core of the revolution. Your formulation implies that since we now know that terror will be necessary, we can dispense with the demand for democracy. As Rosa Luxemburg said in her criticism of Lenin and Trotsky in "The Russian Revolution," we shouldn't make a virtue out of necessity. Our conditions are different than the Russian conditions of famine and war. I think your appeal to terror is a dead end and we should still demand democracy.
1. I'm not "appealing" to terror.  I'm pointing out unless your constituent assembly has the force behind it to break up the dominant economic relations, the property forms, the ancien regime will retake state power by use of terror. So, advocating for democracy, or a constitutional convention absent those organizations of class militancy is the dead end.  

2. The question has a couple subsets: can an appeal or "demand" or "program" for democracy that is abstracted from a class organization for power become a successful intermediary moment for the triumph of that class power?  does an appeal to democracy that does not identify the conditions of labor that require new organs of a new class power to "actualize" that democracy, while at the same time identifying the class relation supporting, upholding, requiring the existing, historical, and persistent institutions that suppress democracy, actually have any chance of even pushing through a reform?  In short can you advocate a constitutional convention without attacking the wage relation,  private  ownership of the MOP, and the current economy's need to drive down the cost of labor?  I think any effort that ignores those issues is going to wind up in the dead end.

3. Let's be a little bit clear about the Russian Revolution: the demand for a constituent assembly was attached to the reality that Russian empire was not a bourgeois constitutional order.  Thus the nature of the "telescoped" revolution brought that issue forward, and ever so briefly.  Trotsky always, and Lenin after the February revolution advocate, agitate, for "All Power to the Soviets."  That answers the question about horse and cart.  To represent the organizing principle of the Russian Revolution as the demand for the constituent assembly ignores what actually occurred.  There was no CA.  The organization of soviets posed the issue of class-based power; a constituent assembly tries to obscure that with the trappings of a formal democracy which leaves everything as it is.  The CA was an impossibility. Impossible for the Provisional Govt to organize because of the class struggle.  Impossible for the revolution to allow as the organ of state power, the soviets, had already made the CA obsolete before birth.

4. Now if we want to agitate around the USSC decision, then we have to link it to the conditions of labor, the need of the bourgeoisie to facilitate, bring into being, and ultimately rely on, the convergence of reactionary forces-- religious, police, military, anti-immigrant, voter suppressing, anti-labor legislating to maintain the domination of its order.  If you don't link the abortion issue to 1) women entering the labor force after WW2  2) the growth off single parent wome headed households  3) the higher poverty rates of those households 4) the benefit capitalism can obtain by driving women into lower paid jobs and even out of the labor force and into either a reserve army or back into domestic servitude where their labor is barely compensated.   

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