"There is a crack in everything, that's how the light gets in"
(Leonard Cohen)
"Ignore all proffered rules and create your own, suitable for what you want to say"
(Michael Moorcock)
"Look for your own. Do not do what someone else could do as well as you. Do not say, do not write what someone else could say, could write as well as you. Care for nothing in yourself but what you feel exists nowhere else. And, out of yourself create, impatiently or patiently, the most irreplaceable of beings."
(Andre Gide)
"I want my place, my own place, my true place in the world, my proper sphere, my thing which Nature intended me to perform when she fashioned me thus awry, and which I have vainly sought all my life-time."
(Nathaniel Hawthorne)
“A book must be the axe for the frozen sea within us.”
(Franz Kafka)
"All mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated"
(John Donne)
“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.”
(Robert J. Hanlon)
"Life is beautiful, but the world is hell"
(Harold Pinter)

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Avoid the Temptation of Power

Paris 1871: Marx advised caution
EXTRACTThough he might not like us saying this, comrade McBurney’s argument is distinctly reminiscent of the rightwing Labourites - winning elections is everything: bugger principle or programme. Say or do anything to get elected. Unless we form a government or control a council, take power in some way, then what can we do? We leave ourselves powerless. Shouting from the sidelines.
But comrade McBurney’s stance is in flat contradiction to the classical, orthodox, Marxist viewpoint. Adapting a phrase already in use, what Marx termed ‘permanent revolution’ is a drawn-out process, where the proletarian party will refuse to take power, while fighting to push the revolution forward: constituting itself as a party of extreme opposition. Marx consistently said working class parties should not be prematurely tempted by power in an individual state, even when circumstances clearly make that a viable possibility. Instead, build up your strength, develop your international contacts, deepen your roots in society, etc. That has always been the programme of Marxism.
Or, to put it another way, the classical Marxist approach has historically been more about holding back the spontaneous working class movement. There are reams of letters from Marx and Engels approving and promoting this position. The Second International was opposed to coalitions with bourgeois and petty bourgeois parties as a matter of principle.

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