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Moreno Karl Marx was the first to develop the theories on socialism and communism. He also

first thought of the political party that goes along with socialism and communism. Both socialism and communism are used interchangeably and the name of the party as socialist or communist changes depending on the times without theoretical change. After Marx, Vladimir Lenin further developed the theories of the party. Rosa Luxemburg had her own views of the party. Each perspective had an effect on the practice of the party and its success. Although there are differences between Marx, Lenin, and Luxemburg’s theories of the party, they all stated that the party is a necessary part of liberation of the working class from capitalist exploitation. In order to understand the theories of the party, we must first summarize Karl Marx’s theories on capitalism and socialism. His theories had brought new insight into a growing industrial world, one theory is who should control the means of production. In the current economic system called capitalism, employers own business and factories. They pay wages to people so they can work in these factories to make a product. The employer then sells that product at an inflated price at whatever the market is willing to pay. The more the employer sells the product, the more money the employer makes. This is called profit or surplus value. Another way to increase an employers profit is by lowering the wages of the workers. These employers own the capital necessary to make profit. Therefore, they are called capitalist. The capitalist pay each worker less than their value of work. If they pay hundred workers a dollar less than their value for a day, than the employer can make a hundred extra dollars in profit. The capitalist class wants to lower wages for profit while the working class wants to raise wages for higher living standards. These conflict of interests naturally brings strife between the two classes. Struggle comes about from the conditions of the workers. Workers seek out higher economic conditions

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through increase in wages and benefits. These demands for higher wages take away from the profits of the capitalist. Since capitalists own the means of production, and workers has to sell their labor, the capitalist takes a piece of profit from each worker. This gives the capitalist immense amounts of wealth. The wealth is reinvested in production. The new production creates more wealth. As D’Amato put it Though capitalists must produce something useful to someone in order to find a market for it, they are selling it merely for its value, I.e., for the profit it can bring them. Capitalists buy in order to sell. Marx described the basic circuit of capital M-C-M’ (money-commodity-money), the M’ representing the original investment plus the extra value realized after sale, or “surplus value.”1 The surplus value is used in a cycle of reinvestment. This investment makes the capitalist system so efficient at production. But this eventually leads to periodic economic crisis as Marx described it. In Marx theory it says that in capitalism, overproduction occurs. Production has made so many goods that there is not enough consumers with enough high wages to buy all of them. Items are made to abundance and it loses its value.2 Production is ended and workers are fired to immediately recover wealth since there is no one left that can buy the products. Since people are losing their jobs, they no longer have any money to buy any other products that are still being produced. This worsens the economic crisis. Another thing that makes things even worst, before the crisis, capitalist are lowering the wages of the workers to increase their profits. The workers who are still working have such low wages that they cannot help the economy to recover. Outsourcing to China loses jobs. The workers in China are paid so little, they cannot
1 Paul D’Amato, The Meaning of Marxism (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006), 54 2 Paul D’Amato, The Meaning of Marxism (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006), 61-64

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afford the products they make but the US can. China makes extremely cheap products forcing other corporations to compete. If they do not outsource to China, the corporation can no longer compete and goes out of business.3 In the economic crisis, so many jobs have been lost that not even US citizens can afford the cheap products from China. All these components makes economic crisis worst than they would have been without those components. These periodic crisis creates havoc on the working class. Today, most workers barely make enough to survive. If they were to lose their job, they would no longer be able to afford their homes, food, education, health care, ect. During the Great Depression, millions of people starved to death. The new economic crisis is appearing to be more and more like the Great Depression. Everyday, the news says how a business that never seemed like it would ever go away is now bankrupt and gone. Thousands of workers are losing their jobs nearly everyday. But even during these times, the rich still appear to be unharmed. There is great difference in the wealth of the rich and the poor. Marx proposed a way to end these periodic crisis and use the abundance the capitalism has created. What Marx proposes is that workers take control of the means of production. The workers can keep the wealth accumulated from their production. Also, the workers can figure out what is the best way to direct the economy by deciding what is best to produce. The decisions on how to direct the economy are decided through democracy in worker unions or counsels. This is what is called socialism. Socialism is a step before communism. Socialism is meant to maintain political structures to prevent the capitalist from returning to power. Communism comes after where politics as we know it disappears. Workers will take away the power of production from the capitalist and take control themselves. The capitalist are not going to give up their power willingly. Struggle will come from the two classes. A revolution would be needed to create this

3 Hedrick

Smith & Rick Young, Is Walmart Good for America? (Boston: PBS: Frontline, 2004)

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change in control of production.4 The party plays a role in the revolution of the working class. There are many theories of the role of the socialist or communist party in relation to the revolution. Marx, Luxemburg, and Lenin had their own understanding and theory of the party relative to their time and place. Marx first introduced the theory of the party. His mention of the party is simple and vague. This could be that the political parties today are different from the parties of Marx‘s time. Political parties were not huge organizations like today’s political parties. The way Marx envisioned a socialist party reflected this understanding, or lack of understanding. The party theory was develop to represent the working class or proletariat. It is a tool to organize the working class to emancipate itself. In a capitalist society, fragmentation is created to break the power of the working class. This fragmentation is why the party is essential. The party needs to be democratically run. The leadership can be immediately recalled and the principles changed if needed by the majority. Marx tried to keep the party together, that he did not restrict the involvement of opportunistic and reformist tendencies in the party. He would argue against them but in the name of unity, all levels of consciousness was allowed in the party. Many people working within the party seeked political influence through the party and compromised the principles of the party itself. The party compromised political issues for more influence and power. This type of compromise of principles for political influence is called opportunism. Reformist felt that it can create socialism through reform instead of revolution. They did not openly admit this, but if most of the members of the party is reformist, and the leaders are there to represent the party, then the party itself are reformist. In an effort to prevent sectarianism in the hope of unity and eventual consciousness, Marx allowed reformism and opportunism in the party. Sectarianism is the idea that a group will not organize, march, or work with other groups based on principles. Captured in capitalist ideology, the communist parties that Marx was
4 Paul D’Amato, The Meaning of Marxism (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006),69-86

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involved in fell to fractures.5 Marx theorize that emancipation of the working class will be done by the working class itself. This means that it will not be a tiny group of intellectuals, or a guerilla army, or middle class people that will liberate the working class; instead, it is an act by the working class that will free the working class from exploitation. This understanding of how revolution will come brings: What is the relationship between the party and the working class? The party is a working class party. It is organized by the working class with its own ideas and interests in mind. They also keep the interests of all exploited people. The peasants have their own part in the socialist movement. Today, the peasants or farmers are a tiny proportion of the number of people of the US or any other industrialized nation. The working class, on the other hand, represents the majority of people in a capitalist system. That is why Marx believed that it is the working class that will emancipate itself and take control. Lenin argued for a more centralized party in comparison to Marx. This party is formed by members that are all dedicated to revolution. They also have higher levels of class conscious. This kind of party can prevent the problems that weaken the party that Marx was a part of. What created the problems of reformism and different capitalist ideologies in the party is that not all workers become class conscious at an equal pace. During the growth of the party, some people may have more conservative ideologies. Today, for example, some people want immigrant rights but still are against homosexual rights to marriage. Some people want to raise the wages for workers but not to get involved politically. Some people want revolution while others do not. A tightly made party is made to prevent this unequal formation of ideas. The organization will be together in consciousness and ideas. This does not mean that discussion and debate is not necessary. In fact, it would be encouraged. Debate is essential in developing the ideas of the
5 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 11, 12, 14-16, 18

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party. But the party will still be united in their decided ideas. It is an effort to prevent those who are still plugged into capitalism from hindering the socialist revolution.6 For example, reformists would say that once the reforms they wanted were won, everyone should go back to work as usual. They allowed the exploitation to continue once their demands were met. An example of this was the 1968 strikes, riots, and protests in France. There was a mass uprising of millions of people. But once their demands were met, they did not know how to continue. Instead, they all went back to the lives they were living. With a socialist party that does not give in to the demands of the reformist, it is possible to encourage the movement to revolution. The party takes the lessons of the past. They learn from history and its struggles and learn how to apply it to build a revolution. One thing that Lenin argued against was “economism.” Those who support economism are socialists that want to organize for only the economic benefits of the workers. The workers would stay out of organizing political matters. They would be against workers taking part in struggle for political issues that involved different groups of oppressed people as one example. Instead, workers would organize to raise their economic standards. They would call strikes to raise wages and increase benefits. After their demands were met, those who supported economism would say that the workers should go back to work. Lenin argued that workers used their power in ability to prevent the continuation of production, thus eliminating the profit of the capitalist for political leverage. The strike should be used to raise political demands.7 Political involvement will raise the consciousness of the workers in understanding that those in power represent only themselves and the capitalists that owns means of production. By taking part in struggle against the state, the workers understand the true nature of the system as a whole. They
6 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 37-41 7 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 41-46

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learn that the state is not there to support the people of the nation. The state is there for the benefit of the ruling class only. Lenin discussed that from the party and the working class, the revolution needs to transform into a new way of running government. This new system will be run by working counsels. In the chaos after the revolution, it will take a well organized group that can reduce the hectic situation after revolution. The party has organized and built the worker counsels before the revolution. By this time, the workers counsels should have most of the control of the economic system. The party does not lead or control the workers counsels, but are an active player in them. The party with the worker counsels then take control of the political system and give all power to the counsels. The party builds within the class the new active government. Through revolution, all is needed is to transfer the political power to this new government. 8 There is a difference between the party theory of Rosa Luxemburg and Vladimir Lenin. Each is reflective of the conditions of where they organized. Luxemburg argued against Lenin’s centralized party because of the party in which she worked in. Her perspective of Lenin’s party is argued to the Germans and what was happening in Germany. For one, the party she was involved was well organized already. The party consisted of a much larger number of people than in Russia. The problem with Germany is the lack of involvement of the workers and the majority of people. It seemed that theoretically, the German socialist party was already well established. What it needed was the mass of people. Russia already had spontaneous outburst of workers demonstrations, strikes, and rebellion. So Lenin argued for a tightly made organization to lead the masses of people. The socialist party is formed with well organized, highly conscious people, that was able to lead the masses of spontaneous rebellion. Luxemburg did not have the spontaneity that Russia had. This spontaneity would allow the masses to be able to organize
8 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 78-83

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creatively. Thus, building the experience of the majority of people. In arguing against Lenin’s centralized theory, she thought that an even more centralized and closed door to the masses will hurt the masses from involvement. Her effort was in getting the masses in spontaneous, creative action. Luxemburg felt the a more centralized party would limit this opportunity for spontaneity.9 Luxemburg contributed to the party theory but based on the conditions that Germany faced. She did not argued against Lenin’s theory of the party based in Russia, rather she argued against Lenin’s theory in the context of Germany. Her argument was made for the people of Germany. Luxemburg did not participate in organizing like Lenin did. Lenin built up the party and took into context the consciousness of the party. Luxemburg instead put her time and effort in propaganda and theory. She did not take into account the difference in understanding of revolutionary politics that many of the people had when entering the party. This came up as a problem during the revolution in Germany. While Luxemburg thought she had the full back up of the entire party and class, instead, it fragmented in the essential moments of insurrection. The party broke between those willingly supporting the revolution, and those who were just reformist. At the time, it had seemed the Luxemburg finally had the spontaneity of the masses with the organization of the revolutionary party. She was instead left isolated from the masses and parts of the party. Luxemburg was captured, tortured, and executed. 10 Revolution cannot be maintained in just one country. Instead, there needs to be a world revolution. A socialist revolution in one country can happen, but it will easily fall. For it to transform to a communist movement, there needs to be revolution all over the world. There are many reasons why socialism in one country is impossible. For a country to be able to be industrial and provide for the masses, it needs large amounts of resources. Some of these
9 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 96-109 10 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 109-115

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resources is reliant on the world market. Many of the products created today are made in different parts of the world. US might get some materials in one country in Latin American, build part of the product in China, and finalize and sell it in the US. Any product is made all over the world. Socialist country cannot be involved in this kind of world market. Otherwise, it would succumb to the economic conditions of the rest of the world. If the socialist country wants to be able to obtain what it needs and provide for its people, it needs to be a part of the competitive nature of the world market. To be competitive, the socialist country has to exploit the resources available to it and exploit the workers. Therefore, the socialist country is not actually socialist but another capitalist nation. The reasons mentioned of why a world revolution is necessary is the reasons why there never has been a true socialist or communist country. Instead, such nations as Cuba, Russia, and China are not communist but what Tony Cliff called “state capitalist.”11 They are capitalism controlled by the state instead of capitalist bourgeois. These reasons are also why Marx, Lenin, and other Marxist argued for a world party. The world party was first attempted with the League of Communist. It was mostly formed by German activist from a secret organization. But it was too small to have much organizational power or importance.12 The First International, which Marx joined but did not organize or inspire, was formed as workers organizations all over the industrial worlds. This organization was the first attempt for an actual world party. It had groups from different countries leading actions and strikes. Its aim was the emancipation of the workers by the workers. But the specifics was not so clear. Some of theoretical views that Marx had would have scared many of the groups from the International. To prevent this, Marx allowed that the International to be loosely organized. This loosed organization led to some problems. It allowed any group that was
11 Tony Cliff, State Capitalism in Russia (Britian: Bookmark Publications 1996) 12 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 19-20

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part of it to develop its own tendency and theory. Also, it allowed many groups to join that eventually brought the organizations division and destruction. A group of anarchists disagreed with the some of the central aspect of the International. They led a campaign from within that fragmented the International.13 The Second International is very similarly organized like the First. It was a loose organization of groups from different nations. But Lenin had a larger influence in this. Lenin had organized a international centralized group within the Second International. They were the most radical part of the International. But the Second International also fragmented and broke.14 The Third International was differently organized than any of the previous world parties. It was formed as a single world party. It was organized similar to how Lenin organized the Bolsheviks in Russia. In the Third International, they created an Executive Committee that lead the party between annual sessions. Many organizations of the Second International wanted to enter without shedding the old ideology. Also, to prevent reformism and economism that plagues groups of social democracy, Lenin implemented 21 conditions that each group must adhere to so they can enter. Throughout the congresses of the Third International, Lenin brought up the differences between the Third International and social democracy. He made clear that the International will not fall to reformism and economism. After time, the different groups within the Third International listened to Lenin and Russia more than any other. They took the criticism of Russia without fully thinking critically themselves. They then attempted to apply Russia’s ideas. The groups could not develop theoretically independently because they just sponge up Russian directions. There are reasons why these groups submitted so much to Russia. Russia was

13 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 25-31 14 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 85

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the only group that has actually achieved a revolution.15 “The Russians alone retained the prestige of success, and on the basis of nothing but setbacks no other party developed confidence or authority to challenge them.”16 What is necessary is that each group be able to work independently. They need to figure out how to build their own success and confidence. Today, new parties are growing all over the world. One such party is the New AntiCapitalist Party (NPA) in France. They are revolutionary group that is bringing young voices into the party. They have been organizing thousands of people into mass protests, strikes, and more. Many feel that it is the reemergence of May 1968 or the French Revolution. In an article on 28 May 2009 by the New Statesmen, it displays such ideas.17 The NPA was created from a Trotskyite party, but they do not say whose party theory they developed from. It is even unclear whether they are socialist in the Marxist sense. But they are a party that has the power to threaten the capitalist state of France. United States has no party of that strength. One organization based on Leninism is the International Socialist Organization (ISO). It is growing because the conditions in the United States such as the economic crisis, but they currently do not have the threatening power like the NPA.

15 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 84-93 16 John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 92 17 Andrew Hussey, Is France on the verge of another May '68?, (New Statesmen, 2009)

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Work Cited 1. Paul D’Amato, The Meaning of Marxism (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2006), 54 2. Ibid., 61-64 3. Hedrick Smith & Rick Young, Is Walmart Good for America? (Boston: PBS: Frontline, 2004) 4. Paul D’Amato, The Meaning of, 69-86 5. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party (Canada: Pluto Press 2003), 11, 12, 14-16, 18 6. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 37-41 7. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 41-46 8. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 78-83 9. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 96-109 10. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 109-115

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11. Tony Cliff, State Capitalism in Russia (Britian: Bookmark Publications 1996)Text available at 12. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 19-20 13. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 25-31 14. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 85 15. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 84-93 16. John Molyneux, Marxism and the Party, 92 17. Andrew Hussey, Is France on the verge of another May '68?, (New Statesmen, 2009)

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