Monday, February 6, 2012

Thurs, 2/9, Discussion, "Why we need a revolutionary party"

Education meeting on:
Why We Need a Revolutionary Party

Join the Jamaica Plain ISO for a discussion on Lenin by Jim Higgins, Party and Class by Chris Harman, and Towards a Revolutionary Socialist Party by Duncan Hallas

Thursday, February 9
Haymarket People's Fund
42 Seaverns Avenue, Jamaica Plain
7:00 pm

With revolutions across the Arab world, general strikes spreading throughout Europe, and the recent upheaval of the Occupy Movement in the U.S., people around the world are moving into protest against a system so clearly designed by the 1% at the expense of the 99%. As capitalism continues to discredit itself the urgency of rebuilding a genuine revolutionary socialist alternative grows in importance. But if we want revolutionary change, what type of organization is needed in the present to build that type of movement? Party and Class makes the case for the rebuilding of a revolutionary party today based on the politics of Leninism. Join the Jamaica Plain ISO for a discussion on this insightful text. Haymarket Books describes the book as such:

Socialists aim to change the world and have always sought to organize themselves as effectively as possible in order to achieve this goal. But what sort of organization do we need? These essays show why we need something more than single-issue organizations, movement coalitions, or reformist organizations if we are to achieve real change. They also dispel the myths about “democratic centralism” and demonstrate that the kind of socialist party that Lenin built had nothing in common with the Stalinist despotism that replaced it.

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Here are some helpful study/discussion questions as well.

Harman, "Party and Class"
1)   What are the distinctive characteristics of the three organizational models described by Harman: Social Democratic, Stalinist, Leninist?
2)   What does it mean to talk about the "advanced" section (or vanguard) of the working class? Isn’t this idea inherently elitist? (see also Hallas 45)
3)   In a revolutionary situation, what roles do the party and the workers' councils play?

Hallas, "Towards a Revolutionary Socialist Party"
1)   How, according to Hallas, is anti-Leninism the same as the conservative idea of "original sin"?
2)   What’s wrong with the argument that Leninism led to Stalinism?
3)   In 1971 Hallas could say that the "elements of a working class leadership already exist" (46). Can the same be said in 2012? And if not, how can we tackle the task of rebuilding these crucial elements
4)   What are the preconditions for a vibrant and democratic revolutionary party?