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Friday 4:15pm

Debating the neo-reformists: the modern state and the necessity for insurrection

Left debates
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Introduced by Sarah Garnham, socialist activist, author and regular contributor to Red Flag newspaper and the Marxist Left Review.

In a context of capitalist crisis and the emergence of new left currents it is no surprise that concepts like workers councils, dual power and insurrection are being discussed and debated. Revolutionary marxists have long held that it is the collective and conscious activity of the working class that represents the road to socialism. Not only do workers need their own networks of organisations to form an alternative power to the capitalists but also, there must be a direct confrontation with the institutions of capitalist power. The state will not crumble simply because it no longer has popular support. Neither will it be brought down from within by a process of democratisation. Instead there will need to be an insurrection led by a revolutionary party, underpinned by mass democracy. The variations in states in terms of sheer size and strength, the balance between coercion and consent, repression and civil society impact the question of insurrection and have given rise to numerous debates. This session will explore these variations, with a particular focus on western states post WWII, and will address the debates. In particular it will address the argument made by modern Kautskyites that insurrection is neither possible nor desirable.

Readings

Lenin https://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1917/sep/13.htm

The experience of the workers council movement in Western Europe:

https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/isj2/1983/no2-018/gluckstein.html

Insurrection and Gramsci’s war of position by Daniel Egan

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08854300.2014.1001559

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