DEMOCRACY = DEMAGOGUERY + HYPOCRISY
Who are right, the idealists or the materialists? The question once stated in this way hesitation becomes impossible. Undoubtedly the idealists are wrong and the materialists right.
Bakunin, God and the State
The Discussion Bulletin, published in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was for most of its life completely irrelevant to the class struggle. But recently it has published some decent material, namely two articles on the Russian Revolution from Wildcat #15. It has also published some libellous replies to these articles. Here we respond to these misrepresentations, and in the process, expand on an important aspect of the communist program: why we say we are for proletarian dictatorship against democracy. For the benefit of those readers fortunate enough not to have seen the DB, we republish below three letters which were first printed in #59.
1. Letter from WILL GUEST
Dear Readers of the Discussion Bulletin,
A few additional comments on Wildcat's present attitude toward democracy in the revolutionary movement seem called for. The question is an important one and over the last six years Wildcat have repeatedly and usefully focussed on it in their analyses. I have to admit frankly that, in rereading their writings on the subject from Wildcat #10 (1987) to the present, I find their critique fairly convincing. But their more recent articles on the Bolshevik Counter Revolution and their reply to my letter in response to their analysis of the Russian events (in Wildcat ##15 and 16, and reprinted in DB #58), all seem to me to share some similar problems, which did not stand out as clearly in earlier writings.
What I find convincing is Wildcat's emphasis on the necessity for revolutionaries to attempt to advance the revolution at all times, even or especially in the face of reactionary actions on the part of other sectors of the working class (not to mention the capitalists). They are correct to point out that many workers have repeatedly demonstrated, in revolutionary or potentially revolutionary situations, the deep hold of reactionary ideology upon them. Even in workers' councils and assemblies, bourgeois notions of democracy and democratic process, for example the notions of representation and majority decision making, are tenacious and frequently have resulted in counter-revolutionary activities. Wildcat are correct to point this out, warn against it, and to keep harping on it. [Why couldn't he stop there? -ed.]
Where I differ substantially from their point of view is on the kind of activity which is needed to advance the revolution in the face of this bourgeois inertia of workers. Wildcat's critique of the Bolshevik Counter Revolution seems to me to be flawed in certain respects, and the lessons to be learned from the Russian events of 1917-1921 have limited applicability to the current situation. But beyond these analytical questions, it seems to me that Wildcat have taken up an extreme vanguardist position which has little utility in advancing the self-liberation of the working class.
There is no question that Russian capitalism in 1917 was "backward" compared to Western Europe and the US; it seems like belaboring the obvious even to mention it. The fact that the state was almost the only native component to the capitalist class operating there was not a sign of advanced development (as is shown by the state-capitalist "revolutions" in other backward portions of the world subsequently). The state was a substitute for the lack of a native class of private capitalists. As a result significant concentrations of industry in Russia were centered primarily around St. Petersburg and Moscow, and only secondarily elsewhere, surrounded by a vast agricultural hinterland (and agriculture too was backward by contemporary measures). The industrial working class was a small minority of the population, which was overwhelmingly peasant. The well-educated and relatively well-off middle class of professionals and merchants were strongly concentrated in the two capital cities, as were virtually all important state institutions and the bureaucracy that ran them. The dependency of the whole country on St. Petersburg was quite extreme, and quite unlike the comparatively decentralized pattern of development in the US and Western Europe.
Now the point of all this obviousness is to help understand why the Russian Revolution failed to be a communist revolution. The reason is that only a majority of people can create a communist society, and they can only do so consciously. (I believe Wildcat would agree with this statement). In the face of the material and social conditions of Russia in 1917, the Bolsheviks did essentially what Wildcat claims we should do now. They were audacious (once they saw they could control events), they were undemocratic, and they did what was possible. The result: Counter Revolution.
The Bolsheviks seized, but THEY DID NOT DESTROY, the Tsarist state. Only a majority of people can permanently suppress state-formation. States are instruments of a minority to control the majority. A second minority can wrest it away from the first (or could, in the conditions of backward and war-torn Russia in 1917), in which case it finds its interests directly opposed to the majority. Thus after October 1917 to have suppressed the state would have required suppressing the Bolsheviks.
Wildcat claim that the Bolsheviks were revolutionary in seizing the state; this needed to be done to advance the revolution. No other groups were prepared to do this, so the Bolsheviks had and took the opportunity. In doing so, however, they relied upon the power of the armed workers of Petrograd and Kronstadt and the support of the majority of the workers in key locations (as I said in my previous letter, in the garrisons, naval vessels, streets, factories, railroad stations, and communication centers. What other significant concentrations of workers existed?). Wildcat fudge the issue when they say "This minority can certainly take any action - for example, the overthrow of the state - which serves proletarian goals, without endorsement from the majority of the working class" (DB #58, p8). The "minority" of the Bolsheviks and their supporters did not and could not overthrow the state, i.e. destroy it. They could and did seize it and strengthen it for their own purposes, in opposition to the majority of the workers and peasants, while claiming it was a "workers' state".
So there is a vast problem unaddressed by Wildcat in its analysis of the Russian events, which is the unseparable connectedness of objective and subjective readiness for revolution. The two go together: if the objective conditions are unripe, as they were in Russia, so too will be the subjective ones. The most radical, self-consciously revolutionary minorities were unable, despite their greatest efforts and sacrifice, to avoid doing what was objectively possible. We all know what the result was.
Objective conditions today throughout the industrialized world are vastly different from the Russia of 1917, and so, therefore, are subjective ones. The concreate impossibility in 1917 of a democratic communist movement does not exist today. Communism is possible if the workers decide to create it. The question for us is how to advance this collective decision.
Beyond these analytical criticisms I would like to make a few points about the nature of Wildcat's vanguardism, in which they resemble typical Leninist sects, if not the Bolsheviks under Lenin himself. What sort of activities do Wildcat explicitly praise in their recent writings? Raskolnikov is lauded for packing a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Kronstadt Soviet during the July Days with Bolsheviks who followed his orders on how to vote (DB #58, p11). "Rascally Raskolnikov" was doubly "revolutionary" in that his packing of the meeting was undemocratic, and his duping of the higher-level Bolsheviks in Petrograd was wily. But the result was pitiful (400 workers killed or wounded, and many imprisoned), as Wildcat could not fail to mention.
In general, that is, as a matter of "principle", Wildcat are committed to "action" as the path to communism - executions, manhandling of "reactionary elements" (including workers who do not agree with Wildcat?), and violence of all kinds - looting, burning, etc. (see Wildcat #16 on the Los Angeles uprising of last year). Their rejoinder to my earlier letter starts off with a quote from that leading communist theoretician, Bismarck: "The great issues of the day are not decided by fine speeches and majority verdicts, but by iron and blood." "Action" is the reaction to "reaction"; making a convincing case for communism is a waste of time and energy. In their letter, Wildcat's example of an inspiring action by a revolutionary minority is the storming of a prison in Iraq and the execution of the Baathist "pigs" inside. The "reactionary" elements of the working class (they are reactionary by definition because they are "nationalists") had felt that holding them in prison was sufficient; persuasion failing (or untried) the "revolutionary minority" did "what had to be done." This is "clear minority leadership". Who is being led, and how it leads to the creation of communism, are left unexplained.
Wildcat claim to promote "anti-state communism", not because states have anything inherently oppressive about them, but because states "cannot be used" for Wildcat's purposes. "We are, however, for taking dictatorial measures" against the working class. Despite rare lip-service to the fallibility of all factions they are clearly uninterested in the possibility that they themselves might have something to learn from others. Subtle tacticians and strategists they are not; Action is all. "Audacity, audacity, more audacity!". Sound familar?
Despite the detailed critique of the Bolshevik Counter Revolution contained in their articles, in certain fundamental ways Wildcat have not learned the lessons of Russia in 1917 to 1921. In their belief that their analysis of a revolutionary situation is the only correct one, that only they are truly committed to communism, and in their resolve to act dictatorially to "advance" their revolution against workers who do not share their goals or notions of infallibility, Wildcat have preserved intact the core psychological traits of Bolshevism. Workers who do not fall in line behind them are to be deceived, manipulated, and ultimately, "if necessary", executed. Surely the Cheka used similar rationalizations to get to sleep at night after a day's "revolutionary action".
As Wildcat are fond of pointing out, the dominant ideas in capitalist society are bourgeois ideas. One of them is democracy, but another and far more fundamental (and dominant) one is the use of force, as Bismarck's aphorism makes clear. Wildcat, psychologically, are the mirror image of the "pigs" they want to "waste". They have had some good analytical insights into past struggles, but I'm not convinced they have the key to the creation of a global communist society in today's or tomorrow's world.
The ultra-militant puffery of such a tiny cell of revolutionaries simply does not follow from the lessons provided by history or from the current predicament of the planet. Wildcat have evidently found their ideas and attitudes have little impact on the mass of workers around them, and have decided workers are incapable of understanding their own best interests and acting to secure them without "clear minority leadership" (in places in their writings Wildcat have come very close to expounding the Leninist concept of "trade-union consciousness"), which evades all discussion and collective decision-making. They have gone on to develop the proposition of "anti-democratic communism" as a cover for their vanguardism, which seems to be motivated, ultimately, by revenge and hatred. These motivations won't get us very far. Nor will Wildcat's "theory". "Anti-democratic communism" is a contradiction in terms, as communism is the expansion of democracy into all spheres of life. And history tells us, over and over again, that means and ends are inseparable. Dictatorship and force as principal means will create not communism, but a final tyranny.
2. Letter from JACK STRAW
Dear Readers of the Discussion Bulletin,
The Wildcat group makes in very explicit: It is against the CONTENT of democracy, not against a particular form such as representation or majority rule. The content of their argument, as articulated in the response to Will Guest in DB #58, is the necessity of "class struggle activists" to assert control over any movement which may emerge from the confrontations of daily life. Regardless of how they may label themselves, the Wildcat crew thus expose themselves as vanguardists.
To them, the main danger of democracy, even "workers' democracy", is that revolutionaries would have "to take orders from that section of the citizenry who happen to be sociologically working class, rather than from those who actually defend proletarian interests." (italics mine). It's interesting that they see themselves outside the working class, and even more, that they think they and others of their ilk should be giving orders, because of their supposedly superior awareness of the class's true interests.
This goes further than their assertion of rights to unilateral action, defying the majority whenever they think the majority is wrong and they are right. There's certainly room for that, as for example in the British coal mine strike in 1984, or the anti-Vietnam war movement. Here we're talking about leading the rest of the class, "taking dictatorial measures". Wildcat's perspective on the Russian Revolution takes this line of thinking down some very disturbing paths. Wildcat argues from two opposite sides. It criticizes Will Guest for trying to have it both ways re the Bolsheviks' role, and seemingly condemns the counter-revolution. Yet the Bolsheviks are praised for being able to mobilize supporters in strategic points, thereby taking power, without waiting for the passive majority to act. Anyway, how is a situation unique to Russia in 1917 to be transplanted to the advanced industrial world in 1993? Can you see the "important" workers bringing down the American state by taking over rail stations and naval vessels?
Somehow, some way, let's say that the most radical elements will destroy the state on their own. And then what? A critique of Earth First! in #16 gives us some rather scary hints. Earth First!'s workshop meeting format was lambasted for discussions chaired by "pathetic 'anti-sexist' types" instead of being led by people with "the self-confidence to lead the discussion". Why, anyone was actually allowed to "say what they like", while at Wildcat meetings, they feel "obliged to argue with anything they don't agree with."
To me, all this strongly suggests that their "leading" role will not stop with the elimination of the bourgeois state: it is to continue until all the "correct" decisions on the path to communism have been made. "No number of dire warnings about the dangers of dictatorship will change our minds". At a class I participated in a few years ago, one of Wildcat's American affiliates tended to monopolize the discussion. When I asked him about that, he replied that he was afraid that if he didn't talk, people would "say the wrong things" and derail the discussion.
Two other pieces from #16 stand out in relation to this topic. In an article on the LA riots, the beating of Reginald Denny, the truck driver, is excused because "some of the people who beat him had just defended a 15-year old boy against being beaten by the police". The only thing this could possibly explain is a revenge motif. And that's the main theme of Max Anger's "song", an ode to boozing, pissing and killing that, with a few cosmetic changes, could easily be sung by the US Marines. Would you trust your fate to people like these? Would you even be secure sharing a barricade with them?
3. Letter from ED STAMM
I would like to know exactly how Wildcat can justify a revolution on behalf of the working class, but against the will of the majority of the working class. Wildcat argues that the majority of the working class do not understand their own true interests. Does this mean that a Platonic minority of wisemen will paternalistically run society from offstage? Because if a group pretends to abolish the state, but at the same time tries to impose a form of organization on society through the use of force, they are really not abolishing the state. They are merely setting up a shadow state to run society through the use of a cladestine terror which answers to no one. How many generations will have their human rights revoked in the name of the long term interests of the working class? Do they favor the Pol Pot strategy of killing off anyone who has any political opinion other than their own, and then herd the masses into reeducation camps where they will learn that their interests are whatever Wildcat says their interests are? Is this really the path they propose for the human race?
When someone says that people do not know what is in their own best interest, I immediately get concerned. This is what our government tells us all the time in relation to US foreign policy. It is extremely treacherous territory Wildcat is travelling into when they propose to force people to conform to their own personal ideal of society. Only the individual can judge what is in his or her best interest. Individuals make mistakes, and they suffer for them. But if the self-appointed vanguard makes a mistake, millions can suffer and perish. If the coup is unsuccessful, society is plunged into a reactionary backlash that will cripple or extinguish all progressive elements.Our Response
First, let's reply to the last letter: "If the coup is unsuccessful, society is plunged into a reactionary backlash that will cripple or extinguish all progressive elements". We certainly hope so!
On a more serious note, we will now deal with the letters from citizens Straw and Guest. Although we don't want to take time off from more important tasks to respond to specific libels against Wildcat, we have found that if we don't stomp on false allegations straight away, they spread like cockroaches. We are accused of defending political positions which we do not hold and which are not expressed in the articles which the DB reprinted. For example, we have never said that workers (or any other section of the proletariat) should be "deceived or manipulated". Neither have we "praised" or "lauded" any of the Bolsheviks' actions in 1917, still less described them as "revolutionary". The claim that we "excused" the beating of Reginald Denny is a lie, which makes it clear which side Straw and Guest are on in the media war against the LA defendants. Although the LA 4 have benefitted from a militant campaign in LA, our comrades in San Francisco found it impossible to get a defence campaign going in the Bay Area, thanks partly to the smug middle-class libertarianism which still thrives there. People arrested during the May '92 uprising are being quietly put away with no protests or anything - for example, Donald Coleman got 19 years and 8 months for torching a 7-11 store.
WG and JS both run in the binary mode of thought typical of those with a closed, totalitarian view of the world. For example, leftists say that if you don't vote Labour, you are helping the Conservatives, or if you are not an anti-fascist, you are on the side of the fascists. In the case of WG and JS, the binary opposition is between supporting the Bolsheviks or condemning them for being undemocratic. When we say that we do not condemn Bolshevik manouvers for being undemocratic, WG and JS say we "praise" them. We shall try, once again, to express something quite different: the point of view of communism.
According to WG: "Wildcat claim that the Bolsheviks were revolutionary in seizing the state". According to JS: "...the Bolsheviks are praised for being able to mobilise supporters in strategic points, thereby taking power...". This is quite simply false. The nearest we come to saying anything remotely like this is "The fact that the Military Revolutionary Committee did not wait for the Congress of Soviets to endorse the attack on the provisional government before acting is not a sin." Not quite the same thing, is it? So what is our view of the seizure of state power?
One of the major differences between communists and social democrats, including Leninists, is that our conception of revolution is social rather than merely political. For us there is no question of creating some kind of revolutionary government which then enacts communism by a series of decrees. The question of whether such a regime should be based on a single party or on the sovereignty of the workers' councils (or some other arrangement) is irrelevant. As we explain at great length in the articles, by seizing state power the Bolsheviks were taking over the management of capitalism, that they did it in the name of communism is neither here nor there.
WG distorts our position by quoting out of context. He cites the sentence "This minority can certainly take any action - for example, the overthrow of the state - which serves proletarian goals, without endorsement from the majority of the working class", without the one which immediately follows: "It cannot however impose communism -this can only be the product of mass activity - therefore it does not seek to create a new state power - a 'workers' state' - in place of the old administration." Contrary to what WG says, if an organized minority can take over the state, in the sense of the repressive apparatus of the bourgeoisie, it is certainly possible for it to overthrow it (particularly if most of the army has deserted or mutinied and the cops have run away, as in Russia 1917). The problem was not that the Bolsheviks "could not overthrow the state" because of objective conditions, as WG claims, it was that they never had any intention of doing so.
Communism is not a political program but a social movement. For example, private property in housing will not begin to be abolished because some "workers' government" says that it is no longer legal for landlords to live off rent but because proletarians are refusing to pay rent, resisting evictions, seizing the mansions of the rich, and in the process developing more communal living arrangements.
This brings us on to the use of force or, to state the question more precisely, The Dictatorship of the Proletariat (D.o.P.). This is the political position which WG and JS are really trying to undermine, using the tried and tested method of associating it with Bolshevism, with fanaticism and with notions of infallibility and other "psychological traits". WG says: "As Wildcat are fond of pointing out, the dominant ideas in capitalist society are bourgeois ideas. One of them is democracy, but another and far more fundamental (and dominant) one is the use of force..." [our emphasis]. Here WG appears to condemn all use of force (it's a "bourgeois idea"). There are only two types of people who condemn force per se. These are:
1) Committed pacifists. Despite their ludicrous morality these people may sometimes make a useful contribution to the class struggle - for example by sheltering army deserters.
2) Hypocritical demagogues.
The comment (by WG) that we are for taking dictatorial measures "against the working class" is a typical piece of "no violence" demagoguery. You cannot rule out using force against other working class people. Should working class people not use force to defend themselves against muggers, and other anti-social elements from within the working class? WG gives the impression in most of his letter that he thinks it is immoral to use force under any circumstances, but in his last sentence, he condemns us for advocating force as a PRINCIPAL means, which would mean his difference with us is that he thinks we give too much priority to the use of force. By being ambiguous in this way, he can occupy the high moral ground of pacifism without paying the entrance fee. All of us, except pacifists, are prepared to put the boot in from time to time. The difference between us and WG is that we honestly face up to the consequences of this fact.
Every society has to make use of force to some extent. What makes class societies different is that they are based on force since they involve a small minority of the population robbing and enslaving everyone else. Proletarian communities of struggle must make use of force too. It's true that you can't turn someone into a communist by pointing a gun at them. It's also true that you can stop them from doing reactionary things, such as crossing a picket line.
Like every other aspect of the struggle force needs to be coordinated to make it as effective as possible. It is not a question of force versus solidarity. Solidarity is the basis of our struggle to transform life but it is meaningless without the use of force. For example, we would always try to fraternise with government troops sent to suppress us and we should oppose any creation of a permanent military front with us on one side and the forces of reaction on the other. But fraternisation would be impossible if the soldiers could overwhelm us immediately without any resistance. The Makhnovists probably had the right idea when they said to Red Army soldiers "surrender to us and you won't come to any harm, it's only your officers we want to kill". A more extreme example might be that of the mutineers on the huge Russian battleship Potemkin in 1905 who threatened to blow smaller naval vessels out of the water if they tried to stop the rebellion. Many of them joined in. A more down-to-earth example was the fact that in the British miners' strike of 1984-85, many of the pits were shut down only by the intimidation of scabs. We would like to take this opportunity to correct what we wrote in Wildcat #3, Jan/Feb 1985. Under the headline "Support Class Violence", we said
"in general, violence in a strike is a defensive action. If the miners were receiving the support, and above all, the solidarity action they so desperately need, from other workers, then much of the violence witnessed over the past ten months need not have taken place".
On the contrary: if the strike had spread, so would the violence. The above section implies that if the strike had become more offensive, the violence would have been less necessary. But class violence does not tend to decrease as the revolution approaches: quite the opposite. Its important to understand the difference between force and bloodshed. Increasing the amount of force can reduce the degree of bloodshed, by making it clear to our opponents that it's not worth fighting. The above passage was written when Wildcat included "common ownership and democratic control of the world's resources" among its Basic Principles!
WILL TO POWER
By the D.o.P. we do not mean a specialised apparatus of repression (a workers' state). We mean the need for the proletariat to impose its needs despotically against its enemies. At the moment this is something which can generally only be seen in a very embryonic form - the beating of a scab (against the Right to Work!), the shouting down of a politician or union leader (against Freedom of Speech!), the smashing of a reporter's camera (against Freedom of the Press!), the smashing up of a patriotic or religious meeting (against Freedom of Assembly!)... It's impossible to say in advance what organisational forms the D.o.P. will take in a revolutionary situation. We can say, however, that it will have a completely different form from that of the repressive apparatus of bourgeois society since the D.o.P. is a means by which a community of struggle (encompassing more and more areas of the globe) defends itself against dissolution whereas the bourgeois state exists to destroy community. It will certainly not possess a standing army or a judiciary, for example. Repressive measures will be carried out on the basis of expediency rather than Justice, an expression of a society based on exchange.
The arguments of WG, JS and other left-wing libertarian critics of us authoritarian communists is not unadjacent to the libertarianism of the right. Their plaintive whining about our authoritarian psychological traits and the dire consequences thereof simply repeats what the bourgeoisie say about communists. What they are basically saying when they accuse us of vanguardism is "Who are these red troublemakers to tell you not to cross that picket line? What right do they have?". For the libertarians, some form of legitimate authority is being transgressed by someone using force. For the Right it's obvious who this authority is - it's The People represented by their democratically elected government. For the libertarian socialists it's something like The Workers Themselves. The Right deliberately avoid the issue of who actually acts when The People act. Similarly for the libertarian socialists when The Workers Themselves act. When they talk about a majority, they don't say of what. A majority in the whole world is unobtainable until the revolution is well underway, so to wait for this majority before starting would postpone it forever. A majority in one country is nationalist, and a majority in any other arbitrarily defined area is meaningless, since anyone can draw the boundary wherever it suits them. Talk of the majority of the proles is, then, another piece of demagoguery.
LENINISM & COUNCILISM - TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN
The most vehement anti-Leninists usually share many of the conceptions of Leninism. In particular they share an obsession with the division between politically conscious people (such as themselves) and the masses. They see the central question as being how the former relate to the latter. Do they lead them organisationally? (Leninism); do they lead them on the plane of ideas? (Anarchism); do they refuse to lead them? (Councilism). Whatever they do they mustn't be too critical of "ordinary people" because that would put them off. They assume that everyone else is obsessed with this question as well: "Wildcat have evidently found their ideas and attitudes have little impact on the mass of workers around them...". Who do they think we are, the SWP?
As we explained in our introduction to Gorter's Open Letter, the view that proletarian revolution in Russia was impossible because the country was too backward is a profoundly nationalist one - the point is whether revolution was possible on a world scale. WG's concern with Russia's backwardness is closer to the dogmatic Marxism of the more conservative social-democrats than to Lenin. Most of Mensheviks and Bolsheviks believed, until April 1917, that Russia was unable to participate in a communist revolution because it was too backward: it needed to go through a bourgeois revolution and capitalist development first. Trotsky among the Mensheviks, and later Lenin, argued that it could "skip" a stage, and go straight to a socialist revolution. Unfortunately, what they meant by "socialism" was in fact capitalism. This was not an inevitable result of Slavic atavism. There were communist revolutions in 15th century Bohemia and Germany, far more backward regions than Russia in 1917. The "backwardness" argument expresses a belief in the liberating effects of capitalist progress. Russian agriculture was "backward", in the sense that peasants still lived in communities which hadn't been completely smashed by capitalist development and could still serve as a basis for communism. They were not to receive the full benefits of Progress until Stalin's program of collectivisation in the 1930's. Marx came to realise that these communities could play a positive role in the struggle for communism and that capitalist progress was not inevitable (see Late Marx and the Russian Road, T. Shanin, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1983).
Although WG says "the lessons to be learned from the Russian events of 1917-1921 have limited applicability to the current situation", the whole basis of his politics is obsession with the bogey of Leninism. The hang-up of the libertarian left, anti-Leninism, belongs to the same category as anti-fascism: it identifies one particular form of the counter-revolution as the threat to the working class. Like anti-fascism it tries to rally people around the defence of democratic freedoms. Both anti-fascism and anti-Leninism are part of the official ideology of Western democracy.
DEMOCRACY OR COMMUNISM
As JS says, we are "against the content of democracy, not against a particular form such as representation or majority rule". In the most general terms democracy can be described as the reign of rights and equality. The existence of rights implies a society of atomised individuals. Equality implies a society in which individuals can have equal worth, one in which their value can be compared, that is one based on the existence of abstract labour. In other words, democracy is the way of life of capitalism, not just a particular form of the state. When WG says communism is "the expansion of democracy into all spheres of life" it is not communism but capitalism which he is describing. When we say we are against democracy it's not just from the point of view of dictatorship - although it's true that the Human Rights of the bourgeoisie won't be respected in the revolution. More importantly, it's from the point of view of community. Classical democratic forms of organisation such as elected representatives and sovereign assemblies are an attempt to maintain social atomisation by creating a fictitious community. Democrats are obsessed with notions such as accountability and revocability which assume that no one can be trusted. Against all this we say that one trusted comrade is worth a hundred revocable delegates!
Finally, a few words about revenge and hatred. This is what both WG and JS accuse us of basing our politics on. Revenge is not something we generally favour since it's based on exchange - "one bad turn deserves another". But it has to be said that revenge is more human - less corrupted by commerce and the state - than fully developed Justice. Hatred is another matter. John Major (Prime Minister of Britain) is not just a boring man in a grey suit. He is a monster drenched in the blood of the proletariat. When the bourgeoisie murder our class brothers and sisters, like the 100,000 children who died of disease following the bombing of Iraq, we don't just throw up our hands and say "this sort of thing is bound to happen until the majority of workers see the need for communism". Yes, we hate them.
Des Pot (no relation).
PS. No, Jack, we don't think a song containing the words "comrades, let's kiss" would be sung by the US Marines (Max Anger's Song).