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You are here: Platypus /Archive for category 1917-2017

Eine Podiumsdiskussion, veranstaltet von der Platypus Affiliated Society an der Universität Wien am 14. Dezember 2017.

Podium: 

Franz Schandl (Redaktion Streifzüge)
Emmanuel Tomaselli (Der Funke) 
Michael Märzen (Gruppe Arbeiter*innenstandpunkt)
Tobias Schweiger (KPÖ PLUS)
Philipp Eichhorn

Im 20. Jahrhundert tauchte immer wieder die Erinnerung an 1917 auf. Ob die Volksfront der '30er, die Kommunistische Revolution in China 1949 oder die Neue Linke der '60er, die Linke hat versucht sich – ob positiv oder negativ – im Verhältnis zu den Zielen und Ergebnissen von 1917 zu verstehen. Jedoch hat sich seit 1917 das revolutionäre Bewusstsein seiner primären Akteure in verschiedene Oppositionen aufgelöst: Stalinismus und Trotzkismus sehen sich gleichermaßen als das legitime Erbe des Bolschewismus; das Prinzip des Liberalismus steht heute in Opposition zum Prinzip des Sozialismus; Libertarismus wird gegen Autoritarismus ausgespielt; der machiavellistische Lenin gegen die Cassandra der Revolution Luxemburg; der revolutionäre Wille der Zwecke, die die Mittel heiligen gegen die prinzipiellen emanzipatorischen Methoden und die Tugend der praktischen Niederlage. Gleichzeitig wurde die Vergeblichkeit sowohl von Lenins als auch Luxemburgs Politik naturalisiert: es wird stillschweigend vorausgesetzt, dass weder das, was Lenin noch das, was Luxemburg zu erreichen versuchten, tatsächlich erreichbar war – weder in ihrer Zeit noch in unserer. Die Prämissen der Revolution selbst stehen in Frage: sind die Formen bürgerlicher Gesellschaft wie Staat, Politik, Arbeit und Kapital überhaupt noch aktuell und damit Widersprüche, die über sich hinausweisen und das Potential ihrer eigenen Überwindung bergen?

  1. Wie hat sich die Erinnerung an 1917 im Laufe des 20. Jahrhunderts verändert?
  2. Warum scheint die Erinnerung an 1917 in Oppositionen zerfallen zu sein?
  3. Stellt uns die Erinnerung an 1917 heute noch Aufgaben und wenn ja in welcher Hinsicht?
  4. Inwiefern ist 1917 ein wichtiger Bezugspunkt für die Kämpfe der Gegenwart und inwiefern bietet die Gegenwart ein Potential zur Verwirklichung der Ziele von 1917?

Im 20.Jahrhundert tauchte immer wieder die Erinnerung an 1917 auf. Ob die Volksfront der 30er, die Kommunistische Revolution in China 1949 oder die Neue Linke der 60er, die Linke hat versucht, sich

A panel discussion hosted by The Platypus Affiliated Society at the University of Illinois at Chicago on November 6, 2017.

Speakers:

Jonathan Daly (UIC Department of History)
Franklin Dimitryev (News & Letters)
Greg Lucero (Socialist Party USA)
Sam (Black Rose/Rosa Negra)

Description:

The First World War manifested an economic, social and political crisis of global capitalism, – “imperialism” – which sparked reflection in the mass parties of the Second International on the task of socialist politics. The revisionist dispute, the “crisis of Marxism” in which Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky first cut their teeth, shaped their understanding of the unfolding revolution as a necessary expression of self-contradiction within the movement for socialism. Even the most revolutionary party produced its own conservatism, hence the need for self-conscious, revolutionary leadership to avoid “tailing” the movement. 

Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky thought that leadership adequate to the revolution of 1917 required historical consciousness. They drew upon Marx’s appraisal of the democratic revolutions of 1848, in which Marx identified the historical contradiction which had developed in bourgeois society and necessitated the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Bolsheviks maintained that a "bourgeois-democratic" revolution could spark a workers' socialist revolution in Europe, subsequently allowing for a struggle for socialism. Lenin held that political forms such as “the state” and “the party” must be transformed in and through revolution. Yet the meaning of 1917 was already contentious in 1924, as Trotsky recognized in his pamphlet, Lessons of October. Trotsky would spend the rest of his life fighting “over the heads of the leaders of the Second and Third International[s]” to maintain socialist consciousness.

Whether in the Popular Fronts of the 1930’s, the Chinese Communists in 1949, or the New Left of the 1960’s, the Left sought to understand itself – both positively and negatively – in relation to the aims and outcomes of 1917. The historical consciousness of its primary actors disintegrated into various oppositions: Lenin the Machiavellian versus Luxemburg the democratic Cassandra; socialism versus liberalism; authoritarianism versus libertarianism. Meanwhile, the futility of the politics shared by Lenin and Luxemburg has been naturalized. It is tacitly accepted that what Lenin and Luxemburg jointly aspired to achieve, if not already impossible a century ago, is certainly impossible today. The premises of the revolution itself have been cast in doubt.

Questions:

  1. What were the aims of the 1917 Russian Revolution?
  2. What was the self-understanding of its Marxist leadership?
  3. How has the memory of 1917 changed in the course of the 20th century?
  4. Why does the legacy of 1917 appear arrayed in oppositions?
  5. Are we still tasked by the memory of 1917 today, and if so how?

Held April 8, 2017 at SAIC as part of the 9th annual Platypus International Convention.

Panelists:

Chris Cutrone (School of the Art Institute of Chicago; Platypus)
Leo Panitch (York University; editor of
Socialist Register)
Bryan Palmer (Trent University, author of
Marxism and Historical Practice)

Description:

The First World War manifested an economic, social and political crisis of global capitalism, – “imperialism” – which sparked reflection in the mass parties of the Second International on the task of socialist politics. The revisionist dispute, the “crisis of Marxism” in which Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky first cut their teeth, shaped their understanding of the unfolding revolution as a necessary expression of self-contradiction within the movement for socialism. Even the most revolutionary party produced its own conservatism, hence the need for self-conscious, revolutionary leadership to avoid “tailing” the movement. 

Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky thought that leadership adequate to the revolution of 1917 required historical consciousness. They drew upon Marx’s appraisal of the democratic revolutions of 1848, in which Marx identified the historical contradiction which had developed in bourgeois society and necessitated the dictatorship of the proletariat. The Bolsheviks maintained that a "bourgeois-democratic" revolution could spark a workers' socialist revolution in Europe, subsequently allowing for a struggle for socialism. Lenin held that political forms such as “the state” and “the party” must be transformed in and through revolution. Yet the meaning of 1917 was already contentious in 1924, as Trotsky recognized in his pamphlet, Lessons of October. Trotsky would spend the rest of his life fighting “over the heads of the leaders of the Second and Third International[s]” to maintain socialist consciousness.

Whether in the Popular Fronts of the 1930’s, the Chinese Communists in 1949, or the New Left of the 1960’s, the Left sought to understand itself – both positively and negatively – in relation to the aims and outcomes of 1917. The historical consciousness of its primary actors disintegrated into various oppositions: Lenin the Machiavellian versus Luxemburg the democratic Cassandra; socialism versus liberalism; authoritarianism versus libertarianism. Meanwhile, the futility of the politics shared by Lenin and Luxemburg has been naturalized. It is tacitly accepted that what Lenin and Luxemburg jointly aspired to achieve, if not already impossible a century ago, is certainly impossible today. The premises of the revolution itself have been cast in doubt.

Questions for the panelists:

  1. What were the aims of the 1917 Russian Revolution?
  2. What was the self-understanding of its Marxist leadership?
  3. How has the memory of 1917 changed in the course of the 20th century?
  4. Why does the legacy of 1917 appear arrayed in oppositions?
  5. Are we still tasked by the memory of 1917 today, and if so how?
  6. In what way, if any, does the present moment present a new opportunity to reassess 1917 and the self-understanding of Lenin, Luxemburg and Trotsky?