10 September 2009

National Democratic Revolution

[CU for Friday, 11 September 2009]

A blog can adjust its function over time. The Communist University Blog, and its linked e-mail distribution, is currently functioning as a generator of new material for the Communist University’s re-edited and re-formatted versions of the CU Generic Courses, which were first published nearly four years ago on the amadlandawonye Wikispace web site.

By South African and Zimbabwean popular demand, we now move to our next course, on the National Democratic Revolution (NDR). The original CU Generic Courses did not include a set on the NDR as such. So this coming series will be to some extent original work. Therefore your feedback will be appreciated, comrades. Feedback can be in the form of a “Reply” to the e-mail that you receive, or in the form of a Comment at the Blog.

To make a Comment on our blog, click where it says “0 comments” (or any number) at the bottom; or click on the title, just below the date at the top of any particular blog. The blog will re-open with a Comments form for you, below that particular post.

With any course, one must decide where to begin. In the case of the NDR, what is immediately crucial is an understanding of class struggle and class alliances in history.

Such a study could begin as long ago as 367BC, with the Conflict of the Orders in the Roman Republic, and proceed through the class struggles involving, for example, the Gracchus brothers [pictured: Gaius Gracchus, Tribune of the People], Julius Caesar and others, that led in 27 BC to the stagnant class truce called the Roman Empire, that soon declined and fell into a Dark Age. Class struggle is the engine of history, comrades. Without it, there is little life, and little light.

We could alternatively begin in 1512 with Machiavelli, and the class struggles of Renaissance (born again) Italy, where multiple city-states with populations of 100,000 or more were embroiled in internal and external class conflicts.

We could go to Thomas Hobbes, who published his Leviathan in 1651, describing the politics of the bigger national states of Northern Europe (Like Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands) which had by his time superseded the politics of Italy as the main theatre of recorded historical process.

These European machinations could be our workbook and our political sandpit, for the main reason that there is a record. There is very little virtue, but there is a literature.

But we might as well rather begin, as Frederick Engels does in the first part of his “Socialism, Utopian and Scientific” (see the link below), with the Great French Revolution that started in 1789. From this point on we can meet, in their developed form, the class protagonists who allied and clashed from that time until now, in all possible permutations: alliances holy and unholy, strategic and tactical, marriages of convenience and marriages made in heaven; and we can have, for the most part, the benefit of Marx and Engels as eyewitnesses or near-eyewitnesses. These classes were the feudal aristocrats; the peasants; the bourgeoisie; and the proletariat.

Using this work of Engels’ as a starting point has the additional benefit of introducing the rudiments of political philosophy, and leading our thoughts towards the “democratic bourgeois republic”, which is at one and the same time the highest form of political life before socialism, and the prerequisite of concerted proletarian action, and also a form of the State, that has to be transcended. In other words, our study of the NDR will bring us, as history has already brought us, to the kind of crisis that Lenin outlined so sharply in “The State and Revolution” as we have already seen, when majority rule is no longer an adequate substitute for freedom.

The next following text will be some extracts from Karl Marx’s “18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte”, an account of the period in France of which Marx made a particular study, when Bonaparte, for his two decades as Emperor, juggled the contending classes until the apocalyptic year of the Paris Commune: 1871.

Click on this link:

Socialism, Utopian and Scientific, Part 1, Engels (5105 words)


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