16 December 2009

Fake and real communists

Yesterday the CU published the results of six months of work, composed from the political education resources of the Communist University. These are the eight new “Generic Courses” (click here for the links). Some of this work has been accepted for the SACP web site (here).

During this work, which was unavoidably somewhat of a totalisation, it was often natural to wonder what a “complete”, “real”, “genuine” or “true” communist might be. The work compelled one to do so.

It is in the nature of such a job that one must draw a line at the end and say: That will have to do for now. But exactly where should that line be drawn? Let us unpack this a little, comrades.

In this Generic Courses re-write, a project was included that had begun a year or two before. This was to deal with Karl Marx’s Capital Volume 1 in parts, but thoroughly, and leaving out nothing of significance. It is a satisfactory piece of work that has made Capital Volume 1 potentially accessible to many more people, perhaps to millions more people, than was the case before.

Could a person be called a communist who had not read and understood Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume 1? Sidney Bunting was supposedly never able to cope with Marx’s Capital at all. Does this mean that Sidney Bunting was not a communist?
Surely, not. Sidney Bunting was undoubtedly a communist, and a very great one at that.

But what one knows is that it bothered Sidney Bunting that he had not mastered "Capital", and that it troubles any communist to know that the great book exists, until he or she has read it and internalised it.

This famous book, Capital Volume 1, that is so often like a flag or a banner or a standard for us, uniting us, yet it unintentionally also could divide us into those who have knowledge of it, and those who do not yet have that knowledge.

Now we have a CU solution for Capital, Volume 1. What about Volumes 2 and 3? Let your VC confess that at this moment, they are beyond his grasp.

It would be nice to say: Let us leave those complicated books to the academics; but we know that the academy is full of anti-communists and hardly ever deals honestly with our material. Also, those of us who read the newspapers must know that officials and representatives are habitually quoting from Capital Volume 3 in particular. Are they doing so correctly? How will we know, unless we study it?

There are links to Volumes 2 & 3 from the section of Volume 1, but these have not yet processed into study texts like the rest. It is possible in the next six months or so that the CU can come back to Capital Volumes 2 & 3, and make a course out of them.

Here is another example: In Lenin’s notebook on philosophy, “Conspectus of Hegel’s book ‘The Science of Logic’”, dated 1914, he (Lenin) wrote: “It is impossible completely to understand Marx’s Capital, and especially its first chapter, without having thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic. Consequently, half a century later, none of the Marxists understood Marx!!”

Has Domza the VC “thoroughly studied and understood the whole of Hegel’s Logic”? No, he has not. Hegel’s writings are difficult, like riddles. The CU can make another “Generic Course” out of the “Logic” and the “Philosophy of Right” in due course, but it has not done so, yet.

So, does that mean that the CU is a “fake communist” university?

Is the CU a fake, because it struggles to understand Hegel?
No, but we do have to be on the study road, and then we will get confidence from our sense of progress, knowing that the mockers are on the sidelines, standing still. The road of science has no end. The further we go down the road, the wider are the horizons.


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