28 March 2013

Induction: What it is, and what it is not

Induction, Part 0

Induction: What it is, and what it is not

Please send in your suggestions for our new course

Next week, after Easter, the Communist University will for the first time run a course on Induction. This course is still in preparation. Texts will continue to be selected and openings to discussion written, as the course goes along. Hence there is a lot of scope for participation from you, the subscribers of the Communist University.

“Induction” is the process of making a new recruit, or a promoted person, aware of everything necessary for an individual to perform normal duties in an organisation, at any level.

Induction is therefore not the same thing as “Political Education”, and this course will contain relatively little of what is usually regarded as politics, compared to other Communist University courses. (For an introductory course in political matters, please use the “Basics” course.)

History of organisation

On the other hand, the material of the course is far from being without political consequences. Organisation is not class-neutral, and it is not apolitical. It has a history, and it has a pre-history of social structure even if unselfconscious and led by “organic intellectuals”.

The conscious principles of organisation are as old as the origin of the family, private property and the state. The oldest forms of organisation are religious, legal and military, corresponding to the necessities of the original state, when society first divided into antagonistic classes.

Among the oldest still-existing corporations in the West are the Church of Rome and its orders. Notable among them is the order of St Benedict (480–547), originating shortly after the fall of the Roman Empire in the West. The Benedictine model relied not on allegiance to a central power, but on adherence to a common set of rules (“St. Benedict’s Rule”). In other words, it was truly “organised”. It relied on organisation more than on what is nowadays called a “power structure”. We shall continue to sustain the critical distinction between power and organisation, or between the mechanically hierarchical and the socially organic, during this course.

The monastic tradition, that St Benedict successfully codified, had earlier been brought to Europe from Africa (and it may have originated further East, possibly in India). With this donation Africa helped to rescue Europe. It was the monasteries that eventually brought Europe back from its descent into barbarism. The Church provided the clerical framework and bureaucracy that the European states needed while they grew again slowly, during a period of a thousand years, during the centuries of feudalism that are called “The Dark Ages” and “The Middle Ages”.


Secular trading corporations and permanent military organisation (standing armies and navies) did not arrive until the bourgeoisie became (first in Italy) a prosperous and powerful class, and at last, from the 16th and 17th Centuries onwards, a ruling class in the Netherlands and in Britain.

The word “Office” comes from the Italian “Uffizi”, notably used in Renaissance Florence. Double-entry book-keeping was developed during the Italian Renaissance, in Florence and in Genoa, and was for the first time described as a system by Luca Pacioli, a Franciscan Friar and friend of Leonardo da Vinci’s, in Milan.

The bourgeois ability to organise on a large scale, and to project its organisation overseas, meant that European culture at last surpassed, in many ways, the level of development that the ancient Romans had achieved more than a thousand years before. Unfortunately, bourgeois society was also no less brutal than that of the Romans.

The ways and means of bourgeois organisation were among the reasons for the success of capitalism over all other systems, most spectacularly so following the French Revolution of 1789, its export by force of arms under Napoleon Bonaparte, and the contemporary bourgeois “Industrial Revolution” in England.

By the fifth decade of the 19th Century, bourgeois capitalism was set to rule the world, such that in the same moment, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels were able to observe, in the Communist Manifesto of 1848:

“All fixed, fast frozen relations, with their train of ancient and venerable prejudices and opinions, are swept away, all new-formed ones become antiquated before they can ossify. All that is solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses his real condition of life and his relations with his kind.... the bourgeoisie... must nestle everywhere, settle everywhere, establish connections everywhere.”

Enter the grave-digger

So long as the opponents of capitalism have less-well-developed means of organisation, they are very unlikely to be able to succeed in overthrowing the bourgeois class from its seat of power. But the working-class proletariat that the bourgeoisie brings forth from the old agrarian society that it has ruined, is drilled and organised - by the bourgeoisie - like no other before it.

All that remains is for the working class to become a self-conscious class for itself (the political task of the communists) and then to seize hold of all the means that the bourgeoisie has developed, and forced the working class to learn. The working class must become better at all kinds of organisation than the previous masters of organisation, the bourgeoisie have been. And this is very possible.

Therefore, although we may appear in this course to be considering other matters than politics, yet our motives for doing so are extremely political. These are some of the means to power, and that is why we want to possess them.

Way forward

Having stated our intention to master the organisational expertise of the bourgeoisie so that we can use it to defeat the very same bourgeoisie, the next problem will be to classify the material, divide it, and decide on the limits that can practically be dealt with in our ten-part format.

The contents of the course are supposed to be the things you need to know about, but often do not get told. Sometimes people become afraid to ask about such things, fearing that they may look foolish. This is a mistake. There is no reason why everyone would know all these things. They are not taught in schools or in universities as general knowledge, but as specialisation. It is we who must make them general knowledge to the working class.

Therefore please help to make the list a useful one, by suggesting topics for inclusion.

Here is an unorganised list of candidate topics:

Law: Contract Law, Company Law, Co-ops, Juristic person (corporation sole)
Rules of Debate
Chairperson and Secretary
Constitution and structure of the Party
Tyranny of Structurelessness
Organisation including Trade Unionism
SACP Membership Records
Correspondence and filing
Press releases
Mass and Vanguard
Voting Districts, Wards
History of the SACP

Please suggest additions to this list that would help you, or would help any other comrade, in your opinion.

Recommendations of suitable, short, original reading texts would be especially helpful.

Attached, please find Amilcar Cabral’s pamphlet “Apply Party Principles in Practice”. In it, please note that a “watchword” means the same as what we would call a “slogan”.


Post a Comment

Post a Comment