Organization and Spontaneity


The following article was written by the Chicago Revolutionary Network. It has been edited for publication.


After rereading and discussing the Red & Black Notes pamphlet, "Organization and Spontaneity," and considering our recent article "Spontaneous vs. Planned Revolutionary Acts in the Coming International, Working Class, Real Socialist Revolution," we think that spontaneous revolutionary acts and planned revolutionary actions are flip-sides of the same, absolutely necessary revolutionary coin.

As we said in our article, mentioned Above, during the summer of 1917 in Russia, in a period of a balance of power between the capitalist (Menshevik) government and the rebellious working class, the revolutionary Russian working class began to spontaneously take over factories and plants; literally kicking out the capitalist bosses, if they had not left already, which were revolutionary acts. The workers set up revolutionary factory committees, which were mass democratically organized, to plan and carry out production, which were also revolutionary acts. So, what started off to be spontaneous by the revolutionary workers, seizing one factory or plant, became more of a planned thing within that factory or plant. But this initial spontaneity became a revolutionary factory committee movement throughout the Russian working class as factories and plants were seized within repeated regularity. Russian workers also set up revolutionary Soviets - councils - in the working class districts to deal with the enormous economic crisis in the places in which they lived. It seems to us that the Bolshevik Party (BP) of Lenin gauged that it would be easier to take over or control the Soviets than the revolutionary factory committees, so they advocated the slogan "All Power to the Soviets," which when acted upon ushered in the October 1917 Revolution with such promise to the revolutionary aspirations of the international working class.

Regardless of motivation, which is particularly slippery terrain to speculate on, the actual history of the Bolshevik Party of Lenin was that the BP bureaucratically took control of the Soviets in late 1917 and early 1918, which is consistent with Lenin's theory that "The Party must rule for [over - Chirevnet] the working class." Thus the BP gained a fulcrum of power in the new oppressive state that the BP was constructing: State capitalist, not real socialist, which would have smashed/abolished the state and wage slavery. Meanwhile the revolutionary factory movement planned to organize an all-Russian revolutionary factory committee congress to coordinate worker-run production nationally. The BP countered with power in the workplaces for the capitalist-orientated trade unions, which the BP controlled, and the BP of Lenin did win out there, and the revolutionary factory committee movement was historic-tragically shut down. This led later to the infamous state capitalist "one-man management" and the BP dictatorship over the working class in the workplace and society at large; a world historic defeat which the international working class is still recovering from.

What we draw from the above is that during a revolutionary situation the working class can be perceptive enough to engage in spontaneously revolutionary acts, chiefly the taking over of the workplaces, organize them mass democratically and carry out planned production accordingly, with the aim of coordinating/organizing production nationally - now we would say internationally!

We think/feel that the chief danger to the revolutionary, international working class in the coming international working class spontaneously/planned real socialist revolution is political parties - or organizations acting like political parties: hijacking the Revolution and rebuilding dictatorships over the international working class, and organizing state capitalist society globally.

On a final psychological note, we want to affirm that spontaneous revolutionary acts also contain within them an inherently organizational nature, whereas planned revolutionary acts also, obviously contain an inherently organizational nature; not just one or the other.

So, the coming international working class real socialism revolution will probably be spontaneous at first, gathering widespread international momentum, but appropriately organized, and after overthrowing capitalism with its capitalist ruling classes, it will increasingly pass over to more planning to achieve a classless/stateless society globally with revolutionary acts, both spontaneous and planned.

July, 2003


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