Organizing for Workers' Power
Beyond Trade Unionism & Vanguardism
Year Published: 1969 First Published: 1968
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX5613
A discussion of the problem of "vanguardism," and the role of leadership in revolutionary organization, and its evolution through different stages of class struggle, by Adriano Sofri of the Italian socialist group Lotta Continua, with an introduction by militants in southern Ontario.
Worker's parties suffer from several deficiencies. First, it is often assumed that good political leadership is tantamount to the party's development. Leadership also often makes claims to legitimacy by unfounded identifications with past heroes of the movement - i.e. "revolutionary strategy is always seen as a 'return' to the 'correct' revolutionary tradition." "Correct" leadership, however, can only come from its "capacity to be the conscious and general expression of the revolutionary needs of the oppressed masses." Yet Lenin's view of leaders as Marxist intellectuals who have broken with their bourgeois past does not take into account the complex identities found in the advanced capitalist countries in the second half of the 20th century. What is necessary is a "mass vanguard," implying a change from " the perspective of insurrection to the perspective of protracted (eventually armed) struggle, even in the advanced capitalist countries."
A copy of this pamphlet is available in the Connexions Archive.