Socialism and Revolution

Gorz, Andre
Publisher:  Anchor Press/Doubleday, New York, USA
Year First Published:  {12426 Socialism and Revolution SOCIALISM AND REVOLUTION Gorz, Andre Anchor Press/Doubleday New York USA Representative democracy in every industrially advanced country is in a state of profound crisis. But we have been accustomed for so long to accept democracy in the form of its outward appearances and parliamentary institutions that its decay often does not become apparent to us until those institutions have been either brushed aside or reduced to a purely decorative role. 1967 1973 270pp BC12426-SocialRevolution.jpg B Book 0-385-04831-9 320.531 Gorz belongs to the oft-suppressed 'third tradition' of socialism: the tradition of libertarian socialism that is fiercely critical of both social democracy and Leninism. At the same time, he stresses the need for a revolutionary party -- but a mass, democratic party. <br>Although a collection of essays, this book is remarkably unified in the development of its arguments. He deals with a number of fundamental issues: imperialism, unions, functions of a revolutionary party, reformism, the "ideological front", the state, work, lesiure and culture, changes in the working class. <br> <br>Excerpt: <br>Andre Gorz writes: The fact that there is "revolutionary potential" does not, however, mean that revolution is "ripe" or is "maturing" spontaneously within the masses. It means only that the working class has old and new motives for not being reconciled with capitalist exploitation and that in favorable circumstances these motives lead to action. Outbreaks of violent mass insurordination, though they may be construed as signs of a pre-revolutionary or (as in France) of a pre-insurrectional situation, endanger the survival of capitalism only if the seizure of power becomes an open issue in the course of mass action. And this in turn can happen only if mass action is led and organized in such a way as to build up within the factories and cities organs of direct popular power, such as workers' councils and citizens' councils. These organs of "dual power" become effective in taking power and in destroying the capitalist state when they are co-ordinated organizationally and unified ideologically by an overall political vision and a credible political leadership. Co-ordination and political-ideological vision and leadership must not be superimposed from outside: if they are to lead to the building of popular power and a new state, they must be internal to the mass struggles themselves, so as not to create from the outset a new social division between those who lead and those who are led, between the workers and their "spokesmen," between the masses and the vanguard, between state power and the people. <br>It is the actual process of revolutionary mass struggle and change that teaches the masses self-organization instead of subjection to power. To change minds and outlooks, to liberate the energies and imaginations that will look for new solutions and new political forms in keeping with liberated needs, there must be revolutionary action. Neither the needs nor the solutions can be blue-printed by a vanguard party. Hence the need for spontaneity in all genuine mass movements. <br>Conversly, the capacity to anticipate the possibility of new solutions -- new social and economic relations and a new way of life -- is a necessary element in mobilizing and liberating repressed aspirations and energies. Hence the tendency to voluntaristic and elitist forms of "vanguardism" which, when organizationally separated from the immediate struggles and aspirations of the masses, always degenerate into dogmatic, bureaucratic political machines or sects. One of the intrinsic difficulties of revolutionary leadership and education is that they can be entrusted to neither an "enlightened" and self-appointed vanguard, nor the spontaneity of the masses, who are never "ready" or "prepared" for revolution: revolution, in this respect, is always "premature." CX6566 0 true true false CX6566.htm [0xc000e70840 0xc000f645d0 0xc0010289c0 0xc001056510 0xc002380db0 0xc00026bc50 0xc00032d9e0 0xc000476750 0xc0004e0cc0 0xc0024ef3b0 0xc0024fd260 0xc0000eb710 0xc0000ebc80 0xc000197aa0 0xc000275350 0xc000341680 0xc00080f9b0 0xc000b81b90 0xc00064a450 0xc0006d1c20 0xc000ab9f50 0xc00029c4b0 0xc00033e8a0 0xc001451200 0xc000913fb0 0xc0009616e0 0xc000a088d0 0xc000a9ac60 0xc000af5140 0xc000e3fa70 0xc00173fd70 0xc001757950 0xc001c8cd20 0xc002044fc0 0xc002100090 0xc0021452c0 0xc0023ea6f0 0xc001f710b0 0xc00025d320 0xc000443320 0xc000636000 0xc000907230 0xc000a36a80 0xc000b38d50 0xc000d3b6b0 0xc00137f380 0xc0013bf800 0xc001cc00c0 0xc002111d10 0xc0029d1f20 0xc002a0f320] Cx}
Year Published:  1973
Pages:  270pp   ISBN:  0-385-04831-9
  Dewey:  320.531
Resource Type:  Book
Cx Number:  CX6566

Representative democracy in every industrially advanced country is in a state of profound crisis. But we have been accustomed for so long to accept democracy in the form of its outward appearances and parliamentary institutions that its decay often does not become apparent to us until those institutions have been either brushed aside or reduced to a purely decorative role.

Abstract: 
Gorz belongs to the oft-suppressed 'third tradition' of socialism: the tradition of libertarian socialism that is fiercely critical of both social democracy and Leninism. At the same time, he stresses the need for a revolutionary party -- but a mass, democratic party.
Although a collection of essays, this book is remarkably unified in the development of its arguments. He deals with a number of fundamental issues: imperialism, unions, functions of a revolutionary party, reformism, the "ideological front", the state, work, lesiure and culture, changes in the working class.

Excerpt:
Andre Gorz writes: The fact that there is "revolutionary potential" does not, however, mean that revolution is "ripe" or is "maturing" spontaneously within the masses. It means only that the working class has old and new motives for not being reconciled with capitalist exploitation and that in favorable circumstances these motives lead to action. Outbreaks of violent mass insurordination, though they may be construed as signs of a pre-revolutionary or (as in France) of a pre-insurrectional situation, endanger the survival of capitalism only if the seizure of power becomes an open issue in the course of mass action. And this in turn can happen only if mass action is led and organized in such a way as to build up within the factories and cities organs of direct popular power, such as workers' councils and citizens' councils. These organs of "dual power" become effective in taking power and in destroying the capitalist state when they are co-ordinated organizationally and unified ideologically by an overall political vision and a credible political leadership. Co-ordination and political-ideological vision and leadership must not be superimposed from outside: if they are to lead to the building of popular power and a new state, they must be internal to the mass struggles themselves, so as not to create from the outset a new social division between those who lead and those who are led, between the workers and their "spokesmen," between the masses and the vanguard, between state power and the people.
It is the actual process of revolutionary mass struggle and change that teaches the masses self-organization instead of subjection to power. To change minds and outlooks, to liberate the energies and imaginations that will look for new solutions and new political forms in keeping with liberated needs, there must be revolutionary action. Neither the needs nor the solutions can be blue-printed by a vanguard party. Hence the need for spontaneity in all genuine mass movements.
Conversly, the capacity to anticipate the possibility of new solutions -- new social and economic relations and a new way of life -- is a necessary element in mobilizing and liberating repressed aspirations and energies. Hence the tendency to voluntaristic and elitist forms of "vanguardism" which, when organizationally separated from the immediate struggles and aspirations of the masses, always degenerate into dogmatic, bureaucratic political machines or sects. One of the intrinsic difficulties of revolutionary leadership and education is that they can be entrusted to neither an "enlightened" and self-appointed vanguard, nor the spontaneity of the masses, who are never "ready" or "prepared" for revolution: revolution, in this respect, is always "premature."

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