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POLI 364 - Luxemburg: Organizational Questions for Russian Social Democracy

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Political Science
POLI 364
William Clare Roberts

Organizational Questions for Russian Social Democracy 83102The problem now is not how to wage a revolution but how to ensure that the coming revolution is socialist democratic in natureChallenges that are unique to Russian socialists1Lack of capitalismIf capitalism is supposed to provide the tools for its own overthrow then the problem faced by Russian communists is that their country hasnt developed in a capitalist manner sufficiently for these tools to manifest 2Autocracys suppression of the bourgeoisieAutocracy has created a veiled bourgeoisie which is problematic as it is the bourgeoisie that instills in the working class the rudiments of political solidarity 83 Therefore Russian proletarian are still atomised alienated and Russian socialists must work to forge them into a class organization3Lack of liberal democracyNumber two above must be achieved but without the benefit of the formal guarantees commonly found under a bourgeoisdemocratic setup 84 What is the answer CentralismBut wait It is true that soc dem has a tendency towards centralism due to its striving to unite the proletariat across all other lines of identity But how much is too muchLenins approach is very similar to the Blanquist Yet Blanqui did not see the independent action of the masses as the engine of revolution but rather his group of elites Soc dem depends on the former and therefore requires a completely different form of organization Luxemburg accuses Lenin of not recognizing this needHowever it seems more likely to me that Lenin agreed with Blanqui and disagreed with Luxemburg on who the engines of revolution were After all he discounted the Russian proletariat because they were too alienated hence why he pursued a successful vanguardist approach to revolutionLuxemburg also criticizes the Blanquist elitism for having little connection with class struggle and sees instead totalitarian control by the Centre of even its subordinates within the party Ordinary members of the organisation became simple executive organs carrying out the orders of a will fixed beforehand and outside of their particular sphere of activity They became the instruments of a Central Committee 87
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