Thursday, November 01, 2012


Yesterday I completed the posting at this blog of an eight part serialization of the late Tom Clark's work “State and Counter Revolution: A Critical History of the Marxist Theory of the State.”  At the bottom of this post you will find a new way to link to this entire work at one location.

Tom, who is now deceased, argued in the book that what has passed for a proletarian movement (communist,  socialist, Marxist, Marxist Leninist) is nothing of the kind.  He argues that what is alleged to be a movement of, by, and/or for (take your pick) the proletariat is, in fact, a movement OF, BY, AND FOR the petty bourgeois.  He contends this historical movement has been dominated by the petit bourgeois and has consequently acted on behalf of that class, its interests and its privileges.  He argues that the entire history of this movement, call it Marxist, socialist, or communist has been nothing but a counter revolution against the interests of the proletariat.  As Tom writes:

“The central (and for the socialist intellectual, most abrasive) conclusion from this analysis is that Marxism-Leninism is not a proletarian, but a middle class ideology, and that what has occurred in the socialist movement over the past hundred plus years has been a historical counter-revolution against the working class.  

“The very people, who, with the best of intentions and often at personal sacrifice, gave themselves to the cause of working class emancipation, have in reality been the leading force in an objective class effort to perpetuate their own social privileges over the mass of workers.  Where the communist parties, the vanguard detachments of the middle class, have taken state power, they have instituted a kind of “capitalism with a human face”, an officially benevolent dictatorship that enforces class peace through bribes and subsistence guarantees, but which ultimately rests, like all bourgeois governments, on the power of armed force.” (Introduction: S and CR)

While I do not agree with all of Tom's conclusions, I do believe he has made a very compelling argument.  I do agree with his contention that petty bourgeois intellectuals have had a very negative impact on the working class and its emancipation.  I do believe that these petty bourgeois Marxist intellectuals could do nothing but be true to their own class backgrounds and inadvertently or not work to perpetuate their privileges and work to perpetuate their domination over the working class and work to perpetuate capitalism as well.

I should note that I I was a member in the group Tom founded, Communist Workers Group (ML), during parts of the 1970s.  However, I left the CWG several years before this work was written and before the research was done.  In the most simple of terms, my departure from the group was based on my belief at the time that the CWG had become too dogmatic and sectarian, and was lacking in practical work.  I also held a profoundly different view in relation to white supremacy, white skin privilege and racism then did Tom or the CWG as a whole.

I am happy to announce that this week  “State and Counter Revolution: A Critical History of the Marxist Theory of the State”  became available in its entirety at the Marxist Internet Archive  along with many other works of the Communist Workers Group (ML).

To view "The State and Counter-Revolution: A Critical History of the Marxist Theory of the State" in it's entirety click here.

To view a background of the Communist Workers Group (ML) which I believe to be important in understanding the analysis that led to this work click here.

To view other writings of the Communist Workers Group (ML) click here and then scroll down.

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