(This post inspired by a recent @dusky-sparrow post)
When I joined my first revolutionary party, I hadn’t read *any* Marx or Engels or Lenin or Trotsky. All I had was a burning rage and hatred of Tories. It was that party that gave me The State And Revolution, made me read it and then made me deliver a talk on it. Not the party line but what *I* thought of it. They basically educated me to a post-grad level, not an easy job since all I wanted to do was brick coppers and generally fuck shit up. Education is key with any true Marxist party.
Tech terms are important precisely because they are specific. If someone calls a country a ‘deformed workers’ state’ then that is entirely different from calling it ‘state capitalist.’ Are the people running these states a class or are they a caste? Those terms may all seem very nebulous but it fundamentally changes the nature of the political work that has to be carried out.
ANYHOO… that’s my 2p. Nowadays, I would temper the Trad Marxism with a whole dollop of Reich but that’s just me. 🙂
Thanks for your response! It’s always interesting to hear other people’s experiences, and it sounds like yours is a good example of the importance of providing a good and accessible education to people that want it.
Even if not everyone wants to or can invest the time in learning to such a high level, it’s important for any educator to able to cover the basics and tailor the education to the needs of the learner- as you say, there are some more technical terms that are fundamentally important; it’s better to explain these than just drop them in an attempt at over-simplification.
Yes, theory is crucial. Marxists are vanguardists; it’s one of our primary differences with anarchists. What use is an uneducated vanguard?? Also, how dare someone claim a leading position in working class movements with a dilettante’s attitude towards the history of class struggle.
Events are where we actually learn. All the book-reading in the world isn’t as educational as spending 24 hours on a picket line, shoulder to shoulder with your comrades, with your class.
Even though I’d read Lenin and Trotsky by then, I learned more on this night than from any book -> http://www.bzangygroink.co.uk/wordpress/archives/1999/08/20/how-i-did-my-knee-in/
So, to anyone starting off in socialism, I would say: GET OUT THERE! Organise demos, print out manifestos, discuss what you believe with other socialists.
Socialism in one person is as impossible as socialism in one country.