Vanguardism

No form of organisation is problem free – every organisation can be recuperated by state and capital, that’s a given as far as I’m concerned. We want to be consciously avoiding he stuff that leads down paths we don’t want to be on, building that into the way we organize,  etc…

But leaving aside the specific organisational forms, just the idea of vangaurdism and the way it frames class struggle, the way it imagines revolution, that in itself is a massive problem.

“Vanguard” is a military metaphor, it means the front line in a battle, the “advanced guard”. If you are at the vanguard of class struggle, you are on the front lines… but how does membership of a specific party put you at the front lines of class struggle? There is no single most important or defining battle front in the daily struggle between classes at which you can position an organisation.

If what you are doing is watching for the many different battle fronts opening up and then attempting to intervene on the side of the working class, then in what sense are you at the “vanguard”? You’re a rearguard party if anything, because you don’t start shit and you don’t lead shit. You’re the vanguard who turns up the next day…

The “vanguard” part becomes something you attribute to yourselves purely based on your contention that you have the best analysis, that you are “the most class conscious” – which, firstly is a matter of subjective opinion and is also completely circular, in that the benchmark of who’s “class conscious” and who isn’t is determined by how much they agree with your organisation…

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