14 September 2010

I think Michael Lebowitz is a pretty cool guy.

eh upsets right-wing factions in the PSUV and doesn't afraid of anything:

The revolutionary intellectual must be subject to discipline by the revolutionary party, a party dedicated to building socialism for the 21st century. The revolutionary intellectual must take guidance from that revolutionary party.

However, before my statement generates a hailstorm of shoes thrown at me, let me make one thing quite clear. We need to distinguish clearly between the revolutionary party and the party of the moment. [...] the distinction that I am making is between the revolutionary party, the party of the socialist future, and the party of the moment. It is the former to which revolutionary intellectuals must be disciplined.

I concur, heartily. Note also, my libertarian or anarcho colleagues, that Prof. Lebowitz's vision of socialism is horizontal and "protagonistic", rather than a 20th century centralised Leviathan model. He doesn't say so, but I think it's implicit that that's what the "party of the socialist future" must look like as well.

I was privileged to meet Prof. Lebowitz at a conference last year. I think I had a brief disagreement with him on whether a healthy socialist country could be a one-party state (me: "no", him: "maybe"), but he's definitely one of the good guys. And I definitely agree with him that Venezuela is crucially important right now. (So, probably, is Nepal.)

Note that the form of organisation of a political party, which must be based on science and the observable fact, must be rigorously democratic; whereas a spiritual order must be top-down in that the students are learning from the example of the Master, rather than by experiment. In this, I think I resile from early CM statements that one organisation could be both things at once.