Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line

Playing Tin Soldiers Is Not Important

First Printed: Discussion Bulletin, #7, October 29, 1979.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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REM Executive Statement: A formal reply from the Red Eureka Movement Executive was requested to the article “Party Building is Important” in Discussion Bulletin No. 6. Two draft replies were both approved by the Executive: “Playing Tin Soldiers is Not Important” and “Party Building is Bullshit” which appears below.

* * *

The article in Discussion Bulletin No.6, “party Building is Important”, draws attention to the slackness and disorganisation which exist in REM, in particular the failure to carry out prior decisions. A perfectly valid criticism. At least some of the cases that were a cause of concern are being rectified to some extent.

The article also quite correctly points to the need to develop our political line. On this question some small progress is being made through the recent establishment of regular political discussion and the formal study of economics by some people. The greater circulation of ideas through the Discussion Bulletin will also help things along.

The references listed at the end of the article plus the Lenin quote cited all strongly emphasize the need to fight petit-bourgeois tendencies towards disintegration and disorganisation, and the need to build an effective machine along democratic centralist lines. This is quite relevant to our present position.

Where disagreements do emerge, however, is on the notion of party building as such. We are a tiny group, with no sign of becoming in the immediate future, a sizeable or influential force. Seeing ourselves as the advanced or organised detachment of the working class seems rather unreal, given the above plus our lack of political line and limited prowess in providing leadership.

It is important that we do not get dressed up in full kit and end up only playing with tin soldiers. Looking at the tiny groups around the world that describe themselves as parties, tin soldiers take such forms as unreadable or useless “newspapers”, phrasemongering impersonations of a political program and posturing in place of class leadership; all this in enclosed isolation from the real world.

Party building in one lounge room can be the source of the most childish delusions and a real sectarian block to forging links with other advanced elements, or anyone else for that matter. Leninist parties are mass parties, anything less are propaganda circles.

Moreover it is possibly wrong to see the party as growing out of REM. There is no necessary reason for believing that the people who would jell into a party would not come from a number of areas.

Leninist organization and discipline by all means, but let’s avoid silly games.