Organizational flexibility in building revolutionary parties

Louis Paulsen: Whatever useful parties we can produce will look more like the 'Marxist-Leninist model' than anything else, because it works, and it's what we've traditionally used. Sure, some of them will be mass parties, and will therefore not much resemble politically homogeneous grouplets, but that doesn't mean that the grouplets will not have been crucial parts of their ancestry.

I'm not sure what you mean by the "Marxist Leninist model" or your statement that it "works."

In fact, the (alleged) Bolshevik "model" of a supposedly relatively homogeneous, tight-knit vanguard organization leading broader workers councils based on the factory proletariat in an insurrectional struggle centered in the most important cities has NEVER been repeated. In places where organs of dual power have arisen, these have almost invariably been nipped in the bud or defeated.

In Eastern Europe and North Korea, the "model" seems to have been occupation by the red army. In China, you had a lot of everything, but the overriding feature seems to have been a peasant rebellion. Vietnam was overwhelmingly a struggle for independence against direct foreign occupation. Cuba was something else again ... a vanguard that sprang directly from one of the bourgeois parties, outflanking on the left the established workers movement and parties, including the pro-Moscow Communists of the People's Socialist Party, using a strategic approach that, at first blush, seems to have more in common with Blanqui than Marx.

If what you mean is that after the expropriation of capitalist property, parties that describe themselves as M-L have been consolidated everywhere this took place, that is certainly true. Unfortunately, we are not yet faced with that situation. Then again I would not judge the balance sheet on all these parties taken as a whole as proof that the model works, given the results in Russia and Eastern Europe.

As to "grouplets" being "essential parts of the ancestry" of the revolutionary movements of tomorrow, I suppose that will inevitably be true enough, just as Babeuf's conspiracy of equals and the League of the Just were "essential" forerunners to Marx and Engels's Communist League. But that does not mean we need to repeat history, and form little sectlets that then have to be overcome.

We need to go back to Marx and Engels, to what they did and what they said. Marx and Engels weren't much in the party-building department, at least not organizationally.

The original group that became the Communist League they refused to join until it had come over fully to their positions. Although based in Paris, London, Brussels and other (non-German) citi