Ben Seattle's Farewell SpeechHi everyone,
I am unsubbing from L-I and Proyect's list for the next few weeks so that I can concentrate on other work. Both are fine lists--but I find that I am checking my mail too often and am beginning to feel like a laboratory rat pressing a lever in the hopes of getting a reward.
Before I sign off, I wanted to make a few comments.
I am sending this to L-I and will cc Proyect's list. L-I is a bit closer to my heart because the focus there (to the extent that there _is_ a focus) is more explicitly directed at the creation of a communist movement and, in particular, at the overthrow of bourgeois rule.
Those who are easily offended should save themselves some trouble and hit the delete key before reading any further.
Lists such as these are destined to become extremely powerful weapons in the hands of the proletariat. Many here are skeptical about this. And such skepticism is the most natural thing in the world.
All the same, it is going to happen.
The revolution in communications, still in its infancy, will transform much of the economics and politics of the next century. It will also, in many ways, transform the nature of our tasks.
I have concluded that principle _practical task_ that will unite all those whose primary aim is the overthrow of bourgeois rule--will be the creation of an electronic news service that will not use copyright and which will be open to all trends.
I have concluded that the principle _theoretical task_ necessary for the creation of a communist movement capable of mobilizing millions--is the development of a theory of workers' rule that is *fit for the modern world*. Such a theory must include an understanding of how the victorious proletariat will break the power of the bourgeoisie and defeat all attempts to organize a bourgeois restoration. And, for this purpose, such a theory must understand of how the masses will wield the weapon of the revolution in communications.
Many people will argue that a theory of workers' rule is irrelevant for our present tasks. Others will argue that such a theory already exists.
To those in the first school I reply: Now is the time to hit your delete key--what follows is not for you.
To those in the second school I reply: You are dreaming.
I have been following these lists fairly closely for about two years. I have concluded that nearly everyone who is explicitly for workers' rule (ie: the "dictatorship of the proletariat") is unable to decisively break with the idea that workers' rule will require a "Ministry of Truth" with the authority to decide what political ideas workers will be allowed to hear, talk about or put on their web pages.
But those who cannot break with the need for a "Ministry of Truth" only show that they cannot understand any of the fundamental principles which will guide proletarian democracy in the modern world. The right to unfettered access to the net will be decisive for workers building _independent_ organizations with the ability to confront incompetence or betrayal by any section of their own state.
Until there is a decisive break with the concept of the "Ministry of Truth" (on L-I this ministry was identified with a party that would have a monopoly of power) then we do not *have* a theory of the DoP that is fit for the modern world. We have instead a theory of the DOP that is only fit for DOPES.
Before millions of workers can unite under the banner of communism--there must be a communist movement which is worthy of their loyalty and allegiance. No such movement at present exists. Nor can such a movement exist until there is a decisive confrontation with the bankrupt conceptions which make it impossible to intelligently talk about (or even intelligently think about) a world without bourgeois rule.
Ben Seattle ----//-// 12.Oct.98 ben@Leninism.org www.Leninism.org
[More on the attitude of a future workers' state toward the rights of workers to unfettered access to the net can be found in chapter 8 of "How to Build the Party of the Future", available at my website. An experimental platform for an electronic news service can be found at "Media Abstract Discussion" available at www.pix.org. There I have set up a database (updatable by anyone over the web) for information about articles in revolutionary newspapers and journals. The database is still nearly empty but it *is* functional at this very moment--and anyone who finds an article that they would like to share with present or future readers is invited to upload information (ie: title, author, name of journal, summary and/or comments) about the article today. Finally, in the event that there are any replies to this, please cc me (ben@Leninism.org) since I am no longer subscribed.]