A Critique of "Wages of Rebellion The Moral Imperative of Revolt" Chris Hedges Nation Books, 2015.

February 1, 2017

by Lil Joe and David Moros

NOTE: Throughout this article critiques are made concerning statements and assertions made by Hedges from the writings of early 19th century revolutionary communist activists Blanqui and Bakunin. The critical comments on these statements are not attacks on these revolutionaries but in refutation of Hedges who lifted it from the writings of the two respected revolutionaries to use against communist revolution and its advocacy by Marx, and Marxism. It is made necessary because of the scandalous appeal to authority fallacy by means of which Hedges appropriate and/or "summarize" statements from their writings. Hedges is no revolutionary. To be so in an industrially advanced society as is contemporary America is to be a communist. He isn't even a 'rebel', as defined by Albert Camus, whom he also 'quotes' as an 'authority'. Appeal to authority is not the only fallacious 'method' used by Hedges behind whom he hides. But, also, as will become obvious to the reader, his usage of straw man fallacies - even out right lies!

Concerning the title. We can leave concerns about morality to religion or philosophy, to the realm of pure thought, but, as for revolutions in human society, here on planet Earth, they are a product of physical conditions, technological innovation and human relationships, matter in motion, the origin of which, had/have nothing whatsoever historically to do with an idea, Idealism or "morals". Revolutionary concepts in human minds are a manifestation of social conditions that were/are becoming unbearable for producing classes. Just as a butterfly might flutter evasively to avoid being consumed by a predator, an exploited group of humans will naturally try to get out from under, to overcome if not completely eliminate exploitative social relations altogether, consciously. Revolts and revolutions are based in material conditions, a product of discernible, explicable social conditions, not in "Moral Imperative".

Morals are relative and transitory. We would have to agree with Leon Trotsky when he analysed "morality" and wrote that it is ideology:

Bourgeois evolutionism halts impotently at the threshold of historical society because it does not wish to acknowledge the driving force in the evolution of social forms: the class struggle. Morality is one of the ideological functions in this struggle. The ruling class forces its ends upon society and habituates it into considering all those means which contradict its ends as immoral. That is the chief function of official morality. It pursues the idea of the "greatest possible happiness" not for the majority but for a small and ever diminishing minority. Such a regime could not have endured for even a week through force alone. It needs the cement of morality. The mixing of this cement constitutes the profession of the petty-bourgeois theoreticians, and moralists. They dabble in all colors of the rainbow but in the final instance remain apostles of slavery and submission. Leon Trotsky - Their Morals and Ours https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1938/morals/morals.htm

Part of Chris Hedges' objective with this book must be to discredit/destroy Marxism. For example:

Hedges Pg. 12-13
..."Bakunin, as Ulam points out, "never worked out a systematic philosophy of revolution or of socialism"....

It is intellectually cowardly and dishonest the way Hedges drops names and therefore transfers his own lies to soundbites attributed to other authors. Here Hedges hides behind the authority of the author, Ulam. Ulam had a full critique of Bakunin on hypocrisy vis-a-vis Marx and 'Marxism'. "In 1866 Bakunin abandoned the idea of state or centralized authority, and his ideas of what a secret society should be changed accordingly"

This is Bakunin's actual written position and advocacy of 'dictatorship':

"We are the most pronounced enemies of every sort of official power- even if it is an ultra-revolutionary power. We are the enemies of any sort of publicly declared dictatorship, we are social revolutionary anarchists. But, you will ask, if we are anarchists, by what right do we want to influence the people, and what methods will we use? Denouncing all power, with what sort of power, or rather by what sort of force, shall we direct a people's revolution? By a force that is invisible, that no one admits and that is not imposed on anyone, by the collective dictatorship of our organization which will be all the greater the more it remains unseen and undeclared, the more it is deprived of all official rights and significance...[Secret organizations] would finally have the strength of that close solidarity which binds isolated groups in one organic whole...These groups would not seek anything for themselves...and they would be in a position to direct popular movements...This is what I call the collective dictatorship of a secret organization. (Bakunin - Letter to Sergei Nechaev")

Bakunin and Hedges are sneaky and hypocritical whereas in the proletariat Marxism is revolutionary. Marx and Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto and in several interviews of Marx regarding the International Working-Men's Association:

"All previous historical movements were movements of minorities, or in the interest of minorities. The proletarian movement is the self-conscious, independent movement of the immense majority, in the interest of the immense majority. The proletariat, the lowest stratum of our present society, cannot stir, cannot raise itself up, without the whole superincumbent strata of official society being sprung into the air. Though not in substance, yet in form, the struggle of the proletariat with the bourgeoisie is at first a national struggle. The proletariat of each country must, of course, first of all settle matters with its own bourgeoisie. In depicting the most general phases of the development of the proletariat, we traced the more or less veiled civil war, raging within existing society, up to the point where that war breaks out into open revolution, and where the violent overthrow of the bourgeoisie lays the foundation for the sway of the proletariat. . . . The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to the other working-class parties. They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mold the proletarian movement. The immediate aim of the Communists is the same as that of all other proletarian parties: formation of the proletariat into a class, overthrow of the bourgeois supremacy, conquest of political power by the proletariat...the first step in the revolution by the working class is to raise the proletariat to the position of ruling class to win the battle of democracy. That is apparent to any political student. But those revolutions will be made by the majority. No revolution can be made by a party, but By a Nation".

Marx nor Engels ever advocated or argued for any 'vanguard party' lead by educated representatives of the bourgeois becoming socialist theoreticians and seizing power in the name of the proletariat. That is what Blanqui, Bakunin, Kautsky, Lenin , Trotsky and Stalin advocated and formulated in various ways. Indeed, it is not Marx; but, it is Hedges who precisely advocated this in part from the previous full quote - he wrote:

Hedges Pg. 82 "Unlike past revolutionary struggles in industrial societies, we cannot rely on the industrial or agrarian muscle of workers. The dispossessed working poor, along with unemployed college graduates and students and unemployed journalists, artists, lawyers, and teachers, will form our movement . . . "

Thus puts to lie Hedges straw man while he is hiding behind Bakunin's name authority and credibility among anarchists:

Hedges continues:

". . . But Bakunin, however inchoate his own ideas were about the new society, was at the same time remarkably prescient about Marxism. He warned that it would lead to a centralized and oppressive state. He foresaw what would happen to workers once their self-identified representatives in the revolutionary vanguard took power. 'Those previous workers having just become rulers or representatives of the people will cease being workers; they will look at the workers from their heights, they will represent not the people but themselves....He who doubts it does not know human nature'.31 Bakunin grew to hate Marx and Marxism. But he never offered much in the way of a concrete vision to replace the capitalist state he sought to destroy. . . The Russian anarchist Alexander Herzen, although he did not embrace Bakunin's lusty call for action, violence, and sometimes terrorism, also detested Marx. But Herzen, like Bakunin, offered little more than hazy notions of voluteerism and autonomous collectives and communes to replace the state....

Now Hedges turns to the credibility of communist conspirator Louis Blanqui:

"The remarkable French revolutionary Louis Auguste Blanqui, like Bakunin, took part in a series of French revolts...Blanqui is an important, if neglected, nineteenth-century theorist, for unlike nearly all of his contemporaries, he dismissed the naive belief, central to Marx, that human history is a linear progression toward equality and greater morality. He warned that this absurd positivism is the lie perpetuated by oppressors:... 'Humanity,' he wrote, 'is never stationary. It advances or goes backwards. Its progressive march leads it to equality. Its regressive march goes back through every stage of privilege to human slavery, the final word of the right to property."

This is just another of Hedge's straw man of his own making. Marx never advocated the Enlightenment of idea of progress qua "human history is a linear progression toward equality and greater morality." That was advocated e.g. in Germany by Kant "On History" and Hegel "Philosophy of History". It is rather Hedges who is presenting bastardized versions of Kant's 'categorical imperative' and Hegel's 'unhappy consciousness'. Marx to the contrary rejected this "Idea" e.g. 'supra-history'.

Hedges is the one lying! Blanqui in the cited article was attacking positivism and not Marx's materialist conception of history. See Blanqui's entire article for yourself @ Works of Auguste Blanqui 1869 Notes on Positivism. Perhaps Bakunin grew to dislike Marx, personally, because Marx and Engels got Bakunin and his faction thrown out of the First International. But Bakunin did respect Marx as a theoretician and Marxism generally as he translated "The Communist Manifesto" and "Capital: A Critique of Political Economy" into Russian.

Marx in an interview explained his own rejection of positivism:

Q: Some people have thought they saw signs of a positivist element in your organization.

Dr. M.: No such thing. We have positivists among us, and others not of our body who work as well. But this is not by virtue of their philosophy, which will have nothing to do with popular government, as we understand it, and which seeks only to put a new hierarchy in place of the old one.

Hedges Pg. 14
It was Banqui who first used the phrase "dictatorship of the proletariat". Blanqui's call for a small, conspiratorial group to seize power in the name of the working class was a tactic that would be successfully employed by Lenin, who then set out to dismantle the autonomous soviets and workers' committees. Lenin, with a handful of subordinates, carried out what became, in essence, a right-wing counterrevolution that introduced a system of repressive, centralized state capitalism and state terror. ..The question of how to carry out a successful revolution, which occupied much of Lenin's thought, brings with it the question of whether the ruthless tactics and a small, disciplined class of professional revolutionaries that make a revolution possible make an open society impossible. Any revolution, once begun,carries the potential for fanaticism. Revolutionaries in power can erect, in the name of a glorious utopian ideal, a system of state terror, as demonstrated by the Leninist and Stalinists, the ideological heirs of the French Jacobins."

Hedges Pg. 18
Revolutions can be crushed by force - as amply demonstrated by history - or hijacked by individuals, such as Lenin, Trotsky, and later Joseph Stalin, or movements that betray the populace.

Hedges Pg. 86
"Violent uprisings are always tragic, and violent revolutions always empower revolutionaries, such as Lenin and the Bolsheviks, who are as ruthless as their adversaries. Violence inevitably becomes the principle form of coercion on both sides of the divide."

Hedges Pg. 149
"America's episodic violence, while dwarfed by the campaign of genocide and mass extermination carried out by totalitarian systems led by the Nazis, Joseph Stalin, and Mao Tse-tung, is nevertheless..."as American as cherry pie."

Is Chris Hedges a (petty bourgeois) capitalist propagandist posing as a "rebel"? He tacitly supports anarchism but does not discuss the historical origins of the state, or it's transitory nature. In fact, he writes about anarchists in a different tone than he does Marxists. He mildly scolds Bakunin and the anarchists for not having a "concrete vision" but equates Marxism with "state terror" or "centralized and oppressive state". He presents no data to support his position.

Nor does he discuss the property question. Who should control the social productive forces in society? The producers or the owners? He doesn't support the seizing of the forces of social production and distribution by the working class and holding them as the common property of the proletariat. Rather, In this connection Hedges denounces the expressions of peasant's and worker's power and the Bolshevik transfer of the productive forces from the private property of labour appropriating landlords and capitalists to Russian Soviet producing classes as 'counterrevolution'!!

Nor does Hedges regard that "property" is the reason for the state in the first place. The state will fade away soon after it's raison d'etre, it's reason for existence, i.e. private property (in land, technology, "intellectual" property, the social productive forces and their products generally) is abolished.

Chris Hedges attacks working class revolutionaries - Jacobins, Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Mao - while praising the "great wave of revolution" concomitant with the collapse of the USSR. This "great wave" was actually a counter-revolution. The means of production went from state owned common ownership into private hands. Hedges does not identify how, the selling of the means of production and distribution in Eastern and Central European former Soviet republics (in a planned economy with full employment and equal access of all to means of subsistence) that resulted in mass unemployment, homelessness, hunger, prostitution and organised crime can be defined as 'democracy' constituting a 'revolution'. A Pulitzer Prize winning ideological agent of US imperialist media propaganda - i.e. The New York Times - Hedges has endorsed these empirical economic regressions as 'revolutions'! Hedges brags about having been in Central and Eastern Europe during these reactionary economic regressions.

Hedges calls revolutions counter-revolutions and counter-revolutions 'revolutions'. By leaving the economic and class conflicts out of the equation, Hedges calls Robespierre and the Jacobin role in the French Revolution's Committee of Public Safety and Lenin and the Bolsheviks role in the Soviet Revolution 'right-wing counter-revolutionary dictatorships'.

See: http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/economic-reforms-transition-market-based-economy_en
and, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privatization_in_Russia

Hedges' connecting Marxism with "a centralized and oppressive state" is a straw man argument. Hedges asserts that Bakunin was "prescient about Marxism", then associates "revolutionary vanguard" as well as "a centralized and oppressive state" with Marxism. Hedges links these concepts together (in the reader's mind) into a unity, Marxism=Leninism="centralized and oppressive state". He then attacks his own creation. By "a centralized and oppressive state" Hedges must falsely be equating Marxism to Stalinism. Another straw man! This is the same propaganda the ruling class in the USA disseminated during the 1960's, 70's, 80's... equating Marxism, Leninism, Communism, Stalinism and dictatorship.

Marx and Engels did not formulate, promote or support "vanguardism". The concept of the vanguard came from Lenin via Blanqui. his is Marx and Engels' actual position vis-a-vis a working class revolution and "vanguardism":

"That the emancipation of the working classes must be conquered by the working classes themselves, that the struggle for the emancipation of the working classes means not a struggle for class privileges and monopolies, but for equal rights and duties, and the abolition of all class rule; "That the economical subjection of the man of labor to the monopolizer of the means of labor - that is, the source of life - lies at the bottom of servitude in all its forms, of all social misery, mental degradation, and political dependence; "That the economical emancipation of the working classes is therefore the great end to which every political movement ought to be subordinate as a means;... The International Workingmen's Association 1864 General Rules, October 1864 https://www.marxists.org/history/international/iwma/documents/1864/rules.htm

Marxism, according to Hedges, is a "centralised and oppressive state." To do this Chris Hedges distorts what Marxism actually is. Marx nor Engles ever said that the producing classes, by taking state power, would or should create a "centralised and oppressive state." Marx and Engles recognised not only the historical nature of the state but also that the state of an exploiting class must be centralized and oppressive. Centralised in terms of representing a small fraction of the total population and oppressive in terms of keeping down the producing classes.

The baseless slander of revolutionary theory (Marxism) by Hedges is designed to distract the working class' attention from it. The state (whether representing slave labor based social production, serf labour based social production or wage labor based social production, in any region of the globe) in fact, is a product of historical conditions and comes into existence as a social phenomenon because a society has been split into classes based upon exploiter exploited social relationships. Class divisions necessitate the creation of a state for the purpose of, in ruling class theory, "moderating" class conflict as an "impartial social institution".

In Marxist theory, the state evolved as an institution only after private property was established to protect the appropriating class' economic interests (the beginning of politics in human societies). And this fact explains the necessity of the oppressive nature of the state inasmuch as there exists an exploiting class alongside an exploited class, a producing class involved in social production vis-a-vis an appropriating class that controls the society's productive forces, the social production process, and determines the distribution of the products of this social production process.

"The state, therefore, has not existed from all eternity. There have been societies which have managed without it, which had no notion of the state or state power. At a definite stage of economic development, which necessarily involved the cleavage of society into classes, the state became a necessity because of this cleavage. We are now rapidly approaching a stage in the development of production at which the existence of these classes has not only ceased to be a necessity, but becomes a positive hindrance to production. They will fall as inevitably as they once arose. The state inevitably falls with them. The society which organizes production anew on the basis of free and equal association of the producers will put the whole state machinery where it will then belong-into the museum of antiquities, next to the spinning wheel and the bronze ax." Frederick Engels Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/origin-family/ch09.htm

Society cleft into classes, private property, is in fact today still holding back the progress of humankind and at the same time causing a mass extinction through the profit motive, exploitation, commodity production, competition between capitalists in social production and distribution of commodities, nation-state competition, weapons production and economic wars perpetuating and protecting private property! But Chris Hedges refuses to acknowledge these obvious social contradictions because he's to busy thinkin' up ways of preventing working class revolution!

If it's anti-Marxist then it's anti-working class necessarily as Marxism is social science from a producing/exploited class view of social life.

What "ruthless tactics" is Hedges talking about? The October Revolution was almost bloodless!

The insurrection was mostly bloodless, with a final assault being launched against the Winter Palace, poorly defended by 3,000 cadets, officers, cossacks and female soldiers. The assault was delayed throughout the day, both because functioning artillery could not be found, and because the Bolsheviks feared violence when the insurrection had so far been peaceful. At 6:15 p.m., a large group of artillery cadets abandoned the palace, taking their artillery with them; at 8:00 p.m., 200 cossacks also left the palace and returned to their barracks. While the cabinet of the provisional government within the palace debated what action to take, the Bolsheviks issued an ultimatum to surrender. Workers and soldiers occupied the last of the telegraph stations, cutting off the cabinet's communications with loyal military forces outside the city. As the night progressed, crowds of insurgents surrounded the palace, and many infiltrated it. While soviet historians and officials tended to depict the event in heroic terms, the insurrection and even the seizure of the Winter Palace happened almost without resistance.[ At 9:45 p.m, the cruiser Aurora fired a blank shot from the harbor. By 2:00 a.m on 8 November [O.S. 26 October] 1917 Bolshevik forces entered the palace, and after sporadic gunfire throughout the building, the cabinet of the provisional government surrendered. After a single day of revolution, 18 people had been arrested and two killed. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/October_Revolution

THE SLOGANS OF THE REVOLUTION had been "Land, Bread, and Peace." The peace slogan had been embodied in the Decree on Peace, passed on November 8th. The first Decree of the Soviets was to make their exit from the imperialist war. Immediately after the assumption of power, the Soviet Government issued by wireless their proposals for an armistice on all fronts as a preliminary for a general peace. The Allied Governments, which had refused to recognise the new regime, could give no official or responsible answer. The French and British embassies, however, sent a message to General Dukhonin, Kerensky's commander-in-chief, who had refused to accept his supersession by the Soviet commander-in-chief Krylenko, informing him that the Allies most strongly objected to any cessation of hostilities, and urging upon him the further prosecution of the war. https://www.marxists.org/archive/arnot-page/1937/russ_rev_2/02.htm#f2

Hedges pg. 1, 17
"unfettered corporate capitalism"pg1 "totalitarian corporate power" "corporate state" "inverted totalitarianism"pg17

By changing the terms that define the socio-political economic structure, Hedges is attempting to redefine capitalism itself. He intimates that it's not capitalism itself but these distortions, aberrations of it that is the root cause of society in decline. But it's capitalist relations of production and exchange, private ownership of the productive forces, commodity production by wage labor and distribution of these commodities by the "free market" that's at the root.

Hedges Pg. 61
"Snowden had no choice, just as we now have no choice. He defied the formal institutions of government because they do not work. And all who seek reforms must follow his example." . . . "The public's inability to grasp the pathology of our oligarchic corporate elite makes it difficult to organise effective resistance."

Hedges appears to be reducing the behavior of the ruling classes to psychology by writing such vacuous analysis as "pathology of our oligarchic corporate elite". Revolution is about changing the relations of social production and distribution in society, not seeking "reforms". Reforms leave the social productive forces in private hands producing commodities. Revolutionaries want to make these social productive forces and their products common property. It is not about individual pathology.

Here's how Marx interpreted capitalist and landlord actions:

To prevent possible misunderstanding, a word. I paint the capitalist and the landlord in no sense couleur de rose [i.e., seen through rose-tinted glasses]. But here individuals are dealt with only in so far as they are the personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class-relations and class-interests. My standpoint, from which the evolution of the economic formation of society is viewed as a process of natural history, can less than any other make the individual responsible for relations whose creature he socially remains, however much he may subjectively raise himself above them https://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1867-c1/p1.htm

Marx here points out that capitalists act as "personifications of economic categories, embodiments of particular class-relations and class-interests" that evolved beyond/without/outside of the consciousness of these human beings. Capitalists are capital personified and capital's life blood is to constantly augment itself. Capital wants to constantly grow larger. Capitalist enterprises must increase profits from year to year or perish, as capital. It is the vast majority proletarian historical role to overthrow the capitalist class and their state and thus to eliminate once and for all the state, private property and class divisions. Today's wars, poverty, pollution, environmental degradation, etc, are a direct result of capitalism's drive to increased profit which means selling more commodities year on year and not any "pathology of our oligarchic corporate elite".

Hedges Pg. 63
"My hatred of authority, along with my loathing for the pretensions, heartlessness, and sense of entitlement of the rich, comes from living among the privileged."

Hedges poses as an Anarchist with his supposed "hatred of authority" i.e. the state. But, again he does not discuss the historical evolution of, nor demand the destruction of the state as anarchists generally do.

Hedges Pg. 186
"...Our mechanical drones still circle the skies delivering death. Our soldiers and Marines still pump bullets into mud-walled villages. Our artillery and missiles still raze homes. Our torturers still torture. Our politicians and generals still lie."

"Our" drones, "our" soldiers and Marines, "our" artillery and missiles, "our" torturers? Does Hedges identify with these drones, soldiers and Marines, artillery and missiles, torturers and the ruling class that control and deploy them? Revolutionaries would say ruling class "drones" "soldiers and Marines" "artillery and missiles" and "torturers" that they have at their disposal.

Hedges Pg. 203
"I do not share Ludwig's Christian fundamentalism...but I do share his belief that when human law comes into conflict with what is moral, human law must be defied."

Hedges is sayin' first and foremost that he believes in Christianism but not "Ludwig's ...fundamentalism". But whence the "moral" yardstick comes from, Hedges has no data. Hedges is positing that "moral law" precedes human law. He's claiming that some absolute form of "moral law" has existed eternally in some netherworld like Plato's "theory of forms". Morals are relative to mode of production and distribution, a product of historically determined relations of production and distribution and are not absolute.

The point of revolution is not to defy human law but to change an economic structure of society that has become a hindrance to human advancement.

Hedges Pg. 212
"The rebel, possessed of "sublime madness," speaks words that resonate only with those who can see through the facade. The rebel functions as a prophet." . . . "...The rebel expects nothing and gets nothing."

Does the "rebel" rebel for nothing? Maybe a "rebel" like Hedges does but revolutionaries act to free the social productive forces from the private property of the capitalist class. Chris Hedges prefers rebellion to revolution.

"In religion, a prophet is an individual who has claimed to have been contacted by the supernatural or the divine, and to speak for them, serving as an intermediary with humanity, delivering this newfound knowledge from the supernatural entity to other people." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prophet

Perhaps Hedges is counting on God to intervene through a human "prophet" to affect his rebellion?

"Every national church or religion has established itself by pretending some special mission from God, communicated to certain individuals. The Jews have their Moses; the Christians their Jesus Christ, their apostles and saints; and the Turks their Mahomet, as if the way to God was not open to every man alike. Each of those churches show certain books, which they call revelation, or the word of God. The Jews say, that their word of God was given by God to Moses, face to face; the Christians say, that their word of God came by divine inspiration: and the Turks say, that their word of God (the Koran) was brought by an angel from Heaven. Each of those churches accuse the other of unbelief; and for my own part, I disbelieve them all." Thomas Paine http://www.ushistory.org/paine/reason/reason1.htm

And what is Hedges' prescription?

Hedges Pg. 20
The rebel, possessed by inner demons and angels, is driven by a vision. I do not know if the new revolutionary wave and the rebels produced by it will succeed. But I do know that without these rebels we are doomed.

Hedges Pg. 82
"Unlike past revolutionary struggles in industrial societies, we cannot rely on the industrial or agrarian muscle of workers. The dispossessed working poor, along with unemployed college graduates and students and unemployed journalists, artists, lawyers, and teachers, will form our movement, while workers in Asia and the global south - where our manufacturing is now located - will have to organize and fight the industrialists through the traditional tactics of strikes, work stoppages, and unionizing. The fight for a higher minimum wage is crucial to uniting service workers with the alienated college-educated sons and daughters of the old middle class in the United States.... Once they unite, those who have had their expectations dashed and concluded that they will not be able to rise economically and socially will become our triggers of revolt."

What are these proletarians uniting for? To rebel? To what end? Hedges doesn't elaborate. Furthermore Hedges uses the terms rebellion and revolution interchangeably but there's a big difference.

Albert Camus wrote: "In theory, the word revolution retains the meaning that it has in astronomy. It is a movement that describes a complete circle, that leads from one form of government to another after a complete transition. A change of regulations concerning property without a corresponding change of government is not a revolution, but a reform. There is no kind of economic revolution, whether its methods are violent or pacific, which is not, at the same time, manifestly political. Revolution can already be distinguished, in this way, from rebellion. The warning given to Louis XVI: 'No, sire, this is not a rebellion, it is a revolution," accents the essential difference. It means precisely that "it is the absolute certainty of a new form of government.' Rebellion is, by nature, limited in scope. It is no more than an incoherent pronouncement." - Albert Camus, The Rebel: An Essay on Man in Revolt

A revolution involves new relations of production and distribution as well as a new form of government or state or the elimination of it altogether in the case of the communist revolution. Rebellions leave the productive forces in the same hands. Revolutions precipitate thoroughgoing reorganisation of society while a rebellion doesn't. This is the reason Hedges advocates rebellion and denounces 'revolutionaries'.

The producing classes in the US and the world need revolutionary struggle not a rebellion. A rebellion will get proletarians thrown in jail and prison and living under martial law and or a police state. Revolutionary workers will put end to class and political domination, the State.

The basic thought running through the Manifesto - that economic production, and the structure of society of every historical epoch necessarily arising therefrom, constitute the foundation for the political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently (ever since the dissolution of the primaeval communal ownership of land) all history has been a history of class struggles, of struggles between exploited and exploiting, between dominated and dominating classes at various stages of social evolution; that this struggle, however, has now reached a stage where the exploited and oppressed class (the proletariat) can no longer emancipate itself from the class which exploits and oppresses it (the bourgeoisie), without at the same time forever freeing the whole of society from exploitation, oppression, class struggles - this basic thought belongs solely and exclusively to Marx. (1) F. Engels, The Communist Manifesto, Preface to the 1883 German edition Communist Manifesto (Preface)



LabourPartyPraxis discussion - subscribe