Debate: Revolutionary Reformism?

By a former Red Party member.

TFM has received the following article.

In a debate post published on November 28 [by Tjen Folket Media] entitled “An Article on People’s War”, some particularly important and underemphasized points have been illuminated.

The author tells how different parts of the so-called “left wing” will talk about revolutionary theory, but seldom practice it themselves. This is a very underemphasized subject. Hopefully this humble comment can contribute to placing more focus on this very absent debate among the left.

Says One Thing – Does Another

It is difficult for young revolutionaries to orient themselves in a political climate where different, smaller (allegedly radical) groups, along with individuals in larger groups like the Red Party and the Socialist Left Party, talk about wanting revolution as quickly as possible, but do not appear to work towards this goal in practice. Isn’t this strange?

Theory vs. Praxis?

There is a social phenomenon that in sociological terms is referred to as “cognitive dissonance”. Cognitive dissonance means that there is a contradiction between the position one holds and what one practices, or the manner that they work in. An often used example of cognitive dissonance is that one knows it is harmful to one’s health to smoke, but does so anyway. Another example is precisely the subject of this comment: that one knows that the working class needs a revolution in order to take power in society, but neither the manner in which they work nor the goals they set in their work suggest that they work for revolution, but rather sooner for more reformism. It is a cognitive dissonance between position/knowledge and practice. If there is anything a revolutionary knows, it is that practice and theory, which is in turn built by experience, must go hand in hand.

Learn from Experience

When in history has a revolution ever occurred by working primarily through parliamentary means? Many on the so-called “radical left” talk about Venezuela and Bolivia as important beacons. Others cite Norway under Gerhardsen. The problem with using these countries as examples is that none of them are, nor have ever been, socialist. Social democratic, yes – socialist, no. Socialist politics cannot win through before one has established the dictatorship of the proletariat – and to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat depends on making armed revolution.

Double Standard

In practice, the ambivalence we meet among portions of the so-called “radical left” is in the form of an “unconscious double standard”. They say one thing, but do another. When one confronts these individuals with the question of why their work is exclusively limited to purely reformist work, one receives in turn an intellectualized explanation as to why it is necessary to do so rather than working directly for a revolution.

Teach the Masses about Historical Experiences

The question remains: How can we point out the logical gaps among leftist reformists who consider themselves to be “radical” or even “communists”? By putting our finger on and pointing out the illogical conclusions that are taken in the rejection of people’s war as a method for establishing the dictatorship of the proletariat. By pointing out that no country has ever established worker’s rule through parliamentary work, and that all the successful revolutions in history that have ever existed have happened through armed revolution.

Learn from the experiences and stand on the working class’ side!

For revolution!