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 Spinner's Political Profile.

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Stos
De Leonist


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PostSubject: Re: Spinner's Political Profile.   Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:48 am

beatnikzach wrote:
Spinner wrote:
I'd say an Anarchist and De Leonist are pretty different, no?
de leonism is like anarcho syndicalism with a party
Stop being so unclear, you make it sound like some kind of mixture of Leninism and industrial unionism. Though yes, De Leonism does use a party to hold back the state power when possible. Also, of course, the Party could be used for educating the workers, though I don't really see why not just let that be a function of the industrial union and let a party form from that if the workers wish for one. Crud, in some places the SIU could just run candidates anyways.

Spinner wrote:
I'd say an Anarchist and De Leonist are pretty different, no?
Not really.
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KenCat
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PostSubject: Re: Spinner's Political Profile.   Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:45 pm

Stos wrote:

Spinner wrote:
I'd say an Anarchist and De Leonist are pretty different, no?
Not really.

Drastically different.
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beatnikzach



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PostSubject: Re: Spinner's Political Profile.   Thu Nov 06, 2008 8:12 pm

there is a definite difference between the DeLeonist and the anarchist though.
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Stos
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PostSubject: Re: Spinner's Political Profile.   Fri Nov 07, 2008 1:45 am

KenCat wrote:
Stos wrote:

Spinner wrote:
I'd say an Anarchist and De Leonist are pretty different, no?
Not really.

Drastically different.
I still don't see it.
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Stos
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PostSubject: Re: Spinner's Political Profile.   Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:07 am

Quote :
"the free organisation of the worker masses from bottom to top" as "nonsense." - Karl Marx
I feel sadistic today.
Give that quote in context. Twisted Evil

Quote :
"they must not allow themselves to be misguided by the democratic talk of freedom for the communities, of self-government, etc."
I don't see what sense there is in quoting the 1850 address. Are you just blindly following in the Anarchist FAQ's footsteps? It looks like it. Even a cursory glance at the context of these lines reveals that Marx is talking first of all about a bourgeois-democratic revolution. "In a country like Germany, where so many remnants of the Middle Ages are still to be abolished, where so much local and provincial obstinacy has to be broken down, it cannot under any circumstances be tolerated that each village, each town and each province may put up new obstacles in the way of revolutionary activity, which can only be developed with full efficiency from a central point." Whatever you think of his position, it's clear that Marx did not think the workers at the time able to exercise political power. In fact, let's get a good look at the speech in which it was in, shall we? "As in the past [Hell, the description fits the American Revolution incredibly well], so in the coming struggle also, the petty bourgeoisie, to a man, will hesitate as long as possible and remain fearful, irresolute and inactive; but when victory is certain it will claim it for itself and will call upon the workers to behave in an orderly fashion, to return to work and to prevent so-called excesses, and it will exclude the proletariat from the fruits of victory. It does not lie within the power of the workers to prevent the petty-bourgeois democrats from doing this; but it does lie within their power to make it as difficult as possible for the petty bourgeoisie to use its power against the armed proletariat, and to dictate such conditions to them that the rule of the bourgeois democrats, from the very first, will carry within it the seeds of its own destruction, and its subsequent displacement by the proletariat will be made considerably easier." Emphasis mine. Of course, this also makes it clear exactly who he was referring to in talking about 'democratic talk', the petit-bourgeois 'democrats', "They must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers' candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory." Ah well, the Anarchist FAQ is a master of taking quotes out of context. Of course, sometimes it can be stupid enough to let its holes be visible even without looking at the source. For example, "Decades later, when Marx discussed what the "dictatorship of the proletariat" meant, he argued (in reply to Bakunin's question of "over whom will the proletariat rule?") that it simply meant "that so long as other classes continue to exist, the capitalist class in particular, the proletariat fights it (for with the coming of the proletariat to power, its enemies will not yet have disappeared), it must use measures of force, hence governmental measures; if it itself still remains a class and the economic conditions on which the class struggle and the existence of classes have not yet disappeared, they must be forcibly removed or transformed, and the process of their transformation must be forcibly accelerated." [The Marx-Engels Reader, pp. 542-3] Note, "capitalists," not "former capitalists," so implying that the members of the proletariat are, in fact, still proletarians after the "socialist" revolution and so still subject to wage slavery under economic masters." Alright then, you like to talk about the anarchist communes in the Spanish revolution. Did the bourgeoisie still exist? Well, yes, they were funding Franco (well, other than the Russian bourgeoisie, who were backstabbing the anarchists). It would appear that we have a problem here. See, Marx was looking at things from an internationalist perspective. Therefore, the proletariat and bourgeoisie had competing class interests. The bourgeoisie would wish to re-establish capitalism, a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, in a place after a socialist revolution. On the other hand, it is in the interests of the proletariat to abolish classes. However, unless we are to imagine a revolution that is successful internationally at the exact same time, which is unrealistic, there would be some places in which class was abolished, and others in which it was not. As the bourgeoisie would still exist in the places where it was not, they would still have class interests that conflict with that of the proletariat. Therefore, the places in which the proletariat had taken power, and, as Marx said, "It can however only use such economic means as abolish its own character as salariat," therefore making the place a 'dictatorship of the proletariat', that is, the dictatorship of proletarian interests over the bourgeoisie. It has nothing to do with the former bourgeoisie, now stripped of their property, who are too much a minority to be a relevant threat. As the Marxist definition of the state is, basically, the enforcement of one class' interests over another's, a proletarian state is basically the enforcement of proletarian interests over the interests of the bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie being not within the state, but still relevant, as has been shown by previous revolutions. The other function of the term 'dictatorship of the proletariat' is to establish that it is the entire class, rather than just a minority as envisioned by Blanquists and many so-called 'Marxist-Leninists'. It was most certainly not created by Blanqui, which is a hoax.

Quote :
''the workers must not only strive for a single and indivisible ''German republic'', but also within this republic for the most determined centralization of power in the hands of the state authority." - Karl Marx
Again from the 1850 address. See above.

Quote :
Here, hang on a second - you cant promote minority revolution based on the mere ''assumption'' that the minority will ''at some point in the future'' become a majority. Its circular reasoning
"But, if constructing the future and settling everything for all times are not our affair, it is all the more clear what we have to accomplish at present: I am referring to ruthless criticism of all that exists, ruthless both in the sense of not being afraid of the results it arrives at and in the sense of being just as little afraid of conflict with the powers that be."
In response to Bakunin: "Schoolboy stupidity! A radical social revolution depends on certain definite historical conditions of economic development as its precondition. It is also only possible where with capitalist production the industrial proletariat occupies at least an important position among the mass of the people."
I don't see any circular reasoning.

Ah well, at least writing that bit up on your second quote will help for the critique of the Anarchist FAQ that I'm currently writing up.

Quote :
I don't deal with class in simplistic terms ie relations to the means of production.
Class is determined predominantly by institutionalized power relations.
cool story bro.
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Stos
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PostSubject: Re: Spinner's Political Profile.   Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:16 am

This recent post I made on Revleft may be relevant:

Quote :
On the Conspectus:

Bakky: "So the result is: guidance of the great majority of the people by a privileged minority. But this minority, say the Marxists..."
Marx: "Where?"
Bakky: "... will consist of workers. Certainly, with your permission, of former workers, who however, as soon as they have become representatives or governors of the people, cease to be workers..."
Marx: "As little as a factory owner today ceases to be a capitalist if he becomes a municipal councillor..."
Bakky: "and look down on the whole common workers' world from the height of the state. They will no longer represent the people, but themselves and their pretensions to people's government. Anyone who can doubt this knows nothing of the nature of men."
Marx: "If Mr Bakunin only knew something about the position of a manager in a workers' cooperative factory, all his dreams of domination would go to the devil. He should have asked himself what form the administrative function can take on the basis of this workers' state, if he wants to call it that."

Now, please explain how Marx was wrong here. Also note that the 'administrative function' Marx discusses here (as well as mentioning in the Critique of the Gotha Program) are ones comparable to, as he says, a democratically elected manager in a co-operative factory, the freely recallable delegates he had praised the Commune for (though he was perhaps giving it too much credit, but nevertheless...), and implied support for in his attacks on 'representative democracy' in his critiques of Hegel. Marx clearly thinks that this does not imply 'domination', as Bakky alleges, and is also quite clear that having an administrative position could not make somebody suddenly cease to be a worker, just as Al Gore being a politician doesn't prevent him from also being a capitalist. He also refers to delegated municipal councillors in the Paris Commune.

Quote from Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right:

"The separation of the political state from civil society appears as the separation of the deputies from their mandators. From itself, society delegates to its political existence only the elements . . . . The delegates of civil society are a society whose members are connected by the form of instruction or commission with those who commission them. They are formally commissioned, but once they are actual they are no longer commissioned. They are supposed to be delegates, and they are not."

Some more relevant quotes from the conspectus:

Bakky: "What does it mean, the proletariat organized as ruling class?"
Marx: "It means that the proletariat, instead of struggling sectionally against the economically privileged class, has attained a sufficient strength and organization to employ general means of coercion in this struggle. It can however only use such economic means as abolish its own character as salariat, hence as class. With its complete victory its own rule thus also ends, as its class character has disappeared."

Bakky: "We have already stated our deep opposition to the theory of Lassalle and Marx, which recommends to the workers, if not as final ideal then at least as the next major aim -- the foundation of a people's state, which, as they have expressed it, will be none other than the proletariat organized as ruling class. The question arises, if the proletariat becomes the ruling class, over whom will it rule? It means that there will still remain another proletariat, which will be subject to this new domination, this new state."
Marx: "It means that so long as the other classes, especially the capitalist class, still exists, so long as the proletariat struggles with it (for when it attains government power its enemies and the old organization of society have not yet vanished), it must employ forcible means, hence governmental means. It is itself still a class and the economic conditions from which the class struggle and the existence of classes derive have still not disappeared and must forcibly be either removed out of the way or transformed, this transformation process being forcibly hastened."

Also, you did not give any evidence of the DotP being post-revolutionary (which would contradict the comment in the critique of the Gotha Program). Also, as I said in my critique of the Anarchist FAQ, getting into a war of who predicted the RR best is a pretty silly idea. For, among other reasons, this:

"What I know or believe about the situation in Russia impels me to the opinion that the Russians are approaching their 1789. The revolution must break out there in a given time; it may break out there any day. In these circumstances the country is like a charged mine which only needs a fuse to be laid to it. Especially since March 13. This is one of the exceptional cases where it is possible for a handful of people to make a revolution, i.e., with one small push to cause a whole system, which (to use a metaphor of Plekhanov's) is in more than labile equilibrium, to come crashing down, and thus by one action, in itself insignificant, to release uncontrollable explosive forces. Well now, if ever Blanquism--the phantasy of overturning an entire society through the action of a small conspiracy--had a certain justification for its existence, that is certainly in Petersburg. Once the spark has been put to the powder, once the forces have been released and national energy has been transformed from potential into kinetic energy (another favourite image of Plekhanov's and a very good one)--the people who laid the spark to the mine will be swept away by the explosion, which will be a thousand times as strong as themselves and which will seek its vent where it can, according as the economic forces and resistances determine.

"Supposing these people imagine they can seize power, what does it matter? Provided they make the hole which will shatter the dyke, the flood itself will soon rob them of their illusions. But if by chance these illusions resulted in giving them a superior force of will, why complain of that? People who boasted that they had made a revolution have always seen the next day that they had no idea what they were doing, that the revolution made did not in the least resemble the one they would have liked to make. That is what Hegel calls the irony of history, an irony which few historic personalities escape. Look at Bismarck, the revolutionary against his will, and Gladstone who has ended in quarrelling with his adored Tsar.

"To me the most important thing is that the impulse should be given in Russia, that the revolution should break out. Whether this fraction or that fraction gives the signal, whether it happens under this flag or that flag matters little to me. If it were a palace conspiracy it would be swept away tomorrow. There where the position is so strained, where the revolutionary elements are accumulated to such a degree, where the economic situation of the enormous mass of the people becomes daily more impossible, where every stage of social development is represented, from the primitive commune to modern large-scale industry and high finance, and where all these contradictions are violently held together by an unexampled despotism, a despotism which is becoming more and more unbearable to the youth in whom the national worth and intelligence are united--there, when 1789 has once been launched, 1793 will not be long in following."

Anyways, on to the next point.

Quote :
As far as his better-known works go, there's also that bit in the Communist Manifesto, where he calls for stuff like
Sure, but for that one has to understand his perspective at the time. Him and Engels were expecting a crisis accompanied by revolution to break out early in the 1850s, similar to the 1848 revolution, with Marx writing several articles in 1850 implying that there would soon be a crisis (the absence of one caused him to begin reconsidering his ideas on crisis in 1851 and overhauling them after the 1857 crisis, during which he was hardly as active as in 1848), and therefore there would be no way for the proletariat to be communist before the revolution, rather they would have to implement reforms that were unstable (not impossible, mind, simply unstable under capitalism), and would have to be defended against the capitalist class, and through this they would have to continue to further outstrip themselves until they eventually centralized all means of production into the hands of the proletariat, thereby leading to the abolition of the proletariat, and formation of "an association, in which the free development of each is the condition for the free development of all." He also viewed it as possible for the proletariat to use the state machinery without modification in order to carry out this struggle.

Continued.
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Stos
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PostSubject: Re: Spinner's Political Profile.   Wed Aug 26, 2009 10:16 am

Quote :
Now, while it's usually argued that he broke from this view of the state machinery due mainly (or only) to the Paris Commune (which still isn't the huge paradigm change most Bakuninists like to present as having resulted from the commune), I would argue that he had already done so in the Eighteenth Brumaire in 1852. Compare these two (long, sorry, but the context was important) passages:

"It is immediately obvious that in a country like France, where the executive power commands an army of officials numbering more than half a million individuals and therefore constantly maintains an immense mass of interests and livelihood in the most absolute dependence; where the state enmeshes, controls, regulates, superintends and tutors civil society from its most comprehensive manifestations of life down to its most insignificant stirrings, from its most general modes of being to the private existence of individuals; where through the most extraordinary centralization this parasitic body acquires a ubiquity, an omniscience, a capacity for accelerated mobility and an elasticity which finds a counterpart only in the helpless dependency, in the loose shapelessness of the actual body politic - it is obvious that in such a country the National Assembly forfeits all real influence when it loses command of the ministerial posts, if it does not at the same time simplify the administration of the state, reduce the army of officials as far as possible and, finally, let civil society and public opinion create organs of their own, independent of the government power. But it is precisely with the maintenance of that extensive state machine in its numerous ramifications that the material interests of the French bourgeoisie are interwoven in the closest fashion. Here it finds posts for its surplus population and makes up in the form of states salaries for what it cannot pocket in the form of profit, interest, rents and honorariums. On the other hand, its political interests compelled it to increase daily the repressive measures and therefore the resources and the personnel of the state power, while at the same time it had to wage an uninterrupted war against public opinion and mistrustfully mutilate, cripple, the independent organs of the social movement, where it did not succeed in amputating them entirely. Thus the French bourgeoisie was compelled by its class position to annihilate, on the one hand, the vital conditions of all parliamentary power, and therefore, likewise, of its own, and to render irresistible, on the other hand, the executive power hostile to it.

"This executive power with its enormous bureaucratic and military organization, with its vast and ingenious state machinery, with a host of officials numbering half a million, besides an army of another half a million, this appalling parasitic body, which enmeshes the body of French society and chokes all its pores, sprang up in the days of the absolute monarchy, with the decay of the feudal system, which it helped to hasten. The seignorial privileges of the landowners and towns became transformed into so many attributes of the state power, the feudal dignitaries into paid officials and the motley pattern of conflicting medieval plenary powers into the regulated plan of a state authority whose work is divided and centralized as in a factory. The first French Revolution, with its task of breaking all separate local, territorial, urban and provincial powers in order to create the civil unity of the nation, was bound to develop what the absolute monarchy had begun: centralisation, but at the same time the extent, the attribution and the number of agents of governmental power. Napoleon completed this state machinery. The legitimist monarchy and the July monarchy added nothing but a greater division of labour, growing in the same measure as the division of labour within bourgeois society created new groups of interests, and, therefore, new material for state administration. Every common interest was straightway severed from society, counterposed to it as a higher, general interest, snatched from the activity of society's members themselves and made an object of government activity, from a bridge, a schoolhouse and the communal property of a village community to the railways, the national wealth and the national university of France.

"Finally, in its struggle against the revolution, the parliamentary republic found itself compelled to strengthen, along the repressive measures, the resources and centralisation of governmental power. All revolutions perfected this machine instead of smashing it. The parties that contended in turn for domination regarded the possession of this huge state edifice as the principal spoils of the victor."

-Eighteenth Brumaire (1852)

"But the working class cannot simply lay hold of the ready-made state machinery, and wield it for its own purposes.

"The centralized state power, with its ubiquitous organs of standing army, police, bureaucracy, clergy, and judicature – organs wrought after the plan of a systematic and hierarchic division of labor – originates from the days of absolute monarchy, serving nascent middle class society as a mighty weapon in its struggle against feudalism. Still, its development remained clogged by all manner of medieval rubbish, seignorial rights, local privileges, municipal and guild monopolies, and provincial constitutions. The gigantic broom of the French Revolution of the 18th century swept away all these relics of bygone times, thus clearing simultaneously the social soil of its last hinderances to the superstructure of the modern state edifice raised under the First Empire, itself the offspring of the coalition wars of old semi-feudal Europe against modern France.

[...]

"During the subsequent regimes, the government, placed under parliamentary control – that is, under the direct control of the propertied classes – became not only a hotbed of huge national debts and crushing taxes; with its irresistible allurements of place, pelf, and patronage, it became not only the bone of contention between the rival factions and adventurers of the ruling classes; but its political character changed simultaneously with the economic changes of society. At the same pace at which the progress of modern industry developed, widened, intensified the class antagonism between capital and labor, the state power assumed more and more the character of the national power of capital over labor, of a public force organized for social enslavement, of an engine of class despotism.

"After every revolution marking a progressive phase in the class struggle, the purely repressive character of the state power stands out in bolder and bolder relief. The Revolution of 1830, resulting in the transfer of government from the landlords to the capitalists, transferred it from the more remote to the more direct antagonists of the working men. The bourgeois republicans, who, in the name of the February Revolution, took the state power, used it for the June [1848] massacres, in order to convince the working class that “social” republic means the republic entrusting their social subjection, and in order to convince the royalist bulk of the bourgeois and landlord class that they might safely leave the cares and emoluments of government to the bourgeois “republicans.”

"However, after their one heroic exploit of June, the bourgeois republicans had, from the front, to fall back to the rear of the “Party of Order” – a combination formed by all the rival fractions and factions of the appropriating classes. The proper form of their joint-stock government was the parliamentary republic, with Louis Bonaparte for its president. Theirs was a regime of avowed class terrorism and deliberate insult towards the “vile multitude.”

"If the parliamentary republic, as M. Thiers said, “divided them [the different fractions of the ruling class] least", it opened an abyss between that class and the whole body of society outside their spare ranks. The restraints by which their own divisions had under former regimes still checked the state power, were removed by their union; and in view of the threatening upheaval of the proletariat, they now used that state power mercilessly and ostentatiously as the national war engine of capital against labor.

"In their uninterrupted crusade against the producing masses, they were, however, bound not only to invest the executive with continually increased powers of repression, but at the same time to divest their own parliamentary stronghold – the National Assembly – one by one, of all its own means of defence against the Executive. The Executive, in the person of Louis Bonaparte, turned them out. The natural offspring of the “Party of Order” republic was the Second Empire.

"The empire, with the coup d’etat for its birth certificate, universal suffrage for its sanction, and the sword for its sceptre, professed to rest upon the peasantry, the large mass of producers not directly involved in the struggle of capital and labor. It professed to save the working class by breaking down parliamentarism, and, with it, the undisguised subserviency of government to the propertied classes. It professed to save the propertied classes by upholding their economic supremacy over the working class; and, finally, it professed to unite all classes by reviving for all the chimera of national glory.

"In reality, it was the only form of government possible at a time when the bourgeoisie had already lost, and the working class had not yet acquired, the faculty of ruling the nation. It was acclaimed throughout the world as the savior of society. Under its sway, bourgeois society, freed from political cares, attained a development unexpected even by itself. Its industry and commerce expanded to colossal dimensions; financial swindling celebrated cosmopolitan orgies; the misery of the masses was set off by a shameless display of gorgeous, meretricious and debased luxury. The state power, apparently soaring high above society and the very hotbed of all its corruptions. Its own rottenness, and the rottenness of the society it had saved, were laid bare by the bayonet of Prussia, herself eagerly bent upon transferring the supreme seat of that regime from Paris to Berlin. Imperialism is, at the same time, the most prostitute and the ultimate form of the state power which nascent middle class society had commenced to elaborate as a means of its own emancipation from feudalism, and which full-grown bourgeois society had finally transformed into a means for the enslavement of labor by capital.

"The direct antithesis to the empire was the Commune. The cry of “social republic,” with which the February Revolution was ushered in by the Paris proletariat, did but express a vague aspiration after a republic that was not only to supercede the monarchical form of class rule, but class rule itself. The Commune was the positive form of that republic."

-The Civil War in France, 1871.

And, of course, the celebrated passage about the Communards revolting against not a particular form of state, but against the state, is quite similar to a lesser known passage from, interestingly enough, 'The German Ideology' (in 1845), as well as a passage from 'The Jewish Question':

"Thus, while the refugee serfs only wished to be free to develop and assert those conditions of existence which were already there, and hence, in the end, only arrived at free labour, the proletarians, if they are to assert themselves as individuals, will have to abolish the very condition of their existence hitherto (which has, moreover, been that of all society up to the present), namely, labour [note that this is what Marx would have later referred to as 'abstract labour', as opposed to useful labour, which, of course, would not be abolished]. Thus they find themselves directly opposed to the form in which, hitherto, the individuals, of which society consists, have given themselves collective expression, that is, the State. In order, therefore, to assert themselves as individuals, they must overthrow the State."

-The German Ideology

"[O]nly when man has recognized and organized his “forces propres” as social powers, and, consequently, no longer separates social power from himself in the shape of political power, only then will human emancipation have been accomplished."

- On the Jewish Question.

Though this is a bit of a digression, I suppose there is some relevance, since it's a pretty common view that Marx suddenly took some 'libertarian turn' in 1871. To the contrary, the Paris Commune only served as a final proof to his already formulated idea that the working class cannot take hold of the ready-made state machinery, but must instead 'smash' it (further proof that Marx was a crappy poet, IMO). Hence Marx's reference to the Eighteenth Brumaire, "... If you look at the last chapter of my Eighteenth Brumaire you will find that I say that the next attempt of the French revolution will be no longer, as before, to transfer the bureaucratic-military machine from one hand to another, but to smash it, and this is essential for every real people's revolution on the Continent." Anyways, back to the topic at hand. Marx didn't make any explicit statements of his later views on 'planks', so far as I know, but his own practice then still involved the use of programs and such (for example, he thought that, though he disagreed with some of Guesde's 'immediate demands', the program in general was positive and based on demands that had arisen 'spontaneously from the workers' movement', to paraphrase), though for a different reason, that is, in order to, by helping the workers in struggle, help to increase the unity and strength of the working class. This is why Engels could later state, "Yet our programme is a purely socialist one. Our first plank is the socialisation of all the means and instruments of production. Still, we accept anything which any government may give us, but only as a payment on account, and for which we offer no thanks." So, from "revolutionary measures" (as Engels put it), they went to supporting workers' movements under capitalist 'stasis', if with methods I would disagree with (eg. 'immediate demands' in programs for political parties).

But one thing that we can be sure of is that Marx never (at least since when he became a communist rather than a leftist Hegelian) advocated the measures as 'post-revolutionary', and Engels was quite clear in a critique of Heinzen (who treated the measures, or very similar ones, as an ends rather than means) that all that they would lead to if treated as an end is an unstable form of capitalism. He also later made it clear that there were no countries except England (along with Paris and a few 'big industrial centres', which aren't a countries) where the struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie existed at the time, thus making revolution impossible in retrospect, which may have explained their focus on 'revolutionary' times brought about by crises as a deus ex machina rather than the building of a revolutionary movement capable of bringing about revolutionary times.
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