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Submitted by Matthew on Sun, 19/08/2012 - 08:47

In reply to by AWL

History suggests that the revolutionary organisation will result from a split in a mass organisation on the basis of ideas which Marxists working within it have spread through propaganda work: the Bolsheviks organised around Iskra and in workers' circles in the RSDLP, the Spartakusbund within the USPD. One of the problems we face is the absence of a mass party rooted in the class in which Marxists can intervene to do that propaganda work.

It's misleading to talk about small left groups as "parties" or embryonic versions of the future mass revolutionary party. The USPD split in 1920 saw about half a million workers join a united Communist Party with the KPD with the remaining 300,000 rejoining the SPD in 1922. Draper is at his strongest I think in arguing against the idea that a group of a hundred or so people can have the same relationship to the working class by aping their internal life in a miniature form. There is no example of such a "mini-mass party" sect becoming a mass party for the reasons he outlines.

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