Statement of Founding Principles of the National Caucus of Labor Committees
The following "statement" of the founding principles of the National Caucus of Labor Committees was adopted by the National Conference of January 1-3, 1971. This statement provides a concise but systematic explanation of what we are and what we stand for, defining the principled basis for membership in the organization. We recognize that in practice that coming-in to-agreement with the founding principles is a process: individuals initially generally become members of the organization on the basis of their agreement with and support of the practical activities and propagandistic expression of the following founding principles.''
- The National Caucus of Labor Committees is an organization of professional revolutionary-socialist cadres, an organization based on certain unalterable founding principles and dedicated to the establishment of the political (working) class for itself as the sole world economic and political government of man's actual and potential productive forces.
- These unalterable founding principles are adduced from Karl Marx's completion of the total revolution in human knowledge begun by G-W.F. Hegel in the latter's The Phenomenology of Mind, viewing the connection between Marx and Hegel as mediated by Ludwig Feuerbach's Principles of the Philosophy of the Future, and viewing this latter publication as the material to which Marx's "Theses On Feuerbach" and the first section of The German Ideology ("Feuerbach") are immediately and explicitly addressed.
- What is common to Hegel, Feuerbach and Marx is the conception of human Mind and Self, as absolutely distinct from that of hominids as simply a biological species. That human Mind is negatively reflected in, but not located within what is ordinarily regarded as conscious, formal, logical thought, formal logical reasoning included. That all the conceptions of human conscious thought, formal logical reasoning included, are produced by a noetic, concept-creating process which determines the "axioms" (or,"postulates") of formal reasoning, but which axioms formal reasoning is inherently incapable of proving or explaining. That the real foundations of human knowledge in this noetic process of Mind can be uncovered only by a dialectical examination of the process by which hole systems of formal logic are exposed as fallacious, and totally new world-conceptions produced. That the human Self is not an epiphenomenon of the discrete human individual or his biological equipment, but that his evolved biological equipment is rather appropriate for the process by which practical social relations transform the "soulless" new-born infant into a conscious human being with a human social identy.
- The practical implications of these (originally) Hegelian discoveries are located in the writings of Marx and Engels in their systematical opposition to the world-views reflected in the inhuman rantings of Parson Thomas Malthus. What actually distinguishes man from other animals is the process by which he has evolved as a species of human society from the condition of the Strandlooper, pelting to death and eating protein-bearing jetsam along the beaches, or similar modes of baboon-like existence, to societies whose qualitatively-new modes of existence make possible a larger human population with existing natural resources for the species' material existence. This process of social-evolutionary expanded reproduction to higher qualitative forms of existence supersedes the process of biological differentiation of species in lower animals, and is connected to the noetic process of human (social) Mind by which whole new arrays of world-conceptions (Gestalts) are created to provide the mental basis for revolutionized social reproductive practice.
- What distinguishes human knowledge as knowledge is the fact that the practical comprehension of the "laws of nature" can exist only for a special kind of species, a species which more or less deliberately alters its modes of species-existence, making deliberate in that way what in lower animal species occurs only by biological differentiation. Whether a new mode of social reproduction of the human species is successful or not depends upon the appropriateness of new species-behavior to what we regard as the laws governing the "order of nature." The ability to deliberately alter the mode of species-existence in a positive way is thus the sole basis for a species' knowledge of the laws of that "order of nature."
- Thus, Marx (The German Ideology) specifies that the sole premise for human knowledge is human existence, which is the process of deliberate alterations in the modes by which successive societies produce the material basis for continued positive existence of the human species.
- Since every successful mode of human production of the material and related conditions of human existence tends to exhaust natural and man-improved natural conditions for such existence, the more successfully a society reproduces itself in any one historic mode, the more rapidly it thereby exhausts the always-relatively-finite natural and man-improved resources on which that mode of human existence depends. Therefore, human knowledge cannot be practically located in the experience of a distinct form of society as such, but is located solely in the positive, historic comprehension of the process by which man makes his species-existence possible through successive, positive revolutions in technology and social forms of realization of technologies. There can be no real comprehension of the "laws of nature" except by social formations which are constituted on the fundamental premises in knowledge and practice of constantly, radically transforming the form of society to this end.
- The empirical manifestation of successful revolutions in technology and social forms is represented by rising rates of social surplus, such that increasing proportions of all human productive effort are allocated to qualitatively expanding and otherwise positively altering the form of human existence, as distinct from merely perpetuating an existing form of society on a limited scale. Thus, every form of society can be understood and evaluated only by two, interrelated critera: (a) By comprehending the historically-specific way in which it produces the self-expanding 'use value' whose consumption (as means of human existence and means of production) results in expanding and qualitatively-transformed modes of production and social existence, and determining social surplus or "free energy" rates on this basis; (b) the development within that society of social forms and practices leading toward the emergence of a successor, higher form of species-existence.
- Human knowledge, as individual, or determinate human conscious knowledge, is determined by the practical relationship of man-to-man in society. No individual is capable of existing for himself, but depends for his material existence on the active interventions of the rest of his society. The individual's existence thus depends upon his practical internalization of his society's practical consciousness of his right to existence of a certain form. As Hegel, Feuerbach and Marx, successfully and successively show, the way in which man creates conceptions and explicit forms of formal consciousness is determined by the specific way in which individual existences are mediated through specific forms of social relations. To change society, it is necessary to change the way in which man thinks; to change the way man thinks, it is is essential to qualitatively alter the forms of institutions through which individual man "relates" to other members of his class-species.
- Under capitalist society, there exists a working class, the class form which that society obtains productive labor. Productive labor is defined as that labor which produces the tangible, material 'use values' whose social consumption re sults in the production of increased productive labor of higher productivities and in the qualitative expansion and improvement of the material conditions of production of such self-expanding 'use values.' (Marx's realization of the Feuerbach "self-subsisting positive') Only the working class and those otherwise politically integrated with that class are presently capable of achieving actual humanity, since only the working class as a political whole, constituted as an organic political unity, is capable of being a class for human existence as a whole. Only the political form of the working class represents a class whose self-conscious struggle to reproduce itself results in the necessary forms of productive activity historically essential to the whole human species at this juncture.
- The central problem of humanity today is therefore the fact that the working class (as an economic class) is not capable of spontaneously becoming a political class for itself. Rather, under all but the most exceptional circumstances of capitalist existence, the w orking class as an economic class tends to prepetuate its own social and intellectual-moral fragmentation into contending, parochialist fragments along lines of nationalty, race, trade-union organization, and so forth. Under these conditions of backward , alientated self-organization, the relationship of one section of the working class to other sections depends upon the socializing, mediating role played by the ruling, capitalist political class. Thus, as long as workers are organized primarily along national, racial, trade-union, etc. lines their class struggles, however "militant," lead - like the "labors of Sisyphus"-only back to capitalist political forms.
- Therefore, the political existence of the working class depends upon the intervention of an "outside agency," whose function it is to bring the political (working) class for itself into being. This "outside agency" can only be a social formation which has already attained an advanced approximation of the working-class consciousness which the working class itself lacks. Only a handful of the capitalist intelligentsia is capable of fulfilling this decisive role, by combining an anti-capitalist political and social orientation with the mastery of history, sociology and economics from the standpoint of the dialectical method. The intellectual who proceeds from commitment to the class he or she devotes his efforts to bringing into existence, the political (working class for itself, and who abstractly connects all the main (world-wide) productive existece activities of the working class into an integrated comprehension, such an intellectual has created in advance (of the coming-into-being of the class for itself) the form of consciousness natural and appropriate to an actual class for itself emerging at that historic juncture.
- The revolutionary intelligentsia is thus the embryonic representation of a new human species, a Promethean species which seeks to reproduce its own kind from the ranks of the working class. This includes, in part, the development of individuals as such, but more general and essential is the work of calling the new species of humanity into being through every possible approximation of political class for itself forms. It is those forms of struggle-organization around approximations of socialist program which transform the consciousness of individual working people and thus transform a majority of the working class (ultimately) into revolutionary socialists with the same world-view and principled commitments as the founding group of revolutionary intelligentsia.
- It is upon such dialectical principles thus summarily represented above that the National Caucus of Labor Committees and its successor organizations are founded, and upon which individual membership in those organizations is predicated.
- Individuals are members of the NCLC who actively support the organization, its principles and polices, and its practices, and who manifest such commitment by exhibiting a corresponding method of systematic thinking during their participation in discussions through which the organization develops and differentiates its policies for particular, concrete practice.
- The organization of the body is based upon the dialectical notion of realization, and, explicitly, certain leading features of the process leading toward a socialist, mass-based party in the U.S.A. (in particular). Organization is nothing but the organization of practice, which practice is nothing but the material realization of theoretical conceptions. The organization of a revolutionary intelligentsia therefore also means a determined response to the currently-changing relationship of the organization to other pro-socialist organizations and to the broad organizations of working people and their potential social-political allies.
- While the cadre organization must submit to the class interests of the potential political (working) class for itself, that means and demands insulating the vanguard organization from corrupting intrusions of reactionary (bourgeois) ideology dominant among working people generally, oppressed minorities, and radical students, etc., in a capitalist society. Realization of socialist conceptions means that alien political ideas have ipso facto no voting rights over the formulation of policy within the vanguard organization. It means that the 1ess-developed consciousness of socialist principles must be subordinated to the most-advanced consciouness within the organization.
- This set of principles might seem to prescribe the dictatorship of a handful of leaders within the organization, if certain objective social criteria were ignored. First, all manifestations of alien ideology within the socialist movement have an objective social content by which they may be objectively identified. In every instance, alien ideological currents propose to subordinate the process of creating the political class for itself to the service of some bourgeois social form, such as placing "militant trade unionism" above "united front" or "cross-union caucus" formations, or proposing intervention in a political formation including capitalist political factions as an alternative to formations totally independent of capitalist political factions (e.g., "Popular Fronts" sell-outs). Otherwise, alien political outlooks are represented in socialist organizations either by a general anti-intellectualism ("proletkult" simplicism) or by a tendency to ridicule the dialectical method by contrast with "sturdy common sense" or empiricism, or formal logic. The rule of thumb thus implied is that any person who advocates membership within "Popular Fronts", insists that trade-union membership is the condition for vote in working class formations, etc., or who opposes the dialectical method, is not qualified to represent the organization publicly on political questions, and that no political faction the characterized by such bourgeois-ideological aberrations can be permitted to exert a controlling influence on any institutions of the national or local organizations of the NCLC.
- Furthermore, since the task of socialist organizations is to establish political class for itself institutions, and approximation s of such on the broadest feasible scale, the role of the vanguard organization must be that of mediating positive connections among various fragments of the potential class for itself on the broadest social and geographical scale. Thus, the vanguard organization must be politically and organizationally centralized so that it can actually perform its primary political function. The advocacy of a collection of semi-autonomous local groupings is itself a repudiation of the fundamental principles of socialism, of the political class for itself.
- At each juncture of the historic process, interrelated "subjective" and "objective" c ircumstances determine that a definite proportion of each social class and sub-class stratum is inclined to become revolutionary socialist in potential, a point which applies to declines as well as surges within the "radical movement." Such individuals tend to attach themselves to whatever "handy" organization seems to them to represent a suitable political "home" for persons of their views. Thus, the policies of the NCLC toward other U.S. pro-socialist organizations are based on a "united front" orientation, despite the ludicrous-to-criminal policies and practices of those organizations from a standpoint of socialist morality. The strategy for socialism must depend upon winning hegemony for the appropriate program and forms of socialist organization among the broadest strata of pro-socialists, a stratum which represents the top-most distillation of the potential political class for itself as a whole.
- Mass work is based on seeking to determine what specific forms of short-term organization around "issues" represents the best feasible approximation of the organization class for itself forms around socialist program, and in the direction of self- consciously political class for itself institutions. It is from these approximations that broader numbers of workers are brought towards the socialist world-outlook, and through which vanguard organizations penetrate ever-more-deeply into the existing organizations of the masses of working people, thereby establishing connections of a practical form as well as securing increasing comprehension for a socialist program of economic and social reconstruction.
- For the service of these principles, the National Caucus of Labor Committees is organized as a semi-annual national conference. This conference is not defined as a static aggregation of members and factions, but as a deliberative process- Individual votes per se would be worthless and of no binding significance. It is the engagement of the national conference in the process of systematical deliberations, based on the dialectical method, which is the national organization.
- While local Labor Committees are necessarily delegated implicit powers and duties for the control of membership, an individual is a member of the national conference and is merely assigned to his local Labor Committee.
- The principal delegated body of the National Conference between seatings of the conference is the National Committee, which is the executive arm of the conference and its policy-developing body between elections of National Committee members.
- Local Labor Committees are also delegated bodies of the National Conference, delegated bodies inferior in executive and policy-making duties and powers to the National Committee.