Orthodox Marxism has some philosophical flaws which which we break from them. There are also some areas where our commitment to Liberalism has us break with them. Marxism, being a particular type of Communism (distinct from Christian Communism and other communist groups), which is in turn a type of Socialism, is a broad term encompassing a number of particular groups and views. We hold that our views are Marxist, but not Orthodox Marxist. We take as a foundation some components of Marxist philosophy, and are neutral on or reject others.

Class Struggle - The Marxist understanding of class struggle over the changing work-relations of history is a vague approximation, only useful as an indicator for possible future direction (and not in fact useful for all but a few countries in history). There were many labour relations in various nations not described by Marx, and the varying ideologies and corrisponding organisations of society (labour and otherwise) suggest that the linear, inevitable progression of history is incorrect. Class struggle is a primary means of struggle in society, but it is not the only primary struggle. Not all organisations of society that comply with a Marxist conception of a workers state are those we should recognise as worthwhile states. The primacy of class struggle was roughly functional within Europe during Marx's time, during Christianity's decay and an apparent decision between secular capitalism and the challenge of a new system. We thus accept class struggle as an effort to organise society and labour relations for the good of the broad public and specifically against private ownership of the means of production, but we reject the notion of 「No struggle but the class struggle」, insisting that our additional commitments bear similarly great weight.

Historical Dialectic - The historical dialectic, as stated above, suggests that productive relations are key to understanding all of society, and because there is less variety in that than in the broader way societies may differn consider historical materialism as the first scientific way to understand all of history. We reject that claim as edification of a butchery on real understanding. History is too complex to be justly so reduced, and we have more commitments than rectification of the injustices of capitalism. Without following these other commitments, Stalin's handling of the Soviet experiment demonstrated that such a rectification is likely fruitless - any society requires management of proper virtues of its people particular to its form, and without these ideals it cannot meet its ends. Communism without Liberalism (or Islam, or Christianity, or some other value system) cannot succeed. We also reject its use as a strong competitor to empiricism - we commit to radical empiricism and our other commitments are secondary to that commitment.

Ownership of work and labour-value economics - The Marxist understanding of the moral ownership of one's labour and entitlement to its work is one which does not have an obvious realisation in labour in practice except insofar as it is satisfied by the elimination of private ownership of capital. It is unclear how to apply Marxist economics given the changed presuppositions (e.g. service markets, mechanisation).

Intent to transcend Capitalism - We strongly commit to criticism of and transcension of Capitalism. We have a theoretical slight reservation - if we come to believe that the communist project is not implementable given human nature, we would be prepared to endorse instead a strongly mixed-market system with heavy collectivisation. This is theoretical and slight - we hold that the project is in fact viable.

The Need For a Revolution - Under orthodox marxism, class struggle must be resolved through revolution, as capitalists (meaning those who own capital - owners of businesses, etc) would not willingly cede profits or power. This was more clearly true in times past than present, and never was certain. We instead believe that some democratic systems may be sufficiently institutionally strong and societal inculturations sufficiently mallable that democratic transitions to communism may be possible. Likewise, the changing class relations and nuanced legal structures in modern capitalist society may permit cooperative and collective ventures to displace standard capitalist structures. Finally, we recognise the risk of revolution - that it takes leadership and initial structure that are both sufficiently rare and a society sufficiently vested and virtuous in ways appropriate for socialism that the system would be viable and on-track for continued development towards our ideals. These things considered, we would force a revolution were we in a position to do so and were us to have a reasonable chance of creating such a successful system, but would simultaneously work along other paths towards the full realisation of our goals.

The Popular Front - The popular front was a temporary alliance between various parts of "the left", joining the Soviet International with various leftist parties in Europe and the United States in a struggle against Fascism. It may be considered a Stalinist heterodox idea, but it is nontheless one which we endorse in modern times for a few reasons. First, we need to build socialist virtues in society, and having these in place before a revolution (or other path to Communism) would make the transition more likely to be successful. Second, we may achieve more mindshare for our project through engagement with others, and possibly draw people to our arguments and values through that. Third, while we are committed to our project as a whole and consider it good, we consider its components good as well, and if those components can be realised through cooperation with other groups, we should do so (even considering the risk of "stealing of thunder").

After the Revolution, Utopianism and the State - We reject the notion of a stateless society. Some form of state structure must exist in any society, although post-revolution (we use this term for convenience despite our idea that our goals might be reachable through other means) we expect the state to exist purely for the interests of the people and less alien to its stated desires. State structures must exist to codify societal norms into laws, to police society based on those laws (there will always be some criminals, at the very least caused by mental illness or random ill temper), to act as a means to organise societal efforts and resources, and to interact as a unit with other societies. Post-revolution humans will remain humans, raised differently and organised by institutions and structure that are more just, but while human nature is very mallable, it is not infinitely so. We further reject the unimaginability of post-revolution society, considering it both as a way to hide disagreements for dishonest solidarity and as a barrier towards successful revolution.

Menshevism and Bolshevism - The structure of the movement that would organise the revolution was not part of traditional Marxist orthodoxy. Under Marxism-Leninism (Bolshevism), the party would be composed of a small number of professional revolutionaries, while the Mensheviks, another Marxist group organised under Julius Martov, preferred very broad membership in the party. In pre-transition times, we consider the distinction unimportant and while we would prefer a two-tiered approach, we would accept either pure form as an alternative. In post-transition times, we would organise a state structure whereby citizenship would entitle one to representation in a lower house of parliament, and an upper house and a guardian council would represent those with the higher level of acceptance of societal values and guard the societal commitments we have made, respectively. Again, we would accept alternate arrangements if we felt they would be viable.

The symbols and traditions of Communism - We accept and use Communist symbolism - the Internationale, the Hammer and Sickle (like the Trotskyites, we prefer the reversed form), as well as Communist philosophical ideas and terms such as solidarity, comrades, etc. We offer the traditional limited solidarity to other philosophical descendants of the First Internationale, as well as a much more limited solidarity alongside the United Front for those organisations that do not violate liberalism.

Centralism and leadership on supernational scales - Lenin's Democratic Centralism was an understanding that areas of disagreement are open for public discussion and rallies before they are decided, but once decided, party members have a duty to reserve criticism or opposition to them to other inner political discussions - a unified front is to be presented to non-party members. This depends on Bolshivism, and does not work with our notion of transparency. We reject democratic centralism - except on areas of central commitment we do not expect unity of thought or expression, and while we are not committed to Bolshevism or Menshevism, any Bolshevist system should be reasonably transparent so that mistakes can more easily be corrected when made. We also reject the strong leadership the Soviet Union took with other Communist states - by demanding strong ideological conformity and moderate structural conformity of other Communist states and movements with itself, it permitted its local failures to become global failures.

Social Controls and purposism in culture - Marxism-Leninism demanded that art, literature, and other cultural products actively serve the revolution, with periods where great literature from before or outside the revolution being considered highly suspect. Trotsky advocated, both while he had influence in the Soviet Union and while in exile, that these things were best left alone by politics unless they directly opposed Communism (the latter provision he gradually softened). We commit to the complete independence of art from controls based on artistic intent/content (except insomuch as art may contain things that go against other interests, e.g. performances of animal abuse). We commit likewise to the sciences, pledging to support, both before and after any revolution, to broad support of the arts and sciences independent of whether they have content opposing our political interests, and to maintain independence of artistic and scientific culture from convenient conclusions or content.

Permanent Revolution - We hold that Permanent Revolution is an adjustment made to a basically flawed theory - that Marx's progression of societial forms has a single path. Instead, we note that for any two forms a society may have, the ease/likelihood of successful transition between them are understood in terms of:

We do not hold that any transitions are impossible, but some may be quite unlikely.

Status of the Soviet Union - Early trotskyite (and other non-Soviet Marxist) perspectives viewed the Soviet Union as a degenerate worker's state, noting that because there was no private ownership of the means of production, that it was successfully socialist, but that its party leadership was degenerate and lacked authentic ties to the people. Several other marxists argued that it was State Capitalist - that this lack of ties to the worker and accumulation of privilege to party members made them effectively a new social class. We consider the distinction irrelevant and hold that post-Lenin SU departed sufficiently (and likely irreversibly) from our values that we had no obligation to it through our values. Given our other commitments and the lack of liberalism in the commitments of the Second and Third Internationals, our solidarity to the Soviet Union would have been limited unless it had developed these commitments over time under different leadership than it acquired in Stalin.

Nationality Policy - Lenin and Stalin (during early times of Stalin) had a policy by which individual cultures were to be hosted within the Soviet Union in subnational entities - the world saw areas of SU designated for Germans, Jews, Ukranians, Koreans, etc. This was designed to support a kind of multiculturalism and international appeal. We reject this, instead selecting modern liberal culture supplemented with secular-socialist ideals to provide the broad cultural content for all of society, allowing the multiculturalism in standard liberalism (not multiculturalist liberalism) to provide structure for cultural elements and limited cultural identity to exist (without privileges and with few institutions) in broader society. We reject deep multiculturalism, banning separate education (except as supplement - home or religious schooling, for example, must at most be an addition to mandatory public schooling), legal systems (no Sharia courts, for example), and legal exceptions to protect or promote certain subcultures (e.g. confession and sanctuary having legal weight, state-managed tithes).

Many of the differences between Marxist groups (and in fact between Marxism and Anarchism) are on matters of method, practicality, and estimations of feasability. It is likely that the end result of most groups revolutions, realised fully, would be acceptable to members of most other groups. Provided a group is legitimately committed to ends similar enough to ours, these differences should be considered in that light - were we in small minority while another such group is posed to attempt a revolution, we would be obliged to either provisionally join with them to the extent they permitted it or to permit and optionally aid their attempt (provided we were not persecuted for not holding their philosophy).

Pat Gunn (aka Improv) <pgunn@dachte.org>