last updated: 9.Dec.98
(hit the escape key if you want to turn off the sound)

Critical Mass Productions presents:

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How to Build
the Party of the Future

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by Ben Seattle (cyberRed)

By continuing our political development
and harnessing the power
of the coming revolution in communications --
we can help to lay the foundation
for a communist "trend of trends"
with the ability to eradicate sectarianism from our ranks,
puncture the influence of reformism over a vast audience,
capture the imagination of workers in their millions
and mobilize our class to ignite a fire
that cannot be extinguished.

The coming revolution in communications, now in its earliest stages, is already beginning to demonstrate its potential to influence the development and interaction of Marxist (and would-be Marxist) organizations. In the next decade or so, the communications revolution holds promise to completely transform the "left ecosystem" at present consisting predominantly of squabbling sectarian grouplets, craven reformists and the just-plain confused. In place of this will likely emerge a dynamic and powerful system of communist organizations which will both compete and cooperate with one another at levels which at present may seem inconceivable.

It is on questions such as this--that this series will focus.

This series is being written for serialization (on a sporadic basis) on the Marxism-International (M-I) listserv that, until recently, was operated by the Spoons collective. This series will largely focus on the development of the M-I list and similar lists such as LeninList. But the principles of development underlaying the relationship between the communications revolution and the creation of communist organization will likely be of interest to many others.

Chapters 1 thru 7 were released in May and June 1997.
Chapter 8 was released on May 1st 1998.

To get on the Party of the Future email list (sent out several times a year)
send email to

In the contents below, links have been provided
to all chapters that have been released to M-I,
as well as discussion that has been posted here and
references to the proposed web-based news service.


  1. The Sword in the Stone
     1a. The Development of this List
     1b. The Three Main Axes of Development
         Axis 1, Axis 2, Axis 3, server-side bozo-filters, collaborative
         filtering, Moore's Law, Digital penetration estimates 1990-2040,
         International Electronic Newspaper
  Appendix: "A terror discussed non-stop at Washington cocktail parties"
-- Discussion of Chapter 1 --
Welcome aboard, Ben (Joćo Paulo Monteiro) Economics of Moore's law(Rakesh Bhandari,Carrol Cox,Doug Henwood)May3 Bozo filtering & human software technology(Ben,AWA,LouisProyect)May1-21 1--For open methods of struggle 2--The need for democratic methods of deciding who to ignore 3--A two-tiered system (summaries or abstracts, higher expections, tighter limits on posts/week, web-based thread sorted interface) 4--A text-based news service Moore's law will lead to collapse of bourgeois rule(Ben,boddi)May 3-27 "Blender" hypothesis, significance of Moore's Law (today: need to create web-based news service, tomorrow: stellar magnitude), revolutionary change disorienting, 2 big questions: speed/impact (How long before dirt-cheap, easy-to-use and in everyone's hands? Will all hell really break loose?), bourgeoisie split over "internet doom" Appendices: stats and comments (Ben, Proyect) Cyber-revolution (Louis Proyect -- May 26) cy.Rev journal (oriented toward "market socialism") and Cockshott/Cottrell (oriented toward "central planning" with more democracy and more information) Information Technology and politics (Anna, Rob) [-- link deleted --] Anna seems to understand the promise of the internet and Rob, at this time, does not.

Axis I -- Theory

  2. The Alpha and Omega of Communist Theory
     2a. My own views on the Omega
     2b. Engels on the merger of the "Between" with the "Within"
     2c. The dictatorship of the proletariat in the modern world

     Discussion: (none to date)

  3. Communist organization in the Modern World
     3a.  Less is More
     3b.  The fundamental form of communist organization
     3c.  Do communists work with squishy liberals ?
     3d.  Reformism and Sectarianism as disease and addiction
     3e.  The blindfold, the fog and the dragon
     3f.  Cooperation, competition, communication and transparency

     Comments on Ben Seattle's organizational ideas (Proyect,Cox)

  4.  The German Social-Democratic Party
       and the Great Betrayal
     4a. Communication and Competition
     4b. Government censorship and repression
     4c. Censorship of revolutionaries by reformists
     4d. Communist cooperation and competition with reformists
     4e. Reformist pressure transmitted via a human medium

     Ben Seattle on the Labor Party (Proyect)

Two articles revealing the nature of the Labor Party in the US: Jack Hill Pete Brown 38 M-I posts on reformism: April 5-13, 1998 (uses frames)

  5.  Lenin builds a party within a party
     5a. Marxism takes root in Russia
     5b. The local circle spirit
     5c. Iskra
     5d. Lenin takes on the "Economists"
     5e. Parties within a party (Bolsheviks & Mensheviks 1903-11)
     5f. Concept of a Party with an Active Base

     Discussion: (none to date)

  6.  The Ideological Roots of Opportunism
     6a. Why did Lenin oppose "worship of spontaneity" ?
     6b. Linking up with existing objective motion

     Reply to Carrol on "sheer nonsense" (Carrol Cox, Ben Seattle)
     Yoshie's query on complexity (Yoshie)
     Ben replies on complexity (Yoshie, Carrol, Ben)

  7. Centralism in the Service of Democracy
     7a. How centralization and secrecy slow
         the rate of information metabolism
     7b. Centralism to help achieve a high
         productivity of (political) labor
     7c. Centralism as a means of increasing democracy
     7d. The Gohre Incident:
         Centralism vs. Localism and Opportunism
     7e. Summary: stages in the development
                  of inner-party democracy
     7f. Distributed Authority

     Proyect on organizational structure (Proyect)
     Ben replies: free flow of information/ Trotsky bashing

  8. Lenin's revolution became
     the pivot of the 20th century
     8a. More of a Marxist than Marx
     8b. The Pivot of the 20th Century
     8c. The Dictatorship of the Proletariat:
         -- The Sword and the Shield--
     8d. The Sword and the Shield in the modern world
     8e. The Sword and the Shield in Lenin's time
     8f. "Pure Democracy" vs. "Pure Repression"

Axis II -- Practice

  (work in progress)

Axis III -- Communications Technology

  (work in progress)

Beam me up, Scotty

References to the proposed
web-based news service:
  • International Electronic Newspaper "... we have an opportunity to exploit to the max a huge vulnerability that will be opening up in regard to the bourgeois control of the news..."

  • a text-based news service "The communications revolution is going to bring an end to the ability of the bourgeoisie to maintain a near-monopoly on the mass media and political thought. ... I believe that the strategic target of our main effort should be a text-based news service ... A news service based on copyright-free items in a web-based database would not require either much money or much trust or any centralized control. ... Such a data-based type of electronic newspaper could not be controlled by any single trend (because anyone could copy it) and would also function as a sphere for both cooperation and competition between progressive trends."

  • Outline of the first step necessary to create "a news service on web to which all progressive, working and oppressed people could contribute by using agreed-upon uniform formats which would encourage indexing, summarization, public annotation, cross-linking, collaborative filtering and collaborative rating". "Creating such a service would [represent a big advance in] linking the progressive movement to the masses and, in particular, for rebuilding a communist movement worthy of the name."

  • "It now appears that we are already behind in terms of making use of what is already available. If the talent and resources represented on M-I alone cooperated to help put together a public domain web-based news site--we could most likely be getting between one thousand and ten thousand hits a day today. ... This would help to create an environment where we could both strengthen our ties to the masses ... and conduct our "internal warfare" ... in a way that would be comprehensible to a larger audience."

  • Project MAD ("Media Abstract" Discussion) of the Political Information Exchange (PIX). This is not necessarily ready for prime time--but it does illustrate a user-interface for progressive people--who could use a universal format to feed summaries of interesting newspaper and magazine articles into a public domain database. The summaries and abstracts of articles would have public interactive margins which could provide a starting point for comments, annotations, links, and discussion. Such a public domain database could serve as a central focus of a wide-range of progressive activity and become an ideal platform for waging information war.