Monday, January 01, 2007

democratic centralism, State ideology and the suppression of the revolutionary potentials: a response to Burningman

the following was forwarded on to threewayfight from contributor, reddboy.

RX, before you get that gleam in your eye because Goff invokes the hot button anarchist topics of hierarchy and authoritarianism, look at his political alternative and the perceived reality he thinks it provides an alternative to. I didn’t like what Goff had to say about dumb neocons and I don’t like what he has to say about the “alien” politics of neo-commies, a category in which I belong.

Considering Goff’s response to my discussion of his earlier writings, I’m not going to put much energy into this one. He would probably disagree, but I think that his position emerges as a variant of the Facing Reality current which typically poses the revolutionary people (classes) in opposition to counter revolutionary vanguards. This position certainly has appeal to anarchists and STO also leaned towards it at times, e.g., in aspects of the Race Traitor development. I’m also finding that Negri’s current conceptions of “multitude” and “unmediated” opposition to “empire” have a similar trajectory. While this view contains some insights, it grossly underestimates the importance, both positive and negative, of ideology and purposive organized action.

More than the Goff paper, I’m interested in the discussion that developed around it on this and the Red Flag sites. Not knowing where everybody is coming from causes some problems, but I’ll chance a few initial comments:

“Burningman” rather casually caricatures the argument of Settlers and takes no account of the major changes to it in Night Vision. The Night Vision grouping is quite able to defend its historical and current positions if it chooses to do so. STO shared a substantial agreement about historical facts and current reality with that tendency but disagreed about the proper strategic response. It is rather remarkable that “burningman”, who appears to be knowledgeable, dismisses these positions as only held by “white” leftists. While we did not agree with “Settlers” and the “Myth of the White Proletariat”, we worked with a number of Black, Mexican, and Puerto Rican groups and movements that had substantial agreement with it. It is a perspective that had, and will continue to have an immediate attraction to many radicals who don’t happen to be white men.

I see myself as both a Marxist and a Leninist, but not as a Marxist Leninist. Marxism-Leninism is Soviet state ideology, a doctrinal orthodoxy that substituted for critical thinking and collective praxis and sanctioned them whenever and wherever they emerged. One of the initial actions of ‘official’ Marxism Leninism was the deliberate suppression of inconvenient parts of both Marx – the Economic and Philosophical Manuscripts and the Grundrisse – and Lenin – The Philosophical Notebooks and the last writings on bureaucracy, nationalism and party organization. A self-described Marxist Leninist is typically a party member who has not read Marx or Lenin except in predigested doses supporting some particular line. Not that different from those anarchists who reject Marx and Lenin as “authoritarians” without reading the primary literature, considering the relevant history, and confronting the strategic problems of their own practice.

A number of contributors to this discussion see some significance to adding another “M” after the “ML”. I’m not sure just what’s up with this. Mao made some important contributions. I liked some of them that were challenges to Soviet orthodoxy – that is challenges to what passed as ML. What parts of ML would these ‘M’ advocates retain? I suspect and fear that a major one is the particular Stalinist conception of the nature and role of the vanguard party and of its “democratic centralist” operating principle. This, of course, is what Goff specifically rejects and I think he is right to do so.

I spent a well over a decade in a democratic centralist party until I was expelled for factionalism. The experience didn’t convince me that revolutionary cadre organization is either unnecessary or impossible. It didn’t lead me to question the need for disciplined organizations that hold individual members and minority tendencies responsible to collective decisions. It absolutely did convince me that the conception of democratic centralism, initiated at the Soviet 10th Party Congress and codified in the party section of Stalin’s Foundations of Leninism, is reactionary to the core. Further, it led me to conclude that this mistaken view of revolutionary organization is closely related to even more basic mistakes about the revolutionary process.

So I question “burningman’s” assertion that: “There is also no doubt that the Marxist Leninist party is the single most important “movement technology” ever developed.” Actually, if we take this cute polemical formulation the way “burningman” wants us to – that historical experience shows that ML parties are vital ingredients to successful social revolutions - there is actually a very strong basis for “doubt”.

As working class socialist parties developed in the Second International they typically played a conservative role. Revolutionary tendencies and individuals; e.g., the IWW, Rosa Luxembourg, Lenin in 1905, Gramsci in 1919, looked to other organizational developments besides the party; workers councils, soviets, revolutionary unions, for a more appropriate “movement technology” to achieve social revolution. Since ML parties and International formations have emerged, in more cases than not they have played a quite similar conservative role - suppressing revolutionary potentials in favor of other objectives, some of which can only be described as corrupt.

I know that “burningman” will question whether these were genuine ML parties – perhaps because they are short one ‘M’. But I assume that the Bolshevik Party during 1917 would meet his standards. There is no doubt whatsoever that if it had functioned according to the typical ML concepts of democratic centralism, the October insurrection would not have happened. The Chinese revolution would not have happened, if the Chinese Communist Party had followed the policies of the Comintern and Cominform, which was, after all, the international party leadership. The same essential truth holds for the Yugoslav revolution. This ML party ‘movement technology’ was basically irrelevant to major national liberation transformations from Algeria through Cuba and central Africa, except for noteworthy examples where it was aligned effectively against them.

The appropriate function of revolutionary party organization is to organize revolutionaries, not to be priests or professors to the working class. With or without parties, masses and classes make history. Whether they make revolution depends on the extent they manage to think and act autonomously. Party organization has certainly proven to be a formidable obstacle to this goal. My hope and belief is that it can also be an important assist– but that essentially remains to be proven.

I looked at the Iranian piece that ‘burningman’ proposes as a place to begin a discussion of neofascism. It looked pretty good to me although it doesn’t approach the question as we have and doesn’t cover many of the questions that we have emphasized. It deals with the necessity of developing a clear revolutionary alternative to both the Islamic Regime and the global capitalist structure. This critiques the various forms of “Front” politics, anti imperialist or anti-fascist, that blur the complexity of the contradictions in favor of one or another essentially opportunist accommodation. I mean to look at it more carefully to see whether it retains elements of a classical Maoist stage strategy.

5 comments:

the burningman said...

Well this is interesting!

I'm at work and just scanned this, so pending a more developed engagement – let me drop a couple notes and clarifications.

1) "Settlers" was not the product of the "white left" – but the main proponents I have encountered have been exactly such self-described "white" leftists. Particularly among those who view themselves primarily as "anti-imperialist/anti-racist" whites in all-white, racially segregated organizations. Prarie Fire Organizing Committee, Love and Rage, Resistance in Brooklyn and so on.

This is not pejorative. I am white and a "leftist" and so are many of the people I most love and respect. In fact, I "love and respect" white anti-imperialists and have always viewed them as comrades in the most basic sense despite profound disagreements about the class composition of the United States (and by extension Australia, South Africa, Western Europe, etc).

I am, and uphold politically, proletarian internationalism of the type I learned from Fred Hampton and more directly, Bob Avakian.

Ideas are not more or less true depending on who holds them. At least I wouldn't argue that.

This dispute was concentrated in the post-SDS schisms where the Maoists said "serve the people" and the Weather types argued to "fight the people." This is perhaps best laid out, strangely enough, in a novel by Marge Piercy called "Dance the Eagles" where the upper class white revolutionaries are literally killed by a white worker in a bulldozer. LOL. Truly a distorted position if every I've seen one, and a position that draws revolution off the map in the USA. Deeply conservative behind its ultra-left veneer.

I'm not familiar with NightVision so I will not comment on it. I'm interested in the changes you note but don't explicate.

2) I am not at all shocked or appauled by your criticism of Comintern-era democratic centralism, or the narrow (and obviously stupid) view that what falls "outside" the party is somehow flawed. A vanaguard party is essentially a "catalyst" and not the living embodiment ITSELF of the revolutionary process. The flame itself is not the only fire.

In fact, I think it is (what Zapagringo calls) "laboratories of revolution" such as the APPO, autonomous communities of Chiapas, occupied factories of Argentina and revolutionary base areas of South Asia that we can learn VERY much about what revolution is (and "autonomy" itself isn't).

MLM embraces but does not replace. This newly-minted aphorism is about developing the relationship between conscious, vanguard forces and the "organic" struggle of the masses of people (and even intellectual activity of the non-communist, non-revolutionary intelligensia).

It's an opening discussion, which I do hope MANY more people engage in a serious way. It's the open door we've stumbled through in the past, and faltered at more than we should have.

3) I am not a Marxist-Leninst, but a Marxist-Leninist-Maoist. Most of the movements and parties you mention are part of our tradition, even if we are not (cannot be!) bound by the limits of the past.

4) What is "essential" about the vanguard party is ALL the basic premises laid out in What Is To Be Done? – Specifically the need for a "synthetic" vanguard to lead an "organic" proletarian revolution. It is not the fetish of any old party, but the recognition that without a revolutionary communist party the masses have no means by which to rule and resistance will never of its own accord magically turn to revolution. Likewise, a communist party that has developed "revisionist" habits and methods will not lead, but hinder. This has nothing to do with being "genuine" or "pure" – but is about what they even promise. See the South African Communist Party or their affiliate here in the USA.

This relates to Goff's criticism of ML(M) as "alien." Just like reactionary nationalists in the third world have denounced Marxism as "European" or always and everywhere "foregin" because it is global. This is the narrowness that all nationalism play into, and related to their inability to win on their own terms ever.

In this sense, which is plain enough in Goff's mea culpa, is that to the pragmatist revolution is always alien. Revolution being the qualitative change in what already is...

5) There is no such thing as "species being." The early Marx, while interesting and important, is the non-materialist Marx who still (mechanically) holds up what amounts to a (non-existent) authentic humanity. It is in Capital that a materialist analysis fully takes hold and Marxism as we know it came into being. Without that materialism, Marxism would have been another utopian (and simply teleological) extension of the utopian socialists. Utopians to this day lament this turn.

In a neat example of dialectics, the utopian Marx who is upheld as the "free" Marx concerened with "qualities" of life ends up the catechist; while the Marx of Capital and dialectical materialism is the philosopher of the hand. See Theses on Feuerbach, which serve also (at the end of the day) as Theses on Young Marx.

6) On the ML to MLM issue: I'll say the name again of "he who shall not be named." Avakian's whole slurry of recent releases is exactly about exploring this – and why it is not enough to have an instrumentalist view of the party (which I believe all here are critical of) WITHOUT dodging the need for a party, both in the revolutionary process AND to fight the class struggle under socialism on the road to a communist world.

It's not just about "contributions" of Mao in some quantitative sense. The starting point for THAT discussion is BA's seminal essay "Conquer the World: The International Proletariat Must and Will." Available at a bookstore near you (maybe). LOL.

7) The Iranian document I linked was not about discussing "neofascism" per se, but rather the need to NOT subordinate proletarian internationalist, revolutionary communist politics to the nationalist imperatives of reactionary third world regimes and/or popular movements.

As some forces, notably the ISO types internationally, Sam Marcyites and even LeftTurn magazine have begun to treat Hezbollah as (essentially) a "anti-imperialist" political force and not the theocratic reactionaries they (in fact) are – promoting and assisting the development of a revolutionary proletarian poltiical pole is our responsibility. Not as "allies" forever alienated, but as "comrades" in a world struggle for communism.

That, to me, is the beginning of respect.

Put another way, more than the era of national liberation, today's world demonstrates the reactionary dichotemy between "global capitalism" and "local reaction." Hezbollah is no NLF, and the issues are all the sharper in relief.

As Marx noted a century or two ago, "capitalism breaks down all Chinese walls," and our duty is not to reconstruct them... but to fight THROUGH to a world where the masses rule. No "progressive" retreat to local tyranny is possible. That it is not desirable is still, apparently, up for discussion.

8) While I argue that the "vanguard party is the single most important movement technology ever developed," that is different from calling it a panecea. That would consfuse the beginning of the discussion for the end.

All the more true when you remove analysis (or even observation) of "line" from what a party is, not just what it calls itself. "Paper holds any mark you make."

------

Since I truly am at work, let me take one paragraph from this response that gets to what I believe the essential issue is – and where the contention may truly lie. Each sentence of this is packed with import, so I've laid them out distinctly:

"The appropriate function of revolutionary party organization is to organize revolutionaries, not to be priests or professors to the working class.

"With or without parties, masses and classes make history.

"Whether they make revolution depends on the extent they manage to think and act autonomously.

"Party organization has certainly proven to be a formidable obstacle to this goal."

This is the meat of it, as I see it. And where we can maybe dig in to a more detailed discussion in the coming days. (I dispute every one of these claims.)

Francis said...

I’m not sure I followed most of what Burningman had to say here, but I liked the way he concluded by parsing one paragraph of Redboy’s analysis. I agree that it is a paragraph worth reading closely, but unlike Burningman, I endorse every one of these claims (despite my occasional disagreements with Redboy over the years).

The first sentence (“The appropriate function of revolutionary party organization is to organize revolutionaries, not to be priests or professors to the working class”), from my perspective, opposes a particular model of Marxist-Leninist – and MLM – thinking, but it deliberately leaves the relationship between revolutionaries and the working class ambiguous. In fact, (and I think Redboy would agree with this) it will frequently be the case that the revolutionaries in question are themselves PART OF the working class, not distinct from it. As Burningman himself says, “Not as "allies" forever alienated, but as "comrades" in a world struggle for communism.” The real question is, what does it mean to be comrades? A party/organization is an indispensable element of any strategy for revolution – no disagreement from Burningman or Redboy on that point, I’m sure – but an organization of comrades cannot function as priests or professors.

It’s hard for me to see how Burningman can dispute the second sentence: “With or without parties, masses and classes make history.” As the Ex say, “History is what’s happening,” or in the words of LKJ, “It ain’t no mystery, we making history.” And Redboy himself distinguishes “making history” from “making revolution.” Still, making history is a big deal, not just a question of minor reforms in a world of misery. In this context, it seems to me undeniably true that masses and classes make history; to say otherwise is play into the classic “great man” theory of history, in either its bourgeois or its Stalinist versions. France in May/June 1968, Soweto in 1977, the first Intifada, the piquiteros of Argentina; these are classes and masses clearly making history, and parties are either nowhere to be found, or else are present as a hindrance to the history-making. (Yes, I know, Burningman will point out the failure of each of these situations to develop into a revolution, which leads nicely into …)

Sentence three: “Whether they make revolution depends on the extent they manage to think and act autonomously.” Burningman of course believes that the pivotal question is not autonomy but rather (party) organization. Setting aside our disagreements about the nature of the party/organization, I would say it’s a both/and situation. Autonomy here refers to self-activity outside the attempted impostion of “acceptable” parameters by capital, the state, and the self-declared representatives of the masses and classes, be they trade unions, political parties, or armchair intellectuals. Revolutions have been lost every time this autonomy is compromised. Party/organization is important, but by itself cannot compensate for the lack of autonomous action; all too often, it counter-acts the autonomy that does emerge.

And that is pretty much a re-statement of the last sentence: “Party organization has certainly proven to be a formidable obstacle to this goal.” Again, it’s hard for me to believe that Burningman could disagree with this, but then again I’ve never been a Maoist. Whatever my disagreements with Chris Day, he recently articulated much the same problem over on Red Flags (in his January 5th comment on the “Party Line” thread), although he concludes with a “stick with it” approach to ML(M) party building, where many of us prefer to rethink the entire concept of party/organization, dispensing with both the democratic centralism criticized by Redboy and the somewhat wooden approach taken by even the best elements of the anarchist tradition.

RX said...

Burningman and reddboy raise important concepts of revolutionary organization and the relationship between masses and organizations of conscious militants. Both seem longtime communists, though coming from different traditions, and both are not anarchists, although reddboy’s politics represent a “Left” Marxism that I am sympathetic too for it’s emphasis on 1) human agency as opposed to determinism, 2) the development of a revolutionary organization that exists a) to organize militants into a framework that stresses collective and participatory thought and action b) encourages debate and critical thinking rather than the top-down command structures that democratic centralism becomes c) seeing militants and the organization as one of many players rather than a substituted vanguard.

Burningman, while I disagree with, represents an appreciated trend from the MLM tendency because of the willingness to debate and to not simply write off those of us who are “idealists” “utopians” and advocates of “autonomy”. Still, this willingness on burningmans part doesn’t necessarily mean that we can have an exchange that will fundamentally alter our conceptions of organization and the perceived tasks in front of us in terms of aiding in the creation of a revolutionary movement here in North America. But perhaps from some exchange there are questions that will arise that can be usefull in clarifying the tasks that will, as the dead comrade Malatesta said in his 1922 document, What is to be Done (his play on Lenin's document of the same name), prepare ourselves for events to come.

There is a lot here and addressing all the points would mean more than I can put forth now, so my response is going to be staggered – some now and more to follow.

With Burningmans comment,

“As some forces, notably the ISO types internationally, Sam Marcyites and even LeftTurn magazine have begun to treat Hezbollah as (essentially) a "anti-imperialist" political force and not the theocratic reactionaries they (in fact) are”

I couldn’t agree more. I don’t consider the ISO and WWP to be revolutionary organizations. The ISO is a social-democratic organization aimed primarily at recruiting on university campuses, this in itself is no grounds for political rejection, but it seeks to create an organization of managers. They follow the worst of Lenin’s What Is To Be Done? seeing the proles as only capable of coming to a substandard political consciousness without the leadership of the intellectual Party (I think Burningman may feel this way too given his endorsement of What Is To Be Done). This view of consciousness was shocked by the independent and radical action of the workers and peasants of eastern Europe in 1905 and then in 1917, Lenin realized this, it’s to bad the ISO don’t. And in action the ISO is generally the “play it safe” crowd, emphasizing speeches and paper sales over combat, and in struggles that pit workers against management or rank and filers against factions of the Union apparatus the ISO time and again endorse the Left beauracrats. Once again, an example of their orientation towards creating a block of managers. In the end they play a more conservatizing role rather than radical (they are no Luxemburg Spartakusbund or inheritors of Trotsky’s combative revolutionary internationalism).

With the WWP. they embrace every variant of “anti-imperialism” as progressive, leaping to the conclusion that such opposition results in the opening of space for revolutionary socialist consciousness to develop. They end up with endorsements for all sorts of tyrannical and reactionary "socialist" regimes - some kinda deformed “workers states” that are in crisis due to the objective conditions created by the imperialist centers. So, let’s leave the ISO and WWP behind.

As for Left Turn, this is complex. I see their support for autonomy manifesting itself in the form of uncritical support - or at least criticisms are not voiced in public – of those social movements that are of the non-Party led Left. Going back to Luxemburg, Left Turn take her notion (to an extreme) that the errors made by the revolutionary masses are historically more beneficial than the intentions of the best revolutionary organization. This stems from the anti-vanguardism that prompted their break with the ISO over how to relate to the “anti-globalization movement” post Seattle, where the ISO took the position that the anti-globalization movement was a temporal phenomena and any re-orientation would be detrimental to it’s long term campaigns. Fair enough, but I would gander that their ambivalence had a lot to do with them not being the dominant player in the game.

The would be Left Turn, rejecting the ISO sectarianism and attempting to grapple with the rapidly changing political terrain here in the US (and in no small way the re-emergence of multiple strands of anti-authoritarianism) re-evaluated their position. Since then, their advocacy of autonomy has lead them to reject the concept of a revolutionary organization based on ideological perspectives. High profile members of their tendency consider criticism of popular movements as sectarianism or worse. Threewayfight itself was labeled islamophobic and racist because of positions critical of Hezballah. The race card was played at the expense of any discussion that could possibly lead to deeper understandings or new analysis on, at the least, our part. I question the trajectory of LT and wonder if they are not becoming the libertarian version of WWP.

While an advocate of autonomy, I see the need for greater coordination of various movements. For me there is still the need for revolutionary organization that’s sets itself the task of political analysis and the developing of accompanying approaches. I want to get to some more of this and state what I think such an organization in the present would look like and what tasks are in front of US/North American revolutionaries, and specifically, revolutionary anarchists.

Right now I got to run off to work. Will post some more tonight. later I want to outline a little on autonomy. Burningman rejects it, as he rejects libertarianism, but at least in these debates hasn’t clarified why. I would like to see that, too.

Anonymous said...

comrades,

I appreciate the friendly debate. I have learned alot from redbboy (redboy? the best you could come up with, huh?)
From what I can tell there are not a lot of theoretical/strategic differences between his politics and our revolutionary anarchism.

I do question whether his version of Marxism and Leninism (as opposed to Marxism-Leninism or MLM) really represents a "Tradition" since I know of no organization in my political lifetime anywhere in the world that uses marxism and leninsm the way redboy does. In fact the need to hold on to the "Traditions" of Marx and Lenin are his biggest weakness. For me what Lenin wrote late in life about the disaster he engineered, including the construction of a massive capitalist instrument of repression is much less welcome in my "Tradition" than the writings of the working-class and peasant rebels, who not only saw this much more fully and earlier but bore the brunt of it's hammer. It has always seemed like a contradiction that redboy doesn't see it similarly. Like a religious attachement to one's denomination. Nonetheless he is one of the keenest, most honest, and nicest humans I know. However we use OUR "tradition" it should not be to wall off comrades like him.

burningman is a nice enough guy, who is obviously committed to cereating forums for discussion among revolutionaries. My attitude is that thias is good, we should participate when we can in RedFlags and welcome him here and elsewhere. The actual politics - the MLM of the RCP- are not really any more revolutionary than ISO and WWP. A Detroit comrade described the middle-class culture of the ISO as that of social workers; the RCP's as that of Prosecuters. I found that deadly accurate.

Sorry for such little substance . . work interferes again!

redblack

reddboy said...

Burningman raises some issues about organization that are no less important because they’ve been considered before. I have some differences and probably some agreements as well. Over time, possibly in a different place, I would like to discuss both - from Fred Hampton (what other lessons might have been learned from Minister of Defense, Bobby Rush) to Althussar (I see him lurking in the rejection of the utopian “pre-Marxist Marx”).
But before that discussion gets very far, anarchists will be crying, “That’s all bullshit”. So I’m starting on anarchist terrain, the issue of autonomy. Most Marxists don’t see it, but this concept is central to revolutionary strategy. Most anarchists don’t see it, but their political practice is frequently hamstrung by their application of it. All the above, of course, is just my opinion.
A revolutionary subject committed to the necessity of a transformed society and prefiguring its possibility emerges through a process of separation from capitalist society, rejecting its limits and commands in daily life. Popular resistance to the coercion of the capitalist state and refusal of its hegemonic dominance foreshadow an alternative way of living and working. This can be manifested through a range of forms – mass strikes, soviets or councils, liberated zones, people’s armies, even political parties. For anarchists, this developing popular autonomy is defined not only by its break with official society, but also by democratic and participatory social practices and institutions that break with external regulation by self appointed or delegated “leaderships” – “condescending saviors”. Clearly this is at odds with the prevailing ML conception of the relationship of vanguard parties to mass movements.
Keeping Communists from screwing up the movement is a real enough problem, but it shouldn’t obscure the importance for revolutionaries to be organized in a disciplined structure that is separate from mass movements and institutions. I don’t accept all of the main propositions of What Is To Be Done as Burningman does, but I do accept the necessity for an organization of “professional” revolutionaries. Anarchists generally recoil from this notion, seeing it as opposed to their priority on autonomy and on opposition to hierarchy.
There are two issues: the first is the relationship between revolutionary organization and mass and class movements; the second is the relationship between majorities and minorities, the individual and the collective, and leaderships and memberships within revolutionary organizations. They are related, but not identical. The first will always be difficult but, if technocratic and militaristic approaches are rejected, it can be worked through productively. The second issue also has major problems to which anarchists add one that is quite unnecessary by conflating autonomy, a social break with the dominant system, with individualism, a prominent aspect of that same system.
Revolution will be a collective process. It will develop out of collective projects implemented through pooling of scarce human resources. This process will self destruct without the ability to prioritize some estimates and approaches over others when all alternatives are seriously held and there is no before the fact way to determine which will prove to be the most productive.
In my experience, anarchists are hard pressed to discuss their political work critically and are wary to the point of being hostile to any process that might result in one area of work being prioritized over another. They are unwilling to collectivize an estimate of political conditions, if it means everyone’s ideas are open to discussion and criticism but will not end up with equal validity. They find it difficult to deal with destructive tendencies in their own social and political culture. They don’t take responsibility for evaluating major strategic initiatives that encounter obstacles, e.g., the anti-globalization movement after Genoa; or political developments that dramatically alter the context for work, e.g., 9/11 and the War on Terror. These factors combine to create an amorphous anarchist milieu where major issues are determined according to what feels comfortable, what people want to do, what makes them happy, what is not too difficult or too dangerous, as if questions of revolution were individual life style choices between fads and hobbies.
The lack of strong and disciplined revolutionary organizations is a particular problem when mass struggles are in a period of retreat and retrenchment and when state repression is increasing…a period like the present. Without revolutionary organization, the gains in militance and understanding from periods of insurgency are quickly eroded and may increase fragmentation, cynicism and defeatism. With it, there is some possibility to generalize lessons and ensure that everything doesn’t have to be learned again from scratch.