Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 4, 2010

Maoists and the Democratic Party

Filed under: parliamentary cretinism — louisproyect @ 6:33 pm

It has been a while since the Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO) has shown up on my radar screen. When Stan Goff was a member, I paid a lot more attention to it since I had a high regard for Stan. When he dropped out with an open letter disavowing Marxism, I pretty much lost interest.

I should add that there are actually two FRSO’s. The one that Stan was involved with is referred to as Freedom Road Socialist Organization (Refoundation) while the other FRSO is called “Fightback”. Neither group uses the qualifier in referring to itself. The split occurred in 1999 over the “refoundation” business that appeared to overlap to some extent with broader moves to break with sectarianism on the left. With all proportions guarded, the split is reminiscent of the split in the CPUSA with the Committees of Correspondence offering up its own kind of “refoundation” thinking and the Gus Hall faction upholding “orthodoxy”, as laughable as that seems to someone outside their ranks.

The Fightback group sized up the split this way:

Under the banner of building a “new socialist party” a right wing section of our organization adopted the standpoint of social-democracy and anti-communism, and insisted that FRSO pursue this strategy.  In an exercise of sectarianism, the rightists said there was no socialist movement that met their criteria of what a revolutionary movement should be (either in the U.S. or internationally) so it was their task to “refound it”.  They said that Marxism-Leninism was a failure, as well as an obstacle to building socialism, and that a “new revolutionary theory” was needed.  They convened a meeting to solidify their strategy to build an organization that corresponds to their thinking over the next 5 years.

More recently, the “Refoundation” group has oriented itself to the Bolivarian revolution:

From this FRSO sharpened the vision of Left Refoundation. Drawing on the analysis of Latin American socialist and political thinker, Marta Harnecker, FRSO has said it must be based on the fusion of forces from both the Party Left (socialist organizations) and the Social Movement Left (mass-based groups in different sectors with left politics and a core open to socialism). Two pamphlets were written with these new sights and widely circulated: “Which Way is Left” and “The Young and the Leftless” (aimed at younger activists). Both make the call for a broad party-building project on the left which required a reassessment of long-established organizational models, theory and practice. These pamphlets, coupled with participation in local social forums and the USSF, locally-based cross-left forms, and being a founding organization of Revolutionary Work in Our Times has stirred interest in a new generation of revolutionaries based in the social movements.

While I am generally sympathetic to their approach, a post that appeared recently on the Kasama website gives me pause to wonder. A fellow named Patrick Ryan who had left the group after 2 years decided that the FRSO (from this point on, you can assume that I am referring to the “Refoundation” group) was just too mired in the Democratic Party and wrote a resignation letter that Kasama published. Ryan states:

The leadership of FRSO/OSCL [ie., Refoundation] has played pivotal roles in social-democratic organizations like Progressives for Obama, the Jesse Jackson campaigns of 1984 and 1988, and aligned itself with like minded groups such as Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, the Democratic Socialists, and the Communist Party, USA in mass work which is dominated ideologically by a line of “Added-Value” Social-Democracy.

Frankly, it is a little difficult to find the kind of cheerleading for Obama on the FRSO website that you see on the CPUSA’s. Since FRSO members tend not to identify themselves publicly as such (a Maoist tradition that differs sharply from the Trotskyists), it is hard to assess the role of FRSO in the altogether regrettable Progressives for Obama, a website initiated by Carl Davidson, a student leader of the 1960s who is now a co-chair of the Committees of Correspondence, a group just as comfortably wedded to the Democratic Party as the CPUSA from which it split.

Just to refresh my memory, I took a look at Progressives for Obama (which has rebranded itself as Progressive America Rising, perhaps to put some distance between itself and the permanently rightward lurching White House) to see what they had to say about Obama during the early flush of illusion in this reincarnation of Herbert Hoover.

Davidson saw fit to publish Robert Borosage’s encomium to Obama a few days after the inauguration:

Obama’s inaugural speech was a pointed critique of the “failed dogmas” of the last 30 years of conservative misrule and a summons to a new and bold, progressive era of activist government; regulated markets and shared prosperity at home; and a foreign policy that reflects our values…

It was not the words, but this transcendent reality that evoked the tears at Barack Obama’s inauguration Tuesday. The somber eloquence of the new president, the presence of over a million people celebrating what they had done, the grace of Michele and Barack together, the infectious delight of their daughters, the relief felt in the long overdue departure of Bush and Cheney—all were overshadowed by the historic reality of Americans electing the first African-American president to lead them in this time of trouble. We see one another and the world sees America with new eyes as a result.

Now it is understandable why a Nation Magazine liberal like Borosage would write such nonsense. The bigger problem for us is why so many self-declared socialists like Davidson would believe it. The words “shared prosperity at home” ring particularly hollow.

The FRSO’s orientation to the Democratic Party, mostly gleaned from reading between the lines of their various articles and statements, is a legacy of one branch of the Maoist “New Communist” movement that Max Elbaum documented in “Revolution in the Air”.

While most 60s New Leftists started out as fierce opponents of the Democratic Party in the aftermath of the escalation of the war in Vietnam, there was a shift back to the oldest party of the American ruling class when the New Left began to dissolve under the impact of the French revolt of May/June 1968. All of a sudden, classical Marxism and a proletarian orientation became de rigeur.

For many New Leftists who had grown to despise the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party (for both good and bad reasons), the alternative model would become the Chinese Communist Party. But in terms of our own history in the USA, this peasant-based revolution would not be so easy to import. So instead young radicals began to look to the Communist Party despite its flaws.

In one of the oddest overtures ever made to the party of Gus Hall a group called Line of March led by ex-CP’er Irwin Silber, who used to write film reviews for the now defunct Guardian newsweekly, wrote article after article lashing out at the CP in one paragraph while writing obsequiously in the next–all this in the context of fusion proposals that the much larger CP found all too easy to ignore.

Unlike the CPUSA, the Maoists were not a wing of the Democratic Party but chose instead to participate in campaigns that had more of a maverick quality, especially those with African-American candidates. When I was in CISPES in New York City, we had a hard-working and well-respected member of the Maoist Communist Workers Party who had a day job on State Senator Bill Perkin’s staff. When CISPES had a national conference in 1984 that adopted a resolution becoming part of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Coalition, the DWP’er persuaded many people to jump on board.

Despite FRSO/Fightback’s opposition to FRSO/Refoundation’s “revisionism”, it shared its orientation to the Jackson campaign:

In the 1980s, we campaigned for Jesse Jackson and Chicago’s mayor Harold Washington while working to build the Black liberation movement and the struggle for African American political power. Our members were on the union picket lines when Hormel meatpackers faced the National Guard. We built opposition to Bush Sr.’s first war on Iraq and organized countless protests and demonstrations of every war of every administration – from Reagan to Bush, Jr. In the 1990’s and this last five years, we participated in thousands of battles on the local and national level. High points include building the Chicano and Latino movements against the government’s anti-immigrant measures in California, the powerful struggles of the urban poor in Minnesota and the Teamster reform movement.

Of course, it should be acknowledged that not all Maoists go along with this. Bob Avakian’s Revolutionary Communist Party was never on the Obama bandwagon. He wrote a letter to his followers stating:

Besides the need to sharply expose how Obama, and others parroting this stuff, are attempting to draw Black people into being consciously complicit in the crimes of “their country”—i.e., U.S. imperialism—against the oppressed masses of the world,6 it needs to be recognized and pointed out that these syrupy bromides being given voice by Obama, and by many bourgeois Black figures, on the basis of Obama’s winning the presidential race, not only make the ground more favorable for, but can very quickly turn into, the menace voiced by William Bennett as things unfold, as this system continues to operate according to its essential nature and underlying dynamics, including—as we have stressed in the special issue on the Black national question7 —the ways in which it functions, and is bound to function, to keep masses of Black people, in particular youth in the inner cities, from “being whatever they strive to be,” and these youth and other basic Black masses are increasingly seen, and treated, by many of these Black bourgeois forces as dragging them down and posing an obstacle to their being what they are striving to be—more prominent functionaries and lackeys of the imperialist system.

Despite having very little use for cult leaders of any sort, Avakian’s words strike me as quite persuasive.

To conclude, it is beyond the scope of this article to deal with all of the complexities of Marxism and electoral politics, but there are some points that can be made.

1. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels co-wrote an Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League March 1850 that stated:

“Even where there is no prospect whatever of their being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces and to lay before the public their revolutionary attitude and party standpoint. In this connection they must not allow themselves to be bribed by such arguments of the democrats as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the democratic party and giving the reactionaries the possibility of victory.”

You’ll notice that the “democratic party” is in lower case but it can be in upper case if applied to the American scene ever since Ralph Nader decided to challenge the two-party system.

In Marx’s day, it was simply understood that workers should vote for socialist candidates. Some Marxist supporters of the Democratic Party bring up Karl Marx’s fervent support for Abraham Lincoln. One can only say that this was an exceptional moment in American history when a section of the ruling class decided to complete the bourgeois revolution. By 1873, the two parties had coalesced around opposition to socialism and support for Jim Crow so any attempts to extrapolate Marx’s civil war writings to the modern imperialist epoch are self-serving to say the least.

2. Lenin advocated support for bourgeois workers parties like the German Social Democracy and the British Labour Party as a tactic to gain a hearing among workers who had not yet become supporters of the CP. Critical to this tactic was the understanding that once such parties came to power, they would expose themselves as traitors to the people who voted for them. How this has anything to do with the Democratic Party, a bourgeois party plain and simple, is anybody’s guess. This is a party that has been around since the early 19th century. Those who have not wised up about its goals are not going to be persuaded one way or another by having Obama in the White House. People vote for the Democrats mostly because they see no alternative. But the left has no business accommodating itself to the prevailing mood of futility in American society. We should be building bridges that lead to an alternative, starting with campaigns like Nader-Camejo. It is doubtful that Nader will mount another campaign but we should be thinking about a serious challenge to the single party running this country today, the party of big business that has two factions bickering over how to best screw the American people.

69 Comments »

  1. Can you please explain how Ralph Nader is a “bridge that leads to an alternative”? Or “a serious challenge to the single party running this country today”?

    I don’t mean these questions in a sarcastic or dismissive way — I would seriously like to know your reasoning.

    Comment by Dave Palmer — September 4, 2010 @ 9:35 pm

  2. The key to understanding the Nader campaign is not on an issues basis. After all, there’s not much to separate Nader and Kucinich on the issues. It is really about building an electoral alternative to the two party system that can be more responsive to the social movements, the trade unions et al. We need to break the logjam of the 2-party system and unfortunately a workers party based on the trade unions is not in the offing. My thinking on 3rd party politics is spelled out here:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/american_left/Nader2000.htm

    Comment by louisproyect — September 4, 2010 @ 10:00 pm

  3. Comrade Dave Palmer:

    Lou’s correct re: Nader. I mean I’m a militant Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist who believes that Sam Marcy was a great American revolutionary thinker (and that history will bear that notion out contrary to Lou) but I’ve voted for Nader in every election that didn’t have a WWP candidate on the ballot, not because Nader ultimately has Libertarian fantasies about what America could be, but despite that, because, as Lou says, Nader’s capable of “building an electoral alternative to the two party system that can be more responsive to the social movements, the trade unions et al. We need to break the logjam of the 2-party system and unfortunately a workers party based on the trade unions is not in the offing.”

    Last I heard Nader, who must now be in his early 70’s, still lives with his mother, who must be in her 90’s. That somehow strikes me as a guy you can trust, despite him propably being a millionaire. Moreover, Nader is in my view the only viable presidential candidate who is organically incapable of lying. For example. In the 2000 election when he ran amidst the multi-millionaire Gore and the multi-millionaire congenital halfwit Dubya, a CNN reporter stuffed a mike into Nader’s face and asked him “how he would sum up George W. Bush’s canidacy?”

    Nader instantly replied, on live TV, that “George W. Bush is a large corporation disguised as a person.”

    That comment earned my vote for Nader.

    To change subjects, when Lou writes above about “the powerful struggles of the urban poor in Minnesota and [in particular] the Teamster reform movement” I’d like to point that regarding “Teamsters Reform” I had some colleagues as a grad student at BGSU in OH at the time Clinton got elected, that not only cheered like madmen at Clinton’s victory, as if he was some kindred spirit to the working class, despite me pointing out that Clinton’s first “official” act was to lob 4 cruise missiles randomly into Bagdad killing the woman who just won the Nobel Peace Prize for Poetry, but also that the notion of the Federal Govenment taking over the Teamsters in the name of “reform” was utterly repulsive to the notion of workinbg class empowerment. Needless to say I was the scourge of the BGSU sociology department, whose real contribution to the sciences turned out to be coming up with unique variables determining “coital frequencies”, which Chomsky would say amounts to “determining the thicknessess of blades of grass.”

    It was in those days that I realized what Lenin meant when he said he’d “trade 50 Finnish professors for one Jack Reed.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 2:13 am

  4. I would also like to point out that when Lou quotes Marx & Engels’: “Even where there is no prospect whatever of their being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces and to lay before the public their revolutionary attitude and party standpoint. In this connection they must not allow themselves to be bribed by such arguments of the democrats as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the democratic party and giving the reactionaries the possibility of victory.” — That’s exactly what the WWP, despite its smallness and meager resources has successfully done consistently for the last 30 years, unlike any other communist party still having a pulse, and it seems to me for that, for whatever its other real & imagined faults, should at least get some credit from unrepentant marxists.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 2:23 am

  5. I supported Nader in 2000 in the hope that this would indeed contribute to building an electoral alternative to the two party system. Unfortunately, this did not happen.

    It was plausible (if somewhat hopeful) to view Nader as a potential LaFollette before the 2000 election. But the underwhelming 2.7% of the popular vote which Nader won in 2000 showed that he failed to energize mass support as we had hoped he might.

    That being said, it was a (slightly) better showing than Henry Wallace, and could conceivably have been a starting point for something bigger. However, after his 0.4% showing 2004 and 0.6% in 2008, I have a hard time seeing a real third party movement growing around Nader.

    Some of the blame for this can fairly be assigned to Nader, who showed little interest in actually building the Green Party beyond his own presidential campaigns, and essentially disappeared from the scene between 2000 and 2004, and between 2004 until 2008.

    Partly, however, it can be attributed to the U.S. electoral system itself. It lends itself to having two parties. No third party has ever had a serious national presence for any significant length of time. In very rare cases, third parties have become major parties by supplanting old parties in decline (as the Republicans supplanted the Whigs). But basically, there are always two parties, both of which represent the ruling class.

    I would like to see a viable third party movement, but I have serious doubts about the potential for this to happen, and in any case I doubt that Nader is the person to lead it.

    I am deeply skeptical about parties and candidates, but that doesn’t mean I believe in electoral abstentionism. Instead, I think energy should be focused on enacting direct legislation through ballot initiatives, as I describe here on Kasama.

    Comment by Dave Palmer — September 5, 2010 @ 2:39 am

  6. Agreed Dave re: Nader’s candidacy — but nevertheless “Even where there is no prospect whatever of their being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces and to lay before the public their revolutionary attitude and party standpoint.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 2:57 am

  7. Well Nader’s numerous candidacies are in the past now, and so there is little hope for him to be the figurehead of a popular left party in the future. I have voted for Nader in every election since 1996, but there has been no progress towards building this phantom party.

    And with all due respect to Karl, the WWP’s positions on dictators who also happen to be within imperialism’s gun-sights is just plain embarrassing.

    Comment by Sheldon — September 5, 2010 @ 3:32 am

  8. And just what “dictators” exactly are you referring to Sir Sheldon?

    Do you mean Lenin, Mao, & Ho Chi Mihn? Or do you mean Fidel Castro, Daniel Ortega & Hugo Chavez?

    Maybe you’re referring to Kim Il Sung or Milosevich?

    Whomever you mean, how can any so-called “dictator” you name possibly be more detrimental to the history of humanity than racist genocidal gangsters like Nixon & Reagan, nevermind Dick Cheney & G.W. Bush, or his father Bush Senior, ex-head of the CIA, or even congenital liars that you probably voted for, like Obama, Clinton & LBJ.

    Even Jimmy Carter recently praised to the hilt the unleashing upon the world of some hideous new stealthy batch of nuclear armed submarines, a fleet capable of wiping out all life on earth by the push of a button by some degenerate, no doubt Ivy League educated cretin in America presiding over the dictatorship of the imperialist bourgeoisie. What other “dictator” can you possibly name that wields that much power over humanity, not to mention billions of years of evolution?

    Your accusation reminds me of those Zionist howlers in 1991 who claimed that Saddam Hussein was “the next Hitler” — as if it wasn’t absurdly ludicrous that some 3rd World despot who couldn’t even tackle his neighbor Iran could compare with a 1st World imperialist powerhouse like Germany that threatened all of Europe.

    Match up any so-called “dictator” that you allege the WWP to “unconditionally support” in terms of feeding the hungry & arming the historically oppressed and then, please do, if you insist, a body count of the deceased, in terms of classes victimized by these alleged dictators and you’ll quickly discover how shrill & insulated from the brutality of class struggle in the age of unbridled & armed-to-the teeth-imperialism your reactionary charges become.

    Do you mean that Lenin would have disavowed the WWP’s revolutionary defeatist slogan of “Victory to Iraq” during Desert Storm? But the defeat of US Imperialism’s armies in that war would have indeed been a great benefit to working people in the USA, not to mention the rest of humanity, for it would have exposed just what a bunch of predatory swindlers run the Pentagon, and how Generals really rule the White House.

    Victory to Iraq is hardly the same as saying “Long live Saddam Hussein” — yet that’s just what the C of C, Leslie Cagan and everybody else (like you) who sought to thwart that anti-war movement alleged — just like cowardly redbaiters akin to prison snitches.

    For chrissakes, even if you argued that Marcy supported Stalin, despite Marcy being a consistent Trotskyist for 65 straight years, how many Soviet factory workers exactly do you figure Stalin murdered, that is, what percentage, compared to the sons & daughters of landowners & the propertied classes?

    Yes, Napoleon Bonaparte was also a murderous thug but Lenin said that “an army is a state on wheels” and wherever Napoleon’s army went Feudalism was thereby abolished. Cheering the defeat of Feudalism is not the same as shouting “Long live Napoleon!” This is not to say I relish such brutality but some historical perspective & political context is demanded.

    Bottom line is your charges won’t withstand scrutiny. Those who dwell in glass houses ought not throw stones.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 5:36 am

  9. The point is that Marx said *workers* must put up their own candidates! Can you really say that about the various far left sects of today? I would say not.

    In Marx’s writings you can see that he always emphasised when a figure of authority within the movement had a genuine proletarian background, he would say so and so, who was an tailor or a miner. In the UK such people can be found in the Labour party. This is the workers party in Great Britain, not matter how degenerate it has become.

    Comment by Steve — September 5, 2010 @ 7:54 am

  10. The sectarian opposing of the Obama Campaign by various US socialist groupings was disgraceful. It was analagous to the Bolsheviks opposing the overthrow of the Tsar in February 1917 on the grounds that this was not the socialist revolution. Obama’s election was a momentus event. Probably the most momentus since the Civil War even if it doesn’t feel like that any longer. That does not of course mean uncritical support, though the sheer vituperativeness of the criticisms of some sectarians of the Obama campaign meant that no sort of bridge could be built between socialists and his youthful and working class supporters. It was abstention from the revolution. Of course it was immediately necessary to get into the business of exposing the inadequacy, neigh the treachery, of the Obama Administration but socialists would have been in a better and more relevant position to do this if they hadn’t completely alienated themselves from Obama’s base before he’d even been elected. The time for the April Thesis was after the February Revolution not before it.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 5, 2010 @ 10:16 am

  11. Of course complete uncritical liquidation into the campaign was the opportunist/Menshevik side of this unfortunate coin.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 5, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  12. You talk a lot of rubbish David Ellis, your comparisons are completely inane. You do say some amusing things though like ‘It doesn’t feel so momentous now’ oh yes well no it doesn’t, I wonder why? The Obama election was no crushing repudiation of racism, it was tokenism. Are we to get happy happy joy joy about the fact that under Bush jnr a black woman became secretary of state for the first time? As for bridge building, as long as people have illusions in the war mongering Democrats then I think we should keep the bridges to a minimum. The whole Obama movement enthusiasm of various socialist groups was a disinct low point, it seems to be dissipating, certainly I haven’t seen the British SWP hammer on it lately.

    Comment by SGuy — September 5, 2010 @ 2:17 pm

  13. [opposing of the Obama Campaign by various US socialist groupings was disgraceful.]

    Talk about embarassments! You make it sound like getting rid of Bush & Cheney was throwing off the yoke of feudalism.

    You got it exactly backwards Mr. Ellis. The real disgrace was for any class conscious being to cast a vote of confidence to some Harvard educated lawyer whose first major political action in Congress was to stab his constituency in the back by voting for a bankruptcy reform bill written by the credit card companies, a bill that while utterly screwing millions of working people ensured that a handful of the most despicable giant banks would give him tens of millions for his future campaigns.

    You’re advocating workers to vote for a guy who made a CAMPAIGN PROMISE TO ESCALATE THE WAR IN AFGHANISTAN, that is, he promised to have the richest country on earth increase the marauding & suffereing of what’s practically the poorest country on earth, to say nothing of the fact that his first official act in the Presidency was to hand over almost 3/4 of a trillion dollars, with absolutely no strings, congresional oversight, or public accountability to history’s greediest, least deserving gaggle of corrupt & incompetent banksters, while bridges and schools crumble and social services are devastated.

    This is the same guy responsible for most pathetic healthcare reform bill imaginable, one virtually written word for word by the most odious giants of the insurance industry.

    Considering that Obama’s continued on with the elimination of habeas corpus established under the Military Commissions Act, continues on stealthily with torture, renditions, and now even extra-legal exceutions of US citizens, if it weren’t for the uprecedented crimes of Bush & Cheney the Obama regime would arguably be stained with perhaps the most criminal turpitude in American history.

    Just remember all that when your next shrimp cocktail tastes like Windex.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 2:20 pm

  14. #12 Well had the February revolution not been converted into the October Revolution it to would have lost its shine so to speak. But have the left sects in the US benefited from Obama’s abuse of his base? No, they are just as small as ever if not smaller which, I guess, is the way they like it. Having alienated yourselves from any chance of connecting with Obama’s idealist working class and young supporters during the campaign you were in no position to take advantage of the inevitable back sliding. Result: demoralisation and the only beneficiaries so far have been the Tea Party right. I think you are just happy being `right’ more than you want to change anything.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 5, 2010 @ 2:27 pm

  15. The sectarian opposing of the Obama Campaign by various US socialist groupings was disgraceful. It was analagous to the Bolsheviks opposing the overthrow of the Tsar in February 1917 on the grounds that this was not the socialist revolution.

    A better analogy would be Bolshevik opposition to the Kadet Party, the Russian equivalent of the DP.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 5, 2010 @ 2:40 pm

  16. Steve (#9) omits the context of the whole quote which was:

    “Even where there is no prospect whatever of their being elected, the workers must put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces and to lay before the public their revolutionary attitude and party standpoint. In this connection they must not allow themselves to be bribed by such arguments of the democrats as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the democratic party and giving the reactionaries the possibility of victory.”

    Steve said: “The point is that Marx said *workers* must put up their own candidates!” but Steve leaves out the rest of the quote which was thay “put up their own candidates in order to preserve their INDEPENDENCE.”

    Fact is the Labour Party in the UK has about as much “independence” from the imperialist bourgeoisie as do the Democrats in the USA — which is zero.

    Why preserve their independence? So as to be able to “lay before the public their revolutionary attitude and party standpoint.”

    The fact is neither the Democratic or Labour Party has an iota of “revolutionary attitude” amongst their leadership, that is, amongst the people that call the shots.

    And what exactly is the “party standpoint” of Labour or the Democrats? Historically it’s been merely to garner bigger crumbs from the tables of the rich, to beg hat in hand for a bigger slice of the capitalist pie instead of demanding the whole pie that the workers created & rightly deserve.

    Like their “revolutionary attitude” or not the fact is that for at least 30 years (since the days of SANE/ FREEZ) the WWP has been responsible for organizing every single progressive mass demo of 100,000 or more in the USA (the Million Man March & a Pro-Abortion rally rally notwithstanding). There’s been no violence at these demos either because they’ve got discipline and highly honed organizational skills.

    Of course they’re an admittedly tiny group (as were the Bolsheviks for almost 2 decades) but nevertheless 100% working class, made up almost entirely of former or current trade unionists, who’ve attempted & succeeded, against enormous obstacles, far more than any other left group in the USA, to “put up their own candidates in order to preserve their independence, to count their forces (in 1992 candidate Martha Grevatt, a Gay autoworker, got 330,000 votes for Governor of OH) and to LAY BEFORE THE PUBLIC THEIR REVOLUTIONARY ATTITUDE AND PARTY STANDPOINT.”

    To quote Marx & Engels again: “In this connection [the WWP does not] allow themselves to be bribed by such arguments of the democrats [like Mr. Ellis] that by so doing they are splitting the democratic party and giving the reactionaries the possibility of victory.”

    It’s really easy for armchair leftists to critisize real working class agitators by labeling them “sects” (even though they actually do more politically to maintain proletarian independence & revolutionary attitude) — almost as easy as pulling levers for various capitalist party politicians every few years while sniveling & whining that those “damn sectarians” are “splitting the democratic party and giving the reactionaries the possibility of victory.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 3:23 pm

  17. In #14 Mr. Ellis says: “I think you are just happy being `right’ more than you want to change anything.”

    It’s certainly happier being right than dead wrong, or worse, delusional.

    Delusional is the only word that comes to mind if one really imagines that if, say, every leftist in the USA that didn’t support Obama instead jumped on the Obama bandwagon, that the guy who voted for the credit card companies’ draconian bankruptcy bill as an Illinois Senator would have somehow prevented him from keeping his presidential campaign promise to send more troops to Afghanistan; or prevented him from bailing out the banks; or prevented him from thwarting single payer health care; or prevented him from maintaining the suspension of habeas corpus and the erosion of civil liberties under Bush; or prevented BP from running the Gulf Oil spill cleanup; or prevented his promise to keep on drilling.

    Clearly the decline of the left is not the fault of the self-sacrificing agitators who maintain their independence & a revolutionary party line in the face of the reactionary stampeding petty bourgeoisie but rather the “Democratic Party as a force of progressive change” delusions of millions of erstwhile leftists like Mr. Ellis who seem organically incapable of absorbing the fact that the Democrats prosecuted EVERY WAR in the 20th century. (Grenada, Panama & the 1st Gulf War don’t count since only one side was shooting).

    Better for young people to be instantly demoralized by a house negro beholden to the banks than to have their hopes dashed amidst ruinous imperialist wars & social austerity because that’s what they’d typically get from Democrats anyway if history is any indicator.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 4:03 pm

  18. I might retort dave that the Obama loving ISO isn’t exactly burning things up. Underneath it all I can’t help but detect the motto of the opportunist ‘Better to be wrong and in the majority then right and in the minority’.

    Comment by SGuy — September 5, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

  19. Right, SGuy, I’m not arguing that the WWP is a panacea but rather merely pointing out that they’re the only socialist organization able to consistently pull off for 3 decades not only huge mass demos in the belly of the beast but also to maintain independent praxis and a revolutionary attitude along the lines (& almost to the letter) of what Marx & Engels said above in their address to the Communist League.

    For that they should earn more than just ridicule, scorn & contempt from those on the left who imagine that social justice will come from “pressuring” the Democratic Party because that’s clearly an abjectly failed prescription for working people if there ever was one.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  20. Karl, it is not about pressuring the democrats but trying to connect with the idealist working class and youth in the Obama Campaign base. A sectarian attitude to the Obama Campaign did not help with that. It would have been like the bolsheviks opposing the overthrow of the Tsar because they weren’t leading it. There is no question of watering down programs (do you have one by the way) but working through the process with the masses you want to win to that program and perspective. I think the task was to bust a gut turning the Obama popular front into a united front but that requires not just propaganda but politics.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 5, 2010 @ 10:09 pm

  21. Dave – transitioning from capitalist party A that started the war in Afghanistan to capitalist party B that vowed to escalate the war in Afghanistan is an absurd analogy to “the bolsheviks opposing the overthrow of the Tsar because they weren’t leading it.”

    Get over thsi nonsense already. The “idealist working class and youth in the Obama campaign base” are more analogous to the idealist working class and youth in JFK’s campaign base and look what they got, Imperialist war in Indochina and a brother who framed up leaders in organized labor.

    Imagine what Lenin would say, for the sake of argument, if he were alive and at the head of the WWP and you insisted to him that he was “despicable” for not working for Obama’s victory so as not to dash the hopes of idealistic workers and youth.

    He’d no doubt hold his hand over his face and peek at you through his fingers muttering: “What a philistine. What a goddamned delusional philistine.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 5, 2010 @ 10:37 pm

  22. No he wouldn’t Karl. He’d say `the election of a left liberal black president in America is a seriously radical departure from anything that has gone before. It is imperative that the socialists gain influence amongst the workers, minorities and youth that have illusions in Obama and who are turning out in their millions to support his campaign. That does not mean of course that we capitulate for one moment to the left liberal program which is not only inadequate to begin with but what there is of it will wither and disappear under pressure from both the establishment and the left liberal’s own fear of the masses. Far from it. We must elaborate our own program to fit objective necessity and fight for it politically. But it does mean that we go through the experience with them, help them to realise their radical desires whilst pointing out the limits of their perspective. THe masses it seems new better than the sects how to land a big, immediate, symbolic blow on the US ruling class. Unfortunately the socialist were not there to help them turn that blow eventually into a potentially fatal one.’

    What are your perspectives now Karl? What program and how would you propose under the current conditions to go about winning the masses to it? Is the Obama administration likely to fall to the left or the right in your estimation? What should we do to assure it falls to the left?

    Comment by David Ellis — September 5, 2010 @ 11:01 pm

  23. Ellis, aren’t you in the British CP? If so, I can understand the reformist claptrap but more to the point where do you get the gumption to lecture Americans about supporting the Democrats? Trotskyists generally can be faulted for offering advice from afar. I guess the disease is catching.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 6, 2010 @ 12:17 am

  24. Sorry David but reformism has never expropriated the expropriators anywhere and it sure as hell isn’t going to start happenning today in the USA no matter how many leftists support Obama.

    Democrats don’t “fall” anywhere except to the center. When the workers were spontaneously organizing the CIO in 30’s and voting for Communists then FDR “fell” toward the center of a left leaning society by implementing “revolution prevention insurance” in the form of social security. When the trade unions today are being decimated as the repbulicrats ship manufacturing abroad then the democrats again fall toward the center, in this case, toward reaction.

    So you really imagine that if all the left banded together under the banner of Obama we might “pressure” the ruling class to implement some more “revolution prevention insurance” — is that it? Fat chance. Better to be principled and isolated than to abandon your priciples for a “mess of pottage.” Oh, but you think you can retain socialist principles while working within the democratic party, eh? Yea, right. Just look where that got the CPUSA and the DSA all these years. Please try & wrap your brain around this stobborn fact. You can NEVER retain socialist principles working within a party that prosecutes imperialist war!

    For the last time let’s reiterate what Marx & Engels said above, almost as if it were written yesterday, that socialists “must not allow themselves to be bribed by such arguments of the democrats as, for example, that by so doing they are splitting the democratic party and giving the reactionaries the possibility of victory.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 6, 2010 @ 12:50 am

  25. Yes David, the WWP has a program, and it’s had a helluva lot more success than the CPUSA’s “Jobs With Justice” that tail-ends the democratic party.

    The day to day program looks like this:

    http://www.iacenter.org/

    which has a hell of a lot more resonance among youth and historically oppressed working people in this country than any program of Obama’s, which so far has been to turn his back on working people and instead embrace their worst enemies, Big Oil, Big Banks, Wall Street, Israel & the Pentagon.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 6, 2010 @ 1:20 am

  26. Karl,
    Please save me the lectures. I am perfectly aware of the evils of U.S. imperialism and oppose them. And FYI, I have not been knighted to the best of my knowledge.

    Comment by Sheldon — September 6, 2010 @ 3:20 am

  27. `the election of a left liberal black president in America is a seriously radical departure from anything that has gone before.

    Perhaps, but exactly not in the way Ellis means. For the US ruling class, putting this house negro in the house has been a boon, a con job that has apparently paid of well. Equally, for the poor majority of the world, and for the left such as it is, the success of this ruling class ruse can only be disastrous.

    Comment by Lajany Otum — September 6, 2010 @ 11:10 am

  28. #24 `So you really imagine that if all the left banded together under the banner of Obama.’

    You should be honest in debate Karl.

    #27 `For the US ruling class, putting this house negro in the house has been a boon, a con job that has apparently paid of well.’

    Bloody hell.

    #23 `Ellis, aren’t you in the British CP? If so, I can understand the reformist claptrap but more to the point where do you get the gumption to lecture Americans about supporting the Democrats?’

    From up a gumption tree Louis and no I am not in the British CP. Bit of good old US chauvinism to close off the debate eh Louis? Are you a US stalinist? I certainly don’t have a first hand knowledge of the particulars but then we have only been discussing in general terms but don’t tell me you haven’t commented in general terms on events regarding the fortunes of the international working class in other countires.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 6, 2010 @ 12:19 pm

  29. Yes I know, bad Lajany for calling Obama an Uncle Tom. Its amazing how many on the left back away from this designation, occasionally with a technical ‘Well Obama never really fell from grace did he?’. However I dont think that the designation necessarily needs the person to have been half way decent at some point. Perhaps it really is the liberal pretensions of Obama that shield him, if Condi Rice had one the election and people started coining the phrase ‘Aunty Condi’ would these ‘Don’t call Obama an Uncle Tom’ types be so upset?

    Comment by SGuy — September 6, 2010 @ 1:09 pm

  30. Ellis, my apologies. I had you confused with someone else who posts to Andy Newman’s blog.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 6, 2010 @ 1:12 pm

  31. Sheldon said: [“I am perfectly aware of the evils of U.S. imperialism and opposed them.]

    Sure you oppose imperialism, just not as much as you oppose Castro which you see as an “embarassment”.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 6, 2010 @ 1:31 pm

  32. Greetings,

    Hope you are well.

    When Obama was in that debate and said he was for expanding the war into Afghanastan and even supported attacks into Pakistan he lost my vote. I was to vote for the Socialist Party. The morning of the election my wife, a resident of Grenada and of African decent pleaded with me to vote for Obama. Knowing that the Socialist candidate had no chance of winning I did changed my vote.

    Look at Obama’s record and compare it to past presidental records. Look at how nothing has changed in America since he took office.

    We now have a darker skinned lackey in the White House as opposed to a lighter skinned one.

    However saying all this and knowing the struggle that African Americans and their allies have went through just to vote without getting lynched I still have to say that Obama’s election was a step forward. For example in 1960 in Mississippi there was no ‘black’ vote.

    I see many Obama shirts in the economically depressed neighborhoods that are predominately African American. It is something positive and good they can celebrate.

    True one of the lessons in America is now that even if you are of a minority, you too can make. Of course in the capitalistic state one must compromise their morals and sell their soul to the devil to do so. This is of course a bad message. However there is another lesson learned which is more fundamental and more valuable. And that is things can and do change.

    I wonder what Emit Till, Medgar Evans, Martin Luther King, would say.

    Do I respect Obama and his policies? No not at all.

    Am I glad that things have changed? Yes I am. How have they changed? African Americans can vote.

    Now if we could just get a real revolutionary candidate to vote for, that would go a long way.

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

    Comment by John Kaniecki — September 6, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

  33. Bloody hell.

    That would be Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and such other places after the US ruling class and their paid killer(s) have finished with them?

    Comment by Lajany Otum — September 6, 2010 @ 4:47 pm

  34. “…opposing of the Obama Campaign by various US socialist groupings … was analagous to the Bolsheviks opposing the overthrow of the Tsar…” says david ellis.

    can he be serious? electing obama was like overthrowing the czar? more like enthroning the czar in perpetuity.

    Comment by jp — September 6, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  35. Don’t know what Lenin would say about any of this, the cat’s been dead for almost 90 years. But I do know that Obamaism has been a disaster for black working class in that it has been a boon for the black professional classes like the Avakian citation Louis used above implies. Avakian is a wanker, but even a broken clock is right twice a day, as the old guard likes to say. Anyway, the usual myopia of the black petty boojwah has begun to contaminate the up and coming young black leaders, many of whom know relatively nothing of the pioneers of Pan-Africanism and even less of black working class struggles in this country.

    Obamaism has done exactly what some of us warned it would do, i.e., crate a bullwark for “democratic” party politics in the neighborhoods which at this point is virtually unassailable. It has deepened the credibility of the worst renegades in black and latino politics through application of the usual “black like me” skin game which, in the past, has enabled politicians as odious as Herman Badillo and Marian Barry. Living events will change that in due time, but the eternal question is whether we’ll have enough momentum in the radical black worker camp to help move things back onto the revolutionary democratic, or socialist track, and at this point, there ain’t much shaking but the leaves on the trees.

    It’s a safe bet that Obama and his groupies will be able to rally to retain his custody of the “democratic” party leadership in the next election- though it will also be interesting to see where the
    Clintons go with the machinery they’ve been building. I don’t think they’ll risk splitting the “democratic” party this next go round, but the way the economy is tanking, who knows? Anyway, we have those delusions to work our way through before the working class begins to move, the way things are looking now. And the black worker, with Obamianism clouding the day, certainly has her work cut out for her.

    Comment by Michael Hureaux — September 6, 2010 @ 6:23 pm

  36. #30 Ha ha, tres amusing Louis. as you well know I am one and the same. But it is important to tell the truth which ever forum you are in. The sects are not interested in winning the working class to an independent policy so they abandon politics and the working class altogether in favour of pure propaganda and not even good propaganda but alienating propaganda.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 6, 2010 @ 9:36 pm

  37. You didn’t understand me. I know that you are the same Ellis but I was thinking of somebody else entirely who was pushing a Stalinist line on Newman’s blog–not you obviously since I saw something you wrote that took exception to the usual bullshit over there.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 6, 2010 @ 9:50 pm

  38. David from the UK:

    When socialist groups like the WWP run their own working class candidates (typically women & minorities) that’s hardly evidence that they “abandon politics and the working class altogether in favour of pure propaganda.”

    Organizing antiwar demos, and demos for moratoriums on home foreclosures or organizing rallys in defence of immigrant workers and rallys against anti-muslim racism is only alienating to jingo nativists and backward workers who are certainly not going to get educated by Democrats but rather through class struggle politics in the streets, actions that Democrats are organically incapable of organizing.

    Please try and absorb this axiom once & for all: It’s a long established fact in America that there can be no “independent working class policy” built within the confines of the Democratic Party. Ever. Period.

    That was a hard enough task during the height of the New Deal, let alone now when trade unionism’s been decimated and the last vestiges of the New Deal have been ruthlessly & relentlessly torn asunder.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 6, 2010 @ 10:39 pm

  39. #37 `You didn’t understand me.’

    Apologies Louis

    #38 `Please try and absorb this axiom once & for all: It’s a long established fact in America that there can be no “independent working class policy” built within the confines of the Democratic Party. Ever. Period.’

    And I have not once claimed that it could be. What I am concerned about is the ultra-left abstentionist even desertionist position of the Socialist Sects in relation to the Obama Campaign. They failed to stand side by side (i.e. at least vote for the man and maybe even work for his campaign in some way) with the millions of workers, youth and minorities who desperately wanted Obama elected and Bush defeated. It would then be possible, having won the ear of the masses, to put an independent class line that could turn this popular front into a united front by exposing the representatives of hostile class forces and driving them out including in the end the liberals around Obama and Obama himself. But to do that you had to be there man.

    If socialists can work in the army when necessary then surely they could’ve worked in the Obama Campaign.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 7, 2010 @ 11:30 am

  40. [“If socialists can work in the army when necessary then surely they could’ve worked in the Obama Campaign.”]

    Wrong again. Today’s US Military is an all mercenary army. Nowhere in history have socialists done any work amongst a mercenary armed force but rather historically socialists have only gained influence within a conscripted army. That’s one of the main reasons the ruling class abandoned the draft.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 7, 2010 @ 12:53 pm

  41. #40 `Wrong again.’

    What? Again already? Dang!

    Comment by David Ellis — September 7, 2010 @ 3:54 pm

  42. I have to say I am with Ellis on this thread.

    The point Ellis makes about the army and Obama still stands, if socialists can work in conscripted armed forces, why not the Democratic party?

    Comment by Steve — September 7, 2010 @ 5:14 pm

  43. Because Bolsheviks never lied about the nature of the Czar’s army. It was a brutal enemy of the people and a tool of imperialist war. If revolutionaries doing “entryism” in the DP told a rank-and-file party member what they thought of the Democratic Party, they wouldn’t get a hearing.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 7, 2010 @ 5:44 pm

  44. Possibly the UK and the USA are fundamentally different, in the UK the Labour party is the workers party (no matter how degenerate it has become). At a local level, at its base it is a worker party and it is here that debate takes place and ‘entryism’ can be effective. Is the USA different?

    Comment by Steve — September 7, 2010 @ 6:41 pm

  45. OK. So we in the US are aware that in the UK there are more than 2 major political parties (which is certainly an improvement over our system) but they all get their marching orders from a single class. Like Lenin said: “Democracy never prevented a single war.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 7, 2010 @ 7:01 pm

  46. Is the USA different?

    Completely. The DP is not a membership party. There are no gatherings that have a grass roots quality. The “netroots” that came together to support Obama gave the impression that it was some kind of movement but it had not real existence outside of cyberspace and once he was elected, it pretty much dissolved. The DP is like the Liberal Party in Canada or the Liberal Democratic Party in Britain if you want to think in terms of analogies, not anything like the parties of the Second International.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 7, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  47. “in the UK the Labour party is the workers party”

    The days when the Labour Party could reasonably be described as any kind of “workers party” are long gone.

    Comment by JN — September 7, 2010 @ 10:52 pm

  48. Right you are JN. Those days are as “long gone” as the days when American workers might dream of wrestling the meagerest of concessions from the Democratic Party in power.

    The idea that if it weren’t for “left sectarian abstentionism” then just maybe the idealistic hopes & dreams of the “enthusiastic workers & youth who supported Obama” wouldn’t have been smashed into the rocks is about as hilarious as the notion that if the Labour Party in Britain were in power they wouldn’t be the first to join the “coalition of the willing” in Uncle Sam’s next imperialist adventure.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 7, 2010 @ 11:25 pm

  49. “Sure you oppose imperialism, just not as much as you oppose Castro which you see as an “embarassment”.”

    Karl,
    First, fuck you, you asshole, because I never said I opposed Castro or the Cuban revolution, because in fact I am in critical support of Castro and the Cuban revolution.

    Either apologize or go to hell. Dogmatic WWP paper pushers like you are no benefit to the cause of socialism in this country, because you jump down peoples throats presuming to know what the fuck they are saying without them even saying it.

    Comment by Sheldon — September 8, 2010 @ 4:08 am

  50. #46 `The DP is like the Liberal Party in Canada or the Liberal Democratic Party in Britain…’

    Not quite. We have the Labour Party in Britain which is nominally a party of the working class. The working class in America by in large cleaves to the DP, that is not so much the case with the Lib Dems in Britain. The question is how to break the working class, youth and minorities from the DP to a potentially mass US socialist party. I don’t think it can be done purely by propaganda and shrill juxtapositioning. At some point the art of politics will have to be deployed if we are going to win the masses to our program.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 8, 2010 @ 10:18 am

  51. So Sheldon, you mean the group that consistently organizes the most people into the streets against US imperialism are just “paper pushers”?

    Or do you mean they get their “paper” distributed in ways other than setting up a literature table at a socialist scholars conference?

    Or do you mean their just “paper pushers” compared to what you do to “benefit the cause of socialism in this country”, which is what exactly? Cast a vote of confidence for Obama or just give him “critical support”?

    If the WWP’s defence of Castro isn’t one of those the 3rd World “dictators” that’s “within imperialism’s gun-sights” that so embarasses you — which one is?

    I’m guessing it’s one in Africa, say one that’s currently enduring US lead sanctions, which is war without shooting.

    There was a time when certain leftists were also embarassed by Trotsky’s Leninist position on the Ethiopian dictator Haile Selassie, aka Negus, when his country was also “within imperialism’s gun sights”, despite the fact Negus rounded up & executed African communists.

    Trotsky wrote: “The victory of the Negus [Haile Selassie] however, would mean a mighty blow at … imperialism as a whole, and would lend a powerful impulsion to the rebellious forces of the oppressed peoples. One must really be completely blind not to see this.”

    In another article he wrote: “Of course, we are for the defeat of Italy and the victory of Ethiopia… When war is involved, for us it is not a question of who is ‘better’, the Negus or Mussolini; rather, it is a question of the relationship of classes and the fight of an underdeveloped nation for independence against imperialism.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 8, 2010 @ 10:38 am

  52. [“I don’t think it can be done purely by propaganda and shrill juxtapositioning. At some point the art of politics will have to be deployed if we are going to win the masses to our program.”]

    Agreed, Ellis, but the fact is there is absolutely no possibility of “art” left within the hostile confines of the DP as their complete subordination of labor to the ruling class is now a “science”.

    The sooner you come to grips with this fact the sooner we can proceed with a meaningful discussion about… What Is To Be Done.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 8, 2010 @ 10:48 am

  53. Karl: In fact I haven’t really mentioned the DP so much as the Obama Campaign. Louis says the opportunities were limited, I’m not there so don’t know, but I was of the belief that ways could be found.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 8, 2010 @ 11:03 am

  54. David: He didn’t say opportunities were “limited.” He said “they wouldn’t get a hearing.” If you cannot even get a hearing then that’s clearly a dead avenue.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 8, 2010 @ 11:21 am

  55. [“I haven’t really mentioned the DP so much as the Obama Campaign.”]

    The two are inextricably intertwined.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 8, 2010 @ 11:23 am

  56. The working class in America by in large cleaves to the DP, that is not so much the case with the Lib Dems in Britain.

    What do you mean by cleaving? Voting? The working class voted for Reagan twice. Should we have oriented to the Republican Party? You really are betraying your ignorance of American politics.

    Comment by Louis Proyect — September 8, 2010 @ 1:11 pm

  57. Regardless of what shirts they wear, young people of color are going to be noteworthy for their refusal to vote in the November election. To me, that’s a more telling insight.

    For some reason, this discussion reminds me of the one that took place in response to Eric Alterman’s article about “Kabuki Politics” and the impossibility of a progressive presidency in the US a couple of months ago. While substantively very different, of course, both fail to recognize that young people and independents are already abandoning Obama and the Democrats, regardless of what liberal academics and Marxists have to say about him.

    Hence, to be characterizing his election victory as a “step forward”, as Ellis did, when many of his supporters have already repudiated him strikes me as rather odd. Similarly, the question as to how Marxists should relate to Obama’s election and presidency, when many have already concluded that he is a political failure seems a bit behind the curve.

    Comment by Richard Estes — September 8, 2010 @ 10:49 pm

  58. Agreed Richard. That ship has sailed, off into the abyss, the search parties long ago joining the League of Abandoned Hopes.

    Marxist forensics shows the corporate-made rudder, crippled like the Bismark’s, turned the ship of fools’ maiden voyage sharply to the right then straight into the first rock outcropping amidst stormy seas & shark infested waters.

    The survivors, idealist leftists, progressive workers, youth of all colors (and hopeful European onlookers) are now seasick, thirsty with empty stomachs and bruised souls, stranded on the barren reef of one party politics — “the party of big business that has two factions bickering over how to best screw the American people” as Louis succinctly put it.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 9, 2010 @ 1:26 am

  59. Comrade Karl:
    I too am a fan of the works of Sam Marcy, as well as Vinnie Copeland and Dottie Ballon. I have not met you, but a buddy (dr. tim neuman) of mine knows you from BGSU and says “hi”. Come to one of the Workers World Party regional conferences this year, if not the main one in NYC, November.

    For those so-called progressives who falsely claim that WWP supports “dictators”, know this:
    You are are playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie by denouncing anti-imperialist leaders and rejecting their revolutionary gains.

    What is more important than ideological bickering is actively fighting for the people, something that truly separates Parties like WWP from other “socialist” groups in the US. WWP fights for jobs, against housing foreclosures and against police brutality. While armchair Marxists condemn Leftist, world leaders, groups like WWP and *Freedom Road Socialist Organization/Fightback! are actually standing up in the streets and workplaces.

    Comment by LongLiveLenin — September 9, 2010 @ 3:16 am

  60. #56 `What do you mean by cleaving? Voting? The working class voted for Reagan twice. Should we have oriented to the Republican Party? You really are betraying your ignorance of American politics.’

    Well I’d say the working class that we are interested in as socialists. As for my ignorance a blog like this could surely help with my and others’ education on that score. You must have noticed how when you blog about politics you get lots of comments and your film reviews attract very few good though they are and full, no doubt of class struggle observations they may be but perhaps if you gave it to us straight more often.

    #57 `While substantively very different, of course, both fail to recognize that young people and independents are already abandoning Obama and the Democrats, regardless of what liberal academics and Marxists have to say about him.’

    And is that not the problem. The socialists have failed to take advantage of what was a truly momentous event especially for black people but not just them because of also the utter defeat of the neo-cons. Result: demoralisation and abstention as opposed to a shift to the left. Of course the ship has sailed now but how the Socialists relate politically to the black, worker and youth base that still or did have illusions in him remains important because, no doubt after a few years of a dead duck administration, when Obama falls the fate of the US working class will be hanging in the balance. In fact its fate may have already been determined by then.

    Comment by David Ellis — September 9, 2010 @ 9:28 am

  61. LLL: I’ve missed ol’ T. Neuman and would like to make contact again. Please have him email me ASAP at ksmith@minidishes.tv

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 9, 2010 @ 1:32 pm

  62. David: The fates of workers who throw their lot in with the Democrats was sealed long ago. There was never a chance that a hair on capitalism’s head could be ever mussed coming from a DNC hand-picked Harvard Educated politician whose first big vote in Congress was to side decisively with the worst of the criminally usurious credit card companies, regardless of ethnicity.

    Unfortunately the fate of the working class will sooner be determined by war & revolution than by Diebold electronic ballot boxes.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 9, 2010 @ 1:47 pm

  63. Hey Dave & Sheldon:

    Those “embarassing” & “discraceful” sectarians that allegedly “demoralized entusiastic workers & youth” by not backing Obama over at WWP have struck again.

    They organized a peaceful anti-racist mass demo of about 10,000 on 9-11 which successfully drowned out the tea party bigots also gathered.

    Placards read: “Unity Not Racism” — “Jobs, Schools, Health Care — Not Racism & War” & “Tea Party Bigots Funded by Corporate $$$$”

    50 speakers took the podium, including Cindy Sheehan, former Congressperson Cynthia McKinney and former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, all of whom basically drove home the connections between anti-muslim racism & war on the one hand, and joblessness, crumbling schools, infrastructure & social services on the other — that is, they drove home messages organically alien to the corporate hacks & shills that run the Democratic Party.

    It’s a damn shame other socialist groups are too busy being otherwise “discraced, embarassed & alienated” by the WWP’s principled position of defending certain brown people’s leaders “within US Imperialism’s gun sights” to develope the equivalent organizational acumen — or we might really have a viable Left in this country, instead of a bunch of demoralized tail-enders of the DP with pipe dreams of peace, reform & jobs.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 12, 2010 @ 4:34 pm

  64. Karl,

    Hi hope you are well.

    Where was this demonstration you talk about? Unfortunately I turn on my computer and the first screen I see is about the Tea Pot Party. I hate facism!!! Also consider how some idiot who supposedly talks to God and was instructed to burn the Koran gets major press.

    When I told people I talked to God they threw my in the psychiatric hospital!!! ( But that is a tale for another day.)

    The problem is with the press. The supposedly free press is virutally non existant except for the internet. Forums like this are a great example. However on the pretext of reducing the danger of children being exposed to pornography these freedoms are being planned to be shut down!!

    Truly the time has come to throw of the shackles of oppression and to have the world liberated!!! It is a now or never scenario. I am certain that we will succeed and what we collectively accomplish will excell the wildest dreams and the most lucid revolutionary visionary. A world with no armies, no capitalism, no racism, no poverty, filled with solidarity, Love, freedom and joy.

    We must act!! Talking is fine but actions are essential. As the Bible says, “Faith without deeds is death.” If you can’t walk the walk then please shut up!!!

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

    Comment by John Kaniecki — September 13, 2010 @ 12:35 am

  65. Dear John:

    Here are some links to several stories on the 911 Rally in NYC against teabaggers & racists: http://www.google.com/#hl=en&rlz=1R2GGLL_en&q=ramsey+clark+911+rally&aq=&aqi=&aql=&oq=ramsey+clark+911+rally&gs_rfai=&fp=742e0f64086b1f64

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 13, 2010 @ 12:46 am

  66. John:

    Here’s a good link:

    http://absent-cause.blogspot.com/2010/09/thousands-march-on-911-in-nyc-against.html

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 13, 2010 @ 2:15 am

  67. Karl,

    Thanks for the link. I will look at them more closely! If the press estimated 3000 there must have been at least 5000 of you. I noticed in one of the pictures of those against the mosque that they all had one thing in common, pale skin!!

    You see how this country works. There is supposed to be freedom of religion in America. Except when it goes against the establishments agenda. It is like when the system says there is free speech. And then they assinate Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and destroy the Black Panthers. And then they wonder why ‘blacks’ do not participate in the system and they feel disenfranchised?

    One sign said something about killing for God. Why can’t the people understand that the United States is killing for their god which is money? I am a pacifist and don’t believe in killing. However why can’t people see the United States is the agressor? The moslems want to purchase a small property in Manhattan. The United States wishes to subjucate two nations. Which is the greater evil?

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

    Comment by John Kaniecki — September 13, 2010 @ 2:15 am

  68. John:

    These days the commercial press gives a leftist rally about a quarter of the true demo body count, so there were probably over 10,000 organized by the WWP. And yes, their side was a majority non-white, whereas the reactionaries are always 99% white.

    Notice how this item

    http://pibillwarner.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/gangs-of-new-york-at-911-protest-pamela-geller-and-far-right-sioa-group-vs-gavrielle-gemma-and-bail-out-people-movement-workers-world-communist-party/

    rails against the “Communist WWP” and slams them for supporting so-called “dictators” like Castro & Milosevich and other people (usually brown) who successfully resist US Imperialism that tend to “embarass” certain erstwhile Marxists that are quick to hurl plenty of critisizms but never seem to get organized.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — September 13, 2010 @ 2:34 am

  69. Karl,

    Hi hope you are well.

    Such hypocrisy! We hate ‘dictators’ who don’t not do what we want but support ‘dictators’ who do what we want, like Saudia Arabia for example. What is the United States showing by their actions?

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

    Comment by John Kaniecki — September 13, 2010 @ 11:35 am


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