Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

September 30, 2010

Did the Bolsheviks form blocs with the Cadets?

Filed under: parliamentary cretinism,revolutionary organizing — louisproyect @ 5:17 pm

On and off since September 19th, when it posted an article titled “Electoral Work as Part of Revolutionary Preparation”, the Kasama Project has been host to an ongoing debate on the Democratic Party. As you might have anticipated, I have defended total opposition to the Democrats. Occupying a position toward the center, Mike Ely, the founder of the Kasama Project and a former member of Bob Avakian’s Revolutionary Communist Party, is hostile to the Democratic Party but views supporting its candidates as a tactical question. On the right, there’s Carl Davidson, an SDS leader from the 1960s and co-chair of the Eurocommunist Committees of Correspondence, who launched a website in 2008 called Progressives for Obama.

On the 27th Mike crossposted a piece written by Justin Raimondo of antiwar.com titled “The Obama Boomerang: Pro-Obama lefties get slapped down by the FBI”. Raimondo, a disciple of Murray Rothbard who attempted to synthesize anarchism and libertarianism, has to his credit offered a withering critique of Democratic Party complicity in the “war on terror”. While I find his libertarian economics rather silly, especially given the current economic crisis that prompted Ayn Rand aficionado Alan Greenspan to confess to Congress that his free-market ideas had led to a disaster, I appreciate his anti-imperialist and anti-war journalism. After all, a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of petty minds.

Raimondo wrote:

I think it’s safe to say the antiwar movement was unprepared for this kind of attack from an administration they hailed as “a very good development,” and I’m not just talking about FRSO. The idea that the election of a black man whose resume reads “community organizer” is going to change the face of US imperialism even slightly is an illusion brought on by the identity politics that have long since replaced Marxism (or any coherent ‘ism) in the canons of the left. If many have wondered who let the air out of the antiwar movement, it was precisely those “radical” leftists who, like the “orthodox” Marxists of FRSO, signed on as the “left” wing of the Obama cult. That’s why they didn’t see the mailed fist of the State coming even when it was a few inches from their faces.

Since many people who read and comment on Kasama have a “Marxist-Leninist” past, it is not surprising that one person asked “Didn’t Lenin talk about participation in legal elections too?” It should be understood that in such circles, Lenin’s imprimatur will count as much as the Pope’s for Catholics. It should also be understood that there is an unfortunate amalgam made during the entire discussion on Kasama between “electoral work” and supporting the Democrats. The two really have to be separated, in my opinion.

I tried to put Lenin’s position in context:

The peculiar condition was the continuing ability of the parties of the Second International and British Labour to draw working-class votes in the 1920s. Lenin advocated that the Comintern parties urge a vote for their candidates in order to get a hearing from such voters, understanding that once they got elected they would sell out–thus helping to persuade workers to join the CP. In any case, this had nothing to do with supporting bourgeois parties like the Democrats in the USA. For people who want to understand how Lenin regarded such parties, go to the Marxism Internet Archives and do a search on “Cadet” within Lenin. This, after all, was the major difference between the Bolsheviks and Mensheviks: how to understand bourgeois liberalism. It is regrettable that a century after these debates took place, ostensible revolutionaries are dusting off Menshevik arguments.

This led Mike Ely to correct me: “actually there were situations in the Duma elections where the Bolsheviks would support Cadets against the Black hundreds.”

Now this was not the first time I heard such a claim. Back in November 2008, just around the time that Obama was in all his glory, one Marxmail subscriber cited an article by Lenin from 1912 that advocated blocs with “bourgeois democrats”. But he did not realize that Lenin was referring to the SR’s and not the Cadets.

When I asked Mike Ely to document his claim, he cited a book written by a Bolshevik deputy A.E. Badaev. Titled “Bolsheviks in the Tsarist Duma”, it seemed to support his claim:

The Bolsheviks thought it necessary to put up candidates in all workers’ curias and would not tolerate any agreements with other parties and groups, including the Menshevik-Liquidators. They also considered it necessary to put up candidates in the so-called “second curiae of city electors” (the first curiae consisted of large property owners and democratic candidates had no chance there at all) and in the elections in the villages, because of the great agitational value of the campaign. But in order to safeguard against the possible victory of reactionary candidates, the Bolsheviks permitted agreements respectively with the bourgeois democrats (Trudoviks, etc.) against the Liberals, and with the Liberals against the government parties during the second ballot for the election of electors in the city curias.

Well, that seemed pretty solid evidence for a Lenin who the Committees of Correspondence could love. A “practical” kind of guy who could urge a vote for the Obamas of his day against the really scary Black Hundreds, the Sarah Palins of Czarist Russia.

This was worth checking out. Although I don’t think it is very useful to base one’s politics in 2010 on what Lenin or A.E. Badaev wrote in 1912, as an amateur Lenin scholar I was curious to figure out what was going on. So I assiduously searched through Badaev’s book looking for more detail on the “agreements” between the Bolsheviks and the Cadets but could only come up with items like this that are hardly redolent of Carl Davidson’s popular front maneuvers:

Despite their failure on the question of chairman [a reference to an invitation from the Cadets to the left parties to support their nomination], within the next few days the Cadets made another attempt to draw the Social-Democratic faction into some agreement. They invited our fraction to a joint meeting of the “united opposition” to discuss certain bills which were being drafted by the Cadet fraction. In reply to this invitation the Social-Democratic fraction passed a resolution stating that they would undertake no joint work with the Cadets, that the Cadets were essentially counter-revolutionary and that no friendly relations were possible between them and the party of the working-class.

So I scratched my head and tried to figure out which Badaev was the true one, the one who Mike Ely cited or the one that comes across repeatedly throughout the rest of the book like an early version of Glenn Ford or Paul Street? It reminded me a bit of that old television show “To Tell the Truth”. Would the real A.M. Badaev please stand up?  I decided to reread the citation that Mike Ely found so convincing for the 12th time. Maybe there was something I was not getting.

Finally, I figured it out.

Badaev wrote:

with the Liberals against the government parties during the second ballot for the election of electors in the city curias.

The election of electors? What was an elector? I felt that this was the key to unraveling the mystery of Bolshevik “agreements” or blocs with the Cadets, the “bitter enemies” of the Black Hundreds in the same way that the Democrats are toward the Republicans. Ha-ha-ha.

You have to understand that the Czar set up a Duma on pretty much the same basis as our electoral college, in order to preempt the will of the people. You did not vote directly for Bolshevik, Trudovik, Black Hundred or Cadet candidates. Instead you had to vote for electors who came from four different “curiae”, or electoral groups: the landowners, urban middle class, peasants and workers. So the Bolsheviks came to an agreement with the Cadets not on a common electoral slate, but on who should be an elector. In some ways, this reminded me of all the flak that Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo got in 2008 when they used the ballot designation in some states that had belonged to a 3rd party that originated out of the Pat Buchanan campaign. You would have to be daft to accuse them of supporting Pat Buchanan’s politics, even though of course there were plenty of nuts who did, starting with the Demogreens, Eric Alterman et al.

Now I would be willing to be persuaded that Badaev was actually referring to political agreements between the Bolsheviks and the Cadets, but I would not hold my breath waiting–especially in light of the long and unambiguous record of Lenin’s hostility to the Cadets at all times and under all circumstances.

Although I don’t think it is very useful to base one’s electoral strategy on Lenin’s writings and prefer to understand our problems in terms of what Eugene V. Debs said (“I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don’t want, and get it”), I do think that there are some similarities between the challenges Lenin faced and what we face today. In December 31, 1906, Lenin wrote an article titled “The Attitude of the Bourgeois Parties and of the Workers’ Party to the Duma Elections” that strikes me as sounding quite contemporary. Lenin wrote:

Hence, the whole of the Cadets’ election campaign is directed to frightening the masses with the Black-Hundred danger and the danger from the extreme Left parties, to adapting themselves to the philistinism, cowardice and flabbiness of the petty bourgeois and to persuading him that the Cadets are the safest, the most modest, the most moderate and the most well-behaved of people. Every day the Cadet papers ask their readers: Are you afraid, philistine? Rely on us! We are not going to frighten you, we are opposed to violence, we are obedient to the government; rely on us, and we shall do everything for you “as far as possible”! And behind the backs of the frightened philistines the Cadets resort to every trick to assure the government of their loyalty, to assure the Lefts of their love of liberty, to assure the Peaceful Renovators of their affinity with their party and their election forms.

No enlightenment of the masses, no agitation to rouse the masses, no exposition of consistent democratic slogans— only a haggling for seats behind the backs of the frightened philistines—such is the election campaign of all the parties of the liberal bourgeoisie, from the non-party people (of Tovarishch) to the Party of Democratic Reforms.

Substitute the words Democratic Party for Cadets and you pretty much get an idea of why there is non-stop and hysterical chatter about the Tea Party from MSNBC, the Nation Magazine, and all the other ideological heirs of the Cadets and their best friends on the left at that time, the Mensheviks whose spineless reformism is apparently alive and well in 2010.

33 Comments »

  1. so in the end, to summarize it up: vote for the lesser evil of two.

    The biggest problem with U.S politics is that it’s so strictly bipartisan. That needs to change.

    Comment by Jihad Punk 77 — September 30, 2010 @ 5:32 pm

  2. for once, I can say we are in complete agreement on something, a generation of radical activists seems bent upon marginalizing themselves into invisibility

    one aspect of the Tea Party scene that deserves further investigation: the extent to which the Obama administration and it moderate Democratic supporters have tacitly encouraged it through their actions to, as Deep Throat told Woodward and Bernstein, to run against who they want to run against.

    recall that, last summer, progressives were pressing the House to pass out a health care reform bill to the Senate before the recess, so as to avoid the pressure from planned Tea Party disruptions back in their districts, and preserve important features like the public option and importation of generic drugs from Canada

    what happened? Steny Hoyer quickly went public with a statement to the effect that it would be a bad idea to rush the bill through, and, so the House recessed, and the Tea Party was on its way, the media darlings of the summer as they ranted and raved at their congressional representatives and anyone who dared speak against them

    meanwhile, during this whole period, the Obama administration was eerily silent

    there is a history here that really needs to be excavated, I think, not that it would make a difference to the “Mensheviks” mentioned here

    Comment by Richard Estes — September 30, 2010 @ 5:35 pm

  3. Spot on, Louis, spot on.

    Comment by epoliticus — September 30, 2010 @ 6:36 pm

  4. I find this post a little odd, almost literally line by line. Louis implies that I have a soft spot for Democrats and am “toward the center” in a discussion where I have argued hard against supporting Democrats, including Obama. I’ve opposed supporting Democrats in every election since I was a child (and the RCP has opposed supporting every Democrat in every election).

    Further when it gets to the meat of the question, Louis claims:

    “It should be understood that in such circles, Lenin’s imprimatur will count as much as the Pope’s for Catholics.

    But, in fact the opposite is the case. In fact my whole issue around “tactics” is that we shouldn’t take Lenin’s historical position (on Cadets) as if it is some universal and timeless principle that applies to the Democratic Party a century and a world away. Louis may think that is a position to the right of his — but I don’t see why.

    I am arguing we should oppose voting for Democrats WITHOUT some obscure and mechanical reference to Lenin’s Duma policy.

    I said several times to Louis:

    “This is an example of the method i’m urging that we not adopt. Even if we made this distinction, our conditions are different enough that it would not be the same one. the Cadets were an opposition party inside an autocratic Tsarist state — do we really want to (repeatedly) use that as a reference point when discussing the U.S. Democratic Party (which rules a modern imperialist empire)?

    “It is just a wrong way to approach and assimilate the (very rich and instructive) history we have.

    “It is a method of constant analogy — where people try to understand today by approaching it through the lens experience of century-old case studies. Even if this method occasionally produces a correct stand (and it does occasionally) as a method it saps everything of materialism and critical thinking.

    “Justin was right to mock “quote slinging” above — and the habit of some communists to reference everything to some previous struggle (usually in pre-1930s Russia). It isn’t just off-putting and cliquish — it is methodologically non-materialist, because the situations we are dealing with have a great deal of particularlity, and an overuse of analogy is misleading.

    “You can’t approach a specific political question and ask “What would Lenin do?” It is a methodologically wrong use of Lenin’s contributions.”

    Then Louis says:

    “It should also be understood that there is an unfortunate amalgam made during the entire discussion on Kasama between “electoral work” and supporting the Democrats. The two really have to be separated, in my opinion.”

    In fact in the essay i posted (called Communist Electoral Tactics”) I wrote:

    “If you think about it those are three different approaches to electoral politics:

    1) Entering or supporting the Democratic party, in order to actually win office or at least influence the direction of official policy,

    2) Participating in third party electoral campaigns of an agitational kind, to get radical and revolutionary ideas before the people and

    3) Participation as a form of theater — exposing an oppressive power structure through creative mockery.

    And the whole conversation (if you go read it) dissected and examined many different ways communists could (hypothetically) relate to elections (abstention, active boycott, third party candidates, critical support for liberal democrats whatever). In other words the discussion on Kasama was framed exactly opposite of how Louis decribes it.

    Then, one last correction, Louis claims that there is a big mystery about what Badaev is claiming. How can he be explaining that the Bolsheviks sometimes gave voting support against Cadets against Black Hundreds and yet also point out that they are counterrevolutionaries.

    But it is not that complicated, it is discussed and documented in great detail in the discussion on Kasama.

    If you don’t cut off the quote from Badaev it is clear that the Bolshevik candidates did not conclude an electoral bloc with the Cadets, they did not agree to stop denouncing them as counterrevolutionaries, they merely (in some places) chose at the second tier of pyramid voting to give their support to Cadets over Black Hundreds.

    Now, again, my main point is that these historical details are irrelevant to our own need to expose and divide the Democratic Party. I am arguing that we shouldn’t seek timeless “principles” of electoral detail from the small print of Duma practices.

    I’m not sure why Louis distorts and mocks my views on each point. I’m not sure why he presents our discussion as a bunch of fools seeking excuses to support imperialist candidates. I’m not sure why he doesn’t actually remember the details of the historical discussion.

    I find the tone and the distortion unfortunate (and oddly hostile). And, while respecting Louis and his work, just feel I need to make these clarifications.

    Comment by Mike E — September 30, 2010 @ 6:56 pm

  5. BTW: even the title of this post is odd: “Did the Bolsheviks form blocs with the Cadets?”

    No one claimed the Bosheviks formed a bloc with the Cadets. Badaev is very clear they did not. I made clear they did not.

    Why slant this discussion in this way? Sloppiness? Desire to score cheap points? Simple disrespect for others? Inability to see the point someone is trying to make?

    I think we have to move beyond casual snide hostility with people who have different left histories — and at the very least should try to listen and learn.

    Comment by Mike E — September 30, 2010 @ 7:03 pm

  6. Then, one last correction, Louis claims that there is a big mystery about what Badaev is claiming.

    Mike, you should understand that I do not get as worked up over tone as you do. The person I alluded to in my post who first brought up the Cadet business is a very good friend and comrade but we had sharp exchanges nonetheless. I think you are a bit too sensitive. I also say this as somebody who considers your work extremely important to the left today.

    Now, getting back to the Cadets. In terms of cutting off quotes, I would only say that my examination of the Badaev book in its totality reveals *nothing* about agreements or blocs that jibes with your citation. Nor will you find anything in Lenin that supports such a historical analysis.

    This google query “Lenin + Bloc + Cadet” on MIA returned 182 articles. Not a single one of them departed from the line presented in the one at the top:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/lenin/works/1906/nov/23c.htm

    At the All-Russian Conference of the R.S.D.L.P. the Mensheviks, with the aid of the Bundists, secured the adoption of a resolution permitting blocs with the Cadets. The Cadet press is jubilant, and is spreading the happy tidings to all ends of the earth, gently pushing the Mensheviks one step lower, one step further to the right. Elsewhere the reader will find the decisions of the conference, the dissenting opinion of the revolutionary Social-Democrats, and their draft election address.[1] Here we shall attempt to outline the general and fundamental political significance of blocs with the Cadets.

    Sotsial-Demokrat, No. 6, provides good material for such an outline, especially the editorial entitled “A Bloc of the Extreme Left”. We shall begin with one of the most characteristic passages in the article:

    “We are told,” writes Sotsial-Demokrat, “that the Mensheviks, who had set out to push the whole Duma on to the revolutionary path, abandoned their position after the dissolution of the Duma and formed a bloc with the revolutionary parties and groups, which was expressed, firstly, in the issue of two joint manifestoes—to the army and to the peasantry—and, secondly, in the formation of a committee for co-ordinating action in view of the forthcoming strike. This reference to precedent is based on a great misunderstanding. In the instance quoted, our Party concluded with the other revolutionary parties and groups not a political bloc, but a fighting agreement, which we have always considered expedient and necessary.”

    The italics are those of Sotsial-Demokrat.

    …Not a political bloc, but a fighting agreement…. For the love of God. Menshevik comrades! This is not only nonsensical, it is positively illiterate. One of two things: either you mean by a bloc only parliamentary agreements, or you mean other agreements besides parliamentary agreements. If the first is the case—then a bloc is a fighting agreement for a parliamentary fight. If the second is the case—then a fighting agreement is a political bloc, because a “fight” without a political purpose is not a fight, but merely a brawl.

    Comrades of the Central Committee! Watch your editors! You really must, because they are making us feel ashamed of Social-Democracy.

    Comment by louisproyect — September 30, 2010 @ 7:06 pm

  7. You distorted everything I said. And tried to portray me as some dogmatist likely to be looking for a backdoor for supporting the Democrats.

    I’m not worked up, I’m just disappointed. Why treat people like that, including your readers here?

    Comment by Mike E — September 30, 2010 @ 7:12 pm

  8. Fucking Brilliant article! That’s foremost what I have to say and I’ll get to why below.

    Call me an abject Communist, in the Manifesto sense of those who see a lot more black & white in the world than the vast gray areas of those whose favorite & sickeningly overused word is “dogmatism” & “sustainability, — these are the kinds of articles, discussions & debates that get my adrenaline flowing.

    In fact Lenin himself argued that seemingly minute, obscure & subtle political points, that many wondered in bafflement why he obsessed over, would prove to be enormously decisive political determinants in the end — and he was right.

    For starters, let me say that Mike E, who I know nothing of, strikes me as ultimately a quite worthy comrade, but does come off as more than a bit oversensitive on this question because Proyect clearly states from the outset: “Mike Ely… is hostile to the Democratic Party but views supporting its candidates as a tactical question.”

    Any socialist activist who is organically “hostile to the Democratic Party” should in my view automatically be considered a stalwart, loyal comrade and thus a potentially valuable asset to the ultimate cause of expropriating the expropriators.

    I respectfully disagree with comrade Ely that comrade Proyect was being overly “hostile” and “snide” in an attempt to “distort” his position but rather view the exercise as an attempt to illicit clarity on a most critical question — the historic role of that Party of Capital that has prosecuted the most Imperialist Wars in American history.

    Fucking eh right it’s a “tactical question” because “on the Right, there’s Carl Davidson, an SDS leader from the 1960s and co-chair of the Eurocommunist Committees of Correspondence, who launched a website in 2008 called Progressives for Obama.” Then on the Left there’s Proyect’s & other Leninist’s position of “total opposition to the Democrats.” Yet Proyect would surely cast a vote for Nader/ Camejo, so all Proyect is saying is that Ely is in the “center” of this debate, but the rest of his article proves in reality Ely is righteously far to the Left of Davidson, and therefore much closer to the Leninists. So IMO Ely has misread Proyect’s unfortunate labeling of him as a centrist when in reality Ely is far to the Left of Center. Semantic sensitivity is not uncommon in such discussions but clearly it’s no reason to blow apart people, comrades, revolutionaries with common aims in search of what’s to be done, who have far more in common than differences.

    It should be noted that far from being an “amateur” student of Lenin, Proyect is being modest and is in fact a “professional” student, albeit a profession that pays absolutely nothing except perhaps future dividends to the “movement.” His studious insights into these questions are invaluable for promoting clarity, discussion & debate. Leninism after is all is no panacea but merely a guidepost for thinking and a compass for action.

    I once had a part time job for 2 yrs. at the enormous Univ. of Ariz. library where I was supposed to thwart smugglers of outside food & soda drinks plus spitters of chewing tobacco. So for the 1st 1/2 hr. of the shift I made the rounds & did my best to thwart and then for the rest of the shift I hunkered down in the aisle of an obscure 5th floor aisle and systematically read over 80 volumes over 2 years of the collected works of, first Lenin, then Trotsky, all during the collapse of the Soviets mind you. I confided this duplicity to one of my “leftist” professors and he said, “wow. all that Lenin must have been boring,” On the contrary, I replied, “very little has changed structurally vis-a-vis Imperialism & the working class, particularly with regards to the fact that, as Lenin said, ‘Democracy has never prevented a single war'”.

    The point is, although I didn’t take notes, I was profoundly struck by the similarities of today’s politics with that of what Lenin faced in Russia, that is, change a few words like “Cadets” with “Democrats” and you could fashion a useful contemporary template.

    When Ely says in a rebuttal post: “You can’t approach a specific political question and ask “What would Lenin do?” It is a methodologically wrong use of Lenin’s contributions.” — I say bullshit. Calculating what Lenin would do in a given situation is in my view a pretty sound methodology I always think first to myself on any given question” “What would Lenin do?” When I come up with the answer I’m convinced that I can answer with virtual certainty, having seriously read every word he ever wrote, precisely which side Lenin (or Trotsky for that matter) would come down on in any given situation.

    Finally, I relish the thought that for all Proyect’s writings wherein he claims that “The Russian Question” is utterly irrelevant obscurantism to today’s, albeit pathetic, socialist movement, that like a gravitational force he inexorably stirs up the critical questions facing workers in the age of Obama with utterly relevant debates out of Russia, circa 1912 no less!

    The irrefragable fact is that Lenin was the single most important human being to have lived in the last 100 years. Period. For years I’ve defied anybody to challenge that notion to no avail. But that unchallengeable fact must mean something. Nobody else affected the political trajectory of human kind more than him and therefore, I argue, going forward, it will be impossible for any movement to dispense with his ideas, let alone fight for justice without referring back to him or, at least occasionally, asking the question: “What would Lenin do?”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 1, 2010 @ 2:31 am

  9. The point is how do you turn the Democrat-led popular front into a united front. What tactics and methods should the revolutionaries be using to achieve such a thing. Carping and propagandising from the sidelines ain’t one of them. Could you imagine Lenin criticising the February Revolution not for not going far enough but for overthrowing the Tsar in the first place. That is how the far left must have looked to supporters of Obama in America during his campaign and it is certainly how they looked to workers and oppressed minorities and nations around the world. Nobody is saying that these people are ever going to achieve anything long lasting or act in the long-term interest of workers and that is increasingly clear to everybody but the extreme sectarian attitude of the radical left to the Obama campaign was utterly counter-productive to the point that instead of winning disillusioned forces to its program they are simply stepping aside from politics with a curse on both your houses attitude.

    Karl: what tactics and methods do you now propose to win the working class and oppressed minorities away from the Democrats and to a revolutionary programme? That is the question that Lenin would have been working on. It was never about simple purity for Lenin but about winning.

    Comment by David Ellis — October 1, 2010 @ 10:10 am

  10. David Ellis says: “Nobody is saying that these people [meaning Obama, The Democratic Party, and their big business & Pentagon handlers] are ever going to achieve anything long lasting or act in the long-term interest of workers and that is increasingly clear to everybody…”]

    Bush & Cheney were (and still are) congenitally degenerate monststers but it’s unclear why D. Eliis continues to view the electoral college replacement of Capitalist Party A with Capitalist Party B as equivalent to the overthrowing of a centuries old Monarchy?

    One thing’s for certain. Lenin would have never embraced for the masses the slogan: “Workers and oppressed peoples unite to ensure never achieving anything long lasting or in the long-term interest of workers.”

    Maybe the news hasn’t struck the UK yet but Obama’s FBI has been raiding the homes of antiwar activists, some of whom were clearly Obama supporters insofar as they organized demos against the last Republican convention.

    http://news.antiwar.com/2010/09/26/attorney-fbi-raids-aimed-at-silencing-antiwar-activists/

    Clearly what you don’t want is workers voting for “people [who] are [n]ever going to achieve anything long lasting or act in the long-term interest of workers.” Like Debs said: “I’d rather vote for something I want and not get it than vote for something I don’t want, and get it.”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 1, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  11. Could you imagine Lenin criticising the February Revolution not for not going far enough but for overthrowing the Tsar in the first place. That is how the far left must have looked to supporters of Obama in America during his campaign and it is certainly how they looked to workers and oppressed minorities and nations around the world.

    This is truly batty. Obama’s election was no different than Jimmy Carter’s or Bill Clinton’s. He did not come to power out of a massive workers, farmers and soldier’s revolt as did Kerensky. He came to power because big business thought that he was better qualified to protect their interests than the muddle-headed McCain.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 1, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  12. Louis,

    Hi hope you are well.

    I do not think big business micro manages the presidential elections. It is simply not that important to them. Either candidate and both parties do whatever they want. The massive bail out of the banks is excellent evidence of this. Nine out of ten people were opposed to it. So they delayed a little, did the bankers will and disregarded the masses. And what was our long term reaction? Almost nothing.

    It happens all the time. One party is in power and we get mad at them. Then we switch to the other party as a correction. There is only one viable part in the United States and that is the party of the rich. What do you expect when the media is almost exclusively controlled by the wealthy?

    For a revolution circumstances must develop for it to occur. It will come spontaneously. Until then there is much that we can do. To use Lenin’s words propaganda and agitation. An educated individual can advocate for correct revolutionary activity.

    There must be a clear understanding of where we are, the reason for the oppressive conditions we are under, how we can emancipate the masses, what tactics we will undertake, and finally where we intend to go.

    Of course there will be disputes in the process but as of now I hope we are all in agreement the capitalistic predatory society must end. This termination is for the future of our children. The capitalist assault on society, humanity, nature and everything holy must end.

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

    Comment by john kaniecki — October 1, 2010 @ 5:52 pm

  13. Right on the money, Louis! For the liberal-left lesser-evilists the names may change but the song remains the same. Substitute Tea Party for John Birch Society, religious right and militias and substitute Sarah Palin for Goldwater, Nixon, Reagan and, of course, Bush, and you can see why there is no viable and/or visible left alternative around, even in the midst of one of the worst economic downturns since the 1930s.

    Today’s “reformists” are so far to the right (thanks to the Pop-Front Stalinism they learned back in their Maoist days) that they make the Mensheviks look like Bolsheviks. Even the mild reforms that they claimed to be for when the GOP was in office are now deemed “divisive” and “ultra-left.” What’s national health care, ending the wars or even defending civil liberties compared to keeping the Democrats in control of Congress. It never dawns on any of them that by supporting pro-war and pro-Wall Street neo-liberal Democrats they only further discredit the left by associating it with anti-working class austerity politics (Carter, Clinton and Obama) and, thus, help drive more people into the arms of the right.

    Comment by Roy Rollin — October 1, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

  14. Roy rightly points out that “It never dawns on any of them that by supporting pro-war and pro-Wall Street neo-liberal Democrats they only further discredit the left by associating it with anti-working class austerity politics (Carter, Clinton and Obama) and, thus, help drive more people into the arms of the right.”

    Of course! Whereas Davis Ellis imagines that the so-called “sectarians” (really the principled left) who tirelessly manage against enormous obstacles to run their own independent working class candidates (like the WWP)– against the 2 sided coin of the triumphant post-Soviet capitalists — are somehow responsible for demoralizing workers & youthful political enthusiasts, driving them ultimately to apathy or worse, to the right, the fact is precisely the opposite, that is, because the Democrats since Johnson (the warmongering gangster from Texas) helped systematically dismantle virtually all the progressive significance of the New Deal as well as undermine Trade Unionism by eagerly supporting reactionary measures like Taft-Hartley, perfidious NLRB appointments, and uber-globalization trade deals like NAFTA (not to mention previous Savings & Loan plus today’s big bank bailouts) the Democrats have become so morally bankrupt in the eyes of average wage slaves that they run away in droves from the Democrats, right into the arms of reactionary populist demagogues like Glenn Beck, just like the German workers did in the 30’s amidst economic depression and the Popular Frontism of Stalin’s Comintern.

    David Ellis, with all due respect, you may think as an articulate & well read European Leftist that you hate what Stalinism has done for the Socialist Movement but what I’m confident I could get at least a half dozen comrades here to back me up on is the fact that your arguments over the last month or so Re: what the American Left should have done vis-vis the Obama campaign is in fact classic Stalinist CPUSA politics, “batty” through & through, which ironically, for all their anti-communism, mirrors exactly the politics of the D.S.A. a-la Norman Thomas & Michael Harrington.

    Dear David. You seem like a worthy soul worth saving from the ignominy of Democratic Defeat so please try & consider our position from the Yank Left perspective which never had a 3rd Labour Party. What you have articulated heretofore is demonstrably absurd — the notion that workers supporting Kerensky is somehow analogous to workers supporting Obama!

    Our hope is through some debate and historically referred arguments you might someday concede the honest errors of your prognosis and join the fold who know not only in their bones but can prove with historical logic & accuracy the necessity for total & relentless abandonment of the Democratic Party as worthy of a vote of confidence for any class conscious worker in the USA.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 2, 2010 @ 1:27 am

  15. It’s bad enough that ostensible “Marxists” have the gall to refer to the likes of Lenin to support voting for a war-monger and errand boy for Wall Street like Obama. It reminds me of Michael Harrington using Marx’s support for Lincoln during the Civil War as an excuse to vote for Jimmy Carter in a debate with Peter Camejo in 1976! Not only are these idiotic analogies with the Russian Revolution bad enough, in and of themselves, in the hands of reformists (or lawyers for the reformists) they aren’t even historically accurate. Prince L’vov was the first head of the Provisional Government, not Alexander Kerensky!

    The bottom line insofar as Obama, no less than fellow “outsiders” Carter and Clinton before him, is concerned, was concisely stated by Louis. “He came to power because big business thought that he was better qualified to protect their interests than the muddle-headed McCain.” One didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that a neo-liberal yuppie like Obama was going to pay far more attention to the millionaires who owned him than to millions who voted for him…especially since those millions had no independent organizational instrument whatsoever to hold Obama’s “feet to the fire” as they claimed they would. Indeed, not only did Obama not come into office on the basis of any mobilization; he came in on the basis of the liberal-left’s having demobilized whatever mass movements were left from anti-war days into the dead-end of Democratic party roach motel politics. Activists go in as “radicals,” and some even as “revolutionaries,” they come out as “progressives,” if they ever come out at all.

    Comment by Roy Rollin — October 2, 2010 @ 2:30 am

  16. `This is truly batty. Obama’s election was no different than Jimmy Carter’s or Bill Clinton’s.’

    Really? That sounds a little batty to me and no doubt there are still many, many, black people in America who still can’t believe it has happened even if they are now disillusioned or disappointed or even betrayed by his administration. No doubt the Republicans will win with Tea Party candidates if that black vote is not mobilised to re-elect Obama. I think solidarity with those black and left voters in defeating the Republicans, as a defeat for Obama by the right would surely be extremely serious for all US workers, would be a way of the principled left to at least connect with the kind of constituency they are going to need to win if there is ever to be a consumated socialist overturn in America.

    Comment by David Ellis — October 2, 2010 @ 8:26 am

  17. People had the same illusions in LBJ’s “peace” credentials. Sometimes you have to swim against the current and tell people that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 2, 2010 @ 9:58 am

  18. [a defeat for Obama by the right would surely be extremely serious for all US workers]

    Spoken like a true CPer. David. Don’t you see, Obama is already so far to the right, obstensibly carrying out to the letter Bush’s 3rd term, there could be nothing “extremely serious” for American workers in his certain defeat in 2012.

    Regardless of party affiliation these Ivy League educated corporate toadies have identical foreign and domestic policies. It’s 2 sides of the same coin man. Just repeat after me, because I’m calling it in the air: “Heads we lose — Tails they win.”

    Obama’s pathetic Presidency & inevitable defeat in 2012 just might have the ancillary benefit of driving once and for all a stake into the vampire heart of the Democratic Party, now all but dead & bankrupt in the eyes of the workers and progressives. Hungry, homeless & unemployed human beings cannot be hoodwinked in perpituity.

    The Democrats have proven beyond doubt they have absolutely nothing to offer the masses. Even Black people are abandoning this Oreo cookie presidency (black on the outside but white on the inside) in unprecedented numbers.

    Like Lenin said in Russia (and Trotsky said in the 30’s re: the Popular Front) – the spectre of the Black Hundreds is an insuficient reason to abandon the socialist principles of working class autonomy & solidarity.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 2, 2010 @ 10:10 am

  19. #17 `People had the same illusions in LBJ’s “peace” credentials. Sometimes you have to swim against the current and tell people that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.’

    Of course you do but the task is to be in a position to get them to listen to you. You need to get over your political indifferentism.

    Karl, please stop arguing as if I have any illusions in Obama and tackle the issues under debate.

    The left should put forward a program by which `Obama can win a second term’. Include stuff like bank nationalisation, full employment and so on. Make it clear that the defeat of the Republicans and their bat shit crazy Tea Party friends is the priority but that it is Obama himself who is endangering his chances of a second term by demobilising and disenchanting his base. Set his supporters against those who are saying only Hilary can beat the next republican candidate with `Republican’ policies.

    Do you want to grow or are you just interested in your own priestly purity? The masses don’t like the sects and never will.

    Comment by David Ellis — October 2, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

  20. He came to power because big business thought that he was better qualified to protect their interests than the muddle-headed McCain.

    I think the idea that “Big Business” decides who becomes PotUS is nuts. Modern democracy doesn’t work that way – it’s not some kind of hidden direct rule of the capitalist class.

    The problem is, that most people, including most politicians, actually believe in some kind of capitalism.

    Comment by PfromGermany — October 2, 2010 @ 1:21 pm

  21. [The problem is, that most people, including most politicians, actually believe in some kind of capitalism.]

    That’s like saying:

    The problem is, that most people, including most politicians, actualy believe in some kind of God and an Afterlife.

    So fucking what?

    ============================================================================

    {The masses don’t like the sects and never will.]

    Eugene V. Debs didn’t believe in “some kind of capitalism.” He convinced workers that a vote for either Democrats or Republicans was a vote for The Man, was a vote for the Bosses, Bankers & Landlords — was a vote for Imperialist War!

    His Party was ridiculed as a “sect” by the bourgeoisie and their ideological bootlickers who laughed at the notion of some old fool running for the Presidency from behind bars in Atlanta Federal Pennitentiary, where he was sentenced to 10 years for making an anti-war speech to workers in Canton, Ohio 3 years earlier.

    They claimed he was an “idealist” and ridiculed him as a “purist” leading a “sect” who saw things too much in black & white. Yet in 1920 when only white men could vote in the USA he got about a million votes behind bars on the “convict #9653” ticket of the SPUSA.

    http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/sinners/DebsEugene.htm

    As the link above quotes:

    Although during his life his beliefs were frequently out of step with those of his Terre Haute neighbors and the country, many of Debs’s “radical” reforms–an eight-hour workday, pensions, workman’s compensation, sick leave, and social security–are commonplace in today’s workplace. His philosophy was contained in the short statement:

    While there is a lower class, I am in it;
    While there is a criminal element, I am of it;
    While there is a soul in prison, I am not free!

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 2, 2010 @ 2:13 pm

  22. David,

    Hi hope you are well.

    And we should vote for Obama again and why? So he can continue hostile occupations in Iraq and Afghanastan. That he can continue to extend attacks into Pakistan and provoke a larger war. That he can bully Iran and support oppressive Isreal? So he can build more military bases in Columbia? That he can give us minor reform and not revolutionary or even significant change in social policies?

    I am glad an African American became president. This couldn’t have happened sixty years ago. I know African Americans and those from all skin shades are happy over the election of Obama. But what good has he done?

    See the pendulum now swings the other way. People desiring real change are disillusioned and won’t come out to vote come Novemeber. Instead the fascist Tea Party will have it’s day. And if the mockingly resemblence of freedom continues there will arise from the Democratic party another individual rising up to promise change? And like Pete Townsend says “I hope we don’t get fooled again.”

    The first election of Obama sent a strong and powerful message to all of America and the world. That is that an African American can be president. That was wonderful. Other than that tell me what good has it done.

    I think we should run a candidate with the mantra, “I will end the wars and cut the military funding drastically.” I would vote for a candidate in any party who focused on that.

    Love,

    John Kaniecki

    Comment by John Kaniecki — October 2, 2010 @ 2:45 pm

  23. [most people, including most politicians, actually believe in some kind of capitalism.]

    That’s like saying:

    Most people, including most politicians, actually believe in some kind of God & Afterlife.

    So freaking what? Recent polls showed that 45% of American youth 18 to 25 think “socialism is a good idea.”

    How long will it take them to be convinced the Democrats are organically incapable of fulfilling this good idea is the better question.

    ——————————————————————

    [The masses don’t like the sects and never will]

    Eugene V. Debs didn’t “believe in some kind of capitalism.”

    They say that made him “out of step” with the god fearing folk in his home town of Terre Haute, Indiana.

    He argued that a vote for Rebublicans or Democrats was a vote for Imperialist War Criminals — was a vote for the bankers, bosses & landlords.

    That’s why he ran for President independent of them in 1920 (as well as the 3 previous Presidential elections).

    In 1917 he was locked up in Atlanta Federal pennitentiary, sentenced to 10 years for giving a speech to workers in Canton, Ohio wherein he committed the great crime of pointing out that, historically, workers always fight and die in wars for the benefit of rich people who profit from the carnage.

    The bourgeosie and their ideological bootlickers thought he was a fool to run on the “convict #9653” ticket. They laughed at his “idealism” & and ridiculed him as a “purist” who saw things too much in black & white.

    1920 when only white men could vote in the USA convict #9653 got about a million votes while behind bars.

    http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/sinners/DebsEugene.htm

    “Although during his life his beliefs were frequently out of step with those of his Terre Haute neighbors and the country, many of Debs’s “radical” reforms–an eight-hour workday, pensions, workman’s compensation, sick leave, and social security–are commonplace in today’s workplace. His philosophy was contained in the short statement:

    While there is a lower class, I am in it;
    While there is a criminal element, I am of it;
    While there is a soul in prison, I am not free!”

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 2, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

  24. I concur with Louis. Molotov spoke about how Central Committee members used to consistently complain to and about Lenin that he directed more venom at liberals than the Black Hundreds. I concur with Lenin – the Black Hundreds had to be dealt with forcefully when they attacked, but they were bogeyman.

    Just as in fascist Italy and Nazi Germany. The real danger in Germany were not the Nazi party and the roaming brown shirts, but that the Krupps, the Voeglers, the Thyssens were ultimately funding and supporting them. The Nazis would not have lasted a minute without the blessings of the bourgeoisie, or the Center Party empowering Hitler with the Enabling Act.

    Comment by Adelson — October 2, 2010 @ 3:29 pm

  25. I find PfromGermany’s post to be nuts. I suppose you could play the really technical game and say yes the voters pick, but who the voters pick is already vetted by Big Business and by the way is hardly hidden, not to anyone who is paying even some attention.

    Comment by SGuy — October 2, 2010 @ 7:21 pm

  26. #19 [most people, including most politicians, actually believe in some kind of capitalism.]

    That’s like saying:

    Most people, including most politicians, actually believe in some kind of God & Afterlife.

    So freaking what? Recent polls showed that 45% of American youth 18 to 25 think “socialism is a good idea.”

    How long will it take them to be convinced the Democrats are organically incapable of fulfilling this good idea is the better question.

    ——————————————————————

    #20 [The masses don’t like the sects and never will]

    Eugene V. Debs didn’t “believe in some kind of capitalism.”

    They say that made him “out of step” with the God Fearing rubes in his home town of Terre Haute, Indiana.

    He argued to workers that a vote for Rebublicans or Democrats was a vote for Imperialist War Criminals — was a vote for the bankers, bosses & landlords.

    That’s why 90 years ago next month he ran for President independent of them in 1920 (as well as the 3 previous Presidential elections).

    In 1917 he was locked up in Atlanta Federal pennitentiary, sentenced to 10 years for giving a speech to workers in Canton, Ohio wherein he committed the great crime of pointing out that, historically, workers always fight and die in wars for the benefit of rich people who profit from the carnage.

    The bourgeosie and their ideological bootlickers thought he was a fool to run on the “convict #9653” ticket. They laughed at his “idealism” & and ridiculed him as a “purist” who saw things too much in black & white.

    1920 when only white men could vote in the USA convict #9653 got about a million votes while behind bars.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 2, 2010 @ 10:55 pm

  27. Turns out old Debs made the speech that got him locked up in 1918 and he was incarcerated until Harding pardoned him in 1921.

    The Canton speech is worth reading for you can easily imagine how Debs would respond today to those with socialist instincts who nevertheless advocate working within the Democratic party as a viable strategy:

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/debs/works/1918/canton.htm

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — October 3, 2010 @ 2:50 pm

  28. What’s weird about this post, Louis, is that you go hunting through Badaev etc without citing the obvious source in Lenin, Left Wing Communism, An Infantile Disorder (on MIA; in the section ‘No Compromises?’):

    “Prior to the downfall of tsarism, the Russian revolutionary Social-Democrats made repeated use of the services of the bourgeois liberals, i.e., they concluded numerous practical compromises with the latter. In 1901-02, even prior to the appearance of Bolshevism, the old editorial board of Iskra (consisting of Plekhanov, Axelrod, Zasulich Martov, Potresov and myself) concluded (not for long, it is true) a formal political alliance with Strove, the political leader of bourgeois liberalism, while at the same time being able to wage an unremitting and most merciless ideological and political struggle against bourgeois liberalism and against the slightest manifestation of its influence in the working-class movement. The Bolsheviks have always adhered to this policy. Since 1905 they have systematically advocated an alliance between the working class and the peasantry, against the liberal bourgeoisie and tsarism, never, however, refusing to support the bourgeoisie against tsarism (for instance, during second rounds of elections, or during second ballots) and never ceasing their relentless ideological and political struggle …”

    It should, of course, be obvious that second-round support for a semi-legal liberal bourgeois party against the Octobrist and further-right open supporters of the pre-capitalist Tsarist regime is a very different tactic to rallying support to the ‘liberal’ wing of the capitalist two-party system in the US. If we are going to argue “from the classics” Marx and Engels’ various comments on trade unionists and so on supporting the British Liberal Party in the 1860s-1890s are considerably more pertinent.

    Comment by Mike Macnair — October 4, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  29. No, I am aware of what Lenin wrote but it does not provide any detail about what a “practical compromise” means. Nor does the reference to the second ballot shed light on whether this was simply a matter of agreeing who an elector should be. You can find many articles that make clear that Lenin advocated a bloc with the “democrats”, ie., Trudoviks and Narodniks, but never one that made the case for one with the Cadets. I understand that Lenin was trying to make the case for *compromises*, but my main interest in this discussion was resolving whether Lenin ever urged a vote for a Cadet candidate in the same manner that he advocated a vote for a Social Democrat in Germany or a Labour candidate in Britain.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 4, 2010 @ 1:53 pm

  30. The details are in Robert H McNeal general ed. Resolutions and Decisions of the CPSU volume i ed. Ralph Carter Elwood, The RSDLP 1899-October 1917, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1974, at

    105 (1906 Tammerfors All-Russian Conference), a general resolution allowing for local agreements, which Lenin opposed;

    117 (July 1907 Kotka All-Russian Conference), where Lenin was in a bloc with the Mensheviks against the boycottists,
    “in the second and subsequent stages agreements are permitted with all revolutionary and opposition parties up to and including the Constitutional Democrats … in the workers’ curia, no agreements are permitted with other parties, except the PSP and national social democratic organisations … the only agreements permitted are those of a purely technical nature”

    150-152 (1912 Prague Congress), which was Bolshevik-controlled:
    “1. Put forward its own candidates in all workers’curiae and allow no agreements with other parties or groups (i.e. the Liquidators)

    3. In cases of a second ballot for electors in the second stage assemblies of urban curia representatives, agreements may be concluded with the bourgeois democratic parties against the liberals, and then with the liberals against the governmental parties. One form of agreement could be for the compilation of common lists of electors

    5. No electoral agreements may involve putting forward a common platform, and they may neither impose any sort of political obligations on Social-Democratic candidates nor may they impede the Social-Democrats in their resolute criticism of the counter-revolutionary nature of liberalism and of the half-heartedness and inconsistency of the bourgeois democrats.
    6. Wherever it is essential to defeat the Octobrist-Black Hundred or the government list in general in the second stage of the elections (in the district assemblies of representatives, in the guberniia electoral assemblies, etc.) agreements must be reached concerning the division of deputy seats – first with the bourgeois democratic parties (Trudoviks, popular socialists, etc.) and then with liberals, non-party persons, Progressivists, etc.

    Comment by Mike Macnair — October 5, 2010 @ 8:03 am

  31. Mike, this still does not answer my question. I have no idea what an “agreement” needs. Also, the Prague Congress document simply repeats the point about electors that I have already made. Agreement on an elector has virtually nothing in common with Lenin’s urging the CP’s to back SP candidates in the 1920s as a way to get a hearing from the rank-and-file worker.

    Comment by louisproyect — October 5, 2010 @ 2:00 pm

  32. Louis, I actually agree with you on the point of substance: even on the basis of “Leninist originalism” the RSDLP’s electoral tactics in relation to the Cadets do not remotely justify leftist attachment to the Democrats in the US.

    Nor do these tactics even slightly resemble the “united front” policy of the 1920s or the call to vote Labour in Britain to support the labour leadership “as a rope supports a hanged man”.

    That said, point 6 of the Prague resolution is not about the election of electors, but about the conduct of electors, once elected, in electing *deputies* to the Duma. This point says that at this stage, in order “to defeat the Octobrist-Black Hundred or the government list”,
    “agreements must be reached concerning the division of deputy seats – first with the bourgeois democratic parties (Trudoviks, popular socialists, etc.) and then with liberals, non-party persons, Progressivists, etc.”
    There is, therefore, a clear call for RSDLP *electors*, once elected, to negotiate, in the assemblies of electors, a common slate of Duma *deputies* – first with the Trudoviks etc, then with liberals and others. To negotiate a common slate obviously implies that if one is agreed, you will vote for it.

    Obviously a call for a vote for such a slate would not appear in the all-Russia party press (or, therefore, in Lenin’s Collected Works). The reasons are, first, that the resolutions are about making *local* agreements, not national ones, and second, that the agreements are to be made at the latest possible stage of the election and preferably after campaigning is over (this point is in the 1907 Kotka conference resolution, though I didn’t quote it at #30). The consequence is that the illegal central press, produced in exile and therefore circulated with considerable delays, would necessarily be (pointlessly) commenting after the fact on local tactics.

    It is not simply the two-stage electoral process which makes sense of these tactics. The point is *also* the overt class structure of the “curia” system, and the fact that the government was not responsible to the Duma, so that voting for Duma delegates could not amount to voting for who would form the government.

    In the *workers’* curia the RSDLP will make no agreements at all – i.e. it asserts that only it should represent the working class.

    The other curia discussed represent the urban and rural petty-bourgeoisie. The RSDLP is to *stand* in these curia, consistent with the argument that the workers’ party should endeavour to lead the whole society – but it is willing to make deals – stand-down deals in the election of electors, and common slate deals for the election of deputies in the assemblies of electors – with the “bourgeois democratic” parties and even with the Cadets, in order to minimise the Duma representation of the far right and government parties.

    I can’t see how such a tactic could be realistically applied in a universal-suffrage election on FPTP. In the first place in Britain, for example, even the safest Tory seats, like Beaconsfield, utterly dominated by City types, have a working class minority which wants the opportunity to vote Labour.

    Secondly, the capitalist two-party system (created in 1679-1714 and copied in the US after the revolution and in various forms elsewhere) is not just based on bad faith but on constitutional structures which force parties into the two-party form (FPTP, but equally presidential elections, procedural rules in legislatures, party whipping arrangements, and so on) – in the hope of forming a *government* and getting their hands on government jobs/ patronage.

    The result is that – as we have just seen with the formation of the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition here – petty-bourgeois *third* parties are pulled into the role of hanger-on of one or another ‘potential government’ party. Some British leftists have argued in the recent past for ‘tactical voting’ for Lib Dems against the Tories, which is the substance of the RSDLP’s tactic as described. But of course the result is that we now see – just as in the US voting ‘tactically’ for the Democrats produces … a continuation of the war policy, neoliberalism, and so on.

    Comment by Mike Macnair — October 5, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

  33. […] Jesse Jackson or Bernie Sanders? Or for that matter, run DSA’ers on the DP ticket? You can read my reply to Ely here if you are interested. It shows that I can dig deeper into the bowels of Bolshevik […]

    Pingback by Can socialism be advanced by running in Democratic Party primaries? A reply to Eric Blanc | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — December 5, 2017 @ 9:10 pm


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