Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 29, 2019

Me and the Maoists

Filed under: Counterpunch,Maoism — louisproyect @ 1:03 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, MARCH 29, 2019

As I was reading through You Say You Want a Revolution: SDS, PL, and Adventures in Building a Worker-Student Alliance for a review in last week’s CounterPunch, I kept emailing co-author John Levin about my connections to a number of the 23 mini-memoir contributors to this essential volume. It got to the point when John asked me jocularly if I was a member of the Progressive Labor Party rather than the Socialist Workers Party.

Well, not exactly, but my fifty-two-year career on the left has brought me into contact with Maoists (and eventually ex-Maoists) on numerous occasions. As such, I thought it would be worth CounterPunch readers’ time to join me in a trip down memory lane to learn about our generation’s mostly misspent youth and subsequent attempts over the long haul to build a stronger left.

In late 1966, when I was a graduate student in philosophy at the New School and radicalizing as a result of the war in Vietnam and seeing poverty with my own eyes as a welfare caseworker in Harlem, I began to consider joining a revolutionary organization. As it happened, the Socialist Workers Party made the most sense to me since it was spearheading the mass antiwar demonstrations. I had been involved in long discussions with and moving closer politically to an SWP member and fellow philosophy student named Arthur Maglin even though I was initially put off by his description of himself as a Marxist-Leninist. For me, that was as outlandish as someone calling himself a Seventh Day Adventist. Although the SWP had the inside track, I was also open to the Progressive Labor Party since Victor Marrow, a Bard College classmate and fellow New School philosophy student, was a sympathizer. When Victor told me that I’d get a lot out of a talk on socialist revolution at PL leader Jake Rosen’s apartment, I said why not. Back then, the only thing that sounded outlandish to me besides Seventh Day Adventism was liberal acceptance of the status quo.

Continue reading

8 Comments »

  1. If this is Louis “private” email, please send me a note. I’m your old squash partner from New York days.

    On Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 6:17 AM Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist wrote:

    > louisproyect posted: ” COUNTERPUNCH, MARCH 29, 2019 As I was reading > through You Say You Want a Revolution: SDS, PL, and Adventures in Building > a Worker-Student Alliance for a review in last week’s CounterPunch, I kept > emailing co-author John Levin about my connections t” >

    Comment by Rich Lesnik — March 29, 2019 @ 2:43 pm

  2. Hey Louie, why the need to tell us of the supposed misfortune of an old acquaintance? (the one who “according to rumor…”) It was completely unnecessary and kinda shitty if you ask me. Second of all, if it’s a rumor then it means it’s probably not true. But seriously, wtf dude?

    Comment by Guillermo — April 4, 2019 @ 4:40 am

  3. Hey Louie, why the need to tell us of the supposed misfortune of an old acquaintance?

    —-

    Because it is part of the general decay of a group that Leon Trotsky considered the best of his Fourth International.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 4, 2019 @ 11:32 am

  4. I disagree. Even if you think that though, there are better ways to illustrate. What’s next? You gonna tell us how your former best friend got gonorrhea? Come on man

    Comment by Guillermo — April 4, 2019 @ 2:41 pm

  5. You gonna tell us how your former best friend got gonorrhea?

    Actually, his name is Eli and he has spent a fortune on prostitutes over a lifetime. He wasn’t a Marxist, however.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 4, 2019 @ 4:07 pm

  6. Poor Eli. I hope he doesn’t read your blog. What a shitty friend you are Louis

    Comment by Guillermo — April 12, 2019 @ 8:37 pm

  7. Guillermo, are you trying to make me as good a person as you are? That’s a hopeless task, especially since I have no idea how you have led your life. For all I know you like to drown puppies and kick beggars for fun. That’s what makes the Internet such a bore, having to deal with self-righteous anonymous trolls.

    Comment by louisproyect — April 12, 2019 @ 8:51 pm

  8. I’m not being self-righteous, Louis. I’m just letting you know you were being self-shitty-eous. There’s a difference.

    Comment by Guillermo — April 17, 2019 @ 5:22 am


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: