Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

April 19, 2019

A Socialist Defector

Filed under: Counterpunch,Germany — louisproyect @ 2:21 pm

COUNTERPUNCH, APRIL 19, 2019

There are men who struggle for a day and they are good.
There are men who struggle for a year and they are better.
There are men who struggle many years, and they are better still.
But there are those who struggle all their lives:
These are the indispensable ones.

– Bertolt Brecht, “In Praise of the Fighters” (song)

Arriving on a book tour for his newly published “A Socialist Defector: From Harvard to Karl-Marx-Allee” on April 23rd, Victor Grossman is a testament to Bertolt Brecht’s oft-quoted lyrics. At the age of 91, he has never ceded an inch to capitalism and imperialism. Indeed, the sense of outrage over the way in which East Germany was “liberated” pervades throughout this most necessary personal history is a reminder that “youthful rebellion” can be overrated. For that matter, his 68 articles for CounterPunch over the years are a testament to his undying revolutionary spirit as well as to CounterPunch’s age as well as political diversity. Unlike other periodicals on the left oozing youthful rebelliousness, the editors have a keen sense of the importance of contributions from our leftwing tribal elders from Ralph Nader to those who have passed on, like Uri Avnery. With a profound radicalization on the horizon in the USA, there is no substitute for relying on the insights of people who have gained hard-earned experience from earlier historical periods. As someone who was organizing anti-racist protests at Harvard University in 1947 as a Communist Party member, Grossman’s experience is essential for young people involved with Black Lives Matter today. The struggle against capitalism, racism, and imperialism is an epochal one and connecting the strands between fighters from different generations cannot be overestimated.

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1 Comment »

  1. This is a fine review of an excellent book. Victor Grossman tells many truths worth understanding, about life in East Germany and the enduring legacy of fascism in West Germany. He wants us to see that there is more to life than the market, private consumption, endless economic growth, the obsession with “productivity,” and much more. Read this book. I am certain you will learn things you knew little or nothing about. And Victor’s own life is itself just remarkable.

    Comment by Michael D Yates — April 19, 2019 @ 7:53 pm


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