"loons in RCP"

Justin Schwartz jschwart at freenet.columbus.oh.us
Wed Apr 19 13:47:29 MDT 1995

The attitudes manifested below exempify the sort of thing that makes
people like me refer to the people in (and around) the RCP as loons. I
have a couple of friends in the RCP, one of whom apologizes for all the
embarassing stuff (but stays in) and the other of whom isn't the least
embarassed to support, e.g., the psychopathic hoodlums in the Sendero
Luminiso. (Why is he a friends, you ask. Well, it's a long story.) ANyway,
I respect the dedication of many RCPers I know, but wish it was put to
better use. The Revilution Books chain od stores is a valuable resource
and there are some excellent reporters who write for Revolutionary Worker,
the RCP newspaper, which I see from time to time. One of them, Larry
Everest, did a bang up goos job, with very little of the usual RCP ranting
and rraving, about Bhophal. Still, loons are loons, even if they are
dedicated and not wholly destructive.

Matt is right that the Maoist Progressive Labor Party, which was a pretty
big deal in the 1960s, still exist in a shrunken form, as well as  m,aybe
a few other self-styled Maoist grouplets. There may be a thousand
organized Maoists in the US. I'm not sneering at the numbers--my ouwn
outfit, Solidarity, is only about  350 strong (or weak).

Matt's ill-informed sneers at and slurs upon CISPES and other solidarity
groups de not deserve comment.

--Justin Schwartz

On Wed, 19 Apr 1995, Matt Davidson wrote:

> Justin Schwartz writes:
> >
> > Rakesh Bhandari cites Mattick against the old New Left enthusiasm for Mao
> >and other third world revolutions. Broadly speaking I think the sentiment
> >is right. I ceased to be a quasi-Maoist (sinceI was always and
> >anti-Stalinist I was never a good Maoist) when the significancxe of the
> >fact that there are no peasants in America became clear to me, which in
> >fact didn't take very long in my early Marxist education. But apart from
> >the loons in RCP third-worldism is a target of the past.
> >
> >(Chris: RCP= Revolutionary Comminist Party, the remaining American Maoist
> >sect.)
> >
> Whatever the party's faults (the cult of Chairman Bob and its line on
> homosexuality being two glaring examples), all the "loons" I've known in and
> around the RCP have been genuine communists and revolutionaries, who have
> dedicated their lives to changing the world in the face of overwheliming
> odds.  They certainly are laying more on the line than most academic
> Marxists.  In any event, it's completely unfair to dismiss them as
> third-worlders.  They're very much conscious of the fact that their task is
> revolution right here at home.  And why shouldn't the international
> proletariat have international leaders and heroes?
> (BTW, the Maoist International(ist?) Movement, the Progressive Labor Party
> and the Marxist-Leninist (Workers?) Party also call themselves Maoist, I
> think.  Or are the latter Hoxaist/Albanians?)
> >  Ralph and some others have disparaged, as I take it, solidarity worlk
> >with third world revolutions as irrelevant to American concerns. This
> >seems a failure of internationalism. The working class and its problems
> >are international and capital is globalized. The struggle requires support
> >for the Chiapas rebellion and opposition to the PRI partycrats for the
> >common interests of North American and Mexican workers. This is not the
> >same as waving the Little Red Book or holding up, e.g. Subcommandante
> >Marcos as the new Great Helmsman. Still internationalism requires us to
> >support the Zapatista struggle, the Haiti democracy movement, the Party of
> >Labor in Russia, etc. Self-interest too.
> >
> >For what it's worth recall that Marx helped form the first Internatioinal
> >around solidarity with Polish revolutionaries. Each working class m,ust
> >settle with its own bourgeoisie, as he says, but internationalism and
> >class struggle are the twin poles of Marxism.
> >
> The real "third-worldists" are people in CISPES and other "solidarity"
> groups who see revolution as something that happens "over there" where all
> the poor, oppressed people are, people who head to the polls to vote for the
> "good" Democrat who'll make "peace and justice" the cornerstone of his
> foreign policy.
> What's so great about the Zapatistas?  They've already abdicated any
> responsibility to become the state.  Are they hoping Bill Clinton will run
> for President of Mexico?  Is their program to pressure the criminals whose
> boots are on their necks to not press down quite so hard?
> If you want solidarity with revolutionaries, how about the Communist Party
> of Peru?  Or is actual people's war too messy?  Gee, if only the "good"
> Peruvian politicians would get voted in instead of the "bad" Fujimori.  If
> only some Peruvian Zapatistas would form a pressure group.  Maybe they could
> hook up with some Catholic "liberation theologians" and we could get
> together a Commitee to Support the (Nice, Friendly, Non-Communist) People of
> Peru.
> For revolution,
> --Matt Davidson
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