"loons in RCP"

Andy Daitsman adaitsma at mail.cc.trincoll.edu
Thu Apr 20 19:18:51 MDT 1995

>I don't know that calling the RCP "loony" is a very useful political

Being closely related to someone who's been in the RCP ever since it was
called RU, I think "loon" is pretty close to the target.  (Sorry Don.)

>The "style" of the RCP, justifying the designation "loon", was
>described as "punk-anarchist."  I don't believe that either punks
>or anarchists are loony.

I don't want to make any judgments about either the punks or anarchism in
general.  Personally, I think the punk aesthetic represents a real
subversive tendency challenging hegemonic forms of presenting culture, and
as I get older I find myself drawn ever closer to anarchist ideals.  Maybe
it's all that post-modernism I've been reading recently.

What's strange about the RCP's alliance with the punks is their otherwise
fairly rigid interpretation of Marxist praxis.  Punks, after all, are
pseudo-lumpen (most of them aren't real lumpen because they've chosen to put
themselves in that social class and most can leave whenever they want).  Yet
this lumpen element has become one of the main bases for RCP organizing.  It
hasn't always been that way: RCP like most pre-party organizations went
through a phase in the 1970s when they sent their best cadres into the
factories in an attempt to organize "real" proletarians.  After several
years of talking to brick walls, however, and losing their jobs, RCP
reoriented in the 1980s.  Now their primary emphasis is on a social class
that they themselves would define as objectively counter-revolutionary.

The punk movement represents a counter-
>cultural movement that has many different components and ideologies.
>Anarchism is a social movement and ideology which Marxists need to
>take more seriously and stop "dissing" as "loony."  Of course, it
>is alot easier to dismiss a social group with a well-chosen negative
>(and apolitical) term, but I don't believe such an approach is very
>useful or analytical.

I wouldn't diss RCP as loony because they may have moved in an anarchist
direction.  I'd call them loony because their discourse is still rigidly
M-L-Maoist, and their practice is way out of line with their discourse.

Are they dedicated and committed revolutionaries?  Absolutely.  Are they
effective organizers?  I would seriously doubt it.  Like most ideologues,
they seem to be incapable of adjusting their ideology to observed reality.

And I don't even want to get into the Sendero stuff.  I think it was Justin
who made the Pol Pot analogy.  You might recall that the Khmer Rouge's main
strategy involved emptying the cities, not just for the immediate objective
of increasing the food supply but especially for the ideological objective
of abolishing an urban bourgeois parasitical culture.  Guzman has spoken
admiringly of that strategy.


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