Aw...gee...Louis

Matt D. afn02065 at afn.org
Wed Aug 23 13:46:06 MDT 1995


Louis, responding to Scott's defense of the CPUSA during WWII, writes:

>How did I guess that my favorite CPer would come to the aid of his party?
>
> [snip]
>
>Back in the late 60's and early 70's I used to attend these big antiwar
>conferences in the midwest when I was in the SWP. You would usually have
>5-600 SWP'ers and a roughly equal number of CPers, and an equal number of
>"independents"
>
> [snip]
>
>The problem was that no CPer or SWPer could allow themselves to vote
>against the fraction leaders no matter to what degree they were persuaded
>by the arguments of the other side. In a way, all this is academic since
>neither of these groups is or was a place that was hospitable to
>independent minds.

Louis, this is hardly fair.  Scott is a vigorous (and to my mind very
effective) defender of the CPUSA.  I certainly don't see any evidence that
he is without an "independent mind."  If I may offer a little touche, how
"independent" can we assume the minds to be in what some would describe as
the DSA-with-attitude, Democrat-tailing CoC?  Yours seems very independent.
I'd be inclined to give CP'ers the benefit of the doubt as well.  (The SWP
is another matter, I have to admit.)

As for uniform voting... I missed out on the Vietnam conferences, due mainly
to the fact that I didn't exist for the greater part of the war.  But acting
as a unified block within the movement as a whole doesn't seem to me to be
on its face, at least, a necessarily bad tactic.  As you mention yourself,
that's (at least part of) what democratic centralism is (sometimes) about.
Are you saying that we should abandon DC as a party principle?  In the
particular instance you mention, that particular approach may (or may not)
have been incorrect.  But in the context of, say, using the parliament as a
revolutionary platform, it seems to me that absolute unity of the vanguard
forces is an inescapable necessity.

> [snip]
>
>So the question is: if Scott was persuaded by my treatise, could he break
>discipline and say, "Yes, you've persuaded me." That is what the
>revolutionary movement needs to move forward. I will expound on this at
>further length when I take up the whole subject of Trotsky and Trotskyism.

Why is scoring points against the CPUSA necessary to "move forward"?  If it
is a matter of the party's current application of DC that he can't
(publicly?) accede to your criticisms -- if he were to agree with them (and
I believe his disagreements are honest) -- why is his breaking discipline
necessary to "move forward"?  Maybe strengthening and broadening the CPUSA,
which (arguably?) more than any other party in the States bears the legacy,
positive and negative, of the world revolutionary struggle since the
founding of the Third International, is necessary to "move forward".  Maybe
not.  But if Scott is representative of the party today, may a plague of
such locusts descend on the fields of the bourgeoisie!

With great comradely affection and admiration,

-- Matt D.



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