Populism

TimW333521 at aol.com TimW333521 at aol.com
Wed Feb 15 00:11:57 MST 1995


Hopefully this message reaches all of you.  I have been browsing your list
but so far have not been able to reply to your interesting discussions.

I suggest we give more attention to the relation of populism to the future of
the American left rather than concede, even in our theoretical discussions,
 populism to the right.  Populism has its origins as a mass movement of poor
farmers against the power of big capital and its government.  It essentially
lost that battle by the turn of the century.  This century has seen the
disappearance of the small farmer in large part.  Yet this movement has left
a powerful legacy in the consciousness of the American people.

To the extent that Americans are capable of thinking radical thoughts and
carrying out actions politically on the basis of such thoughts,  we think as
populists.  A thin layer may be able to articulate a European-style Marxist
class consciousness but this layer tends to be made up of middle class
intellectuals not workers.

My thought is those of us who do understand Marxism should apply our
knowledge on to how best to move masses of people into radical conflict with
the rulers of our society.  This  means developing a left populist program
and movement.   Elements of such a program and movement exist politically in
such presently separated arenas as the New Party, the Greens, the Peace and
Freedom Party, Labor Party Advocates, Bernie Sanders, as well as Democrats
like Dellums, Wellstone and Jackson.  No one of the above is "purer" than the
others if we cut through formalism and seek to understand the reality of
their programatic proposals and the nature of the social forces they seek to
bring into motion.

Only such an approach can counter the Newt and his gang.   Clinton obviously
avoids this.  The left, and I am afraid this includes that section that
participates in this list, seem preoccupied with matters that are quite
distant from our real tasks.


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