Populism

Doug Henwood dhenwood at panix.com
Fri Feb 17 08:11:18 MST 1995


At 7:05 PM 2/16/95, TimW333521 at aol.com wrote:

>I think you take a one-sided view of populism  historically and this may
>influence your view of populism today.
>
>It is true that populism arose in the farms and small towns of the middle
>west and south.  However, it also had support within cities.  At heart it was
>not so much a defense of small business against big business as it was of the
>self-employed farmers against big business and finance which strangled them.
> This is why populism was largely absorbed into the early Socialist Party in
>many areas, especially Oklahoma, the journal Appeal to Reason was essentially
>populist and future Communists like Cannon, Browder, and Foster were heavily
>influenced by populism.

Do we Marxish types side with small biz and the self-employed, then,
against big? That's not really in the spirit of Marx. Railroads and banks
were crucial to technical progress and the socialization of production,
which Marx, I think, would have applauded - and correctly so.

I'm reminded of A.R. Ammons line that the quickest way to become a leader
is to get in front of a moving crowd and start waving your arms. American
Marxists have been too eager to do that with populists.

Doug

--

Doug Henwood
[dhenwood at panix.com]
Left Business Observer
250 W 85 St
New York NY 10024-3217
USA
+1-212-874-4020 voice
+1-212-874-3137 fax




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