Populism

Scott Solomon ss341 at COLUMBIA.EDU
Thu Feb 16 22:28:45 MST 1995


> It seems to me that we Marxists ought to be able
> grasp the real class against class content within the populist tradition and
> pose our ideas in a framework understandable to "ordinary folk."

I certainly agree with Tim Wohlforth that Marxists can learn from the
populist tradition.

I don't think it would be accurate to say
the main problem with Marxism in the
U.S. has to do with NOT posing ideas in a framework understandable to
"ordinary folk".

I think in the right circumstances "ordinary folk" could tackle Mandel's
_Late Capitalism_ with a fair amount of success.

But what Tim is saying does seem to lay responsibility squarely in the
laps of the Marxists and not "ordinary folk".  I do like that.


> I won't deal with "liberalism" separate from populism as what is progressive
> in the liberal tradition is populist.

This formulation seems flat out wrong, but I'm no expert.  Norman Geras
is a really smart guy, maybe he could comment.


>I would suggest that we should not
> take too much comfort from the "Crisis" of liberalism which to me is no worse
> that the crisis of Marxism and the left in general.  Any illusion that bad
> times for liberalism are good times for Marxists is just that: an illusion.
>  Like the old line of Stalin's: "After Hitler us!"

This is nicely put.



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