Communist work

Mark Desrosiers madesros at
Mon Jul 31 13:51:17 MDT 1995

>Reading through the latest offerings from this list have been
>somewhat interesting.
>However , it would be more interesting to hear from some people
>about what (if any) concrete communist work is being undertaken
>by any of the subscribers.
>While I think that it is necessary to engage one another in
>theoretical debate those ebates become academic if they are not
>accompanied by practical work (hopefully off campus). I would be
>interested in hearing of ideas in this direction from people within
>and without the "official" communist parties (and given the
>subscription list, I suppose I mean the CPUSA and the CPC)
>Anthony McLaughlin

On this topic, I'd like to relate my experience living in a housing
co-operative here in Madison, Wisconsin.  After becoming a member of the
co-op, I began to notice that all of the other members belonged to the
(upper) bourgeois classes.  Many of them had parents who paid their
houseshare for them.  Others had rooms crammed with computers, stereos,
entertainment centers.  Others had cars, which they rarely shared with
other members.  I come from a working-class background, so one can sense my
exasperation at being in a "leftist" co-op surrounded by such an alien
class.  Since the co-op had a consensual membership-approval policy, I
thereupon began asking prospective members about their class background,
and blocking them on that basis, in order to open up spaces for members of
the poor and working classes in the city.  Also, I began recruiting for
membership in the "ghetto" and working-class areas of the city.  During
this time, I received absolutely no support from other members of the
co-op, despite the fact that I was entirely congenial and lucid in
explaining my position.  Anyway, the working-class prospective members that
I brought to the co-op were treated with little respect, and were, all of
them, rejected because other members were "uncomfortable" with them.  This
drove me away from the co-op; I no longer live there.

My reason for relating such a tedious anecdote is this:  what  have Marxist
philosophers, and activists, said about the tendency for "utopian"
enterprises, particularly in the areas of housing and schooling, to be
almost entirely the province of the bourgeois classes?  It's an immensely
frustrating problem for working-class activists.

This is my first post to the list, so please forgive any gaucheries I may
have committed.

Mark A. Desrosiers
Madison, Wisconsin

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