Language, "niceness" and revolution

glevy at acnet.pratt.edu glevy at acnet.pratt.edu
Fri Jun 2 06:43:31 MDT 1995


On Fri, 2 Jun 1995, Ralph Dumain wrote:

"If socialism means I have to be nice to people, you can keep your
revolution."

Jerry:
Socialists don't have to be "nice" to people and, indeed, many
revolutionaries such as Luxemburg, Radek, Trotsky and others were quite
abrasive and, at times, personally insulting to class enemies and
political opponents.

However, revolutionaries also understand the power of language and would
not have used racist or sexist crudities.  Had, for instance, a delegate
to an international socialist convention (at least I-IV Internationals)
called another revolutionary a "bitch", then the other delegates would be
jumping over each other in an attempt to denounce the use of that term,
not only because it is sexist and offensive, but, also, because such
language discredits socialists and inhibits political organizing.

"My" revolution will not take place without the active support and
participation of women, and any language or actions which interfere with
mobilizing class-conscious women is an obstacle to the organizing process.

Jerry


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