On a few points

Scott Marshall Scott at rednet.org
Fri Jun 30 00:35:14 MDT 1995

To Chris B.

Finally I get the Sunday School barb of old. Overbearing divinity school
teacher, not chimny sweeps........<grin>

Acutally we haven't really ever discussed democratic centralism much except
with throw-away lines. One of your objections to CP's was a little more
interesting on the subject. You bemoaned what you see as a ridgidity of
position among those you suspect of being CPers in the anti-aparthied movement.

In my opinion dem-cen is primarily an organizational method for maximizing
strength against a very centralized and powerful adversary. Capitalism *not*
trotskyites....<grin> (The main source of irritation from trotskyites that I
see is that most cpers don't care to spend too much time debating with them
the finer points of ancient history nor taking them seriously -it should be
mutual, so where's the beef. I'm certainly not irritated when they don't
respond to me, thankful actually.)

However dem-cen is built on unity of ideas and practice so most often we do
tend to take similar positions etc. (though certainly not always in my
experience) We used to be more mechanically disciplined on taking positions
in mass organizations - it had it's place in some circumstances but now the
discipline is more organic and thoughtful which I think is better.

But the reaction to percieved dem-cen has two basic roots in my experience
1) distrust of anything organized - that somehow inherient in organization
is a lack of democracy or lack of creativity and freedom etc etc. - a kind
of individualism and protestantism, and 2) some fears of a 'stalinist'
caricature - that you're dealing with rigid military type disciplined
androids - this comes, in my opinion, first and formost from the ruling
class which has spent millions in time and money to create this kind of
anti-communist image.

BTW I've observed an interesting thing here on the list. Those who
immediatly respond to me (known CPer) with argument and or scorn, but praise
other members here whom they don't know to be members. Not that all member
agree on everything by a long shot - but the difference in response is
dramatic and very much based on #2 above IMO.

On Joe's Stalinist TV's: The kind of tragic story you have to laugh to keep
from crying about. What immediatly came to mind is: What kind of programing
did they have, "Uncle knows best" and imagine the terror if you were
featured on "This is your life". But seriously, what kind of TV programing
was there? One thing the CPSU never understood was the power of TV in
education and propaganda. It was awful. They never understood how powerful a
tool they had, unlike capitalism. They mostly saw it as a mechanical means
of transmitting culture. Endless hours of operas, plays etc. And endless
C-Span type coverage of meetings and boring political events.

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