sectarianism

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Thu Oct 26 06:06:02 MDT 1995


On Thu, 26 Oct 1995, Paul Martin wrote:
> 
> It is nothing less than stupidity to argue that someone who belongs 
> to an organisation other than your own is a sectarian. Adam Rose is 
> right when he says he will "work with people with ideas different 
> from ourselves but argue with them politically". The way to 
> successfully intervene in struggles and to reach wider layers of 
> workers is to fight side-by-side with other organisations. That does 
> not, obviously, mean being forced to keep silent about differences. 
> But it does mean actively participating in class struggle; and that 
> was where Lenin made good on Marx and Engels, saying,
> 
Louis: All of Paul Martin's quote-mongering is besides the point. The 
type of sectarianism I am referring to is based on a misconception of 
what Lenin was trying to do and can be called "vanguardism".

Trotsky is one of the main sources of this mistake. He encouraged his 
tiny groups of followers in the 1930's to think of themselves as the 
"vanguard of the vanguard". This type of logic leads to sectarianism. 
Every tendency that bases itself on this misconception of Lenin evolves 
in a sectarian direction. The Maoists and Trotskyists accelerate in this 
direction at the highest speed. The CP's much less so because they 
emerged out of the profound mass movements that broke out at after the 
victory of the Russian revolution.

If you want to learn how to build revolutionary parties, you should 
examine Bolshevism *in context* or the Cuban and Central American 
revolutions. Lenin and Castro would have not gotten very far if they had 
used the methodology of the SWP/ISO.


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