Marxism and the Militias

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Sep 1 08:01:53 MDT 1995

On Fri, 1 Sep 1995 TimW333521 at wrote:

> On Louis' comments:  Certainly a Marxist study of the militias and the right
> in general would be useful.  In addition to the point you raise, such a study
>  should try to confront why it is that the current crisis of capitalism has
> produced a strong rightest response and a weakened left?
> I doubt if a study of Lenin's writings of the turn of the century will be
> very helpful in this regard.  But: go to it!
Louis: Let me give this another shot, Tim. The idea is not to understand
the militias through reading Lenin's articles on capitalist agriculture.
Rather, we must use the *method* that Lenin used in order to come to an
understanding of American populism today. We can not rely on superficial
impressions. That is what we get from Cockburn, you, Adolph Reed and others.
There's just not much substance there. Can you imagine what it would be
like to make a decision about the class character of the Cuban revolution
without a minute examination of economic data, etc? Well, actually, I
guess you can.

This method involves pain-staking examinations of statistical and other
factual matter in order to come to a class analysis of some phenomenon.
It is the "materialism" component of dialectical materialism. Dialectics
without materialism is Hegel.

By the way, Doug Henwood is one of the few people in the United States today
who is applying this method in a rigorous manner to American politics. In a
single issue of Left Business Observer, you will learn more about the
American political economy than you can from a whole year of the Militant,
Sparticist, and Daily World thrown together. Contact dhenwood at for
subscription information.

> My point was and is:  fascism will develop in America in its own distinctive
> way.  The Militias are an important indication of that.

You are offering a conclusion without any supporting evidence. How do you
know what is going on in rural Wyoming, Nevada or Colorado other than
what you learn from the bourgeois press. One of the sad things about the
decline of Marxism in the United States is that we lack experts who can
go out into the field and/or the library to zero in on thorny subject.
One of the things I'd like to see accomplished with the formation of a
broad-based, non-sectarian socialist party in the United States is the
development of a powerful cadre of reporters and researchers who can get
to the bottom of such issues as:

1) Populism

2) Changing nature of the work-force (last week's NY Times had a an
article about the larger and larger number of college graduates who are
showing up in technologically advanced steel-mills.)

3) Immigration. By the mid 21st century, "white" people will be a
minority in the US. What are the political implications of this?

4) Ecology. What are the consequences of unplanned capitalist "growth"?
What will be the impact of hundreds of millions of additional cars being
driven by Chinese and Indians on the global environment. This is a topic
that I'm concentrating on, but feel free to tackle any of the others above.

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