Reply to Marcus Strom on Bolshevism

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Sep 14 07:06:12 MDT 1995

Marcus Strom:
'Peoples' Unity" - what the fuck is that. It is the most putrid popular front.
It is what the ANC is becoming. The Sandanistas were a brilliant
national liberation movement - they were not a workers party, they
were not a party of the new type. The demarcation is NOT extremely
large. That's why the split occurred with the Menshiviks. Under your
rubric, the Menshiviks and the Bolsheviks had more similar politics
than many (most) on this list. Scott Marshall ... Menshivism is a
COMPLIMENT to him and his post-stalinoid ilk. Most trots can't agree

1. When you state that the FSLN was not a "workers party", what do you
base that information on? Is this because they didn't call themselves the
Revolutionary Socialist Labor Party of Nicaragua? Is this because no
workers could be found in its ranks? You say they were a "brilliant
national liberation movement". How does one achieve such brilliance
without maintaining political independence from the bourgeoisie? Can
national liberation be achieved without incorporating a fundamentally
anticapitalist dynamic?

2. I don't consider the ANC to be a "Leninist" formation. Neither do
they. If I described them as such, it was a slip. I do think the SACP has
more in common with Lenin's Bolshevik party than any other political
formation around. The question of where South Africa is going is
ultimately related to the global relationship of forces between capital
and the working-class. It would be just as big a mistake to condemn the
SACP for not being "revolutionary" enough as it would be to condemn the
FSLN or FMLN for "betraying" the Nicaraguan or Salvadoran revolutions.
What interests me more about such formations is that they have functioned as
true vanguards rather than as petty, strutting, self-assigned "vanguards"
like most Trotskyite and Maoist sects.

3. When you describe Scott Marshall as a "menshevik", is this on the
basis of his relationship as a CP member to the class-struggle in the United
States today? Or is he a "menshevik" because he doesn't agree with you on
matters such as the Spanish Civil War. There are myriads of Trotskyite
groups and individuals who may agree with me on how to interpret the
Spanish Civil War, but who have no credentials as militant,
class-struggle oriented unionists. Let's leave history to the historians
and politics to those who are actually battling on the front-lines.

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