"Workers' Lib"

Maoist Internationalist Movement mim3 at nyxfer.blythe.org
Sat Sep 16 10:30:45 MDT 1995

On Fri, 15 Sep 1995, Lisa Rogers wrote:

> I enjoyed Tom Condit's piece on the "working class".
> All this quibbling about who's a worker vs. prole, who's productive
> by what standard, etc. is a bit puzzling to me.
> MIM's approach sounds rather moralistic and exclusionary, as anyone
> who is not "productive" is a parasite who benefits from the system.
> By productive I think MIM is not referring to production of surplus
> value, but to production of physical items which meet some human
> need.  But what about the rest of us poor slobs?

MIM replies: Lisa Rogers asks why separate workers from proletarians?
So perhaps MIM is correct that Marx talked about this in
Capital, and the COMINTERN didn't originally include white-collar
workers as proletarians, what does that do for the price of beans?
Partly, Lisa Rogers answers herself by noting the issue
of economic priorities and calling it MIM's moralizing.
When we get to socialism, how will priorities be re-arranged?
And how do we answer the question of reparations to the Third
World? These questions are answered by our approach. We also believe
that such an ideology is what will mobilize the required forces
to bring down imperialism.

It is true that MIM has an ideological vision of internationalism
and a world without classes, gender oppression or nations. And
science is useful to us toward that end.

However, there are numerous strategic implications of the
division between workers and proletarians.

1. Waste of time.
If you organize for a class's demands that
really can't lead forward, you waste your time, and provide
an opening to fascism. Such was the case in Germany in the early 1930s.
(We have a forthcoming article on that in MT.)

2. Dialectical responses to your action of organizing
a. Look for shreds of oppression in the white working class.
I notice Scott Marshall grappling with white collar de-skilling
and he adopts nearly entirely the Monthly Review line. But if
you go back and read those posts from Scott, he also points out
pressures from Indian competitors and internal competitors and
how some workers have called for restricting immigration.

What Scott doesn't do is tell us what the implications are.
When you organize for a labor aristocracy demand within imperialism,
the dialectical response of those workers is going to be to call
for closing borders to people who really have nothing to
lose but their chains--proletarians. If we are always
playing on
the fears of the white working class of degradation, the Le Pens
of the world will capitalize on it. And Le Pen seems much more immediate
to the labor aristocracy than the beautiful world of communism
without borders and with great economic cooperation.

b. Another dialectical response is the Amerika-first
response of Perot and Buchanan. If you play on the fact
that workers here are losing their jobs to companies that
move abroad, look again who benefits!

We have organized several showings of "Controlling Interest"--
a video--but when we go to audience participation we sometimes
get swamped with responses on how international trade should
be cut back, immigration curtailed and Japan dealt with more toughly.

The video has a good side in talking about Chile and the
imperialist state, but because it shows white workers losing
their jobs to the Third World and organizing to stop it,
many go home with conclusions that we unleash by showing the
video. Ultimately the incorrect line of the makers of
"Controlling Interest" causes this problem that needs to
be struggled against.

3. Compass for yourself.
Lenin and Zinoviev came up with this distinction between workers
and proletarians also to guide leadership.  When World War I
started, the social-patriots scolded Lenin and other good communists
by saying look, the vast majority of workers support the war.
What class do you represent Mr. Lenin, the social-patriots asked.
Others called Lenin ultraleft for getting so far ahead of the workers
by opposing the inter-imperialist war. So Lenin and Zinoviev
came back with a definition of proletarian and how it is a curse
at that time to be too popular--even in the midst of a huge
crisis like World War I.

Similar questions arise when talking about "working class governments"
and the united front. What kind of government represents a step
forward and why? Would a British Labour Party government be
a real step forward? Whose interests lead the united front?

The Progressive Labor Party does not cut MIM any slack on this
issue either because they favor the multiracial, integrationist
approach and believe racism lowers white worker wages. At the same
time, I will credit their Central Committee for saying that if
we were correct it would have far-reaching implications.

4. Dictatorship of the proletariat.
Finally, our approach points toward the social
composition of a strong dictatorship of the proletariat.
It leads to the conclusion that since there is no
white proletariat, there will have to be a joint
dictatorship of oppressed nations proletarians over imperialist

We still have the job of utilizing contradictions within the
imperialist nations, especially between young and old, but
ultimately, a dictatorship of the proletariat cannot come
from within the imperialist nations.

The international proletariat must ally itself with peasants
and utilize whatever enlightened semi-proletarians it can find
to exercise dictatorship over the imperialists and the allies
that the imperialists mobilize.

Pat for MIM

P.S. Lisa Rogers asks if she was not the type of
worker ready for socialism or was it wrong to organize
for higher teacher wages. We don't care that much,
but doubt that wages have much to do with teachers'
interest in Marxism. Basically such a wage struggle means organizing to
appropriate more surplus labor from the Third World.

The type of work
she is talking about is intellectual. Mao said
intellectuals always go on revolutionary stage first.
The workers go on stage last, but they are obviously
the ones to complete the drama.

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