Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Tue Aug 27 07:01:28 MDT 1996

On Mon, 26 Aug 1996, Maoist Internationalist Movement wrote:

> May 1968 in Paris only proves our point. In the first
> place, it is well-recognized that the
> "sects" detonated it. However, even at this high point

Louis: What deep incomprehension of the May/June events. The context was
the mass antiwar movement that had involved the French student massively.
The front-line activists of the student strike were Maoists, Trotskyists
and Anarchists. They could have "detonated" nothing without the mass
movement. The tragedy of the French and American student movements is that
it remained mired in the ultraleft posture of the late 1960s when
objective conditions had changed. If the student movement had stayed in
touch with reality, then the 1980s and 1990s would have possibly been
periods of growth rather than decline.

> In contrast, the Black explosion was led by a party. The
> Black Panthers proved they could get widespread support
> for a real revolutionary program directly targetting the
> state, not just some wage demands and momentary dissing
> of authority. They more closely approximated the kind
> of relationship between party and masses that we need to see.

Louis: The Black Panther Society never sank deep roots in the black
community. Its ultraleft Maoist rhetoric isolated it from the masses.
Their romance with the gun opened it up to police attack. Their
ultradogmatism and readiness to see an undercover agent behind every tree
made it easy for the state to use agents provocateurs in the most
destructive manner. Unlike MIM, I got to work with and know Black
Panthers, some of whom had joined the SWP in an effort to flee the
self-destructive logic of the BPP. Anybody who had reached Marxist
conclusions would turn their back on BPP politics.

MIM reminds me of the recent nostalgia trip embodied in bell-bottom jeans
and peace signs. Everytime I see a 19 year old in this get-up, I want to
ask them what is going on in their head. MIM's nostalgia is for the worst
abuses and lunacy of the 1960s. They want us to take them seriously, but
how can we when we've seen it tried before and fail miserably.

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