In Defense of the Communist List

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Tue Aug 27 12:22:23 MDT 1996


Louis: I get a real chuckle out of this. I have been empowering more real
working-class people about the Internet than anybody on the list. Tomorrow
I will be on a radio show dealing with "Labor and the Web", hosted by the
Communications Workers of America. I gave a workshop to the woman's
committee of the union a couple of months ago. Of the 16 women in
attendance, all but two were African-American. The class made a big hit.
At the Brecht Forum in NY where I give the same workshop, nearly half of
the two hundred people who have attended have been female and nearly half
of them have been African-American. Many are organizers of community
groups that want to use the Internet to forge links with similar
groups in other cities. The Internet is definitely not just the domain of
the white and the privileged. Just recently an Internet Cafe opened up in
the barrio of East Harlem in NY.

What ordinary working people won't have patience for, I guarantee you, is
the kind of self-indulgence that takes place on this list. The
phrase-mongering, the special pleading for one sect or another, the jargon
would drive any real worker away.

The irony is that it is the "proletarian" aspect of left politics in the
United States that ensures its petty-bourgeois character.
"Marxism-Leninism", by draping itself in the colors, symbols and languages
of other revolutions, alienates the average working-person. The groups,
therefore, who stylize themselves as "proletarian" have an exclusively
petty-bourgeois character no matter how many members work at an
assembly-line. Real workers can be won to socialism today, but it will not
be to any group that includes the words "Communist" or "Revolutionary" in
its name.



On Mon, 26 Aug 1996, Vladimir Bilenkin wrote:

>
> Instead, our place here must be assigned by the revolutionary needs and
> goals of the proletariat. The Internet space is not one of the party.
> In this space we obtain only as bourgeois intellectuals.  At best,
> then, our place here is one of  "specialists," precisely in Lenin's
> sense of the word. The only historical sense we can give to our
> existence in cyberspace is to become "specialists" on the service and
> under control of the working class, above all, communist workers. And
> the first service we can render for them in our status as list members,
> i.e. as ones who have the middle-class privilege of Internet access,
> is to place this tool in their hands.  If this proves impossible to do



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