On Trotsky

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at mailbox.swipnet.se
Fri Feb 16 16:44:50 MST 1996


Brad Mayer quoted:

>>This is the classic bourgeois (and petty-bourgeois left) empiricist
>>argument against socialism. 'Aint no socialism nowhere - it's illusion from
>>start to finish.' Trouble is, socialism exists as a goal and won't go away
>>because it represents the deepest class interests of the proletariat. Same
>>thing with Trotskyism. Despite claims to the contrary by many here in the
>>list (like Louis G and Louis P for instance), Trotskyism is a genuinely
>>revolutionary movement that represents the deepest class interests of the
>>proletariat.

and admonished:

>While this is an excellent defense of Trotskyism, there is a small
>tactical problem in grouping L. Proyect with L. Godena.  Louis Proyect
>and the sharp-witted J. Levy (I believe) both have bad experiences with the
>U.S. SWP - not surprising to me from what I know of what is today a
>hopelessly irrelevant sect.
>
>That is what I mean when I say, be careful who gets tossed in the same
>bag. In fact, L. Proyect led the polemic against the maoists on China,
>and defended Carlos against absurd "agent provocateur" charges levied by
>the other Louis, the resident Ceausescu on this l*st.  So, cut him a
>little slack - but not too much!

Yeah. Trouble is, they were both shooting at the same target. There are
even those calling themselves Trotskyists who shoot at Trotskyism and the
revolutionary Marxist tradition - I'm thinking of people like Ticktin who's
just published a book purporting to defend Trotsky and in fact attacking
some of his most fundamental ideas, such as the absolutely central role of
the crisis of proletarian leadership in the present epoch and the
characterization of the Soviet Union under Stalinism as a degenerated
workers' state. There are many other examples, notorious ones being Burnham
at the start of the WWII and the liquidationist Pablo after the war.

In other respects, the distinction you make is reasonable enough. Louis P
has a visibly human streak - but a political and ideological battle must
still be waged against his defeatism and quietism.

>While we can't blame everything on historical conditions, when those
>conditions suddenly change - as they have most recently - we should seize
>the chance to shake off the old patterns, organizational patterns which,
>if we are truthful to ourselves as revolutionaries, have been less than
>successful.

Too true, Blue, if you mean shake off sterile scholasticism and sectarian
internalism. But since you don't explicitly say what *you* mean by the old
patterns, I'll reserve judgement until you do.

You know, at times I think of the relationship between the working class
and the revolutionary party as that between the women and the men at some
big barnlike dancehall in the outback somewhere. The blokes are all showing
off what they can do, and the women just stand by the wall chatting to each
other and pretending not to notice - only really they're sizing everyone up
out of the corner of their eye. When the time is right and the tension has
mounted enough, they'll find each other. Until then it all seems pretty
dreary.

There's a lot more sizing up going on now than there was just a few years ago.

Cheers,

Hugh




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