Why the Marxism 2 list exists

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Thu May 2 11:19:28 MDT 1996

On Thu, 2 May 1996, Robert Malecki wrote:

> I bet there were some people here that were extremely upset when malecki
> appeared on the scene.

Actually, I gave you a warm welcome the minute you appeared with your
first post, a very informative piece on the dismantling of the Swedish
welfare state.

Subsequent to that I offered the opinion that I thought the movie Adalen
31 was an interesting take on the origins of Swedish social democratic
governments. The movie (and the historical event it depicts) made the
case, quite correctly I think, that the Swedish social democracy emerges
out of a very sharp confrontation between workers and the capitalist
state (this was prior to the Social Democracy). In other words, it took
a quasi-revolutionary struggle to put even a reformist workers party in
power. This, by the way, is exactly what took place in Russia in the
early part of 1917. Violent protests led to the overthrow of czarism and
the installation of Kerensky's government, the Russian equivalent of
Swedish social democracy.

And what was your reply?

A long and terrifically ultraleft denuciation of social democracy, as if I
were advocating social democracy. You may not have a lot of education,
but it doesn't take formal education to be able to listen carefully to
what people are saying. It also doesn't take a formal education to
understand that truth is not black and white. The truth is a million
shades of gray. To counterpose the FSLN to "Leninism" represents just
this kind of black and white thinking. I have devoted a lot of attention
to the early history of the Bolshevik party and the conclusion I drew was
that the FSLN has a lot more in common with the Bolshevik party than all
of the "Marxist-Leninist" parties of today, including your simplistic
understanding of what such a party would be.

There is no excuse for ignorance. I myself never write about Marxist
economic theory, because quite frankly it is beyond me. If I am going to
write about something, I try to research it beforehand. By making a call
for a "Leninist" party your central purpose on this list, you are opening
yourself up for a lot of flak since you obviously lack first-hand
experience in building one or the deep knowledge of how Lenin built his.

I have been involved in one manner or another since 1967 in trying to
help build a Leninist party, but what would be the point of badgering
this list constantly about how we need a "Leninist" party. That's not
what is under question. What is under question is how to achieve that
goal. And quite frankly you don't have a clue about how to go about that.
Have you had any success in building a Leninist party yourself? Is that
commune you're living on a launching-pad for a Leninist party? How does
destroying draft records lead to the building of a Leninist party? Is the
sort of thing the Bolsheviks did? Do you think Lenin would have set fire
to some Czarist secret police files and then run off to Madagascar?

Before you spend so much time and energy attacking others, you should
hold yourself up to some careful scrutiny. One thing that really bugs me
about Trotskyists is how merciless they can be toward other political
currents, but how in love they are with themselves. This is narcissism,
not Bolshevism.

     --- from list marxism at lists.village.virginia.edu ---

More information about the Marxism mailing list