Mass action and the actions of individuals

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Fri May 3 14:02:42 MDT 1996

Louis, starting off a posting with his usual personalized put-down
rhetoric, puts on the mask of a decrepit ageist and writes:

>I guess Hugh is too young to know much about the controversies
>that existed in the Vietnam antiwar movement.

Alzheimers has obviously prevented him from putting two and two together
after reading all the stuff I've posted (just the stuff Louis himself has
responded to would be enough) and drawing a conclusion or two about my age.

As it happens, I was there at the time, doing my bit. I was constantly
thinking about the historical changes in the youth, particularly the
student youth, in Britain since 1926. During the general strike the
students were out scabbing for all they were worth. During the Vietnam war
the students were mobilizing to end the war and support the enemy of

I was also thinking about the terrible political limitations on this
solidarity movement that were imposed by a maoist leadership sucking up to
the Stalinist Ho Chi Minh regime. They failed totally to school members of
the movement about the realities of the Vietnamese revolution and the
central part played in it by organized Trotskyism and they lied about the
slaughter of these Trotskyists at the end of world war II. Also they were
completely sold on the Socialism in One Country line.

I was also doing my bit during the student revolts, partly in Britain,
partly here in Sweden. I had a 'Katangan' kid from Paris staying at my flat
in Stockholm for weeks. Might just as easily have been Robert. One of my
neighbours was an old worker who'd emigrated to Chicago from the poverty of
southern Sweden in the thirties and been an organized Stalinist there,
fighting the bosses, the goons, the scabs and the Trotskyists -- we had
some great discussions!

If I'd known then what I know now, I could have contributed a damn sight more.

So comb that hoary beard, granddad, and cut out the Ancient Mariner bit.



PS The empiricist in Louis really comes out in this posting of his. Even
though he can read, and he knows I can read, and he's been organized and
I've been organized, he still can't resist saying 'If you ain't bin there,
you don't know nuthin'.

Perhaps the allergy several subscribers manifest towards learning from the
experience of the October revolution is just an expression of this
empiricist, short-sighted view of history. 'We weren't there, so we can't
know. Marx and Lenin are dead, let them rest in peace!'


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