Labor Party

Walter Daum WGDCC at CUNYVM.CUNY.EDU
Fri May 17 05:54:30 MDT 1996


On Thu, 16 May 1996 23:52:07 -0400 <MD575151 at aol.com> said, replying
to Jorn:
>
[...]
>
>   We can not build forces through a revolutionary party (yet) because the
>subjective conditions do not exist at the moment.  There is, however, a
>movement towards labor unity--this is expressed through the LPA.  That is a
>step towards class consoiusness.  Once people are aware of their class aims
>they will become more and more revolutionary.  We MUST change the line of the
>LPA.  It is not up to us under what conditions it arises.  It is arising
>under bureuacratic conditions.  This we must fight.  IF we cannot change it's
>line then it WILL be a reformist party.  Can we do it?  We should at least
>try.
>
>Jorn brings up a lot of good point in the latter half of his post.  These are
>some points I will have to think about.  I in no way fully support the LPA.
> There is much to critisise.  But I think that it is worthy of support.  What
>is the lists feeling on this;  should we at least fight to keep the LPA from
>turning reformist, can it be helped?
>
>      ---Mike Dean

The possibility of changing the line of a labor party certainly exists,
as long as it is a party that is born out of class struggles or engages
in such struggles -- even in so limited a way as an electoral campaign.
But the trouble with the LPA and its proposed labor party is that it
seems to have nothing to do with existing struggles.

The labor bureaucracy in the U.S. has not won a significant strike in god
knows how long. Its strategy has always been to detour struggles into
voting for false friends of labor in the Democratic Party. The "new"
leadership of Sweeney at al only brings more enthusiasm to its efforts
for Clinton, the most right-wing Democrat ever. What distinguishes Tony
Mazzocchi and the rets of the LPA founders is that they see that this
Democratic strategy is not working and is turning off the great majority
of workers. But their alternative is not to oppose the pro-Democratic
strrategy: as Mazzocchi said,

"Many of us have worked long and hard to establish good relationships
with the existing parties. We need these connections if we are going to
represent the interests of working people in the present political system.

"LPA as an organization will neither run nor endorse candidates because
we do not want to put these vital relationships unnecessarily at risk.
Until a labor party is a reality in this country, the labor movement will
have to work through the existing political structure. That is a fact."

And Mazzocchi has insisted that the new labor party will carry out the
same no-candidate and non-endorsement policy. His strategy is to offer
the millions of disenchanted workers a sop, a promise of something in
the future so as to keep them tied to the Democrats today.

It is not at all clear that any struggle at the LPA convention will be
allowed to get off the ground, much less to change this commitment to not
challenging the overall strategy of the labor bureaucracy.  I could be
wrong -- it is conceivable that some struggle of the working class will
try to grab onto this bureaucratic labor party and make it a vehicle for
advancing the struggle. Stranger things have happened. But a great many
socialists supporting the LPA seem to assume without evidence that the
labor party will automatically be such a vehicle. I think it far more
likely that it will serve as an obstacle to struggles. And therefore a
dead end, not a necessary stage, toward creating the necessary revolutionary
party.

Walter Daum


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