neil is right....but

Louis R Godena louisgodena at ids.net
Thu May 23 00:48:34 MDT 1996


Neil from compuserve is always worth listening to, even when he's wrong, and
he is seldom so wholly
wrong as to have nothing worthwhile to add to a particular argument.

In the case of the CPUSA, an organization to which I pay dues (albeit on an
irregular even haphazard fashion)
and to which I profess some loyalty, Neil's criticisms of the often
self-serving relations to the Democrats must
be taken seriously.  There is a good deal of truth to them.   Anyone
familiar with the history of the Democratic
Party, from Jim Crow to Hiroshima, from the Gulf of Tonkin to Bill Clinton,
can see what kind of fruit the oft-quoted strategy of "pushing the Democrats
to the left" has ripened into.     Many in the Party, I suspect, have, as a
practical
matter, resisted these often single-minded campaigns, which themselves were
usually adopted for the purposes of gaining a greater good or, as I suspect
was more usually the case, avoiding a greater evil.    Many in fact did work
in electoral campaigns, either for progressive Democrats, or for
progressives and communists who in many
instances were openly agitating for socialism.   This was done in
conjunction with their normal struggles  in the trade unions, housing
projects, farms and factories, where in fact most communist work is done.
Support for the
Democrats was not and is not the main work arena for the CPUSA, our friend
Neil notwithstanding.

A number of list members have joined Neil in criticizing not only the Party
but the hidebound, housebroken labor
leadership that has, like its counterparts everywhere, acted as a brake on
worker struggles.   Their remarks, too, would carry a good deal more weight
if they were to offer concrete proposals for fashioning a general leftist
program, other than the usual stale salad of workerist clap-trap and leftist
sloganeering.   Better yet, could they not point to the success of their own
efforts in this regard?   Surely they must have something more to show for
years of loyal efforts and arduous battles on the front lines of class
struggle than an e-mail account or Post Office box.

 I have no doubt that Neil and his comrades are expert at raging furiously
together.   Indeed, it is often difficult to ascertain what, aside from
their own sense of impotence, they are raging furiously together about.
His prescriptions for building the revolution reflect the same banal
generalities and amorphous futurism of scores of other now discarded sects.
Waiting for Godot is hardly a sound revolutionary program.

In a post last winter (January?), I pointed out how the CPUSA was forged as
a Party in the organizing battles of
heavy industry in the midwest and in the unions of the deep south, as well
as in the efforts on behalf of the Second Front during WWII.   Such work, of
a necessity, established certain attitudes and relations toward the
Democrats. The Party, all but destroyed during the McCarthy, survived
largely as a matter of faith, held together by the very forces that came of
age during the aforementioned period.   For better or for worse, the Party
is today led by those whose thinking was shaped forever by those struggles.

There is great ferment in the Party today.  Much is being done, even in the
opinion of a sceptic like myself.  There is much to criticize.  But it is
hardly the touchstone of political wisdom to unequivocally condemn the
policies of others without putting forth, as an alternative , concrete
proposals of your own.


                    Louis Godena



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