New societies in womb of old

Jorn Andersen ccc6639 at
Thu May 23 18:42:07 MDT 1996

Louis N Proyect wrote:

> The question of how to raise the class-consciousness and political
> awareness of the US working-class is the question of the epoch. This is
> the nation where socialism must prevail if socialism is to have a chance
> on a world-scale.

As true as ever.

> My guess is that the potential for a great political leap forward
> now exists.

My guess too.

> What prevents this from happening is that we are burdened by
> an organized "Marxist-Leninist" left that festoons its newspapers with
> hammers-and-sickles and speaks in the sort of stilted agit-prop language
> that Hugh Rodwell favors us with nearly every day.

Which is just one load full of rubbish. A lot more of Hugh Rodwell's
around would not *prevent*, but *help* this happen. And do you really
believe that a very small organized "Marxist-Leninist" left is the
main factor in preventing a political leap forward? - No, Louis, the
left (combined or not) has not got this influence.

Really I find this revolting. Some time ago you said in the same vein,
that it was the SWP (US) which made the Sandinista revolution loose.
One thing is that you do not agree that "marxist-leninists" should
build organizations around their politics. A quite different thing is
it to ascribe to this part of the left the role as "hinderer of a
political leap forward".

A few years ago you could argue that stalinism played this role -
but not today. Though the corpse still stinks, it is much easier
to explain to people today why the corpse is laying there, than it
was explaining why it was alive when it actually was there.

> We should be studying
> Eugene V. Debs, Malcolm X, the young Tom Watson, Bill Haywood and Mother
> Jones for lessons in how to reach people. The concepts come from Marx and
> Engels; the language and symbols come from our national experience.

Yes, let us do that - and add our *international* experiences as well.
But let us not forget that the extent to which these individuals were
actually able to influence history was very close connected to the
size and character of their organizations. We will learn to "reach
people" on a mass scale when that is a concrete agenda. But there
is no way round the problem that if you want to build mass
organization you have to start with small organization.


Jorn Andersen


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