CharlesB at SPAMCNCL.ci.detroit.mi.us
Wed Aug 11 11:58:47 MDT 1999
I have had similar, though not identical , experiences with the CPUSA. There is a
serious problem with self-criticism in that Party, however, some of its "dogma"
remains superior analysis to many (even most) other analyses on the Left. As a Party
out of power and not illegal (though illicit) ; and having just been shown to have
significant flaws in its understanding of the Soviet Union (though not all wrong), the
concrete situation demands or demanded more democracy and less centralism for the
CPUSA. There is a need for self-criticism and debate ( or there was several years ago)
rather than unity for action. A new assessment of the world situation was needed 10
years ago, a development of theory to guide action.
One must , once again, extract the rational kernel and disgard the shell of CPUSA
>>> Michael Yates <mikey+ at pitt.edu> 08/07/99 10:30PM >>>
On a personal note, I once had dealings with the newsletter, "Economic
Notes." This newsletter was founded by Solon DeLeon, son of Daniel
DeLeon. It was filled with a lot of good information useful to me in my
teaching and political activities. It was (I do not know much of
anything about it today) closely allied with the US CP (such as this was
in the late 1970s). I don't remember how, but I developed a
correspondence with its editor and eventually wrote three articles for
it. In connection with my correspondence, I was asked to write a
handbook on the labor law, aimed at working people. I worked diligently
on this project for two years or so. The editor had pretty much assured
me that it would be published by International Publishers, the CP
publisher in the US. In the meantime we had some heated debate about the
Soviet Union, centering around comments I had made in an article
published in a special issue of Monthly Review on China. He assured me
that things in the Soviet Union were not as I had suggested in my
article (BTW,as I remember, it did not matter to him what I said about
China, which for him, was more or less beyond the revolutionary pale).
His proof was that he had lived there and not witnessed these things but
in fact their opposite. I expressed great skepticism about this line of
argument; a person could live a long while here in the US and not know
much about what went on, especially if he were a guest from a foreign
nation and hosted by leading lights of one of the two political parties.
It was curious but not long after this discussion, my manuscript began
to run into roadblocks and from the editor, a deafening silence.
Readers said I had not focused adequately on this or that, so many
readers and so many thises and thats that it became apparent that the
boook would never be published by International. I just quit
corresponding, sent the manuscript (all of it, in finished form), and it
was quickly accepted by another publisher and eventually published. It
was a useful book and fairly well received by workers. But it always
seemed to me that the CPers were not willing to discuss differences.
Instead they decreed and those who did not go along or were skeptical
just did not matter. To me this is no way to build a movement and no
movement built on such lines is ever likely to build a communist
I want to add in fairness that the editor of "Economic Notes" wrote a
leter of recommendation for my promotion to full professor (before our
disagreement), and I was and am very grateful to him for this.
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