bounced from James Stewart

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Aug 11 15:41:28 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.

    I think this is to the point.  As I saee it, however, it is important to
understand that in the American political landscape parties have never been
pure or particularly centralized.  Granted that there are a number of unique
factors in the history of the CPUSA, it is still the case that all of the
successful political partie in the United States have tended to be more
concerned with a broad base of support than with ideological purity.  I
believe it was George wallace who compalined the there wasn't ten cents of
difference between the two main parties.  That is lamentable, and probably
nto strictly true, but those are the parties that are running the store.
Such a desire for purity has been the fountain of the notorious tendency of
the American left to break into feckless factions.  One recalls, Bill Baily,
who belonged to every radical party that ever came to be 'till he finally
decided to start his own party so that he wouldn't disagree. . . .
    What the country needs is, to borrow a phrase, a big tent CP.  Even the
Republican "revolutionaries" have come to realize that their campaign for
conservative purity has lost them support.
    The CP will probably be saddled with the legacy of Stalin and the like
for decades to come.  Somehow that has has to be put in the past or
relegated to some twilight zone like Perot's remarks about having a crazy
aunt in the basement.  Perhaps "uncle Joe" will be the perennial crazy aunt
in the commie basement.

Louis Proyect

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