Fw: Fw: Socialism from below.

Sol Dollinger soldoll at SPAMinreach.com
Tue Nov 9 21:23:05 MST 1999




-----Original Message-----
From: Sol Dollinger <soldoll at inreach.com>
To: swan keyes <swan at photon.net>
Date: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 6:37 PM
Subject: Re: Fw: Socialism from below.


>Dear Swan:
>
>Socialism from below is enscribed in the program of Solidarity the group to
>which I suggested you attend their educational meetings.  It is all over
the
>net and I recently saw it on the Red Leaf page. Its roots go back to the
>Stalin conquest of the Communist party, the abolition of democracy and the
>free contest to debate by the ranks as well as the leaders.
>
>In the United States the group has been identified with Hal Draper a
Marxist
>leader at Berkeley now deceased . His followers led the fight for free
>speech in the 1960's.  They went on from there to form Solidarity by
>combining with a more orthodox Trotskyist  group.  The positions they take
>are similar to Chomsky on Yugoslavia and East Timor.  I hew closer to the
>positions of Michael Parenti whose Marxism I counterpose to Chomsky's
>anarchism.  There is  an anti-leadership position that riles me. Unlike
most
>of those who have lived under the banner of working class retreat, I had
the
>opportunity to see the class move forward under the leadership of Roy and
>Victor Reuther, Bob Travis, Genora and Kermit, Bud Simon, Walter Moore and
>countless others in the sitdown strike era.  In 1948 I, personally led a
>movement of 40,000 GM workers for Cola.  It was top down not bottom up.  I
>had the idea and had recruited the people who were the instuments in
>carrying the proposal forward.
>
>Those who think ideas are created on the bottom are glamorizing the
>individual and are anarchists.  Chomsky does it alone by his writings and
>speeches.  The writings and speeches are fine but it is the interaction of
>people in the class struggle, the mutuality of purpose, the forging of
>comradeship as they contest with the enemy that produces new leaders who in
>turn are elevated and from commanding heights see the road ahead for the
>others to follow.
>
>Sol
>-----Original Message-----
>From: swan keyes <swan at photon.net>
>To: Sol Dollinger <soldoll at inreach.com>
>Date: Tuesday, November 09, 1999 2:07 PM
>Subject: Re: Fw: Socialism from below.
>
>
>>
>>hey there. i hope all is well with you. what does this mean "socialism
from
>below?" i've not heard this term so i don't understand what this post is
>arguing against.
>>
>>>
>>>-----Original Message-----
>>>From: Sol Dollinger <soldoll at inreach.com>
>>>To: redleaf-owner at onelist.com <redleaf-owner at onelist.com>
>>>Date: Monday, November 08, 1999 9:33 AM
>>>Subject: Socialism from below.
>>>
>>>
>>>>Dear list member:
>>>>
>>>>As a socialist for over six decades I have seen struggles waged by
>>>>socialists as the role of leaders and from the rank and file.  I
strongly
>>>>object to the phrase socialism from below.  The phrase indicates an
>>>>inferiority complex regarding  the relation of socialists striving to
>>>become
>>>>leaders and infers that they will never achieve this position.
>>>>
>>>>Let me cite an example that will make my position clear.  In the period
>>>>leading up to the sit down strikes in Flint Michigan, Genora and Kermit
>>>>Johnson, were Socialists.  When the strike began because of superior
>>>>knowledge gained as socialists in discussion and readings of labor
>history
>>>>they became strike leaders.  Kermit led the capture of Plant 4 Chevrolet
>>>>that produced all engine motors for Chevrolet.  As a leader he proposed
a
>>>>strategy for the capture of this plant  of 4,000 that ensured the
victory
>>>of
>>>>the strike.
>>>>
>>>>It is the class struggle that produces radicals.  The interplay of  the
>>>>struggle shoves to the top the ablest members of the class who in turn
>>>>propel the movement forward.  Socialism from below smacks of anarchistic
>>>>philosophy that was prevalent in the IWW and in the Proletarian Party.
>>>John
>>>>Keracker the leader of the PP believed that officials of the unions were
>>>>"Labor lieutenants of capitalism" and opposed his members holding office
>>>>less they get corrupted. We want to be leaders we want to strive to
>propel
>>>>the best into positions of leadership.  Our socialists are not
interested
>>>in
>>>>the perks that go with the job but with the opportunity to take the
>>>movement
>>>>to the next stage of struggle.
>>>>
>>>>Years ago, during World War II, Paul Silvers, president of a small steel
>>>>products UAW local, was surrounded by a group of auto workers who wanted
>>>his
>>>>definition of a leader ( As you see from this illustration it was
>discussed
>>>>openly at the time and not artificially)  and he told those assembled
>>>around
>>>>him that a leader is a person who sticks his neck up from the crowd so
>that
>>>>all the others can take pot shots at him.  It was a simple, crude way of
>>>>putting it but participants inthe class struggle understood him.
>>>>
>>>>There is a relation between leaders and followers that cannot be
>separated
>>>>and for this reason I reject the concept of Socialism from below.  It
>>>caters
>>>>to the basest instincts of the young who are not aware of the relations
>>>>developed based on long experience.  Socialism from below grew out of
the
>>>>distrust of the Stalin bureaucracy.  That relationship is not the final
>>>>answer to workers and leaders and we should confidently project a more
>>>>positive answer.
>>>>
>>>>Sol Dollinger
>>>>323 931 5496
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>>
>










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