Cockburn on confederacy
Jose G. Perez
jgperez at SPAMfreepcmail.com
Sat Nov 13 17:56:26 MST 1999
>>Those of us who in the mid-70s were engaged in serious efforts at
political organizing should remember that the Watergate Affair was
nearly as disastrous for communist organizing as it was for the
Nixon administration. What happened was not merely an increase
in distrust of government but a sharp increase in distrust of the
usefulness of any kind of politics or any kind of political agency.<<
I was very struck by this message by Carrol Cox because my experiences were
First of all, I think it is wrong not to put the thing in context. The Paris
Peace Accords were signed at the end of 1972. The war in Vietnam had been
the central driving issue in the radicalization, and this defused it.
But as for Watergate itself, it created tremendous openness to revolutionary
ideas among broad layers of the population. Watergate did have a
demoralizing effect on one wing of activists, those who had made a strategy
on working in the two party swamp of bourgeois politics. But I do not
believe that was true of all those who viewed themselves as communists. The
SWP's 1976 election campaign was qualitatively more succesful, I believe,
than its 1972 counterpart. If I remember right, the SWP was gaining enough
new members throughout this period to offset attrition and grow in size,
hadly the disaster for Communists that Carrol remembers. I wonder if what
he's recalling isn't really the impact of the end of the anti-Vietnam war
rather than Watergate.
From: Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu>
To: lbo-talk at lists.panix.com <lbo-talk at lists.panix.com>;
marxism at lists.panix.com <marxism at lists.panix.com>
Date: Saturday, November 13, 1999 1:20 PM
Subject: Re: Cockburn on confederacy
>Doug Henwood wrote:
>> [Here's the column with the curious reference to the Confederacy in
>> the next-to-last paragraph. Certain residents of the Southern states
>> were not consulted on matters of mutual trust and confidence in the
>> federal government, a point easily overlooked in the face of deadline
>> pressures, I'm sure.]
>> The one thing the Post, Harvard, the Kaiser Family Foundation and all
>> the hired professors can't face is that the correct premise for an
>> independent citizenry is not to trust government, and that, as in
>> every other period of America's history, government across the past
>> thirty years has forfeited trust anyway.
>Those of us who in the mid-70s were engaged in serious efforts at
>political organizing should remember that the Watergate Affair was
>nearly as disastrous for communist organizing as it was for the
>Nixon administration. What happened was not merely an increase
>in distrust of government but a sharp increase in distrust of the
>usefulness of any kind of politics or any kind of political agency.
>But then Cockburn seems to share one characteristic with Max --
>he really is not interested in (probably has no faith in) attempts
>at collective action. He merely wants a passive yes to what he
>has to say.
>That said, in the midst of all this Cockburn baiting, he and
>*Counterpunch* are most useful to have around. Lou Proyect
>dismisses the whole crowd of New York Journalists (Cockburn,
>Henwood, Pollitt, Reed, etc.) because, among other things, they
>never wrote a leaflet or organized a forum. I have done both,
>and I wrote so many leaflets when I should have been doing
>research that it is one of the reasons that I retired as only an
>assistant professor. But I really couldn't have written one of
>those leaflets were it not for the work of journalists who may
>or may not have ever written one themselves.
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