contradictions of an academic left?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Sun Dec 17 13:34:02 MST 2000

> I would be interested in any suggestions you or anyone else on the list can
> make to improve Socialism and Democracy. submit something to me. send some
> jokes if you like...
> the original goal of the Research Group on Socialism and Democracy, which
> publishes S. and D., was to promote a reasonable discussion about socialist
> societies. it is true that our original audience was made up of professors
> and graduate students. you have to start somewhere. we were trying to oppose
> anticommunists within the academy.
> George

Actually, I like Socialism and Democracy quite a bit. In the last issue, there
was a pip of article on Yugoslavia that I provided some background research on
at the request of Eric Canepa, who was editing it.

Look, the basic problem is beyond the control of either non-academics or
academics. We have been through a period of deep reaction going back to the
mid-70s at the time of the overthrow of Allende. That opened the door to the
"neoliberal" model which eventually destroyed the USSR, the ultimate
sponsor of
all alternatives to TINA. Nicaragua was destroyed, the FMLN turned into social
democrats, all the ex-Portuguese colonies were made living hells.

While this was going on, the Trotskyist and Maoist left was imploding. The
were unraveling into social democratic type formations. Unlike the last great
period of reaction, there was no anticommunist crusade in the imperialist
nations because none was necessary. McCarthyism was a battering ram against
reds in the unions, who could have been a voice against imperialist war.
With a
passive working class, the unions were free to do what they wanted which was
mostly to retain jobs and keep wages high.

There is the distinct promise that this might begin to change under the impact
of what appears to be an ineluctable worldwide economic crisis, involving
energy shortages, etc. California right now is facing the danger of power

If and when workers begin to move, the questions of Marxism will no longer be
theoretical. Workers, intellectuals and "organic intellectuals" will be
by the urgency of events to find a way to work together. New organizations and
new forms of communication will spring into existence. We are in a preparatory
period right now, when it is essential to break down sectarian divisions that
get in the way of the formation of a genuine revolutionary organization. I
been promoting this kind of reorientation since 1981 and this mailing list is
merely the latest expression.

Louis Proyect
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