Final words in reply to Mike

Carrol Cox cbcox at
Tue Nov 7 10:01:49 MST 2000

Gary Maclennan wrote:

>   If we could only get beyond the Zinovievist deviation to
> Marx's original conception then I feel we would make much more progress in
> the present conjuncture.

Conceptions of "The Party," unlike fundamental analyses of capitalism as a
mode of production, are contingent to specific places and times. And for this
reason even the words of a given writer describing his/her conception of a
party do not carry well over time and place. I doubt that Marx's conception of
a party is any more relevant to the present than Lenin's or Zinoviev's or
Kautsky's or Debs's.

Any mass left party formed in the United States at the present time is going
to be in many ways profoundly unsatisfactory, because it is going to arise
from contingencies which none of us can foresee. Mass movements in the United
States, moreover, are *always* in their early stages (regardless of the
intentions of the various 'leaders') racist, and that racism cannot by the
nature of social relations in the u.s. be confronted within the movement; such
confrontation with the movement's internal racism requires a heavy challenged
from independent black forces.

As a wild guess (which I won't defend because I have no crystal ball), the
most likely context for the appearance of a new communist party in the u.s. is
precisely in the resolution of such a contradiction between the (spontaneous)
racism of mass movements and an independent black movement.


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