Nader's Olive Branch

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Fri Apr 6 18:37:02 MDT 2001

>Is it the policy of the Marxmail list to go along with the "national
>reconciliation" process?
>Brian James

It would really help if you knew something about USA politics. Right now a
very bitter fight over the future of the number one Marxist forum in the
USA is taking place, namely Pacifica radio. By all accounts, the most
recent deepening of the fight stems from reporter Amy Goodman's decision to
allow Ralph Nader to use her press credentials to get on the floor of the
Democratic Party convention. The people on the Pacifica board are focusing
their attack on Amy Goodman because of her temerity in collaborating with
Nader, plus her blistering, go for the jugular interview with President
Clinton a week before the election. She made the scumbag squirm over
Leonard Peltier, Mumia and other questions that never get asked on
mainstream media. The Pacifica board is made up of black and Latino
corporate types appointed by Mary Frances Berry, a member of the Democratic
Leadership Council. Between this rightwing corporate board and the radical,
mostly Marxist producers at WBAI in NYC and KPFA in Berkeley, you have the
Los Angeles station which reflects Nation Magazine left-liberalism. The LA
station wants to destroy the Marxist voices as well, but with more finesse.

A Pacifica board member was picketed recently by members of the Green Party
in NYC. These folks are not only a base of support for the fight to keep
Pacifica radio radical, but local fights to stop spraying of toxic
chemicals to kill West Nile virus. A good friend of mine is active with the
Upper West Side Greens. He was a member of the Revolutionary Union in the
1960s and has a house filled with Marxist literature.

This is the real radical movement in the USA. It reaches tens of thousands
of people. Pacifica radio Marxists and radicals reach more people in a week
than the WSWS website does in a year. You have a very dim idea about how a
genuine revolutionary movement will be launched. In the history of the left
in the USA, you keep coming across important non-revolutionary figures who
were critical in advancing the movement at times of crisis. John L. Lewis
was instrumental to launching the CIO in the 1930s despite his outspoken
anti-Communism. Martin Luther King, despite his Ghandism and his
connections to the Democratic Party, unleashed powerful class forces that
threatened the stability of US capitalism. That is why they killed him. The
woman's liberation movement was largely the inspiration of Betty Friedan,
who was middle-class ideologically (despite an early involvement with the
CP and the United Electrical Workers Union.)

Against these imperfect realities, you have an ideal of militant workers in
coveralls denouncing traitors and occupying factories and waving red
banners with hammers-and-sickles. The character Morgan had such fantasies
as well, along with those of being a chimpanzee. Marxist sectarian politics
is a breeding ground for fantasy. It lacks the fundamental necessity of
what James P. Cannon called knowing "what to do next." That was Lenin's key
contribution as well, knowing what to do next.

Your socialism reminds me of what Bob DeVerney used to tell me about the
Spartacist League. They hated the peace movement with its "wimpy" slogans
like bring the troops home now. They struggled to find just the right
combination of jargon to put on both sides of a leaflet that they could
pass out at the demos we were organizing. One can imagine them making sure
to include something about the transition from feudalism to  capitalism.
Their best bet, Bob said, was to hand out copies of volume one of Capital.

Louis Proyect
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