"Knowing what to do next"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Sat Apr 14 19:04:23 MDT 2001

>>From some of the things Louis Proyect and others have had to say about the
>Trotskyist organizations, it seems that nothing like the mass line is being
>used there either. If the mass line is just "common sense", then it is clear
>that common sense is extremely uncommon. Instead, what we have, in this
>country at least, is a whole lot of dogmatic sectarian parties and groups,
>who think they "know it all", and feel they have nothing of significance to
>learn from the masses. That is the sad truth of the matter.
>--Scott Harrison

Scott, one of the things you'll pick up on after being on the list for a
while is that most of us are trying to transcend the concept of
"revolutionary continuity". Although this problematic term had a lot of
weight in the Trotskyist movement, you can find it elsewhere as well. It is
the attempt to establish some kind of blood line between a group or
individual going back to Marx and Engels. This usually consists of
Trotskyists going on and on about Lenin's last testament. Or Maoists
fighting with each other about who is the best representative of the CP in
Peru, as if a fast food franchise was involved. Or CP-Moscow types arguing
among each other about whether things went bad with Krushchev or with
Brezhnev or with Gorbachev. All in all, we've found it useful to defer
these questions until after the revolution when we can all sit around
drinking vodka and eating oysters, when all the pressure is off us. Let me
tell you where I'm coming from on this. I spent 11 years in the Trotskyist
movement and still have a very high regard for Trotsky. But of all the
people I've met on or off the Internet in the last 10 years or so, there is
nobody I have a higher regard for than Mark Jones who is about as much of a
Stalin partisan as you are going to find. I allow that Mark and I have
differences over this and focus more on the questions that unite us, such
as ecology, Yugoslavia, financial crisis, etc. If we are going to rebuild
the revolutionary movement worldwide, it will be necessary to put
historical questions such as you are alluding to on the back burner. As far
as Mao is concerned, I used to be very critical but I have a much more
open-minded attitude nowadays because of the participation of Henry Liu on
this list. Henry is a bona fide Maoist as opposed to the kind of bonkers
ultraleftism that destroyed much of the American left in the 1970s. Pay
close attention to anything Henry writes. He is one of the smartest people
in the world.

Louis Proyect
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