Forwarded from Jurriaan (reply to João)

João Paulo Monteiro jpmonteiro at
Mon Mar 12 15:36:08 MST 2001

Louis Proyect wrote:

> Tastes differ I guess, but "class struggle" is an overused and frequently
> misused word, like "crisis". For the working class to begin struggling as a
> class for socialist goals, there have to be people who organise to defend
> and advance socialist policies, to start off with.

Agree completely.

> There's nothing wrong
> with young urban professionals, by the way. Most the leaders of the
> bolshevik party, which comrade Louis still has such a romantic fondness
> for, were "young urban(ised) professionals" in their time. (Lenin studied
> to be a lawyer, Trotsky was a dropout mathematician, Stalin... in fact one
> of the only bolshevik leaders with solid "proletarian" credentials I can
> think of was a guy called Shliapnikov who, in the early 1920s,
> appropriately formed the Workers Opposition). Virtually all the significant
> Marxist theoreticians in the 20th century came from a bourgeois or
> pettybourgeois or new middle class background (except for Gramsci).

Agree again.
But the main problem with the "Bloco de Esquerda" is not that their leaders or
theoreticians (if they had them) are bourgeois or petty bourgeois. The problem
is that their whole constituency (militants, electorate, sympathizers) is from
this stock. And they are not making any effort to correct this. You need only
look at the electoral sheets. Good results in universitary districts, next to
zero on workers' quarters. On my own city (Porto), the funny thing is that the
"Bloco" has had good results on thoroughly bourgeois districts (who vote
overwhelmingly for the right), and mediocre ones in those that traditionally
vote for the left. Is this that so-called renewal of the left?
The "Bloco" poses itself very aggressively as an alternative left, intent on
occupying the space of the old, decaying PCP. But until I see them with a
stable and coherent ideological platform and working among people with real
dirt in their nails, they are not taking me on board.

> There exists a peculiar kind of racism in Marxist circles which consists of
> slagging off at people for their class background ("you dirty middleclass
> so-and-so", "you rotten bourgeois swine you" etc....). But most of the
> people who participate in this racism, starting with Lenin, were in reality
> themselves from a middleclass or bourgeois background. This is why
> personally I wouldn't associate with a lot of "Marxists", I don't like
> their racist prejudice towards other socialists and leftists.

To end up, I agree with that too, except for the use of the word racism (which,
like God or "genocide", must not be invoked in vain). Btw, I've been
appreciating very much most of what I've read from you. Are you french? I was
almost giving up all hope of ever finding a french person participating in
these lists. We have had people from Ethiopia, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Lebanon,
you name it, but from merry old France, nopes.


João Paulo Monteiro

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