just a thought - again

Jurriaan Bendien j.bendien at wolmail.nl
Fri Jul 12 15:32:09 MDT 2002

Well, Louis, on the question of the transition from feudalism to
capitalism, I would probably go along with you quite some way, and it is
quite legitimate I think to have that sort of criticism. But what is this
about Kautskyism ? I suppose I am going to be shot down for heresy, but his
political intuitions and perspectives were often quite sharp and often
stand up rather well in the light of history. Okay, he wasn't a true
revolutionary. Does it really make sense to call Brenner a "Kautskyist",
and if so, then what ?

And... maybe I am naive, but how can you teach at a stimulating place like
LA and be a "burnt-out case" ?

I think NLR is just moving with the times, just like it has always done. I
bought the July-August 2001 issue, which ran an excellent piece by Anderson
called "Scurrying to Bethlehem" as well as an interesting piece on the
Ruckus Society and various other articles that a relevant to our concerns
and worth reading.

As long as I have been a socialist, I have always been baffled by the
amount of negative criticism Marxists seek to bestow on fellow socialists -
Marxist or other. That is a pattern of behaviour that I think cannot lead
to political success, and is among a number of the reasons I have to opt
out of the Marxist camp in favour of the socialist camp, which at least
acknowledges that there are many different strands of the socialist
movement who can all make a positive contribution to the advance towards a
socialist society.

You say your aim is to unite the Marxists, but are you succeeding  ? Or is
it rather that most of the time these "Marxists" are too busy getting at
each others throats to grapple with real issues and have real political
success ?
As far as I am concerned, Marxism is not a good basis for political unity,
because you cannot even get a consensus about what it means among the
Marxists. A better basis for unity is socialism plain and simple, and to
inject Marxist insights into that. That is how it was in the "glory days"
of the European labour movement, and that is what still works best I think.
What people tend to forget is that when Lenin propagandised Marxist ideas,
he did so within a living and growing socialist movement, fighting for
reforms (his party was actually called the Russian Socialdemocratic Labour
Party) - to think that you can get a living and growing socialist movement
going in the first place, simply by propagandising Marxism, is most
probably an illusion, at least in the advanced capitalist societies. You
need something that is less doctrinal and more oriented to the real needs,
interests and aspirations of workingclass people.



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