Two letters to Richard Fidler....

Richard Fidler rfidler at
Mon Nov 25 07:31:21 MST 2002

Fred Feldman suggested I post my reply to his first letter, which he posted
this a.m. to the list. So here are a few paragraphs. I want this to be my
last post on this issue. There are far more important things to discuss, as
most of us can agree I'm sure.

[to Fred]

Yes, I think we should be very careful about writing off as "finished" all
kinds of organizations. Yes, finished in the sense that José defines it ("it
can be excluded that it will serve as the nucleus around which a future mass
revolutionary organization/party might be built"). But I think that concept
of "finished" is itself "finished" as a criterion on which to judge any
grouping that does not have the support of masses of working people. I liked
your list, and could even add a few such outfits that are not necessarily
"finished" as potential _components_ (not nuclei) of a future mass
revolutionary party. I was reminded of this today when reading that WSWS
item on Germany that someone posted to the Marxmail list. Who would have
thought that David North's group could produce such journalistically
professional -- and often very perceptive -- analyses? And then there is Lou
Paulsen to remind us from time to time that there's still some gold in them
thar hills....

On the SWP, I agree that The Militant (which I don't follow regularly)
occasionally shows a flicker of residual (or is it reawakening?)
intelligence. The items you posted today on the meat-packing struggle were
of interest, as was the on-the-spot reporting from Venezuela you posted
earlier. But labour struggles, for example, are an easy one: workers vs.
bosses. What is amazing, to me at least, is that the SWP can counterpose
these to, or conflate them with, an antiwar movement. I am glad you are
following The Militant. I can't, it is just too boring, too predictable, and
too discouraging.

But clearly Marxmail is not an appropriate place for a serious discussion of
these matters. Unfortunately, I am too easily provoked, and then find myself
getting dragged into ridiculous slanging matches that I have neither the
time nor the inclination to engage in. Although it is fun to prick a few
super-inflated egos once in a while.... It distracts from the stuff I really
want to write about, such as the "labour aristocracy" question (which is
really why is the working class reformist and what can we do about it?).

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