Re DSP & Cannon

Mark Jones markjones011 at
Mon Sep 9 11:04:14 MDT 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ed George" <edgeorge at>
To: "marxmail" <marxism at>
Sent: Monday, September 09, 2002 3:30 PM
Subject: Re: Re DSP & Cannon

> Mark: ' ... I want to argue that no revolutionary politics which fails
> to explicitly address the issues of state power and of _political
> legality_, ie, the question of the legal status of any self-described
> revolutionary party -- is going to get very far.'
> Could you expand a bit on this?

My point could be made at encyclopedic length obviously but what concerns me
specifically about this thread is that the substantive issue running thru it
is about party-building or party-formation and this debate appears to go on
not exactly in a historical vacuum, but with history and current events used
as a kind of backdrop; the central issue is always the question of the party
and the conjuncture seems somehow subordinated to this; I think this is back
to front. What is necessary is to start from the conjunctrue and decide from
there what kind of revolutionary politics is both necessary _and possible_,
ie what forms of organisation are possible must depend very largely on the
degree of state proscription of revolutionary organisations, the degree of
police surveillance, harassment, provocations etc, the degree of ideological
hegemony which exists within the social layer which the party-builders are
trying to primarily recruit from, which may not be the working class but
more probably some lumpen-intellectual subset of the w/c; these sort of
highly practical organisational issues are the inevitable starting point and
framework of realistic possibility within which the revolutionary enterprsie
is necessarily grounded. No doubt I'm missing something or everything, but
it seems to me that when programmatic issues _do_ get raised in this therad
anyway, very little is on offer but a thin and watery gruel of pathetic
reforms, which are presumably meant as agitational bait for our allegedly
very unrevolutionary, compromised etc working class. I just do not buy any
of this. If you want to build a revolutionary party, then you must start
with two main considerations: (a) how you understand and define and analyse
imperialism and (b) how you understand and analyse in a very practical and
concrete way, the available spaces open to a party to organise _around its
programmatic conception of imperialism_, given that the political
environment is exceedingly hostile. Your conception of organisation is
obviously framed in practice by what is legal in the particular
jurisdiction, but by this is only meant that when deciding organisational
questions you have to take the law into account but not genuflect to it; I
hope I am making myself clear without going on about it too much.

I don't see much of any of this, as far as the SWP is concerned in
particular, it's line of Cuba for example, if I understand it aright, is of
apiece with the political opportunism which has been its hallmark since the
earliest days.


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