[Marxism] Re: US SWP participation in UK anti-war protests

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Nov 24 17:33:17 MST 2003

Peter Evans wrote:
>They reply to the posting but for them it is just another chance
>to attack the SWP(US).

I haven't been in the SWP since 1978. I have little interest in their 
affairs nowadays. I am much more interested in promoting my own vision of 
how to achieve socialism than attack the SWP. There are people on the list 
who were in much longer than me or who dropped out more recently who do 
read the Militant with more interest than I do. Frankly, I am much more 
interested in speaking to and debating with the Australian DSP, which is 
not a hardened sect.

Moreover, I was attacking your own concept of mass demonstrations. I do not 
see them as changing people's minds through slogans. This is a 
propagandistic conception totally at odds with the experience of the 
Russian or Cuban revolutions which emphasized "Peace, bread and land" or 
"Down with the Batista dictatorship". The importance of demonstrations is 
that they can serve to inspire wider layers of the population to take their 
own actions based on their own understanding of their class interests.

For example, when the French students took to the streets in 1968 they 
raised slogans like "Le chienlit, c'est lui" or "The dogshit, it is him" 
(referring to DeGaulle). When the workers finally entered the struggle, 
they occupied plants and began to raise questions about who would rule 
French society. The French ruling class owes a debt of gratitude to the CP 
for persuading the workers to go home and wait until the next elections.

Consciousness is changed through participation in mass actions. This is in 
the arena of agitation, which involves putting forward simple, clear 
demands like "Immediate Withdrawal from Vietnam" to the largest possible 
segments of society. In the arena of propaganda, you deliver complex ideas 
to a relatively select milieu. To mistake the two tasks is deadly.

Louis Proyect, Marxism mailing list: http://www.marxmail.org

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