RE: Camejo, José and the Greens

Jose G. Perez jgperez at netzero.net
Fri Sep 5 06:58:34 MDT 2003


David Walters makes the point that there is nothing like the mass
movement behind Henry George or the 1848 revolutionary upsurge around
the Greens. 

Well blow me away. And I was *so* looking forward to visiting the
California Assemblies of People's Power during my Christmas vacation...

Implicit in the argument raised by David is that this Marxist tactical
approach is only applicable under such circumstances, a major mass
upsurge if not an outright revolutionary situation. I do not agree. I
think it is pretty much generally applicable where mass sentiment is
turning into motion however modest the scale. This was Engels's view
also.

The quotes by Engels come from an article called Marx and the Neue
Rheiniche Zeitung. [It can be found here:
http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1884/03/13.htm in the
somewhat Stalinist-sanitized Collected Works translation to take out the
phrase "revolution in permanence" and here
http://www.marx2mao.org/M&E/MNRZ84.html, which largely follows an
earlier "Selected Works" translation.]

It starts by quoting the "tactical" or "operational" parts of the
Manifesto, the beginning of Chapter 2, about Communists and
Proletarians, and the part at the end in Chapter 4 on Communists and
other opposition parties in relation to Germany. Those extracts are
immediately followed by the comment: 

"Never has a tactical programme proved its worth as well as this one.
Devised on the eve of a revolution, it stood the test of this
revolution; whenever, since this period, a workers’ party has deviated
from it, the deviation has met its punishment; and today, after almost
forty years, it serves as the guiding line of all resolute and
self-confident workers’ parties in Europe, from Madrid to St.
Petersburg."

As you can see, Engels projects the approach as having general
applicability, and warns that in the case of those parties that did not
follow this approach "the deviation has met its punishment." When I read
that I thing of Horace's words: "Why do you laugh? Change the name and
the tale is told of thee."

Then follows the discussion of their tactics in Germany in 1848, from
which I have already quoted.

What David relates about the vigor of the Matt Gonzalez campaign for
Mayor of San Francisco tends to confirm my impression that what is going
on represents genuine motion. On the tactical question of where to
devote more resources, I did not realize there was an election for mayor
being held at the same time; if so, then it may well be the most
advantageous to focus more resources on that race; it is a very specific
concrete question that people on the spot have to decide for themselves.

José



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