[Marxism] Re: Khrushchev

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Aug 13 11:40:47 MDT 2004

(Lou, you need to set up a line-delimiter of 72 characters, so that it 
is not necessary to reformat your text for replies--as I have just did.)

Lou Paulsen wrote:
Now, the important thing about this is not who was right about 
Khrushchev 40 years ago (in and of itself).  The important thing is that 
Proyect thinks that the supposed wisdom of Cochrane and the European 
Trotskyists, in being in touch with the mass movement, seeing the 
positive openings afforded by Khrushchev's supposed left turn, etc., are 
models for the struggle against "vanguardism" which Proyect wants to 
wage today.

reply: I don't think that Khrushchev was leading a "left turn". All I 
was saying is that his attack on Stalin opened up possibilities for 
regrouping Marxism. This is not controversial. The late 1950s was a 
period of significant realignment, as many CP'ers left the party and 
began to orient to the broader left. Some of them, including Joseph 
Starobin and W.E.B. DuBois, were regular contributors to the American 
Socialist. Unfortunately, this regroupment process sputtered out because 
  the majority of the Marxist left was not ready to break old sectarian 
habits. With the collapse of the USSR, our job is obviously much easier 

Lou Paulsen wrote:
However, if the "mass movement" is taking a wrong turn (if they are all 
carried away by "defeat Bush" sentiments, say), then those who are "in 
touch" with it have to work to avoid being carried away as well.  Over 
and over these last several years, the groups with the "mass touch" have 
frustrated Louis by getting carried away in the bourgeois current, as on 
Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Kerry, and so on.  They end up making us 
"vanguardists" look good by comparison, which, I suppose, must be 
equally frustrating.

reply: The problem with the WWP is not its positions on Yugoslavia, etc. 
which are fairly decent in comparison to the rest of the left. It is 
instead that it clings to unproductive "Marxist-Leninist" model which 
has little to do with the functioning of the Bolshevik party in fact. It 
not only inhibits growth; it encourages splits as is obvious from recent 

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