[Marxism] Re: Building the revolutionary party

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Thu Aug 19 09:53:00 MDT 2004

Lou Paulsen: "WWP is not going to grow by merger with other groups whose
core values are antithetical to our own. It is going to grow by recruiting
people who share our core values, which, we believe, more workers will
share as the times become more revolutionary."

There will be pie in the sky when we die.  What I mean by this, is simply 
that Lou Paulsen's statement highlights a fact about how WWP sees the world 
in terms of thinking of this period as being too conservative to recruit 
members almost. Too conservative to even openly advocate in its own name as 
a socialist organization!  The WWP operates as if it's really a semi legal 
organization that might be closed down at any moment. It operates locally 
almost as if it were the CP in the early '50s.  How can a group recruit 
cadre in this manner?

Louis Proyect concentrated on the 'purity' aspect of WWP ideology as being 
self-limiting to being able to grow.  But there is another self-limiting 
factor, and that is simply that the WWP hides itself behind the names of 
'coalitions' where their members are really almost the only activists.

Now I know that that might not be readily apparent to many on the list, 
since it seems that the WWP prominently and publicly carries its banner in 
national demos.  But locally this is not the case.  Instead, the WWP cadre 
hides itself behind names like 'The Job is a Right Coalition' or 'Texas 
Death Penalty Abolition Movement', etc.  And it is almost invisible as a 
distinctly, directly anti-capitalist organization, the Workers World Party.  
That would be too communist in conservative times, as the WWP sees the 
present era.

Unlike Louis Proyect, I do not see the jellyfish structure of Solidarity as 
being more a vehicle for socialist growth than the WWP.  But he is right 
about the self-limiting nature of sectarian, insular organization.  A WWP 
that is too scared of the real world to even celebrate its own nature as 
being a group of commies that wants revolution and not mere reform, cannot 
grow in this period.  And like the 'Turn to the Working Class' American SWP, 
the current WWP seems almost scared of working in places like Berkeley, 
Madison, Austin, and Ann Arbor, where an openly socialist message might find 
adherents that want to join.

Once again, I am not out to flame the WWP or Lou Paulsen as an individual 
membe of WWP.  It's just that I feel it frustrating to see the WWP as not 
being able to overcome its own self-limiting behaviors.  The WWP puts up 
obstacles to its own growth, much as the SWP of another era once did.  It 
puts its own sympathizers at arms length by setting up a series of tests and 
obstacles to coming around.   Whereas Solidarity makes it totally easy to 
come around the group, simply because it is a jellyfish without a core 
program beyond wishy-washy.

Net problem, in the US socialists that want organization are caught between 
two seemingly hard choices: that of the insular WWP, or that of the jelloed 
out Solidarity, which is promoted in the US from afar.   But yes, there are 
also some other splinterized choices, too.  Meanwhile, there are thousands 
of socialists afloat individually, unable to coalesce together with such 
limited choice.

There is nothing wrong in this period with trying to build a revolutionary 
party instead of just trying to build a vague progressive tendency.  It 
would be nice if the WWP saw more the potential in itself that it has been 
doing.  That means that it must not hide itself in 'coalitions' of itself 
under other banners.  It is possible to grow by declaring that it is THE 
socialist alternative, and not just an ANSWER, or whatnot..

Tony Abdo

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