[Marxism] Re: Marxism Digest, Vol 10, Issue 51

Dan Elliott cuibono at rcip.com
Thu Aug 19 13:05:19 MDT 2004

I've been following with interest the evolution of the discussion re "what kind of "revolutionary party" (sic) do we need?" 

While many of the contributions contain useful ideas, (esp. I would say, those of "Scotlive"), this last by Andy Pollack is for me a highwater mark. 

But for the life of me I can't understand how he could produce a litany like this one:

"People and publications such as Stan 
Goff, Counterpunch, the youth around Left Hook, the leftwing and activist 
core of Solidarity, independent-minded members of "Marxist-Leninist" 
groups, pro-Nader Greens will be challenged..."

 And not mention the Million Worker March!!!


 But I also have a question, about this "Solidarity" outfit. I've so far ignored it, taking it to be -- from the name -- something inspired by the Polish version of "Solidarity" known as "Solidarnosc". (AKA "The Falange of Slavic Sacrifice";^)* 

The "Solidarity" recently mentioned on this list doesn't exist in the Sactomato area, as far as I know. So I'm curious: is this something other than another reformist crypto-2nd International outfit like DSA & CCDS? If so, I'd be interested in checking it out -- this town, with its vast "entitlement class" & working poor population, could really use a bunch of dedicated fanatic "vanguards" who'd be willing to make a long term committment to some grassroots organizing. 


Dan Elliott

*(trivial in-joke -- if you don't get it, forget it:)

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: marxism-request at lists.econ.utah.edu 
  To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu 
  Sent: Thursday, August 19, 2004 11:01 AM
  Subject: Marxism Digest, Vol 10, Issue 51

  Message: 5
  Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 15:08:39 GMT
  From: "andypollack at juno.com" <andypollack at juno.com>
  Subject: Re: [Marxism] Building the revolutionary party
  To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
  Message-ID: <20040819.080854.2741.433035 at webmail17.lax.untd.com>
  Content-Type: text/plain

  Yow! So well put!
  Perhaps a subgroup of this list could start discussing how to start the study of past successes Louis suggests, as well as discussing how the lessons learned would apply to today's reality.

  Can you point us to the date/thread of Jose's messages you referred to?

  P.S. As for "thinking outside the box," I've tried to address that here and elsewhere when commenting on Solidarity's one-sided labor work, and would be happy to try to structure a study/discussion on the party and labor as part of a broader project.

  -- Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
  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."

  Reply: Of course, there is nothing wrong with this as long as it is 
  understood that such an organization can never become the kind of massive 
  revolutionary party such as the Bolsheviks, which is necessary to seize 
  power. Unfortunately, the WWP, the ISO, the SWP (both British and 
  American) all share this vision that reminds me a lot of atomic science. 
  You start with a molecule of correct ideas (the nucleus of a vanguard 
  party) and then begin recruiting raw material in the way that a nucleus of 
  carbon attracts other carbon electrons (please excuse my fuzzy scientific 
  knowledge, but I think you get the idea.)

  What you end up with in this approach is small groups, numbering in either 
  the hundreds or thousands at best, that appear to the world as a solid 
  phalanx of militants who agree with each other on an almost encyclopedic 
  collection of programmatic points. And this is not just about whether to 
  support Kerry or not, an absolute litmus test for principled politics in 
  my opinion, but the nature of the 1956 uprising in Hungary, the character 
  of Chinese society in 2004, the civil wars in Yugoslavia, etc. I believe 
  that such questions can be debated openly in party newspapers and 
  magazines, just as they are on Marxmail. Although I have bitter 
  disagreements with Solidarity over Milosevic, I can certainly imagine 
  myself as a member. My big problem with Solidarity, btw, is not the 
  frequently retrograde character of articles in Against the Current but the 
  inability of their leaders to think outside the box and to be audacious 
  when it comes to the question of moving forward to the next stage in 
  building a revolutionary movement. That is why I am happy that Jose Perez 
  has been putting forward some proposals that address these questions.

  A revolutionary party in the USA, or any other country for that matter, 
  will come together as a kind of coalescing of the natural leaders of the 
  working class and the mass movement. People and publications such as Stan 
  Goff, Counterpunch, the youth around Left Hook, the leftwing and activist 
  core of Solidarity, independent-minded members of "Marxist-Leninist" 
  groups, pro-Nader Greens will be challenged over the next few years to 
  rise to the occasion. Mounting economic crisis and imperialist war will 
  continue to force working people, oppressed nationalities, youth, women, 
  gays, et al to respond. In such an environment, the question of 
  organization will become paramount. I believe that it will be necessary 
  for us to study successes such as the Bolshevik Party or the July 26th 
  movement in Cuba. Despite lip-service to such models in the self-declared 
  vanguard left, there is little relationship between their practice and 
  such genuine mass revolutionary parties. The process of clarifying what 
  kind of organization we need has been ongoing for a decade or so now. I 
  feel confident that people are beginning to see the light.

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