[Marxism] RE: The real kerry after the election

Josh Saxe joshsaxe at gmail.com
Tue Aug 31 21:36:16 MDT 2004

"Intense Red" writes:
"Despite the fear mongering and dramatic concern over the historic 911
attacks, the US population in general remains skeptical.  Yes, many
like the idea of a strong "defense" (if only to prevent another 911)
but they also know something's dramatically wrong with the country."
"To me, that fact alone speaks volumes against the 'we're moving
rightward' theory; the parties might be moving rightward, but the
American people are leery of the move."

Intense Red raises an essential question: what is the political
trajectory of the mass of the American people?  Unfortunately our tiny
numbers, small influence, and isolation precludes both the material
usefulness and even possibility of a real answer.  Yes, I am
suggesting we cannot really know with any certainty what the American
people think or are willing to do right now, or where their
consciousness is headed.  I have been active in Los Angeles for 5
years now, as a student activist among that whole scene, and as a
union organizer amongst workers in many areas of the county.  And yet
I can say with confidence I have _no confidence_ in my ability to poll
the consciousness of workers in my area or the trajectory of that
consciousness, other to say we live (at least in L.A.) in a time of
cynicism, individualism, and low expectations.  Some hate Bush, some
don't care, some love him, some think resistance is futile, and a very
few believe it is not, but beyond that I can only speculate.  To judge
the consciousness of the entire American working class and its
trajectory, as our author above attempts to do, is a little cocky.  I
think it would take a mass revolutionary organization with roots and
constant contact with many sectors of the population (across axes of
class/race/geography) to give us an answer.
But then, that's okay for now.  Revolutionaries, of whatever precise
ideological coloring, are small and isolated in our period.  If we
were thousands, coordinated within a big organization, we would _need_
to know what the working class was thinking and willing to do at any
given time so we could formulate plans for mobilization.  But right
now our resources are so small that we are limited to propaganda work
and participation in small struggles and street demonstrations, whose
effect, mainly, is propagandistic.  I think it's best we scale down
our pretensions to describe the thinking of the "American worker", the
"man on the street", or whatever, and to instead struggle to
understand consciousness as it exists and changes in our schools,
workplaces and neighborhoods, using our political networks to compare,
contrast and compile our observations.

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