[Marxism] Norman Solomon versus Peter Camejo

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Wed Feb 25 19:32:23 MST 2004


I haven't had a chance to listen to the debate yet, so I'm not commenting on 
it. I AM commenting on statements like this one from Louis:

>Norman Solomon is amazing. He has perfected the CPUSA rhetoric without ever 
>having been a member, as far as I can tell.

or the recent rantings of Tony about "Stormin' Norman" which I won't bother 
to repeat.

Norman Solomon is a thoughtful, well-spoken person. The relationship between 
that and the person described by Tony, or even that described by Louis, is 
orthogonal. You'd never know from reading what Louis and others have had to 
say, for example, that Solomon SUPPORTED Nader in both 1996 and 2000 (see 
http://www.gristmagazine.com/soapbox/solomon101503.asp). He happens to think 
that this election is qualitatively different than ones which have gone 
before. An awful lot of people seem to agree. That doesn't make them right, 
but it certainly ought to cause you to stop and think that just possibly 
they are. After all, I think most people on the list agree there has been a 
steady drift to the right of capitalist politics. Well, every Marxist knows 
that at some point quantitative change can becomes qualitative change. Have 
we reached that point?

I happen to disagree with Solomon about this election, as do most of the 
people on this list, because I don't think we have reached that point. But I 
can tell you I have a lot more respect for his thoughtful analysis than for 
the knee-jerk response and trite rhetoric that he's been subjected to on 
this list.

I'd just like to remind everyone of one little fact - a successful socialist 
revolution has yet to be made in an advanced capitalist country (and even if 
it HAD been, the strategy and tactics that had been used there wouldn't 
NECESSARILY be the same as those needed here). We all have our ideas about 
the proper Marxist route to revolution, and I'm sure we all think  that our 
idea is the right idea. But anyone who claims to KNOW that they know the 
answer is claiming to know the unknowable. It just MAY be that Norman 
Solomon has the right strategy, and everyone on this list (including me) has 
the wrong one. A little more respect for the ideas of others is in order, in 
my opinion.

[By the way I'm not claiming here that Solomon IS a Marxist, or that his 
goal is socialist revolution. I actually have no idea about either of those 
things based on what I've read of his writings. But it doesn't change what 
I've written above]

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