[Marxism] RE: Who is David Cobb?

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Fri Jul 16 12:45:38 MDT 2004

"Paul H. Dillon" wrote:
>  What it
> manifestly doesn't do is recognize differences in the ruling class,
> differences  that should be tactically acknowledged, Lenin wrote extensively
> about the differences in the different groups of the capitalist
> entrepreneurs and their representatives.

I don't believe discussion of tactics is appropriate within an entity as
diffuse and atomized as "the left" in the united states. As fragmented
as Lenin's party, the RSDLP was, analyses and tactical advanced by one
or more of those fragments had a reverberation within the Russian Empire
that is simply not true of the collection of persons who make up "the
left" in the u.s. Moreover under the conditions of the Autarchy, some at
least of the differences within the ruling class (or classes) were at
least potentially antagonistic. This is not true in the u.s. today, and
analysis of real or alleged differences within the capitalist class have
no real ties to collective practice (in so far as anything remotely
resembling collective practice exists at the present). We simply do not
constitute sufficient 'weight on the scales' of u.s. politics for any
"tactical alliance" between us and any capitalist tendency to be

Mao's early differentiations among the Chinese ruling elements were in a
context in which he could write "Why is it that red political power can
exist in china?" By no leap of the wildest fancy could any remotely
equivalent question be asked in the u.s. today. When such an equivalent
becomes even faintly possible, _then_ and only then would I at least
find discussion of tactical acknowledgment of differences among
(_divisions_ among) u.s. capitalists become germane.

This perspective cuts two ways. I agree with the arguments that Yoshie
and Lou have been putting forth on several lists, but I disagree mildly
with the intensity of those efforts, an intensity which (like Paul's
speaking of tactical decisions) isn't wholly relevant to present
political conditions. Some thought should be given to what are the
issues on which subscribers to pen-l, lbo, et cet can be moved and
issues concern with which merely is so much noise on those lists.

An old joke from the '50s is worth contemplating. What is the height of
arrogance? A flea approaching an elephant with intentions of rape. Fleas
can be very powerful, but we have to be more than fleas before our
opinions on national elections have any impact in most contexts.

Locally, I think my opinion makes a longrun difference. The local
antiwar group has survived and grown after almost disappearing last
summer. Almost without exception all the active persons in it are
utterly committed ABBs; it is important that a clear (but not too
insistent) voice be raised and reraised locally indicating that there do
exists alternatives to slavery to the DP. Those alternatives are known
on Pen-L and don't really need further driving in. We need to pass on to
the issues as they will confront us next December & January and onward,
regardless of who wins in November.


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