[Marxism] More on Yankees

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Jul 26 13:48:47 MDT 2004

Got a query from a professor of Chinese history who read my review of 
Timothy Messer-Kruse's fine "The Yankee International" which dealt with 
the clash between people like Woodhull on one hand and Sorge on the 
other over how to apply Marxism to the USA. The former tended to 
assimilate it to native traditions while the latter wanted to transplant 
the language and methodology of the German movement. Unfortunately, 
Sorge and company adopted rather retrograde positions on Chinese 
immigration. This led the professor to ask:

Was "Yankee International" the accepted [nick]name of this section of 
the First International?

My reply to him was lifted from the introduction to Timothy 
Messer-Kruse's "The Yankee International":

Throughout this work I will refer to any English-speaking member of the 
IWA in America as a "Yankee." It is far less cumbersome than constantly 
referring to someone who was "native born" or "English speaking." 
Moreover, whenever Marx or his German American comrades spoke of 
English-speaking members of their party, they referred to them as 
"Yankees." Though this term in Marx's mouth was laden with derision, it 
is an apt one for this study since it points to the connection between 
the radicals of the native IWA and the deeper American reform tradition 
that was heavily centered in the "Yankee" districts of New England, 
upstate New York, and the Ohio Valley.


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