[Marxism] New PSL party

Scotlive at aol.com Scotlive at aol.com
Wed Jul 28 22:33:46 MDT 2004

Especially this, unfortunately:

"To the question, what do revolutionaries do in non-revolutionary times, 
enin's answer was to build the party, to build the organization that can 
transform the revolutionary opportunity into a revolutionary victory. 
Build now, because if you wait, it will be too late. From Lenin's point 
of view, the entire reason for the party from the very beginning was 
preparation for the revolutionary opportunity."

You obviously are not at Marxist-Leninist. Revolution does sound rather 
abstract in this day and age, I admit, as if those who proclaim its inevitability 
have their heads in the clouds, guilty of living in the past. And to some 
extent you would be right. I know some of those involved in this new party. Some of 
them are very knowledgable, some not. What I think they will do, along with 
every far left Marxist party in the US, is try to substitute themselves for the 
masses. They sit in their offices, hold meetings, and organize permitted 
demonstrations. Sometimes a few thousand show up, more often than not a few 
hundred, and afterwards they return to their office to start the process again. They 
endeavor to sign up new members and adherents at these demos, events at which 
you will find at least four or five other parties doing the same thing.

In terms of their effect on the poltical and social landscape, they are 
irrelevant. I say this with some regret, because I wish it were otherwise. But 
having been exposed to them, it is an incontrovertible fact.

They don't have to be irrelevant. They could come together into a cohesive, 
focused movement which people, workers, blacks, latinos, old and young, connect 
with. The reason they don't is because they prefer to exist above the people, 
spouting revolutionary and Marxist slogans to those struggling to make ends 
meet, struggling against police brutality, economic oppression, racism, lack of 
healthcare, social programs, etc.

I contend that for a socialist party or organization to be effective it must 
play a daily role in the lives of those it means to recruit. It is simply not 
enough to sit in offices located outside working or oppressed communites, call 
demonstrations and expect the masses to show up. What does a black man living 
in a housing project care about Iraq or Palestine when he can't pay his rent, 
when his son has been killed in gang violence, when he can't afford the 
medication his wife requires each week?

The Panthers, for example, were successful because they provided services 
which the govt did not, thereby having a postitive impact on the community and 
attracting support as a result. It is only after this support arrives, and there 
is trust regarding the group's motives, that the real political education 
should begin. Not before.

Nowhere on any flyer advertising demos against the war have I ever seen 
anything about the war waged against the poor at home. You will see denouncements 
of prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib, but nothing about prisoner abuse at San 
Quentin, Lompoc, McNeil Island, or any US prison. You will see denouncements of the 
occupation of the West Bank but nothing about the occupation of oppressed 
communities by the police at home.

Regards revolution, this may not be such an outlandish possibility as you 
seem to think. There has been more than one revolutionary period in the US. Just 
before the First World War socialist parties in the US enjoyed huge membership 
numbers. Socialist papers and literature had circulations in the millions. 
Before the Second World War the depression drove many to radical politics, 
reflected in Roosevelt's 'New Deal', which was a bid to stem this revolutionary 
current and save capitalism at that time. Then the sixties, as the Vietnam War 
raged and the Vietnamese remained determined and held the line, the civil rights 
movement exploded, Malcolm X, the Panthers, SDS, and SNCC all posed a real 
threat to the ruling class. Unfortunately, due to huge govt repression, mistakes 
by some of those involved, this revolutionary current was co-opted into a 
counter-cultural movement, where the priority was not to change the system but to 
create an alternative lifestyle under that system.

Is a vanguard party relevant today? Personally, I think we should concern 
ourselves more with reaching out and talking to people in ways and a language 
they can understand. I believe actions speak louder than words. 

Socialism has little credibility among the majority of people. Part of the 
reason for this of course is the huge and unremitting amount of propaganda 
spread by the ruling class. But it is also due to a failing of socialist parties to 
mobilize and organize in a manner which makes them relevant to those they 
need to recruit if they are ever going to be effective.

The Iraqi resistance has rocked the forces of imperialism back on their 
heels. They at present are holding the line, just as the Vietnamese people did 
before. We should view ourselves as part of the same resistance, and as such 
engage in the most militant form of stuggle pertaining to our own objective 
conditions. As the economy worsens and millions of people start to question the govt, 
and the system of govt, they shall begin to look around for an alternative. 
Where is it? 


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