[Marxism] You got me convinced!!!

John Obrien causecollector at msn.com
Sat Jul 31 09:23:11 MDT 2004

I agree with you - the hard work of organizing in local communities - patiently explaining a better vision and economic system - is the way to build a real lasting force.

Anyone who does not see that in the USA today in 2004 - the religious fundamentalists are organizing in every community - while the Left has small numbers that only talk to themselves and "intervene" in places - where they should already be in large numbers!

We need to start a space that offers events and projects that involve poor working people - and by this example - more such examples can then be done.  The US Left had choruses, theater groups, street festivals, summer camps for youth, sports groups, and much else.

We need to build institutions that have as their central purpose the reaching out, involving and providing help and service to working people.  Offering education, hot meals, cultural events, outing for youth who would otherwise be  on street corners and getting into trouble - and a lot more.

We need to review what worked and did not work in the past in setting up such centers - and can they work today - or do we need to adapt to new conditions and opportunities.

Sitting around complaining - or ignoring the reality - will not make things better - I just see a lot more gray hair and not many more youth to build the revolution that we all need. 
  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Scotlive at aol.com 
  To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu 
  Sent: Wednesday, July 28, 2004 9:33 PM
  Subject: [Marxism] New PSL party

  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? 

  Marxism mailing list
  Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu

More information about the Marxism mailing list