[Marxism] Re: Real Left Unity

John Obrien causecollector at msn.com
Thu Jun 17 08:55:36 MDT 2004

Jack Vogel believes that to discuss "Left Unity" the best way is to hold these discussions in Cuba!

I believe this shows a lack of important reality to many that I hope comrade Vogel did not mean to shut out.

First, I could not attend this gathering - because I am poor and can not afford the extra costs to travel to Cuba, over somewhere in the United States.  And I am not alone - and this means this "Left Unity" conference, would be much smaller and not reflective of the forces needed to be brought to this conference.

Second, I am a Gay activist and Cuba is not a welcoming place for such folks (unless you be quiet and behaved).  Gay groups are not allowed in Cuba - so what is the attraction to genuine Gay activists to attend this? Does comrade Vogel wants to keep such a conference to be only for non-Gays or only those token Gays who are "loyal" and not "uppity"? 

Third, the "Left" also includes our anarchist comrades who share our views on capitalism.  I do not believe they would be excited to attend such an event in Havana.  If comrade Vogel wants real "Left Unity" - and not just a tourist trip - he needs to understand that today in the United States, there are large numbers of people who are anti-capitalist who do not relate to the Cuban model.

Personally, I believe we must defend the Cuban government against attacks from the capitalist governments - but this does not mean that I have to be silent or complicit with the continuing discrimination of Gays and Lesbians in Cuba. This is why I and other Gay activists have not attended such Havana gatherings - because it would send a signal that it was okay what has happened and continues to happen to most Gays and Lesbians in Cuba.  Can comrade Vogel be "sensitive" to Gay activists feelings on this? Or it does not matter, since "such people" are marginal - and the "important people" are only what matters?

HOWEVER, I do support a Left Unity Conference towards the objective of working together on what we agree on, rather than what our disagreements are on what became the Soviet Union model.  I would prefer the conference take place in an area that allows many people alternative housing to the prohibited hotel prices.  This means a large Left population to provide the logistics to produce a successful conference.  I personally favor Chicago, New York, San Francisco for both their Left histories and cheaper costs to travel to.  Housing costs are higher in these cities which is a real problem - and why a College campus may be a possible alternative that provides dorm housing?

A Conference that promotes poor working people to attend, is the only one that can be successful, if one seriously wants something to emerge that is positive and lasting.  

A conference that is open and not controlled, will also have a positive effect - and attempts to appear as such, but do the opposite, will lose many such as myself, who do not belong to one of the current small "alphabet soup vanguard parties".

Unity is what we need now and Action and working together is what is needed, to inspire and recruit people to the Left, the real forces to build an effective Left in this country. We need this and not a narrow closed controlled event, that is only in word and pretense "Left Unity". 

It is time for those who want to work and not just talk, to get together and build "The Movement".  Sure political agreement and clarity is important (and essential) but remaining isolated and politically correct, instead of being among many people, that are making change and building new layers of activists, has only appeal to the sectarians who relish being "big Fish in small ponds".

Lets make a Revolution for all of us!  Not only for comrade Vogel but for "unimportant people" such as myself, with little funds and being of a different sexual orientation.

I believe a Left Unity Conference, can be successfully held in Washington DC around the weekend of the January 2005 Presidential Inauguration and we can have joint actions at those events and our own gathering, to attract people to the "new situation" with that as a focus.

On to Washington!

John O'Brien
Los Angeles, CA

  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jack F. Vogel 
  To: suarsos at alphalink.com.au ; Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition 
  Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 7:22 PM
  Subject: Re: [Marxism] Re: ISO and Cuba

  > ... But I believe everyone here agrees that a debate about
  > right now would be a sectarian dead end, and that the priority is to fight
  > Bush, so I will stop here.
  I agree and have a perfect solution, we should gather up forces
  and go spend two weeks together in Cuba and discuss a merged
  solidarity movement in the US. That way we could all get a first
  hand look at Cuba AND work on fusion at the same time :)

  Not only that but I cant think of a more inspiring and pleasant
  spot for such a discussion :) :)



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