[Marxism] Moderator's note

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jun 17 18:43:50 MDT 2004

Xenon Zi-Neng Yuan wrote:
> better represented within the "anti-globalization" frenzy.  in fact, 
> i'll stop there, for i could drop countless names of organizations and 
> campaigns, but it doesn't change the fact:  that even if i was just some 
> punk whiteboy posing as a person of color, you are being despicably 
> defensive on the charge of "racism".

That's right. Such charges poison discussions. When people challenged 
the party line in the CPUSA or in the dozens of Maoist groups that rose 
up like mushrooms after a spring rain in the 1970s, they were inevitably 
charged with reflecting white chauvinism, etc. The Trotskyist movement 
had its own bad habits. You were called a "petty bourgeois element" 
which was about as bad a stigma. When there were a dozen or so Maoists 
wreaking havoc on the old Marxism list, that charge plus charges of 
being a lackey of Fujimori or a imperialist stooge got thrown around 
like confetti on New Years Eve. My guess is that you are not troubled by 
this kind of behavior because you have never by your own admission 
belonged to one of those furkackte self-styled Bolshevik organizations. 
Only that would explain your inability to tell what's wrong with 
throwing such epithets around. You haven't seen the damage it does to 
people and to organizations.


Vivian Gornick, "The Romance of American Communism":

In the 1950s—when the Party was under its severest attack in this 
country, when Communists were going to prison, when thousands were 
underground, when Khrushchev had declared Stalin a murderer of 
unimaginable proportions, when the American foothold was slipping away 
day by day—the Party's neurotic fear of self-doubt reached fatal 
heights, and the American CP became an Orwellian caricature of itself, 
disintegrating itself from within even as it was being destroyed from 

"White chauvinism" ("racism" was not the term then in use) became the 
characteristic charge upon which this free-floating anxiety fixed 
itself; thousands of Communists were charged, tried, and expelled for 
being white chauvinists. The "evidence" upon which most of these charges 
rested was painfully ridiculous, indicative of the kind of mad 
suspension of reason that then prevailed. A kind of Swiftian 
upside-downness overtook the best people in the CP: the small became 
big, the Yahoos were in charge, the babbling abstractionists filled the 
tribunals. A Party member who visited her sister in Florida was accused 
of being a racist and was expelled; another served watermelon at a 
garden party and was expelled; a third did not invite a black Party 
member to sit down at his table in a restaurant and he was expelled. 
Those who called for reason were immediately suspect. And once the 
stigma of suspicion fell on you, you were lost; suspicion had become the 
mark of Cain.

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