[Marxism] The Teixeira thesis

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at rogers.com
Sun Mar 7 05:32:16 MST 2004


Ok. Noted your points.  I'll take a closer look at what you've written
over the next while, and see what there is worth replying to, and if
there's something, I'll get back to you.

Marv Gandall


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
To: "Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition"
<marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Sent: Sunday, March 07, 2004 2:01 AM
Subject: Re: [Marxism] The Teixeira thesis


> Marvin Gandall:
> >it was even publicly (!) and forcefully opposed by leading members
> >of the party like Zinoviev and Kamenev, and they had no way at all of
> >foreseeing the outcome. So why are you so certain that if the
Bolshevik
> >central committee were actually presented with hard evidence that the
> >revolution would not spread to the West but would instead
"degenerate"
> >into Stalinism and finally collapse within a few generations, it
would
> >still have voted to unilaterally seize power in the name of the
Soviets?
>
> You only see the downside of the Russian Revolution. I am not
surprised.
> Without the Russian Revolution, the Cuban revolution would not have
been
> possible. In our lifetime, we have a living example of an alternative
to
> capitalism. This counts for more than a million blueprints about some
> glorious future.
>
> >There's not the slightest doubt in my mind - because the Bolsheviks
were
> >not fools - that presented with such evidence, the entire leadership,
> >Lenin and Trotsky included, would have reverted to Lenin's more
cautious
> >perspective of a "democratic dictatorship of the workers and
peasants",
> >which implied an extended period of capitalist development and
> >cooperation, even in a subordinate role, with the rural-based SR's,
the
> >Mensheviks, and the other peoples' parties.
>
> An extended period of capitalist development? Aren't you aware that
Lenin
> had moved beyond this outlook with the April Theses? This is not
Lenin's
> authority you are appealing to, but Kautsky's. This kind of stagism
was
> enshrined in the Second International. Furthermore, it was impossible
to
> carry out a "more cautious perspective" because the Russian
bourgeoisie and
> its imperialist allies would not allow this, any more than their
> counterparts in Chile in 1973 or in Venezuela today will allow it.
> Permanent Revolution is not based on dispensing with caution, but on
the
> iron logic of class society. Workers exercising political hegemony in
a
> society based on the economic hegemony of the bourgeoisie is
inherently an
> unstable contradiction. It is one thing to say that the Russian
revolution
> was a leap into the unknown. It is another to say that the Kautskyist
> perspective has any possibilities as a viable form of socialist
development.
>
> >  Trotsky's formulation of
> >"permanent revolution", which Lenin adopted in April, 1917, was
entirely
> >predicated on the Soviet revolution triggering a Europe-wide one
which
> >would overcome the problem of Russian isolation and backwardness -
> >exactly that which the Mensheviks were warning about, prescient as it
> >turned out. The Bolsheviks shared these fears, but proceeded to seize
> >power anyway on the mistaken understanding the revolution would
spread.
> >So, yes, you can ask whether I would have hesitated on the basis of
what
> >we now know.
>
> We can only proceed on the basis of revolutionary *possibilities*. We
know
> from history that Germany was rotten-ripe for revolution. The proof of
this
> was the rise of Nazism, which was an outcome guaranteed by CP and SP
> betrayal and stupidity. In any case, revolutions do not "spread".
Epidemics
> of influenza do. In distinction, revolutions are conscious acts of
> organized political movements. If we were to refrain from acting until
we
> had a guarantee of success, we'd not be revolutionaries. You are
describing
> the outlook of real estate developers, not Marxists.
>
> >The dividing line is whether you think organized workers and
> >social movement activists are more likely to be  receptive to your
views
> >if you participate in the organizations where they are to be found in
> >any significant number  - the trade unions in the economic arena, the
> >Democratic party in the political - or whether they are more likely
to
> >respond to you, as I noted, "standing outside their plant gates and
> >convention halls selling your broadsheet along with competing
handfuls
> >of other revolutionary- and Green-minded intellectuals and students."
>
> Trade unions are necessary for material gains of the working class,
> especially when they have a militant, class-conscious leadership. The
> Democratic Party, on the other hand, is an instrument for the class
that
> exploits it. In the south, the Democratic Party was openly racist and
> labor-hating through the 1950s. In the North, it has collaborated with
the
> most reactionary elements of the trade union bureaucracy to allow the
trade
> unions themselves to be dismantled. Progress in the trade union
movement
> will only come through resolute and fearless confrontation with the
> Democratic Party.
>
> >Take, for example, the Dean campaign which challenged the main
> >leadership candidates about their position on the war in Iraq,
certainly
> >the most significant political development this year in relation to
what
> >we're discussing, and one which ought to have been encouraged and
> >assisted.
>
> The main lesson one can draw from the Dean campaign is that the masses
have
> no influence on who becomes a presidential candidate. In other words,
the
> Democratic Party is anti-democratic to its core. Why anybody would be
> attracted to something that is even more top-down than a corporation
is
> beyond me.
>
> >Brave words spoken with a dramatic flourish, as usual. In fact, the
30's
> >were a text book case of how the workers' radicalization expressed
> >itself through the Democratic party. It was not the CPUSA which was
> >responsible for the radicalization not proceeding further; it was the
> >economic recovery, prompted by unprecedented Keynsian-like spending
on
> >public works programs and then war, as well as the acceptance of
> >collective bargaining which revived purchasing power.
>
> This is addled history. There was no "economic recovery" until there
was
> war. I would suggest some reading on the matter, but I am sure that
> everybody on Marxmail knows this already--except you. In your case,
you
> might have once known it but have conveniently rewritten what you once
knew.
>
> >Marvin: The parallel to the Spartacist League, I can see, causes you
> >some discomfort, as it ought to. The fact that you want to peddle
Green
> >Party leaflets outside plant gates and convention halls instead of
> >anti-Pabloite tracts does not negate that you share a common mode of
> >intervention.
>
> Bizarre. This is not how the Green Party organizes. The Green Party
does
> not even show up at plant gates, as anybody should obviously
understand by
> its middle-class foibles. It shows up at street fairs in neighborhoods
like
> Greenwich Village, at Grateful Dead concerts, etc.
>
> >I don't begrudge you marxmail. It is a useful resource which aids my
> >understanding. I also know you have a full-time job which for a long
> >time I thought was that of a Maytag repairman, given the prodigious
> >amount of time you spend posting to this and other chat groups, and
> >attending to your writing, of which the cultural stuff is, IMO, quite
> >outstanding. I simply find it remarkable that you can, with a
straight
> >face, describe this as "revolutionary" activity.
>
> I would find it even more remarkable if you thought that anything
outside
> of wearing a Kerry button was a worthwhile activity for Marxists in
this
> period.
>
> >way. Your agitated description of Clinton, Kerry, and Gore as "scum"
I
> >find more objectionable in the sense it is evidence of the difficulty
> >you have exercising self-restraint in debate, and is not the kind of
> >characterization I associate with politically serious people. As for
my
> >"preaching on their behalf", if you can point to evidence of this,
I'd
> >be glad to take up your charge.
>
> I must admit that in your own mind you are backing people that you
regard
> as the USA versions of Clement Atlee. If they really were, I would
have no
> right to call them scum. As it is, I find them the equivalent of
Winston
> Churchill so therefore I will continue to call them scum, murderers,
> thieves and degenerates. Just like Churchill.
>
>
> Louis Proyect
> Marxism list: www.marxmail.org
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> Marxism mailing list
> Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
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