[Marxism] RE: The Militant and Who Cares?

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Sun Mar 28 22:01:04 MST 2004

I think Marvin Gandall's explanation that the reason so many radical
groups exploded, imploded or became hopeless sects is that objective
conditions were just too unfavorable undoubtedly has a grain of truth to
it -- but only a grain.

The fact is that despite the differences between them, all these groups
suffered from a series of vices that were considered to be the essence
of "Leninism" at the time (and still are, by some). Chief among these is
the idea that "the" party is defined by a sacred doctrine which it must
preserve pure and unadulterated, and of course, at the center of the
doctrine was the dogma of the all knowing party, the cult of the

This led, among other things, to these "cadre" formations viewing social
movements and the organizations they gave rise to as "arenas" for
"intervention," groups to be used as manipulated for achieving narrow
party-defined objectives. It is a patriarchal, hierarchical, religious
view of politics and the world revolving around the Leninist Vanguard
that you were so proudly a member of. 

It led to horrendous amounts of time and effort devoted to staffing and
distributing party "organs," to narrow "party building" (competing for
market share) being placed ahead of all other considerations, etc. In
the hierarchy of political being, the party was top dog, God the Father
of the political universe.

The reason it is important to discuss these things is because, if it is
true that working people cannot conceivably achieve political power
through such instruments, it is clear to me, at least, that without
*some sort* of political instrument, without political organization, a
revolution is equally impossible.

I don't think there is any other place to find lessons on what to do and
not do in this arena other than the actual practice of revolutionaries
and the results of that practice.


More information about the Marxism mailing list