[Marxism] Electoral hibernation ends

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 4 12:54:47 MST 2004

Eli Stephens wrote:
> Wow, good job, Louis! In a 992-word essay you managed to find a typo. 
> Pretty good "for someone like [your]self whose grasp of arcane details 
> is not what it used to be."

When I saw this, I was reminded of what I once heard in the SWP about 
the need to pay attention to details. Back in the 1930s, the party had 
put out a new pamphlet but had mistakenly left off the name of the 
author or some other important information. It sold the pamphlet with a 
slip of paper inserted with that information. This caught the attention 
of the New Yorker Magazine which took note of it in "Talk of the Town" 
with the observation to the effect that these are the people who plan to 
run the world.

> On a more serious  note, PSL advances the hardly heretical notion that 
> "the next severe crisis or downturn, it is likely to precipitate a 
> global economic crisis of historic proportions. Under those 
> circumstances, the rule of capitalism must face the challenge of a 
> revived movement for socialism," to which you reply "This kind of mantra 
> makes my hair hurt."

No, there is nothing heretical about that at all. What's painful is the 
formulaic aspect.

> So what exactly do YOU think is the key to overthrowing the rule of 
> capitalism? Marxmail?

I believe that it is a waste of effort to construct infant versions of a 
revolutionary party in the expectation that they will grow up to look 
like mommy or daddy. I advocate revolutionary regroupment and see 
Marxmail as an important aspect of that process.

> By the way, just for the record in this discussion, I am not a member of 
> PSL or any party for that matter. But that doesn't mean I don't admire 
> the dedication of comrades who are, nor that I don't listen when they 
> (and by "they" I mean members of many parties including PSL, WWP, ISO, 
> etc.) have something to say. And even if I disagree with their position 
> on this or that, or on their emphasis on one activity or another, I 
> certainly wouldn't think of offering anything more than constructive 
> criticism, because, non-sectarian that I am, it just might be that they 
> are right and I am wrong. Or, more likely, that no one is "right" or 
> "wrong" on such questions.

The basic problem is that all of these groups have good positions and 
very hard-working and dedicated members, but operate in competition with 
each other. We must strive for revolutionary unity. Of course, I think 
that it is better to conduct jiujitsu classes and discuss the Communist 
Manifesto later than it is to write for the Nation or to sell real estate.


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