[Marxism] So it won't be a Leninist party-right?Toes spread part 2

acpollack2 at juno.com acpollack2 at juno.com
Tue Nov 30 08:59:18 MST 2004

The market share analogy is good in terms of explaining the result, but not the cause. The Castro example gets to the latter. For lack of an understanding of the need for broader regroupment to achieve revolutionary goals, people magnify differences. But that's just another way of saying we magnify our right to go our own individualistic way (and I'm as guilty of that as anyone).

Using Adam's example, it means we reject emotionally stomaching for a prolonged period being in a group where you might have to say or do things in public on positions on which the ex-ISO majority won the internal debate on. And even in the smaller Trotskyist milieu it means rejecting emotionally stomaching for a prolonged period doing or saying things you didn't agree with on, say, tactics vis-a-vis the Labor Party, or a line on a particular union battle, etc.

So in sum it's a question of being unwilling to submit -- for a while -- to discipline. And while Louis (and Paul LeBlanc in his book) is right that discipline as defined in US groups bears no relationship to Leninist discipline, there's a chicken and egg dilemma: how do we get to that redefinition of discipline at the same time that we're personally unwilling to cohabit in the same group with people whose positions are unappealing but not beyond the Leninist or even broader socialist pale?

-- Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
Adam wrote:
> As it stands now, the only way regroupment would happen is if Soli
> dissolved and joined the ISO en masse. Not going to happen; even if it
> did, I certainly wouldn't be welcome in the ISO, given my disagreement
> with "state capitalist" theory and their anti-Cuba position.
> For there to be true fusion between the ISO and Soli in any meaningful
> way, the ISO's going to have to drop a considerable chunk of its
> political monoculture.

Unfortunately, what we are dealing with here can only be described as 
"market share", small-proprietor thinking--a point I've made in the 
past. All of these self-declared vanguard formations basically operate 
with the same mindset that I've seen in the business world. They compete 
with each other for market share on the basis of program and activity.

I remember my first meeting in the Young Socialist Alliance (the 
Trotskyist youth group) back in 1967. There was an "opponent's report", 
which involved sizing up our rivals on the left from the CPUSA to the 
Progressive Labor Party. Although the reporter didn't use a pie chart, 
you could easily imagine him doing so--just like at a quarterly 
share-holders meeting.

In reality, such calculations never lead anywhere since they put 
artificial limits on your growth. A true vanguard will emerge as the 
result of putting aside such petty thinking and fetishes over "correct 

As background research for an article I am preparing on the Cuban 
missile crisis, I am reading Tad Szulc's biography of Fidel Castro. 
Despite Szulc's background as a NY Times reporter, his admiration for 
Castro permeates every page. The one thing that keeps coming through is 
Castro's ability to see the Big Picture. He was always trying to figure 
out ways to unite revolutionaries, both within Cuba and internationally. 
For sectarians, this has always been proof that Cuba is not really 
revolutionary. For genuine revolutionaries, Castro's conduct should be a 
training manual.


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