[Marxism] Re: Patronizing Misrepresentation
Carlos A. Rivera
cerejota at optonline.net
Tue Apr 5 09:40:33 MDT 2005
----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at panix.com>
> Because I am not used to hearing people on Marxmail stress the importance
> of being a socialist. My reaction is simply to chuckle, although
> eventually the joke might begin to wear off.
Well, actually, I think one of the major hurdles to political success we
have is our lack of assertiveness. Even when we are successful, even when
people agree with us, we have allowed "red" to become a curse word, much
like liberals have allowed "liberal" to become the same.
We are stuck between the right liberalism-as-covert-tool-for-socialism and
the left revolution-is-the-only-solution-I-am-a-communist-bang-bang-bang
etc. Yet *both* positions are wrong. That you don't hear that frequently in
Marxmail *may* be a sympthom of a disease, not a sign of health.
Now, I might clown around in leftist trainspotters, etc etc etc, but as you
stress so much, this list is of a different nature.
And of course, and I almost copy and paste, please engage my other points,
which are musch more important and relevant than internal ideological issues
of the marxists.
> Carlos, btw, you have referred to the group you belong to. Could you fill
> us in on that?
I forgot that I didn't formally introduce myself in this respect.
I am an overseas member of the "Movimiento Socialista de Trabajadores" from
Puerto Rico, been in there since high school, in the "Union de Juventudes
Socialistas" (UJS) and then in the organization proper. We are a cadre
organization, and you can see more (in Spanish) at http://www.bandera.org/
(this is the oldest leftist website in Puerto Rico, and one of the oldest in
the world. It has been up since 1995, with the current domain since 1997)
We are part of the "Frente Socialista", a coalition of all the revolutionary
socialist left in Puerto Rico except for the ISO (and even them where
members at one point!). The FS has besides us, the "Partido
Revolucionarionario de los Trabajadores Puertorriqueños (Macheteros)",
"Refundacion Comunista", "Taller de Formacion Politica (USFI section in
PR)", "Juventud de Izquierda Revolucionaria", and the "Working Group on
Puerto Rico/FS" from NYC, although having just moved to the City I am not
active in the left here. (I am on this list precisely as part of an
exploration and sounding board of the state of the marxist left in the USA,
an exploration not limited to the internet)
On ideology, we are self-defined as democratic socialists, worker-classists,
and multi-tendency organization. We are also a militant self-defense
organization. Our origins are in the anti-revisionist melieu, and our
ideological outlook is informed although not dominated by this. Our tendency
structure is organic, which means that there is no formal rules of
tendency/faction, but a global right to debate and disagree, which includes
forming factions, but doesn't require this. We favor consensus over voting,
although when locked we will vote and crush or be crushed but with minority
rights. As a matter of fact, we are (in)famous for communiques that include
majority and minority positions, including such matters as elections and the
Socialist Front. Yet we have DC for actions and are a closed cadre
organization, with selective recruitment and a grueling (too grueling if you
ask me) recruitment process. We are not ecclectic, but are open-minded, and
place unity of action and class orientation above ideological consensus.
For a small organization, we are unusually effective, quite recognized in
the mainstream as a distinct socialist voice, distinct even from the
Socialist Front. You can't miss a week without some news item in the main
mainstream press citing either us or the UJS, and in some key junctures of
struggle we are suddenly named, along with the Macheteros (either brand of
those), as Public Enemies #1. We even had a weekly youth-oriented
crossfire-style program in the main reactionary talk radio station, where we
led in talk radio ratings on sunday afternoons (especially, and I am not
kidding, when I spoke, I had a knack for pulling Bill O'Reilly style shutups
to the right-wingers I debate, which generated furious call-in activity, not
We are active in all the independent unions in Puerto Rico, and in some
AFL-CIO unions, usually in the opposition, save for the UTIER (independent
power worker's, second largest union) and the Teacher's Federation (largest
union). In the UTIER we have people in the rank and file leadership (we
support the current leadership, but they have no relationship to us) and in
the Teacher's Federation the majority of the leadership are members of my
organization. The Teacher's Federation unaffiliated from the AFL-CIO in
September as a fulfillment of the campaign promise to do so of the plank we
led and organized (took 17 years to win).
We are also active in a number of environmental and community causes,
leading or participating in localized struggles against land destruction,
supporting land occupations, and women's rights issues. Our Women's Caucus
managed to turn the bulk of the reform program they set forth in 1991 into
existing laws in less than 10 years, all the while vehemently opposing the
then current government. How they managed to lobby such a reactionary
legislature, including Republican Committeepeople, to approve such things as
a Women's Advocate and a comprehensive lactation law, is still a cause of
wonder. But even more important is how they convinced the rest of the left
here, as sectarian as any other in spite of the Socialist Front.
Hey, allow me to self-aggrandize, you asked!
More information about the Marxism