[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>



> Carlos:
>
>>Why?
>
> 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 
all negative)

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!

sks






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