[Marxism] Re: premature anti-Stalinists, etc.

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Aug 18 10:01:45 MDT 2005

>    From your August 16 comment on 
> <http://crookedtimber.org/2005/08/16/geras-and-hitchens-join-the-slime-campaign/#comment-90377>Crooked 
> Timber:
>>Unlike Geras, Hitchens, the Harry's Place crew, Johaan Hari, Daniel 
>>Aronowitch and Nick Cohen, Cooper tries to position himself as a member 
>>of the "responsible" antiwar left. But most of his energy is devoted to 
>>attacking the same figures that Hitchens, Geras and company do. In the 
>>1930s people such as Cooper were described as anti-antifascists. You can 
>>find a good discussion of them in Lilian Hellman's "Scoundrel Time"
>    Given your political background, I trust you are aware that Hellman, 
> along with her various good qualities, was also a deeply dishonest 
> apologist for Stalinism who largely regurgitated the standard Party-line 
> slanders against the anti-Stalinist left (many of whom were more 
> consistently anti-fascist than the CP).  Actually, "in the 1930s people 
> such as Cooper" were described as "social fascists," "objectively" 
> pro-Hitler, petty-bourgeois formalists and deviationists, and so on.  If 
> you're not embarrassed to endorse all this and recommend it for 
> emulation, more power to you.  But Cooper isn't the one who comes out of 
> this historical analogy looking  bad.
>Jeff Weintraub

By the time that Hellman wrote her memoir, she was long past these sorts of 
slanders. Furthermore, the greater irony is that people such as Cooper and 
Hitchens have adopted the outlook of the CPUSA of that period. Bush's bogus 
crusade for democracy is really about securing oil, just as FDR's was about 
securing sea-lanes, etc. The poet Archibald MacLeish, who at that time an 
Assistant Secretary of State, predicted the outcome of an allied victory. 
He declared, "As things are now going, the peace we will make, the peace we 
seem to be making, will be a peace of oil, a peace of gold, a peace of 
shipping, a peace, in brief...without moral purpose or human interest." So 
Hitchens, just as Earl Browder, waves pom-pom's for an allied victory. And 
when people of conscience like Cindy Sheehan expose the war for what it is, 
she gets slimed by both Hitchens and Cooper. Cooper, who is still not ready 
to make a complete break with the left (contractual arrangements, one 
supposes) makes pro forma declarations against Bush.

>P.S.  By the way ...
>>Despite my profound respect for Leon Trotsky as a Marxist thinker, I view 
>>the Trotskyist movement as such a sectarian mistake.
>I'm not going to disagree very strongly.  But that doesn't necessarily 
>mean that Stalinism (or uncritical and dishonest fellow-travelling with 
>Stalinism) was a better idea.

I am for fighting against imperialism, no matter who is carrying out that 
fight. When Stalin stoop up to Hitler, no matter the false starts, that was 
a progressive act. Today, when Iraqis strike blows against the occupying 
army, that too is progressive. Cooper's hatred for this resistance more 
than anything proves that he has made his peace with capitalism and 



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