[Marxism] Reply to Carl Davidson

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Tue Mar 15 07:21:00 MST 2005


Anyone who's been around for any time has heard each and every one of
the incantations of Democratic apologists and they become no more
rational or persuasive with their dizzying repetition...but let's take
the dramamine and see if we can follow the bobbing without getting
overly nauseous. 

In response to the very concrete concerns about the rightward drift of
the Democrats, they conjure the spirit of reformism.  However, they will
also brush aside 170 years of serving slavery, violent gang-controlled
machines, monopoly, and empire building, to describe the Democratic
Party as somehow yet undefined and innocent.  You see, our experience in
the real world with the Democrats are very important...and totally
irrelevant.

We need to be Democrats because it's where the toiling masses are,
ignoring the admittedly often treacherous leaders.  However, the reason
we need to deal with electoral politics at all is because the
well-heeled leaders share power with--and are potential alternatives
to--the Republicans.  What's important, is the ranks not the
leaders...who are immensely more important than the ranks.

Put another way, the Democrats aren't exactly like Republicans or they'd
just be Republicans.  We have to believe this because the Democrats are
our only alternative to the Republicans because--unlike the Greens,
Socialists, etc.--the Democrats have power and legitimacy.  That is, the
Democrats share power with the Republicans.

Finally, the Republican war on civilized life makes embracing the
Democrats a matter of immediate urgency, but building an alternative to
bourgeois politics has no urgency because it can begin as a mass
alternative.

Whenever we discuss the class nature of politics, we are told that we
need to discuss concretes about who's in the Senate right now ready to
resist the Republican efforts to raise the cost of postal stamps.
Whenever we want to discuss how the concrete of Democratic practice in
its non-opposition to the Republicans, we find ourselves treated to
abstract generalizations.

In the end, none of this has to do with rational politics and can't be
addressed on that level.  A Maoist acquaintance of mine used to talk
about offing the pig and saying that I betrayed the people because I
didn't.  When I ran into him in 2000, he was denouncing me as a closet
Republican who was betraying the people.  The agenda here is deeper than
the text.

Same thing happens at work.  It seems like whenever I'm denied something
I want or need, management tells me that: (1) I've been around so long
and the resources need to go to the newcomers; (2) I'm a relative
newcomer and the resources go to the senior people.   (There have been
deliciously amusing instances when I'm told both of these things
simultaneously.)  As in the discussion about electoral politics real
issue has nothing to do with what's being said.

Whatever those underlying issues and agendas might be, they are somehow
beyond the reach of rational discourse.  We approach the task with the
tools used to weigh, evaluate, and persuade only to find that
astrological assumptions and magical incantations.  Events will have
persuade where feeble reason fails.

As I've said, the people in general are far wiser than Democratic
apologists.  They either don't vote because they don't see the
differences as meaning anything to them or they hold their noses when
they vote and don't pretend to make a virtue from what they see as a
necessity.  During the last election, most of the people I know were
voting Democratic, but with none of the intolerant and irrational
vehemence of the "progressive" ABB pundits.  

In the end, these folks have the power of persuasion over most of the
mouthpieces for official American "progressive" thought on this. 

Solidarity!
Mark L.






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