[Marxism] Reply to Carl Davidson

Julio Huato juliohuato at gmail.com
Thu Mar 17 11:23:43 MST 2005


Louis Proyect quotes Marx:

> Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers 
> must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge 
> their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party 
> standpoint to public attention. They must not be led astray by the empty 
> phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers' candidates 
> will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance 
> of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the 
> proletariat is to be swindled. The progress which the proletarian party 
> will make by operating independently in this way is infinitely more 
> important than the disadvantages resulting from the presence of a few 
> reactionaries in the representative body. if the forces of democracy take 
> decisive, terroristic action against the reaction from the very beginning, 
> the reactionary influence in the election will already have been destroyed.
> 
> Karl Marx, Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League London, 
> March 1850

I urge everyone to read carefully the whole speech Marx delivered to
the CC of the League of the Communists.  (And, for a broader
perspective, I urge people to also read Engels' 1895 Introduction to
"The Class Struggles in France 1848 to 1850," where he summarizes the
evolution of the class struggle in Germany for half a century.)

Marx's speech was delivered in 1850 and it refers to Germany.  During
the 1848 and 1849, a revolutionary upsurge (led by workers) had been
staged.  In 1950, it wasn't entirely clear that the 1848-1849 events
wouldn't repeat themselves at a larger scale.  In fact, the German
revolutionary attempt had been one in many that shook continental
Europe in that period.  During the revolutions, as Marx recounts in
that speech, the German proletarians had *already* proved fully
capable of organized, independent political and military action as a
class -- they had led in the battles, they had been a united force in
action, they had gained confidence in their unity as a class, and they
were suffering the reactionary backlash.  That's why Marx says that
the dispute with the "democratic party" of Germany in 1850 is about
"recovering" their political independence.  You can't recover anything
if you hadn't had it in the first place.  It wasn't about gaining
their independence for the first time.

So, I ask Louis and other readers: When, in what mass revolutionary
upsurge, has the U.S. working class already asserted itself as a class
capable of independent political action, capable of challenging the
status quo?  When, where, how?  This is precisely the point Jim
Farmelant was making in a previous posting -- the "American
exceptionalism."

If you post a citation, provide a bit of context.  Do not smuggle it
as it were exactly relevant to the current discussion.  Trickery
doesn't trump substance.

Julio




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