[Marxism] Reply to Carl Davidson
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Mar 18 08:45:09 MST 2005
>The Democrat party was never a labor party. The book by Art Preis,
>_Labor's Giant Step_,
> is very, very clear on this. Preis details the measures taken by
> Democrats from Frances
>Perkins, the Roosevelt Secretary of Labor, on down, against the Flint
>And certainly the prowar Democrat party today, the party of the
>Kerry and of so many other plutocrats, is not a labor party.
While I agree with this, it is almost guaranteed that some elements of a
new, historically progressive party will emerge from older ruling class
parties. That certainly is the story of the Republican Party of the Civil
War era, which included many long-time Democrats opposed to slavery.
I think that James Zarichny (and Genora Dollinger) were correct to stress
the importance of trade unionists running as Democrats in the 1930s and
40s. The role of the Marxist movement toward such a development has to be
nuanced. Another important such development was Upton Sinclair's EPIC (End
Poverty in California Campaign) of the 1930s. Although he ran as a
Democrat, this campaign was fiercely opposed by big business.
In 1948, Henry Wallace--a life-long Democrat--ran on the Progressive Party
ticket. This was an auspicious bid to oppose the Cold War and back civil
rights and the labor movement. It was crushed by reaction.
When Jesse Jackson ran as a "rainbow coalition" candidate in Presidential
primaries, it had a completely different dynamic than other primary bids.
Many radicals, including myself, had hopes that Jackson might eventually
break with the Democrats and form a Rainbow Party.
So what is the point? I guess it is that when you see incipient challenges
to the 2-party system arising from within the bowels of the 2-party system,
you have to develop a more friendly approach than you would with
conventional candidates. You have to be diplomatic and encourage the
independent tendencies that are already present.
More information about the Marxism