[Marxism] Are the Cliffites a cult? (was Re: Class struggle...)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Nov 30 14:31:38 MST 2005

Josh S. wrote:
>The history of the world revolutionary movement makes it pretty
>obvious that actions have always spoken louder than words in producing
>shifts in the movement's theory and practice.

I don't think that the objective conditions exist today for the creation of 
a revolutionary party in the USA, or even the nucleus of one. We are in a 
preparatory period not unlike that which predated the New Left of the 
1960s. For a useful reference point, I'd recommend Maurice Isserman's "If I 
Had a Hammer". When the next mass upsurge occurs, there will be attempts to 
give it a meaningful organizational expression. That is when these 
different ideas about party-building will be tested, not now.

>Almost all of the important work on the far left in the U.S. and most
>other countries is still being done by groups that call themselves
>Leninist.  Can you and your co-thinkers who are dominant on this list
>produce something, on the ground, that proves itself a superior
>organizational instrument?

Well, I don't think the clash is between the groups that call themselves 
Leninist and people on this list. It is rather between those groups and the 
historical Bolshevik party.

>Those who aren't involved in building some kind of revolutionary
>organization (and I'm not pointing to anyone in particular) speak from
>a different perspective from those who are
I am not opposed to groups of activists cohering around a 
"Marxist-Leninist" perspective, as long as it is understood that this will 
never lead to the creation of a revolutionary party.

>I don't mean to come off too harsh here but I have always found it
>offensive the way active organizations that have a) recruited my
>generation to Marxism (and past generations) b) occupy central
>positions in far-left _activity are discussed on this list.

Yes, there is no reason to denigrate their efforts, which amount to salmon 
swimming upstream. On the other hand, the creation of a revolutionary party 
requires a clarity of vision that simply cannot be found in "vanguard" 
formations. I suspect that some of the more open-minded members of such 
groups will be happy to join a genuine mass movement because small circle 
politics are really suffocating.



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