[Marxism] Forarded from Stan Goff: "for marxmail"

Joaquín Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Wed Nov 30 14:49:55 MST 2005


-----Original Message-----
From: Stanley Goff 
Sent: Wednesday, November 30, 2005 7:20 AM
To: Joaquín Bustelo
Subject: for marxmail


<snip>It isn't a question of proclaiming a vanguard but of trying to
bring together the advanced elements that do in fact exist, not
pretending, for example, that the ISO's views on Cuba (or my own
Fidelismo) disqualify them from inclusion. But it definitely must
include a component of *transformation* of the "really existing" left
into a much darker (Black/Latino), younger and more female movement and
especially one that is really rooted in the social
movements/organizations that exist.

As to where to draw the line politically, I would suggest one place it
could be drawn is groups that reject a strategic orientation towards
working in/through or reforming the Democratic Party, although I'd be
willing to contemplate the arguments for including the CPUSA and the
Committees of Correspondence also. I don't include them from the outset
because I think for them the Democratic Party orientation is so central
that getting to an actual compromise agreement on common work with those
two groups on one side, and somedthing like Soli-ISO-BWFJ-Freedom
Road-LRNA-WWP-PSL & others, on the other, is going to prove daunting.

IF an alliance of Revolutionary-socialist groups were possible, then I'd
suggest that it try to re-enforce and use the existing non-party press,
counterpunch and MR, with an eye towards developing a closer "organic"
relationship with those and also some websites and blogs, with the aim
of shaping a "family" of media voices/spaces associated with this
movement rather than party-type "organs." <snip>

As a lurker who checks on on the fly, I was struck by these
observations, because it is exactly the conversation I've been having
with about five different people lately, in and out of my own political
family -- including one very committed sister who leans IST.  Let me
throw out a few contradictions we currently experience -- beginning with
the Democrats.  Everyone here knows that if you are not working in a
cult, democratic centralism doesn't resolve all questions.  When this
question was raised, we were so fractured in our analyses and practical
orientations (this is a much tougher issue for Black socialists than for
white) that we decided NOT to take a positon on the elections.  If we
had forced the issue, we could have voted on it, achieved a simple
majority, then compelled half of us to support a position we opposed.  
it would have been a great gut-check for our discipline, but a
catastrophe for an organizatonal culture aimed at the very
transformations Joaquin mentions.  It is not necessary to develop a
complete theoretical line on every question.  In fact I would bend the
stick so far as to say that this is a stupidity to be avoided like avian
flu.  Line should be developed around action, neither a jot nor a tiddle

I unite with JB on organic relationships and mass work, but I'm very
sceptical about thnking solely of existing formations.  Most of us try
to put the movement first, and we bite ur tongues when organizations do
shit like gather up parade permits for every metropolitan area in the US
to use as a lever AGAINST other formations.  But there is a limit to
people's patience with kind of primate war-geld mentality that is
oriented primarily to gaining sector franchises and vying with one
another for the tiny potential membership pool.  I tell you sometimes, I
wouldn't piss on some of these folks if they were on fire.  They are
part of the problem, not the solution.  If we want these formations to
merge, then each and all of us have to put all our agendas on the table,
and act like we have a modicum of ethical sense.  I know saying that is
like farting in a crowded elevator.

My guess is that it will take people who are outside these formations,
or willing to step outside them, to bring the most advanced people in
the social movements, who are deeply put off by the sectarianism of past
and present ML-ers or whatever (I am trying to convince my own comrades
to drop this catechistic apellation), into some unity around a socialist
program of action.  My corresponding guess is that there are more of
these folks than there are all of us affiliated types, but that's pure

One profound pool out there, that is as offended by the system as any of
us, but who are continually marginalized or pushed out by our deeply
agonal culture, are conscious potentially revolutionary women.  I would
encourage comrades to figureout why we can work our asses off to get
women into our organizations, and still hav edifficulty achieving simple
equality of numbers.  Count heads on this list.  When the math is done,
the question emerges, why?  What is the female percentage of
contributors to those organic media?  What percentage of content talks
about women's experience and oppression beyond the workplace?  How have
Marxists theorized rape and domestic abuse?

I want to invite comrades to comment on this at a two-part piece I just
posted on gender & the left, as a way of discussing this.


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