[Marxism] Popular Front

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Mon Oct 3 11:01:25 MDT 2005

Brian Shannon :
(3) It strengthened the idea that workers had to sacrifice for a "war  for
democracy." Yet this was still a generation close enough to WWI,  which had
also been a "war for democracy." Although the CP was small  party by
international communism standards, along with the social  democratic
followers of Roosevelt, its influence has heavily reinforced  the notion
that the period of the "Popular Front" was an era when the  U.S. government
and the Democratic Party in particular stood for the  interests of working

CB: Yes, the theory of strict left avoidance of the Democratic Party is very
hot today , and roots itself in this assessment of the Popular Front.  

The hindsight issue arises; and I gotta indulge historical
counterfactualizing.  If , for example, somehow, Roosevelt had not died so
early or Wallace had become president, the CP effort through the Democratic
Party might have been more successful. This did not happen, but these
results were not impossible at that time. In other words, the strategy of
radical reform through the DP ( and progressive Republicans, and third
parties) was not entirely implausible when it was initiated. The New Deal
was an achievment, and why not consider that it was possible to improve it.
Of course, in fact, it was diluted by 1948, but there was a contest that
might have gone the other way, with Roosevelt's Economic Bill of Rights
being actualized instead of Taft-Hartley, Smith Act prosecutions.


1. Not clear that Pop Front was such a bad strategy, or not the best
strategy even if not that good ( in other words, it's possible that nothing
would have succeeded).

2. But anyway, even if Pop Front strategy was bad, not clear (and I grant
pretty near impossible to prove either way) that anti-Pop Front strategy
would have gotten better results.


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