[Marxism] Luizianne Lins of Brazil

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 5 13:57:50 MDT 2005

Andy Pollack wrote:
>This is just name-calling. You don't say what Gerry and SA's
>program is, nor why it is inadequate.

I suppose it is "adequate", if by this you mean formally correct. So is the 
program of most Trotskyist groups. The real issue, however, is not their 
formal stands on a myriad of questions but how they relate to the broader 
movement. I think that Hal Draper got that right:

The sect establishes itself on a HIGH level (far above that of the working 
class) and on a thin base which is ideologically selective (usually 
necessarily outside working class). Its working-class character is claimed 
on the basis of its aspiration and orientation, not its composition or its 
life. It then sets out to haul the working class up to its level, or calls 
on the working class to climb up the grade. From behind its organizational 
walls, it sends out scouting parties to contact the working class, and 
missionaries to convert two here and three there. It sees itself becoming, 
one day, a mass revolutionary party by a process of accretion; or by 
eventual unity with two or three other sects; or perhaps by some process of 

Marx, on the other, saw the vanguard elements as avoiding above all the 
creation of organizational walls between themselves and the 
class-in-motion. The task was not to lift up two workers here and three 
there to the level of the Full Program (let alone two students here and 
three intellectuals there!) but to go after the levers that could get the 
class, or sections or the class, moving as a mass onto higher levels of 
action and politics.

The sect mentality sees its sanctification only in its Full Program, that 
is, in what separates it from the working class. If, god forbid, some 
slogan it puts forth bids fair to become to popular, it gets scared. 
"Something must be the matter! We must have capitulated to somebody." (This 
is not a caricature: it is drawn from life.) Marx's approach was exactly 
the opposite. The job of the vanguard was to work out slogans that would be 
popular in the given state of the class struggle, in the sense of being 
able to get broadest possible masses of workers moving. That means: moving 
on an issue, in a direction, in a way that would bring them into conflict 
with the capitalist class and its state, and the agents of capitalists and 
state, including the "labor lieutenants of capitalism" (its own leaders).

The sect is a miniaturized version of the revolutionary party-to-be, a 
"small mass party," a microscopic edition or model of the mass party that 
does not yet exist. Rather, it thinks of itself this way, or tries to be 
such a miniature.

full: http://www.marxists.org/archive/draper/1971/alt/alt.htm

>Having just come back from
>SA's convention, and hearing Gerry on this firsthand, as well
>as comrades who've been to Venezuela and are applying the good
>old Joe Hansen method to that revolution and to Cuba's (i.e.
>supporting those revolutions wholeheartedly whatever our differences),
>I'd say we (in SA) know precisely what went wrong in Brazil and
>have good advice on what a revolutionary organization should do.
>And that advice mirrors what you end up with, Louis: a closer
>emulation of Cuba and Venezuela.

If Fidel Castro started off on the basis of emulating SA (or the SWP during 
its glory days for that matter), Batista's grandson would probably be 
running Cuba today. 

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