[Marxism] Popular Front

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Sun Oct 9 11:59:42 MDT 2005

Jim Farmelant: 

Charles raises the question of whether this socialist
support for Lincoln and the Republicans provides
us with a model for socialist support of the Democrats
in our day.  


Charles like the CPUSA, the DSA, and many other
social democrats and communists, thinks that the
New Deal experience still provides radicals with
a model for successful cooperation with the
Democratic Party.  However, that seems doubtful
in light of the changes in US politics over the
past seventy years, including changes in the
DP itself.  


 The type of cooperation that
people Charles call upon progressives to
give to the DP merely confirms top Democrats
in their view that progressives have no where
else to go, so they can safely ignore their
concerns without sufferening a political

CB: Yes, although I haven't called on progressive to support the DP en toto
or much at all right now. It's more that I'm against grand theories that the
last 185 years or the last 50 years prove that progressives should _never_
ally with Democrats ( or Republicans) anytime in our lifetime. And right now
there are specific progressive Democrats like Conyers, Kuccinich, Wellstone
( late),Waters,  other locals, thin pickin's to be sure, but there shouldn't
be this rigid claim of absolutely not working with anybody because they are
in the Democratic Party. The notion that working with Democrats as some kind
of infection or disease is off the wall. Secondly, history demonstrates, not
that we should expect never to be able to work with any Dems or Reps or
bourgeois Greens, in the future. It's a case by case decision periodically,
not a major principle of forbidding at all, not absolutely not. 

I think the critique of the Clintonians is pretty near unassailable. But its
generalization back in time to the New Deal alliance (let alone to 1820 !)
is wrong. Therefore, based on the full historical picture, the future
tactics are not yet determined concretely as to whether temporary "fronts"
with bourgeois parties would be the best tactic , as it was in the 1930's
and 40's.

I reject the idea that masses are not aware of the squirrelliness of the
Democrats and liberals, such that in voting for Democrats they are fooled.
It's more that they are cornered. The act of voting for a Democratic
president or Senator does not lock working masses into a mentality that will
be unable to appreciate more radical solutions at some time. The fact that
the Democrats keep screwing workers is not lost on those workers themselves.
In fact that's why a lot of the workers are voting for Republicans, or of
course, most of the working class doesn't vote at all most of the time.

Communists must participate in the U.S. political culture which is electoral
centered, in order to retain legitimacy and legality. After McCarthyism, we
must have an explicit and exaggerated statement that we are not harboring
some non-traditional American plan for creating socialism, clearly and
explicitly NO violent overthrow, all voting in socialism.  Joining
conventional U.S. politics sometimes must be on our political resume for
security reasons.  We must draw historical lessons regarding the likely
tactics of the U.S. security apparatus from the Palmer Raids, the HUAC
committees, Black Panthers.  This is especially true because there is no
viable third party in which to act conventionally.

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