[Marxism] Welcomed Back

James Zarichny zarichny at yahoo.com
Fri Oct 21 20:07:52 MDT 2005

During the war that the Americans call the French and
Indian War, the French general in Quebec dogmatically
thought the English could attack only from one side
because the bluffs on the other sides were too steep
to be climbed.  But the English learned of a hidden
path that they could climb at night to attack from the

Rrubinelli’s position ignores the need for tactics. 
He is so focused on grand strategies that he leaves no
room for tactics.

Let us look at the popular fronts of the thirties. 
The Norman Thomas vote fell from 884,649 votes in 1932
to 187,833 in 1936.  Believe me, Earl Browder had
nothing to do with this.  Why?  In Flint, for example,
unemployment fell from almost 50% to less than 20%. 
The surviving unemployed had WPA, PWA \, and welfare. 
None of this existed under Hoover.  This was a popular
front from below because people were looking for
practical answers to their misery.  People like
Rrubinelli existed, but the masses thought of them as
voices crying in the wilderness.

Tactically, often, one has to look for the path up the
bluff, not the frontal assault that the purists love
so much.  The Communists in Flint thought that the
path up the bluff was organizing the UAW-CIO.  This is
where their energies went.  

Unlike the purists, the Communists believed that
sometimes there are major divisions in the ruling
class.  They believed that Marine Corps General
Smedley Butler was telling the truth when he claimed
that he had been approached to lead a coup against
Roosevelt.  The Communists believed that the National
Association of Manufacturers were for real when they
said they detested Roosevelt.  Roosevelt, in turn, had
to look for a base of support.  He clearly saw that he
had to build a base of support among the masses.  By
1935, he understood that a possible hope was
organizing something akin to the Social Democratic
Parties of Europe.  But this needed labor unions.  His
support for the Wagner Act clearly signalled that he
was toying with converting the Democratic Party into a
Social Democratic type Party.  

The Flint Communists were not focused on the
Democratic Party or the elections.  Their focus was
totally on building the UAW.  But this was incredibly
difficult.  The defeat of the major 1934 Flint strikes
demoralized large sections of the local working class.
 The workers remembered the firings of militants that
followed.  The great majority of the workers would not
touch the unions.  The Communists welcomed every
indication from Roosevelt that he was friendly to
unionism.  Roosevelt was far more popular than the

People often quote  the  comments that  the governor
of Michigan, Frank Murphy, made about the need for law
and order when the sit down strikes started.  His
discussion with John L. Lewis is often cited to prove
that he was  anti labor.  But the last time I was in
the Buick local 599 (my dad’s local) UAW hall, I
looked at the display of photographs titled labor’s
heroes.  Prominent among them is a photo of Frank
Murphy.  When Chevrolet Plant 4 was occupied by the
sit down  strikers, Murphy sent the national guard to
prevent violence.  The guard completely sealed off the
factory.  However. Murphy allowed food deliveries to
the strikers.  This meant they could hold out forever.
 And Chevrolet Plant 4 was crucial, because some of
the parts they made were the sole source for all of
General Motors.  My friends at Buick 599 think this
guaranteed victory. Obviously, a Purist would believe
that the photo of Murphy should come down because  he
is a representative of the capitalist class.  I don’t
think the Buick workers would listen.
     Jim Zarichny

Yahoo! Mail - PC Magazine Editors' Choice 2005 

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