[Marxism] Welcomed Back

Charles Brown cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Sat Oct 22 09:59:51 MDT 2005

Rr, fresh in from his trip:

So I have to ask-- now that the USSR has been overthrown-- is that a big
enough change to warrant dispensing with popular fronting?


CB: As a general matter, Marxists would be open to any means necessary to
socialism. No specific tactic or analysis is excluded or dispensed with for
all times. Don't renounce anything ahead of time. Have to do concrete
analysis of the concrete situation, a la Lenin.


Rr: Getting back to fronts, or is that getting fronts to back?  Either/both.
Charles takes up the issue again and claims that there was a radical
change in world, so I guess a radical change in capitalism, or the
bourgeoisie or both, around 1930?


CB: 1917

Rr: something happened to make a liberal-democratic
program valid?

CB: Lenin definitely advocated that Communists particpate in reform
struggles, reforms are often liberal democratic. For example, Lenin himself
drafted factory legislation in Russia, which would have been liberal
reformist. Marx too, in foregrounding the struggle for the shorter workday,
"advised" us to participate in reform struggle. May Day represents a reform
victory. Haymarket martyrs died for a reform.

In the U.S. these are some of the Marxist precedent for Communists to
particpate in reform struggles in the 1920's and 30's, which struggles
resulted in the liberal , New Deal, reforms. This doesn't mean that the New
Deal gets an A+. Just that we don't disdain reform struggles _in principle_.


 ...something happened, in the world of capital now, to make
alliances with not the petit-bourgeoisie, but the big bourgeoisie,

CB: Yes, revolutionary struggle includes reformist struggle in certain
situations. See above examples of Marx and Lenin. One might say there's a
dialectic between reform and revolutionary struggle.

^^^^rr:^Well we all know what that something must have been:  the existence
the Soviet Union.

CB: Certainly the existence of the SU was an important factor in all
struggles in the 20's and 30's , but Marx, Engels and Lenin demonstrated by
their practice before the existence of the SU that Marxists revolutionaries
do not disdain participation in all reforms.  

Of course, socalled participating in reforms in a revolutionary manner is
easier said than done. We may very well conclude that ultimately, the CP in
the 1920's and 30's or today, has failed _in fact_to participate in those
reforms struggles in a manner that would lead ( had led !)to revolutionary
struggles.  That's a factual dispute. But theoretically, we never renounce
reform struggles in general. It's a concrete, case by case decision.

Of course, not participating in those reforms, for those who took that route
, anti-Pop fronting, has not led to revolutionary struggles either. This is
something that is not usually mentioned by those criticizing the Popular
Front concept.  United Front tactic in the U.S. has not succeeded either.
And I presume there were Marxists trying this tactic all through the periods
we are discussing.

The general idea is we are there with masses as they go through the reform
struggle. When ultimately these fail , we have formed comradeships with
workers that now serve for unity in the fuller revolutionary struggle. But
practically, bonds have to be formed with workers where they are now,and in
general , they are at reform levels ( if there)  We have to jump in at that
level, which means participating in movements that are reforms. The Civil
Rights movement was a reform struggle. Nonetheless, Communists would
popularly front with the U.S. Civil Rights movement.  MMM is a mixed class
effort. Communist should not disdain to front with the MMM. But it is not
excluded that in the future Communists might find themselves blocking with
even big bourgeoisie.  Marx and Engels discussed members of the bourgeoisie
coming over to the movement ( not to mention that Engels was a bourgeoisie).
If a billionaire comes correct, comes over in a paticular reform struggle,
Communists do not in advance renounce all possible fronting with a big
bourgeois. The SU "fronted" economically with Armand Hammer.

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