[Marxism] Back from Detoit

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Sat Oct 22 21:04:36 MDT 2005

The labor and workingclass history conference in Detroit met October
As scheduled, I gave my paper on the spiritualists and the First
International, and I also planned to participate in any fracas over
Timothy Messer-Kruse new look at the Haymarket affair.  Essentially, he
employed forensic techniques to demonstrate chemical similarities
between bombs seized in the homes of anarchist leaders and those taken
from the bodies of the police.  He also challenged a lot of what always
seemed to me to speculative about the mechanics of the bombing and
subsequent gunfire.  In the end, I think there was very little that
wasn't reconcilable.  Personally, I don't think this stuff wouldn't be
controversial, but for the fact that the Haymarket martyrs have, over
time, evolved into cut little Eight-Hour Day teddy bears whose
experience involves more lessons about civil liberties than
revolutionary tactics.  I am pleased to report that I think we are about
to see them emerge once more as real anarchists and revolutionaries
In addition, there were three panels I really wanted to attend, several
of which were mentioned on the list earlier: one on "Rosa Luxemburg and
Working-Class Strategy in the Wake of the 1905 Labor Upsurge" Friday,
and the two Saturday sessions on George Breitman and "Trotsky's
Theorizations"  At the second of these three, one of the participants
mentioned that Paul Le Blanc had organized and recruited people for all
three of them.  For years, we have moved in the same circles but more
along parallel lines that never quite crossed-and I'm delighted that
they finally did.  It was also a pleasure to reconnect with Alan Wald
and some other old friends again.and, as always, meeting some newer
The three sessions were excellent, well-thought out and balanced in
their approach and criticism.  Uniquely in most academic conferences
I've attended, these sessions were unapologetically Marxist, in the
finest sense of the term.  Appropriately, there seem to have been people
from various Trotskyist tendencies present, and this might be the first
time I ever heard the relative merits of the Johnson-Forrest tendency,
the Freedom Socialists, the Spartacists, the Boshevik Tendency, etc.
discussed in an academic conference, but their contributions were
enlightening.or, at the very least, entertaining..
Mark L.

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