[Marxism] Smash the Popular Fronts by building unpopular ones

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Wed Apr 5 15:37:40 MDT 2006

Mark Lause wrote:
> These struggles can't be on the right track.  There are just far too
> many people involved in these things.  Control--being "the best builders
> of the movements" we want to exist--gets to be very iffy when there are
> too many people involved.  I guess that's why revolutionary duty
> requires us to be more forthcoming about crucial things like Pabloism.

*****There are just far too many people involved in these things.*****

*****There are just far too many people involved in these things.*****


There was a state-wide conference in Champaign last Saturday, following
about three months of preparation, to form the ICPJ -- Illinois
Coalition for Peace and Justice. There were 71 local organizations
involved, from near the Wisconsin border down to Carbondale, of the most
varied focal interests, all united only on opposition to the occupation
of Iraq. (Probably much more -- but that was the organizing unity.) The
ICPJ will be primarily an information exchange and a way of sorting out
priorities for action among the various groups. And while groups from
the CoC and associated groups were the initiators of the move, it is
clear from the conference that there will not be the control over the
direction of the ICPJ that there is/has been over the UFPJ.

I understand that a similar coordinating body has been formed in
Wisconsin, and that efforts to do so are underway in other states.

Yoshie was on the national board of UFPJ for a year or so, and resigned
in disgust (correctly, I believe) after the last UFPJ national
convention (in St Louis?). But if more states form groups similar to
ICPJ, the internal dynamics will change. I think it probably worthwhile
for comrades in different areas to join in the creation of state
organizations. Over time (and if, as I believe, the struggle in Iraq
continues) the UFPJ or some general national coalition will evolve into
an organization far more responsive to the base.

Mark continues:

> Gang, it just might be a premature second childhood on my part, but I
> really wish the effort to revive the SDS the best of luck.

I think the effort is paying off.

There were two new SDS groups involved in the ICPJ conference, one from
Carbondale (SIU) and one from Champaigne/Urbana (UofI). Jan and I talked
to people from both groups and we were impressed. And my pack-rat
tendency with publications is paying off a bit. We have quite a
collection of the old New Left Notes in the basement, and when we have
offered to turn them over to the UI SDS.

>  Heaven
> knows, the cadre-building approach seems to be going nowhere as fast as
> it ever has.

If the new SDS and state coalitions such as ICPJ flourish, the cadre
groups will become more and more invisible on the political map. Not
that they have ever been that visible except to their own members.

(The Popular Front of the '30s was partly manufactured by strong CPs.
What might appear to sectarians as "popular fronts" today are being
built in quite different ways. If current CPs think they can control
them, make them a reincarnation of the popular fronts of the '30s, they
are repeating the error of the mad astronomer in Johnson's _Rasselas_,
who thought he was responsible for the rising of the sun. If sectarians
think they can fight them as [they wished] they could have fought them
in the '30s, they are also totally deluded.)

The world does change, and the revolutionary thought of one period has
little grip on later and different periods. I use "thought" here in
contrast to "theory" after the practice of the CPC before it had
delusions of running the world communist movement.


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