[Marxism] Preventive Detention

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sat Apr 22 10:16:33 MDT 2006

These are points well-taken. Back in the day when I worked as a
social worker, I often wondered why so many of us, including myself
from time to time, got so hung up in power struggles with the people
with whom we interacted. It never really occurred to me to think of
such inviduals as "clients" since they never had the choice whether
or not to interact with me. They had either come in to apply for 
one or another kind of financial assistance, or else were already 
enrolled in some kind of program, or their children were dependents
of the court or something. Many of us, I often though it was the
great majority, didn't have children of our own. Many of us were
young people not long out of college, who weren't married and who
didn't have children. We ourselves never had to actually confront
children who needed discipline, or whatever. Yet we instructed the
parents we dealt with on the evils and impermissability of spanking
as if we had really knew. (Personally I don't believe in spanking,
yet there are a lot worse things than that to get the attention of
a child."

It finally dawned on me that many of us were terribly frustrated at
our inability to change the world around us, and unable to make any
changes in the wildly dysfunctional child protective services system
had no difficulty taking out our frustrations (verbally) on those
individuals who we came into contact with through the CPS system.
At least we could make THEM tow the line! It was very realing when
the shadow side of our own motivations at long last became clear.

One of my old bosses recommended this book to get an understanding
of this phenomenon, and it made an impression of indellible clarity:
Adolph Guggenbuhl-Craig: Power in the Helping Professions

Finally, our enemy is the capitalist ruling class not the Marxist
movement broadly speaking. If we "defeat" our Marxist opponents
ideologically, it does not follow logically that capitalism is
weakened. Our emphasis, it seems to me, should be on exposing the
contradictions of the capitalist system and challenging the
propaganda on its behalf from the obvious sell-outs like the Euston
group or the "anybody but Bush" spokesmen of 2 years ago.

My friend Cynthia Cochran, who is the widow of Bert Cochran, once
told me that she understood internecine fights on the left as an
expression of our weakness. Lacking the ability to deliver
significant blows against the ruling class, we seek to feel like
victors in our squabbles among ourselves. Let's try to break this bad

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