[Marxism] Communists link up with Islamic radicals (WSJ)

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Sun Dec 24 08:45:54 MST 2006

Dear Louis - You've created a very useful international forum at
Marxmail. It's appreciated and has a positive role to play in
the struggle, and in building a socialist movement. How can it
continue to play such a positive role? By raising impostant and
timely issues, as you did with the Iranian holocaust conference,
to cite a recent example. I agree that socialism has a future 
and Marxmail has a positive role it can play in its development.

Today Louis raises the issue of counterposing socialism to 
the struggle for a better world. Why should they be pitted one
against the other? The Cubans, from whom I think much today can
still be learned, organized a movement based on their own deep
national roots, most importantly the thinking of Jose Marti.

We've seen what happens to people who counterpose socialism to
the struggle in the lamentable example of our former friends in
the Socialist Workers Party who faulted the leadership of Cuba's
revolution in that famous January 1960 editorial where the SWP
said that "The main danger to the Cuban revolution is in its own
leadership." I mention it because they provided a good model of,
"What is not to be done". 

That famous editorial can be read here:

Some people have never learned from that experience. Socialist
Action, a group which sees itself as following in the tradition
of the SWP, is still doing the same thing today, 46 years later,
where they oppose Chavez, Evo Morales and all of the rest:

"we do not give them political confidence and therefore do not 
call for a vote for them in elections to determine the political
leadership of the countries concerned. A long and tragic history of
failed reformist experiments in Latin America demonstrates the
dangers of relying on such figures and political formations."

The Spartacists are the same. The Grant-Woods tendency has a
similar, but much more nuanced approach. They play an active
role in the struggle, and often write fascinating analytical
articles on specific topic. They use the same cookie-cutter
(one-size fits all) approach, emphasizing the nationalization
of industry as the indispensible next step. I find their long
analytical articles to be highly informative and well-written
and researched. The World Socialist Web Site similarly has some
of the best analytical writing, especially on movies, which can
be found on the web. The fact that the WSWS doesn't think that
a socialist revolution has taken place in Cuba because there
was no Trotskyist party good enough to earn their approval in
no way detracts from the quality of their movie reviews or the
other commentaries they write. But it should cause at least a
bit of doubt in the minds of the thoughtful reader regarding
their political judgement. This is the same, on quite another
level, for the Revolutionary Communist Party lead by Chairman
Bob Avakian. They do excellent mass political work through 
such vehicles as Not In Our Name and World Can't Wait. All of
us, I think, can learn from one another, but what the struggle
needs most is more and more united activity against injustice.

Within that, discussing, debating, and clarifying the meaning
of socialism, of religion, and other topics, can be useful.
I agree with you, Louis, so I do not dump socialism and don't
think of socialism as "baggage". But I don't either think one
should counterprose socialism to the struggle. Hope that's
now clear.

Walter Lippmann
Los Angeles

Walter, my articles are dealing with the question of whether 
socialism has a future, not whether struggle has a future. People 
have been struggling against capitalism (even if they hadn't 
identified the system as such) since the days of the Levellers. My 
goal in writing these articles is not to disparage struggle but to 
reaffirm the need for scientific socialism, as they put it. In case 
you hadn't noticed, there's been a whole slew of people on or around 
this mailing list who have begun to regard scientific socialism as a 
kind of youthful indiscretion. If people want to say that it is a 
good thing to unite and fight against the capitalists but to drop the 
socialist baggage, that's not good enough for me. I am going to 
respond to this in greater depth when I write my review of Gabriel 
Kolko's rancid "After Socialism". 

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