[Marxism] Gabriel Kolko's

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Dec 26 14:12:25 MST 2006

Blanqui wrote:
>I do not think Kolko would identify himself with Progressivism.  His first
>(and not read much these days) book was "The Triumph of Conservatism," an
>attack on the then benign view of that era as one where social reformers
>managed to push through lots of useful reforms, ranging from meat inspection
>to workers' comp to the Federal Trade Commission.  Kolko's book argued that
>the real driving force behind those reforms was big business, particularly
>those of people who had strong social relations with those in the Roosevelt
>Administration (including TR himself).  These companies wanted these reforms
>a) to stave off more radical ones that might eventually be pushed through by
>social protest, and most important, b) to undercut and bankrupt small
>businesses who would find reforms like workers' comp too expensive to pay.
>He also shows how toothless anti-trust laws and new agency like the FTC were
>-- unless they acted in behalf of business.

This is an excellent point. After I made the connection between Kolko 
and Progressivism, I stumbled across this very book and concluded 
that Kolko was hostile to this tradition as well. I guess this just 
reinforces my view that he makes a fetish over avoiding any kind of 
organized political movement, even though he was in SLID (the 
precursor to SDS) briefly. My friend Paul Buhle commented to me, "oh 
yeah, "Gaby" at Madison, Jesse [Lemisch] and Andre Schiffrin at Yale. 
Only a few classes,  but they were an elite and saw themselves that 
way. As Bertell Ollman, another Madison SLID, later observed, it took 
us years to see how wrong we were..."

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