[Marxism] RE: The Stalinists and the United Front By James Cannon and its relevance.

Bonnie Weinstein giobon at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jan 23 11:24:04 MST 2006

--- Walter  Lippmann <walterlx at earthlink.net> wrote:

"Cannon's discussion on this topic, over sixty-five
years ago, is of some interest. Presumably that's
why Socialist Viewpoint also reproduced it three
years ago. What issue in TODAY'S class struggle
is this related to? Bonnie didn't explain.
Walter LIppmann"

Sorry, Walter, for not explaining. This was in connection
with the "Underpinnings" discussion. The links to two
articles were sent out by Brian Shannon:

I re-published the Cannon piece to show there
was not blind obedience to Trotsky. Louis intimated that in
reference to these comrades I, "...almost referred
to them in a hushed voice as if they sprung from Zeus's
forehead. This fetishism over great leaders is not
something I could ever stomach again."

What these two posts show is that the founding
comrades of the SWP, including Trotsky, were forthright
thinkers on their own and, most of all, unwavering
on the class question even though they disagreed
upon tactical questions.

The first was:

Discussions with Trotsky in 1940
[The following is a rough stenographic draft ‹ uncorrected
by the participants ‹ of discussions on the Stalinists
in the US, between Trotsky and leading members of
the Cannon faction of the US Socialist Workers Party,
held on June 12-15, 1940]

This is a discussion between Trotsky, Cannon, Dobbs, Skogland,
Hanson, and others about how to relate to the Stalinist-
influenced workers in the context of the upcoming WWII and
the ultra-patriotic Presidential elections. What is relevant
about this piece is that it sheds light on the impending
mistake that both the Social Democrats and the Stalinists
will make--support to U.S. imperialist war and, ultimately,
to Roosevelt.

The second was:

The Stalinists and the United Front
By James Cannon
December 2002 . Vol 2, No. 11 .

This is basically the conclusion to that discussion
and a thorough discussion of the tactical question
of the united front. In this case with the Stalinists
in such instances as in California when Govenor
Olsen was going to outlaw the CP from the
California ballot. 

The question of the united front is the question
of the day today in relation to the war in Iraq and
the U.S. wars and occupations throughout the world.
The very issue of Stalinism strikes at the heart of
the class question which is the only reason for the
united front in the first place--to defend and
promote the interests of the working class worldwide
and at every opportunity in unity with others.

The players are not the same but the politics are!
We were discussing the class nature of the Greens
(liberal, multi-class party, not Socialist)
and a real labor party (perhaps not Socialist,
but made up of rank and file workers and
based on defending the interests of the working
class which inevitably leads to anti-Capitalist,
Socialist solutions.)

The rejection of the TWU contract recently,
even though it was a very close margin--slightly
more than half actually carried through what
workers often say but don't end up doing in a
secret ballot--they said "hell no!"

The stirrings in the Auto industry are also
crucial today. 

see: January 23, 2006
Ford to Cut Up to 30,000 Jobs
and 14 Plants by 2012
The Ford Motor Company said today that it
would eliminate 25,000 to 30,000 jobs and
close up to 14 manufacturing plants in the
next six years in an extensive restructuring
that executives said would make the company's
North American division profitable by 2008.

There is no vanguard party today, at least
here in the belly of the beast, yet all these
questions, whether the Stalinists (who are now
basically liberal Democrats) are involved
or not, are on the order of the day.

The only thing we have is our rich heritage
of writings and discussions and clear analysis
of the class struggle in action--understanding
and clarifying these lessons in the context
of the world today are the "underpinnings"
of of the world socialist revolution to come.

Bonnie Weinstein

P.S. We need to thank those incredible
"stenographers" who expertly took down the
dialogue of many meetings, conventions, and
discussions word-for-word with the utmost skill in the
art of "short-hand" and, to their intellectual
credit, the transcription of these important
documents for posterity on a typewriter with
carbon copies.

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