[Marxism] good article on local organizing in US

Ben Courtice benj2006 at connexus.net.au
Thu Mar 16 05:10:57 MST 2006

"Activist groups rarely enter into coalitions, and even when they do so, 
never for any length of time...   Similarly, the program of these 
organizations is whatever is decided at any one meeting; if it is 
carried over from one meeting to the next, it is because one individual 
has assumed that mission as his or her own. "

I think all of this is to do with a general pragmatism that reflects a 
reformist, liberal consciousness. This consciousness needs to be 
addressed first.

""Virtual organizing," such as MoveOn.org, is much more comfortable for 
the new generation of middle-class progressives than face-to-face 
organizing.  No structure can develop out of this approach.  Thus, as in 
so many other places, the middle-class peace movement that sprang up 
before the Iraq War disappeared as quickly as computer images as soon as 
hostilities began."

I thought this was a very good explanation for all my liberal friends 
who mourn the quick demise of the Australian anti-war movement after the 
invasion occurred. It is very good because it places the ball in their 
court: they are just like all the others who gave up. I forwarded it to 
everyone I know who is on the liberal side of progressive opinion.

"A successful movement to transform America is going to have to shed its 
middle-class ghetto mentality and the individualism that goes with it. 
This is no easy task for a middle-class American, as I discovered in 
that organization. "

I think that individualism has a lot to do with the sort of 
pontificating and interminable splits that afflict the Trotskyist left.

More broadly, I think it's a good analysis of the liberal left which 
probably ought to be shoved in their face a bit (like I did with my 
friends). I think at least as an analogy and/or cautionary tale it holds 
lessons for the Marxist left too, but probably less those in 
organisations, more those who are individual activists and academics.

Ben Courtice

More information about the Marxism mailing list