[Marxism] Some of my thoughts

Alan Bradley alanb1000 at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 17 07:50:01 MST 2006

From: "Joaquin Bustelo" 
> Take the example cited by Alan, the U.S.
> immigrant rights movement. 

Aren't I clever? I cite an example that I actually
don't know a whole lot about... :( 

> What does this tell us? That this was not the
> "class against class" movement that we idealize.
> This was in fact a *MULTICLASS MOVEMENT,* a
> united front of the Latino working class and
> its "national" bourgeoisie, a national movement
>("national" not in the sense of nationwide, but
> in the sense of a nation or nationality, a people)
> within which and through which different classes
> expressed their immediate interests. 
> As soon as the immediate danger of the Senate
> ratifying the Sensenbrenner "deport them all"
> bill receded, the defacto coalition that had
> built the massive protests fell apart, 

OK, all pretty standard. A mass movement with all the
contradictions (and treachery) you would expect.

The dingbat sectarians would get confused by the
multiclass stuff, but they're idiots at the best of

On to the real question:
> The question that is raised is: what political
> organization is beneficial here? A multinational 
> "class combat"-oriented formation or a vanguard
> organization of Latinos? My belief is that a
> grouping of 50 or 100 Latino radicals, would have
> been and would be today much more useful than all
> radical multinational groups put together. 

That's easy: you just assign 50 or 100 of your Latino
members to the movement and you've got your "grouping
of 50 or 100 Latino radicals".

OK, I'm being snide.

You assign however many Latino comrades you actually
have to the movement, and ring up all your contacts.
Even in Australia there are little clumps of Latino
leftists floating around.

With 24 hours notice you should have your "grouping of
50 or 100 Latino radicals". We could damn nearly do it
in Australia. Nationwide, of course.

And you would also have a considerable bunch of
non-Latinos who speak Spanish hanging around as
backup. They would have to take a backseat, but they
would have their uses, surely.

> Worse, insofar as these two, three ... many
> self-styled vanguards of the multinational U.S.
> working class succeed in attracting some Latino
> militants, we are worse off. The people that have
> to work together to make something of this movement
> now find themselves divided into different warring
> organizations.

OK. This is a problem. But your description above
demonstrated that treachery and bullshit is already

In any case, this is essentially a problem of the
"two, three... many vanguards" situation, which is
what we are trying to address.

And here the questions start to become answers:
> Meanwhile, the most experiences, prestigious and
> authoritative figures in the movement, the actual
> central leadership of the radical wing, the ones
> with real roots and a real following in the
> community, are none of them in any of these groups
> nor do they have the slightest inclination to join
> them. Yet they lack a space or forum for thorough-
> going discussion and analysis of strategic
> perspectives in an anticapitalist framework. And you
> can't do that in the structures of the immigrant
> rights movement itself.


Getting even closer to the heart of it:
> Now, if you're going to be serious about getting
> beyond playpen Bolshevism, those central leading
> cadre rooted in the communities are the ones you
> have to have, unless you're going to reduce the
> concept of "vanguard" to a purely idealist
> construct. And all experience shows it is simply
> not true that you can simply shove those people
> aside. 
> Since they're not going to join your party, the
> only possible way of constituting an actual
> vanguard formation is for you to join THEIR party.
> But THEIR party does not exist. And thus the
> question arises, what conditions would favor the
> emergence or constitution of their party.


> One possibility (hypothetical) is a fusion or
> coalescence of the revolutionary left groups
> into a single new organization or at least a
> common structure or front of some kind. The
> other is the liquidation or destruction of the
> existing organizations to create the space in
> which something new might arise.
> The latter course is the one followed by Marx
> and Engels, not once, but repeatedly. 

OK, but it ain't gonna happen.

The first option is extremely tricky, and likely to
fail, but I think it is the one that needs to be

Essentially, the people we want aren't going to join
the existing grouplets, but some of them would join an
umbrella group where you don't need to sign up to the
300 Shibboleths of Righteousness.

Unfortunately, such umbrella groups tend to be held
hostage to the asshattery of the grouplets, or else
end up being reduced to the largest of the grouplets
and whoever else is willing to live with them. If this
process of reduction is catastrophic enough the whole
thing will fall apart.

In this case, however, I think you are right that the
first stage would ideally be an explicitly Latino
group. (As a precedent, we could look at what Malcolm
X was doing in the last period of his life). This
would have all kind of strange effects, some good, and
some bad.

One of the odder ones would be that the left grouplets
with the greatest proportions of Latino members would
be relatively more influential than those with fewer.
I'm not sure what the exact consequences of that would
be, since I don't know the US left in sufficient
depth, but part of me wants to say to the groups that
would lose out: "too bad - you shouldn't have been so
damn white for so long". But it might also mean that
some pretty nutty outfits might be an issue.

Anyway, this would be a "make it up as you go along"
affair. All kinds of shit would fly around. You'd
probably even get to be called "Bundists" or something
equally hilarious. But hopefully, eventually, you
would end up with a chunk of actual cadres.

What you would do with them next would be a question
for another time.

It's all very vague, isn't it? Obviously I can't get
concrete about this stuff from Australia. But I do
know what resources the DSP would be able to mobilise,
and I know what we could do with them. And I also know
how woefully inadequate that would be.

But the US left could mobilise vastly more resources
in this situation, surely? If they couldn't, then
we've got a whole other problem...

Alan Bradley

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