[Marxism] Troubled times

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Nov 24 19:43:40 MST 2006

>But leaving aside whether it was an especially distorted or pure Marxism
>that such people learned, I really don't understand the point you're making.

My point? Marxism spawned the woman's liberation and gay liberation 
movement of the 1970s. Whatever the attitude of the official CP 
leadership, the inspiration for these movements came from the ranks 
of this party in the 1950s and 60s and then was carried forward by 
Trotskyists and independent socialists and radicals. They applied 
Marxism to various forms of sexual oppression. Just as Marxists were 
critical to the formation of the modern trade union movement, they 
also played a vanguard role in the formation of social movements. And 
when Marxists clashed with participants in this movement, it was 
obvious to me even today that Marxists had a clearer idea about what 
had to be done. I have vivid memories of anti-Marxist feminists in 
the Boston area refusing to organize mass actions to win abortion 
rights--all in the name of "overthrowing male domination".

>What I am advocating is bringing all that together in a comprehensive
>critique, and this because the organized activities of the Marxist movement
>are such a mess that a comprehensive, top-to-bottom re-examination is called
>for and necessary.

I have no idea what you are talking about. If you think there is some 
methodology that is more useful in explaining American politics, 
don't keep it a secret. Maybe you have been in the woodshed cooking 
up some new theory to replace Marxism. You are a smart guy, Joaquin, 
but I doubt that you are that smart. I think you would be much better 
off standing on the shoulders of giants rather than developing some 
new theory. Superseding Marxism has been a recurring theme for the 
past 125 years and I am content to remain a troglodyte when it comes 
to the abc's. Maybe I am a bit defensive around these questions after 
having fought in the trenches from 1994 to 2004 against a variety of 
postmodernist. poststructuralist, postmarxist and post-whatever 
currents in the academy. Do you honestly think that you are the first 
person to raise the idea that Marxism is class-reductionist? You 
should take out a subscription to Social Text and Rethinking Marxism. 
You'll really feel at home.

More information about the Marxism mailing list