[Marxism] The criticism of religion[was:RE:Vnzla:reasonstobeoptimistic]

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Mon Aug 27 19:17:38 MDT 2007

Louis wrote:

> ...I consider the CPUSA and CofC to be left
> parties even though they are deeply embedded in the DP. The question for
> me, however, is the class character of the DP and its strategic value
> for socialists. On these questions, I say it is a ruling class party and
> quicksand for radicals.
You could say the same of all liberal and conservative parties which
alternate as governments in bourgeois democracies. They are all "co-ruling
parties". At one time, there were mass socialist parties (outside the US)
which were at least nominally committed to public ownership of the
"commanding heights", but this has long ceased to be their objective and an
important source of conflict between the major parties.

The way US leftists view the DP and how not a few leftists abroad today view
the parties in their own countries which are supported by the unions and
social movements coincide. The same anger of the far and not-so-far US left
at the DP is often expressed with equal intensity by foreign leftists
towards the modern mass liberal/social democatic parties in Europe, Britain
and elsewhere. There are the same divisions both within and outside of the
British Labour Party, the French Socialists, German SPD, etc. and within the
newer social democratic parties with more recent militant traditions such as
the Brazilian Workers Party, South African ANC, and the Irish Sinn Fein.

The Democratic party is not unique in terms of its leadership, social base,
or domestic program in relation to these other parties. What makes it more
centrally important than its left-of-centre counterparts abroad is its
location in the heartland of imperialism and consequent co-responsibity for
the administration of US foreign policy. The labour and social democratic
parties on the continent and elsewhere, including in Canada, look benign by
comparison to the Democrats only because they no longer have or never had
any empires to administer or collude with. The sd parties in the
semi-colonial countries necessarily have a more progressive character
because they have national interests to defend against imperialism and more
urgent domestic social pressures which need to be addressed.

Circumstances set them apart, but there is fundamentally little ideological
difference between the US Democrats and the left of centre parties abroad.
The class backgrounds and political attitudes at the top and the base of the
DP and these other parties are very similar, and there is a felt kinship at
all levels between them.

It seems to me that if your advice to US radicals is to shy away from the DP
on grounds that it is a "quicksand", the same reasoning could apply to
radicals abroad who work in and around the LP, SP, SPD and other kindred
parties in the advanced capitalist countries and who frequently call for
electoral support for them against the conservative parties to their right.
The same can also be said of the relation of the far left to the WP, ANC,
and SF, except insofar as they are locked in confrontations with
imperialism, but this qualification also justifies support to conservative
parties in these countries when they collide with the US and its allies, as
in Iran. Insofar as support is extended to the leftish parties as a tactical
matter, on the basis of their social base and program, the same logic could
be used - and is used by the CPUSA and other Communist parties - to justify
a similar orientation to the DP on these grounds. I will say, though, that
you're equally consistent from the opposite end - perhaps more consistent
than others on the list - in your approach to these parties.

More information about the Marxism mailing list