[Marxism] The criticism ofreligion[was:RE:Vnzla:reasonstobeoptimistic]

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 28 07:44:50 MDT 2007

Marvin Gandall wrote:
> a) While US white workers are infected by the racism and chauvinism endemic
> to an imperialist power, I don't hold them responsible as you do for the
> historical crimes committed by the leaders in both parties. 

For my views on working class responsibility for bestial governments, 
read my piece on the Goldhagen thesis here:


> b) While their consciousness leaves them vulnerable to the deceptions of
> their leaders, most Democrats oppose the war in Iraq as they earlier opposed
> the war in Vietnam. 

Their crime is not in supporting the war, but in temporizing with the 

> c) The relationship of the working classes to the DP and the social
> democratic parties is contradictory one - they look to them to defend their
> gains against the forces to the right of these parties which want to take
> them away, but they are frequently disappointed that these left of centre
> parties don't satisfy their expectations of further gains and govern like
> the right parties in some (but not all) respects.

That's exactly correct. It is also why I advocate new parties to the 
left of these rotting carcasses. Like the Green Party in the USA, like 
the Socialist Alliances, like Respect, etc. They face real difficulties 
but they represent the future, not the rotten bourgeois past. People who 
get involved with such efforts are like the abolitionists of the 1830s. 
They put principle over horse-trading.

> My response to your
> suggestion that "unlike you, I think that workers should confront the ANC,
> Sinn Fein, et al" is: "Indiscriminately, all the time, over every issue?"
> Given the present alternatives, I doubt even their more disgruntled members,
> who I think have a good appreciation of the contradictory nature of their
> parties, would favour their being replaced in government.

I have no idea what the "contradictory" nature of the ANC or Sinn Fein 
is supposed to mean. There is "contradiction" in everything, including 
the Sahara desert where rain does fall occasionally. But I wouldn't 
start a vineyard there.

> d) You describe the above as "cozying up to the party that Frederick Douglas
> opposed". Leaving aside that the Democrats were then, unlike today, the
> party of the reactionary Southern slaveholders and the Republicans the party
> of the more progressive Northerners, it's clear the world's oppressed
> peoples and their leaders saw the victory of the DP in the last
> congressional elections as a positive development and would like to see it
> extended with the replacement of Bush by a Democrat rather than a
> Republican. 

Yes, that was my mind-set in 1964 when I voted for LBJ. Boy, was I 
pissed off when the war began shortly after he took office. Enough so 
that I became a Trotskyist.

> I don't expect the Cubans, Iranians, and others have any
> illusions that a Democratic admininstration would act otherwise than to try
> to advance US imperialist interests, but they also appear to believe that
> they would have more of an opportunity within this framework, and despite
> the DP's bellicose electoral posturing, to normalize relations with the US -
> not least because of the different social forces which each party
> represents. 

But history teaches us an entirely different lesson than this. Between 
the Republicans and the Democrats over the past 100 years or so, there 
is no substantial difference between them when it comes to making war. 
Of course, the Democrats--especially lately--are better than the 
Republicans in mouthing pacifist platitudes but most Marxists understand 
that actions count more than words.

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