cbcox at ilstu.edu
Tue Aug 28 09:38:21 MDT 2007
My love is of a birth so rare
As 'tis for object strange and high:
It was begotten by despair
Magnanimous Despair alone
Could show me so divine a thing,
Where feeble Hope could ne'r have flown
But vainly flapt its Tinsel Wing.
Of three classical questions in political theory, "Is it good?" "Is it
possible?" and "Is it necessary?" only the third really counts.
Liberalism (both overt and in marxist or radical dress) begins with the
second, with some attention to the first, but ignores the third. This
leads to the deepest despair of all, the despair that cannot even in
imagination see a future.
Is socialist revolution possible? Who knows.
Is a socialist future a good thing? Probably, but who knows.
Is there any alternative to socialist revolution? No.
We need a working definition of "leftist" here -- i.e., a definition
that is useful in the current discussion. A leftist is a person who
considers (whether to reject or affirm) political activity outside and
in opposition to the DP. That definition includes the CP, CofC, and
Marvin, since all of these will admit that there is a serious debate
about whether or not to work for the DP, though all affirm that leftists
_should_ make that choice. They have made the fatal mistake of asking
"Is it possible," and have settled into a despair truly bleak, reminding
one of Arides:
The bashful Arides
Has married an ugly wife,
He was bored with his manner of life,
Indifferent and discouraged he though he might as
Well do this as anything else.
Saying within his heart, "I am of no use to myself,
"Let her, if she wants me, take me."
He went to his doom.
There is no alternative to working for a socialist future, and whether
that goal can be achieved or not is quite irrelevant, as is the
question, were one's boat to sink a mile from shore, whether one is
capable of swimming a mile).
We KNOW, not just fear, that working for DP candidates or with the DP
party structure is to die politically. (Lou's image of quicksand is
probably too charitable to the DP party structure.) We do not know
whether other forms of political activity now available (mostly working
in local social struggles, including the anti-war movement) will lead to
anything, but we KNOW that nothing else will. Our despair is that of
Marvell rather than that of Arides. We refuse to believe that we are of
no use to ourselves.
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