[Marxism] Of victory and victories

Shacht at aol.com Shacht at aol.com
Tue Dec 16 10:57:10 MST 2008

It seems that I can't even spell "Jesus" - as in Jeeezzus Christ!
That said, I can't recall what the post was about, most probably the  Chicago 
action and hearing that (per Labor Notes) the workers had asked for the  
congressman's assistance - in which case it was an interjection not of  disgust, 
but disappointment, of resignation, not approval. Facts are unfortunate  
realities. The Democratic Party exists. If labor does not have its own party,  what 
is labor to do in the midst of a struggle such as that at Chicago? Create  one 
overnight? A democratic politician becomes the necessary ally. That is  
unavoidable. Nor is it necessarily undesirable. The Civil Rights Movement and  the 
anti-war movement in the sixties had their democratic allies - but neither  of 
them had their origins in the Democratic Party.
In the class war, the Democratic Party is a pillar of capitalism, an  
obstacle to ovethrow of that system. In any individual battle elements of  it can 
play a necessary and progressive role. But the war between capital and  labor is 
a war and not a battle. Seeking to officer the army's ranks with  politicians 
who in their acts cannot go beyond the boundary of  bourgeois thought and the 
needs of preserving capitalism as a system is the root  of the left's 
intellectual bankruptcy, the source of its impotency.
Marxists refer to the state as the executive committe of the ruling class.  
This is a misnomer and an inapt characterization. The state is the executive  
committee for the ruling class and does not need to be composed of members of  
the ruling class at all. Of course, those second gerations of extreme wealth 
can  do penance for their ancestors' ill gotten gains with "public service"  
rather than drunkeness and debauchery. So we get Henry Cabot Lodge, Nelson  
Rockefeller and FDR. But the state can function for the capitalist class staffed  
by former actors such as Reagan or Schwartzenager or Al Franken. Adventurers  
like Adam Clayton Powell whose first elenction to congress was the result of  
Democrats pressuring A. Philip Randolph out of the race for the empty Harlem  
seat, when Randolph would have had a chance.
And the state as executive committee for the ruling class can put through  
programs necessary for its preservation against the wishes of the majority of  
that class. The New Deal is an example of this. Roosevelt did not sit around 
the  White House conferring on ways to "save capitalism" but to make the system 
work,  addressing immediate problems with whatever worked to alleviate them - 
just as  long as one thing didn't change no matter how many concessions were 
made, no  matter how better tended the playing field. And that one thing is all 
that  matters - Capital, not a fistfull of dollars but a  social 
relationship.  The relation between those who own but do not produce and those who produce 
but  do not own except their labor power.
So, to return to the point, I'm always disappointed when a movement that  
generates spontaneously has only the hand of a bourgeois Democrat to reach out  
to rather than a labor party. And every election reinforces this sense of  
frustration with the unions now pouring hundreds of millions into the coffers of  
that same capitalist perpetuating machine, when it could build its own  
organization - but then that presupposes that labor gets back to being a labor  
movement rather than what it long ago became, the fund raising arm of the  
Democratic Party. 
On another note. Only the SLP calls the two parties "Tweedledum and  
Tweedledee." There is a difference between these parties and everyone feels that  if 
they are not willing to acknowledge it. We do a disservice to our audience  
when we contend that there is no difference or render it of no consequence. If  
finance capital and extractive industries want to support Republicans and 
retail  and developers want to support Democrats (which I think is the way it has 
worked  out historically), that's because they have different interests, and 
those  different interests - social security, labor unions, occasionally 
protection as  opposed to free trade. And those different interests have different 
effects on  the working class and the citizenry in general - I say "citizenry" 
because as  socialists we urge and work for the liberation of all classes - 
working class,  petty-bourgeois (in the old sense), small farmers and, yes, the 
lumpen  proletariat as well - not just the working class.
However, that still does not mean that we don't acknowledge that of course,  
in general the public may be better off with a democrat in office than a  
republican. But acknowledging that does not make it an endorsement.
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