[Marxism] Rescuing Lenin from Leninists

Ruthless Critic of All that Exists ok.president+marxml at gmail.com
Sun Jul 6 23:20:32 MDT 2008

On Mon, Jul 7, 2008 at 12:12 AM, Mark Lause <markalause at gmail.com> wrote:

> The post by cheglitz asserted that he did not have a narrow idea of
> socialism and then spelled out just how organizationally narrow his
> view of socialism was.

I surmise that the divergence between your and his views is that you
would consider McKinney "functionally" socialist, even though she
doesn't use the S-word to describe herself, while Chegitz does not
consider her socialist at all. Am I surmising correctly?

It does seem to me that the difference matters. A McKinney listener
would come away with the impression that no fundamental change to the
existing political economy of capitalism is needed, and merely
procedural changes (of the kind McKinney advocates) can solve the
current problems that bedevil the working class. This would be
misleading, don't you think?

Of course, one could argue that the US working class is not
sufficiently advanced at this stage to make sense of an explicitly
socialist message (which describes the existing political economy,
that is capitalism, as itself inadequate). In which case, a
McKinney-like message is all one can hope for the US working-class to
be able to digest at this stage. However, in every working-class
group, there will be a few whose thinking may have advanced
sufficiently that socialism might start making sense to them.
Socialist candidates will make sense to those handful, while the
socialist candidates' messages will admittedly fall on deaf ears in
the vast majority of cases.

What is wrong with that? McKinney's message will appeal to a large
chunk of moderately advanced workers, while the socialist candidates'
message will appeal to a much smaller, but more politically advanced,
segment of workers. In this way, McKinney's campaign and socialist
campaigns will and can complement each other. As long as McKinney and
socialist candidates do not attack each other (and there is no reason
to do so), McKinney (as well as Nader) and the various socialist
candidates will all run useful campaigns, appealing to, and advancing,
different sectors of the working class (different in their level of
political advancement). A synergy, rather than divisiveness, can and
should come out of the Nader's, McKinney's and (various) socialist
candidates' campaigns.

To criticize socialist candidates for running is qualitatively the
same kind of criticism that the Democrats make of Nader for running.
We should reject that line of criticism.


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