[Marxism] Rescuing Lenin from Leninists

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Wed Jul 9 05:41:54 MDT 2008

I asked "Why would any party bother running candidates if they already
had acceptable alternatives at the polls?"

Greg McDonald anwsered, "Maybe they think it will grow their organization?"

That's the only decent explanation, but it doesn't really wash in most
cases.  My experience in the SWP was that we'd kill ourselves
mobilizing to get candidates on the ballot.  Almost every member out
every weekend, long days in the mall, two, hree and four clipboards
each.  We had to focus on getting signatures and didn't even have much
time to talk politics to people.  Then late hours checking signatures.

After Vietnam, we got almost nothing in terms of media and the only
"campaign" we'd mount would be lucky to get a talk in a few places
outside of a party hall.  By the middle and later 1970s, most of the
SWP campaigns in Chicago involved having candidates speak at a party
forum in the party hall--and most candidates on a full slate didn't
get near that.  I recall going to one of these forums and counting two
non-members in the "campaign rally."  I used to sit at these things
and wonder why we had done all that work if we weren't going to be
able to mount a serious campaign.

Perhaps best explanation is that campaigns were done for
organizational purposes, but mostly internal and inbred ones with
little or no relation to the real world.


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