[Marxism] Q regarding Louis' assessment of McKinney campaign (was: Re: Cubans see hope for change in Obama
ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Jun 17 18:07:48 MDT 2008
In a comment that just recently slipped off the 100-messages, Louis Proyect
Walter's position is far more reminiscent of the CP during the 1930s,
with Cynthia McKinney functioning for him as the Browder campaign used
to. CP'ers spent 90 percent of their energy urging "Stop Wilkie" but
mounted their own campaign to cover their left flank.
I am not concerned here with Louis' customary attack on Walter. This is
basically a character trait, not a political question, and this list does
not exist to correct (if needed) our characters. Walter has his character
traits and so do I and (in my case, at least) I know that not all the traits
are good. I tend to be an angry person, which cuts in many directions, not
all of them good. (
A friend once pointed out that if I had been Black, I would have been dead
long ago. This was probably true, a compliment of sorts, but I recognized
the legitimate double edge. If I had had that much provocation I would be
dead and no use to anybody by now.
So my concern here is not Louis's view of Walter, but Louis's view of the
McKinney campaign. Does he actually regard McKinney as a kind of Browderite,
or more softly, Demo-Green campaign in support of the Democrats? This was
also suggested to me by a comment about the Green Party being an acceptable
anti-TwoParty choice IF they got rid of the alleged (and sometimes actual)
What does he think, for instance, about McKinney's congratulations to Obama
for his nomination and her recognition of the, to me, very clear progressive
element in his support by the Black community as a whole and by millions of
white workers and youth? Does he think that this "capitulation" formalizes
her campaign as a front for winning support for Obama? Does he think she
should imitate the Black Agenda, not to mention white radical groups, in
screaming at Blacks not to vote for Obama?
Does he think, for instance, that Black Agenda has not gone far enough in
distancing itself from McKinney's progressive position?
What does this have to do in Browder in 1936? Why did Browder run as a
pro-Roosevelt independent candidate in 1936. Because there were hundreds of
thousands of workers (at least, really many more to one extent or another)
who were used for decades to opposing capitalist candidates as a matter of
principle, like Louis. And not only that, there were beginnings of movement
in an activist, fighting labor movement toward a labor party.
I also note that the national question played no part whatever directly in
these developments (except in the form of the Black shift toward the
Democrats, whose significance could seem, and might have been, momentary at
Browder's job was to bring them in behind Roosevelt as best he could under
the circumstances. His arguments from doing so were accepted by his
Stalinist bosses elsewhere, because they were sound.
How does McKinney's campaign qualify as Browderism today. She lives in a
country where the semi-totalitarian character of the two-party system
currently guarantees that two-party politics are the only real electoral
politics. The electoral politics of the country, which many radicals pretend
is not "real politics" unlike their own, is the only real electoral politics
of the country. Not a good thing, but a reality that it will take huge
struggles, not just day by day propaganda by Nader-Gonzalez every election
period to overcome.
In my opinion, McKinney's approach is not Browderism, not capitulation to
bourgeois politics, but the opposite, the only rational working-class (and
more working class because Black female) approach to this situation in terms
of building an alternative in the working class including the Black
So I would like to know what Louis thinks about the McKinney campaign. Not
about Walter. The list is very well informed about his opinions of Walter. I
have my own opinions about Walter, which are different and have also been
expressed. If Louis cannot prevent himself from fuming and bubbling about
Walter, I will accept this without comment. We all need to do what we have
But what is Louis' opinion of the McKinney campaign.
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