[Marxism] McKinney, Glick, Browder

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Tue Jun 17 19:39:00 MDT 2008

I realized that I got so caught up in the generalities that I missed what I
think was a straight-up factual error in Louis' original assessment:

"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."

Actually in 1940 (not the 1930s), when Wendell Willkie (two l's in both
names) was the Republican candidate for president against Roosevelt, the CP
campaigned not against Willkie against Roosevelt. This was a result of the
US imperialist support to Britain and France against the Stalin-Hitler pact,
and the invasion of Poland by Germany and the Soviet occupation of the
Polish Ukraine and attack on Finland.

I recall that Trotsky urged the US-Socialist Workers Party to support
Browder "critically" which was rejected for reasons that were legitimate but
not necessarily persuasive in retrospect. Especially since Browder was being
persecuted for alleged passport violations. At any rate, the SWP really had
no electoral policy that year and as SWP National Secretary James P. Cannon
commented embarrassedly when Trotsky asked what their stance in the
elections was: "You shouldn't ask such questions.

In that election, the CP concentrated their fire primarily on Roosevelt,
presenting their campaign as independent more than in 1936 since they could
count on any votes they won basically coming from Roosevelt's working-class
and farmer base. They did not aggressively propagandize for Willkie as they
had for Roosevelt in 1936, the election I think Louis is actually referring
to, when Roosevelt ran against the Kansas Republican Landon (a liberal
Republican actually, but bound by a very reactionary anti-New Deal

In 1936, Browder ran in support of Roosevelt primarily to win workers who
were used to voting for communist and socialist candidates to the habit of
voting capitalist and to prevent the Republicans from making Communist
support to Republicans an issue.

This is the election in which the CP worked hardest to head off tendencies
toward a Labor Party. After that their work was much easier. 

This was part of the consolidation of the current semi-totalitarian two
party structure, although, I think, not the primary cause. 

In any case, I think Louis' tendency to identify McKinney's class-national
politics with Browderism is wrong. And I think that Louis' suggestion is
wrong that McKinney can be legitimately smeared with the brush of Ted
Glick's views is way off the beam, although presenting Glick as a Browderite
is a pretense that some tradition of independent class/Black/Latino politics
had been firmly established when the Demo-Greens came along, which is
basically a myth.

I think McKinney's working class, Black nationalist politics are worth
putting out there even if the votes are few and the media publicity is rare
and the finances are modest. And I think that this is more important right
now than the Nader form of third-partyism which, even though it has played a
progressive role for years and may do so again, represents an alternative
party form of bourgeois rule.

Whereas I think what McKinney and those who support her, including the
Reconstruction Party, represent initial strivings toward something like a
Morales or Chavez campaign. Something that this country needs more than any
of us are yet capable of imagining.
Fred Feldman 

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