[Marxism] McKinney, Glick, Browder
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Jun 17 18:18:55 MDT 2008
>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)
Frankly, I haven't been following her campaign that closely. It
hasn't created that much buzz, has it? And the analogy with the CPUSA
only extends as far as Walter covering his left flank, although some
left-Greens have argued that McKinney has more in common with Ted
Glick and company than she does with Camejo and Nader. Clearly, the
demo-Greens see themselves in the Browder tradition as I pointed out here:
"Left in form, right in essence"
posted to www.marxmail.org on September 24, 2004
Although Ted Glick has wrapped his attacks on the Nader campaign in
the kind of bland obsequiousness Charles Dickens immortalized in the
character Pecksniff, his latest reveals the snarling Commissar beneath.
Using the title of Carl Davidson's 1973 pamphlet "Left in form, right
in essence" as a club to bash Peter Camejo over the head with, Glick
neglects to include Davidson's subtitle: "A Critique of Contemporary
Trotskyism." It is no accident that Glick would find inspiration in
this dreary screed written during the period when dozens of Maoist
sects were hoping to breathe new life into the discredited
party-building model of William Z. Foster and his subsequent replacements.
Davidson wrote his attack in the pages of the Guardian newspaper back
then in an attempt to create a pole of attraction for the thousands
of ex-SDS'ers who were lurching from new left impressionism to the
kind of ultra-Stalinism that actually helped to destroy SDS through
the agency of the Progressive Labor Party.
Davidson's pamphlet contains jewels such as the following:
"The Trotskyists believe they are the only authentic practitioners of
the policy of the united front. Yet in practice, they have opposed
full implementation, either from rightist or 'leftist' positions. The
most apparent example of this role was the Trotskyist attitude toward
World War 2, in which they took a 'defeatist' position towards the
capitalist governments fighting the fascists, called for the
'revolutionary' overthrow of the Soviet government and opposed the
united front with the national bourgeoisie in the colonial countries
invaded by the fascists. The fact that the Trotskyist line led them
inevitably to these positions substantiated the charge that they
objectively served the interests of the fascists."
This disgusting smear is drawn from the same cesspool as Glick's
assertion that "that Camejo hopes that Bush/Cheney will win
re-election." The logic behind this kind of character assassination,
which actually drove the CPUSA to back Smith Act convictions of
Trotskyist leaders during WWII, is based on the assumption that WWII
was a "people's war". To refute such a claim, it is not necessary to
read Trotskyist literature. You can find essentially the same
arguments from Howard Zinn and a host of new left
historians--including Gar Alperovitz.
In 1967, after New Dealer LBJ escalated the war in Vietnam, new
leftists were forced to come to terms with the legacy of US wars and
whether they ever had a progressive purpose. One of the saddest
things about ardent ABB'ers like Davidson and Glick is their failure
to remember the lessons that new left historians taught us about the
Democratic Party and its Wilsonian crusades for "democracy" and Wall
In arguing for a Kerry vote (or the next best thing--a vote for David
Cobb), Glick puts forward a really addled argument drawn from a
misreading of American history:
"Since World War II the strongest, national, progressive third party
movements have developed when Democrats were in power. The first
example was the Henry Wallace/Progressive Party effort in 1948 when
Harry Truman was President. Then there was the 1968 national Peace
and Freedom Party effort when Johnson was President. The decade of
the '90s, when Bill Clinton was in office, was a decade which saw the
emergence of three major efforts, the Green Party, the Labor Party
and the New Party."
To begin with, it is very striking that Glick has nothing to say
about the 1930s when the objective possibility for a 3rd party based
on the working class was greater than at any time since Eugene V.
Debs. We know why such a party was not launched. The CPUSA, which
enjoyed hegemony, attacked every initiative to build one using the
same class-collaborationist arguments as Carl Davidson and Ted Glick.
It was necessary to back FDR because he was not as bad as--you fill
in the blanks.
Although historian Harvey Klehr has endeavored to portray the CPUSA
as a dangerous subversive organization, his own research militates
against his thesis. In "The Secret World of American Communism," he
discusses an NKVD report on communications between Earl Browder, the
head of the CPUSA, and Franklin Roosevelt. FDR congratulates Browder
and the CPUSA for conducting its political line skillfully and
helping US military efforts. Roosevelt is "particularly pleased" with
the battle of New Jersey Communists against a left-wing Labor Party
formation there. He was happy that the CPUSA had been able to unite
various factions of the Democratic Party against the left-wing
electoral opposition and render it ineffectual.
This is exactly the role that Glick is playing today, our latter-day
but inferior version of Earl Browder.
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