[Marxism] "My" theses [was RE:Imperialism and the US working class(Was YADL)]

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Mon Apr 6 21:15:29 MDT 2009

Marv writes: <<They indicted the Labour and social democratic leadership of
the trade unions and workers' parties; they did not write off the working
classes of England or the continent, whom they expected to inevitably break
with their "bourgeois" leaders.>>

Yes, but the REASON they anticipated that is they believed England's
uniquely favorable world position would erode and be undone. But look
especially at the half-facetious comment that in addition to a bourgeois
aristocracy it seemed like England was set on creating a bourgeois
proletariat, to which Engels adds, "For a nation which exploits the whole
world this is of course to a certain extent justifiable." 

Marv adds,. <<It didn't turn out that way, so within the framework of your
logic, I suppose you would have some justification for extending the
indictment to the class as a whole. My own view is that reformism was the
product of rising level standards to which other factors as well as
imperialism contributed, and that it is a decline in those standards,
especially abrupt ones, which are the precondition for corresponding changes
in consciousness - irrespective of whether such change occurs in imperialist
or non-imperialist countries. Am I seeing differences where there are

I'm not trying to indict anyone nor am I arguing the working class OUGHT to
be passive or MUST be passive under X, Y or Z circumstances. I am trying to
understand and have a broader layer of comrades understand and come to grips
with *what has actually happened* in the United States. For some reason, any
number of comrades see this as tremendously offensive and threatening. 

I agree that what you describe is certainly a possible even likely cause of
radicalization. Whether it *must* be this way, i.e., with this precondition,
and whether it *must* lead to the projected outcome are statements stronger
than I feel comfortable with. While we can point to any number of factors
that influenced and contributed to the radicalization of the 1960's and then
its decline, no one predicted of foresaw it, and I don't believe anyone has
yet presented a clear and convincing case that things *had* to happen the
way they did. I do not believe history is as deterministic as all that, nor
that there is a simple, one-to-one correspondence between politics and
economics. There are many contradictory pressures and layers of mediation. 

Yet when one sees a phenomenon like the decline of the U.S. labor movement
over a period now exceeding 60 years, that cries out for an explanation with
a lot of oomph behind it.


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