[Marxism] Callinicos reacts to the NPA

Dan Russell proletariandan at gmail.com
Mon Apr 13 19:30:59 MDT 2009

I hope we can keep this discussion civil as I think it is probably the most
important discussion we can have and as Louis has said one of the primary
reasons Marxmail exists.

Perhaps my 'problem' is that I haven't already decided on what model or type
of party we need right now. I've appreciated all of Louis' writings on the
topic and I am both excited for and skeptical of the NPA but I don't think
it has been around long enough nor can I know enough about it (since I don't
read French) to make a judgment call.

I've recently joined the American ISO with a full understanding of the
limitations of that group but also an appreciation for their own
consciousness of those limitations. I didn't join because I think it is an
ideal party but because I think and hope it will be flexible enough to adapt
to circumstances and play a role in the growth of something in the future as
it claims that it wants to and the members I know seem to be on the same
page. I know we ultimately will need a party broader both in name and
substance than the ISO or any other Marxist grouplet but it will still have
to relate to the material conditions and one of the primary ways it will
have to do that is by relating to social movements while at the same time
doing what it can to encourage those social movements to demand more and
develop a revolutionary conciousness.

I think the NPA's idea of relating to social movements will be the right
approach if it works with these movements to build the party and challenge
the state; this has been successful in Latin America even if it hasn't
brought about a 'real' revolution. I think the concern that the party will
sell out to make itself a permanent junior partner to the PS is a real
concern but whether or not that happens will not be because they chose the
wrong model but because the party rank and file and the working class as a
whole did not have the conciousness to demand otherwise. The other question
will be what role will the NPA play in building that conciousness?

If someone knows more about the facts on the ground in the NPA right now I'm
sure we would all love to hear it. Whether or not it is a 'revolutionary'
party doesn't boil down to its rhetoric but how it organizes, acts, and
advances on the ground.

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