[Marxism] The Struggle for a Petty-Bourgeois Orientation [was: RE: The Leninist Party: an annotated bibliography]

Dan Russell proletariandan at gmail.com
Thu Mar 12 02:13:33 MDT 2009

> <What does this mean? I believe what is NECESSARY and POSSIBLE in the
> United
> States TODAY (quite freely admitting TOMORROW may be different) are two
> things:
> THE STRUGGLE FOR ... socialism among the intelligentsia, the intellectually
> curious or concerned and first and foremost in university student milieus,
> in other words, a really LARGE and SUBSTANTIAL and even (intellectually)
> INFLUENTIAL propaganda league... or as Fidel might say, a battle of ideas.
> And, second, participation in and commitment to the struggles of working
> and
> oppressed people, here and abroad, whose effectiveness can be maximized by
> coordination with, and drawing lessons from, the activities of other
> socialists and fighters in these and other movements.
> This VERY VERY VERY much includes, By The Way, the labor movement, but not
> ONLY, EXCLUSIVELY, MAINLY or CENTRALLY the labor movement, and most of all,
> no promises about tomorrow, hinted or explicit, even if it IS the labor
> movement.
> What FLOWS from this analysis, at least in this abstract way, are THREE
> organizational forms.
> 1) A platform for socialist propaganda. I say "platform" and could say
> instead "launching pad" or "inkwell."  A place/way/mechanism/coordination
> to
> create and refine this PROPAGANDA (="a whole series of complex ideas aimed
> at relatively few people") with the focus on student/youth milieus.
> 2) Organizations that bring together and develop mass struggles and social
> movements: unions, women's organizations, committees for freeing political
> prisoners, combating deportations or any other cause... and
> 3) A "movement of movements" and one hopes as a POLITICAL expression of the
> social movements, meaning, a movement of movements that becomes a way of
> saying, "another world is possible." In the U.S. of today, this might mean
> a
> political party not unlike the better/best aspects of the Green Party, P&F
> Party, Labor Party and so on.
> Joaquin>

Tsk, tsk, you forgot to clip : )

These questions are becoming centrally important to me as I debate where to
involve myself politically. As someone with no direct political experience,
I am enormously indebted to you comrades who share your perspectives on the
contemporary after spending years mired in or fighting sectarianism.

In Illinois the Green Party receives a significant portion of the vote, 10%
in the last gubernatorial election. This shows, if nothing else, a rejection
of the two-party dictatorship and an openness to change outside of the
status quo, one that is likely to increase with the recent removal of Gov
Blago and the onset of the Greater Depression. If we are optimistic, it
means that this portion of the population is fertile ground for a socialist
victory in the battle of ideas that Joaquin suggests needs to be waged. I
think HOW this battle is to be waged and won, precisely, is of immense
importance, but I won't get into it quite yet.

I contacted Louis privately earlier, but I'll come out and say that I'm
considering joining both the ISO and the GP for lack of better options. I am
attracted to the ISO (with little knowledge of its internal organization and
a healthy distrust for their ultra-left internationalism and 'Leninism'
despite an embrace of Draper, Shachtman, LeBlanc, etc) simply because they
seem to disseminate socialist propaganda effectively and seek an active role
in local struggles. While they may do these things to recruit members, I
don't think that necessarily invalidates their usefulness. If anyone has
further critiques of the ISO (organizational, not programmatic) I would love
to hear them.

The IDEA(L) of industrial proletarianism clearly needs to be discarded or
reinvented. I posted something by Orwell a week or two ago that advocated
just that as (part of) an attempt to stop scaring away the "middle-class"
from socialism. I do not have a proletarian background but I certainly am
not bourgeois, save for my habits. If we are to resurrect class politics,
and I think that we must, the line needs to be RE-drawn based on the same
material analysis Marx used - relations to the means of production. There is
still an ultra-majority working class (the dynamic between the lower and
middle is rapidly changing) and however bourgeois it may look, every attempt
needs to be made to attract them to a broad class-based party such as the

What labor movement, exactly, are you referring to Joaquin? All US unions,
any in particular, or laborers in general, such as the immigrants rights
movement? A broad-based party could provide the centralizing force needed to
unite these sometimes disparate struggles due to the lack of a general
confederation of labor or something of that nature.

The problems facing the Green Party are many but I think they are equaled by
its potential. I just finished reading "The Myth of Lenin's Concept of the
Party" and am thankful that it clarified my view of Lenin's thought. What
the Greens are missing is a socialist current within the party and perhaps
the tendency towards sectarianism has made this virtually impossible.

What I am trying to do more than anything is draw this discussion out of the
abstract, specifically towards conditions in the US although I appreciate
what Australian comrades have posted. I don't think the US Greens have
displayed the reactionary behavior that it sounds like the AU Greens have,
but I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility if a significant, coherent
socialist presence formed inside the Greens.

IF sectarianism could be overcome and the alphabet soup socialisects moved
within the Green Party and adhered more to materialism and Leninism than
idealism perhaps we could move ahead.

Its too late for me to write any more, but I do hope we don't let this
discussion die. It needs to be hashed out a thousand times among people like

More information about the Marxism mailing list