[Marxism] What to do? [Early morn "Labor Day" thoughts]

Bhaskar Sunkara bhaskar.sunkara at gmail.com
Mon Sep 7 09:59:41 MDT 2009

I honestly don't think that our energies should be put toward electoral
efforts by third parties.
But there is no doubt that in the long-term a "party of the working class"
is an absolutely necessity.

Now I'm largely paraphrasing Larhs Lih and Mike Macnair, but such a party
would need to be both a vanguard and a mass party.
Kautsky (somewhat infamously) stated the need of the vanguard of the working
class and intellectuals to bring the "good news"
of socialism to workers, a mass party at the same time, because the party of
the working class should be democratic, open
and must clearly articulate its real platform (no modern Trotskyist
hide-behind-a-front-group nonsense).

The early SPD, which Lenin adapted to Russian circumstances (extreme state
repression, illegality) modeled and the Bolsheviks around,
 pioneered rallies, petitions, all things we take for granted.... this
adapted to the 21st century is an excellent model.
In addition to simple trade unions, workers' clubs, community organizations,
where all created on an openly working class, socialist basis.
The Black Panther Party's efforts (free breakfasts, community centers, etc)
is a more contemporary example of something similar to this.

Basically it would take a mass workers' movement, combined with the "merger"
of the socialist goal with a large chunk of that movement
to build a principled *party of opposition* (one that does not aspire to
ever manage the capitalist state or enter into coalition with capitalist

I don't think there is much hope in Green Party or Labor Party venture.
This isn't even to mention that due to restrictive electoral laws the 3rd
venture is nearly impossible in the United States.  For now building the
embryo of a broad Marxist organization would be a good start.

Maybe it's the naivety of youth, but I don't see why such an organization
couldn't openly run candidates in Democratic primaries on an openly
Marxist, oppositional platform for the sake of not a fantasy to "transform"
or "push the Democrats left", but to reach out to progressive forces that
are unfortunately held up in the Democratic camp?  (Whether we like it or
not they are there.)



I'm about to start up the BBQ, and I have no time to proof read this.  (and
I haven't put my contacts in yet.)



On Mon, Sep 7, 2009 at 8:12 AM, Hunter Gray <hunterbadbear at hunterbear.org>wrote:

> But, given the obvious dashing of hopes via the Obama administration and
> its spectacular downward spiral in conjunction with mounting crises on
> virtually every front, this general model, with a social justice
> constituency much, much broader than Labor alone, might now serve as a
> meaningful approach.  If it can develop and maintain some genuinely
> visionary radical positions and, somehow, overcome the oft lack of
> inter-union solidarity, endemic Leftist bickering, the problem of some
> liberal timidity, ego trips -- and other obstacles including co-opting
> efforts by the Democratic "establishment," it just might emerge as a potent,
> highly constructive force. 'Way down the pike, who knows what could develop
> from it in a realistic third-party  sense?

More information about the Marxism mailing list