[Marxism] PSL Editorial: Libya and the united front

Tom Cod tomcod3 at gmail.com
Mon Jul 4 13:54:28 MDT 2011

Here's a link to two of America's main "centrist" guys and one social
patriot which gives an idea of the breadth of support the SP had at
the time.  I think I remember hearing Sidney Hook once refer to Morris
Hillquit as one of his early heroes and role models.  He got over 20%
of the vote when he ran for mayor of NYC on an anti war platform in
1917; later he met with Wilson at the White House with Socialist
Congressmen Meyer London, the latter being an open social patriot,
although he cast the sole vote against the Sedition Act in 1918; The
other Socialist Congressman, Victor Berger, didn't because the House
refused to seat him because of his anti-war views and in fact he was
himself, like Debs, convicted under that Act and imprisoned.

I think the main focus of Lenin's "centrist" complaint had to do not
with their line on the war, which was pretty stalwart, but their real
or perceived caving in to bourgois public opinion around parroting its
critiques of the Bolshevik Revolution. Certainly Kautsky, for all his
faults, had been an anti-war socialist.  Moreover, in the US these
centrists also had their differences with Heywood and the IWW
supporters in the party who constituted much of the Left Wing of the
party whom they viewed as ultraleft.  After November 1917, obviously,
the Bolshevik Revolution upstaged much of that as a factional issue.


> On 7/4/11 12:12 PM, Eli Stephens wrote:
>> Writing during World War I, Russian revolutionary leader V.I. Lenin
>> differentiated the socialist movement into three sections: the
>> revolutionary left, the social-imperialists (socialist in name, but
>> openly pro-imperialist), and the “centrists.” He focused most of his
>> polemical writing against the “center” group, represented by German
>> socialist Karl Kautsky, who advocated radical positions in theory,
>> but refused to take actions that would risk isolation from the
>> pro-imperialist left. Lenin argued that regardless of their radical
>> pretenses, the “centrists” were “accomplices” of imperialism.
>> This relates directly to the present situation.

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