[Marxism] Paul D'Amato (US ISO) responds to Pham Binh on Tony Cliff's Lenin (phew!)

Angelus Novus fuerdenkommunismus at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 6 12:49:19 MST 2012

In his response to Pham, Paul D'Amato writes:

> Secondly, a “united” socialist organisation that has in its ranks both 
those who consider North Korea, China and Vietnam socialist, and those 
who think that they are bureaucratic despotism; both Stalinists and 
> genuine Marxists; and both supporters and opponents of the Democratic 
Party would be a still-born project.

Does D'Amato regard this is a problem in general, or limited to the context of the United States (as the reference to the Democratic Party might suggest)?

Not to keep harping on DIE LINKE, but I do regard it as a model of sorts, and I think in this specific case it refutes D'amato's assertion.  DIE LINKE has within it various tendencies, from the "Anti-Capitalist Left" that unites various Trotskyists, some ex-Maoists, and adherents of the former "really existing socialist countries", to the openly reformist Forum for Democratic Socialism, to the Socialist Left fraction comprised of Left-Keynesians and mid-level trade union leadership (and in which the ISO's German co-thinkers participate), to the Emancipatory Left, something of a "libertarian socialist" current also influenced by queer theory and feminism.

Yes, conflicts occur, not only around concrete political questions such as participation in government coalitions or programmatic points of a guaranteed annual income (Emancipatory Left) versus the call for full employment (Socialist Left), but also concerning attitudes towards various states in the world (the Bundestag representative Christine Buchholz, one of the members of Marx21, was subject to a nasty attack from the daily newspaper Junge Welt because of her support for the opposition in Syria).

Yet somehow it all manages to cohere rather well and function as a party.  A party that encompasses both those in explicit solidarity with the Cuban Revolution (the Cuba Si project) as well as those who would describe Cuba as some sort of state capitalist society.

Does D'Amato argue then that a broad, multi-tendency socialist formation is only viable in a European context?  And if so, why?  What peculiarities of the U.S. context does he regard as inhibiting a broad socialist formation? (I mean besides U.S. electoral law, which of course is a tough challenge for an electoral formation, but let's assume for our purposes that we're only talking about a regroupment of all forces that reject working within the Democratic Party)

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