[Marxism] Problems of Leninism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Feb 6 16:24:13 MST 2012

On 2/6/12 6:05 PM, Dan Russell wrote:

> The question falls most heavily on the largest groups: would a formation of
> perhaps 2000 people be more effective than a few hundred continuing to
> build ourselves on the basis of politics and practice that we feel is
> superior? Louis wasn't the only one hopeful at the prospects of something
> like the NPA but it does not seem to have been an overwhelming success and
> I think the same could be said of smaller attempts to regroup in the
> history of the US left, albeit in periods of declining struggle.

I am changing the subject heading since Binh requested that we not use 
his name. We also refrain from using subscribers' names in the subject 
heading for just about the same reason.

If you think that the NPA has had problems, just go back and read about 
the development of the July 26th movement with its divisions between the 
urban movement and the guerrillas in the mountains. It was a total mess.

By contrast, groups in Cuba organized like the ISO had no such problems 
to deal with. They recruited students and workers around a 
Marxist-Leninist program, took part in protests against the dictatorship 
and were generally a fairly benign presence even if they were ignored by 
the masses.

But to overthrow a dictatorship and create the basis for socialist 
economic development requires being able to tap into the social power of 
millions. No group organized on the basis of Leon Trotsky's 
interpretation of "Bolshevism" has ever come close to reaching that 
level of influence and *never* will.

I am not trying to persuade ISO comrades to follow a different path. I 
know from experience that this is impossible. Anybody who said anything 
like this to me when I was in the SWP during its dynamic phase would 
have earned my contempt as well.

My remarks are directed more to the thousand-plus subscribers of 
Marxmail who are looking for a different approach. Some of them, I can 
tell you from conversations I've had offlist, are in touch with far more 
working people than the ISO has ever had any contact with or ever will.

More information about the Marxism mailing list