[Marxism] Messer-Kruse on Haymarket

Andrew Pollack acpollack2 at gmail.com
Wed Feb 15 07:04:33 MST 2012

Say more about why Yankee International is a must read, Louis. I read parts
of it a while back, and found it very intriguing. But it seemed to me like
he was taking a valid point -- the obtuseness of many Marxists back then to
race and gender -- and pinning the blame without sufficient evidence on
Marxism and Marxist organizational concepts. And at the same time giving a
free pass to some pretty scuzzy anarchists.
And now he's even turned on the best of the latter...
Here's the description of the book from Amazon:
Examining the social and intellectual collision of the American reform
tradition with immigrant Marxism during the Reconstruction era, Timothy
Messer-Kruse charts the rise and fall of the International Workingman's
Association (IWA), the first international socialist organization. He
analyzes what attracted American reformers—many of them veterans of
antebellum crusades for abolition, women's rights, and other radical
causes—to the IWA, how their presence affected the course of the American
Left, and why they were ultimately purged from the IWA by their orthodox
Marxist comrades.

Messer-Kruse explores the ideology and activities of the Yankee
Internationalists, tracing the evolution of antebellum American reformers'
thinking on the question of wage labor and illuminating the beginnings of a
broad labor reform coalition in the early years of Reconstruction. He shows
how American reformers' priority of racial and sexual equality clashed with
their Marxist partners' strategy of infiltrating trade unions. Ultimately,
he argues, Marxist demands for party discipline and ideological unity
proved incompatible with the Yankees' native republicanism. With the
expulsion of Yankee reformers from the IWA in 1871, American Marxism was
divorced from the American reform tradition.

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