[Marxism] Left Forum 2012

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Mar 20 07:16:39 MDT 2012

On 3/20/2012 8:55 AM, Andrew Pollack wrote:
> I wasn't at Radikha's  workshop so I don't know in what context she
> recommended "State and Revolution." But I can tell you this text is of
> DIRECT relevance to debates in Occupy. Just this weekend I heard yet again
> a prominent OWSer, in a labor workshop debate over demands, say we don't
> need any demands because we have no-one to address them to. And this flows
> from their belief that we have no-one to address them to because we're not
> interested in seizing the state or the means of production, but rather just
> building our own society on the margins.

As I pointed out, the presence of such ideas is a function of 
anarchists having taken the initiative just as was the case in the 
anti-globalization protests of the early 90s. What intrigues me is 
how that movement is capable of such audacity while the Marxist 
left is content to "intervene" after the fact. I couldn't imagine 
ISO'ers or members of smaller sects like the SA ever deciding to 
send people to Zuccotti Park to sleep overnight on their own. 
Marxist-Leninists are just not into that sort of thing.

Beyond that, there is a question as to how the culture of this new 
movement fits in with traditional modes of operation by 
Marxist-Leninist sects. It is one thing for a Trotskyist or Maoist 
to intervene in a bureaucratized trade union movement but in the 
grass-roots occupy movement, it will be seen as parasitic and 

The one contradiction that the contemporary Zinovievist left will 
never resolve is how their own ideas of discipline, democratic 
centralism, etc. mesh with a movement that expects its 
participants to operate on an equal footing. What gave the SWP its 
power in the 1960s (caucus decisions, etc.) is ultimately what 
undermined its ability to become a true vanguard.

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