[Marxism] Totally awesome proletarian positions

Einde O'Callaghan eindeoc at freenet.de
Wed Apr 3 14:58:29 MDT 2013


On 03.04.2013 20:58, Louis Proyect wrote:
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> Another key element of Trotskyist sectarianism is its tendency to turn
> every serious political fight into a conflict between worker and
> petty-bourgeoisie. Every challenge to party orthodoxy, unless the party
> leader himself mounts it, represents the influence of alien class
> influences into the proletarian vanguard. Every Trotskyist party in
> history has suffered from this crude sociological reductionism, but the
> American Trotskyists were the unchallenged masters of it.
>
> Soon after the split from the SP and the formation of the Socialist
> Workers Party, a fight broke out in the party over the character of the
> Soviet Union. Max Shachtman, Martin Abern and James Burnham led one
> faction based primarily in New York. It stated that the Soviet Union was
> no longer a worker's state and it saw the economic system there as being
> in no way superior to capitalism. This opposition also seemed to be less
> willing to oppose US entry into WWII than the Cannon group, which stood
> on Zimmerwald "defeatist" orthodoxy.
>

<snip>

> Furthermore, it would be interesting to
> do a rigorous class analysis of the Shachtman-Burnham-Abern opposition.
> Most of its rank- and-file members were probably Jewish working-class
> people who more than anybody would be susceptible to pro-war sentiment
> during this period. When the Nazis were repressing Jews throughout
> Europe, it's no surprise that American Jews would end up supporting US
> participation in WWII.
>
In fairness it should be pointed out that when America entered the war 
in December 1941 the Workers Party immediately issued a statement 
opposing the war (indeed they had been publishing an anti-war program as 
an editorial in their weekly paper, Labor Action, every single week 
almost since the paper started coming out in May 1940).

Omitting to mention this gives the impression that the Workers Party 
actually did take the position Cannon & Co. predicted they would - but 
they didn't!

It actually took the SWP quite some time to publish a statement against 
the war as Shachtman somewhat gleefully pointed out in an article in 
Labor Action dated 12 January 1942. The article was called "The Strange 
Silence of the 'Militant'" and can be found at 
<http://www.marxists.org/archive/shachtma/1942/01/militant.htm>.

Einde O'Callaghan




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