[Marxism] Totally awesome proletarian positions

DW dwaltersmia at gmail.com
Wed Apr 3 15:41:47 MDT 2013


Well, there are 'statements' and then there is general reporting. If you
read through The Militants prior to the war, and, for the issues afterward,
its pretty clear the SWP was opposed to the war, statement or not.

In small part, they were waiting for the meeting of the Fourth
International in mid-January to issue a statement first, as the The
Militants for January 17, January 24 and then Feb 7 had statements from the
FI and SWP. Perhaps it was Shachtman's ribbing that got them to offer
something "specific".

http://marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/themilitant/1942/v6n03-jan-17-1942.pdf

http://marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/themilitant/1942/v6n04-jan-24-1942.pdf

http://marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/themilitant/1942/v6n06-feb-07-1942.pdf

But it misses the point, I think, entirely, on the change in the way that
the SWP approached war from prior to Pearl Harbor to afterward. The pre-War
perspective was pretty sectarian, in my opinion. Exemplified by James
Burhnam in his pamphlet War and the Workers:
http://marxists.org/history/etol/writers/burnham/1936/war/index.htm and
political resolutions on the war which basically argues that if you are not
for socialist revolution you are a pacifist and doomed. This explains the
inability of the SWP to build anything resembling a united front prior the
war when for most of this period the majority of the American people were
also against the war. Afterward, as expressed in issues of The Militant
from right after Pearl Harbor, they recognized the near unanimity of the
working class for support to the war by raising the *meaning* of the war
for the class and the labor movement specifically without campaigning
against it as an Imperialist war.

In this the SWP and the WP had almost congruent positions AND reporting in
their respective journals (Militant, Labor Action). Both took general
anti-war positions and sought to defend the independence of the unions from
FDR's war time attempts at corporatist shackling of the unions.

The SWP was criticized by other some members of the Fourth International
for not calling for the defeat of the U.S. in the war as had been the
Bolsheviks position during WWI vis-a-vis their own Imperialist government.
Of course had they done this there would of likely been no SWP (or WP) talk
about as they all would of been in jail and not just the SWP leadership.

David
PS...all of Labor Action can be read here:
http://marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/laboraction-ny/index.htm



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