[Marxism] Fwd: Going into industry | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Nov 1 14:05:55 MST 2015

As I pointed out in my last post that excerpted Vivian Gornick’s 
poignant and politically astute “The Romance of American Communism”, I 
was struck when I read it in the early 80s by how much the CP experience 
was like our own. This was particularly true of the “turn to industry” 
that began in 1977. As you will see in the excerpt from Gornick below, 
both the CP and the SWP used the same jargon. Can you imagine how much 
stupidity was involved in using the term “colonize” to describe what we 
did? As if we were missionaries going into the Congo to convert the 
natives? In fact the passage below refers to conversion three times. We 
never used that term ourselves (and for all I know the CP did not 
either) but it certainly describes what we were about. We “went into 
industry” to sell subscriptions to our stupid newspaper just like 
Jehovah’s Witnesses going door to door, not to participate in labor 
struggles which were far and few between. But at least if you were in 
the CP, you got involved in living struggles. For that matter, the 
SWP’ers had the same experience in the 1930s and 40s. However, in 1977 
the chances were slim that such an experience could be repeated—a 
function of the low ebb in the class struggle as well as our own ineptitude.

Going into Industry

“GOING into industry” (otherwise known in ironic Party parlance as 
“colonizing”) is the phrase used to describe the Communist Party’s 
practice during the Thirties, Forties, and early Fifties of sending 
Party organizers out to take up jobs as workers in the factories, 
plants, laboratories, and offices of America for the purpose of 
educating workers to class consciousness, converting them to socialism, 
and recruiting them into the Communist Party. Over nearly a quarter of a 
century thousands of American Communists spent the greater portion of 
their adult working lives “in industry.” The collective history of the 
life and work of these CP “colonizers” is one of glory and sorrow.

full: http://louisproyect.org/2015/11/01/going-into-industry/

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