[Marxism] Fwd: The Left Is under No Obligation to Vote for Hillary Clinton

Thomas thomasfbarton at earthlink.net
Sat Nov 5 19:26:01 MDT 2016

A Comment From 1905 On Opportunist Lefties Who Whine For Clinton Victory

From: 1905, by Leon Trotsky; CHAPTER 25 Our Differences.  

This article was published in the Polish journal Przeglad social-demokratyczny in the period of blackest reaction in Russia, almost a total standstill in the working-class movement, and the Mensheviks’ renegade disavowal of the revolution and its methods.


“You are perfectly right in saying,” Lassalle wrote to Marx in 1854, at a time of extreme world reaction, “that the present apathy cannot be overcome by theoretical means. I would go so far in extrapolating this thought as to say that apathy has never been overcome by purely theoretical means, that is, the theoretical overcoming of political apathy produced disciples, sects or unsuccessful practical movements, but has never yet produced either a real world movement or a universal mass movement of minds. 

“The masses are drawn into the current of a movement, not only practically but also intellectually, by the dynamic force of real events alone.”

Opportunism cannot understand this. 

It may seem paradoxical to say that the principal psychological feature of opportunism is its inability to wait.  But that is undoubtedly true. 

In periods when friendly and hostile social forces, by virtue of their antagonism and their interaction, create a total political standstill; when the molecular process of economic growth, by intensifying the contradictions, not only fails to disturb the political balance but actually strengthens it and, as it were, makes it permanent – in such periods opportunism, devoured by impatience, looks around for “new” ways and means of putting into effect what history is not yet ready for in practice. 

Tired of its own inadequacy and unreliability, it goes in search of “allies.” 

It hurls itself avidly upon the dung-heap of liberalism. 

It implores it, it appeals to it, it invents special formulae for how it could act. 

In reply, liberalism merely contaminates it with its own political putrefaction. 

Opportunism then begins to pick out isolated pearls of democracy from the dung-heap.  It needs allies.  It rushes from place to place, grabbing possible allies by their coattails. 

It harangues its own adherents, admonishing them to be considerate towards all potential allies.  “Tact, more tact, still more tact!” It is gripped by a special disease, the mania of caution in respect to liberalism, the sickness of tact; and, driven berserk by its sickness, it attacks and wounds its own party.

Opportunism does not know how to wait.  And that is precisely why great events always catch it unawares. 

They knock it off its feet, whiz it around like a chip of wood in a whirlpool and sweep it forward, knocking its head now against one bank, now against the other. It tries to resist, but in vain. 

Then it submits to its fate, pretends to be happy, waves its arms to show that it is swimming, and shouts louder than anyone else.  And when the hurricane has passed, it creeps ashore, shakes itself, complains of headache and painful limbs and, in the wretched hangover following its euphoria, spares no harsh words for revolutionary “dreamers.”

-----Original Message-----
>From: Louis Proyect via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
>Sent: Nov 4, 2016 6:53 PM
>To: Thomas F Barton <thomasfbarton at earthlink.net>
>Subject: [Marxism] Fwd: The Left Is under No Obligation to Vote for Hillary	Clinton

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