[Marxism] Fwd: Flirting with Liberals: A Critical Examination of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) | Andrew Dobbs

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Fri Feb 9 14:22:13 MST 2018

I read the article by Dobbs with interest. He makes the classic mistakes
that Lenin so criticized in "Left Wing Communism, an Infantile Disorder".

Of course, he is right to criticize DSA's links with the Democratic party.
And he is right about his perspectives for the Democratic Party.

He is dead wrong on the issue of a mass working class political party in
the US. It's interesting that he quotes Engels. He should have remembered
this comment from Engels: "The first great step of importance for every
country newly entering into the movement is always the organisation of the
workers as an independent political party, no matter how, so long as it is
a distinct workers' party. And this step has been taken, far more rapidly
than we had a right to hope, and that is the main thing. That the first
programme of this party is still confused and highly deficient, that it has
set up the banner of Henry George, these are inevitable evils but also only
transitory ones. The masses must have time and opportunity to develop and
they can only have the opportunity when they have their own movement--no
matter in what form so long as it is only *their own* movement--in which
they are driven further by their own mistakes and learn wisdom by hurting
themselves." (Engels to Sorge, Nov. 29, 1886)

Dobbs talks a lot about "a revolutionary class to be", but how can the
working class ever be even a class "for" itself if it has no history of
having its own political party?

Instead, Dobbs seems to advocate the sort of "base building" that assorted
Maoists and others engage in. This means organizing tenants, etc. Nothing
wrong with that in and of itself, but how does that differ from what Lenin
criticized in "What is to be Done?" if we don't go further?

I also think it's a mistake to simply ignore what's happening on the
socialist left. Dobbs points out that DSA is about 90% white. It's also
about 90% middle class in terms of the orientation of the individual
members - at least that's my experience. And if there were any sort of
beginnings of a real struggle somewhere else, that's where I'd be. For
example, here in Oakland there was the beginning of a campaign against a
new baseball park to be built across the street from Oakland's most
important educational institution - Laney Community College. That struggle
started to draw in working class youth of all different ethnic backgrounds
(but not DSA to its everlasting shame). I was very involved in that
campaign. But that's just episodic. In the absence of any other socialist
movement, even nominally so, where else is there to be at the moment?

John Reimann
Oakland CA

"No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them."
Assata Shakur
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook

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