[Marxism] DSA member Ocasio-Cortez elected (Jason)

John Reimann 1999wildcat at gmail.com
Sun Jul 1 00:19:46 MDT 2018


Regarding what Lenin said and how he saw the British LP: Lenin was in the
habit of phrasing things very sharply, maybe even too sharply at times. I
suspect that was because he was guarding so strongly against any tendency
to fall into reformism. In any case, is Jason trying to say that there's no
difference between a working class party, or the British Labour Party, and
the Democratic Party?

Here's the difference: When the British coal miners were out on strike in
the early 1980s, in one region after another they turned to the local LP
branches and those branches mobilized support for them - both money and
also mobilized people for the picket lines. That was a natural development.

In 1999, 2,000 carpenters conducted a wildcat strike in the SF Bay area
against a poor contract that the leadership was shoving down our throats. I
was the chairman of the strike committee that organized that strike. It
would have seemed absolutely weird, a total disconnect, if I or anybody
else had even suggested going to the local Democratic Party or any local
Democrats for help.

The difference, then, is this: When workers rise up, what organizations do
they tend to turn to? What organizations are in their traditions? Which
were developed out of the struggle of workers of the past? In the US, it is
not and never has been the Democratic Party. Yes, workers voted for FDR in
the 1930s, but the most advanced sectors moved time and again to build a
working class alternative - a labor party. It was only the role of the
bureaucrats, starting with John L. Lewis, and of the Communist Party that
prevented a Labor Party from developing at that point. And it is the mass
working class parties that serve as the collective memory of the working
class. It is through these parties that the traditions of the class
struggle are best carried. In fact, it is exactly because of the betrayals
of these parties' leaderships that they have been so weakened and, as a
result, those traditions are so weak.

And today in the US?

Today the Democratic Party serves to obscure that collective memory. It
serves to blur the class divisions. And the "progressive"/liberal wing of
the Democratic Party plays a decisive role in that process.

John Reimann



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