[Marxism] Grappling With the Racism of the DSA?s Founders

Andrew Stewart hasc.warrior.stew at gmail.com
Sun Sep 9 23:25:32 MDT 2018

First, I have to admit that I find it deeply satisfying to see that I
garnered such a reaction, it means I struck a nerve. Either way one looks
at it, my ego profits mightily from this exercise. Way cool!

Here's a brief word on motivation:
All the material I cited and used in this piece was readily available
online and at my public library. The heaviest lifting I did in the research
was going to the nonfiction shacks and digging out an old Irving Howe book
and photocopying a few pages from it. Put another way, if the fruit were
hanging any lower, it would be touching the ground. It is way easy for the
liberal press to write something like this and leave out the caveats I put
in regarding the positive developments that the influx of new members has
had on the organization.

Next, I'll address some of the concerns raised <

A) OK, while Schachtman was dead before the organization was founded, it is
undeniable that the entire strategy of how DSA was originally intended to
operate was Schachtman-ite. Their opinion to Communism and the Soviet
Union, Eastern bloc, China, Vietnam, Laos, et al. was and remains Third
Camp-ism. Hell, Willy Brandt was far to the left of DSA then and now on
that topic!

B) Albert Shanker was given a soft-gloves treatment by Michael Harrington
during the 1968 strike and I made that pretty explicit. Considering the
level of guilt-by-association he engaged in during his life to chase
Communist teachers out of their jobs, the reverse in only the slightest
degree is pretty fair. Furthermore, in the polemic by Paul Buhle <
http://nova.wpunj.edu/newpolitics/issue23/buhle23.htm> we read "And so
Shankerism, hammered out against a background of both middle class
yearnings and ghetto rage, became the oddest possible American-style parody
of 'democratic socialism.'"

We read further "[T]he Ocean Hill-Brownsville crisis Shanker was encouraged
by a group of self-proclaimed "democratic socialists" including, among
others, Michael Harrington, Tom Kahn and Bayard Rustin, with Max Shachtman
in the background as the powerful grey eminence. They considered parents'
"interference" to be intolerable for teacher-unionists, but they had a
purpose far beyond the districts of Greater New York. By 1968, they
envisioned themselves the heirs to the Meany labor empire. To demonstrate
their capacity to deliver the labor support and labor votes for a greater
coalition, however, they had to keep order -- at any cost." That doesn't
sound like "By the early 1970s these three were the political enemies of"
Harrington BY A LONG SHOT.

C) The nuance of where Rustin ended up is complicated by the fact that DSA
at one point was claiming him as their own online <
WHOOPS! DSA wants to say their heritage includes helping organize the March
on Washington while skipping ownership of the rest of Rustin's career.
Sorry, doesn't work that way!

D) "But a small part of the SP led by Harrington resisted the drift to the
right and instead began to move to the left under the impact of the antiwar
and other protest movements of the 1960s..."

But not far left enough to endorse Jessie Jackson in the 1984 primaries,
thanks to the Zionist caucus in DSA. Or to endorse Noam Chomsky's call for
immediate and total withdrawal and cessation of hostilities in Vietnam. I
repeat, Harrington was actually to the right of Chomsky AND Walter friggin
Cronkite in 1968!

E) (This one is too hilarious to ignore...)

But Stewart has nothing but his own straw man compelling his recollection
of "the great quote of Amilcar Cabral," (by which I assume he meant to say,
"a quote from the great Amilcar Cabral" instead of implying that only once
in his life did Cabral say anything memorable.)

No, I meant to say "the great quote..." because it is a great quote. But to
derive from such a phrasing that there is an implication of denigration or
that I would not otherwise say Cabral is great merely shows a level of,
what should I call it, vulgar Derrida-inspired deconstruction verging on
blatant illiteracy? He who smelt it dealt it...

F) "That story, "How Long Was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Planning Her Run For
Public Office"" slimes her by implying she is a Kennedy family puppet."

Puppet, no. Connected Democrat who had a political machine behind her that
got her elected to a safely-blue seat, the longtime playbook of the left
wing of the Democratic Party? Yes.

And why do I say this? Easy. In Baltimore you currently have a working
class Black woman, Rev. Annie Chambers, running as a Green for Lt.
Governor. That's a solidly socialist party and there is nary a peep in the
press about it. But then we have this glorious victory for DSA from someone
who just incidentally is a former Kennedy intern? I call bullshit.

Why are we seeing all the talk in the news about Democrats of color but not
Greens of color or Socialists of color who are running third party tickets
for major offices? Explain that one, please.

G) "But he continues by assailing the DSA’s electoral work with the
paper-thin disguise of countering “a meta-narrative” supposedly being
foisted by Jacobin and other outlets. According to Stewart, this story
holds that after decades of failed efforts by everyone from the Greens to
the SWP and the Communist Party, in its first try the DSA “has finally …
brought socialism into the mainstream electoral realm,” and concluding in
ironic bold type: “And with that, dear comrades, we shall now proceed to
construct the Socialist order!”"

If you honestly don't see that developing as the crest of this whole "Blue
wave" advertising campaign the Dems are pushing in the media, you need an

Best regards,

Andrew Stewart

Message: 1
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2018 19:04:47 -0400
From: Joaquin Bustelo <jbustelo at gmail.com>
To: Louis Proyect via Marxism <marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu>
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Grappling With the Racism of the DSA?s Founders
Message-ID: <fa9a02e1-6b2c-bb63-be02-eddb51b0b3f3 at gmail.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=utf-8; format=flowed

This is a lying slime job against the DSA, based on the idea that the
DSA came into the world cursed by the mark of Cain due to Original Sin:
it was founded by the likes of Max Shachtman and Albert Shanker.

Shactman's accomplishment is especially impressive since he died in 1972
and the DSA wasn't founded until a decade later, in 1982.

I've written a response to this and a hatchet job he did on Alexandria
Ocasio Cortez.? I sent it to Counterpunch but I've got to check whether
they've posted it, if not I'll just send it here.


On 8/31/2018 1:15 PM, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:

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