[Marxism] What The Left Must Fight Against | Current Affairs

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Mon Aug 5 12:25:54 MDT 2019


 There's a number of good essays over the last few years available online.
To frame the issue, see
https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/14/trump-populism-history-216320

.The standard Marxist view of the Populists is Anna Rochester's little
book, available online at
https://archive.org/details/ThePopulistMovementInTheUnitedStates

The introduction to the short version of Lawrence Goodwyn's groundbreaking
_Democratic Promise: The Populist Movement in America_
https://ratical.org/corporations/PMSHAGAintro.html
Goodwyn's work spawned a series of solid reviews of the subject.

My two cents . . . in a nutshell . . . .

If you're talking about Populism after 1896, you're basically talking about
the Democratic party under the rubric of populism.   The People's party,
coaxed by the silver lobby, aligned itself behind the Democratic ticket
headed by William Jennings Bryan.  While dealing with a mass movement
always allows for cherry picking, but the erosion of the Populist potential
in terms of race--epitomized in the repeated call for the free and fair
ballot in the South--came to end with a distinctive Populism
generally--throttled by the Democratic Party.

Although a rump "middle-of-the-road" group around Tom Watson persisted into
the twentieth century, these mostly represented Southerners unwilling to
accept assimilation into the Democrats.  These took longer to break down
and assimilate into the Democratic Party and their drift towards an
acceptance of white supermacism reflected that drift into the arms of
Woodrow Wilson, etc.

The post WWII American intellectuals, being East Coast liberals, had
rationalized the secular jihad against Communism, and sanctified the
writing out of our past of socialism and radical labor also recast populism
as a movement of easily misled ignorant bumpkins from the middle of the
country and the South.  Too, these thoroughly Establishment authors of
McCarthyism also preferred to attribute McCarthyism to those same kind of
people. In another sense, of course, this anti-democratic, elitist
perspective also seemed to offer a microcosm of how they saw the Cold War
world.

It obviously also echoes in the dishonest and idiotic cant of the media and
punditry about the 2016 election, essentially a cross-town intramural New
York game between Trump and Clinton.  In the aftermath, the people who got
it all wrong as pundits and totally misjudged the state of the country
among the Democratic strategists decided that Trump won because of all the
out of touch parochial dummies in the center of the country.  This, despite
the statistics showing the average Trump voter to be marginally better off
than the Clinton voters, etc.  This despite the demographic studies
indicating that most of those alleged Trump voters sat on their hands.

Cheers,
Mark L.



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