[Marxism] Was there anything “socialist” about CIO officialdom’s alliance with FDR? | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Oct 7 15:18:02 MDT 2019

On October 2nd, Jacobin published an interview with Jake Altman titled 
“The Socialist Party in New Deal–Era America” that made an amalgam of 
Norman Thomas’s party and FDR. This is not the first such exercise in 
bad faith. On June 19th, Seth Ackerman wrote an article titled “Why 
Bernie Talks About the New Deal” that made identical points. It is 
understandable why these “democratic socialists” would try to shoehorn 
Norman Thomas’s SP into their neo-Kautskyist political agenda.

If the DSA is a continuation of Norman Thomas’s Socialist Party as 
Thomas was a continuation of Eugene V. Debs, then everything is 
hunky-dory especially if you can convince people that Thomas “viewed 
Roosevelt’s program for reform of the economic system as far more 
reflective of the Socialist Party platform than of his own [Democratic] 
party’s platform”. The quote is from a Norman Thomas biography that 
Ackerman thought would bolster his SP/New Deal amalgam. Whatever 
credibility the biographer claimed, it seems unlikely that he ever 
thought much about the words of Norman Thomas himself who once said, 
“Emphatically, Mr. Roosevelt did not carry out the Socialist platform, 
unless he carried it out on a stretcher.”


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