Weekly focus # 17 -- Creating the party of the future
Weekly focus # 17 --
(1) The pof-300 list: high-traffic list for pof-200 subscribers
(2) The development of our community and its agenda
(3) Confronting the paralysis of our movement
(4) Steve Wallis takes on the SWP (Britain)
(5) Reply to DJ -- Creating the party of the future
** Joint work on wiki page against reformism
** DJ's Live Journal posts
** The CVO leaflet
** The CVO-LRP polemic concerning
the fight against the draft
** A real party will wield
the weapon of transparency
** Why we struggle for partial demands
** Can the "crisis of theory"
be reduced to "Stalinism" ?
** The struggle against the TUB's
** Saving the patient
** Some links
For new subscribers to this group (and existing subscribers who
may have forgotten about me), my name is Ben Seattle. I haven't
posted here since August 29 but it is my intent (when possible)
to make weekly posts which review the activity of this list in
the context of the tasks which are decisive for the development
of a powerful and healthy movement for the overthrow of bourgeois
Unfortunately my time is extremely limited. I have followed much
of the list traffic, and I have developed a conception of the
tasks which I believe will move this list (and the associated
wiki) forward. But I lack the time to implement many of these
tasks (even simple tasks such as cleaning up the wiki front page
and creating easy-to-use wiki help files). On the one hand this
can be frustrating. On the other hand, as militant and
determined activists, we adjust our thinking in order to deal
with material reality and existing limitations. Our brothers and
sisters in other parts of the world (such as in Iraq -- where
there are popular struggles against US imperialism and its puppet
regime) face harsh conditions. Here at least our struggle takes
place in conditions of legality and we are well-fed, sheltered
(most of us) and safe. Step by step we will move things forward.
I am not the only one on this list who finds the lack of progress
frustrating. Some of the posts by Sean and Dennis indicate to me
that they also find the current level of activity and
organization of the list/wiki to be frustrating.
Sean has made a number of criticisms which he has addressed to
"all members of the Party of the Future". Some of Sean's
comments are profoundly true while others are, frankly, nonsense.
(Earth to Sean: the "Party of the Future" has no members because
it does not yet exist: it is a concept under development.)
Dennis has reposted here articles that he has found to be useful
(and which are probably useful to a number of our readers) but
has repeatedly exceeded the suggested limit of two posts per
week. I emailed Dennis about this privately and reminded him of
this suggested limit and also of the fact that a poll in July
indicated that a majority of readers of this list support the
idea of "better fewer but better" posts. The suggested
limit is not yet a formal rule (that will come later -- once the
wiki is more user friendly and we take steps to make sure that
subscribers understand how to use the wiki as an alternate method
of communication) so subscribers currently have the right to post
more often at their discretion. However I hope that subscribers
use this discretion rarely and, to assist in this, I have (just
now) activated the pof-300 list and invited to it those
subscribers (Sean, Dennis and others) who indicated in the July
poll that they would like to post more often.
1. The pof-300 list: high-traffic list for pof-200 subscribers
I cannot guarantee that the traffic on the pof-300 list will be
worth reading (I suspect a lot of it will not) but all
subscribers to this list (or any of my other lists) are welcome
to join it. (It may take a week or so for your membership to be
approved since the pof-300 list has no moderator except me to
approve memberships and I usually only go online on weekends. If
anyone wants to volunteer to perform this function for the
pof-300 list -- please let me know.)
2. The development of our community and its agenda
The "Media Weapon community" at this point is not a real
community. It is more accurate to say that such a community is
my goal and (I hope) your goal also.
There has been much discussion in parts of the hard-core left
concerning questions related to organization and (among militant
marxists) the question of the "party". There exists, in my view,
incredible confusion on this topic from all quarters. My view is
that the development of a genuine community which is focused on
the development of a mass movement aimed at the elimination of
the system of bourgeois rule -- and an agenda of revolutionary
work which is the product of open discussion and debate and open
competition between competing ideas and projects -- would be a
huge step forward toward the development of revolutionary
organization which is deserving of the respect and attention of
the working class.
I use the concept of "community" rather than "party" because I
believe this concept corresponds more closely to the needs of our
time and is less likely to be misunderstood (ie: is less subject
to the extreme "reality distortion fields" which exist around the
concepts of "party" and "democratic centralism" and which are
promoted by social democrats and "cargo cult Leninists" alike).
The term "community" is usually understood to be a relatively
loose (ie: non-formal) form of organization in which community
members have essential democratic rights as well as a common
Our wiki has a "projects" page but the page currently exists more
as an idea than a reality. A more developed projects page (in
which many projects compete for attention and labor power) is
necessary and would be essential for the development of a
community which is organized in a genuinely democratic way. Any
member of our community would then be able to add to this page a
description of their project together with their views on why
this project is important and deserves support and labor power.
Currently our community-in-embryo has no projects going that
represent collaboration between our subscribers. So the
criticisms that we are, at present, nothing more than a talk-shop
(ie: similar to hundreds, or thousands, of other lists) are,
unfortunately, accurate. Subscribers come here and post their
views (which they often work on with great diligence) and,
currently, often get little or no response for all their efforts
(ie: no thoughtful criticism of strong and weak points, no real
sense of connection to anyone else). Subscribers come here and
look for some project which they are able to understand and
contribute to -- and often find nothing.
So criticisms which have been made contain a lot of truth.
On the other hand, as the saying goes, Rome was not built in a
day. We are just getting started. The number of experienced and
dedicated revolutionary activists who have been drawn to and who
support this list and its aims is miniscule. Without a number of
experienced and dedicated activists with the ability to place
matters in perspective and offer helpful guidance -- our progress
will inevitably be slow.
In my view, however, all this will change. Not overnite of
course. But it will happen.
The concept that serious, militant activists need a focused
community with democratic rights and the ability to offer clarity
on the deeper questions -- conforms to the urgent need of our
time. I am very much encouraged by even the limited progress and
the relatively shallow discussion that has developed so far --
and I believe we will be better organized a year from now.
3. Confronting the paralysis of our movement
Our list has gained a few subscribers and there have been threads
since my last post and I thought I should comment briefly. Red
Renascence discussed (Sept 14) the contradictions and competition
between various ideologies. Chris discussed (Sept 4) his idea of
starting a socialist or communist club at his university (he also
asked if it would be ok to link to http://communism.org and
http://mediaweapon.com -- yes, of course :-) ... ). And Robert
questioned (Sept 9) whether the revolutionary movement is really
paralyzed by a crisis of theory.
For those new here, or who have not yet seen it, I suggest taking
a look at my page on "proletarism" at
http://struggle.net/proletarism . The article there is
relatively short and easy to understand (it was written for the
limited knowledge and attention span of many of my 14 year old
readers who want quick and concentrated answers to basic
questions). The crisis of theory is real and, whether we realize
it or not, it impacts (ie: profoundly degrades) all revolutionary
work by anyone and everyone every single day. If we cannot offer
an alternative to the present system of bourgeois rule that makes
sense to people who have not had a lobotomy -- then there can
_never_ be a mass movement which is aimed at the elimination of
the system of bourgeois rule.
We need to be able to answer basic questions which we are asked.
We cannot do so at present. The bourgeoisie and its myriad
apologists can answer basic questions (ie: their answer is
TINA -- "there is no alternative" to continued bourgeois rule and
the current commodity-based system of production and exchange)
and they have this ability to saturate the mass media (and the
marginal media) with their answers 24 x 7. According to the
bourgeoisie all attempts to create a society that they do not
rule are doomed to become police states ruled by a party which
suppresses all criticism and suppresses the independent political
voice and independent political life of the working class. I
believe that my theoretical work has stumbled onto at least an
outline of the proletariat's response. This work may be able to
greatly help us develop the ability to bring to a vast audience
the need to eliminate the system of bourgeois rule.
For those who would like to see theoretical work that is a bit
deeper than an article I created for 14 year old readers -- I
recommend reading part 7 of the anarcho-leninist debate on the
state at: http://struggle.net/ALDS/part_7.htm .
4. Steve Wallis takes on the SWP (Britain)
Steve, I read with interest the first part of your post
concerning your adventures at the Marxism 2004 events this July
and with the SWP in Britain. (For those readers in the US who
are not familiar with the alphabet soup of competing trotskyist
groups -- the SWP in Britain has no relation to the SWP in the US
but rather is the "mother party" of the group in the US known as
the ISO -- the International Socialist Organization.)
I have a few comments.
First: welcome aboard. Your Sept 8 post was your first post here
and I hope it will not be your last. We need people here who are
capable of making independent assessments and taking independent
action. Distributing 1500 independently created leaflets at the
Marxism 2004 conference is a good thing althou, unfortunately, I
have not had time to read all of your post or study the leaflet
within it as I have only a very superficial knowledge of the
united front efforts in Britain that have been much talked about
within the British left.
I will note that I somewhat skeptical of your assessment that the
SWP's "leadership is heavily infiltrated by conspiratorial
organizations on the side of big business". There is no
shortage of left organizations that are dominated by the
reformist ideology and social strata (in my view most are).
However the reformist domination is usually best described in
terms other than "conspiratorial". The reformist domination may
be news to many activists (who do not understand the nature of
reformism) but it cannot be described as a "conspiracy" since it
is usually in the open provided that you know what to look for.
If the SWP in Britain is anything like the "daughter party" in
the US (ie: the ISO) I suspect the problem is more the sectarian
disease than the reformist disease. Both diseases will lead to
sabotage of the revolutionary struggle and the liquidation of
revolutionary work. Since I am speaking out of a great amount of
ignorance it is possible that I am mistaken. But it is important
to keep in mind that unprincipled manipulation that sabotages
revolutionary work is not necessarily proof of hidden bourgeois
control. Sometimes it is simply a product of a sectarian agenda
that disregards the needs of the movement and sees nothing but
the possibility of recruiting the young and willing bodies of
I will note that, in May 2000, I wrote an article about the
"civil war" between the SWP-Britain and the ISO-USA. This was a
war which was waged by the mother party in order to control the
daughter party. The leaderships of both parties initially
attempted to keep the war secret from their memberships. However
as the war escalated some dissident members of both groups were
disgusted by the secrecy and posted some of the relevant articles
on the internet. My comments on this focused on how the internet
is changing the terrain involved in these kinds of sectarian
squabbles and will eventually lead to the extinction of the
sectarian disease. It is posted under the title of:
"The SWP/ISO fight--and the intervention of the internet" at:
5. Reply to DJ -- Creating the party of the future
The rest of this post will be focused on my reply to DJ. I hope
that everyone is cool with this. I recognize DJ, more than I do
anyone here, as my peer -- as a "political" person. The term
"political", of course, has a great many meanings. I recognize
DJ as my peer not because he has great experience as a
revolutionary activist (his experience is limited) but because
within him there breathes a certain kind of determination -- a
certain kind of fire.
What this means, in practice, is someone who is very determined
to take the actions that have real weight in relation to the
class struggle of the proletariat. This kind of determination
means a willingness to confront, and wrestle with, the difficult
questions around which everything else revolves.
DJ and I discussed (see my weekly focus # 16 at
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pof-200/message/564 ) the idea of
working together on a wiki page dealing with the nature of
reformism. There has also been discussion (see:
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pof-200/message/577 ) of (1) a
leaflet written by some former comrades of mine who are presently
organized into the Communist Voice Organization (CVO) and (2) an
organization that DJ is currently studying , the League for a
Revolutionary Party (LRP) and (3) the interaction between these
two rival groups.
Joint work on wiki page against reformism
I would like to start with my proposal that DJ and I work
together on a wiki page dealing with the nature of reformism.
The main issue here is how to move this forward in a practical
way as quickly and easily as possible.
DJ, since our views on this question are different in various
ways the easiest and most practical method of moving this forward
would be to create a page (or pages) which consist of different
sections. Each section could be demarcated with a horizontal
line (or by a simple table) and would conclude with "(written by
DJ)", "(written by Ben)" or "(approved by DJ and Ben)".
Initially most of the sections would be written by you or me but
over time we might be able to have more sections that both of us
agree with. There are also other possibilities concerning how
this page could be organized such that neither of us feel that
our views are misrepresented -- but the proposal above might be a
relatively quick and simple way of getting started.
Here is my proposal for the section at the top of the page:
DJ Dialectic and Ben Seattle both feel that the development
of a mass movement for the overthrow of bourgeois rule
is inseparable from the struggle against the influence of
the social strata (composed of trade union bureaucrats,
religious leaders, poverty pimps and progressive media
personalities) which preaches to activists the supposed
wisdom of restricting our struggle to those actions which
are deserving of respect in the eyes of the liberal-labor
politicians and professional opinion makers. We believe
the independent political movement of the working class
can only develop in the struggle against this kind of
treachery and blackmail and we have decided to work
together to expose the sabotaging role of the reformist
political trends which aim to suck the life and militancy
out of the antiwar movement and all other similar
movements in society.
If you agree with this--then go ahead and create the page with
the passage above, concluding with "(approved by DJ and Ben)", at
the top. That would be a start. We need to start somewhere.
Then you could add your own sections -- and/or include sections
that I have written on my pages. At this time only you or me
would be authorized to edit the page.
If you don't like the passage above, or would like to modify it
or create a different passage -- then let me know. I am
confident that our views are sufficiently close that we can find
a way to work together and make this happen.
Please let me know if this sounds like a practical and reasonable
way to get things started.
DJ's Live Journal posts
DJ, I have read some of your posts at
http://www.livejournal.com/users/djdialectic/ and find them to be
very interesting. I would hope that you would give serious
consideration, in the future, to formatting (to avoid the broken
line problem when email software uses a different line width than
your word processing software) and forwarding these posts here
to the pof-200 list. I have read some of the comments that your
posts receive on Live Journal and I note that while many of the
comments have problems they are generally of a higher quality
(ie: more serious, more focused, more reflective of revolutionary
experience) than many of the posts on this list. I hope that
eventually the quality of the discussion here becomes much
higher. Forwarding to this list your Live Journal posts might
represent a step in that direction.
The CVO leaflet
I read, carefully, your criticism of the CVO leaflet that I
forwarded as an appendix to my weekly focus # 16 (readers: see
links for msgs 564 and 566 above). At one point you express a
concern that your criticism "may seem like sectarian nitpicking".
I would like to express my view that your concern is very well
I am replying to you on this topic because I believe that genuine
revolutionary collaboration is not possible without honest and
respectful criticism. So, before going any further, I want to
emphasize that, while we do not shrink from criticizing one
another, our primary responsibility as revolutionary activists is
to find ways to work together in the context of building a
community of activists which is serious and focused. The need
for revolutionary cooperation is frequently forgotten the moment
activists enter into the strange energy fields which emanate from
competing groups in the left which frequently act as if they are
engaged in a life-and death struggle against one another. No one
(not even the most militant, the most dedicated, the most
experienced activists) is immune from the sectarian disease so
there is a need for extreme caution when in proximity to the
sectarian energy field.
I say these things to emphasize that our work to build a
community here -- and our proposed joint wiki page describing the
nature of the reformist ideology and social strata (and the need
for struggle to remain independent of its influence) must take
precedence over discussion of our differences. If we forget
that -- then we are lost.
Basically, I see very little that is wrong with the leaflet.
Yes, any leaflet that I distribute would also bring up some of
the deeper questions -- which the CVO leaflet evades. The CVO
typically distributes these leaflets with a prominent hammer and
sickle at the top -- but the CVO's leaflets are never able to
address (or even discuss in an intelligent way) the kinds of
questions which are raised in the minds of readers when they see
this "communist" symbol.
However the things which I believe are left out of the leaflet
appear to have little relationship to the things which you
believe are left out of the leaflet.
Is there really a need to confront the reader (more than the
leaflet already does) with the fact that a vote for Kerry is a
vote for war, austerity and oppression? The problem is not that
people are voting for Kerry -- but that the Kerry campaign is
being used as part of an effort to suck the life and militancy
out of the antiwar movement. This is fundamental. The leaflet
addresses this issue (with great skill and tact in my view) by
making extremely clear (with fairly comprehensive analysis
covering Iraq, repression, the economy, the environment and
health care) that Kerry and Bush are controlled by the same
people -- and have essentially the same program --and urging
readers to become involved in the mass movements whether or not
they are voting for Kerry or Nader.
Antagonizing readers with demands that they not vote for Kerry
would be clueless and would accomplish nothing.
Further, I disagree with your analysis that the problems of the
CVO can be described as "centrism".
I agree with you that the CVO is not taking the actions which are
decisive to the development of the class struggle of the
proletariat. But historically, the term "centrism" is used to
mean something a little different than this. Historically
"centrism" refers to efforts to retard the process of the working
class breaking from the influence of reformist (or reformist
controlled) political trends. The CVO leaflet, on the contrary,
works to accelerate the process of activists breaking from the
influence of the Kerry and Nader reformists.
When Trotsky (prior to 1917) worked to promote illusions in the
kinds of cooperation that were possible between the Bolshevik and
Menshevik trends -- this was an example of centrism.
Your criticisms of the CVO (to the extent that they are valid)
would be expressed better by simply saying that they are not
taking up the tasks which are decisive. But putting matters in
this context raises the question of which tasks _are_ decisive
(since there is much disagreement on this).
Also, your criticism of the CVO for failing, in its leaflet, to
prove to workers that a revolutionary party is needed -- is a
criticism which is not very well developed.
A real party will wield the weapon of transparency
No one today (no political trend as far as I am aware) has done
an adequate job of addressing the issue of genuinely
revolutionary organization. We need a "revolutionary party".
Fine. But what exactly is a "revolutionary party"? The trends
which talk, constantly, about the need for a revolutionary party
generally don't have a clue what a revolutionary party would look
like and what it would _do_ in the context of modern conditions.
I looked at the LRP article you recommended on "The Leninist
Conception of the Revolutionary Vanguard Party" and found very
little there that answered the fundamental questions concerning
the principles that would be used in the organization of this
party and its activity. What I found instead were various
truisms that explain very little and endless, mind-numbing
repetition of the same abstract generalizations that have been
repeated for decades by people who do not have a clue what any
of it means. It is a supreme farce that Lenin's name is used to
promote this kind of stale crap.
Genuine revolutionary organization would involve finding methods
of bringing serious, militant activists together to engage in
common struggle and to sort out and focus on the tasks which are
decisive. This would require public discussion and public
debate. Unfortunately, both the CVO and the LRP appear to me to
be deathly afraid of any process which might lead to political
transparency -- which might lead to their having to publicly
answer public questions from activists concerning their actions
and their priorities.
Neither of their web sites allow for readers to post
comments, questions or criticisms. This is not a technical
problem. Rather it is fundamental to the operation of a
political cult which cannot exist without illusions among their
supporters in the supposed competence of their central
leaderships. The result is political trends which believe
themselves (and proclaim themselves to be) leaders of the working
class -- but which are not accountable to the working class in
any way whatsoever.
Any _real_ revolutionary organization that emerges from this
point forward will make use of the weapon of transparency; will
encourage activists to ask public questions and to make public
comments and criticisms.
By providing solid and reliable public answers to public
questions a real revolutionary organization will provide a
service to militant activists everywhere (who are struggling like
hell to make sense of the movement and their role in it), help to
bring order out of chaos, prove that it does not have its head
stuck in a place that can't be reached by sunlight -- and
demonstrate that it is worthy of attention and respect.
Both the CVO and LRP, it is clear to me, include in their ranks a
number of serious militant activists. Both organizations (in
spite of their infection with the sectarian disease) do a fair
amount of good and useful work and embody a fair amount of
revolutionary experience. In both cases our attitude must be to
"cure the disease and save the patient". But it is something of
an understatement to say that our efforts in this direction are
not likely to be appreciated ;-)
The CVO-LRP polemic concerning the fight against the draft
While I am on the topic of the CVO and LRP phenomena, I should
note their recent polemics concerning the struggle against the
draft. I had earlier glanced at the CVO's articles on this topic
and concluded that they were simply picking on some clueless trot
group with whom they were in competition for the warm, living
bodies of activists. After learning about the LRP from you -- I
took a closer look the next time I went to the CVO site and
discovered that the clueless trot group was the LRP -- which
fails to recognize that it is important to struggle against the
At least on this topic, I think it should be clear that the CVO
has the upper hand. In these kinds of fights the losing group
can never admit defeat because, to do so, would undermine, among
its own supporters, belief in the competence of its central
leadership (which would threaten the existence of any
organization based on this kind of confidence game). Rather than
admit is it mistaken, the LRP was reduced to ... well I don't
really know ... because I didn't finish reading their
At one point (I think -- I didn't read their article very
carefully) the LRP claimed that the CVO distorted their position
on the draft. Of course the CVO is a master at distortion. The
CVO is a slick as deer guts on a doorknob. However in this case
the CVO got it right. At one point the LRP says:
> any campaign against the draft represents a demandCase closed. The LRP is clueless here on the nature of the
> on the capitalist state to maintain a professional,
> mercenary army, since that is its only alternative.
> That is why we say "'No Draft' Is No Answer."
struggle for partial demands.
Why we struggle for partial demands
I wanted to touch on this, DJ, because this subject was the topic
of one of your Live Journal posts and is also central to the
struggle against the influence of the reformist social strata and
The term "partial demand" is synonymous with "reform". The
struggle for a partial demand is a struggle for a reform. The
struggle against the draft is a just struggle even if it leaves
the capitalist state and its imperialist army intact. Such is
the nature of any partial demand. (In fact the term "partial
demand" originates in the idea that the full demand would be for
the bourgeoisie to surrender power.)
DJ -- Sept 2:
> this abdication means, "fight for reforms, and onceThe proletariat leads or assists the various struggles for
> the capitalist class as a whole beats you up, you'll
> realize capitalism as a whole is your enemy."
partial demands for a variety of reasons. The basic reasons are
(1) to improve the conditions of life and work
of the masses,
(2) to build the fighting capacity and self-confidence
of the masses -- and their confidence in the tactics
of mass struggle and
(3) to raise the consciousness of the masses concerning how
the class struggle works and who their real friends are
and who their real enemies are.
The third point is key.
It is generally only in the course of actual struggles that the
false friends of the working class reveal themselves for what
they are -- as they work to sabotage the struggle. Similarly, it
is only in the course of real struggles that the advanced forces
gain the respect and attention of the workers and the activists.
The CVO is an offshoot of the MLP. The MLP grew, step by step,
out of the actions of a group of activists organized as the
Cleveland Draft Resistance Union. The CDRU was very militant (it
had to be to survive in that period) and led to an organization
which engaged in frequent street fights with the police over
their right to distribute literature and to organize marches.
Whatever the weaknesses of the CDRU, it made possible everything
you see of my work.
Can the "crisis of theory" be reduced to "Stalinism" ?
DJ -- Sept 8:
> I think that the crisis of theory largely stems fromI believe you are mistaken. On nearly every essential point,
> Stalinism and all the controversies surrounding it
Trotskyism is in full agreement with Stalinism.
The crisis of theory goes much deeper. The essence of the crisis
of theory is that activists are unable to describe:
(1) how a society (and economy) would function
that did not rely on commodity production
(2) how the transition period would lead from
a commodity economy to an economy
that was not based on commodity production
In addition, a subset of the crisis of theory revolves around the
question of the revolutionary organization of the working class.
(3) how would this organization work and what would it do?
As far as I can determine Trotskyism is a big zero on all three
All three questions are related to the control and flow of
information. My own work has led me to conclude that the concept
of "information war" is central to the solution to the crisis of
theory in the context of conditions in the 21st century.
I will add that the CVO is carrying out a protracted series
(three articles so far) on "Trotskyism's anti-Marxist Theories".
I have skimmed portions of this series. Parts of it appear
correct and well considered. Other parts are the skilled
charlatanism at which, unfortunately, Joseph Green has become
very practiced. While I cannot enthusiastically recommend this
series I would consider it likely to be worth reading or
skimming. These groups on the left work hard to dig up "dirt" on
one another and frequently they are quite successful at doing so.
The struggle against the TUB's
TUB's, by the way, is the abbreviation that I sometimes use for
"trade union bureaucrats". It has been a popular abbreviation
that workers often liked in MLP leaflets because the labor hacks,
just like cops who hang around a donut shop too much, are often
very well fed.
DJ -- Sept 2:
> It also says we should oppose the union leaders.I don't know if it will help much but I can think of two examples
> But how do we oppose the capitalist class and
> the union leaders? With what do we oppose them?
> The leaflet counterposes "independent mass struggles."
that may possibly shed light on your question.
The first is the leaflet put out by the LRP opposing the sellout
of NY transit hack Roger Toussaint. (Toussaint, by the irony of
the small world we live in, is a former member of the MLP who
sold his soul to reformism after the MLP dissolved itself in
The second example (much more recent) is a CVO post that I
discovered on Seattle Indymedia this morning (it had, by some
miracle, been posted in the coveted center column by the
reformist IMC editors). It consists of an article and leaflet on
the current contract talks of the local grocery workers (who were
sold out by the slick manipulation of the tub's).
I have only briefly skimmed both the LRP leaflet against
Toussaint and the CVO leaflet against the local hacks -- so I
cannot fully endorse either leaflet. But the general approach of
telling the workers the truth and (to the extent possible)
assisting the workers to find the difficult path of independent
struggle -- is the way forward.
Saving the patient
I have spent a fair amount of time discussing the CVO and the
LRP. It was probably necessary to do so. It is important to
keep in mind, DJ, that our main responsibility is to struggle to
find ways to work together in a productive way. We may need to
remind ourselves of this from time to time -- because we may need
to struggle to remember this. My former comrades in the CVO
(some of whom were personal friends) will no longer talk to me --
because I will not compromise on principle. But I love them and
no one will work more consistently to help them achieve their
aspiration of helping the working class to organize itself.
The most damning question that can be asked about the good
comrades in both of these organizations is: Why aren't you
The answer to this question revolves around _us_. It is _our_
responsibility, DJ, to create a community here where the good
comrades from both of these organizations (and many other
organizations) can come and engage in respectful dialog with
others and participate in meaningful projects that accomplish
something and which represent valuable assistance to the struggle
of the working class.
We have our work cut out for us. And it would be great if we had
more help from knowledgeable and experienced activists. But that
will probably only come later -- after we have proven that this
community is taking steps in the direction of becoming something
that is real.
Some links follow.
Sincerely and with revolutionary regards,
----//-// Sept 19, 2004
http://struggle.net/Ben (my elists / theory / infrastructure)
The LRP surrenders to militarism
and the threat of a new draft
An outline of Trotskyism's
anti-Marxist theories (part three)
On the grocery workers' struggle
> AFL-CIO leaders' sabotage the workers'
> economic struggles, just as they sabotage
> the workers' desire to fight the Iraqi occupation.
> About the California and Washington state
> grocery workers' struggles
> The following article by Helen Jones, one of the
> supporters of the Communist Voice Organization
> in Seattle, discusses the Washington state settlement.
> In both struggles, the workers faced not only intense
> pressure from the capitalists, but sabotage from
> the class-collaborationist leaders of the UFCW.
> Following this is a leaflet by Helen that was originally
> intended as a leaflet in support of local grocery
> workers. It deals with the experience of the
> California strike as well as the issues in Washington