File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1996/96-11-13.154, message 109

Date: Tue, 12 Nov 1996 13:55:58 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re: M-I: Cyberseminar Progress Report 1

On Tue, 12 Nov 1996, Jason A Schulman wrote:

> I was under the impression that the Johnson-Forrest crew was something
> less than uncritical regarding the immanence of revolution.
[Interesting citation from Hal Draper cut here]
> Perhaps Cde. McLemee can clear this up?
> -- Jason

	Thanks for the Draper citation, which I hadn't seen.  While 
written with a poison pen, Draper's characterization is accurate enough 
-- the Johnsonites were indeed ultra-revolutionary, or at least highly 
optimistic about the possibility of revolution in the post-WW II period.  
(I'm not sure, but I think Lou P. has confused Johnson-Forest with the 
more sanguine Morrow-Goldman faction in the SWP, which at around the same 
time was developing a more critical perspective on what's been called 
"fatalistic Marxism").

	Anyway, I don't want to start writing my paper just yet -- but 
let me say this much for now.  Johnson-Forest offered a hell of a lot 
more than "soviets in the sky" (as Irving Howe, like Draper their 
polemical opponent, dubbed the Johnsonites' revolutionary enthusiasm).  
They never saw a copy of HISTORY AND CLASS CONSCIOUSNESS, but in many 
ways are rather like the Lukacs of that earlier, heady moment.  The same 
strengths, the same weaknesses -- including an ultraleftism that 
cohabited with a powerful emphasis on the centrality of dialectics to 

	Finally:  a note of thanks to all parties involved in convening 
this cyberseminar.  I'm really glad to have a chance to discuss this 
stuff, which I've been researching for eight years.  Anybody in DC who 
makes it to Vertigo Books this weekend -- when I'm giving a talk, "C.L.R. 
James and Richard Wright:  A Conversation," in connection with the new 
book CLR JAMES ON THE "NEGRO QUESTION" -- please say hello.  It would be 
great to associate a person with a sig-line . . . 


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