File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-01-29.113, message 45


Date: Tue, 28 Jan 1997 08:54:46 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: M-I: Hitler's democratic victory: a big lie



I think we might wrap this one up Louis. No one else seems to be
interested in it, and you have evidently accomplished your purpose in
exposing my true colors as a liberal reformist.

I think the lines on this are delineated. Your view seems to be that all
bourgeois states are the same, whether they are Nazi dictatorship or
liberal democracies, and that liberal deocracy is not worth defending even
against Nazi dictatorship. You think Hubert Humphprey is the same as
Hitler, and the choice between Nixon and Humphrey is the same as that
between Weimar and Nazism (see below.) I differ.

We agree that socialist revolution is better than either if we can get it.
We even agree that due to the mistakes and stupidities of the German left
>from 1923 to 1933 socialist revolution was not practicable in 1933. But we
draw different lessons from this. You conclude that revolutionaries facing
Hitler in those circustances ought to have said, A plague on both your
houses, let's have a revolution (even if they thought that they couldn't
have one in time). I think that they should have struggled for a Popular
Front that would have preserved space for revolutionary organization and
agitation.

You misrepresent my position on Spain. I am basically a POUMist as far as
the Spanish Revolution goes, which means I think the POUM was right in
offering both critical support to the Republican government while
insisting deepening, widening, and defending the revolutionary gains from
below. I regard the situation in Spain as essentially different from that
of Weimar Germany. There we differ.

On a personal note, I think I am indeed capable to learning. I learned
something from you, and admitted it too: you reminded me of something of
which I had forgotten in the history of late Weimar, namelt the suspension
of civil liberties before the '33 elections. I conceded that you were
right about its implications for those elections, that they could not be
regarded as democratic.

As to market socialism, I am quite willing to learn, and indeed have
learned from others. Dave B. revealed to me in our last round a point I
had not clearly grsaped, which is why democracy is no answer to the
calculation problem. Of course this is not what he was trying to show me,
but we can learn things from others they do not mean to teach. In any
event, I am far from dogmatic about MS. I'd prefer to think that planning
would work. I just have not met with the arguments that would persuade me
of this. 

Anyway, we mught as well wrap up the discussion of Weimar, since the
positions are out there and no one else wishes to pursue the matter.  

On Mon, 27 Jan 1997, Louis Proyect wrote:

> Louis: The prospects were not good because the SP and the CP had been making
> mistakes for an entire decade. Workers are not trained seals who you can
> call into action by clapping your hands and tossing them a fish. That is why
> they ignored the CP when it called for a general strike to protest Papen's
> seizure of power in Prussia. The SP made opportunist mistakes rather than
> ultraleft mistakes. 
> 
> Justin shares the foolish illusions of the SP leaders when he says that a
> Popular Front could have saved Weimar. There is little difference between
> the Spanish Popular Front and the Weimar Republic in class terms. All the
> Spanish Popular Front amounted to was the Weimar Republic with workers
> parties sharing power. The *actions* of the Popular Front Government were
> basically the same as Weimar and they were designed to protect capital.
> 
> Louis: What third-rate syllogistic banalities. The SP and CP were incapable
> of intelligent revolutionary action. Therefore the only meaningful path of
> action was to support the creation of a Popular Front in Germany! This
> tortured logic is what I might have expected from Justin's stepping forward
> to be an attorney for Weimar reformism. 
> 
> There are principles involved that call for opposing the German nationalist
> and militarist Hindenburg. Justin thinks it made sense to vote for him--that
> is what "defending Weimar" really means when you strip away the socialist
> rhetoric. He also finds the Spanish Popular Front government an appropriate
> model for Germany in the 1933. 
> 
> politician against the other, the workers will suffer. Workers in the United
> States should not have backed Hubert Humphrey because he was not as bad as
> George Wallace. Workers in Germany should not have backed Hindenburg because
> he was not as bad as Hitler.
> 
> One thing that I have noticed about you on this list is that you never
> express doubt about anything. Once you have made up your mind about
> something, you don't budge. 
> 
> You are a combative and egotistical individual who seeks nothing more than a
> bruising debate. I am only to happy to accomodate you, since I am even more
> combative and egotistical than you.
> 
> Unlike you, I am always eager to learn from other people on occasion. I have





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