File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/97-04-03.022, message 56

Date: Wed, 2 Apr 1997 10:28:50 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: M-I: re: Old quarrels can be transcended

Mark Jones:

>Since I know you are a person who is prepared to abide by the rules of
>debate, we can and I hope shall discuss whether or not the USA is not 
>A Place but THE Place where revolution must happen if the world as a whole 
>is ever to become socialist. 

Louis Proyect:

There are groups in the United States that have attempted to make
revolutions over the past 30 years or so that were armed with the sort of
"Marxism-Leninism" represented by Jim Hillier's Communist Action Group.
These groups in their various manifestations have either been pro-Albanian,
pro-Chinese or pro-USSR of the 1930s. You used to see them at antiwar
demonstrations in the 1960s marching under big banners with pictures of
Stalin or Mao. The people carrying the banners looked like characters from a
Diane Arbus photo collection. You could see the whites of their eyes
completely surrounding the pupils and spittle in the corner of their mouths.
Central casting would have found use for an edgier version of Martin Short
to play these unfortunate souls if a movie had ever been made about the
ultra-Stalinist left.

They always had names like the Communist Labor Party or the Revolutionary
Communist Party. Their bookstores were stocked to the rafters with Chinese
Communist Party pamphlets, old Stalin tracts, etc. These were and are lonely
places. The cadre who staff them are a pathetic lot: men and women my age
who wear Doc Martens and clenched fist t-shirts, and who won't let anybody
walk out of their bookstore without trying to sell them a copy of their
pathetic newspapers. They failed to sink roots in American society for the
same reason that their Trotskyist counterparts did. They are dogmatic and
sectarian, and more than a little bit frightening.

The United States has been in an economic and social crisis for the past 30
years or so, but hard-line Marxist-Leninist groups have failed to win even a
tiny fraction of the masses. What your ideological current and the
Trotskyist current, who both owe their party-building model to Zinoviev's
Comintern, have in common is an inability to apply Marxism creatively. You
create cult formations. Or tiny sects that live in an imaginary landscape of
"World Mobilizations" and "Calls to Action" that involve no more than dozens
of your ideologically calcified co-thinkers. Like any cult formation, you
lack the self-critical awareness to draw a balance-sheet on your activities.
Everything is always working for the better. Even when the cult shrinks, it
is becoming more powerful.

I regard you and Adolfo on one side, and Hugh Rodwell and David Bedggood on
the other, to represent the same exact thing, no matter what position you
take on the Moscow trials, etc. You and your Trotskyist brethren have done
nothing but self-destruct in countries like the USA and England for the past
30 years. It is a trail littered by splits, expulsions and trials. The
Trotsky-worshipping Spartacist League just engineered a purge of their
long-time newspaper editor Jan Norden for having done nothing except think
unacceptable thoughts. You Stalin-worshippers have set up a LeninList with
"commissioners" instead of "moderators". Why would any sane person want to
be on a mailing list with people like you and Adolfo in charge?

Who wants to be around men who say sexist things like "having balls" instead
of using some other less provocative phrase. You come across as person
filled with the petty prejudices of the Stalin era. This is symptomatic of a
certain style of politics that emerged during the Comintern. Being a
Bolshevik meant wearing black leather jackets, cursing, drinking whiskey out
of the bottle, and, most importantly, being a man's man. It was the style,
by the way, that Gerry Healy adopted and implemented in his Trotskyist
cult-sect. It is just the sort of thing that might attract guilty rich white
people like Vanessa Redgrave, but has little appeal for the average working
man or woman.

You yourself epitomize this style. For all of you diplomatic references to
having comradely relations with me, you come across like a snarling thug. I
see that blackjack in your back pocket, even if it is concealed in a
rolled-up copy of the 18th Brumaire.

I'll conclude with this. It might be a good thing that the
"Marxist-Leninists" of the Stalin pedigree have gone their separate ways. It
was simply too much of a burden on m-i to have people like you and your
counterpart Rahul trading daily insults.

We of course have the most peculiar behavior going on over here currently.
We are like somebody who just had an amputation. The offending limb, of
course, is the Togliatti brigade, now of the LeninList. Meanwhile we are
stuck with the Orwell brigade which acts as if the limb were still attached.
Rahul just wrote a passionate "Homage to Turkey" to reply to you, but you
are not even a genuine presence on the list. This is some love-hate
relationship we have going on between Rahul and you. I expect that he cries
himself to sleep at night with the pain he feels about your disappearance.
If you weren't around, he might have to write about something boring like
Mezsaros, god forbid.

I say this now to my Stalinist and anti-Stalinist brethren and sistren: let
them go "fredrein sein kopfs." This is a bit of slang I picked up in
Nicaragua which loosely translated means go jump in the river.


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