File spoon-archives/marxism-international.archive/marxism-international_1997/marxism-international.9710, message 179

Date: Fri, 10 Oct 1997 09:14:10 -0400
Subject: M-I: Is the issue "Browderism" or the Popular Front?

Lou Godena:

>Further, it raised a number of issues which have *not* been discussed, for
>example, the role of Browderism and its effects on Left thinking in the
>'thirties and 'forties.  Too, it seriously challenged the view that the
>Comintern was a monolith were all decisions came directly from the office of
>Josef Stalin; recent scholarship, especially, has shown, decisively, that
>this is not the case.

I wasn't discussing "monolithism". I was criticizing the conciliationist
attitude of the Latin American Communist Parties toward the bourgeoisie.
The policy was called the "Popular Front", not "Browderism". Earl Browder
developed the logic of the Popular Front further than any other Communist
leader, but the Popular Front was official policy. Stalin himself cooked it
up. Communist support for bourgeois parties during the Spanish Civil War
and Cuban CP support for the dictator Batista are all symptoms of the same
problem: Stalin believed that support for capitalist politicians was within
the parameters of Marxism.

I disagree.

When the Stalinists urge workers and peasants to support the parties of the
ruling class, they are departing from Marxism. Marxism is about class
independence. This has been a consistent thread in American Communism for
more than 60 years and has nothing to do with the presence or absence of
Browder or Browderism. The Communists have an orientation to the Democratic
Party. Two Communists, current m-i lurker Charlotte Kates and ex-list
member Scott Marshall, have urged us to vote for the party of Zionism, Wall
Street finance capital and imperialist war. Lou Godena is uncomfortable
with this position, but has never come to terms with it ideologically.

The notion of Stalin as intransigent revolutionary is a myth. The movement
he spawned 
has consistently sought out one politican or another in the ruling class to
curry favor with. If there is to be a revolutionary socialist movement in
the United States, it must
break with the capitalist parties. The social democratic DSA and Lou
Godena's party are always finding excuses why we shold vote for Democrats,
like Lyndon Johnson or Hubert Humphrey or Walter Mondale. This is not
revolutionary. It is reformism. It is still reformism no matter how much an
individual Communist "maverick" like Lou Godena tries to associate himself
with armed struggles in Peru or the Philippines. What good does it do to
tell workers to support Comrade Gonzalo and vote for a Democrat? It is
Democrats who are attacking their standard of living, not Fujimoro.

I suggest the real thread worth developing is not "Browderism" but the
Popular Front.

Louis Proyect

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