Reply to Hinrich

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Dec 2 07:54:17 PST 1998

At 06:43 PM 12/1/98 -0800, you wrote:
>Louis Proyect <lnp3 at> wrote
>>At 03:51 PM 12/1/98 -0500, you wrote:
>>Louis Proyect wrote:
Gar Lipow:
>Louis -- not if it looks to people like the alternative is worse. Most
>working people know the way things are organized are shitty. But most
>working people the quite legitimate fear that "you can't beat city
>hall" and that if you do "meet the new boss, same as the old boss,
>don't get fooled again".

This is not really true. Most working people in the US, as opposed to Nigeria, do not view the way things are organized as "shitty". To begin with, this is the most apolitical nation on earth. The average high school student in Nicaragua I met in the late 80's knew more about American politics than the people I work with. Furthermore, the words "won't get fooled again" hardly apply today. The Who wrote this song in response to a student radicalization. Millions of students in that period were thinking about alternatives to capitalsm, while not many of them were conscious Marxists. No such ferment exists today. There is a simmering mood of discontent in the working class, but that is about it.

>The second fear, the fear that you are just building a new (and
>poverty stricken) dictatorship is quite real. The idea that socialism
>is undesirable, and infusible can be found among most American
>working people. The vast majority of workers will tell you the same
>thing -- that socialism is in some sense impossible in the long run,
>or at least will always lead to mass poverty,

I wouldn't dream of building a socialist party through propagandistic appeals about the superiority of a future society. That is the method of DeLeon's SLP. What will happen, if it happens at all, is that ordinary people will find themselves side by side with Marxists in profound struggles that are a matter of life and death. Previous examples in American history are the CIO organizing drives of the 1930s, the civil rights movement, and the Vietnam antiwar movement. I myself was won to the Trotskyist movement shortly after becoming an antiwar activist. Marxist parties orient to living struggles. Not only will this assure a steady supply of new members who are not just windbags, but it will serve as a corrective to the party. If you are not growing, it can only mean that you are not part of the living mass movement. Of course, in the case of something like the Spartacist League, there is no corrective since they prefer to remain tiny. I can't stand tiny groups myself, since they inhibit my social life.

Louis Proyect


More information about the lbo-talk mailing list