Alex LoCascio alexlocascio at juno.com
Fri Dec 4 03:43:03 PST 1998

On Fri, 4 Dec 1998 08:50:59 EST Apsken at aol.com writes:

>This, and his "workerist" slurs as justification for inaction reflect a
>seriously flawed political outlook.

"Workerist?" Huh? Is workerism the notion that any successful revolution must be largely working class in origin? If so, then I suppose I'm guilty of being a "workerist," although I could've sworn the term was "Marxist."

>Yet this same fellow was slagging me a
>while ago for engaging in mass anti-fascist activity that conflicted
>Saint Noam's view of free speech. In that instance, remoteness from
>was presented as more virtuous than engagement.

Um, no. That's just plain wrong. I did take issue with your slandering of Noam Chomsky, but I didn't say anything about your own "anti-fascist activity." You had that fight with another list denizen, and I'll thank you not to drag me into it.

>what place is so isolated
>from struggle that it can justify Alex's abstention? Do you live at the

Good guess. No, Charlotte, NC. As I've said before, the only activity going on (other than the current strike at Continental General Tire) is largely Clintonite or Democratic Party based. Like I said in an earlier post, helping to get out the vote for Democratic congressional candidates or protesting a speech by Ken Starr is not useful activity, not even in a reformist sense. In fact, it's counterproductive.

>If the only legitimate struggles are those of sanctified, certified
>white?) class-conscious workers, excepting the odd Central America
>movement, what does that leave for independent mass action by oppressed
>of color, women, youth, the elderly, and so forth?

Oh please. Don't put words in my mouth. I never said anything about the only struggles being those sanctified by white, male, class-conscious workers.

I was born to an "opressed woman of color," but you'd probably accuse her of being a "workerist" too, seeing as how she was a steward for her union and all.

>If one is blind to the expoitation and oppression in his own
>community, how can he dare to scold anyone else for engaging in the
>struggles he shuns?

Look, buddy. I'm not blind to the exploitation and oppression in my own community. But movements happen for specific reasons. Workers form unions because they can no longer tolerate being treated like shit by their bosses. People of color demand social and economic justice because they can no longer tolerate being second class citizens. Unions go on strike because they don't want to make concessions and/or get shafted with a lousy contract.

You can't MAKE a movement happen out of sheer voluntarism. Movements are contingent upon circumstances. In my particular locale, things haven't reached the point where the exploited and oppressed have decided to organize into any sort of "movement." I'm not about to go force them too. When the time comes, I'll be there giving my full support. Don't scold me for not engaging in struggles when there are no struggles to be found.

I already mentioned the strike by the USWA. If they have any need for me, they'll reach me and I'll give them 100% of my energies. But I'm not going to walk into the union hall uninvited and start telling them how to do things.

>Rather than studying Karl Marx's writings, if this is its pathetic
>consequence, I would recommend reading biographies and memoirs of
>activists to learn how to engage in political activity.

I'm reading Trotsky's autobio right now. Does he count as a "radical activist?" Or would you accuse him of being a "workerist?"

Oh, and I'm reading it IN TANDEM with Marx's writings. No need to junk the master to make room for other stuff.

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