[Fwd: militia research]

Carrol Cox cbcox at rs6000.cmp.ilstu.edu
Tue Jun 2 12:35:59 PDT 1998

Doug writes:

> Oh yeah, and they're Nazis too. They're horrible, no question about it. But
> there are also lots of people who aren't like that, who are just
> "anti-system," who know that they're being fucked over but just don't know
> exactly how, etc. There's a rich mine of barely articulated discontent in
> America, and it doesn't help when The Nation denounces it as crypto-fascism.
> There's also a way in which fear of the right is used to cement people to
> Clinton and the Democrats. Vote for Clinton or Ralph Reed and Mark from
> Michigan will run America! It's no accident that Joe Conason finds a Nazi
> under every heartland bed.

I agree with the second paragraph quoted here without reservation, but the first paragraph's conclusion, on a "rich mine of etc" (and post after post like it various marxism lists) raises a question. The core here is that "rich mine," *not* whatever SYMPTOMS or manifestations of that "rich mine" exist at any given time. That such a potential for resistance exists has been the very foundation of the left as long as anything one might call a left has existed.

And there is even a fairly time honored practice built on that foundation, a practice which needs continual refining in new circumstances but no real retheorizing: The left builds a program founded in principle which confronts and explains the grounds of that discontent and puts forth various strategies for dealing with it, in both a short run and a long run sense. (This always, of course, brings up endless practical questions about the resolution of contradictions between "reform" and "revolution.") The left then incorporates that vision if you will, grounded in principle in endless particular struggles of elements of the working class, joining in those struggles, and within that framework (usually in one to one or 2 to 5 face to face discussions) brings ever more people to join in, at various levels of consciousness, to the various struggles.

[This is vague, but it is so commonplace in the 200 year history of the left that it should suffice for a moment. The turning of that vagueness into more *potentially* more specific terms is, I take it, one of the hoped-for results of these maillists. I insert *potentially* because maillists are too separated from actual ongoing practice to fully ground such a debate.]

And *if* such a program (or, usually, set of overlapping, partially conflicting, partially mutually reinforcing progams -- plural) exits, *then* it will appeal to all who *can* at a given time be reached, and it becomes pointless to worry about whether those faceless ones out there are, ar present, militia or dupes of Clinton/AFL-CIO or "middle class" wimps. The program will reach them to the extent that a more or less sloppily correct program (we have no reason to write platonic blueprints for an acceptable left program) can reach them.


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