[lbo-talk] so . . .

Carrol Cox cbcox at ilstu.edu
Mon Aug 30 11:58:20 PDT 2010

We are in a period normal for capitalism -- i.e. the absence of an effective left opposition _or_ of any possibility of bringing such an left into existence by any deliberte act. Nevertheless, it is essential in such periods that leftists _do_ continue vigorously to attempt to initieate effective opposition. The lack of such (almost certainly futile) efforts would guarantee that the normal period of capital strength and left weakness would become permanent.

This createsd a difficult theoretical and practical problem: What is to be done when there is nothing to be done. That requires a good deal of clear collective thinking and and activity. There is a strong temptation, however, to sink into mere passivity disguised in the form of endless "criticism" of "The [non-existent] left for not instantly changing the world and endless arguments in whatever forums are available, are how bad capitalism is. It is just too frustrating to face the reality that demands we think and act under conditons when our thinking and acting will (almost alwys) achieve nothing.

There was no chance in 1960 that a student political organization woulc achieve anything. There was no chance in 1956 that demanding the right to ride in the front of the bus in Montgomery would achieve anything. There was no chance in 1965 that an anti-war demonstration would achieve anything. There had been student organizing before which disappeared. There had been refusals to sit in the back of the bus which led to nothing. There had been anti-war demos in v arious localities whch led to ntohing. Withoug all those acts which led to nothing there would nver have been acts which led to something.

So it is a serious political question and has nothing to do with bad temper: What is [best] to be done [and how] whenwe know in advance that nothing that we try will succeed. Without continuous f ailures there will be no successes. But those failures have to be planned as intelligently as possible and carried out as intelligently as possible. Hence the need for thinking about tactics and strategy -- and the poinless ness of endless rehashing of the idiocies of political trash such as Platypus or of enless roars and wails about how bad capitalism is.


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