[lbo-talk] Wisconsinism

Marv Gandall marvgand at gmail.com
Thu Aug 11 15:39:56 PDT 2011

On 2011-08-11, at 4:15 PM, Carrol Cox wrote:

> And the form in which The Left appears probably never repeats itself. The single party, grounded in the strong union movement, for which Marv nostalgically dreams, will never appear again: But The Left Will.

Forms change, but if there is to be real social change which fundamentally alters capitalist power and property relations, I expect it will still require a party exercising political power which is based on a wide range of mass-based organizations - some of which will undoubtedly be new, others of which which will provide continuity with the past.

I don't think we can say much more than that. I noted as recently as a few weeks ago that "unless and until the US working class returns to its militant roots and begins to move left, there is simply no way of knowing for certain whether such an impulse would initially express itself inside or outside the DP. This is the strategic question which has divided American socialists for generations - it has affected where they position themselves in relation to the party and their attitude to its base - and as it can't be resolved in debate, it hardly warrants the furor surrounding it on both sides."


On the other hand, you claim to know both which institutions, such as a revived labour movement, will "never appear again", and that "The Left" - an empty abstraction if there ever was one - will spring full-blown and united in its opposition to the organizations and politics you presently reject. In fact, those who have, broadly speaking, supported the trade unions and allied social movements have always had very different ideas of what it is and what its objectives ought to be. If a mass left does reappear, there're every reason to suppose it will continue to be composed of revolutionary Marxists and anarchists and of reformist social democrats and liberals in various guises, still manifesting their historic differences, each vying for control of the movement, and our having no way of forecasting the outcome of a struggle which has yet to even erupt.

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list