[lbo-talk] sachs and poland

Gar Lipow gar.lipow at gmail.com
Mon Dec 5 09:53:04 PST 2011

Umm. Dont know why but I thought this was offlist. For the record I am not endorsing Wojos characterization at least not for everyone I'm arguing with.

On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 9:46 AM, Gar Lipow <gar.lipow at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Dec 5, 2011 at 6:32 AM, Wojtek S <wsoko52 at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Gar,
>> These guys are like the end-of-the-worlders - they know the rapture is
>> imminent, they will be saved and everyone else will be damned, and
>> debating them is pointless.  They only acknowledge those arguments and
>> facts that fit theirs, everything else is devil's deception.
> There is an audience, so there arguments should not go unrebutted.
> Also on a personal level if someone publicly mischaracterizes a
> position I take, I am not going to let it go uncorrected.
>> I have to admit being guilty of poking them with comments in a futile
>> hope that this will spur some critical thinking and rational debate -
>> but this is like throwing pebbles at zoo animals - the reaction is
>> quite predictable.
>> Unfortunately, the history of left wing movements is full of such
>> attitudes.  I recently read a piece on the history of the CP in Italy
>> in the 1920s i.e. during the fascist advance to power.  The "left"
>> faction staunchly believed that the "right" faction of the socialist
>> movement and social democrats were its main enemies, working with them
>> was playing into the hands of the bourgeoisie,  and consequently it
>> refused to form any common front with them against the fascists.  The
>> outcome was, as we all know, tragic - they were all eliminated by the
>> fascists.  A very different outcome from that in, say, Sweden or
>> Norway where socialists and social democrats cooperated and created a
>> welfare state that survived both socialism and the neoliberal
>> onslaught that followed its downfall.
>> >From that pov, it is a good thing that these self-styled radicals have
>> zero political influence, for as history tells us they could  damage
>> whatever little chance of reform there is.
>> Cheers,
>> Wojtek
>> On Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 8:09 PM, Gar Lipow <gar.lipow at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> On Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 12:20 PM, Carrol Cox <cbcox at ilstu.edu> wrote:
>>>> Gar Lipow sachs and poland
>>>> On Sun, Dec 4, 2011 at 4:47 AM, shag carpet bomb wrote: [clip]
>>>> I think you are really taking part of a real position, and adding some stuff
>>>> to it that is not there. I think a lot of people would say that one thing
>>>> movements can sometime accomplish is to make politicians and the powers that
>>>> be quake in their boots and reform from within to make change that relieves
>>>> some pain and suffering.
>>>> .--------
>>>> Yes, this is true, but it doesn't establish what you want it to establish.
>>> In this what I wanted to establish was that one point of view was
>>> being mistated.  I don't confuse stating a point of view correctly
>>> with proving it.
>>>> Social Movements force politicians to make reforms - but those reforms are
>>>> crafted by those politicians and have no necessary relation to what the
>>>> given social movement demanded.
>>> Hence, the statement you snipped "I think a more reasonable statement
>>> of disagreement
>>> is that some people would claim that such reforms are such an
>>> unpredictable side effect that they should seldom or never be goal,
>>> while others would claim than organizing with such reforms as one goal
>>> is usually worthwhile, and more likely to make them happen (2 separate
>>> assertions by the way). "
>>> Incidentally your particular phrasing here is kind of deliberately the
>>> raising the barrier for your opponent. "necessary relation". The claim
>>> that organizing with reforms as goal does not claim a "necessary
>>> relation" which would require 100% correlation, but that organizing
>>> with reforms as one goal can sometimes make an outcome resembling
>>> demands more likely.
>>>   (That's one of the reasons  demands are a
>>>> trivial concern.) For example, in the'40s a Socaial Movement demanded
>>>> universal old age pensdions funded by a corporate tax; what the politicians
>>>> gave them was Social Security, grounded in a regressive tax and tied to the
>>>> lifetime earnings (from specified sources) of the worker. A really shitty
>>>> affair subject to constant meddling and ultimate sabotage. Another movement
>>>> demanded the right to organize; what it got was the Wagner Act and the
>>>> Taft-Hartley Act, which pretty much eventually crippled the union movment.
>>>> And so forth.
>>> Umm, I don't know if you noticed. But time or at least the illusion of
>>> time exist. For decades Social Security improved over time,
>>> constant shitty meddling happened starting  in past 40 years or so.
>>> I'm pretty certain that if we had universal pensions based on
>>> progressive taxation, that meddling would have still happened - as
>>> proved in other nations that did have truly universal public pensions,
>>> though seldom based on progressive taxation.  Taft-Hartley was a
>>> modification of the right to organize which happened well after the
>>> Wagner Act.  No one claims that demands are implemented exactly. That
>>> most likely happens in a truly revolutionary situation. But the idea
>>> that demands did not shape results in those cases seems to assume what
>>> you are out to prove.  And a claim that demands (by a group able to
>>> scare elites to begin with) don't (often, not saying always) shape the
>>> nature of elite responses as well the existence of those responses is
>>> rather breathtaking. I think the burden of proof of that one is one on
>>> you.
>>> In saying that  reforms weakened movements in those days you are
>>> implicitly assuming a counterfactual: successful revolution in the
>>> absence of reforms.  In the case of the New Deal, I think a more
>>> likely countefactual would have been an UNSUCCESSFUL revolution
>>> leading to a successful fascist counter revolution.  As to Black
>>> Liberation, it is hard for me to imagine that having been a successful
>>> revolution either. It seems to me that in the two cases you cite, not
>>> winning the particular reforms that were won would have led to worse
>>> outcomes not better. In the case of Roosevelt there were documented
>>> attempts at fascist coups.
>>>> Don't cite the Civil-Rights movement: that movement only deanded that the
>>>> abstract civil right of bourgeois equality be extended to Blacks. That
>>>> reform was vital, but it was also the groundwork for completely defeating
>>>> the actual aims of the Black Liberation Movement.
>>>> The experts you want to count as "allies" are the experts who "counsel"
>>>> Congress to pass these reforms that cripple the movements and to "counsel"
>>>> the mvements to be "practial" (Crackpot realism) and accept without complain
>>>> this submerging of their own actual aims in the "gifts" the state offers
>>>> them.
>>>> Sachs remains not just not an ally but a serious enemy. If #OIWS can make
>>>> use of him fine; if they accept his counsel as relevant to _their_  actions
>>>> and not merely to the information of their members, then they are seriously
>>>> endangering their purposes.
>>>> Carrol
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