Re: [sixties-l] Who Will Lead? (fwd)

From: William Mandel (wmmmandel@earthlink.net)
Date: Sun Nov 03 2002 - 22:33:54 EST

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    Jeff: The role of the Workers' World Party in the present peace
    movement, of Socialist Action in the Save Mumia efforts at their height
    a few years ago, of the Socialist Workers Party in the Mobilization
    against the Vietnam War, and of the Communist Party in a variety of
    domestic and foreign-affairs activities from the Great Depression
    through 1951 add up to a different picture of the relationship of these
    radical organizations to mass movement than I had most of my life.
          What it looks like is that, when a real crisis arises, a
    substantial portion of the American people will rally behind whatever
    organization takes the necessary initiative. When the particular problem
    has come to an end, in whatever way, the vast bulk of those Americans
    will return to their daily-life interests, and the particular political
    party will fade into the woodwork.
          As I see it now, the experience of the Communist Party was no
    different. Although it attained a membership of 100,000 toward the end
    of World War II, vastly more than any of these other organizations ever
    remotely approached, another number, which I knew but to which I paid
    little attention, takes on meaning. It is the fact that roughly a
    million people passed through the Communist Party during those twenty
    years when it counted for something. This means that 90% of those who
    thought well enough of it to sign membership applications, pay dues,
    attend meetings, fairly quickly lost interest when their particular
    needs -- unemployment insurance, public housing, old-age pensions,
    government support for culture (theater, etc.), an end to lynching,
    freedom for the Scottsboro Boys, support for the Spanish Republic
    against Franco -- were met and the organization's objective of socialism
    became the focus of its attention.
       What do you think of this new theory of mine on the history of the
    Left?
                                                            Bill Mandel
         

    jeffrey blankfort wrote:
    >
     I share Gitlin's criticisms of the ANSWER coalition which is the latest
    outgrowth of the International Action Center which was/is a front for
    the Workers World Party/All People's Congress.... Ramsey Clark....
    seems to have been caught up in the same mindset,
    >
    > We do need new leadership in the antiwar movement. Where the ANSWER folks and Gitlin will have no role to play..
    >
    > Jeff Blankfort
    >
    > Todd Gitlin wrote:
    >
    > > Who Will Lead?
    > >
    > > <http://www.motherjones.com/commentary/gitlin/2002/42/we_175_01.html>
    > >
    > > An antiwar movement is finally, thankfully stirring.
    ========================================================
      
    My autobiography, SAYING NO TO POWER (Creative Arts, Berkeley, 1999),
    was written for the general reader. However, if you teach in the social
    sciences consider it for student reading. It is a history of how the
    American
    people fought to defend and expand its rights in my lifetime, employing
    the form of the life story of one who was involved in most serious
    movements: labor, student, peace with the USSR, civil rights South and
    North, civil
    liberties (I seriously damaged the Senate Internal Security Committee,
    the McCarthy Committee, and the House Un-American Activities Committee
    with testimonies that may be heard/seen on my website,
    http://www.billmandel.net ), the RADIO OF DISSENT (37 YEARS ON
    PACIFICA),
    with very extensive information on its history) and the feminist
    movement,
    although I am male. The book contains some fifty pages on my late wife,
    Tanya, appearing appropriately throughout the book. They may be found in
    the index under Mandel, Tanya. My activities began in 1927. I am 85. The
    book
    is available through all normal sources. If you want an autographed
    copy,
    send me $23 at 4466 View Pl., Apt. 106, Oakland, CA. 94611
    ========================================================



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