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

From: jeffrey blankfort (
Date: Sun Nov 10 2002 - 15:45:47 EST

  • Next message: "[sixties-l] Plain Folks For Peace (fwd)"

    It's a fair analysis, that the bulk of those who become attracted to radical movements and swell its ranks, tend to
    drift away when the goals of the movement appear to have been reached. That certainly was true of the anti-Vietnam
    movement and began to show itself when the draft was ended.

    I wouldn't compare the present day Workers World Party, All People's Congress, International Action Center which seems,
    sadly, to be the only game in town, with the old Communist Party which warts and all, and its illusions/delusions about
    the Soviet Union and the East Bloc notwithstanding, was involved in making some important social and political gains
    which benefited the public at large, something that the WWP with all its alias can not even begin to claim. The old CP
    was involved in all sorts of community struggles which its defense of the USSR and its transgressions has made this
    generation forget. The WWP on other other hand, or at least from what I have seen of its operations in the SF Bay Area,
    keep at arms lengths from struggles which any group claiming to be radical or revolutionary could expect to be involved
    in. The group's support of SF Mayor Willie Brown whose reign has alienated significant sectors of the city's black
    community is just one aspect of that. Among serious activists, the organization is not taken seriously. That they are
    the only game in town is more than depressing.

    Jeff Blankfort

    Bill Mandel wrote:

    > 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

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