Tuesday, August 4, 2009

My take on the issue of marginalization

From reader Emil Shaw:

Every time I read an article by Sam Webb it stimulates my thinking. His article on marginalization of the left and the Communist Party has caused me to think of what are some of the other factors for this marginalization.

For one thing: since the days of the 1930’s, the people’s movement has progressed in their knowledge of strategy and tactics, even if the Communists’ participation was being sidelined by red-baiting and McCarthyism. For another, I have found out that people will listen to you if you have something concrete to say or to contribute to the various problems confronting people’s coalitions in their struggle against the monopolies.

But to be able to be in a position where people will listen to you, one has to be in the coalition, participating in their day to day work. To be on the sidelines doesn’t work. To yell “socialism” doesn’t work, in particular when the party and our international comrades, do not have a clear idea of what we are talking about, since the days of the demise of the Soviet Union. New paths towards an egalitarian and just social order are being written with the efforts of the people in Latin America and Asia. But this story is not yet completely told, depending on the degree of U.S. interference and also the degree of solidarity we can generate within the U.S. labor and people’s movement.

There are comrades who still feel that all we have to do is to follow the example of Charles Chaplin in his film “Modern Times” where he walks down the street, picks up a red construction flag, waves it around and all the workers from different work sites put down their tools and follow him in a procession. Times are different now.

Despite the red-baiting, masses of workers are looking for answers to their day to day problems. If we can help to fill this void, then we will have helped to contribute to the people’s coalition instead of just holding their hands and commiserating with their misfortunes.

One issue that begs clarification is the question of “What is the middle class?” Since the federal election the major media discussion has been on protecting the middle class. However the concept of the middle class is used with Keynesian standards of income, rather than scientific Marxist standards of individuals’ relations to social production. Our contribution to this discussion talking place in the labor and people’s movement could be to help clarify what is the working class and what is the people’s movement.

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