Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Open Letter to AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka from the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor

Written by John Peterson
Wednesday, 25 May 2011 13:37



Brother Trumpka:

The news that you have declared the AFL-CIO's "political independence" and will no longer automatically support the Democratic Party has spread like wildfire throughout the labor movement. On behalf of the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor, I would like to congratulate you for taking this step. This is just the first step of many that will need to be taken in order to harness the true potential of organized labor to fight back against the bosses' economic and political attacks.

For far too long, the parties of Big Business, and in particular the Democrats, have taken labor's vote for granted--not to mention millions of dollars in donations and countless volunteers to get out those votes. In exchange for this decades-long loyalty, which led directly to the election of President Barack Obama in November 2008, labor has been rewarded with the political and economic equivalent of a kick in the teeth. No Employee Free Choice Act. No single payer health care. No increase of the minimum wage. No mass program of useful public works at union wages to address the problem of unemployment and rebuild the country's crumbling infrastructure. In short, labor got zilch. Zero. Nada.

The inspiring struggles of tens of thousands of workers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and in every other state in the union show that workers have had enough and are willing to fight. These mass actions send a clear message that workers want the right to be represented by a union. They also show that workers want jobs for all and job security, not to mention better pay, benefits, health care and working conditions. They show that workers are tired of getting the wrong end of the economic stick. They show that workers don't think it's fair that the rich--who caused the economic crisis--are busy stuffing their pockets with public cash while the rest of us are made to pay for their greed through cuts and austerity.

However, without a clear political lead, the assumption is that workers should keep voting for the "worker-friendly" Democrats, even when that party continues to sell workers out on one issue after another. Your declaration can change that. Your declaration of political independence is a recognition of the fact that the relationship between labor and the Democrats was like the relationship between a horse and its rider. No matter how fast labor ran or how hard it pulled for them, the Democrats kept digging in their spurs and whipping the workers harder. It was high time to buck that rider off our backs and set out on an independent course.

However, an "independent" course in the abstract is the equivalent of a kind of political limbo. It is not enough to say that the Democrats can no longer expect labor's votes and support. Millions of workers look to their shop stewards, Local and International presidents, and to you, brother Trumka, for advice on who to vote for to defend their interests. American workers clearly know what they are against--the Republicans' open attacks and the Democrats' false promises of change--but when election time comes around what are they supposed to vote for?

Workers are the majority of this country, and yet we have no real voice in Washington or at any any other level of government. In my humble opinion, the only political alternative that makes sense is a mass Labor Party based on the unions. Only organized labor has the members, resources, workplace and community networks to mount a serious political challenge to the parties of corporate America.

A Labor Party would fight for living-wage jobs and unions for all. It would fight for universal health care and education, for safe housing and new infrastructure. It would fight for the repeal of Taft-Hartley along with every other anti-union law. It would fight against the bloated military budget and would bring the troops home now. It would lead the fight against racism and discrimination, and for equal rights and equal pay for our immigrant brothers and sisters, not to mention all women. It would mobilize the organized and the unorganized, and would reach out to the unemployed, retirees and the youth to fight tooth and nail against any and all cuts and concessions. It would build on the October 2nd "We Are One" rally and organize mass marches for jobs and against cuts in every city in the country. Such a party could rally millions of voters behind it and turn U.S. politics upside down. Such a party could quickly become the number one party in the country, leaving the Republicans and Democrats to fight for second place. The potential for such a party is enormous. The time to build it is now.

The need for political representation for the working class majority of this country is not a new idea. But it is more urgent than ever. There have been other efforts to form such a Labor Party in the past, including some fairly successful ones. But for a variety of reasons, these efforts have not taken off, above all because the majority of the unions remained tied to the Democrats, which inevitably led Labor with nothing to show for it. In just the last few months there have been new movements in this direction. The North Carolina Families First and South Carolina Labor Party have recently been formed and mark an important step in the right direction, but it is a drop in the bucket compared to what is needed: a nation-wide Labor Party with chapters and members in every state, county, city, and town in the country. Your declaration of political independence and your voice can make all the difference.

We launched the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor on Labor Day, 2010 because we think this is the only real way forward for American workers. But we are a tiny organization with no full time staff and no resources to speak of. Although we think we have a powerful idea to share with our fellow workers, our ability to get this idea to them is extremely limited.

That's where you come in. As the leader of the Pittston strike, you know the importance of class struggle trade unionism and solidarity. As a supporter of the Labor Party in the 1990s, you know how important it is for workers to have a political voice that is truly their own. You represent 11 million unionized workers and have the ear of millions of others. Through the AFL-CIO's magazines, websites, email lists, and access to television, radio, and newsprint, not to mention Facebook and Twitter, the message of a Labor Party could reach millions.

It is true that if you issue a call for a Labor Party and energetically build it, you will lose a lot of support. You will lose the support of the Democratic Party leaders and lobbyists who have promised so much but delivered so little. You will lose the support of the Republican strategists who might cynically hope to gain from Labor's break from the Democrats. You will be demonized in the business press, on Fox News, MSNBC, and in corporate boardrooms across America. But in exchange, you will gain the support and respect of millions of workers who have just been waiting for someone to show them the way out of our current economic and political dead end.

Corporate America wants to grind organized labor into the dust. After all, higher union wages mean lower profits--and profits just aren't high enough! In the face of vicious attacks by both parties, American workers have shown that they are more willing to fight. With even more vicious attacks on the horizon, it is only the beginning of the fight back in the workplace and in the streets. But we also need to be able to fight back at the polls. For this we need a party of, by, and for the workers. It is my sincerest hope that you will take up the call for a Labor Party and will mobilize the millions of members of the AFL-CIO behind this effort. We in the Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor would like nothing better than to wrap up our modest campaign and throw our energies into fighting shoulder to shoulder with the rest of our union and non-union brothers and sisters in a serious, mass campaign to build such a party.

In solidarity,

John Peterson
Campaign for a Mass Party of Labor (www.masspartyoflabor.org)
CWA 37002 (personal capacity)





RENEGADE EYE

91 comments:

The Pagan Temple said...

Yeah, go, brother Trumpka, go-kick those Democrats right where they hurt, destroy the fuckers. That's what I like to see.

Killing two birds with one stone is what I call it. In one fell swoop Trumpka will destroy the Democrats hopes for 2012, and simultaneously illustrate for all the world to see just how unreasonable the internationalist labor movement really is.

Go, Brother Trumpka, I got you back.

Renegade Eye said...

I was expecting you to say that.

Would the GOP have a temporary advantage? Yes.

Would it last?

History says no. The Minnesota Farmer Labor didn't immediately become the strongest force in Minnesota. I live near Olsen Highway, a highway named after the labor party governor.

James said...

When Pagan Temple says that the Internationalist Labour Movement is unreasonable; [poverty wages] then by definition, the Corporate bosses with their Grossly Gigantic - millions of dollars - salaries are the reasonable ones. Aye, right!!!

Joe Conservative said...

This is all simply IMT tactics...

Marxists should work "inside, outside and around the mass organisations" for "workers begin to move through their own traditional mass organisations" and therefore "outside the workers' movement, there's nothing".

The can't manipulate the RNC "from the outside". They have to get "inside". They have to gain entry.

Joe Conservative said...

It's all part of the plan.

Renegade Eye said...

James: Pagan is way off.

The labor parties are unreasonable. They are too accommodating if anything.

Joe: You are way off.

1) Peter Taaffe hates the IMT. His ideas are the opposite.

2) The IMT doesn't practice entryism.

The IMT has been in the British Labour Party close to 60 years. We helped found the PPP in Pakistan and Lula's party in Brazil. That is not entryism. Entryism is short term.

Renegade Eye said...

Joe C: Marxists should work "inside, outside and around the mass organisations" for "workers begin to move through their own traditional mass organisations" and therefore "outside the workers' movement, there's nothing".

That part is correct.

I would say the same thing about conservatives, and the GOP. When they talk new party, that's crazy to me.

Renegade Eye said...

I'm not going to be online until Monday.

Speedy G said...

That part is correct.

The IMT doesn't practice entryism.

Which is it Ren? For w/o "entryism" "that part" would NOT be correct OR the IMT DOES practice entryism. You can't say "both".

Speedy G said...

Labour is leaving the DNC because they've already captured it (through entryism), and they now need to shut off the "next majpor avenue to power", the RNC and "capture it" (via entryism).

...so that "outside the workers movement, there is nothing"

That's not a denial of "entryism". It's entryism, pure and simple".

roman said...

Any new "labor" party will only dilute the left's vote and bury the Dems chances of political gain.
This is most likely a solo powergrab of the worst and selfish kind by Trumka.
As a matter of fact, the labor movement is in such a weakened state, I doubt this development will have any impact on the political lanscape whatsoever.

The Pagan Temple said...

He's just throwing a temper tantrum to get his rank-and-file all worked up about something that's not going his way lately. There's some point to it. It's probably a way to blackmail Obama into doing something he wants. Obama knows that without labor's support, he does not win in 2012. Obama is going to need even more union thugs come the next election day than he did the first time around. It takes a lot of union thugs to intimidate Republican voters, slashing tires, smashing windows, pushing old ladies down on the sidewalk, etc., etc.

When push comes to shove Obama is going to need all the union help he can get. Those dead voters aren't going to register themselves.

Renegade Eye said...

Speedy G: Marxists should work "inside, outside and around the mass organisations" for "workers begin to move through their own traditional mass organisations" and therefore "outside the workers' movement, there's nothing".

That's got nothing to do with entryism.

Roman: You're mostly correct for the short term. A mass labor party, would kill the Democrats, and maybe at first give the GOP wins.

The resources of the labor movement, with correct leadership, will win. It's being played out in Canada.

Pagan: Trumpka is not in control of his message. He is under pressure to fight Dems. Firefighters are not supporting Obama.

Ross Wolfe said...

Well, this is the first sign of life the labor movement in America has had in what, 70 years?

I still think it's far too little, and too late. The labor movement in the U.S. has been a stinking corpse for far too long to be resuscitated by such means. I suspect that the major unions will capitulate to the Democrats when push comes to shove anyway.

Anyway, please excuse my absence from your blog this last week or so, Ren. I've been warring with this strange sect of internet philosophers over at my blog. I hate to think of you having to fend for yourself with the rightists over here.

The Pagan Temple said...

"The labor movement in the U.S. has been a stinking corpse for far too long to be resuscitated by such means."

Excellent point Ross. That's what they remind me of when they get out on the streets throwing their fits, cursing at teenage girls and pushing old people around. A bunch of stinking corpses who've come back to life as brain dead zombies.

All they have to do to get you to think like them is devour your brains.

"Vote the way we tell you, don't thiiiiinkkkkk for yourselllllllf, AAAAAAARGHHHH BRAAAAAINNNNNNSSS!

-FJ said...

That's got nothing to do with entryism.

lol!

How do they get "inside" the RNC then?

Marxists should work "inside, outside and around the mass organisations"

You're implying that the RNC not a "mass organization".

Now they may run it like a club, but w/o the "masses" behind said organization, they could never, in a democracy, stave off the DNC as effectively as it currently does.

Entryism is the hallmark signature of Marxism. Read the Port Huron Statement and then look at the American Universities for confirmation. Entryism, thy name is the Marxism exemplified by the IMT.

Larry Gambone said...

On "entryism" All Labour and Social democratic parties are or were coalitions of different tendencies. Some of these are well organized, others are informal. The UK Labour Party had both the Cooperative Party and the Independent Labour Party within it. They were there as permanent tendencies. Entryism involves going inside an organization on a temporary basis.

If the US had a mass Labour or Social democratic Party working people would not get sucked into involving themselves with phony outfits like the Tea Bag Party.

Renegade Eye said...

FJ: Entryism is not a hallmark of Marxism. It was a one time tactic, proposed by Trotsky, to deal with a unique situation.

The IMT was involved in forming some of the parties we work inside as Lula's Worker's Party and PSUV in Venezuela.

The IMT is a tendency in the mass parties, not a party. I wish working in mass parties, was a hallmark of Marxism.

Pagan: You're miserable now, and I can assure the future is dark for you.

Port Huron statement isn't Marxism. The New Left thought they knew more than Marx. Marcuse is in the dustbin of history.

Ross: The history of labor is not a straight line. There was militant strikes as at Hormel.

How do you relate to labor bureaucrats, when workers follow them?

When they say something you can agree with, as what Trumpka did, you encourage it. At the same time, you raise demands, as this time for a labor party. It is win-win in the eyes of the worker. If Trumpka goes along great. If he doesn't, you still win.

Ross Wolfe said...

Ren: It's a good strategy you propose, and you do come out with a good conscience either way things turn out. But I'm a pessimist when it comes to the labor tradition in this country. It's never been radicalized the way it needs to be, and even if it settles for giving its support to say, the Green Party, there's no telling what kind of compromises they'll still be willing to make or how much lip service they'll be willing to be paid. I envy your optimism.

Renegade Eye said...

Larry G: That's exactly what I was saying. Entryism is a temporary approach. Trotsky was aware of a potential split in the French Socialist Party I believe, and proposed for comrades to take advantage of a potential split. That was a one time tactic.

Ross: It's not about optimism or pessimism. It's a matter of dialectics. Its creating an environment where the masses bypass the leaders.

The extreme left is unable to take advantage of something as Trumpka's letter. They write off not only the bureaucrats, but workers as well in some quarters. We put Cindy Sheehan on the spot. We asked her about a labor party. She said since they didn't endorse her for senate, a labor party can only be built "outside the unions." She is going around calling herself socialist now. Michael Moore stammered when we asked him about a labor party.

Demonstrations like in Greece, France, Spain etc. are coming here.

The labor unions have the resources to create a first party.

Renegade Eye said...

Ross: It's not about good conscience. The point is either way, the worker comes to your side.

Masses of workers are not going to spontaneously join the IWW, RCP, Spartacist League or the IMT. They look to traditional parties or organizations like unions.

Trumpka didn't make that statement because he wants people to leave the Democrats. He is forced.

The bureaucrats don't understand the depth of the capitalist crisis. They will be pushed aside for it.

Unfortunately they didn't know how to fight when times are good. They should have won universal healthcare, instead of negotiate one business at a time.

Stop thinking in terms of good and bad, instead think dialectically and with formal logic.

Events in the Middle East are connected to Europe, and next the Americas.

Speedy G said...

But I'm a pessimist when it comes to the labor tradition in this country. It's never been radicalized the way it needs to be.

Sounds like an admission that Marcuse was right all along, not that Marxist dialectics will prevail. The New Left had won the debate in Europe and through Obama is contesting for control in the USA, but it's pretty obvious that the New Left's "high water mark" has also passed and lies in the past.

We're going back to "dialectics" alright, but it's NOT going to be an "us v. them" Marxist "labour" dialectic.

The days of large scale industrialization the Factory timeclock and union card are OVER. We're entering a 3rd Wave economy. And "unions" are an anachronism leftover from a hostile and false "moral" dialectic.

Larry Gambone said...

More likely a "No Wave Economy", Speedy!

Ren, Marcuse was wrong in "One Dimensional Man" but not so much in terms of his cultural and mass psychological analysis. (I heard him speak in 1968)

Cindy Sheehan was at a demo wee had in Victoria, saw our IWW banners and said that "we are involved in a class struggle and that the IWW has always stood for that," and mentioned how she was glad to see us.

I don't think the IWW is going to replace the CLC - AFL-CIO, but it can be an influence in the direction of a more militant labour movement. Our goal is to have our ideas and practices adopted, not to "party-build".

The Pagan Temple said...

What you guys need to do is what the unions did in Wisconsin. Get out there and be as strident and hateful as you can be with everybody that stands in your way and refuses to give you every single thing you want. Don't let them get by with anything. If you "compromise" with them that will be seen as a sign of weakness. Don't be afraid to bust some windows and some heads.

Scream and shout and make sure you have a good supply of bricks.

That'll show 'em.

The Pagan Temple said...

Cos after all, how dare these people expect good, "hard-working" public sector union members to have to pay the same amount of money toward their own health care and retirement as a private sector employee? Why, the nerve of them.

Joe Conservative said...

"No Wave Economy"

That's Neoliberalism, all right.

The third wave will grow as the neoliberal government-industrial complex dies. In other days, when government gets out of the bailing out union workers and GE/GM mode and into staying the 'f out of the economy's (and entrepeneur's) way. ;)

Renegade Eye said...

Speedy G: One word: Madison.

Marcuse was proven wrong after May-June 1968 in France, and the 1973-75 recession. His argument would be better in the 1950s.

During the depression unionism went down, then the CIO formed, and it grew. It was smaller than compared to today.

It's not 1980 anymore. The union leaders are still in the old mentality, they'll have to change, or be bypassed.

Larry G: The IWW played a good role in Madison. The IMT even went to its mass meeting.

You know my view about traditional organizations.

Pagan: The union leadership was willing to take concessions.

Democrats are the main enemy of workers.

Joe C: The bailout of GM kept it afloat. People seem happy about the results.

Ross Wolfe said...

Ren:

I'm pleased to know you've read Marcuse. Marcuse was wrong on the 1960s student movement and its radicalism. Adorno, whom he debated about this, was right. Marcuse grew too attached to what they were attempting to do, even though he knew it was not an immediately revolutionary situation, supporting them in their antics simply because they were influenced by his theoretical writings. His writings on technology and fascism in the 1940s and 1950s are far better, though I will say that his call for sexual revolution in Eros and Civilization largely degenerated into self-satisfied and indulgent hedonism in the coming decades.

The one and only thing that makes me somewhat hopeful about these emancipatory gestures that labor groups are making now is that the old capitalist cycle of recurring crisis is reemerging and accelerating, with ever-more effect. Many have, of course, become normalized to this pattern of cyclical upheaval, but the scale and regularity seems to be increasing, which might eventually push unions and other elements of society (even non-labor) to embrace an anti-capitalist consciousness. Again, though, I am doubtful that this will manifest itself in full force in the next few years, and so am pessimistic about the immediate prospects. Yet the revolutionary moment always seems to come when one would least expect it.

Ross Wolfe said...

And to Joe C, do you even know what neoliberalism is? It's for smaller government and fewer state regulations on business. What are you talking about a "neoliberal" government-industrial complex?

Renegade Eye said...

Ross: Neoliberalism means privatizing nationalized property and free trade.

This is a different era, than any in my lifetime. The union leaders don't dare, come to the inevitable conclusions. Even if capitalism recovers, the quality of life, known until 1970, will never return.

If there are no jobs in the US and UK, what are the chances a reformist can create jobs in Egypt?

The Democrats won't be smug, when a labor party is opposing them.

I live near highway, named after Minnesota's labor party governor. The Minnesota Farmer Labor Party was pushed left by workers, with the bureaucrats the same as today.

Speedy G said...

lol! Neoliberalism is obviously different things to different people. Here's Wiki's definition:

Neoliberalism describes a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the state.

Note the key words "economic priorities of the state".

That's NOT the economic prioroties of the people, the bourgesie, or the corporations. Neoliberalism supports the economic priorities of the STATE. BIG difference. Neoliberalism results in STATE bureaucrats deciding which companies/corporations it needs (ie GM/and a "green" GE) and crushing the private sector into THAT box. That is not "classical" economic (ala Smith), it's NEO-classical (Euro-socialist/New Left) economics.

Renegade Eye said...

SpeedyG: It's the economics of the World Bank and the IMF.

It's privatization and free trade.

I guess Milton Friedman is part of the "New Left."

Thersites said...

I guess Milton Friedman is part of the "New Left."

He was originally a Keynesian until he returned to something "closer" to "classical" economic theory (although w/o a return to the "gold standard", it's impossible to completely return to classical economic theory...for one is always "tweaking" the "available money supply" and is therefore always a "monetarist")

Keynesian economics is essentially New-Left FDR Socialist Neo-classical economics.

The Keynesian New-Left economic theory proponents came from Cambridge. The more classical oriented economists typically came from Oxford.

Ross Wolfe said...

Speedy/Thersites,

Keynes was never part of the New Left. The "New Left" was a political movement, mostly involving student protests and activism, that arose in the early 1960s and continued into the 1970s. It wasn't around when Keynes was writing and it's been dead for some time now. Also, the students of the New Left were primarily protesting against the Keynesian administrative society, against the alliance of big government and big business.

There is also nothing "New Left" about FDR's "New Deal"-style social programs. Again, the social movement and the political program in question have virtually no relation to one another.

There was nothing remotely "socialist" about FDR's state-interventionist welfare society. FDR's New Deal was intended as a measure to save capitalism from itself after a series of disastrous crises, not to overturn capitalism.

Also, neoliberalism involves state priorities, but only insofar as any non-anarchist libertarian supports certain state agendas. The only function of governments for neoliberals is to flatten the tax rate, press money for exchange, and maintain an army to defend the populace.

You're a fucking idiot. No offense.

Ross Wolfe said...

Also, neoliberals hated the government bailouts. Neoliberalism is the ideology of the Tea Party and so on.

Speedy G said...

Blah, blah, blah...

Keynesianism is an idea that originally came from the "progressive" LEFT, and has been largely adopted and promoted by the New Left (OBAMA) and all those so-called Left-Wing "intellectuals" in Obama's New Left cabinet that erroneously believe that governments have solutions for all problems (with which they create even BIGGER and more SERIOUS problems) which is a position of the LEFT.

Obama is NOT a Trotskyite OLD Lefty. He's a "pink diaper (new left) baby" of his "red diaper (old left) baby" MOTHER and a Marxist anti-colonialist father! He's not only the son of a New Left mommy... he's the grandson of an OLD Left idiot and son-in-law of a Union old-guard Chicago Machine suckup and so don't begin to whine that Obama has been unfairly labelled under the "New Left" brand.

That you seek to distance yourself from both OLD Left and NEW Left's failed economic theories and policies is NO surprise. But let's not pretend that NEO-liberal economics policies have anything to do with classical economics other than they recognize the undeniable FACT that privatization is the ONLY viable economic system, and the closer you get to the "classical" invisible hand, the better off your people (but not necessarily their "intellectually superior" eye-glass for Plutus fashioning governors) become.

ps- You're a fucking idiot. Offense deliberately asserted.

Speedy G said...

Neoliberalism is the ideology of the Tea Party

You'd like to tag us with that albatross, but I think it's VERY clear that the Tea Party is laissaz-faire, get the government the 'f out of the way of everyone. We've had enough idiots truing to fashion "green energy" economic bullets that fail miserably.

As they say at Tea Party rallies, "Drill baby, DRILL!"

Speedy G said...

btw - You're not the only ones who have read Marcuse. But unlike Ren/Wolfe, I actually understand his position (Eros & Civilization), having read and understood Freud before him.

And of course now that the New Left has "liberated eros", much as their "progressive" Left-leaning Keynesian red diaper forebearers liberated monetary policy from the gold standard, the toothpaste gets harder and harder, even for totalitarian wannabes, to squeeze back into the tube and society is left with ever more severe social and economic consequences for self-labelled "intellectual elites" and "government bureaucrats" to try and deal with.

Meanwhile, their Left-loving politicians revert to the age old tactic of promising more and more, but delivering less and less (ie - Obamacare PROMISES to offset 27 trillion in REAL unfunded Medicare liabilities).

Thersites said...

I will say that his call for sexual revolution in Eros and Civilization largely degenerated into self-satisfied and indulgent hedonism in the coming decades.

...and that was the precisely the point, as the political preface to the work OVERTLY states.

Mankind is depleting the earth's resources... Gaia MUST be saved (or DIVERTED) from the capitalist producing hordes...

Congratulations, idiots, you've almost succeeded in completely putting access to the world's energy and mineral resources off limits and under environmental protection umbrellas. Is there anywhere in the world where one can STILL build a nuclear power plant and NOT have it really used to secretly enrich plutonium for bombs ala Iran/N. Korea?

Joe Conservative said...

How the Left solve's economic problems... they simply make ever bigger and emptier political promises.

Ross Wolfe said...

Speedy,

I have read almost all of Freud's works, minus the letters.

Again you have no clue what you are talking about. Look up the New Left.

Start here, perhaps: The New Left (Wikipedia)

You'll notice that the New Left was born in 1960s, and died an inglorious death in the 1970s. The only remains of the New Left are to be found in the former students of that time who went on to become the so-called "post-political" Left of the 1980s-1990s.

So how is it that Obama is the leader of a movement that died thirty years ago?

Keynesnianism has always been a centrist position, and as such part of the Right, as far as Marxists are concerned. It was an attempt to control capitalist crises and prevent them from being so disastrous.

The "Old Left" is usually used to refer to the Stalinists of the 1930s-1950s. Internationally, Trotskyites were largely marginalized and persecuted by the "mainstream" communist parties backed by the Kremlin, up until Khrushchev's whole "secret speech" caused millions to lose faith in the legacy of Stalinism (thank god).

I enumerate to you the following points:

1. You did not know what "neoliberalism" is. Just admit it. Since it included the word "liberalism," you assumed that it must be big-government Democratic social welfare. Actually, it's all about privatization and the free market. It's the Tea Party's ideology. The government should only be responsible for maintaining a military, printing money, and creating a flat tax. In fact, if you knew what neoliberalism is, you'd realize that you ARE a neoliberal.

2. You did not know what the "New Left" was. It's a political movement that failed miserably in the 1960s and early 1970s. They hated Lyndon Johnson and his "Great Society" just as much as they hated Richard Nixon. By the time Gerald Ford had come around, the movement had largely disintegrated into hippie burnouts and black nationalism. And yet somehow Obama is supposed to be the leader of this long-dead political moment. Obama is just an ineffectual, spineless, opportunist Democrat who approved the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

3. You are an idiot. I actually know what I'm talking about. You don't. You think that these terms mean whatever you want them to mean. They don't.

Ross Wolfe said...

Neoliberalism is for laissez-faire economics, the ruthless exploitation of nature (I'm also for the ruthless exploitation of nature, however), privatization of state industries, and low taxes.

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were like the high priests of neoliberalism. It's hilarious how clueless you are, Speedy.

Speedy G said...

I posted the definition of neoliberal above on 7/1 @ 7:52 am? Are you really THAT illiterate, wolfboy?

Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan were like the high priests of neoliberalism.

BWAH-HA-HA-HA-HA! Wiki can put their pictures there, but Reagan was no "neo-liberal." In the words of Ronald Wilson Reagan, "Government is the problem".

Leave it to jealous liberals to rewrite history and turn anti-government classical liberalism into pro-government NEO-liberalism. btw - Did Bab's Streisand "produce" THAT Wiki entry?

Speedy G said...

erratum 6/1 vice 7/1.

Speedy G said...

Neoliberalism is for laissez-faire economics

Pardone moi, but THAT would be "classical liberalism" aka "what Americans are attempting to "conserve" through the "conservative movement".

Speedy G said...

Take "classical liberalism"... corrupt it with Keynesianism... and then try and move back towards the 1st, but you don't get there. The STINK of Keynesian economics can never wash off. THAT's NEO-liberlaism.

The only way back to classical liberalism is a return to the gold standard. And anything SHORT of that is NEO liberalism.

Speedy G said...

It's the Tea Party's ideology

I AM a member of the tea party... and we're CLASSICAL liberals. Admit it, you don't know the difference between a classical liberal and a NEO liberal. You haven't a CLUE!

Speedy G said...

I have read almost all of Freud's works, minus the letters.

Well I HAVE READ the Fliess letters. :P

Speedy G said...

Keynesnianism has always been a centrist position, and as such part of the Right, as far as Marxists are concerned.

BWAH-HA-HA! A "mixed economy surely is a "centrist" (aka "socialist") position all right. You Lefties kill me. Keynes was a real corker (see 2nd paragraph on mixed economies)

Speedy G said...

The neo-classical synthesis proves just "who" doesn't know squat.

Renegade Eye said...

Speedy: If you kept your mouth shut, nobody would know you're clueless.

Neoliberalism is associated with Reagan and Thatcher. To disagree is revising history. Its about low taxes, deregulation etc.

The New Left's contribution was leaving large, worthless paper trails, of manifestos that went nowhere. By the 1970s, SDS was totally Maoist. The New Left leaders as Tom Hayden became Democrats.

Keynesianism is just as Ross said, a strategy to reform capitalism. It doesn't exchange property relations.

Obama is hardly centrist. He doesn't believe in keynesianism. He likes the right, more than his base.

Ross: Are main enemies are Democrats. The fights with them, will be worse.

The Pagan Temple said...

"Obama is hardly centrist. He doesn't believe in keynesianism. He likes the right, more than his base."

You can't drop a fucking turd like this in the middle of a post and expect any of the rest of it to be taken seriously, anymore than you can mix chocolate ice cream with cat shit and expect it to still be tasty and refreshing.

Speedy G said...

Neoliberalism is associated with Reagan and Thatcher.

Sure, as Reagan & Thatcher tried to pull the Keynesians BACK from the mixed economy's stumbling stesp towards full blown socialism. Reagan & Thatcher weren't able to take us (America & the UK) all the way BACK to where they wanted to go, CLASSICAL LIBERALISM and so they had to compromise. The compromised RESULT may have been "neo-classical liberlism", but that wasn't their intended destination. And to say it was is to misread Reagan, Thatcher, and neoliberalism in general.

And to overtly deny the Left's responsibility and complicity w/Marxism in paving the road towards both Keynesianism and neo-liberal result is simply an act of intellectual dishonesty. The sh*t economic results we get today ALL stem from the sh*t direction the Left has made us turn. They could just as easily have pasted Lenin, Marx and Keynes' picture under the Wiki neoliberalism post as Reagan & Thatcher's, and it would have been JUST as valid... but then the MSM "progressive" bias in hiding the ill-effects of social liberalism wouldn't have been as strikingly obvious.

Speedy G said...

The New Left's contribution was leaving large, worthless paper trails, of manifestos that went nowhere.

The New Left's contribution is a "marriageless" society with over 70% of black children being born out of wedlock. The "repressive influence" of Thanatos in the family home (fathers) has largely disappeared, as Eros has been effectively "liberated". Urban gangs have replaced the nuclear family. Thanks Herbert Marcuse. Thanks, New Left". You've "won".

Speedy G said...

ps - Don't believe me? Ask Barack Obama where his "daddy" was while he was growing up and Barack was merely "dreamin'" about him.

Speedy G said...

Keynesianism is just as Ross said, a strategy to reform capitalism.

Sounds like Marxism... another strategy to reform the ill effects of capitalism.... to take power out of the hands of regular people and give it to government bureaucrats and the so-called "worthier intellectual elites/vanguards".

Speedy G said...

Barack Obama is the direct result of the Marcusian pogrom. No "paper trail" needed (as hiding his birth certificates and college transcripts makes evident).

The Pagan Temple said...

Keynesianism is leftist, it damn sure is not conservative. Every leftist thinks their way is the only way to pure leftism. That's why you have laughable statements like Stalin was a conservative, and Hitler wasn't a socialist.

Ross Wolfe said...

Speedy,

They could just as easily have pasted Lenin, Marx and Keynes' picture under the Wiki neoliberalism post as Reagan & Thatcher's, and it would have been JUST as valid... but then the MSM "progressive" bias in hiding the ill-effects of social liberalism wouldn't have been as strikingly obvious.

Sadly, words can't just mean whatever you want them to mean. It's not just Wikipedia that talks about the free-market, privatized economics, and limited government model of neoliberalism. Even Conservapedia defines Neoliberalism as follows:

Neoliberalism is a new form of the old economic liberalism laid out in Adam Smith's famous capitalist manifesto, The Wealth of Nations, which was published soon after the Industrial Revolution. Neoliberals believe regulation should not be an impediment to manufacturing or commerce, and that high tariffs can be harmful. These ideas were liberal in the sense of advocating loose controls. In neoliberalism, profits are sought by lowering costs through improvements in the productive powers of labor. There should be reduced costly and unnecessary government regulation without sacrificing environmental protection and job safety.

Neoliberalism (Conservapedia)

Neoliberalism (Encarta dictionary definition)

Ross Wolfe said...

Pagan: Anything that tries to preserve or correct or maintain capitalism is part of the Right.

Keynesianism was an attempt to save capitalism from devastating crises. As such, it is "moderate" or "centrist," but ultimately closer to the Right. It failed, and has been increasingly dismantled under the economic regime of neoliberalism.

The Pagan Temple said...

I can accept it as centrist, but not conservative. We just disagree with whether it veers more towards the left or right from the center. You say the right because it supposedly protects capitalism. I say the left because it depends on government control of the economy.

For what its worth, capitalism does not necessarily always mean a free market system. It just means some degree of private property and ownership over large sections of the economy.

I believe in free markets, and Keynesianism has no place there.

Speedy G said...

Forget it Pagan. There's no Left in the center that he's willing to acknowledge. His mind is a closed book. The "center" is ALL "right".

Speedy G said...

ps for wolfie- Christian conservatives aren't classical conservatives. If they were, there never would have been a Reformation of the Catholic Church.

And as I said before...

lol! Neoliberalism is obviously different things to different people. Here's Wiki's definition:

Neoliberalism describes a market-driven approach to economic and social policy based on neoclassical theories of economics that stresses the efficiency of private enterprise, liberalized trade and relatively open markets, and therefore seeks to maximize the role of the private sector in determining the political and economic priorities of the state.


Conservapedia may give you the "Christian Conservative" perspective, but THAT is vastly different from the classical liberal (mostly Deist) perspective of America's founders that myself and many members of the Tea Party are trying to restore.

Speedy G said...

Keynesianism was an attempt to save capitalism from devastating crises.

Yeah, an "absense" of Marxism. ;)

Speedy G said...

Question for wolfie, "I assume you know what a Neocon is?" Do you see any "Left" in the term?

Thersites said...

Sadly, words can't just mean whatever you want them to mean.

Even if perchance you've read Plato's "Cratylus", I think it's pretty evident that you never really understood it.

Ross Wolfe said...

Speedy,

Reading through your endless string of comments, you might be surprised how I answer one of them:

Question for wolfie, "I assume you know what a Neocon is?" Do you see any "Left" in the term?

Actually, I do. There is far more of the Left in neoconservative ideology than there is in neoliberalism. One of the major brewing pots for the formation of the neocon worldview was originally an excellent Trotskyite journal called The Partisan Review, which started around 1934. It took aim at the major Stalinist publications at the time and continued to provide useful criticisms of culture and society up through the 1960s and 1970s.

It began to turn more towards what we think of today as neoconservatism after it was horrified by the shallowness of the New Left. Already by the early 1980s, major members of the journal had become fully identified with what we would today consider neoconservatism. Even the editor, who was a bit more of a moderate, wrote the following about the New Left in 1984, calling it

"a complex of outworn Marxist notions, vaguely progressive ideas, trendy causes like environmentalism and various liberation movements, sympathy for something called the Third World, pacifism, anti-Americanism, an obsessive fear of nuclear power."

And he was largely correct. The neoconservatives borrowed the Hegelian/Marxist understanding of history as being the progressive realization of freedom throughout the world. Only for the neocons, the end of the line was not communism, but liberal democracy. And they were highly hawkish, militarist, and interventionist in wanting to "speed up" the march of freedom through the world. As opposed to the neocons, the more libertarian neoliberals often viewed foreign military invasions as huge wastes of money, and argue for a more isolationist policy of not policing the world.

Renegade Eye said...

Ross: The neoconservative movement came out of the Schachtman/Burnham tradition. Trotsky's fight against them, was his last act, before his death. It's slanderous calling them from the Trotskyist movement.

They are now so discredited, that it's hard to find anybody, who identifies as neoconservative.

Their critique of the New Left was from the right.

1) You always defend a workers state, no matter how deformed, against imperialist attack. At the same time, you agitate for political revolution against Stalinism. They supported the Vietnam War.

2) You can't have bourgeois democracy, in a semi-colonial country. In Iraq they brought Iranian Bonapartism to power. In Afghanistan the end result, will be the Taliban in power.

3) Schachtman only wanted to debate "the facts." The neoconservatives also reject dialectical materialism.

Hitchens is as trite as can be.

Pagan: Chavez is a centrist, really thinking he can balance socialism and capitalism.

Stalin represented the isolation of Russia, if you want to call it conservatism fine.

Stalin changed property relations when he conquered, and Hitler didn't. Property relations determine left/right.
Hitler never nationalized even the war industry.

SpeedyG: I'd put Reagan between neoconservative and neoliberal.

Unfortunately some on the left, always harp about neoliberalism, implying its bad capitalism, as opposed to good capitalism.

Ross Wolfe said...

Ren,

You're surely right that it was always a Schactmanite journal. Still, it had decent articles and criticisms of the Stalinist Left for several decades. Its critique of the New Left was, sadly, all too accurate. But its turn to neoconservatism couldn't have been entirely unexpected.

And yes, the neocons have been fairly well disposed of, after the Iraq war didn't go so smoothly. Though I'm sort of surprised that G.W. Bush hasn't tried to take credit for the wave of anti-authoritarian revolutions in the Middle East, claiming that Iraq was a "spearhead" or some such nonsense.

Also, you couldn't be more right when you write this:

Unfortunately some on the left, always harp about neoliberalism, implying its bad capitalism, as opposed to good capitalism.

The New Left with Marcuse & company was primarily oriented against Keynesian, Fordist capitalism, the so-called "administrated society." Now, many soft leftists look back to this older, Keynesian form of capitalism and say, "Hey, at least it wasn't as volatile or predatory back then." Neoliberalism is an age of capitalism, which succeeded Fordist capitalism, which succeeded monopoly capitalism, which succeeded industrial capitalism, etc....Of course the thing all these terms have in common is "capitalism." Capitalism is remarkably flexible. But its essential basis always remains the same, which is why Marx's analysis and critique remain so relevant today.

The Pagan Temple said...

Reagan was more of a Classical Liberal, which I think is what you mean by Neoliberal. He was Neoconservative only in the sense that he believed in increased defense spending, but that in itself wouldn't make him a Neocon. Reagan believed in stability throughout the Third World. He had no interest in entering third world countries and overthrowing them, and installing liberal democracies. In all his eight years, the only place he ever invaded was Grenada. He wouldn't even retaliate when the US military was attacked in Lebanon, he just packed up and left. He did retaliate against Qaddafi but that was clearly not an intent to overthrow his regime.

He didn't really even overthrow the Soviet Union he just made them commit national suicide.

Renegade Eye said...

Ross: I read Reading Lolita in Tehran by neoconservative Nazar Afizi. Her critique of the Islamist regime in Iran is correct, but in the end she works for a think tank that supports bombing Iran.

The B-52 Left's degeneration goes back to support for the idea that Russia was state capitalist.

I would take a drugged out hippy, to the neoconservative critique anyday.

Capitalism can't meet democratic demands in a semi-colonial country. Iraq still hasn't dealt with the Kurdish question. Heck they can't even deliver electricity.

Their sophisticated analysis said Iran was going to be a nuclear power in 2004.

Neoconservatism is in the dustbin of history. Their founders rejected the materialist method for concrete facts.

I won't be online today.

Thersites said...

Blah, blah, blah... you define everything in terms of the evils of capitalism. What a waste of time.


The Marcusian project of the New Left will emerge victorious because it weakens "conscious/logically coherent thought" and liberates instinctive behaviours. You totalitarian idiots are so busy locking people up that your societies of control won't ever have a chance. The foundation upon which they depended, the nuclear family, will be gone.

You on the Left, too, have lost the culture war.

Thersites said...

The neoconservatives borrowed the Hegelian/Marxist understanding of history as being the progressive realization of freedom throughout the world.

That's hilarious. Leo Strauss understood the truth, as Plato understood it, "Republic".

I was going to observe, that the insatiable desire of this and the neglect of other things introduces the change in democracy, which occasions a demand for tyranny.

How so?

When a democracy which is thirsting for freedom has evil cup-bearers presiding over the feast, and has drunk too deeply of the strong wine of freedom, then, unless her rulers are very amenable and give a plentiful draught, she calls them to account and punishes them, and says that they are cursed oligarchs.

Yes, he replied, a very common occurrence.

Yes, I said; and loyal citizens are insultingly termed by her slaves who hug their chains and men of naught; she would have subjects who are like rulers, and rulers who are like subjects: these are men after her own heart, whom she praises and honours both in private and public. Now, in such a State, can liberty have any limit?

Certainly not.

By degrees the anarchy finds a way into private houses, and ends by getting among the animals and infecting them.

How do you mean?

I mean that the father grows accustomed to descend to the level of his sons and to fear them, and the son is on a level with his father, he having no respect or reverence for either of his parents; and this is his freedom, and the metic is equal with the citizen and the citizen with the metic, and the stranger is quite as good as either.

Yes, he said, that is the way.

And these are not the only evils, I said—there are several lesser ones: In such a state of society the master fears and flatters his scholars, and the scholars despise their masters and tutors; young and old are all alike; and the young man is on a level with the old, and is ready to compete with him in word or deed; and old men condescend to the young and are full of pleasantry and gaiety; they are loth to be thought morose and authoritative, and therefore they adopt the manners of the young.

Quite true, he said.

The last extreme of popular liberty is when the slave bought with money, whether male or female, is just as free as his or her purchaser; nor must I forget to tell of the liberty and equality of the two sexes in relation to each other.

Why not, as Aeschylus says, utter the word which rises to our lips?

That is what I am doing, I replied; and I must add that no one who does not know would believe, how much greater is the liberty which the animals who are under the dominion of man have in a democracy than in any other State: for truly, the she-dogs, as the proverb says, are as good as their she-mistresses, and the horses and asses have a way of marching along with all the rights and dignities of freemen; and they will run at any body who comes in their way if he does not leave the road clear for them: and all things are just ready to burst with liberty.

When I take a country walk, he said, I often experience what you describe. You and I have dreamed the same thing.

And above all, I said, and as the result of all, see how sensitive the citizens become; they chafe impatiently at the least touch of authority, and at length, as you know, they cease to care even for the laws, written or unwritten; they will have no one over them.

Yes, he said, I know it too well.

Such, my friend, I said, is the fair and glorious beginning out of which springs tyranny.

Glorious indeed, he said. But what is the next step?

Thersites said...

Let the Amazonomachy begin!

Centaurs and Satyrs to the Left, Last men and Theseus, to the Right!

Thersites said...

There's nothing "progressive" in freedom other than it's continual indulgence brings about a need for absolute tyranny so that "order" and "mankind's predictability" can be restored.

Thersites said...

Marcuse has already stolen her girdle, yet Hippoplyta's guards don't even realize that it's gone...

Thersites said...

The Left can see all of its' virtues in their enemies, but see none of their faults in themselves, or their enemies.

Speedy G said...

Don't worry guys, Chiron will show you the way. AGAIN! I guess we'll all have Marcuse to thank for that. ;)

The Pagan Temple said...

The New Left is not dead. It's alive and well in the liberal, dominant wing of the Democratic Party. Its the old Democrat faction, now called the Blue Dogs, that are on life support. The ones that left the Democrats are the ones that breathed life into the Neoconservative movement. They were national security big government liberals who realized they no longer had a viable place in the Democrat Party. They had to leave if they wanted to stay relevant on a national level. That only left the backbenchers and their Potemkin Villages in the South and Midwest, the ones that get trotted out for national elections to convince people the Democrats are still "for the little guy".

-FJ said...

The "David Brooks" and "George Will" big-government intellectuals will save us from the populist Tea Partiers, Pagan. Just ask them, they'll tell you.

The "little guy" has no voice, ANYWHERE.

-FJ said...

Ours is a POST-modern era. The Common Man who gave birth to modernity, has been thrown over (or under) for a Rawlsian ideal.

*thump-THUMP!*

That's the sound he made the day Obama threw him under the bus along with everyone else. ;)

I doubt anyone will likely play taps for him.

The Absolute Marxist said...

Anyone care to inform the Old Guard of the Old Left that they've been doomed for quite some time?

Naaah! Let 'em figure it out for themselves.

Ross Wolfe said...

The New Left is dead. What we've been seeing for the last 25-30 years can be more accurately referred to as the so-called "post-political" or "post-ideological" Left. Characteristic of this new, ignominious Left is a sort of irrational, quasi-religious concern for the environment, multiculturalism, selfish union concerns about the "outsourcing" of jobs to other nations, more regulations on business, and so on. The New Left believed that big government was in bed with big business, and was therefore much more anti-state than the more recent incarnation of the Left. Remember, the New Left protested and demonstrated against the Kennedy and Johnson Democratic administrations just as hard as they did against Nixon.

The Pagan Temple said...

The New Left did not die, it just grew up. Not everybody that grows up, grows up to be good, mature, responsible people. "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who almost reads like a prophecy about them when it says "Meet the old boss-same as the old boss".

The New Left just took their concerns about the war, the environment, race relations, poverty, etc., and made them a function of government.

There's just too many of the same faces for there to be an alternate explanation.

Look at John "Live-Shot" Kerry. He didn't suddenly become a loyal, patriotic American because he became a Senator. He just tried to redefine patriotism.

Thersites said...

The New Left is dead.

So are the Founding Fathers. But their legacies live on, despite the denials vis a vis the Marcusians by their Marxist bretheren apologists.

Renegade Eye said...

Ross: I disagree with you about looking at the "New Left" in terms of positions. The bigger picture, is the radical antiwar movement ended after Nixon, and the left declined. That allowed events as Reagan winning the PATCO strike, and later the fall of Stalinism. They were disoriented.

We're in another period. This is a revolutionary period. Scott Walker compared himself to Reagan. He is deluded, because he thinks this is still 1980.

Pagan: You're correct about Reagan.

Much of the 60s left is Democratic.

OT: Historically I have more hits on my blog from yours, than any other.

Farmer: I'm not influenced Marcuse.

The founding fathers are Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky (MELT). After Trotsky comes Ted Grant and Alan Woods.

Openly in the Tea Party? Which faction?

Thersites said...

Openly in the Tea Party? Which faction?

Campaign for Liberty... but not a Rand Pauler.

Renegade Eye said...

Ron Paul is the most rightist candidate of all.

The Pagan Temple said...

If Ron Paul was "rightest" he'd tell the Neonazis and 9/11 Truthers, who supported his last run for President and who probably support him now, to go pound sand. He's too pro-Palestinian/Arab/Muslim and too anti-Israeli to qualify as "rightest". If it wasn't for those things, then he might well be. Anybody that appears on the Alex Jones Show with the frequency he does has no business calling themselves conservative.

I don't like it that his son Rand has appeared on Jones show, as I think he has, but he's on an entirely different level from his nut-case father and his fruit loop supporters.

9/11 Truthers and denizens of Stormfront are NOT conservative.

Renegade Eye said...

Pagan: the 9-11 people, overlap with the Birthers.

Relationship to property and worker's control, is the dividing line.

Hitler ruled in a Bonapartist fashion. Later he got rid of the fascist thugs, since they were hard to control. Bonapartism happens when capitalists and workers are weak.

The Pagan Temple said...

Most Tea Party people aren't birthers either. Most of the Tea Party people thought the birther issue was a distraction from more important issues. Some even thought Obama was using is as a distraction himself.

I'm not sure what Hitler has to do with this, but if there ever is a Hitler in this country he will be a Democrat.