Re: New SDS


hari kumar
 

 I was in England and was never involved in this American movement. Could I ask if Max Elbaum's weighing as below is basically an accurate summary for those recalling that time? This comes from an interview rather than his book and seems to an outsider like myself, a plausible situation. Having weighed positive aspects, he discusses negative aspects. But here one matter he points to - but does not name as such is the 'objective' factor. He calls it "a mis-assessment of the conditions in the country, especially the resilience of capitalism." Another "mis-assessment" was for Elbaum, “miniaturized Leninism”; we essentially built small sects instead of flexible, mass revolutionary groups. This was related to our mis-assessment of the historical conditions. There was a proliferation of sectarian attitudes over political differences". To me from the outside, both of these are 'subjective factors'. In any case, it feels largely correct when I look back to the UK left. 

Anyway, the quote below: Is to be found here, at: Micah Uetricht: ‘Learning from the New Communist Movement. An Interview With Max Elbaum’; 30 SEP 2018;  at:                                                              
HTTPS://WWW.JACOBINMAG.COM/2018/09/MAX-ELBAUM-NEW-COMMUNIST-MOVEMENT-SOCIALISM-ORGANIZING

 

"For my part, on the positive side, the movement did see how central empire-building and racism were to US capitalism. There was a strong commitment to sinking roots in those communities that had the greatest potential to make radical change. The movement grasped the importance of collective action and the idea of people prioritizing political activity and advancing it in a collective way.                                                                                                                                      The movement did make some headway in breaking out of a US-centric view of the world. And there was an attempt to learn from and offer ideas to revolutionaries in other countries, and a strong sense of internationalism. In its early years, certain component parts did some interesting work on US politics, especially on the particular role of the special oppression of communities of color.                                                                                                                                        On the negative side, all sides of the movement were afflicted with a mis-assessment of the conditions in the country, especially the resilience of capitalism. Lots of people were off-base in the late 1960s and 1970s, but the movement couldn’t adjust when it became clear that the motion of national politics was moving to the right.                                      The ideological frameworks of the different component parts of the movement were rigid in their quest for orthodoxy — seeing Marxism-Leninism as a kind of omniscient science. Those ideological frameworks were off-base.                                                                       The movement was generally afflicted by ultra-left tendencies and a tendency to polarize forces that weren’t, in their view, as revolutionary as them. The model of organization the movement implemented was “miniaturized Leninism”; we essentially built small sects instead of flexible, mass revolutionary groups. This was related to our mis-assessment of the historical conditions. There was a proliferation of sectarian attitudes over political differences, some of which were important, but many weren’t."
Hari Kumar

 

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