Building a Unified Marxist Movement


An article worth considering,
Along with what should be our priority of tasks in building such a movement, a struggle rife with partisan issues and critiques,  in my opinion our primary task at this moment, and one with the most resounding popular support and possibilities for growth, must be the overthrow and abolition of corporate rule to save our species and life on earth  and the building of eco-socialism . This would also would be instrumental in bringin about the end of nation-state turf wars over resource hegemony and initiate a necessary era of global cooperation.


Hi Worker Poet: I like your introduction to the article you posted, so I think the article deserves a serious answer which will be forthcoming.



I didn't see a single new idea in this. And the uncritical stance toward Stalinism is a non-starter. You'll get more from reading "People's Republic of Walmart " frankly.


I'm not a big fan of Stalin, though I recognize that without his leadership in defeating German fascism I would not likely exist. Still his example of the cult up personality and centralization of power undermined Soviet Communism and set the stage for other dictators. I still think the article is a good starting point for discussion and like the larger situation, beyond Communist and worker parties, we need to be less sectarian, and, though past errors need to be examined, we should not let our obsessions with them destroy any chance for future progress. We are living in a time when nation-states have outlived their usefulness and have become an obstacle to our survival. Working people are still pitted against each other for the gains of the bourgeoisie whose interests dominate. Marxism and the parties than adhere to it have the possibilty and the responsibility to form a broad-front coalition to defeat corporate rule. The climate crisis, being the.most important issue of our time is an opportunity for us. Most people understand the threat and feel great mistrust of corporate corruption but see no alternatives. We as a movement can present an alternative. As alternative go, we can learn a great deal from the experience of the Spanish anarchist Mondragon movement of collective ownership which created bottom up worker democracy even within a fascist state. But we, being Marxists and Marxist-Leninists, have the tendency to pick everything apart and form sectarian feuds. This article deals with the necessity of putting that aside. We must learn from the past but we can't let it cripple any chance of a future. Generationally, young people facing a bleak future of climate collapse are anti-corporate and not anti-socialist. It seems to me that it's now or never. I'm glad I'm not young and wish I could do more but I'm a word slinger so that's what I continue to do. I hope our own sectarian views do not keep us from considering the thoughts presented by the article.  

David Walters

With one data point the argument that you put forward here: I recognize that without his leadership in defeating German fascism I would not likely exist. How could you possible know? It is also possible that "without his leadership" ... or misleadership German Fascism might never have ascended to power in the first place. I think statements like that portend far too much influence of Stalin and ignores the agency of the Soviet people in their fight against German Imperialism that occurred after Operation Barbarossa...oh...then there IS the question of how Operation Barbarossa even took place in the first place and why, which...falls on Stalin's shoulders....?

David Walters

Andrew Stewart

The general habit, not lost or even initially absent from the discussion in this instance (and, to be clear, this is instance number 10,243,675 that MarxMail has been host for this discussion), is the degeneration into sectarian bickering about the historiography of the interwar period and WWII that was supposed to have been given the final (quite eloquent and very magnificent) word by Isaac Deutscher’s Trotsky biography more than 60 years ago! 

I will skip it because I am busy actually having a job and life as a trade unionist and public school teacher in a high poverty urban core school where such debates are meaningless. 

In general, I would argue that the major struggle is the revivification of the commons, public sector property and assets like school buildings or libraries that are under malicious attack by Republican Culture War witch hunters and Democratic austerity mongers. The revitalization of the commons is vital because, in the era of intensified climate catastrophe and economic depredation, these spaces can/should/must be refuges for the most vulnerable members of our communities and hubs for further political education and mobilization. We need big public spaces that get filled with crowds so we begin organizing for their needs. Furthermore, we need to reimagine these spaces as hubs for renewable energy and sustainable agriculture development, everything from rooftop solar farms on public buildings to vertical farms in tall office buildings owned by the government or perhaps purchased via eminent domain laws.
Everything else, and especially sectarian polemics about Soviet policy from 80-90+ years ago, is superfluous garble. 
The suggestion that the state should be completely abandoned is not remotely sensible, it is a gift to the people who desire to privatize every public asset in sight. Instead, the reality is that we need to be seeing international bodies of state power with democratic mechanisms (such as the UN) given further strength and legitimacy in order to see their mandates and recommendations ACTUALLY IMPLEMENTED. While I have no love for China or Russia, they actually did something positive when they took an opposing vote in 2011 against the bombing of Libya, which ended up being a catastrophe. Likewise, it is possible that Yugoslavia might have seen a very different outcome in the 1990s had Yeltsin not been such a pathetic puppet of Washington. It’s not that these supra-state forces are incapable of doing anything positive (the UN as it is now constituted begins life as the United Nations Alliance of that won WWII!), it is that capitalist countervailing institutions like the World Bank and World Trade Organization have become MORE powerful precisely because they are less democratic.

Roger Kulp

The unified movement is being built as best as it can, in much of Latin America, Africa, and other parts of the Global South, in spite of interference from the US. China, and their involvement, is another argument for another day, completely unrelated to the issue. Even capitalist Europe seems to be waking up to some degree, but not here in the heart of the beast, where it's needed the most, which is why the title of this article is misleading. It's not really saying aything.

I don't think we could build a unified Marxist movement in this country until we make several important steps. 

1. The assorted commmunist/socialist parties need to put aside their various diffences around the finer points of theory, history,and practice (Troskyist vs Maoist vs Leninist Democratic Centralism, etc.), and build broad based coalitions, similar to what we saw among the US left in the 1930s.

2. A unified, or broad based Marxist-Leninist movement, will never be realized by navel-gazing posts on the internet about theory and history. It involves getting out in the streets, and building mass movements, by educating, and organizing among the poor, and working class. This is a long term goal, involving years of shit work, and often setbacks. Every Marxist truly interested in advancing revolution can do their part, however big or small, regardless of age or disability.

3. We need to strongly reject the tactic promoted by many so called "socialists", that we need to work within the electoral system for gradual change, or vote for Democrats, as the DSA still promotes. There will never be a single event that will spark revolution in this country. This isn't the 1960s anymore. We have seen how the Democratic Party leaders will work to squash any potential revolutionary moment, think of  what happened after George Floyd. We need to promote massive boycotting of elections, in favor of builiding broad movements. Movements that are too big to be squashed. Yes, I am promothing the so called "dirty break" the DSA has been arguing over for years.

4. We ought to be promoting, mentoring, and nurturing new generations of leftist leaders, something I see sorrily lacking in this country.

There is a lot more I could go on about, but much of it has already been discussed much bettter in Paul Street's recent Substack series about the Lame Left. It's well worth reading.

Mark Baugher

On Mar 7, 2023, at 9:07 AM, Roger Kulp <leucovorinsaves@...> wrote:

4. We ought to be promoting, mentoring, and nurturing new generations of leftist leaders, something I see sorrily lacking in this country.
How do we do that, and does marxmail have a role to play?

This was the theme in that Les posted. A secondary theme is that we can't rely on Louis on one person to manage the governance and other tasks of the list, so we need more participation.


Andrew Stewart

Paul Street, author of that brilliant 2016 forecast “Keep calm and vote Green: fascism is not coming “?

Mark Baugher

On Mar 8, 2023, at 10:13 AM, Andrew Stewart <hasc.warrior.stew@...> wrote:
I'm not a fan of the leftist mantra that "friends don't let friends vote for the Democratic Party" given the absence of a realistic mass-movement based alternative based. To me, it substitutes mass action for an individualistic electoral principle. And it ignores side effects.

In terms of what he did, Obama was little different from Bill Clinton, but Obama did partly deliver on his vague campaign promise of "hope and change" simply by getting elected. Obama inspired a new generation of Black activism when he ascended to the highest political office in the world. So, yeah, I voted for Obama.

In terms of what he did, Trump was not much different from his Democratic and Republican party predecessors, but Trump gave voice to a virulently and openly racist right-wing fringe that previous Republicans only winked at. He invigorated a new generation of rightist street fighters and those people who complained that "people were afraid to say what they think." I voted against Trump.


Mark Lause

The lack of a political alternative to voting Democratic has been a self-fulfilling delusion for half a century. Everything that needs to be said has been.  It will change when we want it to change and act upon it.

I think it's easy to lose a sense of proportion when we're thinking about the narrow circles of the socialist left.  It magnifies the importance of the effort to rehabilitate Stalin and Stalinism.  Mind you, the Left has chosen to have no visible presence in the events of the last six years.  Everything that has gone haywire in the U.S. reflects the absolute void in terms of a public class politics.  The entire faux populism of the Fox News structure wouldn't be possible if we had the real thing out there in the streets.

On the venue provided by the technology, I think it's as a good and as useful as we want it to be.  It will work to our purposes if we make it work to our purposes.  It's just far easier to gum up the works by rehashing issues that have no meaning and no application. 

Mark L.

Andrew Stewart

Who or how you vote is secondary to much more serious concerns about Street:

His lack of principle and honesty in OWNING his positions in 2016 and denigrating everyone who didn't change his tune as rapidly as he did; AND

His rather astonishing jump from Black Agenda Report and the Green Party to Bob Avakian. That's not even a joke, sadly.

Roger Kulp

Paul Street aside, I get the idea that most (?) members of this list are hostile to both any socialist/Marxist group that is not the DSA, and to any socialist/Marxist group that rejects voting and the duopoly. If this is not the case, please tell me what other organizations you all approve of outside the DSA. I quite frankly know little to nothing about Bob Avakian,  and the RCP, nor do I plan to seek it out, and join, but I will admit I am a former Green Party member. I,too, quit to seek out a further left, Marxist party. I quit the Greens a few years ago, for several reasons. First, our branch kept shrinking in size, second, our membership consisted entirely of upper class, or upper middle class, bourgeois liberals. People who believed in the capitalist system, and only that it needed reform, that revolutionary change to a new system was not needed. It sometimes takes a while to find the right organization, so until I learn more about Avakian,and the RCP, I am willing to cut Street some slack. His criticisms of the left are accurate nonetheless. This was my point. You shouldn't reject everything he says. Voting for a Democrat, however, that's a different matter

 A revolutionary left movement is not going to spring fully grown out of thin air in this country, you have to get out there and build it one person at a time.