We Free Political Prisoners
to Free Ourselves
by Matt Meyer
Remember Malcolm, who told us that “America” means “prison!”
remember Martin, perhaps the most famous person in the history of the
USA, someone who is now beloved by the establishment, or at least
apparently so, because of nonviolence, integration, Montgomery and
Selma—though I would say that it’s a very selective love,
because they choose not to mention the things they dislike so strongly
about Martin: his book Why We Can’t Wait, his
opposition to the Vietnam war, his militant resistance to racism,
classism, and militarism in general. Here, after all, is a leader who
was constantly in prison, and ultimately assassinated, because of his
political activities and beliefs.
Greece, SYRIZA in Power,
and the Concept
of a "Workers' Government"
by Steve Bloom
International Viewpoint has published a compilation of articles on Greece
and the failure of SYRIZA
(http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?breve143). In the present
comment I want to deal mainly with the contribution by Alan Thornett, titled
“The capitulation of Tsipras leadership and the role of ‘left europeanism’”
(http://www.internationalviewpoint.org/spip.php?article4217). We will look, in
particular, at Thornett’s assertion that the SYRIZA government was, at least
potentially, an example of a “workers’ government”—as that concept was developed
by the Comintern in a set of theses adopted at its third congress in 1922. I
will assert that Thornett’s approach reflects both a misunderstanding of the
Comintern’s text and a disorientation regarding the SYRIZA government itself.
On the 2015 Greek Elections
(and Revolutionary History)
by Steve Bloom
1) "Thinking Out Loud About Greece"
Here is how I would now formulate my frustration with last night's event,
pending comment from you and, perhaps, discussion with others:
1) The primary conversation was about how Syriza will maneuver, now that it
has governmental power, in the face of European capital—German capital in
particular. There are two camps in that debate:
* Some assess what has already happened, along with future possibilities,
in the usual bourgeois-parliamentary or bourgeois-diplomatic terms. This is a
completely unrealistic assessment, since posed in this way Syriza's options are
most constrained and its negotiating power the weakest.
* Others pose the necessity of promoting mass mobilization and an even more
radical programmatic stance (nationalizing the banks, for example, or putting a
break from the Euro on the table in discussions with the EU) as a way of
strengthening Syriza's bargaining position and ability to maneuver--but still in
a bourgeois-parliamentary or bourgeois-diplomatic context. This is better, but I
would say that it stops half-way in terms of what is actually needed.
2) "The 'Workers' Government,' the Communist International, and the Greek
The 2015 Greek election has thrilled the world. An entire nation stands up
today, for once, and shakes its fist at the imperial monster saying: “our lives
are more important than your profit.” It’s a good feeling. And it feels good to
feel good for a change.
But we cannot allow ourselves to simply feel good. We also have to prepare
for what is coming next: the attempt which the imperial monster will initiate to
punish the people of Greece for their effrontery. This is a powerful beast, with
many sharp talons in its claws, many weapons at its disposal—economic,
political, and (if all else fails) military weapons. The imperialist rulers are
experienced in using all of these weapons, and they use them with the arrogance
of a social force that expects to win, because they are used to winning.
We are not used to winning but we do have the power to win if we can
develop a winning strategy. Such a strategy is unlikely to emerge, however,
unless we concern ourselves in a rigorous way with the lessons that can be
derived from all of the defeats we have suffered (and the few victories) over
the last 100 years."
of the Black Struggle on
Puerto Rican Immigrants
Gives Rise to Solidarity
struggle of the African American people was the inevitable consequence
of the introduction of slavery by capitalists in the Western
Hemisphere. The collective experience of the African American people
over the course of many generations ran parallel to the development of
U.S. capitalism at every stage. Their plight, from the era of the slave
trade to the present day, reveals the inherent oppression within
degradation, and discrimination were the objective circumstances that
compelled into existence the militant tradition of resistance in the
African American masses. Their steadfastness in many key moments in
history proved exemplary to the U.S. working-class movement, and
particularly to other oppressed nationalities. African American history
is replete with displays of genuine solidarity with other liberation
struggles. The Black press, the Black church and outspoken African
American figures such as W.E.B. DuBois, openly condemned the motives
behind the 1898 Spanish-American War. The U.S. government and giant
banking enterprises sought military conflict with Spain to win colonial
control of Guam, the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.
"Struggle for Organizational Hegemony"
on the Left—A Formula for Failure
by Steve Bloom
It is hard for anyone to avoid noting
the fragmented condition of the revolutionary left: multiple small
groups each competing with all others for influence and recruits. There
are many and complex reasons for this state of affairs. To some extent
it does represent genuine and important political disagreements on
questions such as how to orient toward contemporary struggles, what
strategic path to follow to promote revolution, what forces constitute
the revolutionary subject in contemporary society, who are the primary
allies, what ideologies should be promoted and which ones
combated, plus many similar issues.
But there is one factor which has generated considerable fragmentation
and which, in my view, ought to be theoretically discarded: The
idea that there can be one, and only one, organization that has a truly
revolutionary outlook, that this organization with the correct
revolutionary outlook is the one I belong to, and that the most
essential goal, therefore, is to battle for the organizational hegemony
of my group. All other organizations on the left represent the enemy,
either actively or by default.