Thursday, June 14, 2012

Workers World Party, NATO, Obama, drones, and elections: notes from an unwritten article

On May 20 in Chicago there were protests against a NATO leadership meeting.  To read coverage in a newspaper like Workers World, one would have to say Barack Obama had never even heard of NATO.  None of the Workers World articles mentioned Obama as the leader of NATO, or the fact that NATO does precisely NOTHING unless the US president gives his approval. 

When the axis of party political work is protest, Marxist clarity on the purpose of the party, and clarity on the wider world of class reality, may suffer. 

Formulations and definitions may be blunted or watered-down to accommodate close collaboration with bourgeois activists and left-liberal single-issue groups around housing, foreclosures, gay rights, and Black liberation.

Without calling down too much lightning from Olympus, I wish to discuss today Workers World Party's articles on the May 20 anti-NATO demonstration held in Chicago.  All the articles are printed in Workers World newspaper []. For the sake of convenience, all the articles are posted together as a group on my blog here.... 
The necessity of work and family commitments prevented me from really beginning to work on more than the first paragraphs of an article discussing the Workers World Party position of NATO and the May 20 anti-NATO demonstration in Chicago, Illinois.  The only remaining notes I have for the continuation of the article are these:
....a form of left liquidationism deriving from the desire to "do something now".

.... yet another halfway house most cases the "party concept is postponed" in favour of attracting activists on the basis of their own existing - confused and inadequate - politics.
.... liquidationism also relates to the postponement of the fight to establish such a party.

Read a month after the making of those cryptic notes, the ideas or insights motivating them seem a little austere.  I think my main thesis would have revolved around these points, however:  Can a Marxist-Leninist party be built when one of the central insights of the communist movement on imperialist war, and class war in general, is omitted: that "the true enemy is at home"?

Or, to put things more starkly, if less comradely: Are we to protest NATO when a Black Democrat is in the White House, but protest the US president and the US government when a cruel and smirking Republican like George W. Bush is in the White House? 

If that is the case, it is no way to build a Marxist-Leninist party.  Being concerned about alienating Black workers and other oppressed nationalities because of the necessity of telling the truth about Obama and the Democrats , and therefore not telling workers the truth that their true enemy is at home [i.e. in Washington and on Wall Street, and personified in the current POTUS], is the kind of dishonesty that opportunists traffic in, not Marxist-Leninists.

Gene Clancy's June 10 WW article "Drones' murder of innocents highlights U.S. hypocrisy" [which is housed in the WW website's Editorials section, and thus amounts to more than just one comrade's essay] underscores the approach exemplified in the WW NATO coverage.  Clancy gives a useful list of US drone attacks over the last eleven years, underscoring the horrific consequences of the use of this weapon for workers in Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan today. 

But nowhere is there a mention of the fact that drone targets are selected with the direct input of President Obama himself.  Clancy's article is dated June 10.  On May 29, the New York Times ran an article detailing Obama's very hands-on approach to selecting the drone target list.  Clancy makes no mention of this fact, which the Obama administration itself is promoting as a way to steal a march on Republican opponent Willard Romney.

I'm sure the article would have been an unpleasant chore, considering the generally good opinion I have of most of the history and current activity of Workers World Party and Workers World newspaper. 

I would have concluded the effort with a few general questions about WWP and the 2012 elections:

Will the party announce whether it will run a ticket nationally, or in certain localities? [SEP, PSL, and SWP have already done so.]

If not, will WWP offer critical support to the national ticket of another revolutionary socialist party?  The obvious choice for a ticket to be given critical support is the Party of Socialism and Liberation, which is composed for the most part of former members of Workers World Party; political commonality there is quite close, after all.


1 comment:

  1. If you have a dog in the fight you'll care how the fight turns out.