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Monday, July 9, 2012

Charles Barron, Henry Wallace, and working class political independence

Marxist Update reader Stephen R. Diamond posted a comment on the "Charles Barron post-mortem" item from 6 July.

He starts with a quote from me, then his question:

"Will Barron run as an independent for the seat in the fall? I hope so."

Why would you want someone who has proven himself a dupe of the Democrats to run independently? Would you have supported Henry Wallace in 1948?


My Reply:


Thank you for the note.  I will do my best to answer your question, as it raises some questions important for communists today.

I don't think Barron is a dupe of the Democrats.  Clearly he and his wife Inez Barron [a member of the NY State Assembly] are Democrats.  Their existence in that party is one way the DP maintains its mass credibility and resilience as it fulfills its role as a capitalist/imperialist political party.

Hoping he runs as an independent is not an endorsement, but still I retract the comment
"Will Barron run as an independent for the seat in the fall? I hope so."  After the recent Democratic primary run, it has become clear to me he is a Democrat whether he runs as one or as a candidate of another, 3rd party. 
This is especially clear considering that in 2006, Barron also ran in the Democratic primary for a House seat representing the 10th district.

Barron now seems concerned, based on post-election interviews, in securing the election of a like-minded Democratic replacement for his City Council seat in 2013, since term limits prevent him from running again.

As far as Henry Wallace, no, I would not have supported him.  Marxist views from the time of his capitalist 3rd party campaign can be found here, here and here.

Voting for candidates, promoting candidates, is for me part of the process of building a communist party.  All the votes for the Wallaces, Barrons, or Cynthia McKinneys can be seen in this context as a dead end, one that I alas have participated in many times.  We have to start with what we are for, not against: the political independence of the working class from capitalist and petty bourgeois parties, whether they are Republicans, Democrats, or Greens.  We also have to acknowledge that the Democrats are the greatest obstacle today to accomplishing these goals.

There are three communist parties with presidential campaigns worthy of workers' attention this year:

All these parties are using their campaigns correctly to spread their revolutionary socialist programs, recruit, and circulate their press in cases where they produce a regular paper or other printed material.

Thank you again for your comment




  1. some comments on this article posted on its Facebook link:

    Justin Wooten: Opportunist phony-"Left" criticism.
    22 minutes ago · Like
    Justin Wooten The Democrat Primary --is-- the election.
    17 minutes ago · Like
    Justin Wooten Fighting corporate Democrats in their own primaries is the best way to --expose-- them.
    11 minutes ago · Like
    Justin Wooten You hate more on Barron in your stupid blog than the corporate Democrat Zionist clown Hakeem Jeffries.

    It's --you-- who works for Democrats.
    11 minutes ago · Like

  2. Jay,

    The link to the PSL is broken.

    I find each of these parties disagreeable, but I suppose I'll force myself to vote for one of them rather than abstain. They're disagreeable in that:

    SEP calls U.S. labor unions wholly capitalist institutions; that the party owns a factory makes this stance particularly worrisome;

    SWP refuses to stand with the Palestinians against Israel, has a bizarre leadership that has ruthlessly purged oppositionists,

    PSL is Maoist, with all the confusion that entails.

    Perhaps their effectiveness should be paramount in comparing them, but that I can't judge. Can you? In terms of the literary effectiveness of their propaganda, I'd give SEP the highest grade.

  3. Here is a PSL campaign link:

    I think PSL can only be said to be Maoist in the sense that it is one more pop front formation. Also, I get the feeling that for them "the movement is everything" to quote Bernstein. There is very little related to party-building or the revolutionary tasks of the US proletariat.

    Re: the SWP, my old party, it has been 29 years since the last split/expulsion/mass resignations. I don't find the leadership bizarre, just focused on husbanding a small number of cadre until the dog days for the working class come to an end. Many criticize the party re the Palestinians and Israel, so you are not alone there.

    SEP's line on unions is completely liquidationist, which I disagree with; but I agree with you that SEP deserves high marks in other areas, including daily communist journalism of high caliber, and solid theoretical work on a consistent basis.