Jewish and Palestinian workers unity in Israel today bodes well for future struggles

Monday, January 23, 2017

Big anti Trump numbers, but what political weight?

Millions marched around the world Saturday to express their upset and fear about the election of Donald Trump.

Will these numbers lead to something sustainable that can break away from U.S. bourgeois parties?

I'm reminded of big claims made for the "new anti-war movement" of February and March 2003, and the OWS of 2011.

What is the political weight of the marchers?

What I saw in Saturday was a lot of emotion and sentiment and spiritedness. But it was being expressed for the most part by middle class people who would be content if Clinton were president. 

Most were happy and content with Obama. They are pushed toward hysteria now by the thought that barbarians are again at the gate.

Excerpt 1:

"...I’m always struck by this fallacy, the big number fallacy. The idea that, in essence, first you draw together the people and then later you tell them what the program really is, or later they discover what the program really is. I think we have had our best example of the horrendous effect that such an approach can have in Indonesia the last couple of months.

"Here was an organization, the Indonesian Communist Party, that claimed three million members; three million members in its youth group; and a following of over twenty million in the mass organizations of the workers, peasants, women, students, and government employees that it led. And it is currently undergoing an utter annihilation at the hands of an army of about 350,000. The problem of the Indonesian Communist Party is not its constituency. It’s hard to imagine a much bigger constituency for any radical party, as a percentage of the toiling population. The problem is, you can’t turn a sponge into a sword overnight, no matter how large the sponge is."



Excerpt 2:

"...Is It not the work of the propagandists at the present moment that forms the key point for disentangling the proletarian line from the defencist and petty-bourgeois 'mass' intoxication?"

"...It seems to me that these words betray a completely erroneous estimate of the situation. Comrade Kamenev contraposes to a 'party of the masses' a 'group of propagandists'. But the 'masses' have now succumbed to the craze of 'revolutionary' defencism. Is it not more becoming for internationalists at this moment to show that they can resist 'mass' intoxication rather than to 'wish to remain' with the masses, i.e., to succumb to the general epidemic? Have we not seen how in all the belligerent countries of Europe the chauvinists tried to justify themselves on the grounds that they wished to 'remain with the masses'? Must we not be able to remain for a time in the minority against the 'mass' intoxication? Is It not the work of the propagandists at the present moment that forms the key point for disentangling the proletarian line from the defencist and petty-bourgeois 'mass' intoxication? It was this fusion of the masses, proletarian and non-proletarian, regardless of class differences within the masses, that formed one of the conditions for the defencist epidemic. To speak contemptuously of a 'group of propagandists' advocating a proletarian line does not seem to be very becoming."

-- from V.I. Lenin's second letter on Tactics. (The two letter were written between April 8 and 13, 1917.)


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