|The Early Days of a Better Nation|
Friday, September 23, 2011
Back in the 60s and 70s, many thousands of young Americans, radicalised by the Vietnam War and the Black struggle, were inspired by those socialist states that at the time militantly resisted the US: Vietnam, Cuba, China. They began to study what Ho, Fidel, Che, and Mao had to say, and thus found their way to Lenin and Stalin. They also re-examined the history of the CPUSA, which by then was for many young people a quite uninspiring organization, and found 'a usable past' in its early-30s militancy and its mid-30 to mid-40s popularity. The task was to do what the CPUSA had done in its glory days, but this time do it right.
And so the 'new communist movement' was born. Never was the adage 'the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce' more tragically and farcically apt. The strains of applying tactics drawn from the Stalinist line-changes of the past to the even more neck-wrenching lurches and swerves of 70s Maoism were more than enough to reduce the entire squabbling motorcade to roadside wreckage by the 80s. When you find yourself urging US imperialism to take a stronger stand against the Soviet threat, the suspicion must dawn on the dimmest that you're doing it wrong.
Some of the wheels that had dropped off kept trundling on. Some drivers kept walking forward with a steering-wheel clutched in their hands and encouraging imitations of engine noises from the passengers limping behind them.
Now these remnants are being joined by a small but growing crowd. One manifestation of that is Kasama, where posts and discussions are a random mix of sharp analysis, philosophical obscurantism, and Maoist baby-talk. Another is the recent rash of Maoist and Hoxhaist blogs. Despite being divided on whether China is now or has ever been socialist, they often link to each other, striving as of old to unite all who can be united against the main enemy: Trotskyism.
It would be interesting to know, from anyone better placed than I am, how much this reflects anything going on on the ground. Is the American radical left doomed to do the 60s and 70s over again?
We know how it ends, and it ain't pretty (Update: thanks to bensix in comments for the link.):
(This picture, which I think I found on Blood and Treasure is a lot more sinister than it looks. If anyone can remind me of the link, I'll be grateful. Update:, ah, found it.)