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May 12, 2006

Comments

friend of a friend

What is the plan?

Are people just showing up to talk with the Christians?

Sounds good to me.

K.G.

Rallying people to actively oppose these events is important. They are attempting what amounts to a fascist political mobilization. They want war--real war, and the people need their army too.

G. Frohman

I think those who want to fight against this "movement" should investigate the actual character very thoroughly. I agree with K.G. to the extent that the people *organizing* the events should be confronted, denounced, disrupted, etc. as much as possible. But they're not the same as the youth they're dragging to these things.

Battle Cry's strategy appears to be to organize through church youth groups -- which are organized and led by non-youth church leaders. Most of the youth at these stadium events are probably driven there in church buses and vans. Most probably have no clear conception of what it is going in, beyond their being told by the church leaders that it's to support the "Christian values" they've been brought up to believe in.

If you read through the propaganda that Battle Cry puts out, it's very interesting. Their reactionary, theocratic politics are mixed in with a huge amount of coopted radical language. Some examples:

"Corporations, media conglomerates, and purveyors of popular culture have spent billions to seduce and enslave our youth."

"With more than $128 billion dollars in their pockets, this generation has been targeted by corporate America, who does everything it can to grow brands and profits without any regard to the moral decay of a generation."

"Before the weekend was over, thirty five thousand stadium attendees were challenged to live the life of a revolutionary Christian..."

Their propaganda has a creepy "red-brown" vibe, but it's fascinating that their assessment is that they have to use radical-sounding language and imagery (their main symbol is a red flag!) to reach out to youth. I think this all shows the possibilities that are out there right now for actual progressive and revolutionary forces.

The point is that I think we need to be careful in our strategies and tactics not to mush together the adult reactionary leaders pushing this astroturf "movement" with the youth they're bringing to it. I believe the best strategy would be one that in part tries to reach out to as many of the youth as possible to try to win them away from this scene, or at a minimum to increase their doubts and confusion about its reactionary program in order to make them useless to the right as footsoldiers. An approach that lumped them in with the Battle Cry program (I don't know if that's what anyone is doing at this point) would pose the danger of pushing the attendees more firmly into the organizers' arms.

I'd love, for example, to see a focused effort around leafletting the youth with sharply honed propaganda along the lines of, "Watch out -- you're being used." One could also make a nice parallel: "Have you ever wondered how Muslim extremists recruit new generations of militants?"

Just some thoughts.

Gregory A Butler

It's always disturbed me how a lot of folks on the RCP-influenced left talk so much about so called "christian fascism" today.

Besides the fact that you risk alienating that huge portion of the American working class who are Fundamentalist Christians (remember, we are in a country that's 80% Christian), there's also the fact that you all are horribly misusing the term "fascist"...

As any true follower of Marxist ideology knows, America today is in no danger of fascism...at least in the sense that Marxists define fascism...

There is no mass revolutionary movement here, America is in no danger of revolution, the capitalists are not facing any kind of catastrophic crisis (think Germany post-Versailles treaty style crisis - defeat in war, crushed army, fallen government - that kind of crisis) and the majority of working class Americans (particulary White American workers - and priviliged/labor aristocratic workers of all races) still have illusions in the system...

Therefore, there is no reason for the capitalists to rule through the blunt instrument of fascism when they can still get a lot of milage out of bourgeois democracy..

The only reason I can see that the Great Leader Bob Avakian's crew are trotting out the "Christian Fascism" thing is to prepare their followers to SUPPORT THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN THE NEXT ELECTION...

Gotta tell ya, I used to be a member of the Communist Party USA (1985-96), so I'm very familiar with the "defeat the ultra right" argument for supporting the Democrats... and this whole "Christian Fascism" panic sounds an awful lot like that argument...

And, it also has the special added effect of alienating many mainstream workers, who might otherwise listen to our politics, but who would get really turned off if we attack their religious beliefs..

At a time when we need to be waging a political war against the Democrats and the union leadership (who still have the allegiance of large numbers of workers) this is the last thing we need to do..

the burningman

Greg -- always a healthy skepticism!

I can see your concern, and its been voiced in other corners, too. But... I don't think that's what is happening, and the day the RCP puts out a "Maoists For Hillary" along the same lines as the CP's "Marxists for Kerry" you will see a snowball fight in hell.

There's a couple points here, the first one is exactly what Sunsara says above:

"If you've been waiting until the Christian fascist movement started filling stadiums with young people and hyping them up to do battle in 'God's army' to get alarmed, wait no longer."

The "fight the ultra-right" line that the CP has been running since Hitler days has indeed been the cover for their total abandonment of communist politics and subjugation to the Democratic Party locally and nationally.

For those of us who saw through that, in my case with the help of Avakian's writing and party, a strong dose of skepticism towards the "Popular Front" model is something to share every chance we get.

But... second point...

There is a fascist current in the highest levels of government, rapidly remaking facts on the ground in a full-court press that must be answered in kind.

And the Democrats will NOT do it.

Building a united front capable of checking them is necessary, and is not an "organizing principle" or rhetorical trick.

What has made the RCP's leadership so essential RIGHT NOW is exactly that the understand the stakes -- AND that we must do it on OUR OWN TERMS.

Sunsara's response is further telling in that she's not a precinct captain for liberal demagogue #9, but is putting out broad calls to DIRECTLY ENGAGE the youth wings of these movements, the David Horowitz types and to WIN OVER liberals to a better politic.

Stuggling with and tailing after are NOT the same thing. And you know there are tens of millions of "liberals" who are no such thing -- but see little choice or alternative.

I'd suggest you look into Avakian's recent writing on how they see the current political constellation. It is NOT Popular Front writing. It is some real "charting the uncharted course" stuff, including how to engage Christian Fascism (which is real real real) without shitting on the personal faith that the fascists are manipulating (and without pretending WE are "good Christians").

Your note about "how Marxists define fascism..." is actually a problem. We aren't archivists and dictionary editors! Hitlerian fascism was in response to the then-real threat of communist revolution in the heart of imperialism... but decades of fascism in Latin America, the Arab world, Indonesia and so on have shown us that strong, authoritarian states do not just rise in response to immediate POPULAR threats, but also from the weakness of the system.

With the Democrats eviscerated, the US increasingly a "one-party state," a rising fascist movement among Christian fundamentalists, military moves into civilian branches of government, militarism as "the new normal," total information awareness, an "eliminationist" current on the right (Horowitz/Coulter) that seeks to illegalize the left and purge the universities, militarization of the border, control of reproduction...

and so on.

It's not rhetoric. It's not the same old.

And if this program is being rejected by the majority of people -- WHICH IT IS -- then that's all the more reason that communist have to get out into the mix UNDER THEIR OWN FLAG and build some counter-power NOT CONTROLLED BY THE DEMOCRATS or subject to their vascilations (ala the CP/CoC's UFPJ).

If anything, I'd urge you to get involved with World Can't Wait to engage some of the actual liberals at the end of their rope.

See Nancy Pelosi's recent bullshit.

We have to drive out the Bush Regime and toot sweet at that. As there is not a revolutionary situation, there will likely be some "legal" process by which that happens, or as part of the mix.

Attacking those liberals WILLING to fight is not the right cut. And if my congressional "representitive" signed the World Can't Wait statement (which he did!), then it's not because World Can't Wait is "liberal." It's because there are breaks happening that WE need to capitalize on AMONG THE MASSES of people.

My 2cents.

friend of a friend

Stan R. wrote up a personal essay on the Christian fascist menace and Battle Cry that's spot on:

http://www.rogouski.com/blog/2006/05/a_carnival_of_t.html

the burningman

Greg -- here's Sunsara's other recent article:

http://sunsara.blogspot.com/2006/04/why-democrats-wont-stand-and-fight-and.html

I put it in the Hot Shots when it came out...

Gregory A Butler

Brother Burningman,

You're missing my point..

Indeed, Great Leader Avakian and his comrades are not going to use the same propaganda as Gus Hall or Sam Webb would...

And that's EXACTLY what makes the RCP's line so dangerous..

Basically, you're calling for a "united front against fascism" when there IS NO DANGER OF FASCISM IN THIS COUNTRY AT THIS TIME...

The capitalists were able to invade Afghanistan, detain 3,000+ Arabs without charges, impose draconian sanctions on other immigrants (that is, Mexicans), invade Iraq and do a whole lot of other repressive stuff UNDER BOURGEOIS DEMOCRACY..

Now, I'm not saying that there is no repression in this country.. but, repression IS A NORMAL PART OF BOURGEOIS DEMOCRACY, brother!!!

That's why they have court systems, and police, and sheriffs, and state troopers, and the border patrol and the National Guard ect... the normal functioning of any capitalist state, even the most democratic, reqires a repressive apparatus...

But that is NOT FASCISM, BROTHER!!!

Fascism (for those of us who use the classical Marxist definition) involves a capitalist state in crisis, on the verge of revolution, in a time when most workers EXPLICITLY BELIVE IN REVOLUTION...

Think Russia 1917, or Germany 1919...

We are not in those times, brother...

Most American workers still belive capitalism is the only possible system - and that includes the most oppressed workers too...

Even the most militant workers - those audacious immigrants who so awsomely took over the streets of this country a few weeks ago - still believe in capitalism...

What was their slogan... "march today, vote tomorrow"????

So, why would the capitalists need fascism, when THEY CAN STILL IMPOSE THEIR DICTATORSHIP OF CAPITAL FROM THE BALLOT BOX???

And right wing mass movements do not necessarily equal fascism, brother... hell, they're not even necessary - check your history, after the collapse of the 1919 Hungarian Soviet Republic, the rulers of that country were able to impose a fascist dictatorship WITHOUT A MASS FASCIST PARTY...

Bottom line, The RCP and it's front groups talk about "Christian Fascism" and "ousting the Bush Regime" is nothing more than a hard left version of the CPUSA's "fight the ultra right" - a pseduo leftist justification for voting for the Democrats [or "voting against the Republicans" if you want to be dishonest about it]

There is no danger of Christian Fascism in this country, brother Burningman..

We might see more repression - against immigrants, and African Americans, and women, and gays & lesbians, and yes, they might try to sell that repression using fundamentalist Christian arguments..

But, that is NOT "Christian fascism" - that's ordinary garden variety BOURGEOIS DEMOCRATIC REPRESSION, which is what props up EVERY capitalist state -- even the most democratic ones (Sweden, Demmark, Finland ect)

Unfortunately, we revolutionaries are far from being important enought for the capitalists to need a dictatorshp to repress us and our movement...

Gregory A Butler

Another point...

I do most of my political work among my fellow union carpenters (in particular, Black and Latin union carpenters here in New York City), through my listserv, GANGBOX: CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NEWS SERVICE

http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/

And I advocate for revolutionary ideas among my brother and sister carpenters...

The great majority of the workers who read my listserv HAPPEN TO BE CHRISTIANS, with many of them being fundamentalist... and with many of the rest more or less orthodox Catholics (and I even count a few Mormons among my working class readers)

Now, would any of those folks listen to one word I have to say on the class struggle or the fight for civil rights if I was percieved as anti Christian???

HELL NO...

But, I can actually have a converstion with these folks if I leave religion off the table, and talk about class struggle - the collapse of the construction unions, the decline of construction worker incomes, the still rampant discrimination against Black, Latin and Asian men,and women of all colors, in our industry - as well as the broader class battles that face our class...

Hell, I can, and do, talk about the social questions - womens rights, gay rights, abortion rights, the prison industrial complex, repression in the school system ect... and, again, I can't have that conversation if I'm attacking their religious beliefs..

And, if I come out as anti Christian, I can't talk to them about imperialism and oil wars, as I do currently...

And, brother Burningman, you'll find that a lot of working class fundamentalist Christians are actually quite radical on a lot of those questions... even the social issues.. because, as working class people, their material interests drive them to radical answers to the oppression and exploitation they face every day...

Hell, I've even used Christian rhetoric to sell revolutionary ideas (or, as they would put it -"building God's Kingdom on Earth" - the Chinese peasants who led the 19th Century Taiping Rebellion actually used that slogan to build a revolutionary army that took on the Emperor and the British)

That's another danger of all this "Christian Fascism" rhetoric - driving our potential comrades into the arms of the enemy...

Gregory A Butler

Actually, your own words prove my point about how fighting "Christian Fascism" is an excuse for UNCONDITIONALLY SUPPORTING OUR MAIN ENEMY, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

In your own words, brother Burningman :

"We have to drive out the Bush Regime and toot sweet at that. As there is not a revolutionary situation, there will likely be some "legal" process by which that happens, or as part of the mix.

Attacking those liberals WILLING to fight is not the right cut. And if my congressional "representitive" signed the World Can't Wait statement (which he did!), then it's not because World Can't Wait is "liberal." It's because there are breaks happening that WE need to capitalize on AMONG THE MASSES of people.

My 2cents."

In plain English "driving out the Bush Regime" means SUPPORTING THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY...

And that's EXACTLY what the CPUSA preaches, brother...

You explicitly come out AGAINST attacking liberal Democrats.. again, the same line the CPUSA takes...

Basically, the only difference between Great Leader Bob Avakian and Sam Webb is that Chairman Bob is a better writer.....

the burningman

I don't know what to tell you, Greg.

I say potato, you say "FORD TAURUS."

The difference between Avakian and Sam Webb?

Are you kidding? Do you actually think that?

the burningman

Attacking Major Owens, Cynthia McKinny and so on is just not on the front burner. THEY are NOT the "main" enemy, main danger or anything like that...

It's important to know WHAT they are, and I'm thankful that the RCP is putting out some of the CLEAREST analysis out there on what the Dems are... but the handful of liberal-left congressional "reps" are NOT the MAIN enemy right now. And whole sectors need to be won over.

The CP is neither communist, nor revolutionary. The political differences aren't semantic, but apparent.

The RCP is NOT calling for all forces to "put down their flags" and fall in line behind Democrats. Not now, and not during the coming election.

There will be NO endorsement of the Democratic Party because the working people of this country HAVE a party, and it is revolutionary and communist. A huge part of the promotion of Bob Avakian's leadership is EXACTLY this issue, Greg. Come on, bro and see it!

The first question, Greg, is whether what you are saying is objectively true. It's not, and that's why I included a link to SOME of the RCP's thinking on the issue of Democrats. Read it!

The second question is whether it is "subjectively" true. That is, does the RCP *think* they are moving into the periphery of the Democratic Party. Answer: not even close.

Compare Sam Webb's grotesque "Democracy Matters" essay to ANYTHING by Avakian. That piece of doggeral is SO bad that I have distributed it among anyone remotely connected to the CP.

It upholds China TODAY as a model of socialism and Salvador Allende as the MODEL of models for political work out of power. That's right: fascism in power is cool, and getting slaughtered for liberal illusions the way to go OUT of power.

It's so horrible that I'd think somebody made is up to ridicule them if I hadn't read it myself.

It's not just that Avakian is a "better" writer. I don't know if that's true. But he has WAY better politics that people EXACTLY like you need to be engaging, criticizing (rightfully) and learning from.

Your anti-revisionist instincts are healthy, but don't let them be a reflex. Every analysis of political changes in the larger society aren't just rhetorical tricks.

Read what they're putting out, match it against what they are doing -- and figure out where you can be of use to the revolutionary and communist movement. And, since I'm assuming you're a bit older than me... don't assume your formative experiences a generation ago speak directly to what is in play now.

That's my third and fourth cents.

srogouski

Greg:

I'm familiar with Trotsky's writings on fascism so I understand where you're coming from in your arguments. But one thing struck me.

Here:

"The great majority of the workers who read my listserv HAPPEN TO BE CHRISTIANS, with many of them being fundamentalist... and with many of the rest more or less orthodox Catholics (and I even count a few Mormons among my working class readers)

Now, would any of those folks listen to one word I have to say on the class struggle or the fight for civil rights if I was percieved as anti Christian???"

Ironically you're making the exact same argument most of the elite in the democratic party is, that we can't afford to offend evangelical Christians. There's a reason Howard Dean went on the 700 Club and sucked up to Pat Robertson.

So I'll ask you. Where do you draw the line? Do you not support gay marriage and abortion rights because Christians in the working class might be offended by it?

srogouski

Re the Democrats as enemies:

"Attacking Major Owens, Cynthia McKinny and so on is just not on the front burner. THEY are NOT the "main" enemy, main danger or anything like that..."

The few genuine liberals in Congress (mostly the black caucus and a couple of individualists like Feingold) aren't the enemy.

But the Democrats do have a rather extensive apparatus for capturing progressive energy (and money) and channeling it into the Democratic Party.

You have a lot of websites like Atrios's Eschaton and the Daily Kos which are leftist in form but fundamentally centrist in content. They allow you to bash George Bush to your hearts content but in the end you're led into voting for Kerry or whoever the Dems put up. And they limit the issues you can discuss. Try to talk about the Palestinians or Nepal on Atrios or MyDD. See how quickly you get your IP banned.

World Can't Wait really isn't part of this network (although it's easy to make the mistake that it is). But there are a lot of issues around basing a political campaign around Bush as fundamental leap into fascism over Nixon or Reagan (or even Clinton). I think you have to lay out precisely why Bush approaches fascism, do it quickly, succinctly and with concrete arguments.

And you also have to lay out the reasons the democrats aren't acting as an opposition, the reaons why we're essentially a one party state.

Sunsara did a really good job of that in her article.

http://rwor.org/a/045/why-democrats-wont-stand.html

Gregory A Butler

Brother Burningman

Again, your words are proving my point...

"Attacking Major Owens, Cynthia McKinny and so on is just not on the front burner. THEY are NOT the "main" enemy, main danger or anything like that..."

Basically, while you claim that you and your organization are not CPUSA-style facemen for the Democratic Party YOU GO ON AND DEFEND THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY...

Now, I would think that, as a communist, you'd feel that the capitalist politicians who do the best job of deluding workers to support them ARE THE MAIN FOLKS WE HAVE TO FIGHT...

That's black letter Marxism, Jed..

Lenin didn't write his polemics against the Tzar, he attacked THE OTHER SOCIALIST PARTIES IN RUSSIA, WHO'S POLITICS WERE OBJECTIVELY COUNTERREVOLUTIONARY...

Those folks (Menshiviks ect) were THE MAIN ENEMY...because workers had illusions in them..

And, there are millions of Black workers who have illusions in the Democratic Party.... deadly illusions...

That's what killed the civil rights movement, brother Jed...

Among our Latin@ brothers and sisters, there are similar illusions in the Democratic Party (and the Catholic Church, the Latin@ not for profit social service agencies and the Spanish language media)... and those illusions will lead to the defeat from within of their civil rights movements.. UNLESS REVOLUTIONARIES WORK NOW TO WIN THOSE WORKERS AWAY FROM THEIR CURRENT MISLEADERS TO A REVOLUTIONARY LINE..

That's what revolutionaries do, brother Jed..

Real communists do not support popular-frontist "lesser of two evils" politics, as the RCP and it's front groups do at present..

Bottom line, as I said earlier in this thread, the RCP's rhetoric about so called "Christian Fascism" and "Drive out the Bush Regime" is nothing more than a left wing argument for voting for the Democrats...

Gregory A Butler

Brother Srogouski,

As I said earlier, on the GANGBOX I openly and explicitly advocate revolutionary positions on the social questions... (what ya boy Lenin called "being a Tribune of the People")

So it should go without saying that I'm openly pro choice and pro gay rights (and it goes without saying pro gay marrage)... and I do not allow homophobic or anti choice rhetoric on the GANGBOX list...

Actually, millions of Christians share those views (in particular, the millions of gay and lesbian fundamentalist Christians and the tens of millions of Christian women)...and they hold these views irregardless of what the leaders of their religious denominations may say

Again, precisely because I don't use anti-Christian rhetoric I'm able to have those kind of conversations with Christians.. conversations that other American communists probably wouldn't be able to have, since they're so busy ranting about the nonexistant phantom of "Christian Fascism"

Gregory A Butler

Brother Srougouski,

You claim that (in your own words):

"The few genuine liberals in Congress (mostly the black caucus and a couple of individualists like Feingold) aren't the enemy."

But you go on and prove my point by saying (again, in your own words):

"But the Democrats do have a rather extensive apparatus for capturing progressive energy (and money) and channeling it into the Democratic Party."

Brother that is EXACTLY WHY THE DEMOCRATS are THE MAIN ENEMY!!!

The Democratic Party is exactly who the most militant workers (that is, low income African Americans and Latin@s) have illusions in... and those illusions have led to the defeat of many many many militant struggles over the last century, most notably the civil rights movement..

Illusions in the Democratic Party among Latin@s will almost certainly lead to the defeat, from within, of their civil rights movement..

As revolutionaries, it is our DUTY to expose the MAIN ENEMY OF THE WORKING CLASS..

And that main enemy is the DEMOCRATIC PARTY... in particular, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that infiltrates the progressive movements...

Bottom line, by defending the Democrats as "lesser evils" you are HELPING THEM DEFEAT THE WORKING CLASS FROM WITHIN, brother...

That's black letter Marxism, brother... our job is to help our class defeat their misleaders, those who would destroy our struggles from within...

Consequently, our main enemies are exactly those "progressive Democrats" that folks like the RCP support...

Gregory A Butler

Brother Srougouski,

Incidentally, on the whole homophobia thing... correct me if I'm wrong, wasn't the Great Leader Chariman Bob Avakian SERIOUSLY HOMOMPHOBIC for most of his political career???

If I recall (and brother Jed can correct me on this) didn't the RCP strongly oppose gay and lesbian rights (including, it should go without saying, gay marrage) until embarrassingly recently???

Enquiring minds want to know....

Bobby Kay

Yup they sure did. But come on you have to cut the "revolutionary party of the working class" some slack once in a while. Even emporer Bob gets his shit wrong here and there.

srogouski

I think you have a point here but it's overstated:

"As revolutionaries, it is our DUTY to expose the MAIN ENEMY OF THE WORKING CLASS..

And that main enemy is the DEMOCRATIC PARTY... in particular, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that infiltrates the progressive movements..."

A good example would be the example of Howard Dean calling Ray McGovern "anti-semitic", undercutting his opposition to Rumsfeld.

I also quite honestly believe that the democrats secretely want Roe vs. Wade to be overturned (because they think the backlash will get them votes) and quite conciously target their own liberal base and hope to neutralize them.

On the other hand, World Can't Wait's opposition to Bush and the Christian right isn't support for the democrats. It's an attempt to target the authoritarian state and culture Bush and his henchman are trying to set up, essentially an agenda that will replace "capitalist democracy" with some sort of authoritarian state capitalism. It may not be fascism in the strictest Trotskyist sense but it's not Roosevelt liberalism either.

If they succede it will make it almost impossible to organize the working class at all.

srogouski

I'm not entirely sure about the exact timeline for this:

"If I recall (and brother Jed can correct me on this) didn't the RCP strongly oppose gay and lesbian rights (including, it should go without saying, gay marrage) until embarrassingly recently???"

although I think it's basically true. On the other hand, World Can't Wait's dominant figures all tend to be women so its hardly a patriarchal organization.

And it also has prominent gay supporters like Tom Duane and Mark Leno.

srogouski

I do think you're onto something with this:

"And that main enemy is the DEMOCRATIC PARTY... in particular, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party that infiltrates the progressive movements"

Most of those big ilberal Democratic websites did pop up around the Dean movement in the wake of the huge anti-war protests in 2003 then proceeded to trash every anti-war march in 2004 and 2005. Their behavior in the wake of the September 24th protests and their refusal to acknowledge Cindy Sheehan was disgusting.

leftclick

Butler, your post is a reflection of the fact that RCP has not provided a coherent justification for their description of the Bush regine as ‘fascist.’ Fascism is a provocative term and should be used with care. It would be helpful if RCP would provide their understanding of the term and explain how this relates to historical fascism.

That being said, I wanted to make a few quick points.

I see that Butler is wary of anyone who uses the word fascism for two very good reasons: 1] the left’s tendency to throw the word carelessly around when describing any kind of reactionary and 2] the CP’s evocation of fascism to manipulate people into voting Democrat. However, RCP is doing neither of those things. As burningman stated the historical conditions for the emergence of fascism are too varied [Chile vs. Germany for instance] to use as part of any key definition but the Bush regime does exhibit many of the important characteristics of fascism: faith in a messianic leader, disdain for science or culture, extreme nationalism, open disregard for human rights, obssesssion with a foreign ‘other’, and many more I could list. Despite your claim, Marxists do not have a consensus on a definition of fascism but we can continue to sharpen our understanding. Many of these features are present under ‘normal’ bourgeois imperialism but under post-9/11 Bush things have coalesced to a whole new level. RCP has made it clear that we are not presently living under fascism but that the trajectory of things is headed that way.

Your critique rests on several faulty assumptions:

1] the bourgeosie will simply wait for the kind of crisis you describe and react to it

The Bush administration’s policies were described by the Project for the New American Century in 1992. They have been planning for the opportunity to implement their agenda full force and 9/11 gave it to them. Why would they not take advantage of it? Do you think the bourgeoisie learn nothing from history? Why wait for crisis for to implement repressive policies when you can head it off? They obviously have no intention of being reactive.

2] fascism can only be adopted only as a ‘necessary’ policy for crisis management

See above. Also the bourgeoisie in Germany were not automatically going to support Hitler. Between him and a Junker [I forget his name now], they supported the more organized Nazis. However, many were so uncomfortable with the crude anti-Semitism that the Nazis downplayed it during their first 3 years in power. There was always a tension between fascism and capitalism and it is not a sure bet that fascism will necessarily be the solution of choice, and even now, it’s not yet a done deal but we can’t count on any illusory ‘self-correcting’ mechanism from within the system

3] not attacking the Democrats means supporting them

You say: “UNLESS REVOLUTIONARIES WORK NOW TO WIN THOSE WORKERS AWAY FROM THEIR CURRENT MISLEADERS TO A REVOLUTIONARY LINE..” How do we do that? We must focus our energy on that section of the bourgeosie that has the initiative while keeping our eye on other sections. We will not win them over wholesale, but we can at least try to neutralize them. There are a few members of the Democratic Party [such as Tom Hayden] that we can still work with but that doesn’t mean turning over the struggle to him or his politics [that’s the CP way]. There are many good people who have illusions about the Democrats but hate the Bush regime. Should we insist that they shed their illusions before engaging in struggle against Bush? Or should we welcome their participation and struggle with them in that context? It is your ultra-left approach that would push them further into the arms of the Democrats and their shills like moveon.org.

4] christian = fundamentalist

You conflate the two a few times and that’s just plain wrong. I don’t know where you got the figure of 80% fundmentalist. However the majority of people in this country are christian of one denomination or another but we’re not attacking christianity. We’re attacking an incipient theocracy. See Esther Kaplan’s book “With God on Our Side” and Kevin Pillips’s “American Theocracy” for examples of people deeply concerned with this and who also can see it crystallizing. Esther Kaplan even provides examples of evangelicals who oppose Bush but they are not the predominant trend.

5] win over people by not offending them

It is our repsonsibility as communists to tell the truth as we understand it, not to tell people what they want to hear. Yes we must be able to have conversations and engage with people but we must do it on the basis of principle, not establishing unity on some lowest common deniominator. We believe that christan theocratic fascism is being put into place and that is what we need to talk about. If christians think we are attacking them or reducing their beliefs then we should explain our position but we shouldn’t water it down, or worse, pretend that it’s not really that important just so we can get some short-term gains. If I were talking to someone, and they are against the Iraq, yet they exhibit racism I should be allowed to respond. If you talk to fundamentalists, ask them how they would feel about having their beliefs backed up by the force of law. If they agree would you point out that it would mean depriving women the right to control their bodies? Contributing to environmental degradation? Supporting imperialist wars to hasten the ‘end times’? Or would you stay silent to not appear anti-christian?

6] success measured by electoral politics

The World Can’t Wait campaign is intent on defeating the entire Bush agenda. To that end, they believe the most important thing is to build a movement that can become a powerful, legitimate voice on the cultural landscape. Electorally, the Democratic Party [or a moderate Republican] might probably be the beneficiary but that’s neither here nor there. The more important thing is that a movement that can remove these fascists from office would be in a great position to set the new terms of debate. WCW must be distinguished from RCP. WCW IS NOT A FRONT GROUP. It is a mass organization with a specific level of unity. In it’s ranks there are communists but also liberals, christians, unaffiliated individuals, anyone who wants to see the Bush agenda defeated. RCP is a communist party with a more specific revolutionary agenda. Communists we recognize that we are not in a revolutionary situation but it is a polarizing one. We must do what we can to change the climate towards our goal. If we fail we can wind up in a much worse position than we are now [and we're in a shitty position].

7] pragmatism

You don’t believe fascism is on the agenda because it doesn’t conform to the historical conditions you outlined. Huey Long rightfully noted that fascism in the US would not be expressed in its historically recognized forms. But you consider the Bush policies [widespread wiretapping, legitimized torture, scientists evaluated based on politics, denial of global warming, support of creationism] as part of the normal order. You say fascism’s not imminent. Will it be here next week? Not likely but let’s look at historical time. Can it happen in the next 5-10 years? Without real mass opposition - fuck yeah. We're talking about a fundamentalist movement that has been building towards presidential poweer since the 1950’s. A virulent right-wing movement slowly building since the failed Goldwater candidacy. In the Bush regime, they have converged to produce a fascist agenda. These movements didn’t get this far just to play it by ear. They have a long-term outlook which the Democrats not only will not oppose but will most likely extend and enhance once they get back into office. Unlike the CP, RCP is not opportunistically raising the fascist bugbear to get people to vote Democrat. RCP has been looking at this trend since 1998: http://rwor.org/a/1255/avakian_clinton_right_wing_conspiracy.htm and see it’s real danger.

8] downplaying the importance of culture

The Bush administration are putting many policies in place but they must succeed on another level to consolidate their gains. They must transform the culture so that their reactionary worldview becomes common sense. To that end they focus on seemingly off-center things like stem cell research or gay marriage at different moments, but we have to look beneath that. They are not simply trying to push through a set of laws but imposing a worldview. When their approach on Terry Schiavo backfired they just kept rolling. Meanwhile they managed to insert ‘partial birth abortion’ into the mainstream vocabulary. People say that Bush didn’t win the election on economic policy but on gay panic. They don’t see how one bled into the other. Why oppose gay marriage? It’s the will of god. Why oppose Darwinism? It contradicts the word of god. From here the loyal Bush followers extrapolated. Why is there such high unemployment? Why are we are war? God’s will… Even the fact the they are openly debating on the legitimacy of torture at all shows how much the culture has shifted rightwards. The Bush camp seem to be much more sophistcated at understanding the cohesive role of culture than the left is.

As far as Avakian’s ‘homophobia’ let me clarify. The RCP had a backward line on homosexuality for many years. However, they never supported homophobic policies nor participated in homophobic attacks. Due to years of criticism [I did my share of it] they did a self-criticism and, in 2001, developed a new draft position (http://rwor.org/margorp/homosexuality.htm) which is not only better than their previous one, but light years ahead of any other leftist group. Trying to tar the RCP as inherently homophobic without acknowledging their change in position is just lowball, unprincipled bullshit. You left the CP in 1996? Doesn’t sound like they left you.

leftclick

For more clarification on WCW:
http://www.worldcantwait.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=2&Itemid=3

On Avakian's position:
http://rwor.org/a/030/avakian-repolarization.htm

leftclick

Further clarification: point 2 where I said: "There was always a tension between fascism and capitalism" I should have said "There was always a tension between capitalism and its fascist form"

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