A Swedish podcaster recently leveled false and harmful charges against Marxist-Humanist Initiative, on social media and in a message to us. Our response appears in the link below, along with the message to which it responds. Names of individuals have been edited out to protect the innocent. If you have seen or heard others discuss the accusations against us, please make them aware of our response.
–– Executive Committee of Marxist-Humanist Initiative, January 17, 2017
The Eternal Sunshine of the Vanguardist Mind: How Socialist Alternative Substitutes Opportunism for Theory
by Brendan Cooney
It must be great to be Kshama Sawant and the rest of the leadership of Socialist Alternative right now. After years of slogging it out in the trenches, selling papers for the revolution, attaching themselves like leeches to every popular movement that came along, they finally have proof that they have a winning strategy and that they are the party to lead the coming revolution. After all, they have Kshama Sawant, an avowed socialist, sitting on the Seattle City Council. With her help Seattle has won a $15 an hour minimum wage.
On top of all this, Socialist Alternative (SA) had another reason to be wildly optimistic and full of self-importance this election season as Bernie Sanders, a self-described socialist, came quite close to challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination. All of the sudden it was socially acceptable to call yourself a socialist in mixed company, and thousands of people began to show up at Sanders rallies to hear him talk about a “rigged economy” and fighting the “billionaire class”. SA has seen this as an opening for them to push for the organization of a new mass party, one that will challenge the political dominance of the Democrats and Republicans––a party that could be influenced by a vanguard group like SA. So they have jumped into the fray with their “#movement4bernie” campaign, endorsing Sanders and actively promoting his campaign, all the while agitating for him to leave the Democrats and form a third party.
by Andrew Kliman
During the discussion period of a meeting of the leadership of News and Letters Committees, on May 8, 1984, Raya Dunayevskaya said:
I consider the question of Theory/Practice as the unique characteristic of the whole N&L paper, of each writer and not just the columnist of Theory/Practice. I believe it is our weakest point. It is definitely both the most difficult to work out and the least understood, much less dialectically practiced. One of the events of the past which you may not know is that every one of the intellectuals – and I’m referring to those who did sympathize and even helped support N&L – opposed the Two Worlds column. It wasn’t only Johnsonism that opposed my serious analysis of the Beria purge for the very first issue of Correspondence where I predicted that Khrushchev, not Malenkov, would replace Stalin. No, that type of attitude characterizes all intellectuals. They wish to discuss theory only among intellectuals (and without diving down too far) and “popularize” for the masses. When I established as a principle that a workers’ paper was to be where theory/practice were broken down and insisted that if intellectuals were serious about theory they not only had to submit to a critique by the rank and file but had to begin where the masses were by contributing the highest kind of theory to illuminate, not “popularize”, the objective situation Marxistically, they all went the other way. Now, when it comes to ourselves, we seem to all agree. In fact, however, we do not work hard at theory and keep taking it for granted, as if repeating conclusions can be called theoretic development. What is worse, we portray activity as if that is theory. Theory is a very hard taskmaster. Taking it for granted instead of going through the “labor, patience, suffering of the negative” is what makes it hard to project the uniqueness of RLWLKM [Rosa Luxemburg, Women's Liberation, and Marx's Philosophy of Revolution], the whole body of ideas of Marxist-Humanism, the trilogy of revolution, the challenge to post-Marx Marxists. It is this which needs further serious development …. [p. 7 of Minutes of the meeting]