[A-List] Moderator's note

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 27 08:42:52 MDT 2004

Michael Keaney wrote:
> 3. James Petras is correct concerning the desire of a large segment of the
> US ruling class to fragment Russia (notwithstanding the ostensible support
> of Yeltsin by the Clinton administration, and Bush's "Pooty-Poot"). The US
> will support any leader(s) who further the project of extending and
> embedding private property rights, and Yeltsin was clearly the candidate to
> accomplish that, regardless of Chechnya. Putin has been subjected to
> mountains of Western media critique on account of Yukos, not Beslan, for
> precisely this reason. 

It is more complex than this. There has been some criticisms of him as a 
dictator for his assault on the Yeltsin-era criminal bourgeoisie, but 
the more far-sighted members of the intelligentsia understand that this 
was necessary to create a more stable society in which profits could be 
extracted. In other words, Putin was taking the long view, while Yeltsin 
and company were far more short-sighted. This has nothing to do with 
socialism, of course. We are not in the business of identifying with 
bourgeois politicians who are more adroit than others. That, of course, 
is Kerry's pitch against Bush. He can do a better job than Bush in 
managing the affairs of a capitalist empire. The drunken inept Yeltsin 
was the George W. Bush of Russia.

> In connection with (5), Melvin, in one of his posts on the national
> question, asked listers why was it that Trotskyism in the US never attracted
> significant African American support. Why was it that African Americans
> identified so strongly with the Third International? 

For the same reason white workers identified with it. It was a symbol if 
immense power. However, blacks began leaving the CP in droves after the 
party put the Kremlin's interests over that of black liberation. You can 
read about this in Harold Cruse's "Crisis of the Black Intellectual". 
Richard Wright was one of the more famous blacks who abandoned the CP, 
but there are thousands of others.

> I ask, why is it that so many Jewish Marxists identified with Trotskyism, as
> opposed to the Third International? A related question for Melvin to answer
> and others to consider: was Stalin an anti-semite? How did Jews fare in the
> USSR and elsewhere in the Soviet bloc?

Actually, it is just the opposite. Proportionately, there were far more 
Jews in the CP. In NYC, the CP's membership was probably 65 percent 
Jewish. American Trotskyism tended to be stronger in the Midwest, where 
there were fewer Jews. The largest branches were in Minneapolis and 
Detroit and were made up of Gentiles primarly, both black and white.


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