[OPE-L:5868] Re: Hello and Kliman's cat

Gerald Levy (glevy@pratt.edu)
Fri, 19 Dec 1997 12:51:35 -0500 (EST)

[ show plain text ]

Duncan wrote on Thu, 18 Dec:

> Maybe we need to be more interested in "reformist" structures that express
> class interests. I think the all-or-nothing approach to social change
> hasn't proved itself historically.

Very few individuals or groups in the history of Marxism have taken an
"all or nothing approach." Daniel DeLeon and the Socialist Labor Party, I
suppose, come to mind as exceptions (as do some extreme sectarian groups
today). The question for most Marxists after the defeat of Bernstein and
the German Social Democratic "revisionists" has not been reform or
revolution but has rather been reform *and* revolution (contra
the title of Luxemburg's pamphlet). I.e., while rejecting reformism (at
least in theory), most Marxists have not _per se_ rejected reforms.

An interesting political question is the relation between demands and
movements for reform, what Trotsky called "democratic demands", and
demands that would require the abolition of capitalism to be met, called
by Trotsky "transitional demands." Bolshevik slogans are an interesting
case study. Lenin and the Bolsheviks did not demand "Communism Now!" in
1917. Rather, more limited - but very powerful - slogans, such as "Land,
bread, and peace" and "All power to the Soviets" were advanced.

In solidarity, Jerry