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February 10, 2016


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I have yet to read your new book. But I heard your interview with Sam Seder on Majority Report.
I agree with much of your argument and critique of the post-structuralist left.
But anyone familiar with the landscape of Left organisation in the US, the U.K. and elsewhere will be familiar with the existence of dozens of small anti-capitalist 'parties' who all claim vanguard status and spend a huge amount if time trying to organise the working class for independent socialist politics.
So the question that naturally arises is: where is the social foundation and space for new (?) communist/socialist party? If these small groups cannot build substantial membership and influence, why a new venture?
Of course political-economic conditions change - as does the potential for new parties and new forms of organisation.
But, historically, the kind of change usually needed to politicise class relations and provide the basis for independent class politics is not an increase in inequality, but war: world war, civil war, invasions, occupations etc.
For example, in France it was the experience of defeat and occupation during WW1 and WW2 that served to discredit the authority of the French ruling class. Combined with the class-specific sufferings that the wars entailed, and the willingness of the PCF to take a leading role in organising resistance to Nazi occupation, that laid the foundation for the emergence of the Communists as a mass party with deep working class roots after 1944.
Anyway, I'm sure you get the point: inequality and injustice is a necessary, but typically insufficient, condition for new forms of political organisation with real social weight.

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