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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Wanted: Marxists To Resolve Dispute

This is going to be a rather self-indulgent post, but perhaps of interest to those of you who are into in political history, or just history.On Sunday I did a post about the big antiwar rally in Washington, and by way of suggesting that this assemblage wasn’t as radical as it might have been, reminisced about an antiwar rally I attended in Atlanta in 1970 in which Trotskyist cadres coopted a bunch of peaceniks into marching alongside Viet Cong flags.My colleague The Moose, a fellow baby boomer who shared my youthful flirtation with Marxism back in the day, upbraided me by the water cooler to inform me that my memoir was objectively impossible, since the Socialist Workers Party and its collegiate wing, the Young Socialist Alliance, had in fact promulgated a Popular Front Party Line that eschewed identification with the NLF, or indeed, any message other than “U.S. Out of Vietnam Now.”The Moose knows his Trotskyists very well. Indeed, after subjecting me to a round of criticism-and-self-criticism about my understanding of SWP policies, he went on to school me on the particular provenance of the Workers World Party (one of the indirect sponsors of the rally in Washington this weekend), which was born as a protest against the SWP’s condemnation of the Soviet supression of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956.But I remember what I remember from 1970, as I trudged along in an antiwar march controlled by YSA activists, under the watchful eye of local SWP boss and future perennial presidential candidate Linda Jenness, an Atlanta native, and as YSA bullhorns redundantly intoned pro-NLF chants.I have no idea if, or if so, how many, Vietnam-era Marxists read New Donkey, but if so, we need some arbitation here. Was I ignorantly witnessing some weird Atlanta-based Left Deviationist strain of American Trotskyism? Was the march actually controlled by agents of RYM (Revolutionary Youth Movement) II, the residue of SDS after RYM I (a.k.a., the Weathermen) and the Progressive Labor Party (briefly the home of Lyndon Larouche) left? Was the whole thing an FBI plant?Inquiring minds want to know. And the whole subject is a reminder that today’s internecine battles on the Left are a pale reflection of what they used to be, back when state socialism was still cool.

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