Are sectarianism and anarchism compatible?

A response to: History Lessons by ZZ


By James Thompson


Zoltan Zigedy is a very impressive writer who has contributed a great deal to modern left thought in the USA in recent years.


His most recent article is a bit puzzling, given his history as an unwavering Marxist-Leninist. He has consistently and resolutely opposed the sectarianism, opportunism and revisionism of the ghostlike CPUSA. To quote Gus Hall, ZZ has been a “Beacon in Our Times.”


In his most recent article, however, he seems to be sliding into sectarianism and anarchism. Hopefully, he will soon change his views.


In his article, History Lessons, he lays out a strong argument for any alignment with the Democratic Party. He lauds the virtues of “unrepentant Marxist Leninists, Green Party hardliners, and assorted outliers.” Although it is clear that these individuals have many virtues, it is just as clear that none of them have ever come close to winning an election in the United States. If we add the number of people who fall in these three categories together, we would likely be talking about less than 1% of the population of the United States.


Lenin argued against sectarianism and advocated that in order to bring about revolutionary change, revolutionaries must use all means of struggle available to us. Although he argued that elections “solve nothing,” he also argued the importance of electoral struggle.


Gus Hall argued that in electoral struggle it is crucial to “aim to win.”


ZZ argues that the Democratic Party and the Republican Party are indistinguishable. He concludes that there is no point in supporting either party. Again, he lauds the virtues of less than 1% of the population.


He states explicitly that progressive senator Bernie Sanders has “0%” chance of securing the Democratic Party nomination. We must ask ZZ what he thinks are the chances of “unrepentant Marxist-Leninists, Green Party hardliners, and assorted outliers” securing a single public office in the United States in 2016.


So, the unspoken conclusion of this article is that the United States is about to take a hard turn to the right in the 2016 electoral cycle. According to ZZ, it is either Hillary or some slimy pig from the Republican Party who will assume the position of occupying the Oval Office.


Does this mean that the United States is destined to continue endless wars, endless oppression of the working class here and around the world, cultural and moral depravity, and the expansion of capitalistic decadence and erosion of the dignity of humanity?


Let’s face reality. There is no viable Communist or Socialist party in the United States at this time. Undoubtedly, this is despicable and demoralizing to people of conscience, but it is the reality of our times.


Should we follow the Trotskyites and strive for ideological purity and sectarianism to advance the interests of the working class? Should we reject electoral politics because we don’t agree with the bourgeois parties on all points? Should we capitulate to the demands of the imperialist, neofascist elements in an effort to curry favor with the powers that be?


These are the crucial questions in front of the people of the left in the United States. How these questions are resolved may have unforeseen consequences for the future of humanity.

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