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A True History of Lyn Marcus [Lyndon LaRoche] and the Labor Committees

Originally at http://www.ex-iwp.org/docs/1975/Critical%20Practice.htm (broken link)
Archive link at http://web.archive.org/web/20031018011951/www.ex-iwp.org/?get=id7.html

Critical Practice: The Theoretical Journal of the International Workers Party

Copyright© 1975

by the International Workers Party

Critical Practice is the theoretical journal of the International Workers Party and is published four times a year.

Production Editor: Nancy Ross

Editorial and Production Staff: Susan Hanlon, Warren Hill,
Lou Hinman, Harry Jackson [aka Harry Kresky], Dan Jacobs,
Freda Miller, Thomas Ross, Alice Rydel, Steve Tyler

Introduction

Fidel Castro, in his better days of an open polemic with the cowardly and reformist
politics of the "official" Latin American Communist Parties, once remarked, "Those
who are not revolutionary fighters do not deserve to be called Communists." To this
we would add that those who substitute religious dogmatism in the place of the
critical spirit and the thumbing for serviceable quotations in place of scientific
analysis and inquiry do not deserve the name Marxist. These are the two lessons that
all who aspire to be revolutionaries and communists must learn-how to struggle and
how to base the struggle on genuine Marxist methodology. If, as Lenin pointed out,
the insurrection is an art, then the pursuit of socialist victory is a science and it must
be learned as one, with all the rigor and discipline that learning it requires. It is no
accident that the description of Marxism, of communism, as scientific socialism,
rarely appears in today's radical vocabulary.
The International Workers Party has set itself these two goals of the first importanceto
learn how to struggle and to revive and develop Marxist, scientific socialism and
Marxist, dialectical methodology on which that struggle, that revolutionary practice
must be based. This second issue of our theoretical journal represents part of the
beginnings of this task and we offer it to the judgment of the world proletariat and its
allies.
The upcoming issue of Critical Practice will contain, among other pieces, an extended
historical analysis of the IWP tendency, tracing the development of the two major
currents that created the IWP and its historical/methodological outlook: CFC
[Centers for Change], which entered the National Caucus of Labor Committees
[NCLC] for a three-month span in the summer of 1974, and the Class Unity Faction
of Workers World Party [WWP], which was expelled for criticizing WWP's
rightward, drift into liberal reformism and its anti-Marxian methodology; late in 1974.
In addition to a first-hand report on the revolutionary crisis in Portugal, the current
issue contains a methodological, economic and historical critique of Lyn Marcus and
the NCLC, as well as a methodological critique of the historically bankrupt American
Left and the necessity of building a revolutionary vanguard party in the context of
developing mass organizations of the working class, laying the methodological
foundations for the Nationwide Unemployed League.
Those who have read the September 20, 1975 issue of the International Worker, in
which we identify the NCLC (also calling itself the U.S. Labor Party), as a protofascist
tendency may wonder why we deem such an extended theoretical critique of
the NCLC necessary here. The primary reason is that Marcus and the NCLC have
represented the most advanced form of American bourgeois ideology over recent
years. Like all brilliant bourgeois radicals since capitalism came to dominate the
world, Marcus has intellectually appropriated many of the creative qualities of the
bourgeoisie during its period of ascendancy (in Marcus' case, during the post-war
ascendancy of American imperialism)-but, utterly failing to embrace the world historic
interests of the proletariat has dismally degenerated along with the lawful
degeneration of the bourgeoisie as a ruling class.
The task of thoroughly criticizing and superseding Marcus' ideology-even during its
best days-is thus an essential one for developing a truly dialectical-materialist method
appropriate to contemporary conditions of world history. We engage the bourgeois
radical Marcus in the same spirit that Marx engaged Hegel, that Luxemburg engaged
Bernstein, and that Lenin engaged Struve.

A True History of Lyn Marcus and the Labor Committees
by Dan Jacobs

Introduction

The end of World War II ushered in a new and painfully enduring phase of the
modern imperialist epoch. For the first time since the cataclysm of World War I and
the following great depressions, revolutions and counter-revolutions, capitalist
"equilibrium" was established-over the crushed bones of the proletariat and
increasingly proletarianized peasantry of Western Europe, Japan, and the "third
world." The Dollar Empire was ruthlessly consolidated under U.S. hegemony. A
generation of capitalist (re)build-up of its advanced sector, at the special expense of
the super-exploited underdeveloped sector, was begun.
From the American standpoint World War II was, in its senile and murderous fashion,
a bourgeois revolution. By allowing the U.S., which took the lion's share of the
spoils, several years of considerable technological development, it gave rise to a large
bourgeois-lackey stratum of skilled scientists and engineers, hailed by bourgeois
sociologists as the conveyors of the "technocratic revolution" and the "post-industrial
era." These technologists pioneered in computer development, manned advanced and
complicated corporate administrations, and led the way in the proud American
military-aerospace sector. Among those who wished to further their class aspirations
politically, most turned to liberalism and modest social-reformism-but failed
miserably, as the drying-up of productive capital investment in the years following the
1957-58 recession made it increasingly impossible for them to contribute productively
to society, and therefore to the political scene. Only the most stalwart post-war
technologists were able to pursue their class interests under an active Marxian cover thus
sustaining their "anachronistic" bourgeois revolutionary identities, heralding the
benefits of capitalist development under" the banner of Marxism.
The most outstanding of these individuals was Lyn Marcus, chairman of the National
Caucus of Labor Committees (NCLC-also calling itself the U.S. Labor Party).
Two centrist currents have pulverized the post-war American Left. On the one hand the
New Left, which, empiricistically seizing upon the sluggishness of the class
struggle in the U.S. accompanied by an economic upswing, posited a "new working
class' of technocrats who would carry through the socialist transformation. And, since
the technocrats could not replace in brawn the "non-revolutionary" blue-collar
workers, this role was to be taken over by the lumpen-proletariat of oppressed
minorities ('sans-cullottes" syndrome). On the other hand-the Old Left which,"
having failed to gain a mass base among American workers groups and set to rout by
McCarthyism, bogged down in sectarian infighting between (and among) "Stalinist"
and "Trotskyist" groups and sub-groups. While more or less oriented to the working
class movement, the Old Left could not get beyond petty squabbles over apostolic
succession to true "Trotskyist" or "Marxist-Leninist" orthodoxy.
To these two American movement trends-New Left technocratism and Old Left
sectarianism-Marcus has consistently been a loyal oppositionist. While his class
background has made New Left ideology quite attractive to him, he has formally
recognized the proletariat as the decisive revolutionary force-though systematically
veering away from his basic Marxian premise in practice, as we shall document. And
he has hardly been one to discourage sectarian epigonism in his organization, though
with the novel twist that the NCLC's revolutionary deity is not Lenin or Trotsky, but
Marcus himself.
Today's NCLC, struggling desperately to hold itself together in the face of an ever deepening
social crisis, is a caricature of a radical petit-bourgeois political formation.
Deathly afraid of engaging the working masses, yet fostering an inflated intellectual
ego, NCLC keeps developing elaborate, technocratic "programs' for 'socialist
reconstruction" to suit every crisis that happens to arise around the world-glibly
ignoring the actual conditions of class struggle. With beaming; rationalist naiveté,
NCLC is trying to "force" the U.S. Congress to adopt its "U.S. Labor Party
Emergency Agricultural Production Act" to help starvation in the capitalism-looted
underdeveloped sector! And in Europe, NCLC is amusingly expecting its
"programmatic (i.e., technocratic) united front" offers to turn the class-collaborationist
Communist Parties, which NCLC is uncritically tailing, into revolutionary forcesdespite
the fact that NCLC has at best a few dozen members in Europe!
Pushing its tailing of the CP's, which it used to consider the bogeymen of world
politics, to sectarian heights, NCLC has recently called for a "mop-up" of the non-CP
Left-Trotskyists, Maoists, etc. While the NCLC rank and file staggers from the
withdrawal effects of one zigzagging, Marcus-given gimmick after another, its
hooligan, "security" apparatus conducts curiously thorough "counterintelligence"
probes of the CIA and FBI-which it fancies are devoting all their energies on
combatting NCLC.
From its student days as the moderate, intellectual wing of SDS, NCLC has thus come
to merge the right wing of the New Left with that of the Old Left.
Method
Scorning the historical blinders which Marcus and NCLC so enjoy wearing; we will
avoid a glib psychological analysis of the historical period and personages considered.
While terms such as "primary narcissism," "anal compulsion," and "witch
domination" may be of use to idle philistines at cocktail parties, they are quite
intolerable to a working class facing a stern depression onslaught by the strongest,
most sophisticated capitalist class in history, and desperately needing serious
education and organization. We embrace, instead, historical materialism: the
"doctrine" that all men are products of definite material conditions and class
relationships-and, to the extent that they grasp their historical tasks, producers of new
such conditions and social relationship. In the case of Marcus we will show that, for
all his lofty claims to "ex nihilo creativity," he is a pathetically determined historic
figure.
Marcus has frequently complained that most accounts of NCLC history have paid too
little attention to his personal contribution to the organization's evolution. To this we
heartily agree! Since a rather productive first year or two of the NCLC's existence,
Marcus has systematically driven from the organization and/or destroyed the most
creative and assertive individuals it has attracted and fostered. Tirelessly,
consolidating his constrictive personal control over the organization, he has
downgraded it to the point where his "leading" subordinate members can be easily
observed, even in their public appearances, to be obsessive liars and theoretical
imbeciles.
My own membership in the NCLC spanned from March 1973 to July 1974-when I
was suspended under trumped up charges of writing "unauthorized" internal
documents (which happened to be critical of Marcus and his cohorts). In embarking
on this critique, I intend a task-oriented historical analysis of a significant-albeit
doomed from the start-attempt at revolutionary activity in a period of deepening
conjunctural crisis of world capitalism. The NCLC, which developed the most
advanced economic theory and some of the most innovative organizing tactics on the
U.S. Left between its birth in 1968 and its de facto death at the end of 1973, must be
ruthlessly criticized and superseded, both in theory and practice, if a mass-based,
working class party is to be built in the, coming years.

Marcus: A Political Biography

Lyndon LaRouche (Marcus' given name) grew up in a staid Quaker household in New
England during the Great Depression. He steeped himself in philosophy at a very
early age, becoming a staunch Kantian in his teens.[2]
The beginning of the U.S. participation in World War II found the young LaRouche in
a Quaker conscientious objectors' work camp. There he met several professed
socialists, who inspired him to read Marx. Upon doing so, LaRouche quickly
embraced the Marxist world outlook and, giving up his pacifism, volunteered for
military service. At war's end, he witnessed first-hand the Stalinist betrayal of the
mass upsurge in India and adopted Trotsky's perspective vis-à-vis the CP's. In 1949
he joined the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Boston.

Early SWP Career

Following the SWP's "colonization" tactic, Marcus [3] took a job at the GE River
Works in Lynn, Massachusetts and was almost immediately in the thick of a fight
between the Fitzgerald (CP) leadership of the United Electrical Workers and the
raiders moving into that union under the direction of Walter Reuther. He proposed
and initiated efforts to make a tactical alliance with the Fitzgerald faction against the
Reutherites, and was soon put under local SWP discipline for this "offense." Bert
Cochran and Farrell Dobbs had opted for the opportunist policy of attempting to build
a "Third Camp" between the Reutherites and Fitzgerald. The reason for Dobbs' and
Cochran's policy was pure "Stalinophobia," as Marcus understood more clearly after
later years' careful reviewing of the SWP's trade-union opportunism during even the
1934 Minneapolis (Teamsters") strike and more open opportunism vis-à-vis the anti-
Communist factions in the UAW and other unions after 1938."[4]
Marcus was also soon put under discipline by the plant's management, who fired him
for excessive absenteeism. During 1952 he went through "a protracted illness and
convalescence."[5] This came at a time of deep skepticism in the McCarthyism wracked
socialist, and especially the Trotskyist movement. The Marshall Plan had
now been ruthlessly consolidated, and huge dollar investments in European and
Japanese industries were generating an impressive revival of the capitalist productive
forces. The French Trotskyist Michel Pablo had introduced ideological convulsions
into the ill-fated Fourth International, by developing his prognosis of imminent CPled
revolutions in Western countries-which demanded that the Fourth International
sections dissolve themselves into the Stalinist CP's and fight secretly for a Trotskyist
perspective-while bracing for "300 years of degenerated workers states."
In his speech before the NCLC National Committee Plenum mandating Operation
Mop-Up (see below) in the spring of 1973, Marcus gave a more detailed account of
his 1952 ordeal. According to this account, he went through a harrowing bout of
intense introspection, which involved "stripping away all the layers of my persona,
like an onion. If you take this far enough, you get to the point where you become
terrified that there's nothing inside all the peelings-that you're a nobody. This put me
in a suicidal state. It was only my tremendous ego-strength, which my parents had
provided me, that saved me from suicide."
When Marcus recovered, he began a professional career in managerial consulting,
which was to include computer studies in corporate efficiency (speed-up!). His
intellectual development occurred primarily through this career, as his political
activity receded into the background.[6]

Attitude Towards SWP Leadership

In his 1970 document "How the Workers' League Decayed," Marcus writes that he
very early came to consider himself superior to the SWP leadership:
"I discovered soon enough that Cannon and the rest of the majority leadership were a
collection of political frauds . After digesting the 1954 faction fight (between Cannon
and the Cochran-Clarke liquidationists), I ceased to regard any SWP member as a
qualified revolutionary leader, and viewed them as rather a custodial staff keeping
premises warmed and aired out for the arrival of actual revolutionary leaders."[7]

Economic Theses

Marcus' 1958-59 economic theses marked the beginning of his long-range,
conjunctural strategic perspective for revolutionary organizing-direly needed by the
U.S. Left, notwithstanding the struggle by Cannon and others against "Pabloism" in
the Trotskyist movement. (The plodding Cannon had fought the Pablo faction on
purely organizational grounds, for its candid liquidationism-lacking himself a serious
understanding of the course of post-war capitalist development and its strategic
significance for the socialist movement.) Marcus' theses stated that the 1957-58 U.S.
recession had been the high-water mark of capitalist productive expansion in the U.S.
sector. From here on in, any expansion of the U.S. economy would be "fictitious":
inflationary military and other waste production, accompanied by an expansion of the
parasitic white-collar workforce at the expense of the productive, blue-collar
workforce. The U.S.-based imperialists, meanwhile, would attempt to resolve the
problem of world-wide economic stagnation by encouraging limited social
revolutions in the colonial world, to free those countries of backward feudal barriers
and lay the basis for renewed accumulation. Failing this, the capitalists of the
advanced sector would be forced to turn upon their domestic workforce, driving down
working class living standards.
In later elaborations of the theses, Marcus predicted the radicalization patterns that
would emerge in the U.S. from these economic developments.[8] The student and
oppressed minority sector of the population, seeing the post-war dream of boundless
expansion and upward mobility evaporate, would first turn leftward against the ruling
class. Not finding immediate access to the working class, these layers would
eventually exhaust their radicalized energy and, with a deepening social crisis leading
to a show-down crisis some time in the 1970s, workers in ferment would finally move
to the fore. The task of revolutionaries; as Marcus saw it, was to recruit the finest
elements of the coming wave of youth and minority radicalization, to build a cadre
formation of revolutionary intellectuals that could successfully intervene into the
labor movement as the conjunctural crisis deepened!
Marcus' economic theses were bathtubbed by the SWP's Political Committee, at the
insistence of Joseph Hansen. In the following years he was given extremely limited
opportunity to develop his theoretical work in party forums and publications. He thus
retreated once again to the solace of his professional work.
February of 1961 was, according to Marcus, a turning point in his intellectual
development:
"I was confronted with the work of Marvin Minsky et al., who were then still
occupied (and funded) in the investigation of methods of simulating "artificial
intelligence" with digital computer systems. I shifted my approach to the question for
the purpose of formulating a definitive refutation of Minsky's specious theses on the
subject. The method I used was a reductio ad absurdum: Assuming a colony of
interdependent computers, occupied in operating a fully automatic worldwide system
of integrated production (i.e., thus including their own production!), what would be
the conditions for achieving the equivalent of human intelligence is these computers?
. Although I had earlier attained a formal mastery of dialectical method, superior to
that of extant academic writers on Hegel, Marx, my conception up to about 1960 was
still at bottom corrupted by a residual reductionism-an unresolved residue of the
Kantian antinomy. As a result of an explosive conceptual, breakthrough during one
18-hour session on resolving the Minsky problem . I suddenly 'saw everything in
Marx clearly for the first time.' My whole world outlook thereafter underwent a
complete and rapid transformation to reject the last vestige of reductionism, in favor
of what was totally a process-conception out look."[9]
Typically, Marcus locates "methodological breakthroughs" within alienated
intellectual development, quite divorced from any political struggle bearing on the
class struggle. Indeed, he was to avoid serious political struggle within the SWP and
its satellite factions until a few years later. He refused to relate seriously to the
Revolutionary Tendency (RT), headed by Robertson and Wohlforth (the latter later
splitting the RT opportunistically; on orders from Healy of Britain's Socialist Labour
League-even though he agreed with the RT on the crucial "Cuban question" and
"Negro question." In 1963, the SWP officially began applying the "Cuban model" of
revolution to the U.S., uncritically tailing the "national liberation struggles" of
oppressed minorities-insisting, e.g., that blacks must be organized separately from the
white working class. In effect, the SWP adopted the New Left posture of writing off
the U.S. industrial proletariat.) Marcus instead remained hooked-up with the pathetic
Weiss clique.[10]
Marcus attempts to rationalize his political slovenliness of those years as follows:
"Why not build a faction and fight [in 1960]? The SWP was too rotten by that time
for factional struggles. [Then why stay in another five years?] Everyone was
involved in clique struggles over posts with an overlarding of self-consoling rhetoric
to deceive the credulous. Any political issues would have "divided existing cliques
[Quelle horreur!], except those political issues which developed from the social
composition of the various cliques."[11]
Marcus made a belated defense of the RT against the heavy-handed reaction to it by
the SWP bureaucracy, at a rump party "trial" held for the expelled (in 1963) RT
members. RT member Turner (now of the Trotskyist Organizing Committee)
observes, "His defense of us was so crude, I was almost embarrassed. He defended us
on strictly organizational grounds. He didn't raise a single political issue."

Collaboration with Wohlforth, Robertson

Marcus finally came to collaborate with the expelled left tendencies around Wohlforth
(the American Committee to Rebuild the Fourth International (ACFI) and Robertson
(Spartacist), while doing limited factional work within the SWP. With the Wohlforth
group (which later became the Workers League) initially accepting his economic and
strategic perspective, Marcus hoped to forge unity between the two tendencies, to
establish a serious Fourth International rival tendency to the SWP.
In the Sept. 23, 1966 "unity negotiation" between the two tendencies, Marcus
participated alongside ACFI in the discussion of the "American question." He laid
out his tactical perspective for intervening into the struggle of that period of
deepening radicalization among students and oppressed minorities and, to a lesser
extent, among trade unionists-forging unity among, say, employed and unemployed
construction workers, tenant unions' and ghetto dwellers victimized by housing
shortages-around a program for expanded production of housing, schools, hospitals,
etc.-in other words the class-for-itself, the working class moving towards taking
responsibility for the running of society; overcoming its alienation.
However, Marcus insisted on calling this process the "united front," thus recoining
that term, as the Spartacist members pointed out, in a one-sidely economistic sense.
The united front tactic, as formulated by the Fourth World Congress of the
Comintern, involves the vanguard (or Proto-vanguard) party proposing joint, class
struggle actions to other political organizations of the working class, while not
insisting that the other organizations accept its full program before engaging in joint
activity. If unity in action is achieved, the class struggle is significantly advanced,
and the possibility of principled fusions opens up. If the united front offers are
scorned, then the "aggressor" party can expose the rottenness of the others' leadership
before the eyes of their rank-and-file to help bring workers "trapped" in centrist
organizations under its sway.
Marcus' formulation of the "united front" question filters out this crucial, political
struggle dynamic-without which, there can be no question of uniting the various
layers of the class on any significant scale. Thus he tosses off absurd and ahistoricalaphorisms
such as: "The concepts of united front and soviet are identical"[12]-glibly
equating the vanguard's contesting for hegemony over the working class movement
with the mass organizational form of workers' power (the "highest form of united
front, "in Trotsky's words).
This is no terminological slip on Marcus' part. Shortly afterwards he betrays his
methodology of viewing class struggle from the standpoint of the capitalists: "A
conjunctural perspective is realizing the problems posed to the bourgeoisie and how
the bourgeoisie are compelled to create the conditions of class struggle, and ultimately
create the class struggle itself."[13] With the capitalist class as the soul [sic] agent of
the class struggle, it is no surprise that the only conceivable "united front" of the
working class is the coalescence of the various economic layers of the class which the
capitalists have systematically tried to fragment. The dynamic incursion of the
political party, and its allies, against capital, can be understood only by the leadership
of the proletariat.

On His Own

Alter being finally dumped from the SWP at the end of 1965, Marcus continued
working with the ACFI grouping, giving it strategic and theoretical direction.
However, at the April, 1966 London Conference of the International Committee of the
Fourth International, Healy's heavy-handed expulsion of the Spartacist contingent, as
well as his moves to abort Marcus' influence over the ACFI group, disgusted Marcus
out of that collaborative effort. Subsequent collaboration with the Spartacists was
short-lived, and Marcus angrily declared that a new international had to be built "from
scratch."
To this end, Marcus began teaching a course at New York's Free School on Marxist
economics, and organized a West Village faction of the Committee for Independent
Political Action (CIPA) around a similar course. Probing the large and radical chapter
of Columbia University's Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Marcus brought a
few leading members of the Progressive Labor Party (PL) faction of Columbia SDS in
collaboration with West Village CIPA-around propagandistic organizing to unite city
workers with other layers of the class and the unemployed, around programs for
expanded production of transit, housing, etc., systems, at the expense of the banks,
real estate speculators, and city bond-holders.

THE LABOR COMMITTEE

The Columbia Student Strike

1968, a year of sharp monetary crisis, witnessed waves of radicalization throughout
the advanced capitalist sector. In the U.S., campus and ghetto radicalization stepped
to the fore. The spring Columbia student strike, whose immediate source was student
anger over the university's intention to take over part of a park used by neighboring
ghetto residents (to build a student gym), was the first of a series of campus upsurges
throughout the country, that begged socialist intervention to push the ferment into
pro-working class channels.
The SDS Labor Committee, which Marcus had formed in late 1967, contended early
for a leading role in the strike. Three of its members-Tony Papert, Steve Komm and
Robert Dillon-were active on the Columbia strike committee, pushing for an
expansion of the strike activity, to involve high school students and tenants'
organizations in the surrounding ghetto area. They clashed bitterly, though not as
bitterly as Marcus wanted them to, with the Rudd-Jacobs anarchist faction of
Columbia SDS, which insisted on keeping the struggle confined to student theatrics.
The anarchists, along with Ford Foundation agent Dr. Kenneth Clarke, who
intervened as a "special representative" of the black community, eventually succeeded
in defusing Labor Committee influence over the strike, and keeping it from becoming
a class-wide fight.
In the fall of that year the New York teachers' union, under the plodding and narrowminded
leadership of Albert Shanker, was provoked onto strike by the Ford
Foundation sponsored drive for school decentralization ("community control of the
schools" "Community spokesmen," like Brooklyn's Rhody McCoy, had railed against
the evils of "racist teachers" and arbitrarily fired several union teachers to give a
radical cover to the destruction of public education in a shrinking economy. Almost
the entire Left including the CP, SWP, PLP, as moat of SDS) tailed right after the
union-busting "community movement"-which actually found little active support in
the black and Latin ghettoes-branding the striking teachers "racist." Swimming
against this swamp-tide, the SDS Labor Committee supported the teachers' union.
From its struggle against the campus anarchists at Columbia the Labor Committees
had correctly identified "local control" ideology, which keeps the working class
fragmented and directs ghetto people's legitimate rage against their most readily visible
enemies-who generally turn out to be their potential class brothers-as a
reactionary influence, fuel for a potential fascist movement.
Despite such happy pro-working class interventions, Marcus and the Labor
Committee manifested from the start a philistine fear of the masses, of becoming
something beyond a small group of radical intellectuals. This syndrome was reflected
in both the Columbia strike and the 1969 University of Pennsylvania student strike,
when leading LC organizers faltered and hesitated in their struggle against the strike
misleaders just at the moment when mass activity was on the agenda-in the latter case,
just when the LC had prepared to mobilize several ghetto high school students onto
the campus to link up with the radicalized college students.
At SDS chapter meetings in the coming months, the LC proudly represented the
backward and conservative labor aristocracy by opposing student mobilizations
against the Vietnam war-insisting that all actions had to flow from the "economic selfinterest"
of working and poor people! Thus, it was "idealistic" to oppose the war on
the political grounds that it was an imperialist sledge hammer against a national
liberation straggle; the entire anti-war struggle had to be oriented around an
essentially liberal perspective of the possibilities of domestic economic reconstruction
if the U.S. pulled out of the war effort.
Part of the same crippling fear of the masses was Marcus' dread of any creative
organizing initiative occurring outside his immediate New York circle that might
threaten to get "out of hand." Comrade A. Robert Kaufman, a Baltimore socialist of
20 years' experience, bitterly documents the destruction of his attempts to build a
strong LC local (in his April 1974 resignation statement):
"After several fruitless attempts in 1968-69 with Lyn [Marcus] and John Lawrence to
have an organizer come to Baltimore to recruit an independent local, I was finally
able to get Steve Fraser on a speaking tour through a Philadelphia contact. The
speaking tour was so successful (over 10 hours of radio and TV time, newspaper
articles, and college audiences of several hundreds) that the LC decided to start a
study group.
"Around 40 people attended the first very uninspiring slipshod educational that
amounted to a repeat of the Fraser lecture which most had already heard. The
following week, New York sent us the world's most boring speaker to demoralize the
surviving 20 with the same damned speech-despite my briefing this hardhead as to
what material had been covered and what areas needed to be gone into. The next
week 12 diehards dozed through the final lecture of the 'organizer.'
"Next a Villanova LC'er, who majored in double talk, moved back home to Baltimore
to "take over" our local. After several more disintegrating weeks of dumbly watching
multi-syllable gibberish destroy the last few remnants of the original 50-80 serious
contacts, I decided that I had better assert my own leadership.
"An intelligence report, exposing the local transit conspiracy-several months in the
promising state-was finally put to paper. This was an important accomplishment as
we had intended to use it to intervene in a projected transit strike in a matter of a few
remaining weeks. The local unanimously approved the pamphlet.
"Faced with the imminent danger that something might get done in our local, New
York frantically swung into action and sent another disrupter to sabotage our
organizing. These two windbags proceeded to tear up the group. After a series of
dishonest and irresponsible shenanigans by these two the local gave final approval to
a pamphlet I had put together-and we had only a few days before its projected
distribution at the next transit union meeting:
"Having been thoroughly censured for lying to the local and for countermanding
explicit directives these two diehards phoned Lyn to "intervene." Between them they
pressured, a gullible local recruit to "disappear" during the time he was depended
upon to duplicate the transit pamphlet. Returning from New York they informed us
that they were directed to set up a separate local because of (my) 'personality'"[14]

The "Bavarian" Episode

With the ebb in the student movement highlighted by the crack-up of SDS in the
summer of 1969, the Labor Committee went through an identity crisis from which it
was never successfully to emerge. A factional crevice began developing (especially
in New York) over the basic question of what kinds of activity were appropriate for
the young organization in the new period. One group, composed of younger, college
recruits from the Columbia and City College (of N.Y.) campuses-many of them
former PLP members (Papert, Sober, Hecht, Milkman et al.) placed heavy emphasis
on active, programmatic intervention into the more burning political issues facing
New York's population (e.g., open admissions and the State Office Building pork
barrel), and were constantly sniffing out upcoming "mass strikes" that would both
revive the student movement and facilitate a massive, united front socialist
intervention. The other group, led by the "seasoned" members out of West Village
CIPA (Marcus, Johnson, Ed and Nancy Spannaus, et al.) emphasized cadre
development and theoretical consolidation (concentrating on "Marxist philosophy"),
urging mainly propaganda interventions to build up Labor Committee: membership,
as well as organizational centralization to get beyond the loosely federated situation
that prevailed with the various locals. The "super-activists" found themselves sadly
disoriented when the rest of the Left (especially the student Left) snubbed their united
front campaign proposals; they generally tried to go ahead with their "mass actions'
anyhow, and ended up burning themselves out. The "lazy theoreticians' (especially
Marcus), meanwhile, contented themselves with criticizing the floundering of the
others and publishing various theoretical finesses.
A weird factional situation began crystallizing at the January, 1970 national
conference when Papert and Steve Fraser, a leading Philadelphia member and a
former PLP comrade of Papert's, delivered their National Report proposing a tactic on
the LC's orientation toward the emerging popular-front ecology movement in the U.S.
Papert read the report, which had not been previously distributed, to the confused
membership at a rapid-fire clip. The report[15] was sharply criticized by Marcus and
Co. for opportunistically pandering to scientists, engineers, etc. who would be
participating in the ecology movement, and for essentially proposing that the LC
dissolve itself into the ecology movement.
The "faction fight" was on, to peak towards the end of 1970. Even for a patient
historian of the movement, it is all but impossible to slosh through the arguments,
counter-arguments, cross-fire allegations, lies, distortions, and evasions hurled up on
both sides of this debacle and make some sense of it all. In such a situation-a bitter
faction fight unprincipled on both sides-actual political issues become obscured, and
personality and ego-sparring step to the forefront. Thus, during this momentous year
of economic crisis and upswing of the labor movement-with major strikes of postal
workers, Teamsters, and auto workers, and the collapse of the Penn Central railroad-
New Solidarity, the NCLC paper, appeared only sporadically, often going several
weeks on end without appearing! Evidently the working class had to wait while
NCLC fought out its internal squabbles.
The Fraser group, pejoratively dubbed "the Bavarians" by Marcus, was based mainly
in the campus towns of Ithaca and Rochester, N.Y., and had factional presences in
Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston. Marcus' group, whose polemic was led by
Ed Spannaus during most of the year, criticized the "Fraserites" for taking an
excessively technocratic approach to strike-support organizing developing intricate
programs for socialist reconstruction of each particular industry that was struck,
which entirely missed, if not clashed with, the reality of the developing class struggle.
For instance, in response to the Teamster strike the Fraserites put forth a utopian
scheme for reconstructing the transportation industry-which, coming in the absence of
a mass strike led by a mass-based vanguard party, could only suggest to Teamsters the
rationalization of their industry with resultant loss of jobs. The Fraserites answered
this criticism by demanding that the Emergency Reconstruction Program, an
elaborate, "transitional" economic (i.e., technocratic) program drafted by Marcus
during the summer, be made the minimal basis for united-front strike support work
(which NCLC was developing in Baltimore, with fair success); thus trying to
"outflank" Marcus-to "out-Marcus him.
In his written critique of the "Bavarians," Marcus focused on the Fraserites'
organizational softness, their "ultra-democratic," anti-centralization bias, which saw
them resisting the transition of the Labor Committees from a loose federation of
autonomous local chapters to a national cadre organization. Marcus pointed to the
unauthorized printing of "Bavarian" public documents and other breeches of
discipline. He portrayed Fraser as a talented leader, who, having fallen into
demoralization, had been "held captive" by the more backward, student-type members
of the organization, for whom he had become a chief spokesman, and apologist.
If this characterization of Fraser was correct, then Marcus' subsequent actions were
bungling and destructive. Instead of pulling Fraser out of the clutches of his "captors"
by, drawing him into collaboration around a clear What-is-to-be-done perspective,
Marcus called for the crystallization of a "Positive Political Tendency" (PPT) in
opposition to the Fraserites, on quite shaky political grounds. (The Fraserites had yet
to designate themselves as a faction.) He also resorted to a heavy-handed suspension
of Fraser from the National Committee. Fraser, by this time, had lost some of his key
co-thinkers (i.e. co-cliquists) to the PPT; notably Papert, who had dropped out of
political work for four months for the sake of a thorough study of Kant(!), returned to
Marcus' arms, babbling that "having new conceptions," he had seen the light.
Fraser's pre-conference internal document zeroed in on a Campaigner (the NCLC
theoretical journal) editorial written by Marcus in the fall, which had posed a very
impressionistic conception of the U.S. ruling class' strategy following the 1969-70
recession, as that of "ruthless austerity" and "developing police-statism"-glibly
hypostatizing economic necessity into an instantaneous political mandate for the
advanced-wing of the bourgeoisie. Fraser correctly pointed to the weakness of the
Nixon government and the not-so-total subordination of Nixon, who had been making
concessions to the knuckle-headed, small-time capitalists, to the Rockefeller (i.e.,
advanced, multinational) wing of the capitalists. He suggested a more protracted
process of assault against the working class; with the likely development of a popularfront
movement linked to the Democratic Party, serving as a transition to avert and
widespread political repression. He also observed that the class struggle dynamic
which typically begs the imposition of a bonapartist regime-massive but indecisive
class war-was presently lacking on the U.S. political scene:
"Wouldn't we want to 'complicate' our analysis just a bit by postulating [!] a precondition
for the police-statism, a 'statism' that includes the decimation of all
previously existing democratic political and social institutional arrangements, the
existence of a 'mass proletarian party,' whose stated aims are at least nominally
revolutionary, and more importantly whose practical activity immobilizes
parliamentary society, i.e., an at least semi-class instinctual activity tending to create
an immediately pre-revolutionary crisis, that ephemeral state known as dual
impotence?"[16]
This important issue, among others, was not to be discussed at the January "split"
conference, which was approached with hysteria on both sides. When the Fraserites
tried to raise the issue of the strategy of the ruling class in the upcoming period,
calling for a parallel discussion of the emerging popular-front movement, Marcus and
the PPT responded with a barrage of ad hominem demagogy-shrieking that the
Bavarians were "revealing their unconscious desire to liquidate the organization into a
pop-front coalition."
Marcus' one "positive" maneuver at the conference was the drafting of a set of
"founding principles" for the organization-an exercise in theoretical posturing and the
subordination of serious practical principles to petty factional ploys. For instance, in
principle #18, Marcus tries to intimidate the Fraserites out of their "pop-front
orientation":
". Alien ideological currents propose to subordinate the process of creating the
political class for itself to the service of some bourgeois social form, such as placing
'militant trade unionism' above 'united front' or 'cross-union caucus' formations or
proposing intervention in a political formation including capitalist political factions as
an alternative to formations totally independent of capitalist political' factions (e.g.,
'Popular Front' sell-outs). Otherwise, alien political outlooks are represented in
socialist organizations either by a general anti-intellectualism ('proletkult' simplicism)
or by a tendency to ridicule the dialectical method by contrast with 'sturdy common
sense' or empiricism, or formal logic. The rule of thumb thus implied is that any
person who advocates membership within 'Popular Fronts,'[17] insists that tradeunion
membership is the condition for vote in working class formations, etc., or who
opposes the dialectical method[18] is not qualified to represent the organization
publicly on political questions, and that no political faction characterized by such
bourgeois-ideological aberration can be permitted to exert a controlling influence on
any institutions of the national or local organization of the NCLC."
Instead of formulating a serious alternative set of organizational principles and
tactical theses for the coming period, the Fraserites carelessly voted in Marcus
"founding principles," thus sealing the fiasco. A few months later the Fraserites-who
had never officially declared themselves a faction-were summarily expelled from
NCLC for holding clandestine factional meetings, and under suspicion of negotiating
secretly with other Left groups. Fraser then formed the "Socialist Labor Committee"
(a group of around 50 members, which was not much smaller than NCLC, at the
time), which dabbled in NCLC-style organizing, drifted into existentialism and
Reichianism, and formally dissolved early in 1972.
The official NCLC line on the "Bavarians" is that they reflected the world outlook of
"petit-bourgeois students who didn't want to organize." This assessment-is
undoubtedly correct, so far as it goes. However, it overlooks the fact that the PPT
cadres, for the most part, reflected the world outlook of big bourgeois students (in this
sense having "gone beyond" their petit-bourgeois social origins) who didn't especially
want to organize. This outlook-which can perhaps be termed "Left capitalist"-is
overtly presented as early as 1968 by Ed Spannaus and Paul Gallagher, who were to
become two leading lights of the PPT:
". We recognize that the reconstruction of the nation's cities, employment, and the
industrialization of the underdeveloped world are the proper [?] central concerns of
both the Left and the most astute members of the capitalist class. If we fail to concern
ourselves with the questions of who pays for such programs of reconstruction, and
who controls such programs, we will fail to make any significant differentiation
between ourselves and the most advanced policy-makers."[19]
In other words, the only difference between "socialists" and liberals resides in the
determination of "who pays" for economic progress-as if there's no real qualitative
difference in the "reconstruction" either way, but only a question of taste! Forget
about political organizing, forget about the class struggle for power, forget about
smashing the bourgeois state-it's only a question of keeping one's head and seizing the
right purse!

The All-Determining, The Invincible

Marcus' conduct of the "faction fight" with Fraser, the most (intellectually) advanced
member of the organization besides him, reveals an important feature of Marcus'
political identity: his absolute refusal to tolerate any possible "rival" within his ranks.
Having built NCLC essentially single-handedly and "from scratch," Marcus candidly
conceives of himself as the "ex-nihilo" Creator of the tendency, all of whose
subsequent historical developments are mere predicates of his preconceived Notion!:
"My role and all my principal policies in shaping the development of the NCLC were
essentially predetermined by 1963, before I encountered a single collaborator for this
undertaking. Since the first steps toward founding the organization, in the summer of
1966, my policy has always been to bring the organization's development and outlook
to one which was essentially predetermined as my objective before 1963. In the
ordinary [?] sense of things, every significant development of the NCLC has been
chiefly a result of my conscious 'manipulations' of membership, according to a
predetermined conception."[20]
This sounds very much like one of Marcus' favorite economic themes: the capitalists'
snowballing payoffs in the present, to the dead capital of the past-thus viciously
stifling the growth of the productive forces! With this intensely bourgeois
methodology ingrained in his political practice, it is no accident that Marcus has
viciously attacked, with intent to destroy, anything and anyone threatening to shake
up the blissful harmony of the Realization of his pre-1963 Notion. The Fraser affair
was one such significant case.
A generation older than practically all of his cadres, Marcus has secured a fiercely
paternalistic relationship to the organization. His fantasized self-conception as the
wonderful, unattainable Father emerges nowhere more clearly than in his halting
attempt at poetry:


One day
where the children played
There came a smiling man from a dead planet.
He stood
as if to show he knew
The way of children
and a stranger.
Soon,
more curious than startled,
the children shuffled;
Eyeing the figure that
seemed not to menace after all.
'He is this,' one said.
'Or perhaps that,' another suggested.
One child looked directly
at the man.
The stranger's eyes smiled,
his mouth unchanged.
In time,
the boldest spoke.
The stranger nodded.
Another tried.
'He does not speak
our language,' one proposed
After the failure
of several efforts to prompt
Conversation from the visitor.
'He knows,'
another corrected.
'See his eyes.'
'He understands?'
another asked.
'You understand?' he said
to the stranger.
The man's expression
didn't change,
they swore later.
But all the same
they know he understood.
They were pleased,
so pleased.
They turned from the visitor
for a moment,
To share their opinion.
When they glanced back,
He was gone.
They never saw him again.
But they know
that something
important
and good
Had happened for him?
and for themselves.[21]

"Strike-Support" Work

During the strike wave of 1970-71, NCLC embarked on several "strike-support"
campaigns-which mainly involved pushing support resolutions at pop-front anti-war
conferences like those organized by the National Peace Action Coalition and People's
Coalition for Peace and Justice, trying to win over pro-working class elements in
these swamp organizations. As for its orientation towards the actual striking workers,
NCLC tried to establish "mass-strike institutions" (embryonic soviets) on a united
front basis. This "cross-union caucus" organizing, which did coalesce viable Left and
labor forces for short periods in certain areas and represented probably the best work
NCLC has done in its history, was still sadly lacking; it was never coupled within the
striking trade unions to factionalize and win workers to a socialist program and
ongoing socialist organizing. Thus when the strikes ebbed and the "cross-union
caucuses" lawfully dissipated, the energy the strike had generated was not captured in
any institutional form," save the purified extra-union NCLC. And indeed the 1990
Baltimore Schmidt's Bakery strike, which the NCLC-built Strike Support Organizing
Committee supposedly helped win, yielded not a single worker from that union for
NCLC.
Even as NCLC grew significantly in the following years (reaching its peak of over
600 North American members in 1973), it manifested an ultra-left" aversion to
engaging in trade-union struggles. A striking example of NCLC's tactical ineptitude
in this respect came in the summer of 1973, when it initiated its NUWRO (National
Unemployed and Welfare Rights Organization) UAW caucus in Detroit. Recruiting a
few advanced workers around this effort, NCLC preoccupied them with a "bill of
materials" project for retooling the auto industry to produce farm tractors. At the
same time, the "caucus" members were urged to abandon the day-to-day guerrilla
struggle against management that is essential to the training and further recruitment of
revolutionary workers. Placed in the schizoid position of being apolitical tradeunionists
on the one hand, and technocrat-intellectuals (as opposed to workerintellectuals)
on the other, these workers became quickly isolated from the layers of
political workers around them. Chronic demoralization inevitably set in.
Marcus' abstentionist approach to trade-union struggles cowers behind a correct
theoretical expression of the sociology of the trade unions:
"Trade unions are, on the one side, a co-optative instrument of the capitalist system
under certain conditions. Yet, trade unions were created by political mass strike
upsurges and were able to come into existence only in the aftermath of such mass
strikes. Trade-unions are the disbanded and alienated form of the political working
class organization for itself, the working class in itself, which tend therefore to
become mere objects of capital."[22]
From this correct observation, however, Marcus and NCLC draw the curious practical
conclusion that participation in trade-union struggles is useless, as it can mean
nothing but "class-in-itself" parochial organizing. While NCLC has done sporadic
caucus and union-electoral work, this has been the exception to its rule of petty
abstentionism and "dual-union" posturing. The comic extension of this was that by
early 1974, New Solidarity was repeatedly predicting that, come summer, NUWRO
would outnumber the AFL-CIO, and therefore be able to "replace" it![23]
The methodological concomitant of NCLC's wild, ungrounded approach to the mass
workers' movement is Marcus' Hegelian treatment of the Marxian conception of
"class-for-itself." Glibly reverting to Hegel's category of "Being for itself"-which
reflects historical-social development, but in abstracted and alienated fashion-Marcus
homogenized out the class struggle dynamic which is the actual driving force behind
"class for itself." (See also "Idealistic Economics" below.) Arriving at a pristine,
timeless conception of "class-for-itself," Marcus then attempts to impose this
conception artificially on here-and-now historical reality. Thus the fraud of the
"cross-union caucuses" and "bill of materials projects" in a time of pronounced ebb in
the labor movement-when what is needed is tenacious revolutionary work within the
existing mass institutions of the proletariat (no matter how "class-in-itself" this might
appear to the Hegelian observer) to train working class leadership for seizing the reins
of a revolutionary upsurge, when mass, class-for-itself institutions (like soviets)
actually become the order of the day.
NUWRO-One Step Forward.
In contrast to its petty abstentionism from the trade-union movement, NCLC did some
active organizing among the chronically unemployed in 1972-73. Towards the end of
1972, a few welfare militants who had been working with NCLC to expose the slavelabor
recycling of welfare recipients into union jobs, were expelled from the National
Welfare Rights Organization (NWRO)-a government-funded organization which had
been set up to co-opt the last wave of the Civil Rights movement. In response to the
expulsions, NCLC set up the "Committee to Rebuild NWRO" (CRNWRO), beginning
a united front drive to build a new organization of the unemployed, independent of
government control.
In the weeks preceding the founding convention of the new organization, NCLC
bumped up against not only the entrenched government agents of the NWRO
bureaucracy, but also against the Communist Party-dominated contingent of NWRO
activists. Typically, the CP had entered the reformist organization to become its left
wing-keeping a low profile while clinging tenaciously to its supporters. Faced with
the intervention of CRNWRO, the CP vacillated nervously for several weeks-not
knowing whether to move overtly against CRNWRO or go along with it in an attempt
to co-opt it. The issue was further complicated by the pressure NCLC was putting on
the CP's trade-union layers to join with the welfare recipients in a class-wide
organizing drive. Moreover, the CP had denounced NCLC as "CIA agents," after
NCLC's shrieking intervention into the CP front Trade Unionists for Action and
Democracy (TUAD) convention in Chicago the previous summer. On that occasion,
the CP had responded to NCLC's temper tantrum over TUAD's neglect of its strikesupport
resolution, by mobilizing its "husky workers" to herd the 50 NCLC'ers
(including Marcus, who sustained a punch) into a "prison" room and threatening them
physically before releasing them.
In an early 1973 article in New Solidarity, Marcus identified three major social layers
within the CP, which was now severely demoralized over the crushing of McGovern
in the 1972 presidential elections: 1) The leadership bureaucracy, a hopelessly
entrenched, Stalinist formation which did Moscow's centrist bidding; 2) Rank-and-file
trade-union militants and lower-level union officials-most of whom were now reduced
to burnt-out cynicism by decades of cowardice and floundering by the leadership; 3)
The mostly-black cadres of the CP youth group (Young Workers Liberation League)
who had been recruited around the Angela Davis Defense campaign and, standing
well to the left of the traditional CP ranks, had become disenchanted by the CP's
opportunistic tailing of McGovern's campaign. The YWLL cadres, the "life-blood of
the CP," would have to become involved in NCLC's class-wide organizing, whether
the CP followed them or not, according to Marcus. Indeed, several YWLL'ers signed
the initial call issued by CRNWRO.
A few days before the March 31 Philadelphia CRNWRO convention, the CP, amidst
shrill cries in New Solidarity that NCLC would "destroy" the CP if it moved against
the new organization, moved to sabotage the convention. Its Philadelphia YWLL'ers
joined with Ed Schwartz, a local CIA agent and a self-avowed fascist, to run a sound
truck through the ghetto to urge people against attending the convention. And on the
morning of the same convention, this same crew set up a picket line in front of the
convention hall, with lurid signs calling NCLC "Nazi" and "KKK," and accusing the
racist NCLC of "using" black welfare mothers as "slave-maids" for its own purposes.
The convention proceeded undeterred by this scummy counter-drive, and was
moderately successful. It was attended by 55 delegates from NWRO and several
hundred others, including a handful of trade union militants from around the country.
Bolstered by the support which the trade unionists, including various striking locals,
had shown for their organizing efforts, the delegates voted unanimously to admit
employed workers into the new organization, which became known as the National
Unemployed and Welfare Rights Organization (NUWRO). Although NCLC
opportunistically clung to a reformist "Bill of Rights for the Unemployed" as the
program for NUWRO-having resolutions for a class-struggle program (made by other
Left groups) voted down-the commitment of the welfare activists to strike-support
work marked a step forward for the movement; the welfare activists began
transforming their identity from that of a special-interest group of welfare recipients,
to that of members of the working class as a whole.

Operation Mop-Up: Two Steps Back

The founding of NUWRO marked the peak of NCLC's achievement as a progressive
historic tendency. The adventuristic episode that followed hard on its heels
immediately deflowered NUWRO, and marked the beginning of the end for NCLC.
A few days .after the NUWRO convention, Marcus called a meeting of NCLC's East
Coast membership in New York. Shortly before this he had written in a New
Solidarity editorial (April 9) entitled, "Death of the CPUSA":
"Immediately, readers will obtain a taste of our ruthlessness in the way we proceed to
finish off the Communist Party. We have routed the CP in a decisive battle. We do
not rest and gloat over that victory. While the CP is temporarily routed and
demoralized, we harry it mercilessly, we conduct the most ruthless mopping-up
operation against each of its ragged formations. We can proclaim the CP to be dead,
because we have it in the position in which we can finish it off, and we are determined
to do exactly what is necessary to use our advantage to destroy it."
Marcus now proceeded to hammer the point home to his own members, who were
innocently unsuspecting of what he had in mind! In a long and demagogic harangue,
he decreed to the assembled members: "We must take hegemony from the CP-from
here on in, the CP cannot hold a meeting on the East Coast. We'll mop them up in
two months." The psychological climate for this mandate was set by Marcus'
sledgehammer, ad hominem polemic against his ranks: "I know you better than you
know yourselves, and for the most part you're full of crap . This isn't a debating
society anymore."
The "National Executive Committee" (NEC) members-none of whom had been
consulted about "Operation Mop-Up"-sat in stunned silence as Marcus completed his
speech and issued "military orders' for the break-up of all East Coast CP meetings.
Only a timid and unserious opposition to Marcus' order was voiced from the floor. In
fact the first "mop-up"-a savage club assault against TUAD members, many of them
older men, in Detroit-had occurred before Marcus' speech!
The initial, "principled" conception of the mop-ups was that NCLC members would
enter a CP (or CP front group) meeting and announce that the first item on the agenda
must be why the CP tried to sabotage the NUWRO convention: if this ultimatum was
refused, the meeting would be broken up. With rare exceptions, however, this
scenario was bypassed; the mop-ups became nothing but bar-room brawls from the
start, with the CP often calling the police (and pressing charges of assault), and heads
cracked on both sides.
NUWRO was instantly destroyed. Jennette Washington, a leading CRNWRO
organizer and now a member of the NUWRO national committee, was strong-armed
into making a public speech supporting Operation Mop-Up. In this, however, she
stood alone, as the other non-NCLC NUWRO leaders turned away in terror and
despair; most of them dropping out of politics completely.
Thus NCLC, by its plunge into sectarian hooliganism, managed to destroy the fruits
of its own significant organizing achievement. Had the NCLC gone through the
newly-created NUWRO structure to mount an extensive political agitational
campaign, backed up by strong military preparedness, against the CP's treacherous
behavior at the convention, it could have made deep inroads against the CP, no doubt
winning over many of the YWLL cadres and wavering NWRO activists. At the same
time, the united front would have been extended, with large sections of the Left
moving towards NUWRO and NCLC.
What occurred, instead, was precisely the opposite. The YWLL'ers, who suffered
many of the actual knocks dished out by the mop ups, fell back hysterically into the
CP fold and/or dropped out of politics. And most of the Left-notably the SWP-in the
atmosphere of wild political confusion, solidarized with the CP against the NCLC
attacks-isolating NCLC from the Left, and increasingly, from the working class.
The NCLC, of course, giggled indecently at the spectacle of Left coalescence against
it, which it claimed was proof positive of its "Bolshevism" and "true Trotskyism." In
a moralistic tirade against CP Stalinism, appropriately entitled "Their Morals and
Ours' (New Solidarity, April 23, 1973), Marcus began:
"The entire U.S. left, with much of Western Europe soon to be added to this list, is
experiencing the most profound shock and hysteria at the discovery that the NCLC
means exactly what it says when it announced that it is carrying out its warning to
destroy the routed remnants of the Communist Party's former left hegemony in the
U.S.A."
Securing only the minimal gain of ending CP attacks against its organizing; NCLC's
Operation Mop-Up had the important internal effect of regimenting and intensifying
Marcus' control over the organization. As poor a political education job as Marcus
had done in "preparing" Mop-Up, the membership's understanding of the political
issues surrounding it deteriorated still further, as bravado and sectarian jingoism set
in. Touring the West Coast locals to motivate the just-begun Mop-Up, NEC member
Leif Johnson was confronted by Pat Ruckert, defense coordinator in Seattle: "What
empirical evidence has there been that YWLL'ers are coming over to us?" To which
Johnson sneered: "That's like asking for a body count during the heat of battle."
(Precisely)! As Mop-Up wore on into the summer, it became more and more a
mindless, street-gang antic; with squads mobilized to attempt to break up every CP
street rally, etc., in certain areas, regardless of political circumstances. One LC'er,
returning from such a mobilization in which an announced CP New York rally had
failed to materialize, bitterly complained, "I'm really mad "there were no CP'ers
around to beat up." By summer's end, New Solidarity was describing the CP with the
sectarian and dumb generality, "police socialism." By this time, NCLC had lost any
semblance of a united front approach towards the Left.

The RYM Fiasco

Following on the heels of Mop-Up, NCLC plunged, into organizing ghetto youth, in
an effort to build a quick mass movement to bolster its new-found "Left hegemony."
The Revolutionary Youth Movement (RYM-not to be confused with the SDS factions
by that name) organizing was foreshadowed by Marcus in his early April speech
mandating Mop-Up. Typically presenting his tactical decision as a fait accompli,
Marcus had used it (in "behavior-shaping" fashion) to squelch any squeamishness
among the members about Operation Mop-up: "You think this CP stuff is scary, well,
I'll tell you something, that's really gonna scare you. In a few, months we're gonna
have 10,000 enraged, ghetto youth, we're gonna organize street gangs."
Soon a special corps of NCLC'ers, mostly black, was commissioned to begin
organizing gang youth, striving to "ruthlessly" break through the "ghetto hustle,"
converting ghetto youth from wanting to rip off the corner grocery store, e.g., to
wanting to "take it all." Marcus personally took this group of NCLC'ers under his
wing, "steeling" them psychologically for the task ahead (i.e., turning them into
blithering sycophants of Marcus).
In his keynote speech at the May 25 NCLC national conference, Marcus declared that
his ruthless method of ghetto organizing was going to succeed where other Left
groups-the Young Lords, Workers League, etc.-had failed. With his characteristic
hyperbole, he declared, "If we don't succeed in this, we'll have to find another planet."
But given the very weak roots NCLC had in the working class, the massive campaign
to recruit ghetto youth-by cutting through their "pure rage," and "organizing" that
rage-was a hopeless adventure, smacking of New Left opportunism. Still, the
bungling and disorganizing way the NCLC approached the ghetto indeed "outdid" the
performance of the other groups. Thus today, large sections of the ghetto populations
of New York and other cities are implacably hostile and cynical towards not only
NCLC, but all communist organizing-an easy target for the CIA-type,
counterinsurgent, social-control programs that NCLC claimed it was combatting.
Despite grand pretenses of uplifting ghetto youth to become revolutionary
intellectuals and part of the working class-for-itself, the RYM "organizing" that
actually occurred was criminally degraded, propitiatory and parochial. The NCLC
"RYM organizers" generally lumpenized themselves-to the point of donning leather
jackets and talking in ghetto cadence-in order to approach gang youth, and organized
the gangs as ('red") gangs. No serious efforts were made to integrate the youthful
recruits with other NCLC members-to say nothing of the working class contacts
around NCLC. The RYM organizers, far from confronting the "ghetto turf" mentality
of the youths in a revolutionary way, dissolved themselves into it, and with disastrous
results. When the inevitable frame-ups of RYM members came down late in 1973,
NCLC responded sluggishly and incompetently, mobilizing a feeble and abortive
defense effort-thus landing the framed-up RYM members in jail. Deep distrust
towards their "Promethean" organizers began setting in among the few dozen RYM
members.[24]
Meanwhile the regular NCLC members, most of whose contact with the RYM cadres
came only in defense training and ghetto rallies, began to look upon the RYM'ers as
their military auxiliary-an attitude which the RYM members quickly began to sense.
At a September 3 meeting of the New York NCLC membership, a RYM member,
objecting that the constant ghetto rally mobilizations were pulling him out of school;
bitterly complained, "RYM is the goons for the Labor Committee."
The upshot of the brewing NCLC-RYM antagonisms was that, in early 1974, several
RYM members turned overtly against NCLC, attacking their offices, stealing and
robbing money, etc. And, instead of critically examining the total failure of the RYM
organizing, NCLC, which was by now well into its hysterical "mass brainwashing"
phase, dismissed all the incidents as products of "CIA brainwashing."

The Baraka Campaign

Also symptomatic of the sharp degeneration of NCLC organizing since the NUWRO
convention was its hysterical, fixated campaign against Imamu Amiri Baraka in the
summer of 1973. Baraka's black-nationalist organization, notorious for its unionbusting
role in the Newark, N.J. teachers' strike of 1970 and 1971, had made a few
hooligan assaults against NCLC in Newark and other cities-especially after the
appearance of an NCLC pamphlet entitled, "Papa Doc Baraka: Fascism in Newark,"
which detailed Baraka's connections with Prudential Life Insurance (Newark's biggest
real-estate dealer, holding mortgages on large portions of Newark's ghetto areas) and
(supposedly) the CIA. Instead of organizing a serious united front defense of its right
to organize in the face of the "Barakaite" attacks, NCLC declared its own holy war
against the CIA and fascism in Newark. Its Newark organizing was dissolved into an
endless "Baraka is a CIA agent" harangue, and a series of street confrontations
between the two groups ensued.
On September 5, NCLC decided to cap its anti-Baraka campaign by mobilizing over
100 of its East Coast members to march through downtown Newark, stage a rally in
front of City Hall denouncing Baraka and his "fascist twin" Tony Imperiale, and take
over that day's Newark City Council meeting. During the march, the police,
provocatively seized Dennis Speed-NCLC's leading" black spokesman in Newark-and
detained him for questioning. Thus the NCLC'ers flooded into the near-empty City
Council chamber chanting, "Release Dennis Speed" and demanding to give extended
testimony about the "CIA takeover" of Newark."
Unable to bring the meeting to order amidst the hubbub, the City Council chairman
finally offered the platform to Tony Chaitkin, NCLC's New York mayoral candidate,
for testimony. Chaitkin-who two days before had blustered at a New York NCLC
meeting, "Within a month we're going to drive Baraka out of Newark"-at which point
the chant was renewed; the cops closed in, clubs swinging. In the frenzied scuffle that
followed, 10 NCLC'ers (including Chaitkin and other leading members) were
arrested, and several bloodied.[25]
In a polemic four years earlier against the mindless anarchist/terrorist wing of SDS,
the LC had correctly stressed:
". It is not necessary for revolutionaries to stage confrontations with the police. They
occur spontaneously whenever serious mass action occurs. Furthermore, such
confrontations of themselves do not stimulate socialist consciousness. Without a clear
understanding of socialist alternative to bourgeois "law and order," without the
confidence in victory-which only comes out of a mass movement, the experience of
police repression can awaken fear and apathy rather than militancy in those who
experience it over a period of time."[26]
Now, however, NCLC cheered its bloody confrontation with the police-staged before
perhaps a half-dozen onlookers-as smashing "victory over Baraka and the CIA!"
Win the Election
NCLC's military adventurism was only one of the more glaring symptoms of a
deepening political sectarianism. At meeting after meeting in New York during the
summer, Chaitkin would whip up an hysterical flood of optimism over how NCLC
was going to "win the election" for mayor of New York. The membership was
mobilized into a grueling schedule of petitioning, rallies and marches, whose sole
stated purpose was to "build a machine" to get Chaitkin elected. The hysterical
fantasizing around the Chaitkin campaign marked the important first step in a series
of "pump-priming" gimmicks concocted by the NCLC leadership to sustain morale in
a purely artificial way.
In his December 29 keynote address to the NCLC national conference (see "Flip-out,"
below), Marcus rationalized the "error" of the campaign strategy by saying: "Tony
[Chaitkin] overdid things a bit, telling people we were gonna win the election. When
we [?] found out what was happening, we said, 'Tony, what are you doing?'-and we
got things straightened out."
But here was the height of slimy hypocrisy. At a September 10 New York branch
meeting which Marcus had attended and addressed, Eric Lerner had related an
amusing debate that had followed Chaitkin's booming announcement the previous
week that NCLC would hold a ghetto campaign rally without bothering to get a police
permit. "If they arrest us," Chaitkin had shrieked (on September 3), "Then we'll incite
a riot-not a socialist riot-but a riot-riot." A member who then mildly objected to this
tactic had been instantly pounced-upon for his "fear of rats," and stifled. Yet, in the
days that followed, the decision had been reversed, and a rally permit obtained.
Yet Marcus (on September 10) had listened to this recount, which obviously
referenced the whole "win the election" fantasy, without any response except a
patronizing chuckle-thus allowing the fantasy to continue. So much for his claims to
naive ignorance of the "mistakes' of his subordinate leaders!
Psychological Terror
The hysteria around the Chaitkin campaign dovetailed with Marcus' program for
putting the membership through "psychological terror" (his own frank term!) to
"steel" them against "brainwashing and torture techniques" used by the class enemy.
In late August Marcus returned triumphant to New York, following a trip to West
Germany in which he boasted to have prepared the LC'ers there for the worst possible
horrors they could face. Specifically, he boasted that he had, in a marathon
psychoanalytic session, achieved the "deprogramming" of European LC member
Konstantin George. George, according to Marcus, had been seduced and subjected to
extensive drug treatment by a female KGB (Soviet espionage) agent from East Berlin
and had thus been "programmed," like a computer, to assassinate Marcus at a later
date. (This was to be the Soviet Union's revenge for NCLC's Operation Mop-Up
against the CPUSA.)
Now flaunting the psychoanalytic credentials he had earned at the George
"deprogramming," Marcus proceeded to put his leading U.S. members through indepth
psychological sessions, supposedly purging them of all their infantile wishes
and hang-ups. The "psychological terror" process quickly became generalized
throughout the organization, and with devastating effect; any member raising the
slightest objection or doubt about official policy was lustily pounced on for his or her
"mother's fears," "fear of the real world," etc.-with the "real world" being identified
with NCLC's "real" prospects of winning the New York mayoral election!" To
hammer down his exclusive psychoanalytic authority, Marcus published his
psychological magnum opus "Beyond Psychoanalysis."
Intellectual Brilliance and Fraudulence
"Beyond Psychoanalysis"[27] marked the spectacular death of Marcus' creative
literary output. It announced the degeneration of a once innovative Marxist scholar,
well in the theoretical forefront of the socialist movement; into a vulgar subjectivist
and idealist.
Marcus' intellectual achievements of the 1987-72 period comprise an impressive and
lasting contribution to the movement. His analyses of the post-World War II
development of capitalism (for all their uneven quality) are vital to an understanding
of the deepening, terminal conjuncture of world capitalism that is now setting in. By
reviving interest in Luxemburg's theory of the accumulation of capital and Marx's
concept of the class-for-itself and expanded reproduction, he has helped put the most
advanced Marxist economic ideas back into circulation. Marcus' major theoretical
innovation has been his modern statement of the law of evolutionary social
reproduction-"negative entropy" or "negentropy"-binding social evolution to
thermodynamic processes. Man's unique capacity as a conscious being, as Marcus
repeatedly points out in his happier formulations, is to reverse the "lawful" tendency
of thermodynamic systems to break down over time; i.e., man, through his conscious
intervention into nature, is able to organize reality into higher and higher levels of
order to create "free energy" at an exponential rate.
This contribution, however, is double-edged. For Marcus abstracts man's
"negentropic" tendency into a re-Hegelianized philosophical system, posing it as an a
priori universal, a given law of nature.[28] And this leads, deviously enough, to a
mystical determinism, expressing itself politically as revolutionary fatalism. In place
of the social democrat's banality, "Socialism is inevitable," Marcus concocts the
unique, Marxist-philosopher's banality, "Negentropy is inevitable." Thus," Marcus
"idealizes the class-for-itself (the revolutionary self-liquidation of the proletariat) into
a purified and determined process, purged of its "messy" substance of class struggle.
Not accidentally, Marcus continually resurrects the "line" of German critical
philosophers (Kart, Hegel, and Feuerbach, with "predecessors" including Descartes
and Spinoza)-which he represents Marxism as a mere continuation of. He stubbornly
refuses to see that it was Marx's study of, and participation in history that allowed him
to debunk the German critical philosophers and generate his revolutionary dialectical
method (And this, in spite of Marcus' constant references to The German Ideology!)
Hegel has merit only to the extent that his conceptions faithfully reflect, in abstractu,
the course of world-historical reality (not Hegel's' "creative mentative capacity");
parochial world-outlooks (nationalism, trade unionism, etc.), are not refuted by glib
appeal to Hegel's Being-in-and-for-itself categories (as Marcus makes in Dialectical
Economics), but by examining the real, historical processes that generated those
abstract categories.
Idealistic Economics
Marcus' idealistic method is strongly in evidence in much of his economic theorizing.
For he approaches economics not from the standpoint of the class warrior concerned
with mobilizing the creative energy of the working masses, but from that of the clever
industrial engineer, frustrated over capitalism's inability to resolve its own
contradictions. This radical bourgeois method is clearly expressed in the section of
Dialectical Economics where Marcus poses four hypothetical conditions which; if
satisfied by capitalism; would allow it to accumulate social surplus forever-thus
obviating the need for socialist revolution! In his essentially technocratic overview of
economic relations, which fixes one-sidedly on credit flows and capital accounting,
the daily struggle of human beings in class-conflicted society, the on-going guerrilla
warfare between capital and labor (normally organized into the trade unions) gets lost.
Nor does the fierce competition between various capitals, and especially between
national sub-sectors of the capitalist world, ever fight its way through the
homogenized mist of Marcus' "bills of materials" and "bills of consumption."[29]
Astonishingly, thanks to Marcus' idealistic methodology, his conception of
capitalism's conjunctural crisis, adumbrated over a decade ago, has sharply
deteriorated as the actual crisis has set in! Ever since the severe dollar crisis which
broke out in 1971 and 1973, Marcus and New Solidarity have been making
screaming, fatalistic prophesies portending the coming apocalyptic depression crash.
Instead of locating the onset of a "Keynesian" world depression (i.e., intensifying
"stagflation") within the actual class struggle process and deriving appropriate
organizing tactics, Marcus-far more concerned with bolstering his academic-Marxist
"credentials"-confined himself to the task of "predicting" the pace of the collapse.
Deterministically extrapolating from dollar figures of capitalist indebtedness, Marcus
has drawn-up a series of "timetables" for the coming crash (which are rivaled only by
his "timetables" for NCLC seizure of power). As each timetable period has passed
without the promised deflationary collapse, a brand new timetable, devil-may-care,
has been drawn up-with no hint of any possible flaw in the methodology! This crisismongering
approach reached its advanced stages in late April, 1974, when Marcus
uncorked a "60-90 day timetable," by the end of which Rockefeller and Co., due to
their mounting debt accumulation, would be forced to move to "military takeovers" in
the U.S. and Western Europe! The main point here was, typically, internal to "remoralize"
the NCLC membership, drawing them once again into loyally frenetic,
mindless activity (and, at the same time, attempting" to steamroll the brewing
factional dissent). And, by now, Marcus had refined his supra-historical rantings into
a fool-proof system; the fact that military takeovers were "avoided" was prima facie
proof that NCLC's "Stalingrad defense" campaign had been correct and successful!
Methodologically, Marcus has actually resurrected the Bukharin-Stalin theory of
"permanent crisis" which grew out of the crises of the 1920's. According to this
mechanistic theory, the world-capitalist crisis is to proceed in an undifferentiated,
downward curve. No ebbs and flows within the overall conjuncture, no partial
economic revivals or setbacks in the struggle are conceivable: Somewhere towards
the end of this depression rainbow, revolution will magically occur. In the meantime
there can be nothing such as a defeat for the ever-revolutionary proletariat, through
either adventurism or popular-front opportunism by its leadership. Every
confrontation (real or fantasized) against the class enemy, whatever the results, "paves
the way' for successful showdown at a later date. Thus can self-proclaimed
revolutionary leaders, by resort to clever theoretical sophisms, rationalize-away any
and all of their mistakes.

Creative Mentation

Nowhere is Marcus' idealism more glaring than in his alienated theory of mind and
creative mentation. Refusing to locate the mind and creativity within historicalmaterial
reality; Marcus fetishizes the mind his own mind-as a supra-historical
phenomenon, constantly generating new process-concepts ex nihilo and "changing the
universe" through such Promethean flexings of the cerebrum. Marcus would have us
believe that all one needs is a little "fundamental endowment," loving parents, a few
sophisticated gestalts, feeling-states, and noetic synthesizers, and one can become a
"creative genius" like him. And no wonder! His own daily practice is anti-social and
philistine, as he spends the bulk of his time privately arriving at "conceptual
breakthroughs' and "recreating" these breakthroughs with his hack leadership clique,
in his plush Washington Heights (Manhattan) apartment. He sees and hears little of
his own ranks, to say nothing of the working masses.
In reality, the mind and creativity are profoundly social and historical phenomena.
The most powerful instance of a social institution of human creativity that history has
thus far offered us, has been the soviet-notably the cases of the Petersburg workers'
(and soldiers') councils of 1905 and 1917. Here the collective experience of the
struggling masses is mobilized, centralized, condensed, and renewed and enriched by
the development of tactics that push the struggle forward in huge strides. The most
creative individuals in such a process are those whose accumulated world-historical
experience and active intervention into reality has enabled them-both intellectually
and politically-to help orchestrate the mass movement of the people.
We can now begin to de-mystify Marcus' idealized grab-bag of gestalts, feeling-states,
cathexes, ego stages and conceptual breakthroughs. Creativity (in the highest sense of
the word) is fundamentally the process of harnessing the power of the creative activity
of the struggling masses to develop new courses of action, new forms of struggle.
During periods of lull in the mass movement, creative work is still possible, to the
extent that one continues to internalize the needs of the (potentially) revolutionary
masses, and prepare accordingly. Banality, degradation, and the "infantile ego" set in
as one gives up the struggle against stagnation and inertia, becoming more and more
dominated by decadent class outlooks . But why hang this all on "mother" as Marcus
does?
Intellectual Renaissance
Deepening his hopeless plunge into idealism in late 1973, Marcus uncorked a highsounding
"theory of intellectual renaissance." The "intellectual vanguard" of the
working class (i.e., the NCLC; of course) must massively inculcate the working class
with revolutionary ideas, thus bringing about an "intellectual renaissance" as a
prerequisite to socialist revolution. To this end, Marcus ludicrously projected the
return of the modern "mind-destroying" French and Spanish languages to their
classical, 16th century forms, which were far better suited to express advanced
concepts such as Hegel's "self-consciousness." And this ambitious task was to be
accomplished single-handedly by NCLC through its publications! Other programs
involved teaching the working class (though, in practice, never getting beyond
teaching NCLC'ers) "socialist" mathematics, physics, and psychoanalysis.
Ross, Luxemburg, a great revolutionary, as opposed to bourgeois intellectual, refuted
Marcus' specious "theory of intellectual renaissance" as a schema for proletarian
revolution, in a 1903 essay:[30]
"In the history of earlier class struggles, aspiring classes (like the Third Estate in
recent days) could anticipate political dominion by establishing an intellectual
dominance, inasmuch as, while they were still subjugated classes, they could set up a
new science and a new art against obsolete culture of the decadent period. The
proletariat is in a very different position. As a non-possessing class, it cannot in the
course of its struggle upwards spontaneously create a mental culture of its own while
it remains in the framework of bourgeois society. Within that society, and so long as
its economic foundations persist, there, can be no other culture than bourgeois culture
. The utmost [the working class] can do today is to safeguard bourgeois culture from
the vandalism of the bourgeois reaction, and create the social conditions for a free
cultural development."
Thus, Marcus has resurrected and fetishized the intellectual and cultural development
of the bourgeois revolution, grounded in the ascendancy of the radical, petit-bourgeois
intelligentsia. It is small wonder that his cultural tastes adhere solely to developments
surrounding the bourgeois-revolutionary epoch; thus his fetishism of Beethoven to the
exclusion of any music produced subsequently, his preference of Hegel over Marx,
etc.[31]

Thermidorian Consolidation:
The Oppression of Women

In practice, "Beyond Psychoanalysis" marked a lethal turning inward for NCLC, the
culmination of its vicious self-isolation from the working class. The organization
quickly choked on the psychic blood drawn in the oppressive, ego-stripping
psychoanalytic sessions that took place on all levels.
The core of the psychoanalytic theory which took a stranglehold over the organization
was the phenomenon of "mother's fears," the fear of the outside world that every
mother supposedly inculcates into her children-as opposed to the potent, man-of-theworld
father who is the only possible savior from mother's cuddling.
This pathological caricature of the nuclear family in bourgeois society soon came to
dominate the emotional life of practically every NCLC'er. In addition to brutally
stiffing any dissent and free discussion (see above), the "mother's fears" polemic led
to a vicious breakdown in the relationship between the sexes in NCLC. Female
members-especially those who at all asserted themselves-came under continual,
merciless attack for being "sadistic bitches" and "witches," for "mother-dominating"
their men. Couples began breaking up by the dozens-often under compulsion from
leadership-with the woman invariably pointed to as the cause of the crisis. In the
Buffalo and Detroit, industrial-heartland locals, the organizing was paralyzed for
weeks on end due to an all-out "battle of the sexes!"[32]
Christine Berle, a NEC member widely respected for her crusading insistence that
revolutionary politics and creativity in artistic expression can and must be
harmonious, luridly documents the impact of the leadership's psychological sessions,
in her 1974 resignation statement:
"The psychological climate that had been engendered by Operation Mop-Up set the
stage for a tendency which has since crippled the organization. Since the political
content of any disagreement with the policies of the leadership during Mop-Up could
be dismissed not on its own terms, but as a pathology . a situation was created in
which members were intimidated by peer-group pressure from voicing their own
doubts; and indeed the terror of taking such an independent position compelled them
to actually begin to consider these doubts within themselves as the consequence of a
neurosis. Hence, the transformation of an organization composed of creative
individuals capable of collectively synthesizing new concepts by means of a dialectic
into an organization of rank-and-file automatons.
"Of course, this transformation was not immediate, for what remained was that the
leadership itself undergo the same process it had imposed on the membership. For
this, Marcus' pseudo-psychoanalytical sessions, begun in Aug. 1975 with the NEC
and all people in leading positions of responsibility, provided the final link in a
process that culminated in Marcus' total hegemony over the organization.
"According to Marcus, the purpose of the sessions was to create a new kind of
leadership based on the capacity to withstand psychological terror; but in reality the
content of the sessions themselves was pure psychological terror. What the leaders
were asked to withstand was described by Marcus as the stripping away of the
persona before the entire group; but in actuality what was stripped away was their
very identities.
"Marcus located the origin of psychological terror, as the 8th century church had
done, in the image of the witch-mother who prevented the individual from acting on
the basis of self-consciousness by reducing him to an impotent and banalized egostate.
And to this bestialized image of the ego Marcus counter-posed himself; for it
was never disputed during the course of the session that all true self-consciousness
emanated from his own person.
"But the image of the witch-mother as a locus for psychological terror was simply a
cover. In actuality, the terror which the leaders experienced during the session . was
the terror of a depersonalization imposed upon them by Marcus himself: a
depersonalization, moreover, which was identified by him as true self-consciousness.
E.g., the phrase "Step outside of yourself" was used recurrently. And this phrase
epitomizes the extreme form of alienation to which the participants were subjected."
"It is scarcely surprising that the participants of the sessions should have been prey, to
all, sorts of deep-seated feelings of self-hatred and worthlessness. Or that Marcus
could have been able to manipulate those feelings to the point that any allegation, and
particularly one that diagnosed a neurosis, would have to be believed. Moreover,
Marcus was extremely skillful at turning the group on an individual who had been
selected on the basis of rumors that he had failed to perform politically during the
week, so that, from a congress of leaders, the group was transformed into sniveling
informers vying with each other for Marcus' approval. Even couples were encouraged
to "inform" on each other's "progress," particularly by singling out any behavior that
could be construed as apolitical, or that was suspected of being "resistant" to the aims
of the sessions. Under these conditions, one would have expected few of the couples
to last, but because Marcus had decided a priori that they should be preserved, in most
cases the marriages were preserved, although the relationships were totally broken.
"The obsession with shit and the endless stream of scatological and sadistic humor
issuing from Marcus around this obsession, successfully and repeatedly reduced all
the individuals in the sessions to the level of animals. They were forced to concede
that a large part of their thinking could be reduced to a preoccupation with shit, and
especially to the fear of this preoccupation. Women were hit particularly viciously
with this form of reductionism, even to the point of tracing their sexuality to the
proximity of the anus and the vagina with only the thin strip of the perineum
distinguishing between the two. Marcus claimed that this anatomical peculiarity was
the origin of women's feelings of degradation, since it gave rise to their confusion of
the sexual act with the act of excretion. This was a radical departure" from" classical
Marxism since it located identity not within the matrix of social-reproductive
relations, but in bestialized anatomical reductionism. The degradation of women was
further predetermined by the infantile relation a woman had to her mother where the
first sexual encounter was imprinted on her memory as "the mother cleaning the shit
out of her little vagina." This confusion of sexuality with shit led both men and
women to cover up the odors associated with lovemaking; according to Marcus, this
was the reason that women wore perfume and men smoked after making love.
Needless to say, none of these assertions were challenged."
Flip-Out
Pity the poor bourgeois radical at a time of conjunctural capitalist collapse. The
worldwide depression crisis which he has so long been predicting has finally come
about. Yet he is organically incapable of politically meeting the crisis, as the only
class capable of taking the necessary revolutionary measure-the working class-is a
class which he has neither the ability nor the intention to mobilize. And the unfolding
historical reality more and more exposes the bankruptcy of his radical-economic
schemes in the absence of any working class mobilization. He has reached the limits
of his historic usefulness. Lawfully, he goes insane.
At the start of his December 29, 1973 keynote speech at the NCLC national
conference, a visibly nervous Marcus announced that an extraordinary development
had forced him to change the subject of his speech. For a few weeks now, the NCLC
"Security" staff had been receiving various, signals "from the Kremlin" foreboding an
attack on NCLC. A few days before, a plane supposedly bearing a leading European
LC member, Chris White, to the conference had been inexplicably grounded a few
minutes after take-off from London airport. Some kind of "CIA-KGB" espionage
attack against NCLC seemed to be in the air, with Marcus' assassination possibly on
the agenda again.
His normally strong voice quivering nervously, Marcus explained how the KGB (the
Soviet secret police agency) was frantic over the prospects of the LC, which had been
growing in Europe, "knocking off the European CP's-and we're gonna do it, in a few
years time." Meanwhile, the KGB's rival, the CIA, was always receptive to a "united
front" to destroy NCLC.
Two days later, at the start of the NCLC internal conference-long delayed amidst
cryptic announcements of sensational developments by leading members-Ed
Spannaus revealed that Marcus and others had just completed a marathon "six-level
deprogramming session" on Chris White, thus stopping the KGB assassination plot
against Marcus. White, it had been discovered, had been extensively brainwashed to
unconsciously activate a group of Cuban gusano frogmen who were poised to land on
the east shore of the Hudson River, scoot to Marcus' apartment, blow open his door
with guns with silencers, and finish him off! Marcus' brilliant foiling of this plot was
"the most important event in our history," cooed Spannaus, "This should be a time of
joy, of rejoicing."
In the psychodrama atmosphere that surrounded the internal conference, NCLC'er Bill
Engdahl suffered a psychotic break. Engdahl was thus to (retroactively) become,
another brainwashed link in the "assassination plot," with KGB and CIA influence
read into all his past political connections, and an anti-war GI group he had belonged
to-The Next Step-being glibly labeled a CIA operation up and down the line.
Over the next several days and weeks, mass paranoia and hysteria reigned throughout
NCLC. With dozens of members giving up their jobs in the frenzy of emergency
activity, the cadre were mobilized, often for ten or more hours a day, to do mass
leafleting to alert the population about the brainwashings, assassination plots, and
"pending military-takeovers" in Britain and the U.S.[33] The seizure of Britain's
Heathrow Airport by the British military amidst a developing red scare (following
supposed terrorist activities in the area), eventually prompted NCLC to move away
from its anti-Soviet, KGB-baiting hysteria; and lay the whole "assassination/takeover
plot" on the CIA and British intelligence. This change is line took the form of probes
into deeper and deeper "layers" of White's "brainwashed program," which came to
conclusively prove that the CIA had brainwashed White to "act like a brainwashed
KGB agent, and blame Marcus' assassination on the Soviet Union!"
Meanwhile, dozens of NCLC'ers, many of them in leadership positions, were
frantically probing into their own pasts, and "discovering" that they "must have been
brainwashed by the CIA" at such-and-such places and times. Many written
confessions to this effect were submitted to the Security staff!

NAG Network

The "mass brainwashing" paranoia provided the pretext for brutally choking-off the
few dissidents reluctant to go along with the religious sect-like atmosphere that
Marcus and Co. were consolidating. Robert Dillon and Arthur Castle, long-time
members who had been doing some half-hearted factionalizing against Marcus'
constrictive control, were labeled "CIA programmed zombies" and thoroughly
ostracized from all contact with NCLC members. Alice Weitzman,[34] still an active
member when the "brainwashings" broke, received more intense treatment. She was
held for hours and harshly interrogated in her apartment by NCLC Security members,
until a note she had desperately dropped out of her window finally got police to
converge on the scene and arrest the interrogators. Weitzman, Dillon, Castle, and
some other dissidents became known as members of the "CIA-created" "New
Alternatives Group" (NAG-Marcus' coinage). "NAG" soon became a catch-all term
among NCLC'ers to reference all those forces (and there were more and more!)
opposed to NCLC's hysteria. In the following weeks, the "CIA-NAG" category was
extended to the rest of the left and most of the trade-union bureaucracy which in the
Stalinist "social-fascist" tradition, was, fully identified with the class enemy.
Right-Wing Coup
While many questions remain unanswered as to the goings-on in NCLC during the
"mass brainwashing" episode, the events clearly marked a right-wing coup within the
organization. In particular, the Security apparatus, with Marcus' full blessing,
achieved an overwhelming influence, with its leading members (some of whom had
no official leadership designation) taking more and more power into their hands,
unrestricted by the slightest accountability to the membership. Supposedly set up to
"protect NCLC from the CIA," the Security apparatus, an obvious nesting place for
police agents, has functioned only to "protect" NCLC against any intrusion (from
within or without) into its "CIA-ized" fantasy world! One of its major functions has
been to survey, collect information on, and intimidate dissident members and
"NAGgers." By coloring all the NCLC's opponents within the movement "CIA"
through detailed but undocumented "exposes," the Security staff complements
Marcus' psychological terror in creating the viciously ingrown, controlled
environment necessary to fully manipulate even the tougher, more experienced
members.[35]
The "mass brainwashing" episode marked the self-immolation of NCLC as an even
ostensibly revolutionary tendency. Plunging headlong into a solipsistic fantasy world
from which it was never to emerge, NCLC fully embraced the hysteria of the petitbourgeoisie
in a period of deepening social crisis-cutting itself off from the working
class for good. Of the handful of promising working class cadre NCLC had recruited,
most were quickly driven away-hounded for their "resistance," "mothers' fears," etc.
The even fewer remaining were duly declassed and assimilated.
Politically, NCLC moved ever-more-spectacularly to the right. Its wildly
conspiratorial conception of the "Rockefeller-CIA takeover plots' prompted it to seek
tactical alliances with reactionary, anti-big-business' demagogues like Barry
Goldwater, the John Birch Society, and the KKK-and this, while the entire rest of the
Left was "CIA!" Meanwhile, NCLC proceeded to "mobilize" the working class
against Rockefeller by, out of one side of its mouth, shrieking "Mass strike!"-and, out
of the other, sternly admonishing workers that, since no strike could possibly be won
during a depression, any strike (e.g., the British and American coal miners' strikes)
must be a CIA provocation, and under CIA leadership! This strikebreaking
propaganda was supplemented by ongoing anti-union antics, as NCLC attempted to
"oust" sell-out bureaucrats from the UAW and other unions strictly from the outsidevia
hysterical, anti-political propaganda drives. These usually took the form of
pinpointing certain bureaucrats in leaflets as "homosexual perverts," etc.-consciously
pandering to the most backward workers in the shop.

Fascism From Above

A marked degeneration in its political theory accompanied NCLC's sharp
degeneration in political practice. NCLC developed a wildly conspiratorial theory of
"fascism from above," whereby the Rockefeller-CIA wing of the international ruling
class had laid the foundations for "fascist-military takeovers" of all the capitalist
countries in the 1970s through its 25-years' development of techniques for
psychological, political and military coercion. John Roes, a (now deceased)
Rockefeller-allied psychologist who played a major role in British intelligence
operations during World War II and pioneered in developing CIA counterinsurgency
techniques, was now portrayed as the absolute mastermind of modern world history.
According to NCLC theoreticians, Rees' techniques for infiltrating, co-opting and
smashing insurgent movements in organized labor, the ghettoes and colonial countries
were infallibly deadly, and capable of being neatly pre-determined by computer-aided
planning by the appropriate think-tank institutions.
This paranoid theory of fascism, blinding itself to the, mass dynamic of fascismwhich
is, after all, a particular form of social organization-arises from the American
bourgeoisie's ability to impose harsh austerity and social-control measures with
relatively little working class resistance-thanks to the primitiveness of the U.S. labor
movement. As a petit-bourgeois sect driven into increasing hysteria by the capitalists'
depression-offensive, NCLC has ever-dwindling confidence in the ability of the
working class to regroup and begin sharply to meet the capitalist assault through their
defensive mass organizations, old and new. Thus NCLC has naively turned to
everyone but the working masses in order to "stop Rocky"-notably to parliaments,
embassies, and Police Benevolent Associations! And in its propaganda, it confuses
every paper proposal by a ruling class think-tank with an immediate and irrevocable
change in the life of the masses.
NCLC's "Rockefeller/CIA conspiracy" methodology is also largely a refraction of the
social/political practice, and self-conceptions of its own leadership clique. With
Marcus having consolidated a strangling bureaucratic hold on the organization backed
up by the coercive Security apparatus, he and his cohorts are able to put the
membership through spectacular ideological and tactical twists and turns, according to
their own petty whims and caprices. Given that NCLC's social base is almost
exclusively declassed petit-bourgeois youth, Marcus and Co. encounter very little
short-term social" resistance to their adventuristic, draconian schemes. However,
even in the grotesquely artificial environment of NCLC, the "law of value" reasserts
itself periodically with profound spells of demoralization of the membership, with
large losses in real membership resulting:
The CFC Experience
In the spring of 1974 a New York revolutionary health collective, CFC (Centers for
Change) came into active contact with NCLC, engaging in a large amount of joint
work. Sensing the inadequacy of community-service work in a time of deepening
depression, CFC was turning consciously towards the working masses, rapidly
dropping its "revolutionary, collective" conception in favor of mass political
organization. NCLC, of course, was moving in precisely the opposite directiondriving
itself into a self-enclosed, petit-bourgeois womb that expressed itself in its
huge parasitic bureaucracy, its strictly bourgeois-academic "educational" program,
and its incessant psychological sessions. The two organizations collided and merged
briefly, and after a period of intensifying struggle, lawfully split and continued on
their separate paths.
The major source of clash during the period of "united front" between CFC and
NCLC was the seriousness with which CFC took building NUWRO into an actual
mass working class organization. Unfortunately for the spirited but inexperienced
CFC organizers, NUWRO was a long-defunct entity, existing only on paper and in the
imaginations of the handful of workers still around NCLC. Demonstrating their
absolute non-intention to build anything that would threaten the cozy confines of
NCLC, the New York NCLC leaders cynically liquidated CFC's attempt to find a road
to the masses: closing down the NUWRO borough offices that CFC had set up,
disorganizing the contacts that CFC had brought into the "united front," etc. With
sectarian hauteur, the NCLC'ers made it plain from the start that they intended only to
"organize" the "backward" CFC'ers into NCLC. When CFC members would
modestly raise criticism of NCLC's "organizing" and internal methods, the typical
response was: "What right do you have to criticize us while you remain outside [of the
human race)? You must join us before you can raise any criticism." CFC,-which had
developed a rather advanced critique of NCLC's "Beyond Psychoanalysis' techniques
of social coercion, failed to publicize this critique among the NCLC ranks-thus
making itself a temporary victim of those very techniques, as there developed no
opposition among NCLC ranks to the tireless browbeating and humiliation of CFC
members. CFC saw no alternative but to enter NCLC in late May, when NCLC's
hysterical "organizing" approach had strained the "united front" relationship to the
breaking point. Needless to say the CFC'ers freedom of criticism increased not one
iota after they dissolved into NCLC.
CFC joined recognizing the political instability of the NCLC which nonetheless still
had an empirical understanding of the seriousness of the economic crisis in advance
of other left tendencies who still based their politics on the "prosperity" of the 1960s
and the relative quiescence of the U.S. working class in comparison with antiimperialist
struggles in Asia, Africa and Latin America. CFC joined determined to
wage a serious polemic against the crippling effects of Marcus' psychological,
idealistic theorizing and internal control techniques, and against NCLC's racism and
sexism so glaringly revealed in the RYM "organizing" and the obsession with
"mothers' fears." It was, somewhat naively, hoped that the degeneration of the NCLC
had not gone so far that its downhill course could not be reversed, and the progressive
potential inherent in its conjunctural analysis and apparent turn toward the masses
with NUWRO could be realized.
As the summer and the inertia of petit-bourgeois sect life wore on, the ex-CFC'ers
became increasingly demoralized over their frustrated attempts to get the organization
moving.[36] Comrade Newman's resignation in August and his announcement of
intent to produce an extensive critique of NCLC and its methodology, provoked a
renewed wave of hysteria among NCLC leaders and ranks alike. At that point, amidst
cries that the ex-CFC'ers were being "manipulated by CIA agents to become a
counter-gang against NCLC," the ex-CFC'ers began a belated and abortive attempt at
factionalization-calling for the opportunity for free discussion of the differences that
had surfaced, which centered mostly around internal practices and the NCLC's
decrepit psychoanalytic theory. The slightest attempt to articulate outward, political
differences was greeted with a barrage of psychological baiting. As a result, no solid
political issues came to light, and the non-CFC NCLC ranks were kept firmly in the
fold. Before the ex-CFC'ers eventually resigned en masse to form the IWP, Marcus
suddenly revealed to his membership-through a slanderous document (in response to
Comrade Newman's "Idealism, Paranoia, and the Mass Organization," which was
followed up by some more imaginative items in New Solidarity-that it was the CFC
group's "perverse sexual habits" that had made their stay within NCLC untenable!
Wither the NCLC
Its dwindling ranks long gutted politically, intellectually, and morally by the
hysterical zigzags and ritual sectarianism their leaders have put them through, today's
NCLC is a highly unstable political formation with definite fascist potential. The
personal "charisma" of Marcus-LaRouche is one of its very few raisons d'etres.
Perhaps both to build himself a public image and to give his sect a semblance of
stability, Marcus-LaRouche recently declared his 1976 candidacy for President. After
having feverishly predicted that Nelson "The Fang" Rockefeller could no longer
tolerate U.S. bourgeois democracy and would surely dismantle both Congress and the
Presidency to set up a fascist dictatorship by the end of 1974, Marcus has now
conceded that the bourgeois democracy has a few more dying gasps-and has thrown
his own hat into the Presidential-electoral ring, running on a reformist economic
program (the "Emergency Agricultural Production Act")! Thus, while screaming
about the fascist/nuclear holocaust apocalypse out of one side of their mouths, Marcus
and NCLC are sure to make themselves respectable to those "rational" capitalists and
petit-bourgeoisie who would like to get rid of those greedy, perverted finance
capitalists like the Rockefellers and "reconstruct the economy," on the basis of the
"new priorities' of Good Ol" industrial capitalism. It is unclear to what layer of the
population NCLC will turn once it exhausts this amusing gimmick.
Contrary to those sectarian leftists who have glibly labeled NCLC "fascist" since
Operation Mop-Up, NCLC's fascistic tendencies have emerged only relatively
recently-i.e., since early 1974, when it ran into the arms of the conservative wing of
the bourgeoisie in order to "stop Rockefeller." Its latest and most ominous
development in a rightist direction has been its proud and open collaboration with the
police and Congress to investigate and frame-up "CIA" Maoists and Trotskyists on
various charges. This behavior-an attempt to incite the state and right-wing workers
into a witch-hunt campaign against leftists-definitely places NCLC in the fascist
camp. And although its vicious insulation and fear of the masses makes it incapable
of forging a mass movement of any kind-be it socialist populist, or fascist-NCLC is
quite capable of becoming the ideological vanguard of an American fascist
movement, whose storm troopers will be mobilized by more competent organizers.
Certainly, NCLC figures to become philosophical advisors to a counter-revolutionary
assault against the working class. One can easily imagine, e.g., NCLC leaders
currying the favors of a HUAC-type committee during a red-scare period, by
fingering leftists-under the guise of "exposing CIA agents." (Indeed, NCLC has
recently issued leaflets and "Wanted" posters, cop-baiting, and otherwise slandering
workers from other Left groups running for local union office.)
At any rate, we can he sure that when the sharp political reaction that Marcus and
NCLC have been hysterically "predicting" actually sets in in the U.S., they will swing
ever more sharply to the right and cast off one of the last key vestiges of their leftist
coloring-their support of the Soviet Union. That "support," which began in earnest
after the "CIA brainwashings" (which had initially been "mistaken" for "KGB
brainwashings"!) has never had anything to do with defending the revolutionary gains
of the Soviet masses (via state property forms, planned economy, etc.); it has, from
the start, involved obsequious cheerleading of the parasitic, conservative Soviet
bureaucracy which no doubt can offer insecure leftists a sense of protection against
the omnipotent Rockefeller and CIA. But as soon as detente has run its course and a
major showdown between the U.S. and the Soviet Union begins developing, a
renewed wave of McCarthyism will turn NCLC into naked social-chauvinists. After
all, if the petit-bourgeoisie and labor aristocracy are incited to become bastions of
anti-Sovietism, what else can NCLC do but tail along?
Presidential candidate Marcus-LaRouche on the campaign trail; the U.S. Labor
Party's electoral gambit is the last sad remnant of the NCLC's involvement with the
masses.
The successful development of a revolutionary party, however, will confine the
reactionary effect of NCLC and other petit-bourgeois political sects to insignificance.
"The revolutionary organization of the working masses will subordinate the petit
bourgeoisie to the leadership of the proletariat, and firmly replace bourgeois
radicalism with proletarian politics.
For Marcus and NCLC, the exhaustion of capitalism's historic possibilities marks the
end of history. For us, this depression conjuncture marks the beginning of the historic
awakening of the working masses, the beginning of the proletarian revolution.

SOURCES

NCLC Internal Documents

1. Swirl, Christine, and Weinfield, Henry, "NCLC Resignation Statement;" April.
1974.
2. Fraser, Steve, "Pantherism and the Further Degeneration in the Positivists,"
Dec., 1970.
3. Gallagher, Paul, and Spannaus, Ed, "Kennedy, Rockefeller and the Kerner
Report: Sharing the Poverty," May, 1969.
4. How to Win: A Discussion Paper on the United Front Against Fascism," SDS
Labor Committee, June. 1969.
5. Jacobs. Dan, "On Stalinism in the Labor Committee," May, 1974.
6. Kaufman, A. Robert, "Conditional Resignation from the NCLC," April, 1974.
7. Marcus, Lyn, "How the Workers League Decayed," July, 1970.
8. Marcus, "On Menshevism in the Labor Committees," Nov., 7970.
9. Marcus, Jan, 1971 Draft Point Statement of Tasks and Perspectives of the
NCLC," Dec., 1970.
10. Marcus, "The Challenge of Left Hegemony," May, 1973.
11. Marcus, "Mothers' Fears," Sept., 1973.
12. Marcus, "The Present Internal situation," March 1974.
13. Sober, Dick, "The Prehistory of a Faction," Jan., 1971.
Public Documents
14. Conversations with Wohlforth: Minutes of the Sparticist-ACFI Unity
Negotiating Sessions, New York: Sparticist (Marxist Bulletin No. 3), 1965, Seventh
session, Sept, 23.
15. Marcus, "Centrism as a Social Phenomenon;" Strategy For Socialism, Vo1.
1(originally published 1970).
16. Marcus, Poems (undated).
17. Marcus, Dialectical Economics, New York NCLC, 1972.
18. Marcus, "Beyond Psychoanalysis," Campaigner, Sept.-Nov., 1973.
19. Marcus, "The Case of Ludwig Feuerbach," Part 1, Campaigner, Dec., 1973.
20. Marcus, "Rockefeller's 1984 Plot," Campaigner, Jan.-Feb., 1974.
21. "The Conceptual History of the Labor Committee," Campaigner, Summer,
1974.
22. Newman, Fred, "Manifesto on Method," New York, 1974.
23. Luxemburg, Rosa, "Stagnation and Progress of Marxism," Rose Luxemburg
Speaks, New York, Pathfinder Press.
24. "Statement of Founding Principles of the NCLC," Campaigner, pp. 57-60,
winter, 1971.
25. "Tavistock Grin," The Campaigner, 1974.
26. Trotsky, Leon, "The First Five Years of the Communist International," Vol. 2,
New York, Anchor Foundation, Inc., 1972.
27. Trotsky, "The Third International after Lenin," New York, Pathfinder Press,
1972.

[1] Thus, today we have the grotesque phenomenon of liberal fascism with
liberalism serving as cover for the implementation of slave-labor, public works
projects to rationalize the deepening depression. The liberal intelligentsia-still trying
to chase after some progressive "cause" or other-are reduced to political impotence.
[2] 9, pp. 16-17 (Numbers refer to sources listed at end of article).
[3] The "party name" he adopted during this period of political reaction.
[4] 21, pp. 9-10.
[5] 21, p. 10.
[6] "After the recovery of the U.S. economy from the post-Korea recession. and the
passing of McCarthy's days, the SWP turned into a politically inert sanatorium for
semi-retired sodalists . I spent the period with my energy divided between daytimes of management consulting and (whenever possible) night[s] and weekends of theoretical
political (?) work, especially pertaining to an analysis of the postwar developments of
the U.S. economy. My active connection with the SWP was limited to occasional
meetings with members of the Weiss circle (Marcus was among Murray Weiss'
faction, an assortment of professionals, academics, and other dilettantes) and
instructions to my (former) wife to attend to dues and pledges payments." (7, p. 10.)
[7] [7, p. 8.] He repeats this observation in his recent Conceptual History of the
Labor Committees (appropriately titled, since for Marcus to attempt a real history of
the NCLC would demand a far-too-uncomfortable confrontation with his own past
activities). However, in his 1977 "The Challenge of Left Hegemony," a far different
story emerges:
It is Important to note that (in 1959) I had not yet freed myself from a mistaken
tendency to regard at least some of the SWP leaders as not only my political peers in a
general way, but as "obviously more qualified" than I in certain important aspects of
mass work. Although this deference began to ebb in early 1956, I was not freed of a
certain peer-group respect for some of these leaders until early 1939. What convinced
me on this point was initially the totally incompetent response of the leadership
toward two pathetic factions which emerged in late 1957 and throughout 1959. More
important, the ham-handed and obviously incompetent treatment of my already
validated economic theses, in early 1959, finally convinced me that the leadership was
both morally and theoretically incompetent." (10, p. 17.)
Why does Marcus here create a five-year credibility gap? The answer no doubt lies in
a comparison of the historical circumstances of Marcus' three above-cited
observations on his attitude toward the 1950s SWP leadership. In 1970, the NCLC
was a tiny and little-known left group run by factional strife. In 1974, when the
Conceptual History of the Labor Committees was written, NCLC was well into its
twilight days, having degenerated into a tight religious sect with virtually no access to
the working class.
In May of 1970 (the dating of "The Challenge of Left Hegemony"), by contrast,
Marcus was standing at the height of his political Career-NCLC had just earned
widespread notoriety through its "crushing" physical rout of the Communist Party
(Operation MOP UP), leading to a brief influx of membership and a sustained,
feverish level of field organizing. Having thus secured his long-sought "Left
hegemony," Marcus must have run up against sharp "guilt" feelings in reviewing his
slovenly past political existence in the SWP (to which his own term 'schlemihl
period," is quite applicable). Thus he rewrote his own biography to set his discovery
of the SWP leadership's bankruptcy at a far later date than was actually the case. One
can only marvel, then, at the long years Marcus squandered before initiating the
slightest struggle against that leadership.
[8] At least, according to current, official NCLC historiography. Given Marcus'
selective writing of his background on other counts, it is not clear how much of what
follows reflects his actual theoretical work of the 1958-65 period, and how much is
retroactive reading-in of the course of the U.S. class struggle that has occurred since
then.
[9] [10, p. 18.]
[10] Weiss, a member of the Political Committee, was finally ousted in 1965 and
dropped out of politics, returning full-time to his psychiatric profession.
[11] [7, p. 12.]
[12] [14, p. 7.]
[13] [14, p. 7.]
[14] [6, p. 1.]
[15] Unfortunately, I do not have access to this rare and famous document.
[16] As usual, Fraser's writing exudes an insolent, petit-bourgeois stench. It is no
"political" accident that his activities today consist of a weekly New York study group
with a half dozen fellow dilettantes.
[17] Note how the idea of intervention has been slyly manipulated to come to mean
'liquidation'!-D.J.
[18] Read: who opposes Marcus' ideological output.
[19] [3, pp. 8-9.]
[20] [10, p. 16.]
[21] [16.]
[22] [17, p. 74.]
[23] To NCLC members, this prediction seemed quite natural at the time, in light of
the "mass-strike-wave-not-seen-since-the-1930s" that was sweeping the countryaccording
to numerous hysterical internal documents, including Marcus (12. p.4).
Woefully, NCLC neglected to inform the working class about this "mass strike."
[24] This distrust was only intensified by NCLC's attempt to forcefully "wean" the
RYM members from their ghetto cultural heritage-black nationalism, jazz, etc., which
was all contemptuously dismissed as 'shit" from the start. As the social relationships
the NCLC actually had to offer were hardly less atomized and degraded then those in
the ghetto, the RYM organizers' sledge-hammer polemics could only push the
repressed hostility of the R YM members to the boiling point.
[25] They were only recently acquitted after a protracted trial.
[26] [4, pp. 7-8.]
[27] For an extensive methodological critique of "Beyond Psychoanalysis," see
comrade Newman's Manifesto on Method.
[28] The essential difference between Hegelian and "Marcusian" historical idealism:
For Hegel, Reason rules the world. For Marcus, S /C+V) (the rate of social surplus
for any given society) rules the world.
[29] Notably Marcus' writings have, in recent years, caricatured the assumption of
U.S. imperialist hegemony in the post-war period into a conspiratorial, "superimperialist
theory, with the Rockefeller-led multinationals pulling all the strings
worldwide. This impressionistic theory glibly ignores the shifting antagonisms
between the U.S. and the West European countries-that have lawfully arisen from the
unevenly developing productive relations between the U.S. and its imperialist
"colonists" in the post-war period. The late-1973 oil hoax, e.g., was not designed
merely to "loot the working class, but to re-subjugate (temporarily) Japan and W.
Germany-whose economies are far more dependant on Middle-East oil than is the
United States-to the dictates of the dollar.
[30] Oh, the power of women! Astonishing that Luxemburg was so influenced by
LaRouche! Was she, perhaps, psychic? [Ortiz]
[31] [Sort of like Newman's fascination with the royal lineages and the history of
the British Monarchy, or his sentimentality towards the films of Frank Capra, eh?-
Ortiz]
[32] [I guess Newman took this analysis to heart when he initiated his own purge
during the infamous 1990 "Clubs of Sexism" debacle in which anyone who dared
critique the sudden promotion of Newman's then 25-year-old girlfriend was
sadistically brow-beaten and more vociferous detractors were actually expelled from
the IWP.-Ortiz]
[33] In fact, NCLC sent an open telegram to President Nixon warning that the CIA
was now posing a "threat to the national security" and offering ifs fullest support to
Nixon in meeting the takeover threat!
[34] Weitzman, in West Germany during Marcus' summer visit, had seen through
the fraud of the "deprogramming" of Konstantin George and had raised opposition to
Marcus on several occasions. Marcus had responded by circulating petty slanders
against Weitzman behind her hack, thus stigmatizing her from that point on.
[35] Ironically, the standard NCLC post "brainwashing" method for dealing with
dissidents was perfectly formulated by Marcus four years earlier. "The (Stalinist)
method . is to isolate and publicly degrade dangerous individuals, and once they are
isolated and broken, assimilate them into one's machine as useful party hacks.
Anyone who takes seriously the Sunday-Supplement trash about Soviet
"brainwashing" simply knows nothing about the real internal practice of organizations
which have traditions traceable to the Comintern. Any experienced leader in the
socialist movement knows exactly how "brainwashing in accomplished.)"
[36] As I myself had discovered during the weeks preceding, and following my
"suspension" in July.

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