Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Is this the maddest leftist article ever? “The Masses Are The Water: Understanding the Failure of Late-Marcyism.”

with 6 comments

The Legend of Sam Marcy - Caleb & Brent - YouTube

Note “Sam Ballan (1911 – February 1, 1998), known by his pen name Sam Marcy, was an American lawyer, writer, and Marxist-Leninist activist of the post-World War II era. He co-founded the Workers World Party in 1959 and served as its chairperson until his death.”

Marcy grew discontented as a member of the Communist Party, viewing the Third International as increasingly detached from working class interests and instead a mouthpiece for Joseph Stalin, whose oppressive bureaucracy he despised. He joined the Trotskyist movement in the 1940s, building a branch of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in Buffalo.[1] Yet he again became dissatisfied, finding the SWP uncommitted to revolutionary politics and instead oriented toward parliamentary reform.[2] Marcy, Vince Copeland, and other SWP members developed a theory of “global class war“, according to which Marxists had a duty to defend the existence of the USSR and its satellites in spite of their bureaucracy.[3] The theory not only guided the formation of the Workers World Party but has more recently made inroads into academic Marxist debates in the U.S.[4][5][6][7] Over several years Marcy clashed with the SWP leadership on several questions, including their approach to Communist China and North Korea, whether the SWP should endorse Henry A. Wallace,[8] and the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. On the last question, Marcy’s faction supported the Soviet military intervention, arguing that the initial worker uprising had attracted class elements that sought to restore capitalism.[9][10]

In 1959 the “global class war” faction set up a new organization, the Workers World Party, characterized by outspoken defense of all Communist governments in the world. Marcy’s writings included extensive works on socialism, the Cold War era and the rise of the powerful military-industrial complex. He also wrote about the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War, the economic forces behind capitalist downsizing and the impact of high technology.[11] Selections of his works have been translated into many languages, including Persian, Spanish, Turkish, Korean, French and German.[citation needed]

His writings show a strong support for Mao Zedong and the Chinese Cultural Revolution, and he defended the leadership of the People’s Republic of China until the reforms of Deng Xiaoping. Marcy defended both China and the Soviet Union against charges of imperialism despite disagreeing with some policies and practices of the Communist Party leadership of both countries.[12]

The Party for Socialism and Liberation, Workers World Party, Struggle – La Lucha, the Communist Workers League and the New Orleans Workers Group all trace their roots back to the political brilliance of one man. However, his tactics and methods were not perfect and were specifically designed for a period very different from our own. It is urgent in our time for revolutionaries to get “Out of the Movement, To the Masses!”

The December 20th, 2021 issue of Struggle – La Lucha, the publication of one of Workers World Party’s (WWP) many splinter groups contains the following tragic and almost comical headlines: “No support for Ukrainian Rittenhouses!” “Why there is no anti-vaccine movement in Cuba.” On the anniversary of the January 6th Capitol Riot, Richard Becker, founding member of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) repeated the liberal claim that the events constituted an attempted coup during an appearance on PressTV. When challenged by Keaten Mansfield of the Center for Political Innovation, Becker went as far as saying that Mossad and Israel could not have possibly been involved in the day’s events, despite the many Israeli flags displayed among Trump’s crowd and Netanyahu’s close alliance with the Trump White House.


While “Tankie” politics becomes increasingly relevant in the current climate of ideological confusion, Marcyism and its failed movementist strategy is certainly in decline. Brian Becker’s Party for Socialism and Liberation is the largest and most effective piece of Marcyite Cold War wreckage, though many of its younger members do not even know Marcy’s name. Following the Marcyite tradition, PSL stages rallies around the latest trendy liberal causes, hoping fruitlessly to convince crowds that think Trump is a Russian agent to oppose regime change wars.

The reason Stalin ascended into leadership of the Soviet Communist Party was because unlike Trotsky, he had a deep love and spiritual connection with the peoples of the region. Stalin was not a cosmopolitan intellectual of the revolutionary intelligentsia, but a the son of a boot-maker who grew up in a small village. Prior to 1917 Stalin, himself a Georgian, organized factory workers, peasants, and workers of many different ethnic and religious backgrounds into a unified disciplined organization. In his biography of Stalin, British historian Simon Sebag Montifore described his methods: “Stalin was hostile to bumptious intellectuals, but he was less with the less educated worker-revolutionaries, who did not arouse his inferiority complex, he played the teacher — the priest…The workers listened reverently to this young preacher — and it was no coincidence that many of the revolutionaries were seminarists, and the workers often pious ex-peasants… Trotsky, agitating in another city, remembered that many of the workers thought the movement resembled the early Christians and had to be taught that they should be atheists.”

In a time where millions of working class youth feel disempowered and hopeless, the City-Building Tendency must appeal to their inner desire to become heroic. In his pivotal text “The Role of the Individual in History,” Georgi Plekhanov the father of Russian Marxism wrote: “A great man is precisely a beginner because he sees further than others, and desires things more strongly than others… He is a hero. But he is not a hero in the sense that he can stop, or change, the natural course of things, but in the sense that his activities are the conscious and free expression of this inevitable and unconscious course. Herein lies all his significance; herein lies his whole power. But this significance is colossal, and the power is terrible.”

The CC of this Blog leaves it to Cdes to make their own judgement about this bleeding piffle.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 24, 2022 at 4:17 pm

Posted in Animal Liberation

Tagged with , ,

6 Responses

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  1. They seem an ideal vehicle for one, who judging by his rodomontade in favour of Cde Putin versus the Ukrainian fascists, running dogs and semi-house trained pariahs on his RT provided two hourly rant last night, to open talks with. Have these folks in the US heard of Cde Galloway ?

    `David Walsh

    January 24, 2022 at 6:17 pm

    • Ugh! These groups are my nightmare. Tankies to the max and entryists par excellence. They run things in U.S. protest culture far more than they deserve. PSL is particular, I see as a Gen Z/Millenial-friendly simulation of serious communist militance- and that’s the problem: to those who do not know, it may appear legit. A lot of it is performance, puffery and bad principles. Workers’ World is just the old heads- it is in no way better or significantly different.

      American Dream

      January 24, 2022 at 11:04 pm

  2. “Cosmopolitan intellectual who lacked a spiritual connection with the people”.

    I think that’s their way of saying “Jew”.


    January 25, 2022 at 4:20 pm

  3. “While “Tankie” politics becomes increasingly relevant in the current climate of ideological confusion”

    Stalinism definitely seems to be making a return driven by the internet meme culture and the desire for younger people (who had no experience of the Cold War and actual Stalinist regimes) to be edgy. Trotskyism (which was ascendant on the Left in the 1990s) is floundering. Two distinct movements seems to be coalescing in the Anglosphere; Red Brown Stalinism and ID politics which has essentially given up on the working class as agents of change and views racial and sexual minorities as the new vanguard class (and believe in embedding themselves in bourgeois institutions to effect change). Trotskyism/Third Camp politics seems a shadow of its former self.


    January 25, 2022 at 5:19 pm

    • The PSL that I know does work a “Red Brown Stalinism and ID politics which has essentially given up on the working class as agents of change and views racial and sexual minorities as the new vanguard class” but I don’t know if they “believe in embedding themselves in bourgeois institutions to effect change” or not. Maybe a bit of entryism with labour unions? What I am aware of is a kind of megaphone-driven vanguardism that is very performative, as if it were literally still 1969 and having a woman with an afro leading a chant of “Off the pig!” guarantees that you are on the cutting edge of revolution…

      American Dream

      January 25, 2022 at 11:48 pm

  4. I think you should host a comptetition for the maddest leftist article ever, Andrew. We could all send in our favourites and you could have a lot of fun judging them all. Extra points could be awarded for suitably deranged articles which appeared in normally not totally bonkers publications, so that the whole thing was not completely dominated by Sparts, Posadists or the International Leninist Workers Party


    January 25, 2022 at 11:17 pm

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