First Published: Proletarian Revolution, No. 16, September 1979
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Alive Magazine, which originated as a religious-Maoist-CP revisionist coalition in the sixties, bills itself on its mast head as doing “anti-imperialist cultural work.” But in fact it is mainly a little sect of a political group fronting for China and doing work very similar to the League, the social-fascist ”CCL(ML).” They compete with the latter for recognition from China and are much more explicit about their plans for collaboration with the Canadian bourgeoisie, something which finds much favour among certain factions of the Chinese bourgeoisie (i.e. the League’s “franchise” is not guaranteed for all time).
Recently this sand-trap in the desert of bourgeois culture went the League one better in its contempt for the working class, by adding a new twist to the League’s theory of implanting petty bourgeois in the factories. “Implantation” is supposed to “proletarianize” them, but the real aim is to make them fake workers and better infiltrators for opportunist and social-fascist aims.
As background, Alive has been carrying on a long and fatuous debate on the use of profanity in their weekly. We will not touch on the finer points of this debate between petty-bourgeois contemplating their navels, (or the other parts of their bodies.) Instead we will restrict ourselves to certain opinions on the value of profanity in “proletarianizing” cadres, as put forward by a couple of the Alive gurus in their “Some Lesson From Our Experience” column. Such as: “...newer comrades should be permitted – no encouraged – to express themselves with profanity. If a comrade comes from a class or a strata where there has been a sheltered up-bringing, profanity can be a device to integrate the individual with the proletariat, the unsheltered class.” and “I agree with the comment about newer comrades use of profanity. For myself, as a new member, it is positive expression of self-condemnation when dealing with those bourgeois concepts that to tend to as hang on in the face of milder self-criticism. It means using a form that was never acceptable in my family as I was growing up, too. That was a sheltered existence!” (Alive Magazine, no. 146, p. 7).
It is difficult to know whether disgust or incredulous laughter is the most appropriate reaction to this idea that the “unsheltered class” needs the the “sheltered” sons and daughters of capitalists, the most vicious class the world has ever seen, going amongst it to learn how to swear! And what an extraordinarily high level of culture this so-called “anti-imperialist culture” magazine reveals!
Yet beyond this foolishness there lurks something more sinister. Just, as the League is social-fascist, Alive has definite social-fascist tendencies. Their preoccupation with swearing is a misplaced petty bourgeois fascination with the “tough,” the “macho.”
In the past there have been complaints about the language used in Bolshevik Union publications. The word often referred to is not a swear word, but is nevertheless violently objected to by those whose main concern is remaining “sheltered” from the class struggle and the exposure of opportunism down to its disgusting essence. The word is “scum.” But we ask: what other word is their, for such scum as this?