From: 2:13pm 3/22/98


I have just read your article in "International Socialist Forum". Thank you very much for the copies sent.

I appreciated your article, and look forward to the results of further work in the project. As regards issues of difference, I think they are largely covered by the issues we have been dealing with in this Email discussion.

A little beef of mine ... I always get shouted down on this one ...

Your opening lines are:

"The task of regenerating revolutionary socialism is both daunting and exhilerating. This tradition has to find a way, not to 'bring socialist consciousness into the working class', but to reconstruct its *own* consciousness"

The quote I take to be a reference to the infamous passages in Lenin's "What is to be Done?" re the problem of knowledge in relation working-class self-emancipation.

It seems to me you have deftly skated over the contentious issue by an ambiguous use of a possessive pronoun (its) which makes the subject of the verb "reconstruct" ambiguous and whether the verb is actually reflexive (its *own*, ie. "the tradition's" own consciousness?) or transitive (ie "the tradition reconstructs the consciousness of the working class", which would of course be even more sectarian and voluntarist than the usual sectarian interpretation)

I would appreciate it if some time you could find a formulation of this problem which is clear, because it troubles me.

By-the-by, Cyril, it seems to me that your views have a strong resonance with those of Raya Dunayevskaya. What is your view of her contribution? NB: We have a couple on thediscussion list who support her position to some degree.