A Marxist IQ on Elections and Revolutionary Struggle by Norman Markowitz





U.S. elections traditionally take place in the first week of November.  For that reason, I have dedicated  this post election  Marxist IQ to the question of elections and how it fits into Marxist thought as it has evolved .


1. The struggle for universal suffrage, the right to vote, was led throughout Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries  by

  1. Political parties which called themselves liberal

  2. Anarchist organizations

  3. Marxist Socialist parties which called themselves Social Democratic  or Labor

  4. Political parties which called themselves conservative


 2. From the Communist Manifesto to the present, Marxist movements and parties have defined the struggle for “democracy” as

  1. The struggle for taxation with representation

  2. The struggle for political rights that would enable the working class to obtain economic and social rights

  3. The struggle to create “free market economies”

  4. The struggle to abolish government


   3.As workers began to achieve the right to vote in elections in many European countries Karl Marx warned that

  1. Workers must support the existing parties in order to protect themselves

  2. Workers should not participate in the existing political system because they will be coopted

  3. Workers must  make sure that they register and vote

  4. Workers must establish labor based socialist parties so as not to have to choose every few years what party of the ruling capitalist class would govern them for the next few years.


4.Presidential Elections in U.S. history have played a role in accelerating  far reaching changes, some of a revolutionary nature.  Which of the following elections did not usher in major changes in U.S. politics and society in the  interests of labor and the people

  1. The election of Franklin Roosevelt in 1932

  2. The election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860

  3. The election of Bill Clinton in 1992

  4. The election of Lyndon Johnson in 1964


5      Even by modern capitalist definitions of democracy, which concern free and fair elections, the U.S. ranks low among major industrialized countries because

  1. There is no check on the use of money by individuals and parties in elections

  2. The turnout among eligible voters for a variety of reasons is the lowest in the developed world, in non-presidential elections usually below 50%

  3. Campaigns are usually waged for many months  on the basis of “negative advertising” principles, personal attacks, appeals to traditional ethnic and gender biases,  exaggerated and/or invented domestic and  international scandals and crises

  4. All of the above


Answers to Last month’s Marxist IQ






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  • It may be controversial to say Mr. Paul Robeson-who Mary McCleod Bethune called "The Tallest Tree in the Forest", was a "Communist" lawyer, along with William L. Patterson.
    Robeson was personal and close friends of world renowned contemporary Communists Benjamin Jefferson Davis and Henry Winston.
    Once in the 1980s, a postal worker in East St. Louis, IL told the present writer that Robeson had befriended him as a boy(Robeson an adult), and corresponded in letters deeply cherished by the worker. Also, this worker told of Gus Hall (white and long-time General Secretary of the Communist Party USA)and Paul Robeson in the 1950s, desegregating a popular dime store in downtown East Saint Louis.
    In addition, at least, anecdotic evidence says so-for the murderous repression of the communists, we know many reasons one would not be an open communist. Moreover, Robeson not only refused to deny being a communist-for principle sake-but Robeson vociferously defended and championed the communists and socialists everywhere-with clear, candid explanations of why he held the convictions to champion them.
    Look them up in Robeson's classic, Here I Stand.

    Posted by E. E. W. Clay, 11/30/2015 2:49pm (5 years ago)

  • Hannah More (not Moore),Bishop Porteus, Ramsay, Middleton and others were part of this early abolitionist movement from/of England.

    Posted by E. E. W. Clay, 11/17/2015 5:41pm (5 years ago)

  • 1. c
    2. b
    3. d
    4. c
    5. d

    In question 4, the letter b, may be most interesting for it established the impetuses for the other two revolutionary and progressive election periods of 1932 and 1964-the CPUSA playing a major and largely unrecognized role in both these later election periods.
    It is widely known, but not widely enough, the positive role Marx himself played in Europe on the issue of the American Civil War revolution's resolution-the heroic role of British labor in that connection-with the whole history of the anti-slavery movement there with Quakers and international human and civil rights activists like Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, James Edward Oglethorpe, Granville Sharp, Hannah Moore and others.
    Communist historian Gerald Horne has documented the international movement to end slavery and/in his book, the Counter Revolution of 1776, shown how the United States government sought to slow and stop the sweeping movement to end slavery WHILE it established its independence from Great Britain.
    So now, we have as a result of the revolutions of international proportions, of 1860, 1932, and 1964, those for universal suffrage to institute social and economic rights largely, as labor historian Eric Foner has written as "unfinished business"-with the failure of Black Reconstruction, the gutting of the New Deal and the Civil Rights revolutions. This is because not only has the African American element not achieved equal social and economic rights, but suffers the resultant genocidal effects, as pointed out by Communist lawyers and activists Paul Leroy Robeson and William Patterson-inspired by early activities at the United Nations by Communist W. E. B. Du Bois.

    Posted by E. E. W. Clay, 11/16/2015 10:37am (5 years ago)

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