Raya Dunayevskaya on the Lovestoneites

The Marxists Internet Archive has made available a piece by Raya Dunayevskaya on Jay Lovestone and the Lovestoneites. This piece, “The Evolution of a Social Type,” was Dunayevskaya’s inaugural column in the first issue of Correspondence, the newspaper of Correspondence Committees, the organization launched by C.L.R. James, Dunayevskaya, and Grace Lee after the Johnson-Forest Tendency’s 1950 departure from the Socialist Workers Party. Dunayevskaya contributed at least two other pieces to this issue, the important, “The Beria Purge,” and “German Workers Change Face of Europe.”

The lasting appeal of Dunayevskaya’s discussion of Lovestone is not the mention of his shaping of the U.S. labor movement’s integration with the U.S. state’s intelligence and foreign policy interests—the most commonly discussed aspect of Lovestone’s career—but rather the social and class nature of him and his lieutenants Irving Brown (a fascinating figure in his own right) and Bertram Wolfe. The passage about the Pennsylvania organizer is a unique detail from Dunayevskaya’s own extensive experience in the radical movement.

This sentence sums up what I’m trying to get at here: “It doesn’t matter that the C.P. produced them [Lovestone and Reuther*] first; the age of state-capitalism produced them all—the plan and the planners.”

Also of interest is the brief mention of Lovestone’s version of the theory of “American exceptionalism,” the right-wing variant of which is prominently in circulation today.

 

*It is not widely acknowledged that Walter Reuther was briefly a C.P. member. In was in the interest of many people both in and out of the party to keep this fact as quiet as possible. For more on this topic, see Martin Glaberman’s (a Johnson-Forest Tendency member who sided with James in the 1955 split) review of Nelson Lichtenstein’s biography of Reuther in the November 1996 issue of Monthly Review.

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