Phillip Abbott Luce

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Phillip Luce, 1974

Phillip Abbott Luce (October 17, 1935 – December 9, 1998) was an American author, lecturer and political organizer who had earlier taken leadership roles in communist organizations, mostly the pro-Red Chinese Progress Labor Movement (PLM), only to repudiate them by early 1965. He was indicted in 1963 as one of the main leaders and spokesman for an unauthorized trip to communist Cuba that arranged an audience with Fidel Castro and Che Guevara.

Quotes[edit]

  • I discovered that I had deluded myself into believing that this world held the answer to the future and that Communism was basically humanitarian in its approach to politics. No one duped me into joining, and the struggle to see through my folly has been a great personal struggle. You don’t discover some morning that everything you believe in, and perhaps have staked your life on, is a myth. The act of breaking with Communism was the most difficult one of my life.
    • As quoted in “Escape Artist: Recalling a YAF hero—the unlikely, liberating journey of Phillip Abbott Luce”, Shawn Steel, California Political Review, July-August (2000) pp. 23-28
  • Borrowing a chapter from the Nazis, they believe that the more often a lie is repeated, the more people are prone to accept it as truth. Nothing is too scandalous for them, and I am constantly amazed at the fact that at one time I was a close associate of people capable of such deceitful behavior.
    • As quoted in “Escape Artist: Recalling a YAF hero—the unlikely, liberating journey of Phillip Abbott Luce”, Shawn Steel, California Political Review, July-August (2000) pp. 23-28
  • Students today don’t debate whether the state should have any control over their lives, they only debate how much control it should have.
    • As quoted in “For Utopia, Curb State Controls”, Peggy Baker, Ames Daily Tribune (Ames, Iowa), January 23, 1970
  • The state sees violence as an enemy which justifies the increase of state power for fighting purposes. Thus the state can always turn any threat of force into a resource.
    • As quoted in “For Utopia, Curb State Controls”, Peggy Baker, Ames Daily Tribune (Ames, Iowa), January 23, 1970
  • Government cannot be abolished but they can be abandoned and this will take place when you give up your political adolescence and stop trying to establish your will on others. The bureaucracies will be abandoned when people demonstrate they can bet along without familia.
    • As quoted in “For Utopia, Curb State Controls”, Peggy Baker, Ames Daily Tribune (Ames, Iowa), January 23, 1970
  • [The state is] never a contract among peaceful men but always a conquest of one group over another.
    • As quoted in “For Utopia, Curb State Controls”, Peggy Baker, Ames Daily Tribune (Ames, Iowa), January 23, 1970
  • New Leftists are not buying the collectivist doctrine of the established (Communist) organizations. They are quite simply libertarians, rebelling against unreasonable power and authority, whether it comes via established government or totalitarian (leftist) organizations.
    • Quoted in “Not All Protesters Part of Conspiracy,” Jerry R. Wilson, The Oklahoma Journal, August 7, 1972, speech by Phillip Abbott Luce in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The New Left: The Resurgence of Radicalism Among American Students (1966)[edit]

New York, NY, David McKay Company, Inc., 1966

  • The difficult decisions first began in December 1964, when I refused to join a Progress Labor Party group preparing to go ‘underground.’ They ended with the most difficult choice—to leave the movement silently, quietly, as so many other had done before, or to risk the censure of those who had once been my friends and tell of the personal experience, political truths, and illegal activities that forced me to ‘split.’ The friends who were no longer friendly, the attempts at personal slander, the chorus that now sang out my name as the most dangerous enemy of all, the attempts to isolate me—all were expected. But the contemptuous and defamatory quality of the attacks were not, and the only thing one can say is that the Old and New Left have this something in common—they have no scruples when it comes to one who sways from their prescribed faith.
    • p. 3
  • Evan after I had replaced my civil-libertarian posture with the rigors of Marxism-Leninism, Chinese style, Clark’s [Foreman] advice about the necessity of maintaining individual freedoms stuck in my mind and often forced me into open conflict with Progressive Labor. In many ways it was the need for independence, which Clark helped to instill in me, that led to my eventual break with Communism.
    • p. 29
  • Thus civil disobedience seemed necessary, but the ‘disobedience’ was aimed directly against seemingly unjust and unconstitutional acts. This is the best tradition of radicalism in the United States. But the illegal activities of the Communists are not directed at any tests of the Constitution or of the ‘laws’ themselves. In fact, the Communists are opposed to the guarantees of the Constitution, no matter how many crocodile tears they might shed while using it amendments to try to overthrow the government.
    • p. 43
  • I was also not willing to accept the orders of the leaders regarding my personal life or the personal lives of the other members. I had refused to allow the government to tell me how to live, so why should I allow the leadership of Progressive Labor to reorient my life?... Open criticism of the leadership dictums did not sit well with them, and they immediately began to accuse me of ‘trying to create a splinter group.’… The leaders became so paranoid over the issue of their ‘public image’ that they told members to shave their mustaches, wear coats and ties, forget the cowboy boots, be careful whom they are seen with, stay away from people who take dope, date only certain girls, attend classes regularly, and watch their language in public. Strange concerns, indeed, for Communists who at times attempted to pose as libertarians!
    • p. 44
  • The rigors of membership in the Progress Labor Party and its Stalinist tendencies only create a mental brick wall for the members of the sect. The Progress Labor Party and its vacuum-minded Communists should not be marked for government control merely because they are Communists. The illegal actions of PL do,…
    • p. 103

Road to Revolution: Communist Guerilla Warfare in the U.S.A. (1967)[edit]

San Diego, CA, Viewpoint Books, 1967

  • The [Progressive Labor] leaders became so paranoid over the issue of their public ‘image’ that they told members to shave their moustaches, wear coats and ties, forget the cowboy boots, be careful with whom they are seen, stay away from people who take dope, date only certain girls, attend classes regularly, and watch their language in public. Strange concepts, indeed, for Communists who at times attempted to pose as libertines.”
    • pp. 3-4

The Intellectual Student’s Guide to Survival (1968)[edit]

San Diego, CA, Viewpoint Books, 1968

  • If the communist theories and philosophies are so rational and humanitarian, and if, as they contend, man is basically both rational and humanitarian, why have bloody violence and force been necessary to gain their ends?
    • p. 57
  • Marx felt that the job of the proletariat was to be that of the tool. For Marx, the proletariat is ‘the material weapon of philosophy.’ In order to bring the proletariat into line he must first know it, and lean how to manage it. But his contempt for it, his hatred for the ‘petits grands hommes,’ is obvious by his constant referral to ‘the rabble,’ ‘the emigrant scum,’ ‘the rotten emigrant swine,’ ‘the toads.’ Marx asked Engels, “What is this rabble good for if it forgets how to fight?’
    • p. 75
  • Engels spoke of the proletariat as ‘those asses,’ or ‘those stupid workers who believe everything.’ Marx said, ‘The ultimate aim of the movement’ is not to produce small farmers by dividing up the land among them, but on the contrary, to expropriate those who already exist—it was all ‘agricultural property shit.’
    • p. 75
  • Kindled with his touted (and still touted) ‘brother-hood of mankind,’ Marx said that toward Poland the correct line would be to take "from the western part of Poland anything that can be taken, let the Germans occupy their fortresses under the pretext of 'protection,' use the people for cannon fodder and devour their country.’
    • pp. 75-76
  • But where communism is really unique is in its ability to convince reasonably intelligent people that its tyranny is somehow different, and that anyone silly enough to question the suppression of human and political rights in a communist state is some kind of a right-wing lunatic.
    • pp. 78-79

The New Left Today: American Trojan Horse (1971)[edit]

Washington D.C., The Capital Hill Press, 1972

  • The founders of this New Left reasoned that neither the current political status-quo nor the socialist states, as exemplified by the Soviet Union and its slave states, were the solution to the problems they reasoned were facing the American people. But as history teaches, the New Left fell victim to the power politics of the Old Left. As the result, what is still rhetorically referred to as the New Left is, in reality, only a Dorian Grey picture of the original vision of its founders.
    • p. xi
  • What Jerry [Rubin] doesn’t seem to be able to get is the fact that if we all go out and Do It! and smash the current state that we will end up with something quite worse. Even if successful, the anarchists are always the first to go once the revolution is consummated. The vacuum is always filled by power.
    • p. 125
  • My wife [Barbra] and I were walking with a friend, and we walked over to Jerry [Rubin] and his buddy… my wife said to him… ‘Hey, Jerry, I really dug your speech.’… ‘I did like the part about private property being pure s_.’ And Jerry got into it and said: ‘Yea, well property is s_ and after the revolution we will divide everything up. Like there won’t be anything private. My shirt will be your shirt and my car will be your car. And it will be one big commune.’

    …Barbra went on. ‘That’s a fantastic Indian head band you have on Jerry.’
    Retort: ‘Yea. It was given to me by a friend.’
    Barbra: ‘Why don’t you give it to me?’
    Jerry: ‘Huh?’
    Barbra: ‘You said that private property was s_ so why won’t you give me your head band.’
    Well, Rubin looked astonished and blurted out: ‘But it’s my head band.’

    • p. 127

External links[edit]

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