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Michael Laski (born circa 1942) was the founder of the Communist Party USA (Marxist-Leninist), a splinter group of the Communist Party USA. Laski had taken the side of China during the famous Sino-Soviet split of the early 1960s, calling for a return to ruralism and direct agitation of capitalist countries and organizations. In order to raise funds for his group (which peaked at around 50 members), Laski notoriously spent a day gambling the organization's treasury on the roulette wheel in Las Vegas.
Laski is perhaps most famous for being the subject of an essay by Joan Didion, entitled "Comrade Laski, C.P.U.S.A. (M.-L.)", which was later compiled into her 1968 anthology Slouching Towards Bethlehem. As summarized by The Observer in 2015, she described Laski as a man "whose love of an ordered world made his political faction not just small but averse to the chaos necessary for actual social change", exemplifying the narcissism of small differences.
The world Michael Laski had constructed for himself was one of labyrinthine intricacy and immaculate clarity, a world made meaningful not only by high purpose but by external and internal threats, intrigues and apparatus, an immutably ordered world in which things mattered. - Joan Didion, Slouching Towards Bethlehem.