Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

On the American SWP: Total Collapse.

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Louis Proyect writes,

In the latest issue of Against the Current, a nominally independent magazine that reflects the viewpoint of Solidarity, there is a long (11,562 words) article by Alan Wald on two recent memoirs by former SWP leaders.

 It is no secret that the Tendance has a deep and abiding hatred of the American SWP.

That the oldest ‘Trotskyist organisation in the world is now reduced to a cult of less than a hundred members that spends its  time property dealing may, or may not, be a cause for rejoicing.

Certainly I can hear Pablo’s voice saying something.

But even we were surprised to read this:

In the case of Barnes, the simplistic idea that “political line” trumps all became a mechanism for subordination to the leader and his increasingly smaller inner circle. Signs of disagreement were taken as an incitement to splitting the party or at least disrupting urgent tasks. Those anxious to ingratiate themselves with leaders offered off-the-rack refutations of threatening points of view, many of which came directly from the SWP press, pamphlets, or leaders; one was never quite sure if the person defending (or opposing) the “line” with Marxist-Leninist citations had read any primary sources.

On occasion he made heretical comments, possibly even a short-lived call for an all-women’s political party. Peter’s humor oversimplified but was effective in large audiences: “Want to know what social class you’re in? Simple. Take a six-month vacation in resorts in the Carribean and pay with a check. If the check bounces, you’re a member of the working class.”(36) Yet Camejo’s connection to the more strait-laced Barnes Group put at his disposal an organization to which he could recruit and that afforded occasional muscle to get things done.

In conclusion, one should remember that Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale has a happy ending. It is a play far more about self-delusion than manipulation; redemption comes through the acknowledgment of fallibility and complicity. But it’s rough going for Leontes, who fell under a central delusion years earlier that caused him to interpret so many subsequent events incorrectly. Even the Oracle of the Island of Delphos could not convince him that he was wrong. Only with the death of his son and wife does Leontes come to his senses.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 26, 2011 at 11:01 am

Posted in Left, Trotskyism

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