Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Socialist Workers Party (US) “anti-scientific thought police try to erase the existence of women” by recognising Transgender rights.

with 5 comments

May be an image of text that says "I didn't die for this. ILITANT"

SWP (US) World’s Oldest Trotskyist Party Goes Confusionist.

The US left is now having its own ‘Spiked’ Moment.

Don’t say ‘mother’! Speech code is blow to fight for women’s rights

Liberal social engineers are striking blows to women’s rights as they push laws and regulations that eliminate the word “mother.” This is the latest front in their drive to deny women’s oppression under capitalist rule and to hide the long struggle for women’s equality that has made gains and strengthened the working class.


Manchester University in the U.K. announced March 6 new guidelines that replace the words “mother” and “father” with the “gender-neutral” terms “parent” or “guardian.” And Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust has new guidelines that replace the term “breastfeeding” with “chestfeeding.”

All of this is bad for the working class.

A friend of mine who went for prenatal care was referred to by a medical professional as a “pregnant person,” because a transgender “man” can have a baby. At a public forum in Louisville, Kentucky, on a woman’s right to abortion one of the invited speakers lectured participants that we should say “a person’s right to abortion” for the same reason.

Some good news: female human beings give birth to 385,000 babies in the world each day. That’s how the human race continues to exist. If a few of the mothers don’t identify as women, that’s their prerogative and they shouldn’t face discrimination, but it doesn’t change reality.

Campaigning broadly among working people, Socialist Workers Party candidates find a welcome response to our program, which starts from the capacities of working people to join together to change our conditions and to advance our self-confidence and class consciousness— the opposite of identity politics. A good reason to join the SWP campaigns!

Brendan could not have said it more clearly.

Now it obvious that the Tendance, which comes from the ‘Paboite tradition loathes the US SWP from the depth of our being, but even so, we are shocked.

This was the founder of their Party, James P. Cannon.

They asked, “What have you against him?”

I said, “He wears a corduroy suit up and down Greenwich Village, with a trick mustache and long hair. There is something wrong with this guy.”

I wasn’t making a joke, either. I said, people of this type are not going to be suitable for approaching the ordinary American worker. They are going to mark our organization as something freakish, abnormal, exotic; something that has nothing to do with the normal life of the American worker. I was dead right in general, and in this mentioned case in particular. Our corduroy-suit lad, after making all kinds of trouble in the organization, eventually became an Oehlerite.

The Dog Days of the Left Opposition. 1994.

Update: Background to the Present Evolution of the SWP:

Balance Sheet on the Socialist Workers Party (U.S.A.)

Adopted by the Fourth Internationalist Tendency National Conference, September 2, 1990.

Our platform briefly described the programmatic revisionism of the Barnes leadership on five crucial questions: the application of the theory of permanent revolution; political revolution in the deformed and degenerated workers’ states; the recognition of the interdependence of the three sectors of the world revolution; the application of the transitional method and the united front to the class struggle in this country; and, “defense of workers’ democracy as a necessary basis for the functioning of the working class movement in general, and of the Leninist party in particular.”

The death agony of the Socialist Workers Party. Louis Project. 2017.

In the recent past, there have been such shocking developments with this sect-cult of probably around a hundred members with an average age of 55 or so that I have decided to file this report. I don’t think there is much point in trying to connect its paroxysms with the tasks facing the left today except maybe to indicate that “Leninism” can produce some remarkable pathologies.

How an organisation becomes a cult

Barry Sheppard’s The Socialist Workers Party 1960-88 (Volume 2: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-88) reviewed by Patrick Scott.

To briefly summarise Volume 1, dealing with the 1960s and early 1970s. Amongst many things Sheppard takes us through the Cuban revolution, the black civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the growth of the women’s and lesbian and gay movements. The US SWP certainly did not get everything right in this period. But it was definitely a revolutionary organisation that actively intervened in a broadly positive way into the class struggle and the major political and social movements that arose though struggle. At the time the party was also the largest revolutionary organisation on the US left with well over a thousand members. How therefore can we square this with the burnt out shell of a sect that the US SWP and its satellite organisations (sometimes referred to as the Pathfinder Tendency) have become today?

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2021 at 8:23 pm

5 Responses

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  1. I would still regard myself as an admirer of James P. Cannon and would defend his efforts to make the Trotskyist left accessible and acceptable to ordinary American workers, and not just the domain of intellectuals and bohemians: I think that was the point of the “corduroy-suit lad” story. However, I would accept that times have changed and these days, such an attitude might well be considered hostile to gays, trans people and others who don’t “fit in”.

    Jim Denham

    April 12, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    • As an actual Pabloite (including having met Michalis N. Raptis) who has read the exchanges in the 53-54 splits ( I have the ‘Education for Socialists set) …. much as I dislike Cannon, he had a lot of really good points, such as the ability to help build the labour movement and put his personal efforts into this.

      The failure to relate to the European left and his crap about ‘Pabloism’ is not excused.

      But this is not just a sign of the present day US SWP as I flag up, it’s part of a wider confusionniste culture.

      Andrew Coates

      April 12, 2021 at 10:47 pm

  2. I have never admired any kind of Trotskyism, but it’s a relief to see that in one tiny corner of the US left there are a few people who still understand basic materialism.

    As the article says:

    “It’s false to deny that human beings belong to the class of mammals, and are therefore divided into two sexes: males, and females who have a uterus and mammary glands. But that’s what is being done in the name of fighting discrimination against people who don’t identify with their sex.”

    I have no doubt that on the wider political issues the US SWP is all over the place. But for not capitulating to the current cult belief that ‘gender identity’ replaces reproductive anatomy in defining men and women, the US SWP deserves a small pat on the back. When biology-denialism becomes regarded as the authentic ‘left-wing’ position, you know the cause is lost…


    April 13, 2021 at 7:43 pm

  3. Calling today’s American SWP “Trotskyist” is like saying that the late Ian Paisley was a Catholic, or labeling Tony Benn as a Stalinist. It is useful to know that this neo-Stalinist cult is transphobic.


    April 13, 2021 at 9:57 pm

  4. I am thrilled to see the looters in disarray, especially after communist anarchist infiltrators put the American Libertarian party in disarray following our stellar performance of 2016. It goes to show that for every initiation of force, there is unequal but apposite retaliation of one kind or another. May looters go the way of the Gingham Dog and Calico Cat!


    April 15, 2021 at 12:33 am

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