[Marxism] XXX XXXX on the crisis in RESPECT

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Nov 22 17:19:54 MST 2007

Einde O'Callaghan wrote:
> Obviously I share a political tradition with the British SWP and was a 
> member - almost two decades ago - but on the exact details of the 
> dispkutes I'm in no better position to comment than you are.

I am not interested in the "dispute". I am trying to deal with a broader 
question, namely the complaints about being manipulated, controlled, 
etc. I myself experienced the same kinds of complaints in the American 
SWP for my entire tenure. People in the mass movement *hated* us, except 
those who were in our orbit. In other words, the kind of people that the 
British SWP just lined up for their RESPECT. No matter how you or 
Richard slice it, there is something really *fucked* about "Leninists" 
being totally unreachable by those who are not in their party. When I 
was in Texas, La Raza Unida Party was constantly embroiled over SWP 
"interventions". If La Raza Unida was really your party, why would you 
be making decisions not on the basis of discussions *within* the Chicano 
party but at SWP headquarters.

It is of course different when you are in a "united front" type 
coalition like the antiwar movement or the abortions right movement. You 
go there and speak in the name of the SWP. As I pointed out, the 
British's SWP downfall was in treating RESPECT as a "united front". If 
RESPECT was about bringing democracy to Britain, who the hell would want 
to put up with a presence like the SWP that was obviously not going to 
pay any attention to the arguments of people outside its ranks.

> On the other hand you dismissed the testimony of Richard S. as hearsay, 
> whereas I understand that he actually witnessed some of the goings-on he 
> has documented - this would be first-hand evidence rather than hearsay.

What I see with my own eyes is direct evidence. What other people say is 
hearsay. In case you hadn't noticed, I don't go around repeating George 
Galloway's atrocity stories either. I am just not interested in that 
sort of thing.

> I find it quite easy to work with people who aren't "in our crew" - 
> indeed that's what I (and we) have been doing for years now here in 
> Germany, with some modest success. I don't think your abstract advice 
> would be of any particular value for my work.

Hey, I already told you that the Cliffites were definitely having 
"modest success". More power to you. That is better than no success at 
all. If you ever figure out that there are higher aspirations for 
revolutionaries, get in touch. I can recommend some useful articles, 
starting with Lenin.

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