left and right swings

James Devine JDevine at lmumail.lmu.edu
Mon Jun 26 14:47:43 MDT 1995


for some reason this didn't get posted to the list, so I'll try again.


Scott Marshall writes: >>some time ago there was a post about
someone who had been a functuionary of the SWP who later turned
up as a Bircher. I was interested that anyone thought this odd.
Lenin and Marx both described the process well. The 'middle'
stratas, including petty bourgois radicals are most influenced by
the class that is or seems to be in asendency at any particular
moment. I think that goes a long way in explaining the
vascillating and often hysterical ups and downs of some on the
left. The setbacks to socialism was a mighty blow to those
without a Marxist, independent, working class view.<<

There's some truth to this story, but I've seen another
dimension. Folks involved in small left groups (or even ones that
were pretty large at the time, like the CP or the SWP) get
involved in the mindset that _all other groups_ are traitors to
the revolution, etc. Then comes the internal faction fight,
betrayal by the group's leaders, and/or setbacks (heck these
workers aren't listening to what I'm saying even though I'm
stating _their_ viewpoint so very clearly!) So people get
discouraged and decide that their own group and their comrades
are mucked up, too.  Since all the other groups are pigs, the
next step is to reject the left as a whole.  And there are these
friendly rightists who smile at the  ex-leftist so much (and even
give him or her money sometimes) because he or she can say "I've
been on the left and I _know_ they're a bunch of poop-heads."
Besides, these Birchers have a combatitive attitude similar to
the ex-leftist...

I've seen or heard of this happening even to folks with "a
Marxist, independent, working class view."

for socialism from below,

Jim Devine   jdevine at lmumail.lmu.edu
"A society is rich when material goods, including capital,
are cheap, and human beings dear."  -- R.H. Tawney.




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