marxism-digest V2 #623 Re: Crisis

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Feb 28 08:50:03 MST 1996

Louis: This is fascinating. The British SWP and the American SWP both
adopted a "turn" that was not in sync with the objective conditions of
the class-struggle. The British SWP placed its emphasis on the way it
functioned publicly, to act bigger than it really was. Meanwhile, the
American SWP deployed all of its members into basic industry as part of
its "turn" in the late 1970s in anticipation of a pre-revolutionary

Doesn't this go with the territory? "Vanguardist" groups operate within a
eleventh-hour mentality and burn people out repeatedly. One of the things
that impressed me about the ANC and South African Communist Party members I
met with when I was in Lusaka was the cross-generational aspect. There
were people in their teens and the elderly, and everything in-between.
Nobody I spoke with banked on an end to apartheid in the short term. Most
seemed reconciled to a long-term persistent struggle.

Isn't this the kind of attitude we need? Those party members on the list
who tend to see things in apocalyptic terms should take a deep breath and
really evaluate the objective conditions. Much of the overblown rhetoric
that comes across our netwaves would make you think that the revolution
is around the corner. What we need to do is walk before we run.

On 28 Feb 1996 rjharrison at wrote:

>      The turn" pushed by the SWP Central Committee and adopted
> throughout the IS Tendency tries to take an historic short-cut: the
> rapid transformation of small socialist groups outside the working
> class into much larger agitational organizations in conditions where
> this is not possible. In revolutionary socialist politics, such
> short-cuts can lead to disaster.
>      The IS must drop its "Leninist party-buiding" pretensions. The
> claim in the 'Where We Stand' that 'The International Socialists are
> beginning to build such a party' should be replaced with 'The
> International Socialists are not such a party, but seek to contribute
> to the building of one...."

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