Fwd: Questions concerning the SWP. -Reply

Lisa Rogers eqwq.lrogers at state.ut.us
Thu Feb 15 14:50:49 MST 1996


>>> <MD575151 at aol.com>  2/14/96, 08:47pm >>>
     I have recently visited Seattle pathfinder bookstore.  I walked
in on a discussion on Cuba.  I remember a while back there was a big
fuss about weather the SWP was good or bad.  They seemed nice to me. 
So, before I get involved with anything--What do you think about this
organization, esp. the Young Socialist faction.
Thanks,  --Mike Dean 
***

Of course they are nice.  They are nice to anyone they want to
recruit, educate, sell books to, etc.  They may be very nice people
in many ways.  But...

I have major disagreements with their organizational structures,
rules and ideology.  At least two ex-members are on this list and
have posted accounts of their own lengthy experiences in SWP and the
reasons they left.  

I know the Salt Lake SWP a bit, especially the YS, and now former YS
members.  It reached a peak size of 8 members not long ago, then
dropped by half rather suddenly.  I don't think the members realized
what they were getting into, in terms of what the rules are.  And
there are rules for everything, it seems.

Jay had been friends with Pat, but started acting obnoxious and
jealous when Pat started dating Chris.  Pat finally made a complaint
about sexual harrassment to the SWP, accusing Jay.  {I witnessed some
of the behavior, and I think P had a good point.}  So Jay found some
rule that none of the kids had known about, that members were only to
date other members.  Of course, J had never liked Chris, and Chris
was not a member.  Of course this was just a tactic to take against
Pat, as reprisal for Pat's complaint against Jay.

So who's side did the SWP powers that be take?  Well, I didn't want
to know any more details, and they weren't supposed to tell me,
because I'm not a member.  Suffice it to say that 4 out of 8 people
quit, at or after a 'disciplinary hearing', and none of them were
Jay.  I suspect that SWP preferred Jay because Jay is more dedicated
to the SWP than any of the others in the fracas.  Jay's parents have
money, Jay donated a few hundred dollars to the SWP for a particular
project, etc.  

See, the few that get sucked in deeply, and buy into the concept of
party 'discipline', and believe that coercive hierarchal power within
the party is the best way to be, and so on, are the one's they will
use for decades to come.  SWP members have to be married to other
members so that they will not have divided loyalties, so they will
pick up everything and move to any other state at any time, every few
years, pay lots of dues, and join unions and work at specific plants
and such, all under the direction of the party.

Well, enough of that.  One of the reasons that I know all this stuff
is that I do know some of the local SWP members a bit, I do go to the
Militant Labor Forum sometimes, I do participate in activities which
I consider valuable.  So, they still put up with me.  Some of them
even like me, and we sometimes have stimulating and interesting
conversations.  

But I don't get the same kind of warmth I used to, when they thought
that I might be a serious recruit, and one of my favorite ones just
got sent away, their whole family picked up and moved to another
state, on orders from the party.  I and some of my friends and
professors are fellow travelers or sympathizers, or something, happy
to unite in _action_, but never never to submit our thoughts, lives
and incomes to 'party discipline.'

Lisa



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