Lenin Enrolment

Jose G. Perez jgperez at SPAMfreepcmail.com
Sun Aug 8 20:39:00 MDT 1999

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<DIV>>>Barnes's goal was the same as Stalin's, to make the party
uncomfortable for<BR>people who were critical-minded. He was determined to weed
out potential<BR>oppositionists, which meant anybody who had a reputation for
being some<BR>kind of intellectual. (The same kind of crap was going on in Tony
Cliff's<BR>sect in Australia at the same time. Gary McLennan was viewed
as<BR>inassimilable because he read widely outside the party press.)</DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>>>As part of this turn, the SWP newspaper began to style
itself<BR>self-consciously as written for "workers," just like
Stalin's pamphlet was.<BR>The net result was that the newspaper became hostile
to genuine Marxist<BR>thought, since complexity was seen as "anti-working
class". <<<BR></DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV>    I believe the <EM>effect </EM> of the SWP's turn to
industry (and especially the refusal/inability to draw a critical balance sheet
on it) was this, but I think you're mistaken if you project this as a conscious
intent onto the SWP leadership that voted for the turn. </DIV>
<DIV> </DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2>    <FONT size=3>That was a
simple case of wanting a shortcut, and of the "ultimatistism"
inherited from the Third International and re-enforced by Trotsky in founding
the Fourth. Even if it were true that deep in his heart, Jack Barnes harbored
such thoughts --something that is essentially unknowable--,  the point
wasn't presented publicly, initially, to "proletarianize" the SWP's
existing membership wasn't at <EM>all</EM> expected, since what you get when you
send ex-student radicals to work in factories is . . . ex-student radicals who
work in factories. The point was that the ex-student radicals would recruit the
(initially) thousands and (soon thereafter) tens of thousands of workers who
would be driven into the SWP's arms by the ruling-class assault. The projection
was of major, "classical" class battles in the next few years, not
purifying the party and guarding against petite-bourgeois influences. Later,
under different phraseology, this did become the goal ("proletarian
norms") but at first it was not.</FONT></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT size=3></FONT></FONT> </DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT size=3>    I stress this
point because the methodological errors involved on the part of the SWP's
leadership do not require hidden, ulterior motives to be repeated. It is quite
possible for any group to repeat the same mistake without consciously or
unconsciously wishing to rid itself of most of its membership and all of its
influence. All that is necessary is an analysis (how accurate really is
irrelevant) and a certain schematism in drawing conclusions
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT size=3></FONT></FONT> </DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT size=3>    I'll be
incommunicado for a week or so, but I hope my mailbox won't overflow and I'll
get any replies when I get back.</FONT></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT size=3></FONT></FONT> </DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT size=3>Best regards,</FONT></FONT></DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT size=3></FONT></FONT> </DIV>
<DIV><FONT color=#000000 size=2><FONT

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