marxism-digest V1 #1288

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at
Fri Sep 3 20:40:07 MDT 1999

Louis writes:
>I personally situate this problem in the Comintern of the 1920s which
>developed a schematic version of the Bolshevik Party and led to the
>elevation of individuals like Healy, Posadas, Barnes, et al into "avatars"
>of Trotsky and Lenin. The Maoist movement has also suffered from such
>sect-cult tendencies.

Louis, I don't at all disagree with your analysis here.  I thought you knew
I was not a fan of what you call 'Zinovievism'.  My comments on the
Barnesites were simply in answer to someone's question.

Moreover, there is a difference between groups which suffer Zinovievism in
general (which is very widespread on the left) and groups/leaders who have
completely lost the plot.  I can think of plenty of groups which suffer
Zinovievism, but whose ideas still have to be engaged with and who have
members that still write useful stuff.

Even in their most decadent phase, the Healyites had people like Tom Kemp
and Geof Pilling who were writing some excellent books.  The Barnesites are
far beyond that; like Healy, Barnes has lost all connection with reality,
but his cult doesn't even have a few people like Kemp and Pilling in


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