Barnesites, SWP, Bonapartism

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Thu Sep 2 17:35:09 MDT 1999

>One of the problems with some ex-SWPers on this list, like Jose and
>Jonathan F, is that they are actually unwilling to face up to the fact that
>the Barnesite operation is a cult - well, a cult and a business venture -
>and that Barnes is no different to Healy, just a lot less successful.   So
>instead of seeing the irrational nature of the current Barnesite
>preoccupation with Bonapartism, they start from the unwarranted supposition
>that it is a serious political position and that the Barnesites are just
>being 'ultraleft'.
>Philip Ferguson

Phil, you are really hung up on the SWP in a manner that is
incomprehensible to people like myself who had much more at stake than you
ever did. Furthermore, unless you can begin to put together an objective
explanation of WHY the SWP went off the deep end, your litanies will be of
little use. If we are interested in preventing sect-cult formations, we
must find out the common characteristic that describes such an evolution.
Did Jack Barnes wake up one morning and decide to wreck the organization
because he was feeling mischievous?

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.

What is particularly puzzling to me is that you have not even begun to
analyze the bizarre evolution of the Furedi sect-cult which exhibited all
of the pathologies of various "catastrophist" Trotskyist groups in the
1980s, but simply adopted the same kind of fanatical singlemindedness to a
defense of fox-hunting, nuclear power, sitting on the beach without proper
sun-screen, unprotected sex, red meat, unfiltered cigarettes, sports cars,
professional boxing and sticking electrodes in poor defenseless spider

Unless you can begin to develop a serious critique of the RCP, it makes one
wonder if you believe that you have a double standard for judging the
follies of misguided Trotskyist formations.

Louis Proyect

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