Jose and the Living Dead

Jonathan Flanders jon_flanders at
Mon Sep 6 22:39:07 MDT 1999


  I doubt you would remember me. I was a branch organizer in West Philly in
the 70's, but never aspired for more than that.

  I ended up in the Albany branch which was closed in 1987. At the time my
wife and I had just bought a house(horrors) and had a four year old child.
So I stayed on in the Capital District as an at-large member. That ended in
1991, when after the Gulf war, it was decided that due to the accelerated
crisis brought on by that war, all trade union fraction meetings would be
mandatory. I was, and still am, in a rr machinists local(currently its VP).

  I just couldn't see the need for or felt able to afford such a schedule.
It was tough enough to make the annual conferences. So I resigned. Since
then I have worked on the the 1994 election campaign in NY, and
occasionally run into a SWP member in rail when they come through the
Selkirk yard.

  I am in general agreement with your assessment of the developments in the
former SU and Eastern Europe. Now if a working class uprising in these
countries had produced a leadership like the Cubans, we could talk about
"imperialism losing the cold war." Thats the way I   look at it anyway.

 I like your concept of a "reality distortion field." It has certainly
hovered over the SWP in the last decade or two. The question I have,
though, is such a field perhaps necessary for a dedicated group of
socialists to survive in the United States? I don't claim to have an

  You mentioned the SWP's organization of supporters. That has struck me as
a bit strange as well. In fact, I penned a suggestion advocating a somewhat
looser form of membership, a year or two after I quit. I am sure if anyone
read it in NY, they got a good chuckle out of it.

  But really, are our only alternatives the weekly meeting, forum,
fraction, paper sale, ec, etc etc that the life of a  SWPer takes on? Are
socialist groups only for single youths? Is this kind of brutal meeting
schedule truly proletarian? I don't know too many workers who between job,
children and life in general could manage it.

  I can't shed much light on the individuals you mention. It's been a while
since I had a "where are they now" talk with a current member.

Its late,

more later perhaps,

Jon Flanders

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