Pablo etc

Philip L Ferguson PLF13 at
Thu Jan 27 21:11:32 MST 2000

Louis writes:

> All the minority leaders were dealing with a similar problem,
>namely Stalinophobia. Bert and the Detroit/Flint comrades discovered that
>James P. Cannon, the long-time leader of the SWP, could not accept their
>tactical support for a UAW candidate in union elections who was seen as
>having "Stalinist" connections. Cannon preferred Reuther's candidate, who
>had been a red-baiter for a number of years.

Richard Fraser made the point, in an Open Letter to US Trotskyists around
1974 which I posed on the list a week or two back, that Cochran (and
Clarke?) saved the SWP from a near-disaster in the UAW/this election.
Fraser pointed out that one of the specialties of the SWP in union politics
was anti-Stalinism and this was quite dangerous as it frequently led them
to align with people who hated the Stalinists for all kinds of reasons and
usually went off and became right-wingers.  In the Letter Fraser quoted
something which Cochran once said, about how sometimes the SWP fought the
Stalinists just a little too well in the unions.

He mentioned that Cochran and co. had to argue extremely hard in the
leadership to get them to withdraw from supporting the Reuther candidate
and go with the CP-backed one.

There and elsewhere Fraser also notes the absurdity of the SWP leadership
position, derived from Cannon's comments after the SWP was founded in 1938,
that they were now THE party in the USA and no further regroupments were
needed.  As a result the SWP largely lost out on the opportunities of the
late 50s/early 60s, and of the opportunity of intersecting with the best
elements of SDS in the mid-60s.

Philip Ferguson

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