Barnesism as denouement

Philip Ferguson plf13 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Sun Apr 22 23:24:27 MDT 2001


One of the most interesting things I have read to do with the history of
the American SWP is a document wirtten in 1965 by Richard Fraser and Clara
Kaye about the consolidation of the Dobbs/Kerry regime in the 1950s, the
marginalisation and eventual driving out of Murry Weiss and Myra Tanner
Weiss and the 'tightening up' brought aboout at the end of that process and
codified in the 1965 organisational resolution, a resolution which,
interestingly, Cannon seemed to have little time for (see James P. Cannon,
'Don't Strangle the Party', a small collection of things by Cannon put
together in the early 1980s by George Breitman, a supporter of the 1965
resolution who later became one its victims.)  Also, Myra Tanner Weiss, in
an interview not long before her death a couple of years ago, mentioned
that in the late 50s Cannon told her that the SWP was not the kind of party
he had set out to build.

The Fraser/Kaye document is not only interesting as a historical piece on
the bureaicratisation of the SWP in the 1950s and the airbrushing out of
party history of the Weisses, but also for its prescience about what kind
of organisation the SWP was becoming.

I will try to scan the Fraser/Kaye document, but it is from a 36-year-old
internal SWP bulletin, so I may end up having to type a fair bit of it.
Most likely it will be the end of the week, at least, before I can get it
posted.

Philip Ferguson









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