Guarnot at SPAMaol.com Guarnot at SPAMaol.com
Mon Apr 23 09:14:46 MDT 2001

My thanks to Philip Ferguson and Mark Lause for refreshing my memory about the For A
Proletarian Orientation tendency, aka the Proleterian Orientation Tendency.  This is a
sign of old age--somehow it didn't register as something from the early 70s, because
that seemed so long ago.  (Now that my memory has been adequately jogged, I even
remembered the discussion piece "Against a Proletarian Orientation" by Sudie and
Geb--how's *that* for worthless US SWP trivia?).  Also, I honestly don't think I ever
heard it referred to as the Gregorich-Passen tendency, but maybe I just wasn't paying
close attention.

Many of us cut our teeth on the SWP's intolerance for internal dissent in those years.
 The supporters of this grouping were marginalized and then demonized.  When support
for their positions among some older, trusted members was revealed, it was treated
almost as a betrayal--or, conversely, a confirmation of "suspicions" that one or
another member was not with the program, so to speak.

I was brand new to the SWP in those days, still a high school student; the 1971
convention was my first. The right to dissent was given the highest value in the
SWP--as long as you didn't actually try to exercise it.

I still remember with extreme discomfort the discussions that were held around the
Middle East and the Langston/Rothschild proposals in 1973--in the Upper West Side
branch, at the very least, the pre-convention discussion on this issue took the form
of a pep rally in which the "dissidents" were marginalized and even ridiculed.

I left the SWP in 1978, so I missed out on the purges. (Well, we did have the purge of
the Internationalist Tendency, or the "Internationalist Tendency Party," as we learned
to call it when the SWP leadership announced that this grouping, much to its own
surprise, had decided to split from the SWP).  I find myself unable to judge those who
later left who may have been complicit, or more, in these processes--in part because I
was no longer a member, but also because so many in the SWP were so thoroughly
inculcated with such perverse notions of what party "loyalty" meant.

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