Barnesite Dog and Pony Show

David Altman altman_d at
Sun Feb 17 06:08:25 MST 2002

Thanks to all who responded to my post on the latest Barnesite "Dog and Pony 
Show."  Of course I was wrong in reporting that the Barnesites' latest turn 
is toward Workers' COMMUNITIES.  It is actually toward Workers' DISTRICTS.  
Which just about says it all, doesn't it?  When's the last time you heard a 
"worker" talk about living in a "district?"  Don't workers, and everybody 
else for that matter, live in "communities," or "neighborhoods?"

Yes, this isn't the first time the SWP has turned toward districts or 
communities or whatever.  The last time was in the mid 1970s.  The 
difference between this "turn" and that one was that then the SWP actually 
was interested in talking to and recruiting real people to the organization. 
The SWP's membership here in Milwaukee almost doubled from 1975 to 1978.  
This latest exercise is more of a Potemkin Village gimmick to buff up the 
Barnesites' fading "proletarian" credentials and impress - who?  Nobody 
gives a shit what Barnes & Co. do these days.

Martin Schraeder's experience talking to SWP members in Detroit is typical.  
A few years ago I dropped by the Chicago Pathfinder Bookstore.  A young 
woman, obviously a new recruit, came up to me and asked if I had read the 
Militant?  I replied that yes, I has been a member of the SWP for 14 years 
in the 1970s and early '80s.  On hearing this, she seemed flabbergasted and 
at a loss for words.  Since apparently she couldn't use her usual scripted 
routine on me, she didn't say another word.  I paid for a copy of "The 
Militant" and left.

David Altman

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