Barnes cult

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Sun Feb 17 14:53:03 MST 2002

Juan wrote:

>Nevertheless, Barnes' continuance in his post and the party's inability
>to effectively evaluate and critique his tenure deserves some
>explanation.  If not by cultish devotion, then how?  I suggest that it
>has to do with the constant movement of people within the party.

I agree with much of your post, Juan, but I think perhaps you underestimate
the degree to which Barnes is in total charge.  People don't, for instance,
just constantly move.  They *are moved*.  The members are chess pieces on a
board, where Barnes is really the only player.  He just moves them around,
and no-one says boo.  He has a few trusted lieutenants, Waters and Clark,
but the rest of the lieutenants come and go - people like Craig Gannon, who
are the big new thing and then just vanish.

I was interested in the report on the Detroit forum, and that the SWP
membership there seems to be down to single digits.  And the post that said
a 'vast' number of members left at the start of the third turn coz they
didn't want to change jobs.

Given that many of these people are in the 50s and have spent the last 30
years or more being shunted around all over the country from job to job by
someone who has never seen the inside of a factory in his life, probably
scarcely even spoken to a worker in his entire life and who has spent the
last 37 or 38 years sitting on his arse in New York City, issuing orders
and purging anyone who disagreed, it is understandable that people are
reluctant to leave Boeing for a job in garment.

>I never experienced or saw anything that
>smacked of a cultish regard for Jack.

But this does very much raise the cult issue.  I agree with Louis that this
can only be seen in the light of the fake' Leninism', in reality
Zinovievism, which pervades the Trotskyist left.  it is this Zinovievism
which leads to cults.  But Juan, that does not make the Barnesites any less
of a cult.  In the Healyites, they didn't formally worship Healy in the
manner of say Kim Il Jung in North Korea.  But the Healyites were still a
cult.  One man lay down the law and no-one baulked it for a couple of
decades.  However, even the Healyites eventually had enough and threw Healy
out.  So what are to make of the Barnesites, who can't even show the kind
of mettle that the Healyites eventually showed.  I would think it suggests
that the Barnesite organisation is *unhealthier* than the British Healyite

Moreover, the stuff that John Cox and others have pointed to - the upstate
retreat that only Barnes, Clark and Waters have access to, the jetting
aorund the world and staying in hotels, the possession of the party credit
card, the season box-seat at the opera for Barnes, his hanging out in a
number of expensive Manhattan eateries where the maitre d's know him on a
first-name basis, etc, all spell out cult.  One only has to encounter the
average Barnesite member who has been in the outfit for any length of time
to get an odour of cult that is unmistakable - the members are the biggest
zombies on the left, even their eyes are dead, there is no life in them,
and they speak by script (and even the script is unbelievably banal and
hesitating).  You'd get more sense, and more life, from the average Child
of God or that poor Native Anerican guy who gfot lobotomised in 'One Flew
Over the Cuckoos Nest'.

Moreover, the fact that most people just leave - and don't even attempt to
organise an opposition, because they know it would be totally hopeless -
indicates cult, cult, cult.

This is one *extremely unhealthy* outfit.

While Barnes continues to suck(er) hundreds and hundreds of thousands of
dollars a year out of the membership and party supporters, I guess he will
try to keep the dog and pony show on the road.  he's got his pension plan
to organise at the expense of the long-suffering membership remnant.
However, eventually, he might just get sick of the whole thing and have
salted away enough in a Caymans Islands account to kiss them all off.  And,
if something like that happens, the membership and supporters only really
have themselves to blame.  It's not like you need to be a rocket scientist
to cotton on that the outfit is more rotten than last's years bananas.

Philip Ferguson

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