Fire Ants (to Richard Fidler)

Richard Fidler rfidler at cyberus.ca
Wed Nov 20 18:04:14 MST 2002


Re: Fire Ants (to Richard Fidler)

Phil Ferguson:

>> Secondly, and more importantly, perhaps you would like to give us your
reading of why the US SWP degenerated into a cult around Barnes. <<

Phil, I have a lot of thoughts on that one, as do so many others who have
observed what happened, from near and (like me) from afar, but that's a
whole 'nother discussion that I don't want to get into at this point.
Suffice it to say that I do _not_ think the SWP's method of electing their
National Committee (or electing convention delegates from branches) had
anything to do with it!

I do think, however, that it might be more fruitful to look at the question
you raise from the standpoint of _all_ the Trotskyist groups, not just the
SWP. Healy, Moreno, Lambert, Pablo, Posadas, Mandel, Grant, Cliff, Barnes,
etc., etc. Why did nearly every group degenerate into a cult? And not just
the Trotskyists. A lot of far-left groups. Clearly, the ubiquity of the
phenomenon suggests that it is something inherent in small "revolutionary"
grouplets that attempt to maintain an existence on their own over decades.
It is partly political, partly psychological, partly other things.

This is not to deny the existence of some peculiar (and, for most,
unexpected) aspects of the SWP degeneration. But let's save it for some
subsequent round....

Richard


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