Fire Ants (to Richard Fidler)

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Wed Nov 20 22:00:41 MST 2002

Richard wrote:
> 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.

But this is exactly the point that Lou is making.  No-one is suggesting
that this is a uniquely US SWP phenomena.  If it was no-one outside of
ex-members of that group would be interested in it and it would have
little broader political relevance.  It is *precisely* because this is
such a *general phenomena* that it is important and that people are
trying to get to the root of it.

The only reason the US SWP comes into it, and prominently so, is because
most regulars on this list who are ex-something are ex-US SWP or
ex-members of FI sections linked (in reality, mindlessly subordinate) to
 it.  So naturally we have more direct experience of it than of any of
the other groups you mention and when talking about the *general problem
the examples we are most likely to bring up are ones from our own experience.

I don't think you need to be so defensive about the US SWP or dismiss
Lou's substantial critique by suggesting he and you are talking about
different SWPs.  Let's be open to Marx's idea of 'ruthless criticism of
everything existing', including our own old gods, and see how it goes.


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