Why the SWP is "finished" as a revolutionary organization

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at bellsouth.net
Sun Nov 24 13:02:23 MST 2002

I wanted to take up the question of whether I think the SWP is "finished" as
a revolutionary organization. Meaning that it can be excluded that it will
serve as the nucleus around which a future mass revolutionary
organization/party might be built. A comrade privately raised the issue with
me because I've said things like it's a dessicated sect and other not
entirely complimentary things.

Yes, I believe the SWP *is* finished in this sense.

But more importantly, I believe every other group on the American Left today
is finished in the same way, including the one that has the dubious
distinction of having me among its members. And I would even say it isn't so
much a question of being "finished" as of being constitutionally incapable
of *starting.*

Any leadership that thinks its own tiny grouplet is the seed from which at
least the beginnings of a genuine workers party will emerge in the next
decade or so is crazy. That is because, although the human material to
create such a seed and nurture into a sapling, at least, clearly exists, as
does the political climate, the soil, this human material is now scattered
over God knows how many parties, leagues, organizations, collectives and so
on, but mostly completely atomized, countless activists and people who could
be reactivated (and some of whom have been reactivated, by the antiwar
movement and other post 9-11 developments).

In other words, it is totally dispersed, and in terms of building a
socialist organization, they are *all* (note the word "all," by which I
mean: "all, every one, without exception") working at cross-purposes with
one another, undermining and undercutting each other, reducing the
attractiveness of the socialist movement and socialist ideas, confusing and
demoralizing people who come around the movement. Collectively, the vector
sum of all their efforts is to MAINTAIN the big majority of American
socialists OUTSIDE all groups, atomized, and REPEL a significant layer of
the youth attracted to the movement.

So what is needed is not this or that house brand of a socialist movement,
what is needed is plain-brown-paper-wrapper brand X socialism, a movement
that will bring together all of these disparate trends or at least so many
that all the others are very minor by comparison.

I think what ALL existing groups should aspire to, and adopt as the central
strategic goal of their activities, is to contribute to the creation of such
a broader formation. And, no, I would not discount any group contributing,
including the SWP.


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