copycatism was Re: More on "Zinovievism" and the Left

Gary MacLennan g.maclennan at
Sun Nov 24 15:42:25 MST 2002

Jose wrote:

>In February of 1978, the SWP made the monomaniacal "turn to
>industry," which, I stress, was not merely a question of colonizing plants
>or something like that, but of making the turn the "framework" of all the
>party's work going forward because, or so we thought, the center of American
>politics was shifting to the industrial proletariat.

Yes I recall that in 1978 a friend in the SWP (DSP) here in Australia who
worked as a university librarian told me she had been instructed to get a
job in industry. The Australian party copied the turn in the USA. The
"leaders" in Oz neglected of course to inform the membership that they were
copying the US turn.

What this turn did of course was to purge the party of those elements who
had jobs in universities etc. Places by the way where real radical work
could still be done in a period of prolonged down turn. The purge
strengthened the hand of the party bureaucrats - the full time
revolutionaries, who of course never, not ever, went into industry
themselves. The turn to industry got rid of the alternative leadership. If
they resisted the turn they could be stigmatised as "petty bourgeois" - The
Marxist equivalent of the McCarthyites labelling someone a 'communist'.

I meant to comment btw on the post on Camejo's speech at a Peace rally in
the Vietnam war era.  At that very moment when Camejo had a triumph Jack
Barnes would have viewed him as a political threat - an enemy even . Camejo
would not have realised that then and possibly not even now.  But that is
how the professional revolutionary leaders think.

Gramsci points out the Church hierarchy used the peasantry as a lever
against the church intellectuals. Similarly under Zinovievism, the party
leaders use workerism to discipline party intellectuals.

In a manner similar to the turn to industry in 1981 here in Oz Mick
Armstrong launched an attack on women's caucus within IS (ISO). Like the
sheep in Animal Farm we all voted that four legs were good but two legs
better. The women's caucus was abolished. Good old Mick had of course
neglected to inform us the members that he was following the initiative of
the Great Sectarian (Tony Cliff).

So there you had it - Zinoviesm in practice. All carried out under the
banner of democratic centralism.  The periphery copied the centre and that
without an International enforcing the centre's commands.



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