katsummerland at yahoo.com.au
Sun Nov 24 21:48:19 MST 2002
--- Ambrose Andrews wrote: >
Gary MacLennan wrote:
> > 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.
> I can't be sure, but I don't think this last point
> is too plausible.
> The Turn was pushed by the SWP and its faction in
> the FI.
> It was reported on and discussed as such. I don't
> imagine this would
> have been concealed as at the time The International
> was a big part of
> the party's identity. Certainly no secret in the
> written record.
I think that is right. Certainly the comrade that
Gary refers to came from the alternate faction in the
FI but I think she was on the NC and so would have
been in the loop. I only returned to Australia in
August that year but in NZ this was very clear.
As was the move to communtity organising which someone
else wrote about. Anytime they sneezed in NY we
caught colds on the other side of the world.
> I'm getting a little wary of this catch-all term
> I think it's imprecisely defined and is in danger of
> being lazily
> identified as the root of all degeneration. At worst
> just an all-purpose
> shorthand descriptor of a big part of the spectrum
> of uncomfortable
> organisational regimes.
The view that the emerging Trotskyists group carried
organisational practices learnt in the CPs from which
they split and which lead to their over emphasis on
centralism is something that I came to from reading
memoirs of various members of Stalinist parties where
I was struck by the similar organisational forms and
practices. Jessica Mitford's A Fine Old Conflict
springs to mind.
I didn't have a name for it such as Zinovievism or
Marxism Leninism but I can see the relevance. What is
disturbing is that this practice seemed to be applied
regardless of the objective circumstances. And we
were all probably implicated at some time or other in
"protecting the party from alien class forces".
I used to think perhaps it was also a maturity thing
given that the parties I was in were lead by people
around my age, many of whom were recruited as students
and not necessarily from working class backgrounds.
Talking about loyal opposition. This was exactly how
I sought to play it when it became obvious to me that
I had some serious differences with the SWP
leadership. In my control commission interrogation I
was always conscious of the fact that others would
hear the tapes and was explicit about not breaking
party discipline etc. I remember saying to Doug
Lorimer that I had been reading Lenin and Cannon on
these matters to ensure that I behaved appropriately.
Doug's response was - Oh so you think you are Lenin.
How pathetic this seems now. I remember coming out of
one of these sessions thinking -This is Stalinism!
The party loyalty thing had another run. After I was
expelled along with the four NC members we attempted
to develop a group together with others who had left.
Doug Jenness visited from the States. I remember
talking to him about the loyalty issue. When is
loyalty too much loyalty sort of thing. He lost me
when he said you must always remain loyal to the
Well I guess he's had his own revelations about where
that gets you.
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