SWP leadership squalor

John M Cox coxj at email.unc.edu
Tue Nov 26 09:03:18 MST 2002

I appreciate Fred's comments on his later years in the party and eventual
expulsion, one of many expulsions in the last few years on the most
spurious of grounds. These expulsions, along with a few other things, have
convinced me that the party leadership has lost all decency, not to
mention any resemblance to a real revolutionary leadership, in the last 10
years or so. That Barnes has seen fit to give the boot to long-time
friends like Doug Jenness (who played his own, not-very-honorable role in
earlier purges), along with many comrades who made great sacrifices,
displays a shocking contempt for the membership. Also, I witnessed an
episode in which Barnes personally intervened in order to suppress and dismiss
charges of sexual assault. I hate to waste more time with this -- I had
made a New Years' resolution to spend no more than 5 minutes weekly
thinking about or discussin this party, which is still more time than it
merits -- but having been in the leadership of the party more recently
than other SWP escapees on this listserv, I witnessed a few things that
demonstrate an ever-deepening political corruption and degeneration,
beyond what anyone could have seen in the 1980s or earlier.

There's been a little talk of financial improprieties; there is no solid
evidence of Ceasescu-like corruption, but I saw a few things that were
quite unusual: the fact that there were never any sort of financial
reports to the PC (I was on the PC in 1992, and on the NC from 91-95, so
my experience with these people is relatively recent); the long-time
financial director is always reelected to the NC, although he has never
uttered a political word, from what I can tell, and is simply a bland,
apolitical bean-counter; Barnes mentioned, once or twice, something about
the party's stock holdings, but this is certainly not common knowledge;
Pathfinder's commercial operation has sales of over $300,000 per month, so
one would think that the profit from this should be pretty good - why the
endless fund drives (they just had drives of $100,000 and $70,000 in the
last few months for Pathfinder and the Militant); the party leadership
maintains a little hideaway in up-state New York, for which, like
everything else, the finances are a mystery (this place used to be for a
"leadership training school," but it hasn't served that function in over
15 years, and few people other than Barnes, Waters, and Clark have seen
the place during that time). I met a guy from the British SWP once who
told me that he knew the salaries of all the full-timers in his party;
needless to say, there is no such transparency in Barnes's party. The fact
that noone even knows how Barnes spends his time is also a little funny --
other than the 15-25 hours a week when he deigns to appear in the
Pathfinder Bldg (the one that was just sold for $20 million), noone knows
his whereabouts (and he generally shows up about 4 hours late for
scheduled PC meetings - but of course noone complains. This is another
example of the cult-of-personality, and of the scandalous working habits
and disdain for the membership of the party chairman, that I've described
in earlier posts).

Again, my apologies if this post is not as illuminating as some of the
messages from Louis, Jose, and others, which have provided greater
analysis, historical background, etc.; I just wanted to get a couple more
things off my chest.

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