Barnesites and March 15

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Sun Mar 16 23:56:25 MST 2003

Jose writes:

> One aspect that will be of interest to many on this list: it means probably
> some followers of the Militant (perhaps not so much current SWP members, but
> former members in their periphery) are much more likely to become involved
> in antiwar organizing. Those of the older generation will undoubtedly look
> back to and seek to apply the lessons of the movement against the Vietnam
> War. To the degree this spreads and becomes generalized in those circles, it
> favors a re-examination of a lot of the policies and positions the SWP has
> taken since then.

Perhaps the trickle-down effect takes a little while, but in NZ we
certainly haven't seen any evidence of this.  In fact, they are more
distant from the antiwar coalitions than ever.

Late last year, certainly in Christchurch, the Barnesites had two people
attending organising meetings for an antiwar demo.  They even approached
'revolution' to suggest a joint anti-war meeting on campus, which we
agreed to.  It was kind of weird, them and us organising a meeting
together and they certainly maintained an unbelievable sullenness
towards us at the meeting itself.

Since then, however, they have totally disappeared from all antiwar
organising here in Christchurch, despite the fact that there have been
two rounds of demos this year - january 18 and another on Saturday just gone.

For the Saturday march they took no part in any of the organising, but
showed up with a literature table and display boards at the assembly
point and then reassembled the display and stall at the end.

They never even made use of the open mike at the end of the march.

The problem they face in all this is that they are so far behind the
state of play now that going into antiwar coalitions in the US or NZ, or
anywhere else, is likely to expose their members to all kinds of
influences that Barnes won't have control over.  Members of theirs who
might have their eyes opened are likely either to attempt to change the
outfit, in which case they will be biffed out on their ear, or just walk
out and go independent or join some other left group, like ISO or WWP in
the US, that is at the heart of antiwar organising.

Philip Ferguson

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