[Marxism] The Case of Ed Heisler, Reopened

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Fri Jun 11 12:29:07 MDT 2004

Heisler was one of the more militantly workerist members of
the SWP National Committee, where he'd risen to the rank of
alternate. He always traded on his being a "worker" and I'll
always remember his sharp polemics against me (though not 
the words any more) from that 1981 SWP pre-convention debates
where I gave a political report for a minority tendency led
by "Radical Jack" Lieberman. 

I became convinced (mistakenly, I now realize), that all of
the workerist exaggerations weren't REALLY the line and that
we wouldn't forget all of what we said we'd learned about 
the Black struggle, women, gays and so on. The branch SWP
leaders worked hard to convince me not to vote for Jack's
document, and in the end I didn't, so they could have a
unanimous vote. They worked pretty diligently as a faction
to prevent opposition from having much influence in the
SWP. Indeed, the SWP was completely steeped in factional-
ism. I still have a large notebook with detailed notes on
all of the first classes I took in 1962 and 1963 in those
Chicago summer schools. All were about factional fights,
none about basic Marxism. 

I learned a lot of good stuff in the SWP, but also picked
up a lot of rubbish, which it took quite a while to get
out of my thought-patterns. Still, I've no regrets for
the experience. What good would they be, anyway? 

As the great poet and philosopher Bonnie Raitt explains,
"We can't change the past, but we can leave it behind."
That's why, by the way, though I'm no longer a Trotskyist, 
I've not REJECTED Trotskyism, just left it behind. There 
was good in the SWP, and in Trotsky's writings as well. 

As you can see, there's genuine interest in LT in Cuba.

Walter Lippmann

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