[Marxism] Turn to industry, US SWP tradition and sectarianism
dayneg at aros.net
Mon Jun 21 07:53:47 MDT 2004
responses to David and Mark:
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004 dwalters at marxists.org wrote:
> . . .
> Dayne puts me to shame as an archivist when he's able to pull out 25 year old
> SWP discussion bulletins. I wanted to address CISPES again and the 'turn to
> industry' and at least add some more perspective on it.
. . .
Thanks for your informative comments on the beginnings of CISPES,
David. I didn't join CISPES until later. The 1982-3 SWP maneuver vs.
CISPES was with the RN/National Resistance grouping as a tentative,
That Camejo essay/analysis of the evolution of the SWP from
1978-83 was not a contribution to SWP discussion. Barnes had already
gotten rid of Camejo. Peter originally wrote it for the USFI as a
fraternal member of the International Executive Committee. It became a
pamphlet circulated by the North Star Network. You probably have access
to it somewhere.
On Sun, 20 Jun 2004, Mark Lause wrote:
> A "turn" means where the party's focusing its attention, but it's being
> used to imply that it can reengineer peoples' lives in the most
> fundamental way.
> There was never a turn to the campus in that sense. It became a natural
> place to recruit by the early 1960s. However, at the height of the
> student orientation of the party and the YSA (around 1970-73), less than
> half the members were actually on campuses. The rest worked.
. . .
Yes Mark, the word "turn" refers to where/how a party is newly
focusing its attention and deploying its human resources. i'm commenting
on how the SWP leadership implemented 'turns', not on 'turns' in the
abstract or how i think 'turns' should be implemented.
The turns i witnessed did involve people "reengineering" their
lives. From the individual member's point of view you could graph
reengineering of lives going from moderately to fundamentally, and from
willingly to unwillingly. In some cases - i.e. a couple i knew, both
active SWP members, both with relatively secure union jobs (public
employee, public school teacher), several children, home mortgage - people
were pressured to reengineer their lives as a de facto condition of
continued membership (in this case, they left the SWP).
I'm sure you're well aware that the minority tendency in the 1971
SWP convention process, called FAPO - For a Proletarian Orientation, was
protesting against 'the turn to the campus' going so far as to include
pressure being brought to bear on members in trade unions to leave their
current jobs and find a way to get jobs on campuses - pressure up to and
including expulsion in FAPOs view (i.e. auto worker Tom Cagle,sp? as i
recall). [i'm aware that the nature of expulsions is also debated - i.e.
SWP leadership claimed they didn't expel Internationalist Tendency (which
included former FAPO supporters) in 1974, the SWP said it simply
recognized that the IT had "split."]
I learned something about FAPO because i got to know several FAPO
members when i spent time in their stronghold in northern California. I
was among the 40 or so young people - almost all with strong resumes of
campus anti-war organizing - who were sent there, mainly to the East Bay,
after the 1971 convention to help the SWP national leadership defeat the
FAPO tendency which had nearly gained control of the branch and had
controlled the YSA local. The FAPOs called us "the Lenin Levy" -
comparing us to how Stalin used the 'Levy in honor of comrade Lenin' to
bring thousands of people into the CPSU after Lenin's death to help Stalin
control the party.
I explained firmly and conclusively (i thought) in the first
conversation about it, that i had good reasons for why i did not want to
move to the Bay Area. But i was mercilessly pressured in several long
distance phone calls with a leader of the SWP in the national office (Dave
Frankel) telling me that if i was a serious and 'real revolutionary' i had
to go to Oakland. i reeingineered my life and went...
p.s. i may have been in the same room with you Mark, at Oberlin in 1970 -
in Frank Lovell's class on the trade unions?
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