[Marxism] Turn to industry, US SWP tradition and sectarianism

DAVID MURRAY dmurray at studentmail.newcastle.edu.au
Mon Jun 21 20:36:11 MDT 2004

Dayne wrote:
David, you depreciate the u.s. SWP way too much.  i know you've just made
a few quick remarks but IMO you've created a cartoon-ish image of the SWP.
The many errors in your historical sketch indicate to me that you're
passing on second-hand, third-hand 'stories.'
Dayne, I don't find much of my material erroneous. The SWP clearly did lose a lot of its working
class base during the 1950s and 1960s. It didn't happen overnight but it did happen.
And from my understanding of the turn to industry debate, yes it is second hand, as I'm not
a primary source. I was born in 1981 when the SWP was collapsing, and I was born in the hunter 
valley in Australia, so I can't have been a primary sourceon the SWP in the USA.
 My version of events were largely 
from reading between the lines of various accounts, particularly the DSPs (John Percy's history
which I brought in my brief orbit of that organisation as well as the accounts of a number
of other people including some Newcastle railway workers who came across Aus SWP members
on a turn to industry project), 
SWPs and a number 
of people on the marxism list (Louis Proyect).
For example, the u.s. SWP fought *against* the 'guerilla
romanticism' which developed in some parts of the Fourth International
(united secretariat) around a decade *before* the u.s. SWP 'turn to
It is as usual dishonest to say such a thing as although the SWP did for a time
fight against the guerilla warfare doctrine. It made the acceptance the revolutionary role of
guerilla warfare as part of the reunification document of the USFI. From reunification to
the late 1960s, the only people in the USFI who fought this was the Revolutionary Socialist League
led by Ted Grant and Peter Taffe, forerunners of the CWI and CMI. The SWP still even in
the period you describe accepted Cuba as trotskyist and were still strong believers in guerilla warfare particularly in Latin America. From what I understand they opposed the urban guerillaism/
terrorism which sprung up in Italy, Germany and Britain.
David Murray

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