[Marxism] Re: The Militant and Who Cares?

LaSainte lasainte at earthlink.net
Tue Mar 30 16:27:54 MST 2004

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Lause <MLause at cinci.rr.com>
Sent: Mar 30, 2004 2:56 PM
To: 'Activists and scholars in Marxist tradition' <marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu>
Subject: RE: [Marxism] Re: The Militant and Who Cares?


The question of party old-timers in another matter entirely, but they
were neither that thick on the ground nor were most of them loyalists to
the Barnes management.

Mark L.

In Boston and New York, during the late '60s, the SWP lost many of their active
unionists, rank-and-file party members recruited to the SWP out of the struggles
of the '30s and '40s. I'm assuming the other branches suffered a similar loss. From
what I saw, as the campus orientation became more and more an exclusive
approach for both the YSA and the SWP, the rank-and-file trade unionist party
members no longer were given the assignments, mostly union, they had been
carrying out for years. Instead, they were just told to go out and sell the Militant at
one campus or another. Most did carry out their duties willingly, at least for a while.
But what became even more demoralizing was they found themselves virtually
ignored at branch meetings, Militant Labor Forums, etc., until it came to set-up or
clean-up detail. (The female old-timers often got that assignment.) It was only a
matter of time when they would drop out. Most did by 1969. 

What remained of the trade union old guard SWP members by the early '70s were
essentially national leaders such as Farrell Dobbs and Tom Kerry and a few branch
members, those with leadership histories, such as Tom Leonard (Houston), Larry
Trainer (Boston)and a few others scattered here and there throughout the country.

Therefore, by the time we were in the midst of the IT/LTF struggle in the SWP ('72-
'74) there wasn't much of the old guard left in the party to jump into the fight.

Cherie Pleau   

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