[Marxism] Re: Barry Sheppard's political memoir of the USSWP, 1960-88

Tony Lawless lifesunquietdream at msn.com
Thu Mar 31 01:40:00 MST 2005


Louis wrote:

"I am not sure whether it makes sense to apply a "materialist" analysis to a
group with less than 2000 members. This, after all, is not something like a
trade union bureaucracy resting on massive numbers of workers or a
parliamentary formation like the pre-WWI social democracy."

My own opinion is that a group like the SWP can be analyzed in the terms of
a bureaucracy. This is because the major gauge for the bureaucratization is 
not
the absolute number of people bur rather the ratio of full-time staffers to 
the
total number of members in the group. Other things being equal, it seems 
clear
that being paid by a political group alters one's relationship to that 
group's evolving
ideology in a conservative and potentially even opportunistic direction.

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the number of full-timers in the 
US
SWP was very high in comparison with other groups of its size or of smaller 
size from
at least themid-70s on. (Hence the high dues fees and finanical drives!)


Tony Smith

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