[Marxism] Comment by Stuart Munckton from GreenLeft list on Sheppard book

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Thu Mar 31 18:19:47 MST 2005

Barry Sheppard's book is the first of two volumes. It deals witht he
period up until the peroid that Mark says internal tendencies ceased
to be represented. His second book will look at the degeneration of
the SWP, and he will offer his opinions and analysis's of what went
wrong and why. What he is trying to do is show that there *was* a
degernation* and that the internal methids of operation in the SWP by
the late '70s early 80's were not the same as during the 60s.

So the period talked about by Mark, in regards to the anti-Nazi
demonstration and the alleged attitude/comments of Sheppard are not
covered in his book or his statement that the 60's early 70's were
democratic inside the SWP. 

So what will Sheppard say in his second volume? We will have to wait,
but in regards to his onw role - I was at the launch of Sheppard's
book at the Asia Pacific Internationl Solidarity Conference in Sydney
over the last weekend where Sheppard spoke and can let people know
what he said: He repudiated his role in that period in no uncertain
terms. He said he was wrong. What he did was wrong. I don't know if
Barry made the comments he is alleged to have, but he is not defending
his role in driving out oppositions. In terms of how it was he ended
up playing what he acknoledges was a disgraceful role inside the SWP,
we will have to wait for his second volume for his opinions on that.
(At his workshop he said he realised his own head was not far from the
chopping block and thought he could save himself by turning all all
other oppositions or dissidents or indepedent thinkers and therefore
try and save himself by proving his loyalty. He now thinks this was
shameful, but resulted from a psycological attachment to the party
because of all the years he had put into building it so he couldn't
face breaking with that.) 

So while plenty of people who were there and participated in these
events will no doubt disagree with Sheppard's analysis - and think the
rot was there in the 60s and early seventies, it is still important
not to suggest that Sheppard includes the late 70s  (and his own
actions in that period) in his favourable comments on the internal
life of the SWP in an earlier period.

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