[Marxism] SDS

Philip Ferguson philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Sat Jan 14 18:21:44 MST 2006

Mark L wrote:
>It always seemed to me that the SWP and the Left saw student radicals
a renewable resource.  Generally, they viewed radicals with any
experience in something like the SDS as simply pains-in-the-neck who
asked questions and argued.  They wanted to bring in the inexperienced
and more malleable, so that what they'd learn would be under the
particular tutelage of the organization.

Yes, I can imagine the kind of questioning and debate that went on in
SDS was not something the SWP leadership would have liked much, even
before Barnes turned it into a totally monolithic cult.

Brian S wrote:
>One final point for Phil. I don't believe that there was summing up  
over the decision not to get involved in SDS. However, there was a  
general agreement that had we joined in, what happened to SDS would  
not only not have helped us, it would have set us back. The  
donnybrook that took place would simply have put us in the mix with  
PL and the Weatherpeople. Lots of pain and no gain.

I can't agree with this assessment.  Surely SDS in the student milieu
was roughly comparable to the Muste organisation and the left of the SP
in the industrial sphere in the 1930s.

I would've thought a healthy revolutionary Marxist organisation would
have wanted to intersect with the best elements of SDS in a similar way.

Admittedly, I wasn't there so all I can have is impressions but it seems
to me that the SWP-YSA attitude to SDS was part of the whole "We Are It"
mentality which was adopted after the SWP was set up.


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