[Marxism] US SWP numbers

Philip Ferguson philip.ferguson at canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Jul 3 22:10:35 MDT 2006

Fred F wrote:
>I submitted the article because it was Man Bites Dog, the SWP recruits.
My conservative estimate of the size of the group is less than 200, and
my real estimate is well under 150.  The significant thing is that it
may be starting to go up.
>The SWP has a significant force of former members, who wanted out of
having to abide by 4,397,000 Leninist norms but were still loyal to the
organization, its leader, and the orientation toward industry.  I also
thought it significant because it is an article of faith among anti-SWP
people who have turned against the organization (such as myself,
although I always knew the article of faith was not accurate) that the
SWP recruits NO workers from its "turn."  Never true, and becoming less

I'm not aware of one single person who thinks the Barnesites recruit
"NO" workers from the turn.  

Of course, they recruit here and there out of industry, although judging
from the reports in the 'Militant' they are as likely to recruit people
from workplaces they have no members as from those workplaces where they
do (and are probably seen as kind of oddball).

But they lose more than they recruit.

This also doesn't preclude having a few months where they pick up more
than they lose or having one Oberlin which slightly bucks the trend.

I assume they are a bit larger than Fred does.  He says realistically
150, whereas I assume they would still have at least 200 and maybe
200-250.  But that's a long way from the 1500 they had when Barnes took
the helm.  And the general trend remains firmly downward.

When the Healyites finally dumped Healy, the survivors soon split among
themselves.  So even if Barnes were to die tomorrow or there was to be a
successful revolt, it is unlikely that anything significant would emerge
from it.

At the same time, there's no reason for the Barnesites not to cling on
for quite some time to come.  As people have pointed out, the SLP has
lasted a century without having any real function to perform.  The
Barnesite operation is a machine and as long as there is some energy the
machine will keep going because the machine must.  Its function is
simply to function.


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