[Marxism] US SWP numbers

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 5 09:08:50 MDT 2006

>By contrast, the old left originated in heavy industry and found plenty of
>room to grow in much different circumstances - that of a rapidly expanding
>industrial economy which relied heavily on a constant stream of immigration
>to augment the supply of labour.

The issue is not whether heavy industry is expanding but rather whether 
class consciousness is expanding. The hard truth, which sectarian groups 
have trouble swallowing, is that there has not been a significant interest 
in socialist ideas in the American working-class since the end of WWII. The 
last time there was something approaching a labor radicalization in the USA 
was during the early 70s in places like Lordstown, Ohio, etc. where 
autoworkers shook up the union and confronted the bosses. Marvin is correct 
to point out how the demise of auto, steel, etc. has eroded the social base 
for this kind of movement, but it is questionable whether these workers 
would have ever found a home in sects like the SWP. The simple truth is 
that the self-declared vanguard parties are inhospitable for the average 
worker. For the kind of frenetic activity and super-dedication such groups 
demand, the real candidate is a college student who is used to ideological 
hair-splitting from seminars and forced marches around final exams, etc.



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