[Marxism] RE: SWP and the turn to industry

dwalters at marxists.org dwalters at marxists.org
Sat Mar 4 06:40:09 MST 2006

In reply to Fred, I agree mostly with what you say, it's a very interesting, and
sad, description. But on the term 'cult'...I try not to use the term "Barnes
cult" but "SWP cult". That's because I make a difference between a personality
cult and a political one. Jim Jones/the Mormans/ etc are basically personality
cults. Groups  the SWP  are political cults. I don't believe it's 'Barnes
worship' we're talking about, he just runs the operation. The SWP is a cult
because of the way it separates itself from the general populations, atomizes
and isolates its members, a specific, and bizarre world view and other wise
functions like a ...cult. There is no other term to use. But, honestly, if
offends you or some how detracts from this discussion, I have no problem in
dropping it and just referring to the SWP "as the SWP".

To answer Joaquín's question. There are always individuals they recruit. I
remember Bill Henry in New York, born-and-bread Brooklyn Irish. There are
always a 'few', but very few...as Fred describes the situation of couples in
the SWP, who would want to join a group with such a wacky internal life?

After I left the SWP, while I was at the Navy Yard in New York, I remember
talking with other workers there when they asked me about "The Party" as they
referred to it. It was hard to make these Brooklyn boys blink, but I seemed to
have done it (and this was before the SWP went really bonkers) by describing
some of the internal demands of the party. I was still actually justifying them
to these guys since I'd not broken, really, with the SWP politically on many
levels. But they were asking me about my "$40 bucks a week" donation (we all
made then about $7.50/hour or $300. One guy blurted out, "hey, that's more than
my mom gives to the Church!" (actually one of Bill Henry's friends). Out of the
mouths of babes...

The problem with this sort of thing is obvious. Its compounded because we were
not going through some big working class upsurge that would of justified such
dedication. The party was simply non-existent to 99% of the working class and
we were not about to take power. Thus, most (ok, some, the observant ones)
realized we were, standing outside the gate of the Navy Yard in February
selling (trying to) The Militant simply more interesting Jovah's Witnesses.


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