[Marxism] Seymour/Ayers

John Obrien causecollector at msn.com
Thu Dec 4 00:08:00 MST 2008

I believe you are mistaken on this point.  The SWP only a couple of times had people meet with the NLF (PRG) and North Vietnam representatives.  Once Fred Halstead was on a trip that went to Saigon as a presidential candidate and another time another couple of SWP people were at a meeting in Canada with a Vietnamese rep (who was barred from entering the U. S.)
I knew of many of these ultra left flag wavers - and some met far more often with the Vietnamese.  The Vietnam CP leadership was open to meeting with anyone who was opposed to the U. S. governments war of brutality being waged against them.
I had been in SDS before joining the YSA in 1967 and I rejoined SDS after being expelled on my birthday in January 1969 from the YSA for being Gay (and refusing to stay in the closet)  and I was with SDS when they met with the Vietnamese and know of other groups of ultra lefts who did too.  
I kept working on building the larger peace protests when I was no longer in the YSA/SWP and rejoined the YSA in early 1971, after their anti-Gay exclusion policy had changed.  I was far more active than most people on this list in those Vietnam protests.  I served on staff and on the national boards and committees of SMC And NPAC and before then in the Fifth Avenue Peace Parade Committee in NYC and before that I worked in the national office of the Student Peace Union as a very young person and worked with other peace groups in other cities and nations.
I am NOT Taking away from the importance of the large peace protests (they were essential to the final outcome!)
but they were not the ONLY thing or tactic of that movement.  The GI Antiwar Movement was not only the SWP but many of those ultra lefts!  And the Antiwar GI Movement was key to the U. S. military defeat with the loss of morale and discipline.  If you have not seen it - I recomend the recent documentary: Sir No Sir that is on that part of the Vietnam Antiwar Movement.
My point is - the SWP WAS Sectarian and it started long before what is now the Jack Barnes followers group. It was arrognat and dismissive of many good intentioned activists, that were not active in SMC or in the YSA.  I joined the YSA in spite of the Jack Barnes type arrogance, because many then in the YSA were the most committed and active against that war - which I respecte and wanted to work with.  But I did NOT see then the narrowness of the SWP and was a devoted follower in those days.  But when I left the second time in 1973 (again on my birthday!) it was my choosing that time and voluntary and I was not expelled but was politically aware to know why the then SWP/YSA would NEVER be the vanguard party - since they were arrogant and dismmissive of others who they deemed not s smart as themselves.  They were anti-working class in their attitudes in the guise of being so oriented to that class.
This is why they have shrunk in size and not grown - and is true of the mnay other sectarian groups who recruit people and then throw them out or push them away when they have differences or raise questions!!  Marvelous is it not that this is what the U. S. orgnized left has tragically mostly become on the two coasts of this nation.  Some of the smaller cities and towns away from the coasts people are more friendly and open to differeneces - but it is not true of the secatrian groups centers - where they each operate as a feudal kingdom protecting their walls and not working together to break down the Capitalist Rule - in a serious way (IMHO)!
Sadly most of the current small left vanguard grouplets that I view and know of - are even worse today in their isolated dogmatic approach.  They reach few working people (as myself) and do not relate to common average people
but instead act like some religious sect that HAS ALL THE ANSWERS AND ONE MUST FOLLOW THIER LEADER(S)!
Recent attempts at unifying different left groups in the 1990's and into the more recent time have not succeeeded.
I believe in part due to government undercover agents that cause deliberately dissension - and the capitalist managers have learned since the early days of the 20th Century how to cause dissension among the Left ranks as a far better way to curtail and immobilize the Left.
There were tens of thousands of people around 1969 who were anti-capitalist in this nation and were activists. I was there - and so I know this.  Mark Lause is wrong when he states there were not.  I was there and aware and not dreaming - as some left sectarians today really are in believing the masses are following them and waiting to hear their every word!!!  Anotherwords the workers should all fille in behind their leader and slogans - and they will lead the revolution.  If it was just that easy folks!!!!  And they then go back to their nice cozy homes after the march and really do not want to risk for the most part more than marching down a street in a nice peaceful protest and wanting to believe - they did all they could and gave personal witness against the latest government atrocity. They have been more influenced by the pacifists, then true revolutionary socialists of the past, they claim to admire and continue their legacies of..  
There are today many anti-capitalists - but most are not activists - and this is due to how the little left vanguard grouplets operate to control groups rather than invite broader participation including sharing power/control, that they so desperately are so insecure and fearful of doing!
These are my views - if you do not agree - no problem.  I do respect you Louis for the good things you do with providing this list and allowing people like me to learn from.  I do read and learn history and current developments from some of the contributors to this list - for which I am grateful.  I do not have ALL the answers - but I do know that the growing difficulties that the U. S. Empire is having with the world interlocking economy based on bad credit and nothing real holding up the increasing worthless paper - is something the Left should get more and better organized around to deal with.  
Presently we are NOT orgnized in a large coalition group.  I believe people need to put their petty personalities and differences on what political party did what in Sri Lanka in the 1960's and start to offer something REAL to the average workers in many U. S. citiies and towns who WILL be looking for an alternative to the deepening financial crisis and rising unemployent and attacks on working people in this nation (and around the world)
I ask the comrades from other nations to pardon my focus on the United States - but while I favor international solidarity - I think the U. S. left should also work in working class communities and build a Left in the U. S. to defeat the Empire and not jsut be cheerleaders of other peoples struggles, but do some REAL Struggling themselves - and thus help those in other nations not have to deal with the military and economic attacks the Empie I live in will wage and has waged on many lands and peoples on this list.
John O'Brien
> Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 19:03:30 -0500> From: lnp3 at panix.com> Subject: Re: [Marxism] Seymour/Ayers> To: causecollector at msn.com> > John O'Brien wrote:> >> > It was geat symbolism to see people in motion challenging the > > Pentagon and seeing those Vietnamese people's flag symbol.> >> > Just to make something clear. The NLF and the North Vietnamese had no > connections whatsoever to the ultraleft flag wavers. They saw their > main allies in the oh so boring mass demonstrations for immediate withdrawal. > > > ________________________________________________> YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.> Send list submissions to: Marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu> Set your options at: http://lists.econ.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/causecollector%40msn.com

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