[Marxism] Paul Le Blanc on the SWP crisis

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Fri Feb 1 07:59:55 MST 2013

During the last election, I circulated a cartoon of an elderly scholar
saying something like "Those who don't study the past are doomed to
repeat it.  And those who do study the past are doomed to watch others
repeat it."  This applies no less to radicals.

As I've pointed out, the tendency of people leaving a group in any
form is to start dating its problems from when they became aware of
them.  This understanding gets locked into place, because looking back
further requires a serious level of self-knowledge and more critical
thinking about oneself than will be comfortable.

It's certainly more than I've ever expected from those who were any
position of responsibility when dishonest, unfair, undemocratic, and
self-destructive decisions were made. Despite some surprises, my low
expectations have rarely been disappointed.

I've always told myself that the problems related to conditions. Tiny
grouplings, I've told myself, are prone to this kind of inward
looking, self-rationalizing defensive conduct,.  A bigger movement
with more at stake would make people more thoughtful, more careful,
more circumspect. This current criss in the SWP reminds us that having
more to lose may wind up leaving people more solicitous for the
well-being of the organization and its image over all other

There's no easy answer in terms of norms or labels we put on norms.
Certainly, if the movement make a deliberate and conscious effort to
create a general culture in which people regard and treat each other
as comrades, the tendency is for them to become mirrors of the
wretched institutional conduct we see around us.

Mark L.

More information about the Marxism mailing list