[Marxism] Understanding Left Cults (SWP, SP, Spiked, WRP) - a reading list

Tim Sheppard sheppard444 at gmx.co.uk
Mon Feb 25 04:34:52 MST 2013

Whatever happens to the Socialist Workers Party(UK) in the present crisis over rape allegations, non-party activists will be working with (and against) the SWP for some time to come.
Unfortunately, most outsider commentaries provide little information on how such Leninist parties actually work. The following writings, mostly by disillusioned ex-members, are the exception. They are a good starting point for understanding why so many decent revolutionaries end up in cults that reproduce many of the worst aspects of capitalist society. 
'The SWP crisis: some reflections' http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/05/the-swp-crisis-some-reflections/  - Sovietgoonboy
'Ideological intransigence, democratic centralism and cultism: a case study from the political left' http://www.rickross.com/reference/general/general434.html  - Dennis Tourish (ex-Militant Tendency / Socialist Party)
'Who Are They?' http://www.lrb.co.uk/v32/n13/jenny-turner/who-are-they  - Jenny Turner (on the Battle of Ideas / Spiked / Living Marxism)
‘The Break-up of the WRP – From the Horse’s Mouth’ http://libcom.org/history/break-wrp-horse%E2%80%99s-mouth-simon-pirani  - Simon Pirani
‘Suicide for socialism?’ http://libcom.org/library/suicide-for-socialism-jonestown-brinton  – Maurice Brinton (ex-'WRP' and Solidarity compares the WRP to the Jonestown suicide cult)
'As Soon as this Pub Closes' http://libcom.org/library/soon-pub-closes-john-sullivan  - John Sullivan (ex-'WRP', Solidarity, 'SWP')
On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left  http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=xXcsNRUuHEUC&printsec=frontcover&source=#v=onepage&q&f=false - Dennis Tourish, Tim Wohlforth (ex-WRP)
Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=D1Ayf63SfnwC&printsec=frontcover&source=#v=onepage&q&f=false  http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=D1Ayf63SfnwC&printsec=frontcover&source=#v=onepage&q&f=false - Janja Lalich (ex-US feminist/Marxist-Leninist group, the DWP)
'List of Left Criticism of Left-wing Parties in the United Kingdom' http://eng.anarchopedia.org/list_of_left_criticism_of_left-wing_parties_in_the_United_Kingdom  http://eng.anarchopedia.org/list_of_left_criticism_of_left-wing_parties_in_the_United_Kingdom - Anarchopedia
And here's a couple of relevant psychoanalytic articles:
‘Only the Marlboro Man: A Psychological Study of a Political Agitator’ http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3791298?uid=3737968&uid=2&uid=4&sid=21101623096391 , Martha Grace Duncan, Political Psychology, Vol. 8, No. 2 (1987)
‘Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective’ http://www.danielshawlcsw.com/traumabusecults.pdf  - Daniel Shaw
Here is a link to this list, which you may want to post on your website:
Understanding Left Cults (SWP, SP, Spiked, WRP) - a reading list http://libcom.org/history/understanding-left-cults-swp-sp-spiked-wrp-reading-list

More information about the Marxism mailing list