[Marxism] Sectarianism: A Debate

Mark Lause markalause at gmail.com
Wed Feb 27 07:13:09 MST 2013

A sect represents something of a natural evolution of an ideology that
becomes completely self-referencing and obliviously unconcerned about
its place in the real world.

It's not that it's isolated from the masses and a sense of what modest
achievements we can undertake to change things, but it's content in
that isolation.  It measures its political seriousness with an
unwavering sense of who is and is not a member of the lodge.

Not that long ago, I got an email from a contemporary warning me that
my noisy criticisms of the president and the Democratic Party marked
me as what we used to call an armchair radical preoccupied for years
with things like writing books and taking positions that made no sense
in the real world.  My response was largely disgust (tinged with
genuine despair) at having someone I viewed as a Trotskyist taking
such a rancidly opportunitistic position that we avoid discussing the
elections because it showed an insensitivity to why working people
supported Obama.

However, I think it also provided some insight into how anyone can
almost unconsciously cultivate the delusion that they are attuned to
the masses while cocooned in the unchallenging inert little cluster of
4-8 gray-haired and white-haired people that has said good things and
provided a nice comfort zone for decades.   Sects don't just imprison
radicals but are built by them.

Sects survive by making participants content with the illusion that
they're doing something important and meaningful, while not amounting
to anything politically worth the ink in a footnote.

Mark L.

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