[Marxism] SWP madness

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Fri May 10 17:17:49 MDT 2013

No, I am not talking about the British group but the Americans who are 
far nuttier and far more peripheral. I generally don't pay any attention 
to them, but in this instance the nuttiness is so transcendental that it 
demands commentary. In an article in the latest Militant newspaper, 
something I used to sell avidly and that Malcolm X hailed, there's a 
warning that the government is up to no good by seducing workers into 
buying houses. It points to the following:

According to recent articles on the WND.com website and in the 
Investor’s Business Daily, the Justice Department has:

— Threatened banks with lawsuits if they don’t push loans in “minority 
communities” and demanded lenders open branches in working-class 
neighborhoods of cities hard-hit by foreclosures like Detroit and St. Louis.

— Forced big mortgage lenders like Wells Fargo and Bank of America to 
provide 30-year loans to what banks refer to as “high-risk” borrowers 
under threat of prosecution.

— Issued orders mandating lenders advertise in “minority media” and 
offer loans to people on public assistance.

— Resurrected a Clinton-era regulation that warns lenders they must be 
more flexible with minority home buyers with weak credit to make up for 
“past discrimination.”

To start with, it is of some interest that they cite wnd.com. This, for 
those who don't follow the American ultraright, is World News Daily. On 
their home page, you can find a reader's poll that asks: "What do you 
think of U.S. government inviting Muslim cleric who disparaged dead Navy 
SEALs at their own funeral?" The website was founded by Joseph Farah, a 
rightwing nut who was deeply involved in the campaign to prove that 
Obama was not born in Hawaii. Apparently he also believes that soybeans 
cause homosexuality, although no amount of tofu over the past 11 years 
of marriage have diminished my desire for my wife.

Now 9 years ago, when the SWP was still clinging to sanity, it featured 
an article on "redlining", the refusal of banks to grant loans to 
African-American and Latino workers, that stated:

"In the 1970s numerous cases of redlining—where banks would not grant 
mortgages to renovate or build new apartments, especially in Black or 
Puerto Rican neighborhoods—were challenged and some lending terms were 
improved. While many of the most blatant practices were ended, banks and 
insurance companies continue to use discriminatory methods."

As is so often the case, this nutty cult reverses positions without 
bothering to provide readers with an explanation.

They do invoke Engels, as they have in the past:

"In his booklet The Housing Question, written in 1872-73, communist 
leader Frederick Engels described how the bosses use home ownership to 
tie workers to the capitalist system, entangling us in debt that 
conservatizes us and makes us less mobile."

Unless of course you are the leader of the SWP who lives in a snazzy 
West Village loft:

If bow-tied, cigar-mouthed Republicans can have nice seven-digit, 
six-room co-ops, don’t a few old Manhattan communists deserve 
multi-million-dollar real estate, too?

A two-bedroom loft at 380 West 12th Street, a 109-year-old building on a 
cobblestone block by the Hudson River, was sold by American socialist 
leaders Jack Barnes and Mary-Alice Waters. Their buyers, Sony BMG Music 
Entertainment vice president Ole Obermann and his fiancée, Stephanie 
Jakubiak, paid $1,872,500.

“I don’t want to hurt the sellers’ feelings at all, but they definitely 
had a funky style in terms of how they did the apartment,” said Mr. 
Obermann. That means there are sliding stained-glass doors, plus a wall 
of bookshelves. (Ms. Waters is the president of publishing house 
Pathfinder Press, which publishes Marx and Trotsky, and Mr. Barnes, too.)

“Personally, our tastes are different and we’ll probably do something 
different,” the buyer said. “It will be open, airy, simple, whereas when 
it was done 15 years ago there was a lot of light-colored wood 
shelving.” He’s adding six or so wireless speakers, “a nice music system.”


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