Wednesday, September 19, 2018


This is the second part of a three-part series entitled “Communist Continuity and the Fight for Women's Liberation. Documents of the Socialist Workers Party 1971-86”. Part II is subtitled “Women, Leadership, and the Proletarian Norms of the Communist Movement”. The SWP is a Marxist organization in the United States. Judging by the contents, Part I and III are more interesting, as they deal more directly with SWP's analysis of women's oppression and the feminist movement. However, I don't have access to them at the present time. Part II is more tedious and feels extremely in-house. It does mention the peculiar “Bustelo affair” and the “Weiss clique”, but with little depth.

Still, it was interesting to learn that the SWP have very “old fashioned” norms of intra-party conduct. (I'm not surprised, though.) Race-baiting, including race-baiting of Whites, is prohibited. So are exclusive social affairs. One incident mentioned involved an event at a National Convention to which only “Third World comrades” were welcome. One of those excluded was the leader of the Mexican section of the Fourth International, since he happened to be a White Anglo-American! The SWP National Committee sharply criticized this practice and did away with it effective immediately. Children aren't allowed attending party branch meetings. Breast-feeding at party meetings is prohibited. SWP members can't date cops, foremen or virulent racists. Nor can they use illegal drugs (including marihuana). These, then, are the proletarian norms of the communist movement.

This sounds like common sense, but many American leftists have exactly the opposite policies. They practically revel in it. This pamphlet is dated July 1992. Since then, the number of absurd petty-bourgeois deviations (if you pardon me for using “Marxist” jargon) has multiplied almost endlessly, especially at US campuses. Somebody breast-feeding a baby at a party meeting would be the least of SWP's problems today. If the SWP ever decides to rework this pamphlet, they would be forced to double its size, at the very least! I'm not a supporter of this group, but if I would ever change my mind and become a firm adherent of communist continuity, I think I would feel more at home in the SWP than as an SJW…

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