Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

March 12, 2013

A Tale of Two Parties: The British and American SWPs

Filed under: Lenin,sectarianism,separated at birth? — louisproyect @ 7:56 pm

Jack Barnes, American SWP leader

Charlie Kimber, British SWP leader

by Pham Binh on March 12, 2013

in analysis

The SWP Spring is over, and it has gone the way of Prague instead of Tahrir. The SWP’s opposition demanded the downfall of the regime; they fought vainly and valiantly, and now over 70 members, including the party’s future brain trust, Richard Seymour and China Miéville, have issued a collective resignation statement after the opposition’s defeat at a rigged special conference.

The house that Tony Cliff built (on faulty foundations) has cracked irreparably. The husk that remains is destined to endure in a state of permanent decay only because no one cares enough to front the money for the bulldozing it deserves for systematically covering up rapes and sexual assaults by its higher-ups for many years.

The American SWP’s present is the British SWP’s future.

And what of the opposition? Freed from “Leninist” party discipline, the International Socialist Network (ISN) will use their blog, a new email list, and other 21st century methods to publicly debate, discuss, theorize, and organize supporters of the Cliff tradition in a recapitulation of the SWP’s predecessor, the International Socialists (IS).

It seems that the apple never falls far from the tree.

Read full article


  1. […] Louis Proyect on a tale of two SWPs. […]

    Pingback by SWP crisis: who is saying what « Jim Jepps — March 12, 2013 @ 11:14 pm

  2. For those of us who lived through the collapse of the (US) SWP, the parallels certainly are interesting. I would say that compared with Jack Barnes’ dreary little sect, the British SWP comes off as a paragon of proletarian democracy. Not saying much, of course. I don’t see much of anything good coming out of all this. The SWP dissidents/expellees will no doubt wander off into a thousand directions and not form anything of note, while the Callincos mother-ship sinks into irrelevance.

    Comment by David Altman — March 13, 2013 @ 4:32 pm

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