On 2011-08-30, at 8:45 AM, Wojtek S wrote:
> Joanna: " One of the most depressing experiences of my life was
> working with a Trostskist group in SF in the eighties."
> [WS:] Ditto. My impression was that these are inquisitorial
> characters who make careers by attacking and destroying other people.
> No limited to Trots and fellow travelers, though, there are plenty of
> these characters on the far right too.
> Question to ravi: can you give me an example of an institution or a
> social movement that is not manipulated by elites or wannabe elites?
> I cannot think of any.
Can you each kindly be more specific about which Trotskyist groups you're referring to.
I was in two of them in Canada in the late sixties and early seventies - the League for Socialist Action, which was essentially a colony of the US SWP, and then on the political committee of the breakaway Revolutionary Marxist Group, which was sympathetic to the European wing of the Fourth International led by, among others, Ernst Mandel, Tariq Ali, and Alain Krivine. Of course, as in any political current, there were a wide variety of groups, some of which were quite impressive, others terribly deformed. And as in all groups, including this list, there were the usual range of personality types. Perhaps it was a case, as in the general population, of groups looking strange and frightening when viewed from the outside.
Certainly, Mandel, Tariq, Krivine (a leader of the 68 student revolt and later a member of the European Parliament) and the great majority of those I met never "depressed" me as being "inquisitorial characters".
I broke with the movement for political reasons, but I've never regretted my brief acquaintance with it which honed my political understanding and organizing skills, inspired me, and led to some lasting friendships.