[lbo-talk] Sects and vanguards - SDS, Weatherman, etc.

Shag Carpet Bomb gracehinchcliff at gmail.com
Wed Mar 5 11:54:12 PST 2014

So I'm reading this book about the downfall of SDS, David Barber's _A Hard Rain Fell: SDS and Why It Failed

Not bad. The author's argument is that SDS fell apart because they were riven by what came to be called white skin privilege or white chauvinism, which was central to and bound up with their "traditional American notions" of gender and nation which they were unable to overcome in spite of political struggle.

Reading the book reminded me of how, when I was first introduced to marxist analysis - in the context of political struggle - not in a classroom, the common term was "political motion"

Question: does anyone know who was most responsible for promulgating that term? A particular author?

Barber also uses the term vanguard and describes the different ways in which SDS, the Black Panther Party,, the Vietnamese (at Havanah), the PL, RYM1, RYM2, and Weatherman all had an analysis of a vanguard.

and yet I'm struggling to understand what the hell it means at the moment.

Which is probably Barber's point: the way that white leftists would describe, for instance, the black struggle as the vanguard of social struggle but then turn around and reassert whites as the vanguard of social struggle.

Not sure.

R elatedly, Barber describes a sect as a group that proceeds with its analysis regardless as to the existing social struggles around them.

Also, best discussion of the Havanah meeting with the Vietnamese I've read yet.


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