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Pathfinder Tendency

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ftony
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Jun 17 2008 09:57
Pathfinder Tendency

anyone know much about this lot, aside from what's already on wikipedia? i walk past their print shop ('Pathfinder Books') on my way to get my fruit and veg on the weekends, and have often wondered what they're like... good/bad/other?

cheers smile

edit. perhaps this isn't the right forum, but there ya go...

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OliverTwister
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Jun 17 2008 14:02

they abandoned orthodox trotskyism for castroism.

They actually gave me a copy of Granma once, which incidentally is probably the most interesting thing they do.

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fnbrill
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Jun 17 2008 15:39

The leaders of their US party (SWP-US) sold their mid-town Manhattin Headquarters for millions of dollars a coupe years ago, then paid themselves commissions in the hundreds of thousands of dollars for selling it. In the 1970s they used to be the ones who would pack meetings drag the meeting out till 'ordinary' folks left, then pass their own agendas.

Despicable folks.

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EdmontonWobbly
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Jun 18 2008 06:26

I know all the other trot groups hate them because they own a lot of the copywrite on certain translations and editions of trotskys work.

David in Atlanta
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Jun 18 2008 06:44

They're no worse than the average Leninist sect.

Somehow or another they wound up with the rights to the proceedings of the founding convention of the IWW, which is actually a fun read.

EdWob, it's more or less a given that all Trot grouplets hate all other Trot grouplets.

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Devrim
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Jun 18 2008 07:12
EdmontonWobbly wrote:
I know all the other trot groups hate them because they own a lot of the copywrite on certain translations and editions of trotskys work.

Don't they own his death mask too?

Devrim

IrrationallyAngry
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Jun 18 2008 14:52

I believe that the death mask thing was the British WRP, a much creepier and more spectacularly mental organisation.

The US SWP had a proud history by the standards of small left wing groups and played a significant role in a number of major industrial struggles, particularly in the 1930s. Nowadays it's a shell of its former self, with an all-powerful (in the tiny world of the sect) leader, an incoherent Castroite political ideology and a political practice which consists of chiefly of acting as sales agents for Pathfinder Press. They don't actually engage in any industrial work as an organisation any more, but one of their peculiarities is that they still insist that all members work in basic industry. This applies to the dismal little international groups too and included in Britain forcing its members at one point to get jobs in the Scottish meatpacking industry. No I'm not joking.

petey
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Jun 18 2008 15:28
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
They don't actually engage in any industrial work as an organisation any more

but they always run a slate in NY elections. have their own line, even.

syndicalist
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Jun 18 2008 15:35

Sorry, is there actually a "Pathfinder tendency"? The press arm of the US SWP has split off from the parent group?

Anyone interested in US Trotskyist sectariana, I recommend:

Prometheus Research Library Staff, Dog Days: James P. Cannon vs. Max Shachtman in the Communist League of America, 1931–1933 (New York: Spartacist Publishing Company 2002)

See http://www.historycooperative.org/journals/llt/52/br_21.html for a review.

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fnbrill
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Jun 18 2008 16:04
syndicalist wrote:
Sorry, is there actually a "Pathfinder tendency"? The press arm of the US SWP has split off from the parent group?

The Pathfinder Tendency is the SWP/US' internatioonal name because the SWP/UK beat them to it. Their bookshoppes/HQs are called Pathfinder Books afer their publishing house.

syndicalist
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Jun 18 2008 16:07

Learn something new every day. They were just the castroite SWP to me.

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fnbrill
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Jun 18 2008 16:11
syndicalist wrote:
Learn something new every day. They were just the castroite SWP to me.

Here in the US, yes. But they had to adopta different name as the Cliffites have the name SWP locked up elsewhere.

syndicalist
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Jun 18 2008 16:26

Well, I guess W.S.A. better get a patten on the name real soon then. groucho

David in Atlanta
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Jun 18 2008 17:18

Pathfinder Press Threat Against the
Marxists Internet Archive

Their treatment of former member and revolutionary artist Mike Alewitz, who designed and led the execution of the Pathfinder mural project in New York was disgraceful.

Quote:
More disruptive to the project were criticisms from the SWP itself who criticized Alewitz' vision of a work that would depict revolutionary heroes as human beings and insisted on an homage to the party's heroes and attempted to micromanage the project by issuing directives on matters such as how large Leon Trotsky's head should be.

A quotation from Eugene Debs' famous anti-war speech made in Canton, Ohio were replaced with words from Fidel Castro. Also removed were personal touches by Alewitz such as depictions of two students killed by the National Guard at Kent State University in 1970, one of whom had been a close friend of Alewitz’s.

Alewitz was expelled from the SWP prior to the project's conclusion and was excluded from its opening ceremony.

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waslax
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Jun 19 2008 08:44
fnbrill wrote:

The Pathfinder Tendency is the SWP/US' internatioonal name because the SWP/UK beat them to it. Their bookshoppes/HQs are called Pathfinder Books afer their publishing house.

I thought the international name of the SWP/UK was the IS tendency or the Cliff tendency. No?

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Anarchia
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Jun 19 2008 12:50
waslax wrote:
I thought the international name of the SWP/UK was the IS tendency

It is, but nonetheless a number of their groups in other countries still operate under the name Socialist Worker (such as in New Zealand, for example)

ftony
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Jun 20 2008 07:58

wowzers, all this crazy stuff. good thing i asked - i thought it was quite cool to have a Marxist printing press on the corner of ultra-trendy Brick Lane, now i think i'd rather just have the yuppies...

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jambo1
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Jun 20 2008 09:02
IrrationallyAngry wrote:
. This applies to the dismal little international groups too and included in Britain forcing its members at one point to get jobs in the Scottish meatpacking industry. No I'm not joking.

this is brilliant!!! i love all the history of all these pure mentalist trot/leninist organizations, they give me a certain degree of superiority!! also a "there but the grace of god" laugh out loud

alibadani
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Jun 27 2008 22:35

The local SWP(US) members in central Iowa all work in the meatpacking industry; none is under 50 years old. Des Moines is a Democratic town. The Democratic Mayor ran for reelection in 2006. The Republicans didn't bother to compete. The only other name on the ballot was the SWP candidate's. Turnout was really low; the SWP got 20% of the vote. They still brag about it.

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fnbrill
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Jun 27 2008 22:38
alibadani wrote:
The local SWP(US) members in central Iowa all work in the meatpacking industry; none is under 50 years old.

Must be the youth section tongue

David in Atlanta
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Jun 29 2008 03:53
fnbrill wrote:
syndicalist wrote:
Learn something new every day. They were just the castroite SWP to me.

Here in the US, yes. But they had to adopta different name as the Cliffites have the name SWP locked up elsewhere.

Except in Peru and Mexico where the name is used by parties affiliated with the mainline Morenist international and Costa Rica where the local SWP is part of yet another Morenist international.

Ain't sectarianism grand?

rebelworker
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Jun 30 2008 10:28

Morenist?

Not fimiliar with that particular sect...

syndicalist
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Jun 30 2008 12:13

Nahuel Moreno --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahuel_Moreno

martinh
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Jun 30 2008 20:50

Or Spain, where the name is used by the government party -PSOE means Socialist Workers Party of Spain. Mainstream neo-liberal social democrats in reality,

Regards,

Martin

David in Atlanta
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Jul 2 2008 16:04
syndicalist wrote:
Nahuel Moreno --- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nahuel_Moreno

Sane enough compared to J. Posadas the other leader of Argentine Trotskyism

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Devrim
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Jul 2 2008 20:54

I remember talking about the Posadists to a few people in the pub, and laughing and joking about it all, and then somebody teling me (who I think had known him) that he had been a good militant until he was tortured till he went crazy. It sort of stoped my laughter.

Devrim

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Alf
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Jul 2 2008 22:53

plus you've gotta admit he must be right about the UFO pilots

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Alf
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Jul 2 2008 22:55

DP

David in Atlanta
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Jul 3 2008 12:20

That's entirely possible given Argentine politics but I'm not finding any thing to verify it. Aside from the cheerleading for nuclear war, which he wasn't alone in, he didn't seem any more insane than the average Trot sectarian prior to, say, the late 60s. If true, it would make me less prone to laugh at him but not his followers.