Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Trotskyism

Socialist Workers Party (US) “anti-scientific thought police try to erase the existence of women” by recognising Transgender rights.

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May be an image of text that says "I didn't die for this. ILITANT"

SWP (US) World’s Oldest Trotskyist Party Goes Confusionist.

The US left is now having its own ‘Spiked’ Moment.

Don’t say ‘mother’! Speech code is blow to fight for women’s rights

Liberal social engineers are striking blows to women’s rights as they push laws and regulations that eliminate the word “mother.” This is the latest front in their drive to deny women’s oppression under capitalist rule and to hide the long struggle for women’s equality that has made gains and strengthened the working class.


Manchester University in the U.K. announced March 6 new guidelines that replace the words “mother” and “father” with the “gender-neutral” terms “parent” or “guardian.” And Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals Trust has new guidelines that replace the term “breastfeeding” with “chestfeeding.”

All of this is bad for the working class.

A friend of mine who went for prenatal care was referred to by a medical professional as a “pregnant person,” because a transgender “man” can have a baby. At a public forum in Louisville, Kentucky, on a woman’s right to abortion one of the invited speakers lectured participants that we should say “a person’s right to abortion” for the same reason.

Some good news: female human beings give birth to 385,000 babies in the world each day. That’s how the human race continues to exist. If a few of the mothers don’t identify as women, that’s their prerogative and they shouldn’t face discrimination, but it doesn’t change reality.

Campaigning broadly among working people, Socialist Workers Party candidates find a welcome response to our program, which starts from the capacities of working people to join together to change our conditions and to advance our self-confidence and class consciousness— the opposite of identity politics. A good reason to join the SWP campaigns!

Brendan could not have said it more clearly.

Now it obvious that the Tendance, which comes from the ‘Paboite tradition loathes the US SWP from the depth of our being, but even so, we are shocked.

This was the founder of their Party, James P. Cannon.

They asked, “What have you against him?”

I said, “He wears a corduroy suit up and down Greenwich Village, with a trick mustache and long hair. There is something wrong with this guy.”

I wasn’t making a joke, either. I said, people of this type are not going to be suitable for approaching the ordinary American worker. They are going to mark our organization as something freakish, abnormal, exotic; something that has nothing to do with the normal life of the American worker. I was dead right in general, and in this mentioned case in particular. Our corduroy-suit lad, after making all kinds of trouble in the organization, eventually became an Oehlerite.

The Dog Days of the Left Opposition. 1994.

Update: Background to the Present Evolution of the SWP:

Balance Sheet on the Socialist Workers Party (U.S.A.)

Adopted by the Fourth Internationalist Tendency National Conference, September 2, 1990.

Our platform briefly described the programmatic revisionism of the Barnes leadership on five crucial questions: the application of the theory of permanent revolution; political revolution in the deformed and degenerated workers’ states; the recognition of the interdependence of the three sectors of the world revolution; the application of the transitional method and the united front to the class struggle in this country; and, “defense of workers’ democracy as a necessary basis for the functioning of the working class movement in general, and of the Leninist party in particular.”

The death agony of the Socialist Workers Party. Louis Project. 2017.

In the recent past, there have been such shocking developments with this sect-cult of probably around a hundred members with an average age of 55 or so that I have decided to file this report. I don’t think there is much point in trying to connect its paroxysms with the tasks facing the left today except maybe to indicate that “Leninism” can produce some remarkable pathologies.

How an organisation becomes a cult

Barry Sheppard’s The Socialist Workers Party 1960-88 (Volume 2: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-88) reviewed by Patrick Scott.

To briefly summarise Volume 1, dealing with the 1960s and early 1970s. Amongst many things Sheppard takes us through the Cuban revolution, the black civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, and the growth of the women’s and lesbian and gay movements. The US SWP certainly did not get everything right in this period. But it was definitely a revolutionary organisation that actively intervened in a broadly positive way into the class struggle and the major political and social movements that arose though struggle. At the time the party was also the largest revolutionary organisation on the US left with well over a thousand members. How therefore can we square this with the burnt out shell of a sect that the US SWP and its satellite organisations (sometimes referred to as the Pathfinder Tendency) have become today?

Written by Andrew Coates

April 12, 2021 at 8:23 pm

Review: I Want to Believe. Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism. A.M. Gittlitz.

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I Want to Believe

“Eminently readable, it is a valuable study of an aspect of the left that deserves a wide audience.”

From the latest Chartist Magazine.

I Want to Believe. Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism. A.M. Gittlitz. Pluto Press.


“As the rightful inheritors of Lenin and Trotsky’s Internationals, the Posadists believed themselves best equipped to tackle the mysteries of the universe left underdiscussed during the tumult of the first half of the century”. Homero Cristalli, “Poasadas”, born in Buenos Aires in 1912, is remembered for his “mystical, futurist and visionary” speculations on intelligent dolphins and UFOs. We must “appeal to the beings on other planets, when they come here, to intervene and collaborate with the Earth’s inhabitants in suppressing poverty”.

I Want to Believe is not a Trotskyist X-Files. It tells the story not only of Posadas himself but also of his tendency, which played a part in the history of the labour movement. They “fought in the Sierras of Cuba with Castro and Yon Sosa” they built up groups in factories across two continents and organised peasants in Brazil. They spent decades in prison, some disappeared in the torture chambers or were thrown from helicopters of the Condor dictatorships.”

Gittlitz offers an eye-opening account of the post-war Latin American left. . Cristalli, born in the Cordoban slums, a tango dancer, and football player, was re-born as a shoemaker union organiser and an activist in the Socialist Youth. He began working for the main current of the Trotskyist Fourth International. For many on the left Perón’s rise to power in 1940s has resulted in a dictatorial regime, by many on the left. Posadas took the stand to “critically support”. Peronism. Foreshadowing theories of ‘left populism’ as President Perón was against the imperialists; his supporters offered a base to build a “revolutionary movement”.

If that was not enough to case divisions, international Trotskyist debates in the 1950s, under the shadow of a battle between the USSR and the West, about global war/revolution, led to deep rifts. Posadas took the view that nuclear war was inevitable. He ended, after bewildering splits, with his own Posadist International. Their task was to create nuclei that would take a leadership role in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse and build a Socialist future. The less than genial side of Posadism is underlined. Their role, Armageddon or not, was to guide the workers to towards revolution and “rule over them afterwards as dictators”.

The movement ended as a neo-Saint-Simonian cult, with the remaining faithful holed up in an Italian Villa. The birth of a daughter, Homerita, was the “rebirth of the entire International around the common cause of preparing the heir apparent.” An authoritarian leader, who gave “kindergarten level lectures” to his followers, right up his death in 1981, ruled the sect. “Even if I die” he said, “I’ll rise again!”

Another heir, Dante Minazzoli, expelled from the movement after 25 years of activism, back to the foundation of the Grupo cautro international in 1947, was Gitlitz says, their pre-eminent enthusiast for “science fiction, cosmic philosophy, and the Bolshevik futurists.” Minazzoli was one of the forerunners of “neo-Posadism”, an interest in futurism in space, and Futurology, seen in the “Fully Automated Luxury Space Communism” web memes. Yet, Gittlitz concludes, Posadism will not be revived, as a “prophet of catastrophe, socialist futurism and epochal unity” This “bizarre signpost” Gittlitz concludes, directs towards an “uncertain future”.

I Want to Believe is thoroughly researched, helped by consultation with a wide range of people including eccentrics like Sebastian Budgen and Dave Broder. Eminently readable, it is a valuable study of an aspect of the left that deserves a wide audience.


You can learn more about Posadism from this site:




Written by Andrew Coates

March 6, 2021 at 2:36 pm

Socialist Workers Party (US): Democrats use false pretext of “fascist Coup” to attack, ““deplorable” workers” who “who refused to back Joe Biden for president.”

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Meet the 'QAnon shaman' behind the horns at the Capitol insurrection – Channel 4 News


“Deplorable” Worker Under Attack by Democrats and Liberals.

“The Biden-supporting woke elites pose a graver threat to the American republic than Trump did.” Brendan O’Neill.

President Trump’s ignoble exit from office has inspired a hectares of commentary. What were the origins of his National Populism and MAGA? What were the social and cultural bases of his support? Where will the Trump electorate go? Can Trumpism shed light on other forms of right-wing populism, including a link to fascism, in Europe, and the vote for Brexit in the UK?

One issue, remaining to the forefront, is what was the significance, of the Trumpian ramage through the Capitol?

The landscape in which these issues are discussed are marked by the overhanging issue of populism. A whole range of writers have discussed the divorce between liberal ‘elitism’, and the ‘left behind’. The American philosopher Michael Sandel (and author of a pioneering ‘communitarian’ study of Kant, Liberalism and the Limits of Justice.1998) has attacked the “tyranny of merit”. Michael Young’ satirical  ‘meritocracy” has become a real social project.

 “Those at the top deserved their place but so too did those who were left behind. They hadn’t striven as effectively. They hadn’t got a university degree and so on.” As centre-left parties and their representatives became more and more middle-class, the focus on upward mobility intensified. “

The populist backlash of recent years has been a revolt against the tyranny of merit, as it has been experienced by those who feel humiliated by meritocracy and by this entire political project.”

Yet Sandel’s mild calls for social justice and equity do not come to grips with that backlash. Nor does criticising liberal ‘elites’ help when we are confronted with those who wish to celebrate populism. Those who defend La France périphérique (Christophe Guilluy), the echte British working class  (Paul Embery), to the anti-liberal  identity politics promoted by Spiked/Brendan O’Neill and the Brexit/Reform Party. They want to have done with political liberalism, concrete human rights, and promote an imaginary collective sovereignty.

In political shape, in elections and in government, they use the “deplorables” for their own ends. They are the ventriloquists of the people’s voice. Donald Trump was such a barker. His reign ended when his troops played out their visions in the Capitol buildings.

It is this territory that the US Socialist Workers Party, whose origins go back to the 1920s when Trotskyism first emerged in political shape outside the USSR,  has entered.

Liberals use Capitol ‘insurrection’ to target political rights


Liberal Democrats and capitalist bosses are using the action by some Donald Trump supporters who entered the Capitol Jan. 6 — falsely claiming it was an “insurrection” or “fascist coup” — to escalate their attacks on freedom of speech and political rights more broadly. Their main target is not Trump, but working people.


In Massachusetts, Therese Duke was fired from her nursing job of 15 years by bosses at the UMass Memorial Hospital after being recorded on video during a tussle in D.C. the day before a relative handful of conspiracy theorists and would-be paramilitaries, confederate flag carrying rightists and a few over- enthused Trump supporters occupied the Capitol Building. Since her firing Duke has tried to launch online fundraisers to support herself, but says these have been shut down by the big tech companies.

Democratic Party politicians are trying to come up with a way to deal with what they see as “deplorable” workers who don’t think like them.

The main target of these bans and other attacks by liberals and bosses are working people who refused to back Joe Biden for president. They think such “deplorables” must be held in check. New York Times columnist Paul Krugman ran an opinion piece Jan. 10 titled, “When It Comes to Trump Supporters’ Fascism, America Cannot Afford Appeasement.”

The SWP lends a sympathetic ear to the spluttering of the ‘deplorables’, casts doubt in the event that happened when they “entered” the US legislature, and tries to turn the reaction of this rampage into a wholesale attack on ” freedom of speech and political rights” With the visionary talent given to those who grew up as Trotskyists they see “working people” as the real target.


The Party founded by James P Cannon and Farell Dobbs has not forgotten their own days of glory,


The U.S. rulers always seize on whatever opportunity they can to chip away at the political rights of working people. During World War II the second-class mailing permit of the Militant (note the SWP paper) was revoked — and several issues destroyed at the post office — by the administration of Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Officials justified the measures citing the Militant’s uncompromising defense of Black rights and complained the paper reported the war as a conflict “fought solely for the benefit of the ruling groups.”

Observers of the SWP suggest that they are on a party building binge that reminds them of the days of the UK Workers’ Revolutionary Party.


There is evidence to back this up.


Workers need our own party, a labor party!


The SWP campaign is underway as conflicts between and within the bosses’ Democratic and Republican parties are sharpening. Even as Donald Trump leaves office, the Democrats moved to impeach him again, charging he instigated an attempted coup at the U.S. Capitol Jan. 6. They and some Never-Trump Republicans are determined to prevent him from running again in 2024. They hope to have him indicted, to attack his businesses and chip away at his ability to communicate with those who support him.


The capitalist rulers increasingly fear working people, who are beginning to see that the bosses and their government have no “solutions” that don’t dump the costs of the crisis of their capitalist system on us. In 2016 and 2020, many backed Trump, another capitalist politician, hoping he would provide something different.

“Workers need our own party, a labor party, we can use to fight back and win allies,” Calero told the Militant. “The SWP is running to set an example of the fighting perspective we need in charting a course to take political power into our own hands and end once and for all the dictatorship of capital.”

Given the shrunken size, and elderly membership, of the SWP it looks unlikely that they will fulfil this objective.

Written by Andrew Coates

January 24, 2021 at 12:57 pm