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New Spartacist Hits the Newsstands World-wide.

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FactionsSirhave been the leaven, the private interest has produced the public good.”

Mary Wollstonecraft A Vindication of the Rights of Men Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke; Occasioned by His Reflections on the Revolution in France. 1790.

Excitement has been bubbling on the international left as the new issue of Spartacist slipped through the letter boxes of Cdes across the world. Bringing Marxist clarity to what the epigones of international capitalism call the ‘Silly Season’, the International Communist League announces that, “the elements of program contained in this issue of Spartacist are essential to reforging the Fourth International—world party of socialist revolution—in our time.”

The ICL has not been unaffected by the tumult in the world, “…after fierce internal struggle, were we able to correct our course and publish our international statement, “Down With the Lockdowns!”. This remains the only Marxist position worldwide opposing the lockdowns on the basis of a revolutionary class-struggle program.”

Editorial A World in Turmoil.

“This new issue of Spartacist comes out at a time of turmoil and instability in the world. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown the utter bankruptcy of the capitalist system and its incapacity—even in the most advanced countries—to fulfill the most basic health and social needs of working people. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which was provoked by the NATO imperialists’ encirclement of capitalist Russia, shows the urgency of overthrowing the world imperialists as the only way to obtain lasting peace.”

“We, the ICL, are dedicated to resolving this contradiction through a resolute struggle for leadership of the international proletariat, based on a clear program for the establishment of the world socialist order. We hope this issue of Spartacist can further the necessary political clarity to advance in this direction.”

The Logic of Marxist scientific discovery, the ICL announces, is remorseless. The reformist left has been falsified and is in a massive crisis. “The pandemic has shown two central truths: 1) that the bourgeoisie is utterly reactionary, cannot even start to meet the needs of the working class and must be overthrown, replaced by workers rule; 2) that the current leadership of the British working class — in the trade unions and the Labour Party — is totally prostrated before the bourgeoisie and the government. “

This bumper issue contains more of this extended critique of the Spartacist League Britain’s former positions: In Defence of the Revolutionary Programme (II) (The introduction to the document printed below is taken from Workers Hammer No. 247 (Winter 2021-2022), newspaper of the Spartacist League/Britain. It has been adapted for publication in Spartacist.)

“At the time of the 2017 international fight [see Spartacist (English edition) no 65, Summer 2017], the SL/B had gone so far on the course of political and organisational liquidation that it was restricting its activities (sales, polemics, subscription drive) because the leadership deemed that they would be harmful to Corbyn. ” “A central aspect of the SL/B’s capitulation to Corbyn was the conciliation of his reformist programme of parliamentary socialism.”

Reading this stirring auto-correction one is reminded, with more than a little tear in our eyes, of the history of the SL and the passing of its founder James Robertson in 2019.

See:

The Road to Jimstown Originally published May 1985

In November 1984, cadres of the Spartacist League/U.S. (SL) donned witches’ hats, false noses, pigs’ faces and Nazi regalia and paraded around San Francisco State University (S.F. State) as the “Red Avengers of the Underground SYL.” With this the SL leadership announced to the left, to their own ranks and to whoever else was interested that the gradual molecular transformation of their organization into an obedience cult (a process which had been underway for some years) had reached the point of no return.

Meanwhile, on the docks on the other side of town, the Spartacist League was doing its best to wreck an 11-day boycott of South African cargo–the most important political strike by any section of the American proletariat in decades (see articles elsewhere in this issue.) These two events came as the culmination of a long series of political departures from Trotskyism. Taken together they demonstrate that, while remaining formally “orthodox” on a wide range of historically derived political questions, in the real world the SL’s break from its revolutionary past is qualitatively complete.

Contribution to a discussion on the implosion of the Spartacist tendency Bolshevik Tendency. 2021.

“In May 1985, the BT published a highly inventive piece of reptile journalism worthy of the anti-communist ravings of Ayn Rand or Reader’s Digest, titled ‘The Road to Jimstown,’ smearing our party as an ‘obedience cult’ and spinning lurid, slanderous tales of political intimidation, ‘sexual groupies’ and internal corruption.”

We responded (point 15, TB 5):

““We published ‘The Road to Jimstown’ (https://bolsheviktendency.org/2019/04/19/the-road-to-jimstown/) in 1985. It briefly outlines the course of the SL’s degeneration from Trotskyism to political banditry. This is the first time, after ten years, that the SL has commented on it. Attentive readers will note that the ICL pamphlet denounces it as a pack of ravings and smears without citing any specifics. There is a good reason for this: it is all true, and there are lots of people who know it. We admit that some of it is pretty ‘lurid,’ but lurid is as lurid does.”

“It is not entirely clear to us which passages in ‘The Road to Jimstown’ the Robertsonians take umbrage at. We do not imagine, for example, that they would wish to challenge to veracity of the following:

“For several years Robertson has had his own little coven of sexual groupies with its own bizarre initiation rituals. They made a semi-official debut internally when, dressed in black and carrying candles, they appeared as ‘the Susanna Martin Choir’ at a social held during the 1983 SL National Conference. (Susanna Martin was an early American witch.) In the report of the conference which appeared in WV (No. 342, 18 November 1983), it was noted that the choir’s ‘performance was received with wild and overwhelming acclaim.’ What wasn’t reported is that running such an ‘informal interest association,’ as WV coyly referred to it, is Robertson’s exclusive prerogative in the SL. Nor did WV mention that being one of Jim’s groupies confers great ‘informal’ authority within the group.’”

See:

Sectarian hilarity for the left-wing trainspotter! The UK Spartacist League’s papers from 1978-2011

From Cradle to Grave- the Spartacist League (Britain)

Most people will doubt that Mary Wollstonecraft had the Sparts in mind when she wrote about factions.

Written by Andrew Coates

August 15, 2022 at 11:45 am

Posadists: Against NATO -“Russia, China, the revolutionary processes and the progressive governments that defend an alternative to the capitalist regime.”

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Even though the USSR collapsed from 1991, the experience of the Soviet Workers State could not disappear overnight. This is why American imperialism and its armed instrument NATO still consider Russia as the enemy to be defeated.” Posadists.

At the start of July Posadism Today published this,

During the parade on May 9, 2022 in Moscow, for the 77th anniversary of the Day of Victory of the Red Army in the fight against Nazism (1941-1945), Vladimir Putin made a speech which is important and which we publish below. 

He brought back to mind the historic memory of the atrocities of Nazi expansion and the conscious defence that the Russian and Soviet peoples made then of the Soviet Union. 

This speech forms part of Russia’s current resolve to intervene in Ukraine against NATO’s expansion, to prevent the destruction of what has been the foundation of one of mankind’s greatest achievements: the Russian Revolution in October 1917. 

Even though the USSR collapsed from 1991, the experience of the Soviet Workers State could not disappear overnight. This is why American imperialism and its armed instrument NATO still consider Russia as the enemy to be defeated.

Posadists Today, 3.7.2022

VICTORY DAY SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF RUSSIA VLADIMIR PUTIN

IN COMMEMORATION OF THE VICTORY OF THE RED ARMY AGAINST NAZISM (9.5.1945), VLADIMIR PUTIN MADE AN IMPORTANT SPEECH ON 9.5.22 WHICH WE PUBLISH BELOW.

We shall skip this and go to this statement:

UKRAINE: THE HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE OF THE RUSSIAN MILITARY INTERVENTION

This war in Ukraine expresses the global confrontation between the capitalist system concentrated in NATO & its associates against Russia, China, the revolutionary processes and the progressive governments that defend an alternative to the capitalist regime. Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine is a reaction determined by NATO’s massive expansion aimed at strangling Russia.

The economic sanctions that the NATO members and partners have slapped on Russia are the toughest ever imposed on any nation. But these penalties are going to hurt the countries of their originators, many of them in need of the Russian exports. The shortage of wheat, potash, gas, oil, palladium, nickel and other minerals is going to hurt the European and North American economies.

As far as it is concerned, Russia is practically capable of facing the sanctions. This situation is going to accelerate Russia’s need to improve the intervention of the State in the economy – to get rid of the “oligarchs”, exercise greater control over the banking sector, overcome the country’s dependence on the dollar. The end of the “dollar era” will be received by the United States as a declaration of war. But what arguments will they be able to find, seeing that it is them who launched the sanctions!

Fighting for radical social transformations

NATO uses Ukraine as spearhead to divide and break up the Russian Federation. The present confrontation forms part of the war preparations of imperialism – one more step towards the final settlement of accounts of the masses as a whole, against the capitalist system.

Not funny any more.

We all liked the excellent Posadism, UFOs and Apocalypse Communism. A.M. Gittlitz, (2021).

But, well, now we don’t like the Posadists.

Posadist International.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 18, 2022 at 12:08 pm

Socialist Party on the RMT decision to withdraw from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).

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“..the Socialist Party (the erstwhile Militant Tendency) which has many fine and self-sacrificing activists in it ranks, yet which insists on trying to create a shadow labour movement around itself, with it own electoral front, its own shop stewards network etc. Such groups are reproducing the mistake Paul Buhle identifies US socialists as making a century ago – ‘substitut(ing) themselves for a political working class that did not exist but might be successfully constituted.'”

Left unity or class unity? Working-class politics in Britain. Andrew Murray. Socialist Register 2014.

The Socialist Party’s “electoral front” the Trade Union and Socialist Alliance (TUSC) dates back to over a decade ago. At the March 2009 Socialist Party congress, as part of their “perspectives for Britain” National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) executive members Alex Gordon and Brian Denny addressed Socialist Party delegates in an official capacity, outlining the RMT’s proposal to stand anti-EU lists in the European elections in June. The congress had a session to discuss this strategy, described by critics as creating a ‘left sounding UKIP’. Socialist Party participation in it was formally agreed by the congress delegates No to EU – Yes to Democracy (NO2EU) was formed. 

NO2EU, was an electoral alliance, headed by Bob Crow, between the RMT, the Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party, the formal backing of one of the wings of the Indian Workers Association, the small grouping of anti-European ecologists, the Alliance for Green Socialism, Solidarity (the personal fief created by Tommy Sheridan following the 2006 split in the Scottish Socialist Party). It got 1% of the vote in the 2009 contest, and 0,19% when it stood again in 2014.

TUSC itself was formed in 2010, “Launch of Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition LAST WEEK saw the culmination of a series of discussions by participants in the ‘No2EU-Yes to Democracy’ European election coalition to see whether another alliance could be constructed for the forthcoming general election. The result is that there will now be an election challenge, under the newly-registered electoral banner, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC).”

At the time it has no formal union links, “The lack of formal endorsement of the coalition from even left-wing trade unions like the RMT, the POA, the PCS or the Fire Brigades Union will be a disappointment for many workers.” However, “Three Annual General Meetings (2012, 2013 and 2014) of the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) have endorsed RMT support for TUSC candidates and the RMT is formally represented on the TUSC steering committee.” This, as few were slow to recognise, was the first time a British trade union had affiliated to a political party other than Labour.

The RMT affiliation’s importance cannot be underlined too heavily. It is no secret that TUSC, despite various attempts to draw others into its net (the latest being Chris Williamson’s mate George Galloway and his red-brown Workers Party of Britain) has remained at a “size amenable for a small group to dominate”, as Andrew Murray put it. That is the Socialist Party, which, though only a few thousand strong overshadows the Galloway groupuscule (and its cadres in the Communist Party of Great Britain, Marxist-Leninist), various micro-parties which have briefly been allies, the more-borders Northern Independence Party and Left Unity, and the Breakthrough Party.

Those hostile to TUSC – including the big 2019 split in the Socialist Party, now in the Socialist Alternative group – might say the pluralism of the alliance is a façade. The SP basically uses it as a vehicle in the long march towards creating its very own workers’ party. Some have compared this to the former strategy of the French Trotskyist Parti ouvrier indépendante (POI), which, maintaining the fiction of its own mini-party made of a bloc, of Trotskyists, Communists, Socialists to Anarcho-syndicalists , had own devastating split in 2015. Like the Lambertists of POI the SP’s belief in pluralism only exists on condition that they get their own way, and that their voices are they ones that count, as those who joined the National Shop Stewards Network (NSSN) from the Labour left found out very quickly (“The future of the National Shop Stewards’ Network“).

The RMT, without as far as can be gauged, political demands on the front or indeed a visible individual presence, has so far gone along with formal support for TUSC. Getting a bit ahead of ourselves this statement from the SP stands out, “Arguments were raised at the AGM about union resources. The RMT political fund collects around £240,000 from the £18 million or so members pay each year in union subscriptions; so around £2.6 million in total since TUSC’s formation in 2010. In those twelve years just £21,500 (less than 1%) has been donated to TUSC from the national political fund.” But even that backing has obviously reached its limits.

WE reproduce below the Socialist Party’s own account of the RMT’s decision to end a formal link with TUSC. The quick answer to the question, why did the RMT disaffiliate? is “The AGM resolution calling for the RMT to withdraw from TUSC if it continued to contest elections was submitted as an emergency motion on the grounds that “at the May 2022 local elections TUSC received 0.2% of the vote”

RMT AGM: Missed opportunity in the fight for workers’ politics.

(We cannot imagine which Blogs this Tweeter refers to….)

(Socialist Party).

Workers’ reps or ‘friends of labour’? (extracts)

In his speech, Mick Lynch said that he no longer supported the union reaffiliating to Labour, which he had done in 2018 when a special general meeting had been held on the issue. (The vote then was 31 to 25 against re-affiliation.) Instead, he reportedly argued the RMT should not be currently affiliated to any party, and that candidates seeking support should come to the union, not the union go to them.

“the RMT Broad Left group in the union leadership do not have anything other than, at best, a wait-and-see political strategy, was shown in the only political ‘action point’ they brought to the AGM. This was the resolution from Paddington No.1 branch calling for the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) to cease its electoral activity “for now” or, if there continued to be TUSC candidates, for the RMT to withdraw its official participation in the coalition. This was presented to delegates for the first time at the opening of conference, submitted as an emergency resolution because of TUSC’s allegedly ‘extremely poor votes at the May 2022 local elections’.”

The AGM resolution calling for the RMT to withdraw from TUSC if it continued to contest elections was submitted as an emergency motion on the grounds that “at the May 2022 local elections TUSC received 0.2% of the vote”.

“While our leadership and AGM delegates were often highly critical of Starmer and Labour’s failure to offer an attractive alternative to the Tories, it was disappointing that a resolution calling on the union to facilitate talks with other unions to attempt to address the lack of working-class political representation was defeated. 

Later, a resolution for the RMT to withdraw from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) if TUSC wants to continue to stand candidates in elections was carried. 

During these debates, and in discussions throughout the week, the only policy on offer was simply to wait and hope that Labour changes for the better. General secretary Mick Lynch argued that RMT should not be affiliated to any political party at all.

Branches would still be able to support TUSC candidates, subject to authorisation by the NEC, which is welcome. But the main beneficiary of the AGM’s decisions on political strategy will undoubtedly be Labour right-wing Blairite candidates, who will potentially have no challenge from a socialist, pro-trade union candidate at the ballot box. “

The question of working-class political representation and the creation of a new mass workers’ party is not going to go away, and unions such as RMT, along with the bakers› union BFAWU, Unite and others will play a vital role in driving that agenda forward. 

However, we do need to have a proper debate in the RMT over this issue, particularly as London’s Labour mayor Sadiq Khan continues to attack our Transport for London members’ jobs, and pensions.

Socialists in the RMT will be campaigning for this debate to happen as a matter of urgency.

That’s as it’s may be: the RMT has withdrawn from TUSC.

There is some guff in the SP piece comparing the slow start of the new workers’ party, and its cradle, TUSC, to the early years of the Labour Representation Committee which formed the Labour Party. Anybody can see from the brief account of TUSC’s history given in the paragraphs above that this comparison is laughable.

+++++

* Apart from the Tendance this, from a former, very former, SP ally Phil, who knows them well, also came out The RMT Leaves TUSC.

Written by Andrew Coates

July 14, 2022 at 8:29 am