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Posts Tagged ‘Trotskyism

As Labour and Tories Split, Committee for Workers International (CWI/Socialist Party, ex Militant) Rows on “petty Bourgeois Mandelism” Escalates.

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Call to Purge Labour as they face International Split of their own.

In the latest copy of the Socialist you’ll find this call to purge Labour,

Eight Blairites split – Now kick out the rest

  • Gang of eight traitors must face by-elections
  • Mandatory reselection to kick out the rest

Corbyn and unions must call mass action – for a general election now

They also demand they be allowed back into the Party, through the convening of a special conference in which they will happily particticate,

The Gang of Seven have exposed more clearly than ever the real nature of the battle that must be waged to refound Labour as a genuinely democratic, socialist party, with a renewed, federal structure. The Socialist Party calls for the convening of a labour movement conference, in which all anti-austerity forces, including trade unions and socialist groups such as our own, could participate.

Such a conference could discuss the urgent tasks facing our movement. Most immediately, these include building mass action to fight for a general election, deselecting Blairite MPs and their replacement with fighting socialist candidates, and building the struggle to transform society along socialist lines.

What you won’t read is an account of their own split, an international one involving their Irish and Greek sections, inside their mini-International, the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI).

In Defence of a Working-class Orientation for the CWI Peter Taaffe for the International Secretariat (Majority) 14/1/19 It is necessary to call things by their right name. Barely a month has passed since the IEC and yet it is already quite clear that the CWI faces an opposition to the policies and programme of the CWI with tendencies towards petty bourgeois Mandelism. This opposition originated with the leadership of the Irish section, but it is also present in the leadership of a number of sections of the CWI who support them. This is most prominently displayed in the recent lengthy Greek Executive Committee’s resolution written by Andros P, which represents an open political retreat from the policies and analysis of the CWI. This is a complete apologia – both organisational and political – for the false methods, policies and perspectives of the Irish organisation.

More: IS-majority-and-PT-Statement-one.pdf

While the above magistral masterpiece  has been the subject of many discussions amongst the Leftists Trainspotters’ Permanent Central Committee (FB) over the last few days, there is also this:

Members bulletin Documents on the dispute that arose at the IEC

At the recent IEC meeting a major dispute erupted involving, in the view of the majority of England and Wales comrades who attended, fundamental issues. Arising from that dispute an international faction has been formed which the England and Wales IEC members are members of. There will now be a process of debate, leading up to a World Congress in January 2020, in order to discuss out and clarify the issues. The faction will be producing written political material explaining its view, and will invite others to do the same. Organised debates, with all views being put, will then take place. We recognise that it will not be possible for most comrades in England and Wales to draw firm conclusions prior to that process of discussion.

“It is not complete, as some confidential issues cannot be reported in writing…”

Contents:

IS statement following meeting with Irish leadership 3

Email from PS to KMcL, PM, DB 4

Our response to the issues 7

A brief contribution on some political issues mentioned by PM 13

IS letter for discussion on a marxist challenge to identity politics 19

Women’s oppression and identity politics – our approach in Ireland and internationally A Response to the IS document “Women’s Oppression and Identity Politics” Response of Belgian IEC members on IS document 46

T he United Front method and putting forward a Socialist Programme today Resolution from faction to the IEC 65

Concerning IEC 2018 66 30 51

Notable extract,

A crisis has developed. The IS and representatives of the leadership of the Irish section have met to have extensive discussion to try and find a principled solution to the problems which have arisen. 3.  This meeting followed the revelation that a comrade, CP, had [redacted]. The IS totally condemns these actions and finds them reprehensible. We agree that this needs to be reported and discussed to the NC of the Irish section which should discuss and agree what disciplinary sanctions should be taken against CP.

See also Urban 75.

A screenshot has been circulating containing the opening paragraphs of a document titled ‘Crisis in CWI’ and penned by head honcho Peter Taaffe. The tirade accuses the Irish section, their star section and most successful in electoral terms, of ‘political retreat’ and lurching towards ‘petty bourgeois Mandelism’. No substantive differences are raised and I don’t have access to the rest of the document, but the accusatory and intemperate tone suggests a split is on the horizon.

Irish comrades, not in the CWI, fail to detect substantial differences over wider Irish issues, though the Socialist Party’s pro-British Brexit nationalist line may well, they suggest, have caused tensions.

The “redacted” section suggests something that they wish to hide.

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Written by Andrew Coates

February 21, 2019 at 6:27 pm

Review: In Defence of Bolshevism. Max Shachtman.

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IDoB cover

“The force of things and the behaviour of men have contradicted all Lenin’s optimistic forecasts, his hopes in a superior democracy as much as his semi-libertarian ideas expressed in the State and Revolution and other writings of the same period, at the dawn of the revolution. Nothing in the individual theses of Trotsky has stood the test any better, in particular his wordy and abstract theory of the ‘permanent revolution’.”

Boris Souvarine, Stalin. A Critical Survey of Bolshevism, 1939.

The labour movement is striving “to renew and reconstruct itself in politics”, writes Sean Matgamma in his Introduction (The Labour Movement and Bolshevism) to In Defence of Bolshevism by Max Shachtman. (Purchase here.) How can this take place? The AWL’s best-known activist¬writer observes that many who identify with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership have “no conception of socialism at all as the negation of capitalism.” Most Corbynistas are enthusiastic and open¬minded people. It would be a mistake to patronise them. But some, the observer of past left wing surges states, may be first of all looking for a career in politics, think tanks and NGOs. Predictably there is plenty of flotsam and jetsam floated in the “social media age”.

A half-thought out “anti¬imperialism” linked to “absolute anti¬Zionism” has become a minefield of “left anti¬semitism”. There are “posh Stalinists”, close to the party chief, who reheat a Boy’s Own view of the gallant Soviet Union fighting Fascism. Socialism in One Country reappears behind efforts to portray Brexit as a working class revolt against elites. And, let’s not forget, in cyberspace, there are over-educated Corbyn supporters. Some see capitalism’s replacement, through Nick Land’s “accelerationism”, pushing forward immanent tendencies, as re-worked by Aaron Bastani, into “fully-automated luxury communism”.

British Labour Movement.

The opening essay, “The British labour movement and Bolshevism” is a settling of accounts with those who have returned to politics after Corbyn’s win and who have been supporters of the British “toy¬town Bolsheviks”. The “Little Great Men” of the far-left have considered their groups the revolutionary Party. One stands out. The Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) was sold to the “Libyan government and secret service”. Their state sponsored hatred of “Zionism” lingers on, in some cases through those who had been directly associated with the WRP such as one¬time London Mayor, Ken Livingstone, Matgamna’s sketch of the history of let-wing opposition to the European Union is also highly relevant.

This became a defining feature of the 1970s Broad Left (alliances of Labour left and the Communist Party of Great Britain, CPGB). An early version of a People’s Brexit, the Alternative Economic Strategy (AES) advocated “an amalgam of World¬War¬Two¬style state controlled ‘siege economy’ and Stalinist models of planning, but linked to bourgeois¬democratic liberalism”. (p.43) At present the Morning Star and its supporters, including advisers to Jeremy Corbyn, are fixated on the last point, asserting national sovereignty against “Brussels”.

This is not the centrepiece of In Defence of Bolshevism. To open a dialogue with Corbyn supporters and talk about socialism Matgamma offers the practice of the Bolsheviks in the years immediately after the 1917 Revolution. They created a “democratic class dictatorship exercised by the elected workers’ councils…” In this they are due honour amongst the “glories of the working class’s past”. The writer that is chosen to shed light on the Bolshevik achievement is Max Shachtman. For Sean Matgamna, the American one¬time leading figure in Trotsky’s Fourth International was the founder of “heterodox” Trotskyism.

Shachtman broke from Trotsky over the defence of the USSR when Stalin ordered the invasion of Finland in 1939. Shachtman’s current supported the judgement that the USSR under Stalin had become a new form of class society that could not be uncritically supported. The AWL has convincingly argued that this turned out not to be anything “new” but a blood¬stained historical by¬way in capitalist development, not any “transition” to socialism.

Marxism.

Under the Banner of Marxism, the main polemic reprinted here, was, as Alan Johnson indicates (Solidarity 5.12.18), directed against an attempt by Ernest Erber to trace the origins of Stalinist totalitarianism in Lenin’s political theory and practice. Most people, including this reviewer, will have never heard of Erber, or his split from the Shachtman group, which was a small minority within a small minority of Trotskyists on the already marginal American left. What is the importance of the writings from this dispute?

This document, and the articles also included in the book from New International and Labor Action, offer an independent defence of Bolshevik practice in 1917 and the immediate aftermath. They are clearly of their time and place. This is not entirely a bad thing. Shachtman was concerned not just to teach “muddlehead “ Erber a thing or two, with echoes of the purple prose of Engels’ Anti¬Dühring and Lenin’s “polemical” style. The heterodox Trotskyist that he was at this point aimed to stand against “apostates” who moved from revolutionary socialism to an acceptance of the “American Way of Life” and who “identify Stalinism with Bolshevism”. His pages are concerned with the “bourgeois struggle against socialism.” In other words, he stood up for Marxism and communism at the onset of the Cold War.

A wide range of quotations from the writings of Marx and Lenin supports the defence of the Russian revolution. His authorities include the Communist Manifesto, and AntiDühring. Lenin’s State and Revolution is cited to defend the power of the Soviets against the Constituent Assembly. The Soviet type of state is the best “genuine democracy”. As for the Bolshevik dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, elections in nation-wide ballots are no great shakes. “Like the prettiest girl in all of France, universal suffrage cannot give more than it has.” (p.127)

Shachtman is a relentless user of the argument “by circumstances”. This blames any repressive anti-democratic action of the Bolsheviks when Lenin was at the levers of power on conditions beyond his, the Bolsheviks’, and the democratic soviets’ control. Lenin gambled. They were “summoned to hold the first revolutionary citadel against frenzied and maddened besiegers until the relief columns of the Western proletariat could be brought forward” (p.175).

Bolsheviks Eliminated Workers’ Democracy.

One may accept that the alternatives to the Bolsheviks in that fight were worse without having a present need to join the defence on the battlements. Russia, telescoping democratic and working class stages of the uprising together, did not just fail to trigger any successful socialist revolution in Europe. It did not just set the path for the rejection of democratic representative forms, as Johnson rightly point out. It did not only, from early expulsions and splits and moral annihilation, turn to the policy of physically eliminating opponents. The Bolshevik leadership eliminated workers’ democracy in the Soviets themselves.

Inside the workers’ movement the Bolsheviks assumed the right to lead the proletariat above the wishes of wage earners. In June 1918 the All¬Russia Soviet CEC decided that the Left and Right Socialist¬Revolutionaries, and the groups of the Mensheviks, should be deprived of their mandates in the Soviets. They resolved that, “all soviets of workers’, soldiers’ peasants’ and Cossack deputies remove representatives of these fractions from their midst”. In these conditions it is a bold claim that Soviets run in the early 1920s — under Lenin’s rule — exclusively by one party plus “non¬party Bolsheviks” were a model for workers’ democracy and socialist practice.

Whatever the misdeeds of their political opponents, how could any different opinion be expressed freely without opposition parties? How exactly can socialist forms of the economy be run without open democratic debate? The purge included those, Mensheviks, who had been comrades in the same Russian Social Democratic and Labour Party (RSDLP) as Lenin, a party marked by a remarkable “freedom and an openness that was known to no other working¬class organisation of the time and has certainly had no equal since the rise of Stalinism.” (p.202) Sean Matgamma states, “The Bolsheviks did not say the last word on socialism. If there is a last word, it has not been said yet. But they said much that socialists now need to heed, learn, remember and work to apply in our conditions.” (p.68)

Indeed. Some socialists, including Corbynistas, explain the crack down on opposition by the disastrous Maduro regime in Venezuela and the repression in Nicaragua on the grounds that these “citadels” have to be defended against imperialism. They might learn from the Bolsheviks that eliminating democratic institutions is nothing but a deviation from the road to socialism.

Solidarity.

30th of January 2019. 

Leftist Trainspotting Quiz of the Year.

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Image result for chart of British trotskyist groups

2018 Leftist Trainspotter Quiz.

1. What is the name of the split from Socialist Party in the  Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) union?

  • Socialist Action.
  • Socialist Voice.
  • Socialist Future.

2. How often did the far-right millionaire Aaron Bank’s  funding of the Communist Party of Britain  and Socialist Party Backed Trade Unionists Against the EU get into the Morning Star and   the Socialist?

  • Never.
  • Absolutely never.
  • Why are you asking this question you Soros funded Neo-liberal Blairite?

3. Who replaced Comrade Harpel Brar as Chairman of the CPGB-ML this year?

4. What was the dispute and split in the International Bolshevik Tendency around?

  • Open answers, including the “real reasons”.

5. Where did Red London originate?

  • The  Donetsk People’s Republic.
  • Lambeth.
  • Eel Pie Island.

6. Which left-wing figures have attacked Momentum’s pickets of David Icke?

  • Jackie Walker
  • Tina Werkmann (Weekly Worker).
  • Alice Walker.

7. What was the “polemic against the Revolutionary Communist Group” about?

8. Why is there a  call to Unfollow the Movement for Justice?

9. Who  resigned this year from Tony Greenstein’s Labour Against the Witch-hunt?

  • Chris Willamson. M.P.
  • Michael Mansfield.QC.
  • Marc Wadsworth.

10. Who in 2018 Blamed Israel for the rise in anti-Semitism?

  •  Dieudonné.
  • David Irving.
  • Tariq Ali.

Written by Andrew Coates

December 21, 2018 at 2:08 pm

The Socialist Party and Socialist View Split in the PCS Union Grows.

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The PCS Internal Dispute Grows.

The world may have forgotten about the Socialist Party, although it is said that copies of Militant by Michael Crick (1984) are still selling and valued like gold dust.

This week they made a raft of demands including the following, a call for

An emergency labour movement conference, open to all genuinely anti-austerity forces to discuss the transformation of the Labour Party along democratic, socialist lines. This should include discussion on: restoring the policy-making power of Labour Party conference – including the trade unions playing a full democratic role; the introduction of a new socialist ‘clause 4’, replacing the one introduced by Tony Blair with one committing to democratic public ownership of the means of production, distribution and exchange; the opening up of the Labour Party to all socialist and anti-austerity forces to participate on the basis of a renewed, federal structure.

This prospect, sure to be welcome across the labour movement and in the Labour Party, for those who’re interested, part of their, “Editorial of the Socialist issue 1020. For a socialist alternative to the EU – mobilise to kick out the Tories!“.

Some may relish the prospect of solving the present politics crisis by, “mass action, including organising an emergency national demonstration to kick out the Tories.”

Alas, what most people are interested in is something that concerns people, active and solid people on the left, active in the civil service Trade Union, the PCS.

When the present row began the Socialist said,

The dispute within the left of Britain’s largest civil service union raises key issues for the whole labour movement.

After the left won control of the union, there have been important moves to democratise and transform PCS. Unfortunately, however, we now see the danger of that process being thrown into reverse, with power increasingly concentrated in the hands of unelected officials. Pressure in this direction is inevitable, given the difficult period the trade union movement is going through, but it is vital it is resisted.

PCS: the real issues at stake 20th of August.

In the course of this comradely debate the SP said,

Unfortunately, it is typical of some of Janice’s supporters’ false methods of argument to put up straw men in order to attempt to bombastically smash them down.

Despite the outrage expressed at the concerns we raised about the undermining of the democratic traditions of PCS, the SV reply repeatedly confirms this danger.

……

The SV authors accuse us of lying when we said that “arguments for affiliation [to Labour] will be put” in the new consultation on political representation that was agreed at this year’s PCS conference. We never suggested that the consultation would call for affiliation. This is clearly unlikely given the response to the last, 2016, consultation which raised affiliation as one option. Mark was sympathetic to looking seriously at that, arguing in a Policy and Resources Committee paper (published on 5 October 2015), “I’ve been approached by a number of people inside & outside PCS on the question of affiliation to LP… I do believe that we have a duty to consider this question.” However, “responses did not support” it.

In a woeful attempt to denigrate Chris’s record, the SV authors write: “Chris doesn’t take the average wage of a skilled worker”, and add that Janice has committed to do so. They and Janice turn their fire on Chris, but what demands have they made on Mark Serwotka? When Chris first stood for AGS he pledged to move to London, relocating his family at considerable expense and upheaval, in order to be based in the union HQ and be able to do his job effectively. Despite the financial demands of relocating, he pledged in his election address – with the agreement of other Socialist Party members including Janice Godrich – to repay part of his salary to union funds and make regular donations to strikes and labour movement causes in Britain and internationally. Chris has consistently met that pledge.

…..

They have not formally resigned from the Socialist Party, but the SV article, written by one Socialist Party member and one non-member, makes clear that they no longer see themselves as part of our party. It is not accidental that at one stage they refer to the Socialist Party as “their party”, meaning Chris and his supporters. They suggest that the Socialist Party’s “end objective” of “winning the leading positions in the union for their party justifies any actions, no matter how dishonest those means may be”.

PCS: the real issues at stake – a reply to Socialist View

Hannah Sell, Socialist Party deputy general secretary

Recently qualified Leftist Trainspotter, Howie, posts this, keeping us up to date:

Socialist Party lose first stage of PCS Assistant General Secretary Campaign.

The influence of the Socialist Party begins it’s final decline as incumbent PCS Assistant General Secretary Chris Baugh failed to win the Left Unity nomination. Janice Godrich as expected won. Only the interim result has been published though as you guessed it the Socialist Party are contesting the result.

They are indeed,

Throughout the campaign and emphasised by Chris at a number of debates, a fighting strategy and positive approach has been given that can take the union forward. Chris won a majority in three of the five election debates that he took part in, with Martin Cavanagh and John McInally deputising for Janice Godrich. This included London, which was attended by Mark Serwotka who argued against Chris.

We thank all those Left Unity members who took part in the debates, particularly those who supported our candidates.

On the AGS election, the interim report indicates 139 votes for Chris Baugh and 167 votes for Janice Godrich. However, Left Unity members are still waiting for the final results. This is because a whole number of votes have been ruled out – some postal ballots and those cast at three voting meetings, including London.

Despite this, the ‘interim’ results were published. Many Left Unity members are shocked and angry that this was done when there are issues still outstanding. Despite the claims of Janice’s supporters in Socialist View, the ruled-out votes could materially affect the results of three key positions: AGS, Left Unity chair and Left Unity editor.

The only way to clarify this is for the full report to be published, with all the results included, along with explanation for those omitted. This is not an attack on the integrity of the scrutineers, as Socialist View claims, but a call for transparency and democratic processes.

Comes the response from Socialist View,

Socialist View Statement on PCS Left Unity elections 2018

Following a long campaign to decide the nominations for the Left Unity slate for next year’s PCS national elections the LU Scrutineers Interim Report was published on Sunday 25th November.

 

The report confirms the result of the ballot for all contested elections, including the Assistant General Secretary and National President. We are pleased that the results show both Janice Godrich and Fran Heathcote have been successful in their attempt to secure the LU nomination for the posts of AGS and President respectively. Alongside Janice and Fran all other nominees, supported by the Socialist View campaign, have also been successful.

 

This clear result is testimony to the campaign which has been run by Janice and her supporters, and to the difference in strategy put forward via the Socialist View throughout this campaign.

 

The difference in policy and strategy between those of us supporting Janice, and the supporters of the incumbent Chris Baugh, have become increasingly polarised in recent weeks especially in relation to national pay campaign. The choice between building our union’s capability to improve our organisation in every workplace to win on pay, proposed by Janice and her supporters, versus the strategy, argued for by Chris and his supporters, of disaggregated group ballots linked to other employer based issues, has been a key strand to this campaign. The outcome of this election reflects the positive campaign ran by supporters of Socialist View and indicates wider support for the belief we have in our members ability to win, against the conservative approach of our opponents.

Some  have commented that only a few hundred people voted in the ballot.

It is not unusual for Leninist groupuscules to have ferocious splits.

This one, apparently, involves a far from exceptional degree of personal rancour

It is, however, out of the ordinary to see these disputes played out in public inside a trade union with around  185, 000 members, in an important sector of employment,  and inside an organisation which enjoys wide respect for its work.

The PCS Independent Left meanwhile have their own candidate:

John Moloney to stand for PCS Assistant General Secretary

At its Annual General Meeting, the PCS Independent Left nominated John Moloney as our candidate in the Assistant General Secretary elections next year.

Written by Andrew Coates

November 30, 2018 at 1:26 pm

The Holiest Day in the Calender: Workers’ Revolutionary Party, News Line Beano.

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Post Halloween Festival. 

Torrance’s WRP is the only surviving Workers Revolutionary Party in the UK and still produces The News Line as a daily paper, and it is also included in a website. The party has been registered with the Electoral Commission since 15 May 2001, with Frank Sweeney as registered leader.[34] As of 2007, the WRP had assets of just over £4,000.[35] It remains electorally active and stood seven candidates for the 2015 UK General Election, six in London and one in Sheffield,[36] gaining a total of 488 votes.[37] It supported Brexit in the 2016 referendum.

More , a lot more, on Wikipedia.

BBC:

General election 2017: Workers Revolutionary Party policies

The British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International, founded by Leon Trotsky, is bidding for five seats at the general election.

The Workers Revolutionary Party’s Frank Sweeney spoke to Daily Politics presenter Andrew Neil about what his party thought of the Labour manifesto.

He said that Trotsky was “21st century”, while he described capitalism as “19th century”, and he explained that the whole of the UK was “fertile territory for us”.

Fighting left antisemitism in the 1980s

Sean Matgamna.

Extracts: 

Supporters of Solidarity and Workers’ Liberty find themselves especially unpopular just now [2003] with certain sections of the pseudo-left, because of our attitude to George Galloway MP.

The hostility which our stand on Galloway has aroused reminds me of the heresy hunt organised against some of us, who were then publishing the weekly paper Socialist Organiser, by the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) and its friends in the labour movement.

The issues in dispute were pretty much the same as those raised now by the Galloway affair: the connection of certain ostensibly socialist “anti-Zionist” groups and individuals in the British left with anti-working class Arab governments, and how others should regard those who have such links.

The large-scale campaign launched by the WRP and its Ayatollah, the late Gerry Healy, was an incident within a broader attempt by the WRP and its friends, such as Ken Livingstone, to force our paper Socialist Organiser out of publication.

In 1981, the actress Vanessa Redgrave, on behalf of the WRP, of which she was the best-known member, had sued John Bloxam and myself for libel over things I had written about the WRP in Socialist Organiser and John had repeated in a circular letter to supporters of the Socialist Organiser Alliance.

The WRP embroiled us in expensive and potentially ruinous legal processes for four and a half years. If we hadn’t found a friendly solicitor who helped John and myself do the legal work cheaply — John did most of it — we would have been bankrupted and Socialist Organiser forced to cease publication.

Why didn’t we take the easy way out and issue a tongue-in-cheek apology? We explained why:

‘’We live in a labour movement grown spiritually cross-eyed from the long pursuit of realpolitik and the operation of double standards, a movement ideologically sick and poisoned. In terms of moral ecology, the left and the labour movement is something of a disaster area because of the long-term use of methods and arguments which have corrupted the consciousness of the working class. The most poisonous root of that corruption was the Stalinist movement”. (Quoted in Socialist Organiser 447, 10 May 1990).

For years before 1983, Socialist Organiser had been saying that an ostensibly Trotskyist organisation, the Workers Revolutionary Party, was kept afloat by Libyan and other Arab government (including Iraqi) money. You couldn’t read their press and not know that.

They fawned on Arab dictators, publishing a glossy pamphlet about Iraq and Saddam which could have been issued by the Iraqi Embassy in London and which Iraq certainly paid the WRP for publishing. Their paper, Newsline, carried reports on Libya and its ruler, Gaddafi modelled on the stuff which the Communist Party Daily Worker (now The Morning Star) once published about Stalinist Russia.

They raged against “the Zionists”. They identified and denounced “Zionists”, that is Jews in prominent positions in British business and other institutions, for example, in the BBC. They singled out for special abuse prominent Jewish Tories and Jewish Labour right wingers. These were “the Zionists”. “Zionists” were at the heart of the “imperialist” “conspiracies” all over the world. “Zionists” fomented anti-Arab feeling everywhere.

Socialist Organiser was part of a “Zionist” plot against the WRP and the British labour movement. We were, naturally, “anti-Arab racists”.

They published a raving — in fact Hitlerite — editorial in Newsline asserting that there was a Zionist conspiracy stretching through, and linking, the Tory government, the editorial board of Socialist Organiser and Ronald Reagan’s White House!

When, in April 1983 the BBC, in a low-audience early Sunday evening programme, repeated a mild version of the “Libyan gold” allegations, I wrote a short review in Socialist Organiser saying that the BBC had told some of the truth about the WRP. I protested against unsubstantiated statements in the programme that “the ethnic press” was, like the WRP, financed by Libya.

Those who were using the libel laws against a labour movement paper now launched a political campaign in the labour movement against the BBC… and Socialist Organiser! It was a typically vigorous campaign.

A sizeable number of trade union branches and trades councils were persuaded to pass resolutions condemning “the BBC and Socialist Organiser”, sometimes adding the name of the present writer to the list of those being denounced and condemned.

Frequently the resolutions demanded that Socialist Organiser or I, or both, “retract” our “slanders” and discharge our working-class duty to stand by those being attacked by the bourgeois state by way of the BBC programme.

The WRP’s daily paper, Newsline, devoted a page or most of a page every day for 50 (fifty) issues over nine weeks, to printing (solicited) letters and formal statements denouncing us from people holding office in the labour movement and well-known theatrical personages. As well as that they published feature articles, editorials and a large pamphlet to tell the labour movement what dishonest, unprincipled scoundrels, “Zionists” and agents-provocateur for the bourgeois state we were. They tried to whip up a lynch-mob atmosphere against us. They urged that we — and the writer by name and photograph — be shut up.

Meetings were held to denounce us all over the country at which local shop stewards and convenors, secretaries of trades councils, and occasionally a Labour councillor, and one Labour MP, appeared on the platform.

For example, the meeting held at the Conway Hall in London featured the leader of the then Greater London Council, Ken Livingstone, and the leader of a famously “left-wing” borough council, Ted Knight, amongst a large number of well-known platform speakers.

Meetings held in Scotland featured the Labour MP Ron Brown, a sincere political idiot later thrown out by the Blairites, who believed that Libya and Russia and possibly — I can’t remember — Iraq were socialist states.

In that affair we were spectacularly vindicated — and comparatively soon. In late 1985, the Workers Revolutionary Party imploded. They expelled the aged Gerry Healy, charging the 72-year old with the serial rape of members and other such things. The two initial factions splintered into a dozen pieces, all flying in different political directions. Its warring fractions fell over each other in the rush to spill its secrets, including the secrets of its lavish supply of funds.

One of its “historic leaders”, the academic Cliff Slaughter, denounced the WRP’s leadership, of which he himself had been a part for 25 years, as “fascists” for their amoral attitude to politics and for their deeds. We, who had regarded them as no longer part of the labour movement, had not gone that far; but you could see his point.

From Revolutionary Communist Party to Spiked: The Archives Speak!

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1980 The Next Step 8.pdf

Ever Wondered why Spiked is so Quiet on Corbyn’s Past? 

France had its former ’68’ Maoists, above all from the Gauche prolétarienne (1968 – 1974), who became right of centre, and left-of centre, anti-communist liberals.

It even had Benny Lévy (also Pierre Victor; 1945–2003) who from a hard-line Marxist-Leninist leader and ideologue of the group ended up a student of the Torah in Israel.

Whatever else you might think he was serious, as this citation indicates,

To be Jewish. To be, in an absolutely singular manner… a thought of the Return. The Return to the Sinaï… The thought of the Return (la pensée du Retour) requires a critique of the atheology of the modern Jew . Theology of the silence of God after Auschwitz, critique of theodicy, finally return to the notion of absolute Evil, these are the points through which one must pass in a critical manner. In this sense, this book addresses itself at any man, insofar as he is still sensible to the question of the origin of evil.

This biography is worth reading and thinking about: Philippe Lardinois, De Pierre Victor à Benny Lévy, de Mao à Moïse ?, Luc Pire, 2008

Britain, belatedly, had the hard-line Revolutionary Communist Party (1978 – 1997).

Odd as it seems the group behind Spiked was one of the more forceful – or barking – organisations on the British far-left, though not doubt without the kind of Oxbridge paternity that would have paralleled the GP’s best known members’ background in the École normale supérieure.

Today former members write this,

THE TERRIBLE PRICE OF A ‘PEOPLE’S VOTE’

To overthrow the Brexit vote would be to overthrow democracy itself.

The Remainer elite is feeling excited. Why? Because it thinks it might finally have beaten down the democratic desires of ordinary people, especially the poorer, less educated ones. It is hopeful that its relentless fearmongering, its highly moneyed, deeply cynical campaign to depict Brexit as the worst thing to happen to Britain since the war, might finally be paying off. This is the truth behind the Remainer elite’s wild cheering of a poll analysis that seems to reveal that more and more constituencies have shifted towards having Remain majorities: it spies in this alleged shift an important victory for its campaign of delegitimising the democratic vote for Brexit and sidelining the rough, ill-informed people responsible for that vote.

Their one time leader and ideologue, Frank Furedi, screams:

THE FLIGHT OF THE ELITES FROM THE NATION STATE

When leaders lose faith in the nation, geopolitics becomes more unstable.

And this: SELL OUT BREXIT? NO DEAL

It does not look probable that anybody is going to write a serious biography of Brendan O’Neill, or Frankie.

But there are people out there interested in their past (I admit I have a couple of copies of the Revolutionary Communist Papers mouldering away somewhere and a pamphlet….)

The Revolutionary Communist Tendency / Party…

(Splits and Fusions. An archive of British Trotskyist publications)

Love them (?)  or hate them, the Revolutionary Communist Party were a significant component of the British far left of the 1980s.

Originating as a split from the Revolutionary Communist Group (Fight Racism Fight Imperialism), itself a split from the International Socialists, the Revolutionary Communist Tendency published 8 issues of a magazine Revolutionary Communist Papers before establishing the rather stylish tabloid paper The Next Step in 1979. TNS was, at first a 24 page theoretical review before becoming a weekly paper in 1985. The issues of TNS up to that point are consecutively numbered. From 1985 they are numbered 1 – 40-odd repeating each year.

The main preoccupations of the RCP were Ireland and anti-racism as reflected in their front organisations the Irish Freedom Movement, publishing Irish Freedom magazine, and Workers Against Racism

The RCT published a series of Revolutionary Communist Pamphlets whilst the RCP followed up with a number of books and pamphlets, often under the Junius Press imprint and a theoretical journal Confrontation (we will scan some copies of this in due course)

 

World’s Oldest Trotksyist Group Denounces “Witch hunt by liberals against Trump.”

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Image result for the militant socialist weekly us trotsky

An Honourable Past.

The American Socialist Workers Party is the world’s oldest Trotskyist group.

Old enough to be mentioned by George Orwell. (1)

It was founded at the end of 1937.

Their paper, The Militant (the original one) goes back to 1928.

The writings of its leading figure at the time, James Patrick “Jim” Cannon (1890 – 1974), form the basic reading of Trotskyists to this day.

Many know the pages of the History of American Trotskyism, 1928–38, Report of a Participant and The struggle for a proletarian party  (1943) practically (or literally) by heart.

It should be made clear that this Blog comes from a very different, European, background, associated with the sterling figure of Michael Pablo, (1911 – 1996) somebody Cannon opposed root and branch in the 1953 – 4 split in the Trotskyist movement’s largest international grouping, the Fourth International (FI).

Apart from its role in the upper levels of the FI (not formally affiliated due to US law)  the US SWP was directly engaged in various parts of the world wide movement.

The US SWP had a small group, called The Tendency, inside the International Marxist Group during the 1970s.

Uncharitably called a ‘cult’ by well-wishers such as the writer of this post and his mates, they formed the basis for the present Communist League.

Their best known figure is  Jonathan Silberman who hit the headlines not long ago when he in 2015 he announced his intention of standing for the London May contest. (Communist spells out policy to compete in next year’s mayoral election).

Alas, he did not stand.

But Peter Clifford stood for them in the 2017 General Election in Manchester Gorton where he won 27 votes.

If one multiplies this by the number of constituencies in the UK this makes a more impressive sounding 17550 potential votes for the Communist League.

For those interested one may see people selling the US paper cited below on their stall at demos, next to felt-tip written placards produced by a teenage creative writing class.

Yes, everybody who comes these currents have evolved over the years.

The US SWP, according to many reports, has evolved the most.

This marks a further stage in their development:

Witch hunt by liberals against Trump a danger to workers

As President Donald Trump continues to win support for improvements on jobs and production and in foreign policy, the liberal media, Democrats and some Republicans are trying to breathe life into their waning efforts to overturn the 2016 election and drive him from office. They have seized on the conviction of his former campaign manager Paul Manafort, a plea bargain by Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, and the president’s decision to revoke ex-CIA boss John Brennan’s security clearance.

After some dreary stuff we get to the meat, the real ‘low down’ as they say…

Assaults on free speech and freedom of assembly are being carried out today. They’re being organized by a layer of Trump’s liberal opponents, like Maxine Waters, who urges mob attacks on government officials to hound them from public life.

In a series of coordinated editorial columns, the liberal owners of some 350 newspapers around the country claimed the president was attacking press freedom when he tweets about fake news.

But Trump’s remarks have nothing to do with imposing constraints on the press. More and more of these papers have given up any pretense at printing “news,” instead running article after article arguing with Trump and calling him a liar.

As they trade conjectures about the effects the court rulings on Manafort and Cohen, and “treason” calls by Brennan, will have, most bourgeois commentators agree there’s little chance Trump will be indicted or successfully removed from office.

Their conclusions? All out for the Democrats in 2018! And, if they have to, against Donald Trump in 2020.

The Socialist Workers Party is fielding candidates across the country, speaking out about the capitalist rulers’ assaults on working people and the oppressed, and championing labor battles and social protests. The party explains that the road forward is for the working class to break with all the parties of the capitalist rulers and chart a course to take political power into their own hands.

**********

(1) “Although in some places, for instance in the United States, Trotskyism is able to attract a fairly large number of adherents and develop into an organized movement with a petty fuehrer of its own, its inspiration is essentially negative.” Notes on Nationalism. George Orwell. Polemic, No.1, October 1945.

For a good article on the relations between Orwell and Trotskyism see:  George Orwell: a literary Trotskyist? Anna Chen

Written by Andrew Coates

August 26, 2018 at 12:58 pm