Workers Vanguard No. 147 (4 March 1977)
WL Exclusionism Wrecks Own Meeting
TORONTO – The tiny local branch of the Workers League (WL), reinforced by a goon squad of its cronies from Detroit, forcibly prevented members of the Trotskyist League of Canada (TL) from attending a so-called “public” WL, meeting February 19 at the University of Toronto. Although a showing of the film “Trotsky: His Life and Work” was the drawing card for the meeting, its real purpose was revealed once the WL had corralled about 40 people inside. It was simply a forum to continue the vicious slander campaign of the Healyite International Committee (IC) against United Secretariat (USec) leaders George Novack and Joseph Hansen.
As usual, the Workers League was concerned above all with spreading its lies without having to face exposure by supporters of the international Spartacist tendency. At the entrance to the meeting a WL goon announced, “Everyone is welcome who is not a member of the Trotskyist League.”
To protest this Stalinist exclusion, the TL and its supporters initiated a militant picket line, 40-strong, in front of the meeting site. They chanted: “Let the communists in,” “Down with Stalinist exclusionism – For workers democracy,” “On Sadlowski, Miller and Ho Chi Minh – IC and USec are brothers under the skin,” and “Down with the Healyite slander campaign – Reforge the Fourth International.”
Inside the meeting a supporter of the TL demanded to know why the Trotskyist League was excluded and protested this cowardly act as a blatant violation of workers democracy. WL goons immediately rushed him, pushing him out the door. Two others who protested the exclusion were also thrown out. WL honcho Fred Mazelis took the floor, ranting that anyone who disagreed with the exclusion should “go out and join the protest outside,” at which point six more people left.
Mazelis cynically offered to let the TL have one speaker. But later when a TL delegation came to accept this offer, four goons at the door mumbled, “You're too late.” The remaining audience was treated to over an hour of the WL’s crisis-mongering and GPU agent-baiting of Hansen and Novack before the movie. When one person asked when the film would start, Mazelis replied: “If you don't like it you can leave.” At that point ten more people walked out.
The Workers League’s penchant for slandering and hysterical crisis-mongering is as notorious as its longtime Stalinist exclusion of opponent tendencies from “public” WL forums. Its recent hypocritical appeal against violence in the socialist movement (see “Look Who's Calling Us Comrade,” WV No. 143, 4 February) is belied by its continuing practice of exclusionism.
The Workers League fortunately has no impact on the working class. Its capitulation to the right-wing social-democratic New Democratic Party and its chauvinist refusal to recognize Quebec's right to-self-determination are but Canadian adaptations of its appeals to arch-reactionary labor traitors such as Meany and Abel to form a labor party in the U.S. However marginal this group is, its recourse to lies and slander instead of political debate is a poison that must be vigorously combatted, while its exclusion of and thug attacks against opponents on the left are Stalinist provocations that cannot be tolerated in the workers movement.