WL Thug Gets Lesson in Workers Democracy
SAN FRANCISCO, May 2 – In another of its many unsuccessful attempts to stifle workers democracy through physical intimidation, the Healyite Workers League (WL) launched an unprovoked goon assault on a Spartacist League (SL) sales team here tonight. The attack occurred in front of the Avenue Theater, where a pro-PLO film – The Palestinian, promoted by Healyite Vanessa Redgrave – opened yesterday. The Healyite provocation was doubly dangerous because of the possibility of attack by right-wing Zionists (like the terroristic Jewish Defense League, which has threatened to close the film down) or the cops on left-wing paper salesmen and Palestinians attending the movie.
The previous evening two Workers Vanguard salesmen had been harassed and threatened by WL goons, who resorted to cop-baiting, slandering the SLers as “Zionists” and finally to physical violence. WL Central Committee member David Neita had threatened the salesmen – two young women: “If you are around when the movie lets out, I wouldn't answer for your safety.”
When an SL sales team arrived at the theater tonight, they were greeted with the same harassment and intimidation. Neita attempted to provoke a fight by poking and shoving three SL supporters. Ripping a newspaper out of one comrade’s hands, Neita boasted he would “kill” the three of them. Refusing to be provoked, the salesmen stood their ground and continued selling WV.
About ten minutes later, Neita began his provocative routine again, pushing and poking an SL comrade who was standing on the sidewalk. When another comrade intervened to separate them, Neita shoved him too, then started throwing punches. In the brief scuffle that followed, the SLers defended themselves effectively and left when the cops arrived. The WL must resort to thug attacks to suppress revolutionary criticism of its anti-Leninist tailism of Arab nationalists. Above all, they are desperate to prevent exposure of their corrupt fronting for the reactionary Muslim fanatic, Muammar Qaddafi. But even before the Healy tendency became the publicity agents for the Libyan dictator, these political bandits were notorious for their chronic recourse to gangsterism to suppress political debate. In his 1932 Writings, Leon Trotsky denounced gangsterism as fundamentally alien to the revolutionary movement and identified its source:
“The history of the Russian revolutionary movement is particularly rich in
bitter factional struggles. For thirty-five years I have observed very closely and participated in this struggle. I can't recall a single instance in which differences ofopinion, not only among the Marxists but between the Marxists and Narodniks, and the anarchists, were settled by organized rule of the fist....
“Lenin... saw in ... hooliganism indications and symptoms of a whole school and an entire system: the school and system of Stalin.”