Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bulletin Doth Protest Too Much (1986)

Workers Vanguard No. 394 (3 January 1986)

Bulletin Doth Protest too Much

We reprint here an excerpt concerning the Spartacist League from the article “Political Lessons of Anti-Concessions Conference” contained in the 13 December 1985 Bulletin, organ of the recently Healyite U.S. Workers League. Those familiar with the activity of the SL in the real world may not be able to match this with the assertions in this account of the “National Rank-and-File Against Concessions” conference held in Chicago on December 7.

Attending the rotten “fight back” conference were all the usual out-bureaucrat suspects, and some not-so-outs, which the Bulletin doesn’t tell you about – Victor Reuther was the honored guest. Also present were six Workers Leaguers, among them former National Secretary Freddy Mazelis who took over from former, former National Secretary Tim Wohlforth and was in turn replaced by current National Secretary David North.

The Bulletin is compelled to mention the SL, castigating us as “revisionist” (along with the “revisionist Socialist Workers Party,” “revisionist Trotskyist Organization,” and “revisionist Revolutionary Workers League”). We note that for the WL this represents a downgrading from our previous classification as “fingerman for the world capitalists,” the FBI and other dark forces. They also label us “sectarian” and take us to task for only sending a reporter to the event.
A discerning reader might conclude that we were the only principled Trotskyists there, refusing to play “honest trade-union center folk” or to suck up to some of the more entrenched union bureaucrats. Naturally any number of phony socialists undoubtedly consider that “sectarian.” In the WL’s case, Mazelis/North may be just a little defensive about their own deep immersion in this “rank-and-file” event which, by their own account, excluded rank-and-file groups from the leadership.

In any case, you'd think North & Co. would show a little modesty. Their international founder-leader – Gerry Healy of the British Workers Revolutionary Party – has, after all, only recently been expelled for alleged revolting sex crimes against young women as well as having called David North a CIA agent. Fairly squalid stuff. For our analysis, see “Healyism Implodes” in the latest issue of Spartacist (English edition), No. 36-37, Winter 1985-86.

To paraphrase Shakespeare, all the world’s a revisionist except thee and me, and sometimes I wonder about thee.

* * *

Bulletin, 13 December 1985

“The revisionist Spartacist League sent a correspondent to the conference, but did not participate, in keeping with itsstance that it is impossible to fight for revolutionary leadership in the actual struggles of the working class, and that trade union work is only "exemplary," i.e., for the edification of aging middle class radicals outside the labor movement.


The Spartacist League demonstrated its attitude to the struggle
against concessions shortly after the first major battle at Chrysler in 1979.
Their response was to reduce the weekly Workers Vanguard to a fortnightly because the objective conditions for a weekly paper did not exist. Nothing that has happened in the working class movement in the last six years has convinced these middle class sectarians otherwise.”