Thursday, April 30, 2009

Healy at Liege and Peking (1967)

Spartacist No. 10 (May-June 1967)

Healy at Liège and Peking

Capitulating to the Maoist version of Stalinism, the Healy-Banda leadership has taken the Socialist Labour League through a qualitative step in its degeneration. A recent headline in the SLL Newsletter (14 Jan. 1967) calls for: “Conditional support of ‘Red Guards’ – the duty of every revolutionist.” The article, written by Banda, reveals exactly what the SLL support some section of the Chinese bureaucracy striving, against a less verbally “militant” section, to strengthen its own bureaucratic rule. Although Banda, like Mao, spouts the verbiage of “working class” and “proletarian revolution,” he cannot help but reveal his betrayal of working-class aims.

Banda manages a gentle criticism of the SLL’s newfound “revolutionary” hero:
There is little doubt that in this struggle the opposition has been aided,
involuntarily, by some of the extravagant, improbable and Utopian ideas of Mao
Tse Tung; by his refusal to repudiate Stalin, his support of the Soviet
intervention in Hungary, his acceptance of ‘socialism in a single country’ and
his hare-brained schemes of ‘backyard furnaces’ and 100 percent communism. No
doubt excesses will be committed in the present campaign.”
But he insists that “the choice is clear and unavoidable,” a choice for Mao and the Red Guards.

For a Trotskyist to label these as “excesses”, etc. is a gross betrayal of the very foundations of Trotskyism. In creating the Fourth International, Trotsky fought to prevent Stalinism from destroying the Marxist program – but Banda, a “reconstructor” of the FI, is ready to dump this program, if only Chairman Mao will let the SLL jump onto his Stalinist, merry-go-round.

Instant Stalinism

Needless to say, Healy’s devotees, the American Workers League, formerly ACFI, junked their original correct interpretation of the events in China as don as the SLL Newsletter printed Banda’s pledge as a left Maoist. The Wohlforthites had originally analyzed the purpose of the “Red Guard Frenzy” as, a bureaucratic attack on all opponents:
“The mobilization of the Red Guard is thus aimed at both the right and the
incipient left. . . . By appealing to nationalism, just as Stalin did, the CCP
leadership hopes to divert the attention of the masses from their growing
They saw the end result of this “frenzy” as anti-proletarian:

The smashing of ‘Western’ art, the destruction of all evidence of improvements
in the living standards of the masses, all in the name of the ‘great proletarian
cultural revolution,’ are completely reactionary moves, and cannot fail to
alienate, advanced workers all over the world
.” (Bulletin, 26 Sept. 1966.)
Since the sneaky Wohlforth discreetly avoids any mention of this earlier position, we must attempt to discover, in his later, SLL-influenced analysis, reasons for this sudden shift: “But Mao’s line has not been one of capitulation to imperialism either. It is essentially for this reason that we give him our support” (30 Jan. 1967). However, this centrist sophistry cannot explain away ACFI’s correct analysis of 26 September:
But the fact is that the Chinese have been long on words and very short on
deeds. It is not that we advise responding to every imperialist provocation. But
the Chinese have not ‘drawn the line anywhere. . . . We can almost see the glee
of the imperialists over the genuine appeasement with which their provocations
have been met
Wohlforth, is it possible that your vaunted “Marxist method” led you to reverse your position on 30 January because the SLL had, only two weeks earlier, printed its very first analysis of the events in China – an analysis diametrically opposed to the first Bulletin handling of these same events? Could it be that your vaunted “method” consists of the air mail post between London and New York and that it leads you into political falsification? Such “method” has nothing in common with Marxism – it is a disgusting embodiment of sheer opportunism and theoretical bankruptcy.

SLL Capitulation Expected

The SLL’s capitulation, unwelcome as it is to those attempting to rebuild the FI, comes as no surprise to those, like the Spartacist League, who have had to fight against Healy’s bureaucratic Cominternist organizational maneuvers. If the politics of a group such as the SLL remain formally “correct” while the organizational practices of its leading clique increasingly degenerate into Stalinist gangsterism, this contradiction must inevitably set up a tension urgently in need of resolution: either the rotting leadership must be thrown out or the political life of the organization will be increasingly contaminated. The sectarian provocation committed at Liège in October 1966 by the Healy-Banda-protégés, the British Young Socialists (YS), indicated that this second alternative was being realized.

Liège Sectarians

The Liège demonstration was called by the Jeunes Gardes Socialistes of Belgium (JGS), a youth group influenced by the Pabloist United Secretariat (USec). The demonstration of European socialist and communist youth groups had two objectives: for immediate and unconditional withdrawal of American troops from Viet Nam and against the imperialist NATO alliance. The YS appeared at the anti-imperialist demonstration carrying a banner in support of the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. When the Stalinist Belgian Communist Youth (BCY) were confronted by this banner the group withdrew, although the BCY ranks had originally overridden their leadership to force participation in the demonstration.

The reason for this provocation is clear. The YS discovered that the USec had taken the initiative in working with some young Stalinists who might be pulled away from their leadership. The Healyites’ solution to such a challenge was to disrupt this working arrangement with a slogan designed not to educate the Stalinists but to drive them away. Thus the Healyites revealed their inability to politically confront an opponent, to prove through struggle and debate the correctness of their positions and to win over advanced elements from other groups. Instead they offered only a show of sectarian “revolutionary” activity.

However, the Healyites were not the only unprincipled participants at Liège. The USec advanced a defense of their Liège role which by its denial of the vital right to criticize others in a common action is reformist and anti-Trotskyist. Pierre Le Greve defended the USec forces, maintaining:

The principle should have been recalled that it is impermissible in a united
front demonstration for certain participants to arrogate to themselves the right
to impose slogans which a participating tendency considers inadmissible.”

(Quoted in World Outlook, 27 Jan. 1967)
Trotsky might just as easily have been describing the rotten politics of Healy’s sectarianism and the USec opportunism when, in 1932, he wrote:
The mistakes made in the policy of the united front fall into two categories.
In most cases the leading organs of the Communist party approached the
reformists with an offer of joining in a common struggle for radical slogans
which were alien to the situation and which found no response in the masses.
These proposals partook of the nature of blank shots. . . . The second type of
perversion bore a much more fatal character. In the hands of the Stalinist
bureaucracy, the policy of the united front became a hue and cry after allies at
the cost of sacrificing the independence of the party.”
(What Next?)
Healy Wiggles

Several months after the demonstration Healy attempted a theoretical explanation of what had happened at Liège. This pseudo-Trotskyist claims that there could have been no united front because the groups confronting the YS at Liège do not have the “principled positions” Trotsky had. As proof, he offers up the reformist sins of their leaders! (Newsletter, 7 Jan, 1967.)

Insistence on this type of “principle” helps only to maintain the divisions within the workers’ movement. A united front is designed precisely because significant sections of the working class are still controlled by reformist leaderships – its aim is to help free them from that control. Trotsky called in the 1930s for the German CP (KPD) to form a united front with the Social Democrats against a fascist threat to the working class. The Stalinist KPD leadership refused, for reasons similar to Healy’s, to work with the “unprincipled” SPD leadership.

More Falsification

His insistence on such “principle” is not Healy’s only falsification of Trotskyist positions. In the manner of a Catholic priest, he also quotes Trotsky’s descriptions of historically specific conditions in Germany as though those were absolute, general definitions – in order to prove that there could have been no united front at Liège because a united front must in all cases be com posed of “a mass communist party and a mass reformist organization representing millions of members.”

Certainly, there were no “mass” organizations at Liège. But there were some 4000 militant socialist youth, who, through principled tactics, could be the path to a mass revolutionary party on the morrow. Only if the Trotskyist parties struggle – along with sections of the working class – whether on issues such as industry attempts to freeze wages, government attempts to destroy independent union or the imperialist attack on the Viet Nam revolution – can the class vanguard be pulled away from its reformist leaders and prepared for the development of soviets, the united front in its highest form. In such struggles the real communists (Trotskyists) must prove their willingness to fight and the correctness of their programmatic positions.

Fear of Struggle

The Healyites’ provocation at Liège destroyed the possibility of an educational struggle designed to set those wavering Stalinist youth against their reformist leadership. (Their criminality is similar to that of the German CP in the early ‘30s, when it raised abstractly correct slogans on the order of “Down with the Social Democratic Murderers of Luxemburg and Liebknecht,” thus driving the SPD workers back into the arms of their leaders.) A sharp, educational and anti-Stalinist basis for struggle would have been the slogan which the Spartacist League raises when with Stalinist youth in anti-war actions: “No New 1954 Geneva Sellout of Viet Nam by USSR-China!” The BCY youth were prepared, by their participation in a united front in defense of the Vietnamese ‘ Revolution, to be brought, by the implications of such a slogan, into opposition to their own sell-out leaders. But the Hungarian Revolution slogan was a deliberate provocation, entirely outside the framework of the Liège issues.

The SLL at one time was able to wage a struggle against the revisionists through an entry into the British Labour Party youth organization, the SLL won a significant section of that youth to the Trotskyist program. But the leadership has now “reduced the SLL and its International Committee to the position of maintaining itself in a bureaucratic fashion, attempting, through the use of ultra-left, pseudo- revolutionary intransigence, or of opportunist khvostism toward Mao – a Stalinist with élan – to create the illusion of serious struggle. Their ultraleftism (“an infantile disorder,” Lenin called it) is the complementary face of their adaptation to Mao. Both the opportunism and the ultra-leftism give the SLL the impression of struggle and shield its members from feeling the necessity to actually struggle for hegemony of the working class.

SLL as Maoist

The severity of the SLL’s political degeneration can best be seen in its opportunist handling of two theoretical questions concerning China: the source of bureaucracy in a workers state and the means for eliminating that bureaucracy. Their positions on these questions are ‘ best summed up in Banda’s own words. The source of the bureaucracy, according to this ignoramus, is purely subjective:

Softened by an easy life, accustomed to their creature comforts, dazzled by the
privileges of their cousins in the USSR and yearning for ‘tranquility’ and an
end to struggle s and sacrifice, these people want an end to the Sino-Soviet
conflict and the conclusion of a compromise with U.S. imperialism
.” (Newsletter,
14 Jan. 1967.)
Equally subjective is the “cure” for bureaucracy: “The best elements led by Mao and Lin Piao have been forced to go outside the framework of the Party and call on the youth and the working class to intervene,” (21 Jan. 1967) and

“… it is the youth who constitute the main attack in the movement against
bureaucracy. The youth instinctively hate bureaucracy, they detest this type of
party which stifles criticism and creative thought, and it is against this that
the youth react.”
(28 Jan. 1967.)
Because, the SLL has emphasized subjective conditions as essential in the development of such a bureaucratic crisis, they have confused one section of that bureaucracy (i.e., “the best elements led by Mao and Lin Piao”) with the workers state itself and thence drawn the conclusion, that a criticism of Mao and his Red Guards is a counterrevolutionary attack on the Chinese Revolution.

SLL as Stalinist

In other words, these “Trotskyists” have put themselves in the curious position of those Stalinists of the 1930s who responded to Trotsky’s criticisms of Stalin by labelling Trotsky a “completely ruined fascist and counterrevolutionary.” A striking comparison emerges between today and the Third Period, when those “friends of Soviet Russia” mistook Stalin’s words for revolutionary deeds and therefore construed Trotsky’s criticisms as proof of his counterrevolutionary intentions. So today the SLL and ACFI, friends of Mao’s Peoples Republic, take as proof of Mao’s “revolutionary sincerity,” his phrase mongering and sectarian abhorrence of any “deals with the Russian bureaucracy – even the demand for a common front in aid of the Vietnamese revolution.

These “Trotskyists” of the SLL might just as well listen to the words of Mao’s forebear, an equally “sincere” man:

The second question concerns the task of combating bureaucracy, of organizing
mass criticism of our shortcomings, of organizing mass control from below. One
of the most bitter enemies of our progress is bureaucracy. ... The Communist
bureaucrat is the most dangerous type of bureaucrat. Why? Because his
bureaucracy is masked by the title of Party member. And unfortunately we have
quite a number of such Communist bureaucrats. .. How is this evil to be
combated? I think that there is not, nor can there be, any other way of
combating this evil than by organizing control by the Party masses from below,
and implanting inner-Party democracy. What objections can there be to rousing
the fury of the Party masses against the corrupt elements and allowing them to
throw these elements out
These words were delivered by Stalin to the Eighth All-Union Congress of the “Leninist” Young Communist League, 16 May 1928.

Trotsky on Bureaucracy

In contrast to these empiricists who seek to locate the trouble essentially in the desire for “privileges” of corrupt bureaucrats, Trotsky analyzed the historical conditions for both the cause of and relief from bureaucracy:
In other words, the source of bureaucratism resides in the growing
concentration of the attention and the forces of the party upon the governmental
institutions and apparatuses, and in the slowness of the development of
industry.... It is unworthy of a Marxist to consider that bureaucratism is only
the aggregate of, the bad habits of office holders. Bureaucratism is a social
phenomenon in that it is a definite system of administration of men and things.
Its profound causes lie in the heterogeneity of society, the differences between
the daily, and the fundamental interests of various groups of the population.
Bureaucratism is complicated by the fact of the lack of culture of the broad
masses… . The struggle against the bureaucratism of the state apparatus is an
exceptionally important but prolonged task, one that runs more or less parallel
to our other fundamental tasks: economic reconstruction and the elevation of the
cultural level of the masses… In the last analysis, the question will be
resolved by two great factors of international importance: the course of the
revolution in Europe and the rapidity of our economic development
.” (The New
, 1923.)
Trotsky emphasized in addition the need for greater dependence on the Soviets and on the working-class cadres within the party in order to hold down the growth of bureaucracy.

Chinese Bureaucracy

Today this basic historical analysis defines the situation in China, a situation intensified because there is not now, nor has there ever been, workers control in China. The roots of bureaucracy – low economic development and lack of aid from the international proletariat – now threaten the workers state and thereby the position of the bureaucracy itself. Forced by objective conditions, the leading section of the bureaucracy has reacted cynically to its own bureaucratic existence and dully, belatedly and empirically to its economic and social causes. The Mao-Lin Piao faction has labeled everyone else in sight a bureaucrat, assuming with the gall appropriate only to top bureaucrats that their own crimes won’t be noticed, hoping that such labels and the Thought of Mao Tsetung will scare away the results of bureaucracy.” To the economic and ‘international factors which threaten the Chinese workers state (and cause bureaucracy), the Maoists have reacted in fits and starts, zigs, then zags. From the alliance with the national bourgeoisie in 1949, to the nationalization of private industry in 1953, to the Great Leap Forward, of 1958-59, to the re-institution of private peasant holdings in 1961, to the present introduction of army units into the fields and factories, Mao has been attempting bureaucratically to “aid” the objective economic needs of the Chinese workers state. From their betrayal of the Vietnamese revolution in the 1954 Geneva Accords, to their decision to develop a nuclear striking force, to their alliance with “progressive” bourgeois governments like Pakistan and Indonesia, to their present verbal denunciation of imperialists and revisionists, the Maoists have reacted empirically to the problems confronting any revolution sealed off in one country.

For an imperialistically retarded and deformed country like China, industrialization necessarily requires sacrifice from the population. If the state is to avoid struggles such as the one falsely posed by the Maoists as “economism,” the sacrifice must be decided upon by the workers through their own organs of power. Furthermore, such sacrifice, even when decided upon by the workers themselves, can only be a holding operation, awaiting aid from victorious revolutions in more advanced countries – revolutions which themselves will be vastly accelerated by the experience, example and aid of a Chinese proletariat ruling in its own right.

Workers Control

The Maoists, of course, have tried every maneuver they could envision: student youth, red prayer books and military enforcement of production allotments. But they have fearfully avoided workers control, the only alternative which could promise to extend the revolution. The reason for their fear is understandable: workers control would have as one of its immediate outcomes – the ousting of the whole bureaucracy, including Mao himself.

Thus, Mao represents another extension of the criminal usurpation of Stalinism. The actions of the Maoists ultimately constitute the main internal danger to the Chinese Revolution. Because they disrupt the economy through bureaucratic mismanagement and waste, disrupt other revolutions and attack the Chinese proletariat, the Maoists objectively aid the attacks of U.S. imperialism on the Chinese revolution.

Thus aid to the Chinese revolution signifies in addition to military defense against imperialist attack, ruthless criticism of this Bonapartist clique at the head of the Chinese workers state and the call for its removal through a political revolution of the workers, given direction by a Marxist-Leninist vanguard party. The Russian leadership now threatens to betray the other workers states in exchange for a “friendly” deal with the imperialists. Aid to China thus signifies a similar call for removal of the Russian bureaucracy. Only in these ways can the Chinese workers state be strengthened and its industrialization safeguarded against the constant aggression posed by world, imperialism.

This is the program the Fl called for in Russia and it is the program all Trotskyists should call for today for China. But clearly it is not the program of the SLL. To this day the Healy group has never been able to explain how the class forces involved in the Chinese revolution led to a deformed workers state – a characterization which they simply borrowed from others. Never having understood the historical developments, they now see the bureaucrats as able to wage a fight against themselves. This pseudo-Trotskyist SLL excuses Mao’s overall bureaucratic character and applauds his “progressive” line or his “best element” quality, both necessary aspects of Stalinist rule.

Liquidationism Next

In other words these applauding ex-Trotskyists have abandoned any proletarian perspective in the Chinese workers state for the “privilege” of supporting a section of the leading bureaucracy which has helped deform the state. At the same time they have not yet degenerated to Pablo’s position which dismisses the need for a Leninist party. The SLL still calls for the formation of a section of the FI in China. But on what base? – on the Red Guards, “the force upon which the Fourth International will surely be built”! (Newsletter, 4 Feb. 19667). In other words, they wish to be “revolutionary advisers” to Mao, to do what this “hero” is doing, only to do it a “little bit better.” They resemble the SWP in its fatherly advice to “Fidel” and Juan Posadas in his hysterical empathizing with the complete menagerie of such heroes.

This kind of centrist verbal cover was not sufficient to prevent Pablo from following the logic of capitulation through to the eventual destruction of his party. Unless Healy is ousted by those elements in the SLL and IC which want a perspective of international struggle, the SLL and IC will follow a course similar to that of the USec and Posadist groups and will end up liquidating the party as did Pablo.

Open Political Struggle

Healy generalized his sectarian wrecking tactics at Liège to a denial of the Leninist struggle for the united front in action; i.e., the Healyites have lost the possibility of building a revolutionary party in the face of mass Stalinist or reformist parties. Healy’s prior theoretically rudderless response to the Chinese revolution has led to his pathetic inability to distinguish a political revolution against the Stalinist bureaucracy from the massive purge the Maoists are now unfolding. From theoretical weakness it proved a short step for opportunist elements like Banda to push the SLL into giving essential political support to this purge under the slogan, “Defend the Red Guards.” These departures by the Healy group from revolutionary politics signal the transformation of the unclarified civil war between Healy-Banda-Wohlforth and ourselves into a clear-cut political struggle between counterposed tendencies.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

OUST HEALY! (1967)

Spartacist No. 9 (Jan.-Feb. 1967)


An Open Letter to Other Supporters of the IC

There is today a gross scandal in the Trotskyist movement, involving charges of an extremely serious nature leveled against the leadership of the British Socialist Labour League (SLL). Because of the political similarity between the Spartacist League and the SLL, and the close organizational relations existing at various times in the past, we feel it our responsibility to make our views on the matters involved clear and unambiguous. The content of the charges is revealed in the following letter circulated by Ernest Tate.

"Dear Editor,
"I believe it is a tradition in England that all socialists should be allowed to sell or distribute their literature, without hindrance or fear of violence, outside public meetings. I would like to report an outrageous violation of this tradition to your readers and ask for their assistance in preventing it from happening again.

"As quite a number of people on the Left know, I manage Pioneer Book Service, a large outlet for Trotsky's books in England, and I or some of my friends try to cover most meetings with our literature. On Thursday, 17th November, I went along to Caxton Hall to sell literature outside the Socialist Labour League's meeting on the 10th anniversary of the Hungarian revolution. "

"I arrived at 7 :15 p.m. and began to sell the International Socialist Review and a pamphlet, critical of the S.L.L., entitled "Healy 'Reconstructs' the Fourth International." Several people were selling literature. A group of Irish Communists were selling their publication and someone was selling the English Militant.

"Initially there was some baiting of me by the Socialist Labour League supporters who were selling the Newsletter. At 7:50, Gerry Healy and Michael Banda entered the hall. A few seconds later Healy came to the entrance and indicated to his followers that I should be removed from the front of the hall.

"I was immediately set upon and physically assaulted by six or seven Socialist Labour League supporters. My literature was knocked from my hands. I was punched and thrown to the ground, my glasses were smashed, and as I lay on the ground I was kicked repeatedly in the groin and stomach.

"After the attack I had to attend the casualty department of Middlesex Hospital and I was forced to stay in bed for the greater part of the next day. At the moment of writing I am still badly bruised.

"The issue is a simple one. The Socialist Labour League Leadership hope by their actions to prevent me selling my literature outside their meetings. They hope to take away my freedom of speech. This attack comes after a number of threats against me and my friends by members or supporters of the Socialist Labour League. At Brighton during the Labour Party Conference, my comrades were physically threatened and prevented from selling our literature. The same was true at the recent anti-war demonstration in Liege, Belgium, where I was threatened.

"I refuse to be intimidated. Neither a Fascist Mosley nor an ultra-left sectarian Gerry Healy who imagines himself to be a Trotskyist, should be allowed to curtail our democratic rights. I intend to be present at the next public meeting of the Socialist Labour League to sell my literature. I ask for the full support from all people on the Left to ensure I do it without interference from the misguided followers of Gerry Healy.

"Fraternally, ERNEST TATE”

Following the circulation of this letter among Left and labor circles in England and its reprinting by several radical publications, the SLL instituted legal proceedings against Comrade Tate and threatened publications printing Tate's letter with the same treatment.

"Alighting from Coaches"

That Healy had Tate beaten is not disputed - in fact it is defended, as being within the framework of bourgeois "law and order." According to Healy's lawyers, the Tate letter

"described a disturbance on the pavement outside Caxton Hall, where the meeting was being held at which our client was a speaker. The letter states that Mr. Healy indicated to his followers that the writer of the letter should be removed from the front of the Hall and that he was assaulted by supporters of the Socialist Labour League. We are instructed that this is inaccurate. Mr. Healy, in fact, asked a steward to clear the pavement in front of the entrance to the Hall in order to allow passengers alighting from coaches to enter the Hall without being obstructed."
This grotesque legal language only serves to point up the hypocrisy of a man claiming to be a proletarian revolutionary leader using such a law – from the period when lords and ladies descending from their coaches had the right to smash beggars, petitioners, children and anyone else in their way – against another member of the labor movement.

Healy's legal action was clearly intended to intimidate other publications from printing the letter and to end public discussion of the whole matter. Two of the papers which had printed the letter, the Socialist Leader and Peace News, issued retractions and paid the costs demanded by Healy.

Perhaps Healy's having Tate beaten might have been rationalized as an uncontrolled individual outburst of anger; but the appeal to "the Queen's Justice" implicates the entire SLL leadership, both in the initial hooliganism and in the attempt to suppress discussion within the workers movement.


Such tactics applied internally are not new to Healy. We have not previously spoken of the atmosphere of physical intimidation that surrounded the April London Conference, but it was present. We have since heard well-authenticated accounts of the use by the SLL leadership of calculated violence ("punch-ups") to silence internal critics. We already knew that Healy had developed a technique, which destroyed the revolutionary morality of those around him by systematically forcing them to make false confession against themselves. It was for refusing to do this that Spartacist was expelled from the April Conference of the International Committee.

What has now led Healy to employ these tactics outside his movement? This summer the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) issued, for their own purposes a pamphlet on the April Conference entitled "Healy ‘Reconstructs’ the Fourth International," the one Tate was attempting to sell outside the SLL meeting. The pamphlet consists mainly of correspondence between Spartacist and the SLL prior to and following the Conference. It lays bare – most clearly in Healy's own words – the criminal wrecking tactics he employs within the international Trotskyist movement. In denouncing the pamphlet in the 20 August Newsletter, the Political Committee of the SLL stated: "We shall not hesitate to deal appropriately with the handful of United Secretariat agents who hawk it around the cynical fake-left in England."

"Outside the Working Class"

Healy has attempted to put a theoretical face on his actions against. supporters of the SWP – one similar to that used by the Stalinists in the thirties to justify their gangster attacks on Trotskyists. Then Trotskyists were labelled "counter-revolutionary" and beaten when they attempted to circulate literature explaining what was happening in the Soviet Union. The SLL at a "Special Conference" held 26 and 27 November passed a Declaration on the Socialist Workers Party, printed in the 3 December Newsletter and reprinted in the Bulletin. The document describes tie SWP as "turning completely away from the working class." The dispute between the SLL and the SWP is "a fight between the working class and the servants of the class enemy." It states:

"We tell the SWP: The days when you could address us as 'comrades' are long since gone. Your political actions have placed you outside the camp of Trotskyism and of the working class... There can be not the slightest question of your telling us what we must do to reestablish our reputation with you."
At the conclusion of the document appears the statement: "The issues raised in the Nov. 21st letter by Farrell Dobbs, Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, about what happened at Caxton Hall on the night of November 17th, we cannot discuss at this stage for legal reasons." Yet even if supporters of the SWP must be cleared from the streets as "servants of the class enemy," the appeal against them to the bourgeois courts is not explained. The Trotskyist movement has always opposed any appeal to the bourgeois state, even against Fascists.

Healy Exposed

The turn by Healy and the SLL leadership to the political methods of the petty bourgeoisie and to the bourgeois courts is not the action of either genuine revolutionists or of "ultraleft sectarians." Such methods have no relation to the formal politics of the SLL, the politics of revolutionary Trotskyism. How is this contradiction to be explained? We say that Healy is an aggressive and greedy adventurer whose particular politics have changed frequently. At the present he is claiming to adhere to the revolutionary Marxist program of Trotskyism. Tomorrow his politics will be something else, just as they were only a few years ago when Healy was indistinguishable from the Bevanites in the Labour Party.

Furthermore, Healy is an adventurer peculiarly preoccupied with sharp financial deals and with technical and material matters: His Plough Press does heavy commercial work – using his comrades' labor. He believes that "weak" national sections should financially support the "strong" one, i.e., his. Thus in 1961 he took over $1,000 from those of us who were then his supporters in this country in order to make a world tour. The tour never materialized, nor was the money returned or otherwise accounted for. (Copies of the relevant correspondence and cancelled checks would be available to any bona-fide workers' investigating commission.) Since then Healy has always sought, successfully, to conduct his relations with comrades in the U.S. at a profit. Churchill once described England as a nation of small businessmen. Healy stands as the left wing of his nation.

Sack Healy!

The persistent adherence by the Spartacist League to the revolutionary principles and program of Trotskyism, to which Healy gives lip service, have twice led Healy to break with and attempt to destroy us. Because of this adherence, the Spartacist League is not now besmirched by the public exposure of the gangster tactics Healy uses. Just as Farrell Dobb's telegram of condolences to Mrs. Kennedy came as a revelation, even to those who were most aware of the deepening revisionism of the.SWP, so Healy's outrageous beating of Tate, compounded by dragging the victim before the courts of Elizabeth II's England, is a striking exposure of his and his leading committee's bankruptcy as revolutionists.

To the members of the SLL and the other sections of the IC, we say: OUST HEALY! In the United States the American Committee for the Fourth International (ACFI) has consistently aped Healy. Its members have now individually defended Healy's attack on Tate by saying, "Well, we want to smash Pabloites, don't we?" while the Bulletin reprints Healy's cynical statement that questions pertaining to "the events around Caxton Hall" cannot be discussed "for legal reasons." The ACFI members, whose initial weaknesses were exploited by Healy in typical Comintern fashions, are now being made to accept and justify ever greater departures from revolutionary practice. As with Stalin's Comintern, sections that have developed along this path have no inner stamina to resist any threat or any "opportunity" domestically. At the first opportunity we will see ACFI's vaunted "internationalism" (i.e., loyalty to a British clique) change into the most vicious American nationalism.

As for the SWP, it is certainly their right to factionally use against their political opponents this act of hooliganism. However, as Oscar Wilde once pointed out, hypocrisy is the acknowledgement vice pays to virtue. The SWP today is chasing after the same pacifists, Stalinists and middle-class elements who have been and will be guilty of the most serious violence against the working class and its left wing, both directly and through the bourgeois state. However, despite the motives of the SWP, its objective call at the present time for democracy within the labor movement is correct. We concur, only insisting that this democracy be applied impartially to all sections of the workers' movement. Furthermore, we are for the defense by any measures necessary of the right of Tate or anyone else within the workers' movement to press their opinions. The legal defense imposed on Tate certainly merits the support of all militants, and contributions for this purpose may be sent to him c/o Pioneer Book Service, 8 Toynbee Street, London E1, England.

Trotsky's Method

In addition to the defense of Tate, what can be done to apply the maximum pressure against repetitions of this conduct? Trotsky has offered us an example of how to proceed in his article, "A Case for a Labor Jury – Against All Types of Gangsterism in the Working Class Movement; On the Murder of the Italian Stalinist Montanari." In this emigre quarrel the killer had apparently been victimized by the Stalinists and after resorting to violence he was for a time falsely linked by them to the Trotskyists. The conduct of the Italian Communist Party then roughly corresponds to the SLL's now. The conclusion of the article from the New Militant, 5 October 1935, is reprinted here :

". . . The Montanari-Beiso case is important precisely because a conflict on the political plane has led to a supremely senseless act of murder of one emigre by another. In this there lies an ominously serious warning, and it is necessary to grasp its significance in time!

"The matter is now in the hands of the bourgeois law courts. The official investigation is obviously not intended to cast light on the bloody tragedy from the standpoint of revolutionary morals of the proletariat. The prosecution will probably try only to compromise the proletarian emigres and the revolutionary organizations in particular. But the agents of the Comintern will also try to exploit the trial for
every vile purpose, as they are obliged to do. The duty of workers' organizations, without any regard for political banners, lies in one thing: in shedding the greatest light possible on this case, and thereby, insofar as it is possible, to prevent the repetition of gunplay in revolutionary circles.

"In our opinion, the labor organizations,must establish, without any further delay, an authoritative and non-partisan committee which would go over the entire material, including Beiso's letters mentioned in l'Humanite, to examine all the witnesses and representatives of the parties and groups who are concerned or interested in the case, so that the political, moral and personal circumstances in the case be clearly established. This is necessary not only in memory of Montanari, not only to reveal Beiso's real motives, but also to purge the atmosphere of all working class organizations of treachery, calumny, hounding and gun play. Naturally the interests of the case would be best served if the representatives of l'Humanite and of the Central Committee of the Italian C.P. were to take part in this Committee. But we may safely predict that they will most certainly refuse: these politicians stand only to lose from an impartial investigation, and much more than would appear on the surface. But the investigation ought not to be wrecked by their refusal to participate. Every honest participant in the labor movement is deeply interested in seeing to it that this abscess is opened which can otherwise develop into gangrene. The tragic case of Montanari-Beiso must be brought before a labor jury."
Workers' Inquiry

In the event that the grip of Healy's clique on the Socialist Labour League is too strong, or Healy's leading collaborators on the International Committee too cowardly, to intervene directly to oust Healy, we think it appropriate to force a workers' inquiry to expose this fraud who disorients and corrupts the Trotskyist movement by posing as a revolutionary leader.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Revolution and Truth (1966)

Spartacist No. 8 (November - December 1966)

Revolution and Truth

G. Healy, general secretary of the British Socialist Labour League, and his publicists in the American Committee for the Fourth International are evidently striving to compensate with volume for what they lack in cogency. Determined to do a "job" on the Spartacist League, Healy's efforts to discredit our "clique of petty-bourgeois friends" is frankly impressive: very heavy coverage in five issues of Wohlforth's Bulletin, four of the SLL's Newsletter, sections of the August issue of Fourth International, and a 38-page pamphlet reprinting the first six attacks. As if the split itself did not have enough of a Kafkaesque quality, Healy and his ACFI mouthpiece accuse Spartacist of "sectarianism," "declaring war," and "pouring out slanders and lies" – in replying to the attack which the Bulletin initiated.

But the split's grotesqueness must not obscure its seriousness. The Hansen pamphlet, Healy 'Reconstructs' the Fourth International, published by the SWP, only suggests the value of the breach to the revisionists. Healy and Wohlforth, with whose organizations the Spartacist League remains in essential political agreement, actually seem to gloat that unity with us was not consummated, yet we have already expressed our bitterness over "the temporary set-back to the world movement and to our prospects in the U.S.," "the resultant aid and comfort given to the SWP and to Pabloist revisionists internationally," and the "delight to Stalinists of all varieties who have for years attacked Trotskyists as unprincipled splitters." (Letter of Spartacist leader H. Turner to Healy, 30 April 1966.)

The Calculated Lie

A set-back of another sort has also resulted: ACFI's efforts to rationalize Healy's anti-Leninist organizational practices have driven these comrades into a truly appalling anti-Marxist direction: the conscious embrace of calculated deception as political methodology. Our comrades formerly in the Socialist Workers Party first fully tasted Wohlforth's talents in 1963 when, as de facto party prosecutor, his lying accusations were the basis for their expulsions. The April conference debacle has again revealed Wohlforth's and Healy's expertise. Striving defensively to project the image that everybody is a bit of a liar, they challenge our assertion that James Robertson, Spartacist editor and a delegate, was expelled from the conference for refusing to acknowledge our "petty-bourgeois" nature and other characterizations. These charges constituted the bizarre motivation of a demand for an "apology" for Robertson's absence from a session.

ACFI brands our version as "mythology"; but they and Healy have inadvertently let slip a glimmer of the truth. The 12 September Bulletin, While ignoring Robertson's several apologies to the delegates for an unintentional infraction of "protocol," describes the ultimatum thus "Only when he continued to refuse to acknowledge that he had caused the conference to be inconvenienced was his attitude characterized as that of a petty-bourgeois… . But he continued, for the next 24 hour period of the conference .... to refuse to apologize." Healy's letter of 15 April to Turner picks up the story: "At the end of this session … Robertson was then asked if he would carry out the unanimous request of the Congress and apologize for his attitude towards the Congress. He refused to do this and was accordingly asked to leave." (Our emphasis.) Healy's docile words fail to convey the full flavor of this verbal hate session, culminating in our delegate's expulsion.

Wohlforth and Struggle

Our ACFI comrades have been particularly hard put co defend, the allegations that we "write off the white working class as quiescent and oppose any agitational work," especially since this charge emanates from a group which in its entire existence has issued three leaflets directed to situations of struggle – and two of these were issued jointly with Spartacist, which has more than 90 of its own to its credit! Wohlforth's isolation from civil rights struggles, as from the labor movement, is reflected in his obsequious "Open Letter to SNCC" (Bulletin, 10 October) and more significantly in ACFI's incapacity to recruit a single Black member. Apparently as a wishful consolation, the Bulletin prints a photograph of a tin-hatted Black worker as its "Labor Scope" mascot; and while claiming to be "printed entirely by union labor," the paper lacks the authority of a printers' trade label – a suggestion of cynical ignorance of even the anti-scab traditions of militant trade unionism.

But the profoundly cynical assertion of deception as a principle – which represents Wohlforth's abdication of any intention to function as a revolutionist – was learned from Healy, not Trotsky.

Having many times acknowledged the Spartacist League's modest but real involvement in mass struggle, our ACFI comrades had to explain their post-conference public fabrication. After first expressing unconcern, ACFI members tragically began to suggest that dishonesty as such is correct in principle. On 17 September, at ACFI's first public function since their April rupture with us, a Coordinating Committee member privately boasted, in the presence of unafiliated members, that ACFI would stoop to any debasement to safeguard its connection with Healy. Similar cynical admissions began to accumulate. Finally on 2 October, in the first of several classes on "Leninism" (actually an Aesopian re-run of the split aimed at hardening ACFI's Membership) Wohlforth codified his "method." Discussing Trotsky's 1925 denial of Lenin's Testament, Wohlforth acknowledged that Trotsky misled his comrades. But, said Wohlforth, exalting this desperate evasion into a principle, "Trotsky taught us when to lie and when not to lie."

The fact that Trotsky's disavowal was committed at the decision of the leading body of the Opposition, and under terms dictated by Stalin, did not prevent it from accruing heavily to Stalin's advantage and producing no little disorientation among Trotsky's followers. But the profoundly cynical assertion of deception as a principle – which represents Wohlforth's abdication of any intention to function as a revolutionist – was learned from Healy, not Trotsky. In fact, Wohlforth takes that action which our opponents have sought to exploit as the "core" of Trotskyist practice and himself turns it into the essence of Trotskyist practice!

The minuteness of Wohlforth's literary sect does not deflect from the power of this poison. What is at stake is no less than whether the future Leninist vanguard – of which we today are the progenitors – will have the capacity to carry through the task of leading working people to revolutionary victory. But the proletariat's conscious understanding of its tasks, central to Marxism, is only nourished to the extent that the workers realize the clear and sober truth – including about ourselves and our opponents.

Treating this problem in Their Morals and Ours, Trotsky reasoned:
"The liberation of the workers can come only through the workers themselves. There is, therefore, no greater crime than deceiving the masses, palming off defeats as victories, friends as enemies, bribing workers' leaders, fabricating legends, staging false trials, in a word, doing what the Stalinists do. These means can serve only one end: lengthening the domination of a clique already condemned by history. But they cannot serve to liberate the masses."

The Bulletin itself of 29 March 1966, describing the "political methodology” of Progressive Labor, anticipated its own tragedy:

"It has been said by someone who probably learned the hard way, 'never trust anyone who lies to you.' ... It would be thought that anyone belonging to an organization that aspires to revolutionary victory of the working class would examine the history … and see the political method of the lie as an important component of the reformist degeneration of the Communist parties throughout the world.”
Wohlforth's Method

Armed with this "method," Wohlforth has had no difficulty in subordinating theory and truth to his tactical needs. Thus, to resurrect the slander of Spartacist's denial of the working class, Wohlforth in the Bulletin of 10 October isolates a quotation from our last issue referring to the New Leftists "image of an apathetic white working class" – in order to attribute this view to us in the very article by us calling for "arousing the working class" to a political struggle against capitalism! Similarly Wohlforth, like Healy, relishes in endlessly slandering individuals who break with the movement. Thus Wohlforth vituperates against Shane Mage while printing in the 24 October Bulletin, without a single acknowledgement, an article on Hungary almost wholly adopted and plagiarized from Mage's work!

Our experience with Healy's and Wohlforth's opportunism, which predicates such dishonesty, dates back to our original split in 1962. Rewriting the history of his relations with us in a series, "Problems of the Fourth International" (Newsletter, 22 and 29. October), Healy serves up as, "educational assistance" the ultimatum given our comrades then in the SWP – not simply to accept the discipline of his group with which they had only close but ill-defined relations, but to renounce their views before the party. Healy explains that he was "opposed to any attempt to sharpen up the internal faction struggle inside the SWP…" (Newsletter, 22 October), and, through Wohlforth at the time circulated charges of our comrades' "indiscipline" and "split perspective" (SWP Discussion Bulletin, June 1963); yet Healy's 29 October version endeavors to prove our alleged anti-internationalism by citing that we were "ready to accept SWP discipline"! Healy's contradiction reflects his flip-flop at the time: Healy was willing to police our tendency in exchange for a deal with Dobbs; when this proved fruitless, Healy had Wohlforth drop the "party loyalty" line and virtually invite expulsion. Our comrades, on the other hand, steered one straight course until their expulsion: a principled, vigorous struggle inside the SWP for a revolutionary program.

While Healy largely just rehashes the Bulletin's well-worn lies, these articles further reveal the man's Stalinist-conditioned idea of an International: not a disciplined collective of peer sections, guided by a democratically-selected center, but a network of puppets obedient to Healy for his "revolutionary integrity and rich experience." A dubious integrity, indeed, after the "rich experience" of "advice" to our "goodselves" like the following: "We do not want to impose [our proposals] on you. If you do not like to accept them, then there is no need to accept them. All those comrades who do accept them will be considered as part of an international tendency...." (Healy's letter to Revolutionary Tendency of SWP, 12 November 1962.)

As the servant reflects the master, Wohlforth exposes the political character of Healy; and their performance as micro-careerists repudiates their literary Leninism. The latest manifestation of ACFI's left-centrist behavior has been their electoral positions: in New York City they supported the middle-class Hal Levin campaign; meanwhile ACFI's man on the West Coast caved in to the "boycott" 'line Of the Scheer liberals – placing ACFI to the right of even the National Guardian, which supported the SWP's write-in campaign. Such opportunism links to Healy's own shortcomings which we would have sought to correct within the International Committee had we not been expelled: especially his tendency towards a Great-Power insensitivity on the national question; the SLL's tactical vacillations between unprincipled concessions and violent sectarianism; and the Healy regime's anti-Leninist bureaucratism. ACFI, parodying Trotsky, begs these questions by "defying " us to explain the "social roots" of Healy's practices. The Voix Ouvriere comrades have observed that while a bureaucracy such as the Stalinists' has a basis in social and economic causes, including the conservative protection of material privilege, Healy's bureaucratism is a product primarily of his incapacity as a revolutionist!

Trotskyism and Truth

While Healy's practices, aped by Wohlforth, increase our opponents' vulnerability, the Spartacist League takes no pleasure in the business; the 29 March Bulletin's sober commentary on PL ironically well-foretold our present assessment of ACFI:
"We do not simply gloat over the self-destruction of a political organization... Progressive Labor's behavior can have no other effect than to isolate and demoralize its own membership as well as creating, skepticism and mistrust in the minds of working class and student militants toward communist organization and struggle. All in all, a criminal waste!"
Yet Wohlforth assails us for not "closing ranks with the IC" by denying that a crime was committed! There is compounded irony here – the Spartacist League is politically much closer to the IC than, for example, to Voix Ouvriere, with whom we have strong differences over their state-capitalist position on the Sino-Soviet states, their tendency towards syndicalism, and their erroneous assessment of the Fourth International. But we, like VO, recognize that true solidarity with the International Committee forces requires that we help it purge its ranks of criminals, not deny their deeds. The honest engagement of this task itself facilitates the rebuilding of a Leninist Fourth International.

London Conference Aftermath (1966)

Spartacist No. 7 (September-October 1966)


All interested parties have now offered their versions and taken their stands on the April International Conference called by the "International Committee of the Fourth International." The Conference was marked by the driving away of the Voix Ouvriere comrades on the unique grounds that they would not have been invited had Healy known their positions, which had all been published months before the Conference, and by the nakedly trumped-up expulsion of the Spartacist group.

Healy's Newsletter reported the Conference immediately upon its conclusion, but said not a word about Spartacist and its expulsion, although the projected American unification between Spartacist and the American Committee for the Fourth International had been one of the main aims set for the Conference. Although as a result of the Conference we were supposed to be forthwith "removed... from the path of the working class," Healy was apparently too embarrassed to take the initiative.

Dirty Job

Thus he took an oblique approach, leaving the dirty work to his hacks on ACFI's Bulletin, who finally produced a series of political misrepresentations, a hint about a conference "cleavage" and no mention of the destruction of the projected American unification, When in reply Spartacist printed a full report of the Conference (see Spartacist, June-July 1966 issue), including our full political positions, as well as making public the organizational pretext for the expulsion -- the refusal of a Spartacist delegate to state that his coming late to a Conference session constituted an admission of the petty-bourgeois nature of his organization -- the SLL leadership and its ACFI satellite were finally forced to deal with the actual events of the Conference.

Three months after the Conference, two full pages were devoted to us in successive July issues of the Newsletter. C. Slaughter, a genuinely able Marxist, was given a dirty job which he tried valiantly to carry out. But because Comrade Slaughter felt it necessary occasionally to quote from our remarks made to the Conference, as reprinted in our last issue, certain objective limits were placed on what are otherwise straw men masquerading as our positions.

Any independent comparison of our positions with Slaughter's intentional misrepresentation of them makes it unnecessary for us to detail the many discrepancies. For example: our emphasis on the importance of black working-class youth in the U.S. is not a denial of the working clans as a whole; no more is our recognition of the generally propagandistic level of our work a denial of the agitational and class struggle elements which are necessarily present but not dominant. For Slaughter to insist that the recognition of a certain primacy eliminates other aspects of a question is to be mechanistic, simplistic and anti-dialectical. Through such distortion Slaughter tries to obscure the collision between our actual views and the underlying sectarian and mechanical positions of the SLL.

In particular, the "United Secretariat" ... had cause to fear a successful outcome to the Conference. Strong opponent sections in the U.S. and France and a functioning international center for the IC would have threatened them severely at a time when events in Algeria, Indonesia and Cuba have been dealing hard blows to their revisionist conclusions.

The SLL contends that the Fourth International has been rebuilt (or never needed rebuilding – they haven't yet worked out which) and that Pabloism has been smashed internationally, but in any case that the IC is the FI. The IC under Healy avoids the necessary step of seeking to promote splits and fusions among other, self-styled Trotskyist groups, resorting instead to attempting to destroy the revolutionary integrity of any group which does not display an abject submissiveness to the SLL leadership, by forcing it to profess indefensible positions and then discredit itself, or, failing that, to the tactic of outright misrepresentation and lies.

Slaughter pretends to see some sort of unprincipled politics in our statement that the Cuban comrades of the Posadas tendency "were in the main excellent comrades struggling with valor under difficult conditions." He replies that the jailed Posadists were released last year, having given the Cuban authorities a declaration that their opposition to the Castro regime would cease. "Even Posadas himself denounced this declaration; but Robertson cannot mention it." In fact, Comrade Slaughter very likely first read in Spartacist itself (Nov.-Dec. 1965 issue) of the capitulation of some half-dozen of the 50-100 Cuban Posadists and of Posadas' repudiation.

Leninist Politics?

But wretched and false though Slaughter's polemic is, at least it attacks some ideas and defends others. However, Healy's American altar boy, Wohlforth of ACFI, in rushing to get into the act, felt no such compunction: no quoting of one's opponent, no ideas to attack or defend, only calculated loyalty to Healy and simple hatred for Spartacist appear in the Bulletin.

In "Spartacist and Leninist Politics, Part I, the International Movement," Wohlforth sidesteps the discussion of Conference events with the question; "We demand that Spartacist explain how 'bureaucratic centralists' could build the healthiest revolutionary proletarian party in the world." Since the revolutionary capacity of the SLL is still to be proven and its recent actions cast serious doubts that it will be; since among British socialist groups its proletarian composition is hardly notable (the allegiance of radical unionists is still largely to the CP); since it is still far too small to proclaim itself a mass party – Wohlforth could be said to have overloaded the question just a bit! His supplemental conclusion is that "having no politics himself, the Abernite [i.e., Robertson] is forced to adapt to alien political currents." Such "analysis" flows from the psychological realm of pure projection; Wohlforth has always followed persons rather than ideas, from right-wing conciliator Weiss all the way over to Healy, with lesser flirtations (e.g., Swabeck, Mage, Phillips, Marcus) in between.

In "Part II, The Flight of the Middle Class Intellectual," we find that Shane Mage plays the James Burnham to Robertson's Shachtman (what happened to Robertson the Abernite is not clear). Wohlforth completes this preoccupation in personality by predicating his case on the assumption of Leon Trotsky's basic infallibility. However, Trotsky was not infallible (indeed, why should he be ?); until the bloc with Zinoviev his course in the struggle against Stalinism was disoriented and unclear, but afterwards unswerving to the end. Trotsky himself recognized this when he wrote in 1935 that he had misjudged the whole point of the "Thermidorian" reaction.

Wohlforth's own working relationship with Marcus illustrates his preoccupation with personality. For nine months he used Marcus as his chief theoretician and even stated on record that he was in 99 percent agreement with Marcus (to which we replied that Wohlforth would find the remaining 1 per cent awfully big). Marcus spent seven weeks with us, and ultimately found the atmosphere of Marxism far less congenial than that of ACFI. However, we still defend the most patient efforts to integrate talented intellectuals into our own ranks. Wohlforth, who opportunistically accepted Mage and Marcus en bloc, not critically, as did Spartacist, will not force us with his gibes into a sectarian mold.

Pabloists Protected

The Conference had a recognized importance beyond the ranks of the groups present. In particular, the "United Secretariat" tendency associated with the American Socialist Workers Party had cause to fear a successful outcome to the Conference. Strong opponent sections in the U.S. and France and a functioning international center for the IC would have threatened them severely at a time when events in Algeria, Indonesia and Cuba have been dealing hard blows to their revisionist conclusions. Consequently the United Secretariat was delighted with the actual conference outcome; the SWP has now brought out a pamphlet, “Healy 'Reconstructs' the Fourth International: Documents and Comments by Participants in a Fiasco, with a Preface by Joseph Hansen." By showing up Healy as a prime example of "sectarianism and tinpot despotism" the United Secretariat protected its left flank just at the time that the Pabloists are politically most vulnerable.

As indicated, the pamphlet consists of a batch of documents, introduced by Hansen's lengthy, amusing and sometimes accurate narrative of the Conference. Hansen describes the documents as having been "received" by the SWP "by chance." (What a delicate way to describe the appropriation of the documents by an alternate member of the SWP National Committee!) Hansen attempts to use the documents as the basis for an attack on all participants. However, all he is able to dig up about Spartacist is the old and discredited lie that our predecessor tendency was expelled from the SWP for "indiscipline." As for the Voix Ouvriere group, he can do no more than characterize them as "wily politicians." Although we have substantial political differences with VO, we believe that our groups could exist within the framework of a genuine democratic centralist international. This conclusion is strengthened by the exemplary honesty and responsibility that VO has shown in its dealings with the IC and with us, and the seriousness of its treatment of the main Conference documents as well as its participation in the Conference itself.

Monstrous Statement

We waited with interest to see how Healy would react to the Hansen pamphlet; in the Newsletter of 20 August, the reaction came. The statement by the SLL Political Committee is monstrous, showing that the SLL leadership, when trapped in a tight comer, will (1) slanderously accuse opponents and critics of being agents of the class enemy, "finger men for the State Department," (2) and themselves threaten to use the capitalist police and courts to fight their political battles for them "…[the] pamphlet … is legally libellous; we shall not hesitate to deal appropriately ..."

The alleged basis for the SLL's treatment is that the pamphlet opens up "the Robertson group and the Wohlforth group" for legal prosecution under the U.S. Voorhis Act. We for our part reject the SLL's solicitousness on our behalf. The Voorhis Act is a paper tiger – never used against anyone and patently unconstitutional. For the Justice Department to start proceedings against a small group like ours or the smaller and much less threatening ACFI would make the government a laughing stock, and Healy knows this. He is aware that for years the SWP has hidden behind this very act to defend its own federalist idea of an International. He wrote contemptuously of the United Secretariat (Newsletter, 19 June 1965) when it refused on the basis of the Voorhis Act to hear an appeal from us against our expulsion from the SWP.

The truth is that the SLL is left gasping in the face of the documents. It can only bluster, threaten, conceal and tragically itself cross the class line by threatening to call the cops. Nowhere in the SLL-PC statement is any inkling given of the pamphlet's contents -- i.e., documents of Conference participants themselves. Instead the pamphlet is made to appear entirely the product of the SWP. The reason is that the documents, and especially the key letter written by Healy himself, expose Healy's tactics for what they are.

In conclusion, there are two points. In the light of the best efforts by all the interested parties to interpret and justify their roles or attitudes toward the London Conference, we must state that for the historic short run at least we have been vindicated in the course that we steered at the Conference and subsequently, and have emerged with our capacity to pursue revolutionary work unimpaired. Healy and his New York centrist publicist cannot say the same.

It is absurd to describe Healy's' break with Spartacist as being our breaking from the Fourth International; rather, our understanding of authentic internationalism and of our role. as a detachment of the world movement has been deepened. And if Healy's wrecking sectarianism and bureaucratism have made the work of Trotskyists (including ourselves) internationally more difficult, we will go ahead; the world party of socialist revolution will be reborn, but toward that task Healy has been shown to be not a midwife, but an abortionist.


The following are several paragraphs from the article by Cliff Slaughter, secretary of the International Committee.

"Spartacist, in order to cloud over this political basis of the split, lies about the departure of Robertson and his delegation,"


"Robertson was, of course, not asked to denounce himself as a petty-bourgeois, or anything of the sort. Such is not the politics of Bolshevik organizations:"

And finally:

"His very rejection of this, his insistence on personal prestige against this discipline, confirms our characterization of this group as petty-bourgeois, dominated by the ideology of middle-class radical groups in American politics, their ideology subordinated to the US monopolists and American exceptionalism."

-- from The Newsletter, 2 July 1966

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

1966 London Conference 3: Spartacist Statement

Spartacist No. 6 (June-July 1966)

Spartacist Statement to International Conference

REMARKS made during the discussion of Cliff Slaughter's Political Report at the International Committee Conference by Comrade Robertson on 6 April 1966 on behalf of the Spartacist delegation (with minor editorial corrections).

On behalf of the Spartacist group, I greet this Conference called by the International Committee. This is the first international participation by our tendency; we are deeply appreciative of the opportunity to hear and exchange views with comrades of the world movement.

Therefore, we feel we have the responsibility to present to you our specific views where they are both relevant and distinctive, without adapting or modifying them for the sake of a false unanimity which would do us all a disservice, since we have, in our opinion, some valuable insights to offer.

We are present at this Conference on the basis of our fundamental agreement with the International Resolution of the IC; moreover, the report of Comrade Slaughter was for us solidly communist, unified throughout by revolutionary determination.

1. What Pabloism Is

The central point of the Conference is “The Reconstruction of the Fourth International, destroyed by Pabloism." Therefore the issue, "What is Pabloism?" has properly been heavily discussed. We disagree that Pabloism is but the expression of organic currents of reformism and Stalinism, having no roots within our movement. We also disagree with Voix Ouvriere's view that Pabloism can be explained simply by reference to the petty-bourgeois social composition of the F.I., any more than one could explain the specific nature of a disease by reference solely to the weakened body in which particular microbes had settled.

Pabloism is a revisionist answer to new problems posed by the post-1943 Stalinist expansions. And Pabloism has been opposed within the movement by a bad “orthodoxy” represented until the last few years by the example of Cannon. We must answer new challenges in a truly orthodox fashion. As Gramsci put it, we must develop Marxist doctrine through its own extension, not by seeking eclectic absorption of new alien elements, as Pabloism has done.

The pressure which produced Pabloism began in 1943, following the failure of Leon Trotsky's perspective of the break-up of the Soviet bureaucracy and of new October revolutions in the aftermath of the war: this failure resulted from the inability to forge revolutionary parties. After 1950, Pabloism dominated the FI; only when the fruits of Pabloism were clear did a section of the F.I. pull back. In our opinion, the “orthodox” movement has still to face up to the new theoretical problems which rendered it susceptible to Pabloism in 1943-50 and gave rise to a ragged, partial split in 1952-54.

Inevitable Struggle

The fight against Pabloism is the specific historic form of a necessarily continual struggle against revisionism, which cannot be "finally" resolved within the framework of capitalism. Bernstein, Bukharin, and Pablo, for example, have been our antagonists in particular phases of this struggle, which is both necessary and inevitable, and cannot be "solved."

These are some of our views about Pabloism; they are not exhaustive, for they are shaped by the particular aspects of Pabloism which have loomed large in our own struggle against it.
We had better concentrate upon what Lenin said concerning the various, ubiquitous crises which beset imperialism (a system essentially in crisis since before 1914). Lenin pointed out that there is no impossible situation for the bourgeoisie, it is necessary to throw them out.

We take issue with the notion that the present crisis of capitalism is so sharp and deep that Trotskyist revisionism is needed to tame the workers, in a way comparable to the degeneration of the Second and Third Internationals. Such an erroneous estimation would have as its point of departure an enormous overestimation of our present significance, and would accordingly be disorienting.

We had better concentrate upon what Lenin said concerning the various, ubiquitous crises which beset imperialism (a system essentially in crisis since before 1914). Lenin pointed out that there is no impossible situation for the bourgeoisie, it is necessary to throw them out. Otherwise, "crises" are all in a day's work for the mechanisms and agencies of imperialism in muddling through from one year to the next. Just now, in fact, their task is easier, after the terrible shattering of the Indonesian workers' movement; add to this the other reversals which expose the revisionists' dependence on petty-bourgeois and bureaucratic strata, like, the softening of the USSR, the isolation of China, India brought to heel, Africa neatly stabilized, and Castro a captive of Russia and the U.S. The central lesson of these episodes is the necessity to build revolutionary working-class parties, i.e. our ability to intervene in the struggle.

2. Anti-Pabloist Tactics

A French comrade put it well: "there is no family of Trotskyism." There is only the correct program of revolutionary Marxism, which is not an umbrella.

Nevertheless, there are now four organized international currents all claiming to be Trotskyist, and spoken of as "Trotskyist" in some conventional sense. This state of affairs must be resolved through splits and fusions. The reason for the present appearance of a "family" is that each of the four tendencies -- "United Secretariat," Pablo's personal "Revolutionary Marxist Tendency," Posadas’ "Fourth International," and the International Committee – is in some countries the sole organized group of claiming the banner of Trotskyism. Hence, they draw in all would-be Trotskyists in their areas and suppress polarization; there is no struggle and differentiation, winning over some and driving others to vacate their pretense as revolutionists and Trotskyists. Thus, when several Spartacist comrades visited Cuba, we found that the Trotskyist group there, part of the Posadas international, were in the main excellent comrades struggling with valor under difficult conditions. The speeches here of the Danish and Ceylonese comrades, representing left-wing sections of the United Secretariat, reflect such problems.

The partial break-up and gross exposure of the United Secretariat forces -- the expulsion of Pablo; the Ceylonese betrayal, the SWP's class-collaborationist line on the Vietnamese war, Mandel's crawling before the Belgian Social-Democratic heritages -- prove that the time has passed when the struggle against Pabloism could be aged on an international plane within a common organizational framework. And the particular experience of our groups in the United States, which were expelled merely for the views they held, with no right of appeal, demonstrates that the United Secretariat lies when it claims Trotskyist all-inclusiveness.

We Must Do Better

Up to now, we have not done very well, in our opinion, in smashing the Pabloites; the impact of events alone, no matter how favorable objectively or devastating to, revisionist doctrines, will not do the job. In the. U.S., the break-up of the SWP left wing over its five-year history has been a great gift to. the revisionist leadership of the SWP.

At present, our struggle with the Pabloites must be preponderantly from outside their organizations; nevertheless, in many countries a period of penetration into revisionist groupings remains necessary in order to consummate the struggle for the actual reconstruction, of the F.I., culminating in a world congress to re-found it.

3. Theoretical Clarification

The experiences of the Algerian and Cuban struggles, each from its own side, are very important for the light they shed on the decisive distinction between the winning of national independence on a bourgeois basis, and revolutions of the Chinese sort, which lead to a real break from capitalism, yet confined within the limits of a bureaucratic ruling stratum.

Two decisive elements have been common to the whole series of upheavals under Stalinist-type leaderships, as in Yugoslavia, China, Cuba, Vietnam: 1) a civil war of the peasant-guerrilla variety, which first wrenches the peasant movement from the immediate control of imperialism, and substitutes a petty-bourgeois leadership; and then, if victorious, seizes the urban centers and on its own momentum smashes capitalist property relations, nationalizing industry under the newly consolidating Bonapartist leadership; 2) the absence of the working class as a contender for social power, in particular, the absence of its revolutionary vanguard: this permits an exceptional1y independent role for the petty-bourgeois sections of society which are thus denied the polarization which occurred in the October Revolution, in which the most militant petty-bourgeois sections were drawn into the wake of the revolutionary working class.

Political Revolution

However it is apparent that supplemental political revolution is necessary to open the road to socialist development, or, in the earlier, stages, as in Vietnam today, the active intervention of the working class to take hegemony of the national-social struggle. Only those such as the Pabloists who believe that (at least some) Stalinist bureaucracies (e.g., Yugoslavia or China or Cuba) can be a revolutionary socialist leadership need see in this understanding a denial of the proletarian basis for social revolution.

On the contrary, precisely, the petty-bourgeois peasantry under the most favorable historic circumstances conceivable could achieve no third road, neither capitalist, nor working class. Instead all that has come out of China and Cuba was a state of the same order as that issuing out of the political counter-revolution of Stalin in the Soviet Union, the degeneration of the October Revolution. That is why we are led to define states such as these as deformed workers states. And the experience since the Second. World War, properly understood, offers not a basis for revisionist turning away from the perspective and necessity of revolutionary working-class power, but rather a great vindication of Marxist theory and conclusions under new and not previously expected circumstances.

Weakness and Confusion

Many statements and positions of the I.C. show theoretical weakness or confusion on this question. Thus, the I.C. Statement on the fall of Ben Bella declared:

“Where the state takes a Bonapartist form on behalf of a weak bourgeoisie, as in Algeria or Cuba, then the type of 'revolt' occurring on June 19-20 in Algiers is on the agenda."
– Newsletter,
26 June 1965.

While the nationalization in Algeria now amounts to some 15 per cent of the economy, the Cuban economy is, in essence, entirely nationalized; China probably has more vestiges of its bourgeoisie. If the Cuban bourgeoisie is indeed "weak," as the I.C. affirms, one can only observe that it must be tired from its long swim to Miami, Florida.

The current I.C. resolution, "Rebuilding the Fourth International," however, puts the matter very well:

“In the same way, the International and its parties are the key to the problem of the class struggle in the colonial countries. The petty-bourgeois nationalist leaders and their Stalinist collaborators restrict the struggle to the level of national liberation , or, at best, to a version of 'socialism in one country,' sustained by subordination to the co-existence policies of the Soviet bureaucracy. In this way, all the gains of the struggle of the workers and peasants, not only in the Arab world, India, South East Asia, etc., but also in China and Cuba [our emphasis: Spartacist] are confined within the limits of imperialist domination, or exposed to counter-revolution (the line-up against China, the Cuban missiles crisis, the Vietnam war, etc.)."

Here Cuba is plainly equated with China, not with Algeria.

The document offered by the French section of the I.C. several years ago on the Cuban revolution suffers, in our view, from one central weakness. It sees the Cuban revolution as analogous to the Spanish experience of the 1930's. This analogy is not merely defective: it emphasizes precisely what is not common to the struggles in Spain and in Cuba, that is, the bona fide workers' revolution in Spain which was smashed by the Stalinists.

Overcoming Bad Method

The Pabloites have been strengthened against us, in our opinion, by this simplistic reflex of the IC., which must deny the possibility of a social transformation led by the petty-bourgeoisie, in order to defend the validity and necessity of the revolutionary Marxist movement. This is a bad method: at bottom, it equates the deformed workers' state with the road to socialism; it is the Pabloite error turned inside out, and a profound denial of the Trotskyist understanding that the bureaucratic ruling caste is an obstacle which must be overthrown by the workers if they are to move forward.

The theoretical analysis of Spartacist concerning the backward portions of the world strengthens, in our estimation, the programmatic positions which we hold in common with the comrades of the I.C. internationally.

4. Building U.S. Section

The principal aspect of our task which may be obscure to foreign comrades is the unique and critically and immediately important Negro question. Without a correct approach to the Negro young militants and workers we will be unable to translate into American conditions the rooting of our section among the masses.

We have fought hard to acquire a theoretical insight in the course of our struggle in the SWP against Black Nationalist schemes which disintegrate a revolutionary perspective -- defending the position that the Negroes in the U.S. are an oppressed color-caste concentrated in the main in the working class as a super-exploited layer. And we have acquired a considerable experience for our small numbers and despite a composition which is still only about 10 per cent black. We have a nucleus in Harlem, New York City. We intervened in several ways in the Black Ghetto outbursts over the summers of 1964. and 65, acquiring valuable experience.

[The balance of the remarks was not written out before delivery; it is given as reconstructed from the rough notes. The issue of propaganda and agitation was not significantly gone into in the report, but is in the Spartacist draft document on tasks assembled the night before the oral report was given, hence the relevant section of that draft is also quoted below.]

Our draft resolution before you states regarding our Southern work that, "Perhaps our most impressive achievement to date has been the building of several SL organizing committees in the deep South, including New Orleans. This is a modest enough step in absolute terms and gives us no more than a springboard for systematic work. What is impressive is that no other organization claiming to be revolutionary has any base at all in the deep South today."

Black and White

The race question in the U.S. is different from that in England. In fact it is part way between the situation in England and that in South Africa. Thus some 2 per cent of the British population is coloured; in South Africa over 2/3rds of the people are black. In the U.S. if some 20 per cent of the population is Negro and Spanish-speaking, then within the working class, given the overwhelming concentration of whites in the upper classes, the others comprise something like 25 or 30 per cent. What this means is that in England the intensity of exploitation is spread unevenly, but rather smoothly throughout an essentially homogenous working class. At the other extreme in South Africa, the white workers, with ten times the income of the black, live in good part themselves off the blacks, thus imposing an almost insuperable barrier to common class actions (witness the European and Moslem workers' relations in Algeria). In the U.S. the qualitatively heavier burden within the class is borne by the black workers. In quiescent times they tend to be divided from the white workers as in the lower levels of class struggle such as are now prevalent. Therefore the black youth in America are the only counterparts today to the sort of militant white working class youth found in the British Young Socialists.

Uniting the Class

However, we are well aware that at a certain point in the class struggle the main detachments of the workers, as such, i.e., black and white, in common class organizations such as trade unions, become heavily involved. Every strike shows this. In preparation for the massive class struggles ahead we have begun to build fractions in certain accessible key sections of the working class. But today the winning over of young black militants is the short cut to acquiring proletarian cadres as well; virtually all such militants are part of the working class.

Finally, we know that under the specific conditions in the U.S. to build a genuinely revolutionary party will require the involvement in its ranks and leadership of a large proportion, perhaps a majority, of the most exploited and oppressed, the black workers.

A Fighting Propaganda Group

The Spartacist draft theses state: "The tactical aim of the SL in the next period is to build a sufficiently large propaganda group capable of agitational intervention in every social struggle in the U.S. as a necessary step in the building of the revolutionary party. For this intervention we seek an increase in our forces to at least tenfold. From our small force of around 100 we move toward our goal in three parallel lines of activity: splits and fusions with other groups, direct involvement in mass struggle, and the strengthening and education of our organization.”

1966 London Conference 2: Defeat for World Trotskyism

Spartacist No. 6 (June-July 1966)

Defeat for World Trotskyism

It is a bitter irony that the Newsletter (organ of the British Socialist Labour League) headlined its article on the April Conference of the International Committee "Rebuilding the Fourth International." The signal accomplishments of the conference: the Voix Ouvriere (a French Trotskyist group previously unconnected to either the I.C. or the United Secretariat) was driven away and Spartacist expelled. Thus the Fourth International was "rebuilt."

The break with Spartacist was accomplished over a transparent organizational pretext. Spartacist editor James Robertson, a delegate to the conference, excused himself from one afternoon session, and refused later to “confess” that his absence was either a violation of principle or the expression of “petty-bourgeois American chauvinism.” His failure to make the “proper apology” was deemed a departure from democratic centralism. It was grotesque that an international split should be precipitated by an undeclared rule on attendance which was applied only to the Spartacist delegation; so grotesque, in fact, that no section of the I.C. has yet found the courage to make this fact public. On the contrary, the American Committee for the Fourth International, which had formerly proclaimed itself an ardent advocate of unity, has suddenly "discovered" that the positions of Spartacist are incompatible with participation in the I.C., fabricating a smokescreen of political accusations in the ACFI Bulletin of 9 May 1966, to explain the unexpected break.

A Critical Review

Since all supporters of a principled unification among revolutionary Trotskyists must be surprised and confused at this about-face, it is necessary to review critically the political contributions and events at the London Conference, in order to determine what precipitated the split.

The major report of the conference was given by Cliff Slaughter, secretary of the IC, on "Rebuilding the Fourth International," the international resolution before the Conference. Incorporated in the summary by Slaughter was a vehement attack on the political activity and character of Spartacist and a special attack upon Robertson, as noted above. While our delegation voted in support of the resolution, they perforce abstained on the vote on the Slaughter report.

Where We Stand

Spartacist came to the conference because we were in basic political agreement with the main positions published by the International Committee. We remain in basic political agreement with the I.C. Resolution, despite particular exceptions.

Comrade Slaughter characterized the present objective context as one of “deepening crisis of imperialism,” especially since 1956. He saw the working class as both increasingly restive the world over, and rapidly exposing and rejecting the traditional labor bureaucracies. He described the rise of Pabloite revisionism as the reflection of conscious effort by the bourgeoisie to disorient and bridle the vanguard of the working class. Nevertheless, he declared, Pabloism has now been defeated decisively, and the struggle for leadership of the working class is the immediate task. The superiority of the I.C., he asserted, lies in its understanding of "Leninist methods of party-building and in Marxist theory."

The V.O. group stated a counter position that Pabloism his been the reflex of the petty-bourgeois composition of the Fourth International since World War II.

On the third morning of the Conference, Comrade Robertson's turn on the speakers' list was reached. He expressed Spartacist's fundamental agreement with' the line of the International Resolution and of the report, but he took the opportunity to make clear certain differences. (His remarks are printed in this issue, below.) Comrade Robertson then missed the session which followed the delivery of his remarks. Although three members of the Spartacist delegation were in attendance at the session, fully empowered to take part in the discussion, this absence by Comrade Robertson was made the excuse for a violent attack upon our organization.

Spartacist Expelled

During the session missed by Robertson, Michael Banda of the SLL chose as his comment on the Slaughter report a sharp political attack upon Spartacist’s positions. In the evening session which followed organizational issues of "indiscipline" were raised.

Attacks upon Spartacist continued for a twenty-four hour period during which the Healy group tried to create some political pretext for the expulsion. Finding none, they were left with the original shabby organizational pretext.

It should be noted that Robertson had informed Comrade Healy (National Secretary of the SLL) of his intended absence, and that furthermore upon returning to the conference he explained to the assembled delegates that he had known of no rule demanding his attendance, that he had had no intention of not following protocol and would certainly adhere to all rules in the future.

ACFI's Feeble Effort

What was the reason for this vehement assault? The Bulletin makes a feeble effort to provide some motivation. Thus: "Robertson stated that he was in general agreement with the report (of Cliff Slaughter) but showed that he had no understanding and in reality no agreement with its fundamental method and line." In evidence for this fantastic interpretation, the Bulletin, points to Spartacist's evaluation of the short-run stabilization of capitalism in the colonial world after the recent defeats sustained by the working class in the backward nations. Because Robertson has noted this temporary set-back for working-class forces, he is blind to the "unity of the crisis." If by unity of the crisis it is meant that despite interim advances the capitalist class cannot resolve or suppress the contradictions in society, then Spartacist vigorously concurs. But if the Bulletin and the I.C., whose line it represents, desires to- translate every defeat into a victory, to treat the crushing reversal, say, in Indonesia, as a new, higher stage in the struggle for socialism, that is another matter: so the Comintern in 1933 viewed Hitler's rise to power as the springboard for the proletarian revolution. The revolutionary conviction of Spartacist is based, not on euphoric optimism, but on confidence in the working class with the leadership of a revolutionary vanguard party to become conscious of its mission to liberate society from the stranglehold of capital.

Negro Question

In a similar vein, the Bulletin article suggests that Spartacist's special approach to the Negro question disparages the white working class. This is especially dishonest of our ACFI comrades since it is they who went along with the SWP abdication to Black Nationalism in 1963. Spartacist comrades, then known within the SWP as the Revolutionary Tendency, voted for a revolutionary integrationist counter-resolution and have maintained a consistent position since then on the need for a class rather than national analysis of the Negro question.

To be fair, ACFI has since modified its line on this question, publishing in its Bulletin a revised position which characterizes the Negro people as a people-class, in analogy to A. Leon's characterization of the Jewish people as a people-class. Strangely, the ACFI delegation in London remained silent while Spartacist was denounced by Greek and French delegates for having an ACFI-like people-class line on the Negro question.

Why this sudden switch in line by ACFI, this insensitivity to the special position of Negroes in the U.S.? Because ACFI, like puppets on a string, must now view American questions in British terms.

Propaganda OR Agitation?

With "inexorable logic," the Bulletin article plods to the inevitable conclusion: Spartacist is only a propaganda group, incapable of fusing theory with action. Yet Tim Wohlforth, the uneasy ACFI leader, missed his signals and submitted to the London Conference a revealing document, "Some Comments on Perspectives for the Fused Movement," which concluded : "The Spartacist comrades, while insisting on a propagandistic course, have done more to break out of an exclusive propagandistic existence than we have." While Spartacist comrades have been arrested some twenty times over the past three years as a result of our active participation in the civil-rights movement, we have yet to hear of one single ACFI member facing similar persecution! This striking difference reveals the truth.

The final argument, all others failing, is that Robertson "did not agree that the I.C. and only the I.C. represents the continuity of the movement." If the Spartacist comrades did not believe that the I.C. was a political heir of Trotskyism, why have they sought unity within a disciplined International? The Bulletin intends something more: servile subordination is demanded.

No Bolshevik Discipline!

Most ironical: the I.C. is not an International: it has no discipline, at least not for the privileged British and French sections. The I.C. has instead accepted the position that "The only, method of arriving at decisions that remains possible at present is the principle of unanimity." Yet it demands complete, unquestioning "discipline" from its sympathizers, even on the level of organizational trivia. Our friends in ACFI recently refused debate with us without first "clearing it."

For Robertson to have "apologized" in London would have meant that Spartacist would have accepted ACFI's puppet role in the international movement. This kind of subordination is political suicide.

It remains to answer why the Healy group in the I.C. chose to wreck the immediate prospects for rebuilding the Fourth International by driving out the V.O. group and expelling Spartacist. In the light of this how shall we evaluate the revolutionary potential of the Socialist Labour League despite its obvious achievements?

Behind the Split

In one sense, the remarks of Comrade Robertson did bring on the split. Clearly the I.C. felt unable to tolerate a disciplined but vigorous and independent tendency within its ranks. This is the organizational reality behind the. expulsion, behind the lies and distortions in the Bulletin. But what, in turn, is the political explanation for the monolithic bureaucratism of the I.C. and especially of its chief section, the SLL of Britain?

Rigid bureaucracy in a workers' movement always reveals fundamental lack of confidence in party members and ultimately in the revolutionary capacity of the working class. The Healy group has demonstrated a fundamental, incapacity to build a world revolutionary movement. It is up to Spartacist along with other sections of the International Committee to construct a leadership to that end.