Tuesday, June 30, 2009

WL Goon Assault Backfires (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 137 (10 December 1976)

Workers Democracy Defended in Los Angeles

WL Goon Assault Backfires

LOS ANGELES, December 4 - Spartacist League reporters and salesmen were wantonly attacked today by club-wielding Workers Leaguers outside the WL's poorly attended “Fifth Anniversary Conference and Disco” held at the Twilight Zone Bar in the Inglewood section of Los Angeles. The WL's Healyite goons were courageously repulsed by defenders of workers democracy. Finally the frustrated WLers took refuge behind the “protecting” mantle of the racist L.A. cops.

The incident began as SL supporters outside the bar were selling WV and Australasian Spartacist detailing Healyite thug attacks on Spartacists and other leftists in Australia (see WV No. 134, 19 November). Anticipating possible trouble from the notorious political bandits of the WL, who have repeatedly provoked similar confrontations in L.A. and elsewhere, the WV salesmen were accompanied by SLers and others who support the right of working-class tendencies to distribute their literature and who oppose thug violence within the workers movement.

Shouting “we don't want your cameras here,” a frenzied WL goon lunged at a WV photographer. Then a gang of WL thugs brandishing wooden clubs and jagged broken pool cues attempted unsuccessfully to assault the photographer. After a brief scuffle during which a plate glass door was broken, the Healyite goons were repulsed and retreated into the bar. The SL supporters resumed selling their literature. Then “somebody” called the cops. Four squad cars arrived, accompanied by a police helicopter overhead. Recent WL congressional candidate Sheila Leburg brazenly accused the SL of attempting to “disrupt” the meeting.

Not even hiding behind the cops can the WL shield itself from the revolutionary criticism of the Spartacist League. Working-class militants must continue to instruct the WL hooligans in the principle of workers democracy. Stalin-style gangsterism and attempts to suppress the expression of political views must be expunged from the workers movement!

Protest Healyite Thuggery (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 130 (27 October 1976)

Vicious Attack on SL/ANZ, SWP in Australia

Protest Healyite Thuggery

SYDNEY, October 18 – A rampage of thuggery by the Healyite Socialist Labour League (SLL) here yesterday left supporters of the Australian Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and Spartacist League of Australia and New Zealand (SL/ANZ) seriously injured. Under direct supervision of SLL national secretary Jim Mulgrew, the Healyite goons launched two brutal premeditated assaults outside a “public” SLL forum at the Sydney Trades Hall. The Spartacist supporters were selling literature and protesting the Healyites’ exclusionist practices, while SWPers were distributing a statement in reply to the Healyites’ slander campaign against American SWP leaders Hansen and Novack. Several SL and SWP members were bruised and bloodied, and one SWPer required hospital treatment after numerous punches and kicks to the head and body.

Healyite gangsterism is no news to the workers movement. But yesterday’s attacks indicated a deliberate attempt to maim members – in particular leading members – of opponent tendencies.

No sooner had the Spartacists approached the Trades Hall than SLL honcho Mulgrew began threatening an Australasian Spartacist photographer. The reason for Mulgrew’s concern with photographs became clear an instant later as, with SWPers looking on, he directed several of this thugs to jump SL national chairman Bill Logan, shrieking “get Logan, get Logan!” SLers who sprang to their comrade’s defense were slugged and pummelled, one receiving a bloody nose.

Unable to dislodge the SLers without exposing the seamy side of Healyism before untutored SLL ranks and others coming into the hall, Mulgrew pulled his hoodlums back, restricting them to personal and sexist insults, threats, physical harassments and provocations against the SLers an SWPers who were still arriving.

But when the bulk of their youth had been shepherded inside, the Healyite goons shoved and jostled an SWP supporter handing out material to people going in. Mulgrew and his hooligans then surrounded a leading SWPer, John Percy, who was attempting to photograph the incident. After smacking him on the face, they proceeded to indiscriminately assault SL and SWP supporters coming to his defense. As Mulgrew retreated to safety, the goons launched a barrage of kicking and punching in the middle of the street. One SLer received a severe blow to the head and SWP youth leader David Deutchmann, who had vigorously protested the earlier assault on the SL, was singled out by the enraged Healyites who punched him to the ground and continued to stomp and kick him as he lay.

Healyite gangsterism against the Trotskyist criticism of the SL has a long history. SL/ANZ supporters were subjected to a similar, though less brutal, attack at the same site a year ago when Healy himself came to Sydney on a speaking tour. But with the initiation of their international slander campaign against American SWP leaders Hansen and Novack – which has driven the Healyites further into self-imposed disrepute and paranoid insularity – their thuggery has become more frequent. At a May Day march in Sydney this year, the Healyites not only kept Spartacist literature a “safe” distance from their closely guarded contingent (going so far as to call the cops to prevent an SL supporter from distributing leaflets), but they even accosted a salesman of the Socialist, paper of the ossified, ultra-reformist pro-Moscow Stalinists. This was followed by a series of incidents with salesmen of other left papers.

In July, a gang of Healyites disrupted a forum in Sydney by American SWP vice-presidential hopeful Willie Mae Reid. The SLLers, shouting and waving their “indictments” of Hansen and Novack during the discussion period, prevented Reid from speaking. The reformist SWP used the incident to ban the SLL from attending all SWP public forums. The SWP has had a longstanding ban against allowing Spartacist supporters at forums as well, thus displaying that its main concern is the suppression of left criticism of its rotten politics.

The Spartacist tendency has from the start taken an active principled stand in combating the Healyite slander campaign against Hansen and Novack and in defending the SWP against SLL disruptions and physical attacks. This is more than can be said for the SWP’s Australian partner in the “United” Secretariat (USec), the crumbling Mandelite Communist League (CL). While Bill Logan on behalf of the SL/ANZ signed the American SWP-initiated statement against the slanders, the CL was conspicuously absent from the list of Australian signatories. In fact it has bolstered the Healyite campaign by supporting their demand for an “inquiry” into the bizarre charges – an act not entirely unconnected with a certain parallelism between the SLL’s slogans and appetites toward militant Labourism and those of the CL.

The Healyites’ paranoid concern with police infiltration in the workers movement – the ostensible justification for the frenzied campaign to slander Hansen and Novack as “accomplices” in the 1940 assassination of Leon Trotsky – is exposed as hollow by their own practice. Their wilful provocation of thug violence opens up the workers movement to repression by the cops at any time. The short step between this Stalinist gangsterism and calling upon the cops to suppress leftist opponents is one which the Healyite political bandits made a decade ago. From the beating of USec supporter Ernest Tate in 1966, and the subsequent appeal to the bourgeoisie’s courts against Tate, to the present day the Healyites have repeatedly invoked the capitalist cops and courts against left-wing opponents. Yesterday Mulgrew boasted, “If the police come, we’ll get them to arrest you all.”

“Cop”-baiting slander and gangster violence are deliberately employed by the Healy tendency as obstacles to debate and political clarification within the workers movement. Open political debate would expose, for example, the SLL’s adaptation to the protectionist hysteria sweeping the Australian ship-building industry, threatened by overseas competition (the SLL has failed to criticize the chauvinist character of Australian shipyard workers’ occupation of Japanese ships, even though an SLL supporter is shop steward in one of the yards most active in the occupations). It would expose the SLL’s consistent catering to social-democratic illusions through its campaign to “Force the Liberals to Resign.”

We can assure Mulgrew, Healy and their gang of one thing: their gangster tactics will not prevent their exposure in the course of the struggle for the rebirth of the Fourth International.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Defend WL Against LA Cop Harassment! (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 125 (17 September 1976)

Defend WL Against LA Cop Harassment!

Late last month a southern California court announced that seven supporters of the Young Socialists (YS), youth group of the Healyite Workers League, will stand trial October 13 for “dancing without a permit” at a Workers League office in Huntington Park, California. The outrageous charge was made following a police raid on a July 10 YS social attended by 11 persons. Five youths were arrested and all 11 given citations carrying $50 fines. (Charges against four of the youth who were under 18 years of age have already been thrown out of court.)

At 9:30 p.m., before the dance had even begun, two policemen entered the office without a warrant, scanned the literature on display, harassed the occupants and left.

Thirty minutes after their departure, three club-wielding policemen entered the office, again without a warrant, one of whom demanded to see a license for the office and threatened to shut down the premises on the spot if one were not produced at once. After being shown a license, he demanded to know whether the YS had a permit to hold a dance. When asked if it were illegal to hold a dance, he and the other two left, but not without muttering that any of those present living in Huntington Park could expect a police visit at their homes.

Shortly afterward, three squad cars arrived on the scene, with a fourth stationed down the street. The same three cops barged through the door, knocking over one person and threatening another with a felony charge and a $1,000 fine for touching a policeman.

Everyone was ordered to move up against a table, and five of those present were handcuffed and taken to the police station. The cops refused to show anyone a copy of the law under which the citations were issued and failed to inform the five who were arrested of their rights. One woman was struck on the side of the head, and one officer was overheard to ask his sergeant: “Can I choke this black bitch?”

This outrageous attack on an office of the Workers League must be understood as an attack upon the entire working-class movement. The Spartacist League/ Spartacus Youth League and Partisan Defense Committee protest this cop harassment and demand that all charges against those attending the YS dance be dropped immediately!

The Workers League has requested that letters, telegrams and messages of protest regarding this incident be sent to: Mayor Herb A. Hennes. Jr. 6550 Miles Avenue, Huntington Park, CA 90255

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Where is the Class Line in News Line? (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 114 (17 June 1976)

Where's the Class Line in the News Line?

LONDON, May 6 – “At first glance it looks like the Daily Mirror,” writes the weekly London entertainment guide Time Out, comparing to the British equivalent of the New York Daily News and National Enquirer the Workers Revolutionary Party's latest desperate maneuver - a “popular” daily paper featuring big pictures, a “full racing card” and very little politics. The logo is indeed a deliberate imitation of that used by the sex-and-scandal British gutter press.

It looks like the Daily Mirror at second glance, too. The sympathetic article in Time Out notes, “despite appearances, The News Line is closely associated with the Trotskyist Workers Revolutionary Party,” commenting approvingly that most of the WRP’s political views have been removed from the new publication. Most of the news is “straight” reportage; thus News Line reports without comment that General Carvalho is being run for Portuguese President, or that the Italian Communist Party has proposed a grand coalition.

The WRP's daily Workers Press folded in February (see WV No. 97, 20 February 1976). Evidently concluding that even the fake-mass Workers Press had been too political to gain a wide readership, the WRP has now staked its hopes on trying to compete with the bourgeois press on its own terms. The accent is on sensationalism: spy scares, government sex scandals; tidbits of “human interest.”

Even the sports news in News Line is banal. The racing tips are mostly carefully hedged predictions on favourites – and the track record so far is not outstanding.

Once again the WRP’s antics provide fuel for the opponents of Trotskyism. The introduction to an anti-Trotskyist polemic (by Stalinist Monty Johnstone) notes with glee that the WRP “had also bitterly attacked the [CP's Morning] Star for having changed its name from the Daily Worker – only themselves now to adopt one which has not the slightest hint of a connection with working-class traditions and aspirations.”


The WRP took the opportunity in the interim between dailies to retire general secretary Gerry Healy, renowned for his political banditry and organizational thuggery, whose place has now been taken by the equally notorious Michael Banda. The Healyites’ organisational fortunes have continued to decline markedly, both in Britain and internationally. The WRP May Day march was claimed to have 2,000 participants, but WV observers counted at most 560, including a large number of children.

Perhaps in desperation, the Healyites have pushed their techniques of “mass recruitment” to bizarre lengths. For instance, the 1 May issue of the Healyite Young Socialist trumpets “200 Members Join Hull YS.” And how did the Hull Healyites “recruit” 200 new members to their Young Socialist branch?

Simple. They just held a disco (dance with records) and “everyone who attended the disco was signed up as a YS member”! Another article on the same page further amplifies the recruitment technique. It explains with an apparently straight face that at a YS “football rally” recently a discussion was precipitated by the arrival of a group of youth wearing swastikas. “In the end,” the article placidly concludes, “it was agreed that such signs could not be worn in a Young Socialists disco and they were taken off.”

By all rights the British ostensibly Trotskyist organisations who mourned the demise of Workers Press should be hailing its rebirth as News Line. If the closing of Workers Press was a “loss” as the International Marxist Group's Red Weekly said, surely News Line is a “gain”? And if, the Workers Socialist League (whose core was expelled from the WRP in 1974) was correct in calling the liquidation of Workers Press “A Blow to Trotskyism” then why is not News Line a “blow for Trotskyism”!

The WSL's assessment of Workers Press showed its failure to draw the proper balance sheet of Healyism, attacking only the organisational sectarianism of the WRP and not its opportunist political practice. The outstanding trait of the Healyite “method,” the pretense at a mass base (a “base” built on discos and not Marxism) was strikingly revealed in the failure of its “mass paper,” which never had any significant support in the working class.

Moreover, the Healy tendency's degeneration into anti-Trotskyist political banditry occurred many years before the expulsion of the WSL. The disorientation of the WSL, and its leanings towards rightist conciliation of the Labour Party, are shown in its insistence that the WRP should never have stood candidates against the Labour Party – at the same time as the WSL insists that the WRP had enough mass support among advanced workers to sustain a daily paper! You cannot have it both ways.

The liquidation of the Workers Press removed a barrier in the fight to create a Trotskyist Party in Britain. The News Line is a last wild gamble that will not succeed. The hoped-for advertising, which was supposed to provide the financial support for the new paper that would enable it to succeed where Workers Press could not, has not materialised, with only a handful of theatres and bookstores taking out classified ads. The modest fund drive goal of £4,000 a month was just barely reached in the first month, and the needed circulation of 30,000 copies a day will not be reached on newsstand sales. The new paper, having effectively liquidated such political face as the WRP has, will carry general secretary Banda and his gang of political bandits down to disaster.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mazelis Assaults Spartacist Militant (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 109 (14 May 1976)

Shocked WL Supporters Pull Off Ex-National Secretary

Fred Mazelis Assaults Spartacist Militant in Cleveland

At a Cleveland shopping center last week, Fred Mazelis, former national secretary of the disintegrating Workers League (WL), physically assaulted a WV salesman. While WL thuggery is far from unprecedented, the frenzied attack so startled several of Mazelis' shocked supporters standing nearby that they rushed forward to restrain him and drag him away.

Mazelis initially appeared reasonable enough and bought a copy of WV. But when asked why he was no longer WL head and why the WL had changed its leadership so often in the past couple of years, Mazelis denounced the Spartacist supporter for starting a "non-political" argument.

Responding to another question, Mazelis defended the WL's political support to the petty-bourgeois nationalist MPLA. But when pressed about the MPLA's strike-breaking activities, Mazelis without warning put down his bundle of Bulletins, grabbed the SLer by the throat and began hitting him in the face. The SLer struck back effectively in self-defense and three WLers intervened to stop Mazelis' unprovoked attack. Mazelis began shouting to his comrades, “No, no! This is important!” Clearly beside himself, he told the SLer: “We kicked your ass in Los Angeles too.... This is just the beginning!”

Workers League gangster violence within the workers movement erupted several times recently in Los Angeles. On March I the WL held a meeting at Cal. State L.A. to publicize its shameful campaign to smear leaders of the reformist Socialist Workers Party as "accomplices of the GPU" in the Stalinists’ assassination of Trotsky. When members of the Spartacus Youth League appeared at this “public” meeting, they were physically threatened and one was assaulted and choked. A supporter of the WL's Young Socialists told a campus employee to have the university police eject the SYLers on the grounds that not all of them were students.

The next week, when the same presentation was made at UCLA, an enraged David North, current WL national secretary, attacked a photographer and ripped her camera out of her hands.

Then two weeks later at a March 21 meeting of TUALP, the WL's fake trade-union front, at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Spartacist supporters were excluded, as were members of the Militant Caucus of AFSCME Local 2070, a class-struggle opposition within the public employees union. When one Militant Caucus member insisted on his right to attend, he was set upon by WL goons and struck in the face. As before, the WL enlisted the aid of the Convention Center management to expel the SL and Militant Caucus members, and the Los Angeles Police Department was called in to lend a hand.

These Stalinist hooligan tactics are completely alien to the Trotskyism which the WL pretends to uphold. They are the tactics of an impotent, paranoid sect which cannot defend its politics and is terrified of losing control of its membership. Labor militants and supporters of all left-wing political tendencies, must defend the principle of workers democracy by repudiating the Workers League's despicable gangsterism and expunging such practices from the workers movement.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Healy “Assimilates” Angola (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 102 (26 March 1976)

Editorial Note

Healy “Assimilates” Angola

For almost a decade Gerry Healy's so-called “International Committee of the Fourth International” (IC) has combined ritual denunciations of Pabloist revisionism with opportunist tailing after various non-proletarian forces, from Nasser’s “Arab Revolution” to Mao's Red Guards. The latest recipient of the Healyites’ cynical hosannas has been the People’ Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA). The MPLA, we are told, is “a mass movement of the Angolan working class and peasantry which is inseparably linked to the new stage of revolutionary struggles that has opened up in every country.” Its victory, gushed the newspaper of the IC's American supporters, would “take forward the world socialist revolution” (Bulletin, 28 November 1975).

For those of his followers who might have been confused by the IC’s alternately “critical” and “unconditional” (but always rhapsodic) support of the MPLA, Gerry Healy recently put his distorted parody of dialectics to work cooking up a bizarre explanation (“SWP: Apologist and Defender of Imperialism,” Bulletin, 5 March). The IC uses as a foil the Socialist Workers Party's neutrality in the civil war between the Soviet/Cuban-backed MPLA and the CIA/ South Africa/ Portuguese colonialist/ FNLA/UNITA bloc, in order to put forward an anti-Leninist position of political (as opposed to military) support for the petty-bourgeois nationalist People's Movement.

This incredibly muddled IC “Statement” strings together lengthy quotations from a hodgepodge of sources to advance two self-contradictory arguments for politically backing the MPLA: that bourgeois nation-building is historically progressive and (at least implicitly) that an MPLA regime in Angola will result in the creation of a deformed workers state.

While making some ritual genuflections in the direction of “independence of the working class,” the polemic's main thrust is to build political confidence in the MPLA which, we are told, is the “only authentic bourgeois nationalist movement in Angola,” has “called for a fight to the finish” against the U.S. and South Africa, struggles against tribalism and “reactionary separatism” and is backed by “the majority of the independent African nations.” Moreover, its struggle “is an historically progressive struggle involving the Angolan nation and not just the bourgeoisie against U.S. imperialism.” To build this case, the IC must deny that the other groups had ever fought the Portuguese and must ignore the MPLA's record of collaboration with the Portuguese military, its narrow and partially tribally circumscribed base of support among the Angolan peoples and its demonstrated willingness to smash the nascent organizations of the working class.

The MPLA is described as if it were an emergent bourgeois class building a nation in the epoch of capitalist expansion. In fact, the national boundaries the MPLA-led People's Republic of Angola (and the IC) defends are but the arbitrary divisions imposed on the African continent by plundering imperialist powers. The Healyites – who demonstrated their abject insensitivity to national oppression when they “critically supported” the Nigerian government's genocidal slaughter of the Ibo (Biafran) people in 1967 – now pass over in silence the division of the Bakongo people between northern Angola and Zaire in order to present the MPLA as about to resolve the national question.

The IC's enthusiasm for bourgeois nation-building is a back-handed acceptance of the Menshevist/ Stalinist “theory of stages”: “first” the bourgeoisie kicks out imperialism and establishes capitalist democracy, “later” the proletariat conquers state power and institutes socialism. In one article, the American Healyites explicitly lay out the stagist conception behind their effusive outpourings for the People's Movement: “We support unconditionally the MPLA's fight for national liberation and independence and recognize that it is only through this necessary struggle that the conditions can be created for a new stage of class struggle in all the African countries” (Bulletin, 30 January).

One of Trotsky's crucial extensions of Leninism was the theory of permanent revolution, which explained that in the epoch of imperialist decay the unresolved bourgeois-democratic tasks of the underdeveloped countries could not be undertaken by a weak capitalist class, which is inevitably subservient to imperialism. Trotsky insisted that only the proletariat, in the process of consolidating the victorious socialist revolution, could seriously address the unsolved bourgeois-democratic tasks (including the elimination of national oppression) in the context of proletarian property relations. Thus the Healyites, in jumping on the MPLA bandwagon, once again leave their pretended Trotskyism behind.

The IC “Statement” simultaneously dishes out another unsavory mess from Healy's greasy spoon: the proposition that an MPLA victory equals the destruction of capitalism and the constitution of a deformed workers state. This argument is advanced through some inapplicable historical analogies and a string of quotations whose purpose in this article would otherwise be perfectly inexplicable.

The 1C “completely opposes the SWP's opportunism and follows Trotsky's position of defending any extension of the nationalized property relations of the Soviet Union to other territories, while condemning, as in Czechoslovakia in 1968, the suppression of dissident opinion in the CP and the working class.” These admirable sentiments are followed by no less than twenty paragraphs from Trotsky's lucid polemic, In Defense of Marxism, explaining that the Russian bureaucracy would be compelled to destroy capitalist property relations in eastern Poland before incorporating the territory into the USSR.

What is the application of Trotsky's analysis of Poland at the time of the Second World War to the situation in Angola today? Like Henry Kissinger, Healy seems to believe that Soviet weaponry equals the uprooting of capitalist property relations. This same “method” was the main theoretical vehicle whereby a revisionist current in the Fourth International, led by one Michel Pablo, in the 1950's turned the majority of the Trotskyist world movement toward centrist accommodation to Stalinism and other petty-bourgeois forces. Pablo propounded a “new world reality” in which the power bloc led by the USSR would against its will become the ally of all progressive movements, which would thereby find themselves swept along by the onrushing “world revolution” and compelled to establish deformed workers states.

The only possible conclusion from the IC's rhetoric about “defending any extension of the nationalized property relations of the Soviet Union to other territories” is that Healy & Co. believe that what is taking place is the transformation of Angola into a deformed workers state (presumably by a process of “structural assimilation”). One hilarious little wrinkle is that the Healyites presumably still hold to their idiot position that Cuba – whose troops in Angola are presumably doing the “extending of nationalized property relations” – is a capitalist state.

The implication that Angola is becoming a deformed workers state is a characteristic Healyite gyration. Even before its headlong degeneration into outright political banditry, the Healy tendency showed itself unable to oppose the Pabloists’ political accommodation to Stalinism by anything other than an alternation between know-nothing anti-Pabloism (Cuba) and archtypically Pabloist softness toward militant Stalinist guerrillaism (Vietnam).

The current Angola polemic, whose main purpose seems to be to provide copy to fill the dreary pages of the Bulletin, also somehow manages to incorporate the IC's latest hobby horse – a slanderous campaign against the SWP’s Joseph Hansen and George Novack as “accomplices of the GPU” in the 1940 Trotsky assassination:
“The SWP's veiled support for the CIA-financed organizations and their overt hostility to the MPLA is inseparably tied up with the gross betrayal of Trotskyism which is expressed in the refusal of SWP leaders Novack and Hansen to answer any of the charges made against them by the International Committee of the Fourth International on the question of security and the Fourth International. Their consistent refusal to do anything to rid the movement of the stigma of GPU intrigue and provocation today renders them just as vulnerable to the pressure of the CIA.
The IC makes unsupportable charges, echoing the Stalinists, that SWP leaders were implicated in the GPU's murder of Trotsky, and then brazenly bemoans “the stigma” which Healy himself is working wildly to create! In the delirium tremens of the disintegrating IC, the reformist leadership of the SWP has become a kind of collective Herbert Philbrick, “leading three lives”: as ostensible socialists, GPU agents and now witting CIA pawns. The SWP's degeneration is “explained” by the absurd comparison to a double agent who, having allegedly been an “accomplice” for the KGB, thereby becomes “easy pickings” for the CIA.

Substituting cop-baiting for political struggle, the IC is an invaluable tool for the SWP leadership in seeking to reassure its ranks that consistent reformism provides a far more secure political niche than the wild-eyed incoherence of Healy's “anti-Pabloists.” The international Spartacist tendency has uniquely put forward the policy of warning the working class against placing any political confidence in the strikebreaking MPLA, while giving military support to the latter against imperialist-led attack. As the last South African troops withdraw and the bourgeois People's Republic of Angola consolidates its position, the defense of the Angolan workers against their new capitalist rulers becomes more urgent than ever. Yet the IC continues to praise the “revolutionary” MPLA.

As the IC digs itself deeper into the grave of irrelevance, the growth and programmatic cohesiveness of the international Spartacist tendency uniquely demonstrate that principled struggle against Pabloist revisionism is the means for the reforging of the Fourth International.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

WL Slander-Fest Picketed in NYC (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 99 (5 March 1976)

“Who Gave Healy His Security Clearance?”

WL Slander-Fest Picketed in NYC

NEW YORK, February 28 – “Who Gave Healy His Security Clearance?” The Spartacist League (SL), protesting its exclusion and demanding a stop to the Workers League (WL) slander campaign, picketed a WL “public” meeting on “How the GPU Killed Trotsky” held tonight at New York University. The meeting was the first in a nationwide series planned by the WL to propagate its scurrilous and totally empty charge that Socialist Workers Party (SWP) leaders Joseph Hansen and George Novack were “accomplices” of the Stalinist secret police in the 1940 assassination of Trotsky. The inspiration for the smear campaign emanates from the WL's sinister mentor, Gerry Healy of the British Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP), who has evidently appointed himself the Vyshinsky of the WL/WRP's ersatz Moscow Trials..

Arriving at the meeting the 50 SL supporters found, as anticipated, that their entry was blocked by a WL goon-squad. The SLers proceeded to set up a picket line chanting “Trotsky Died Fighting Stalinist Lies, Healy's Slanders Must Not Get By!” SL signs demanded “Fight Hansen's Reformism Politically, Not with Stalinist Slanders,” "Workers League 'Method’ – Anti-Democratic Exclusions and the Big Lie and "For the Rebirth of the Fourth International.

The WL had cynically misled the socialist public about the meeting, which was advertised in the Village Voice as an apparent expose of the GPU's murder of Trotsky. Ads in the WL's Bulletin announced the real topic: “Joseph Hansen and George Novack, Accomplices of the GPU Unmasked.” The WL ranks had been closeted inside the auditorium early to prevent their exposure to the SL demonstration. But others got a taste of what the WL/WRP calls “Security and the Fourth International” as the paranoid WL interrogated everyone unknown to them to root out suspected “secret-Sparts.”

Inside the sanitized forum (in which no time was allotted for floor discussion in any case), Bulletin editor Jeff Sebastian and new WL national secretary David North proceeded to regurgitate endless fake-factual minutiae and insinuations about Trotsky's assassination designed to convince the naive that, incomprehensible though it all seems, it must prove something. In fact the WL has produced not one shred of evidence against Hansen or Novack. A leaflet distributed outside by the SL noted that “Hansen's current role as chief ideologue for the reformist program of the no-longer-revolutionary SWP in no ways alters this simple fact: the WL/WRP have produced exactly nothing to call into question this man's fundamental integrity as a Trotskyist in 1940.

The featured speaker - one Harold Robins, former head of security at Trotsky's house in Coyoacan, Mexico – carefully avoided backing up the WL on allegations pivotal to the WL's slander barrage. At no time did Robins state or infer that Hansen or Novack were “accomplices of the GPU.” Nor did he echo the WL's insinuations about Robert Sheldon Harte, an SWP member and Coyoacan guard who was killed in an earlier GPU machine-gun raid on the house. Throughout his long and rambling remarks, Robins was clearly most concerned to protect himself from any charges of negligence. For Robins to lend himself to a campaign whose central thrust is to libel Hansen, apparently without endorsing the accusations against Hansen, demonstrates either criminal cynicism or incredible political malice – or perhaps both.

At the forum, North read from the SL leaflet which protested the Stalin-style slanders. He accused the SL of being the SWP's attorney. But it is no accident that the SWP turned down the SL's invitation to join a demonstration against the despicable vilification of the SWP's own leaders. It falls to the Spartacist League to defend the revolutionary history of the SWP, the party which at the time of Trotsky's death was the revolutionary U.S. section of the Fourth International.

The SL leaflet noted that the WL's mud-slinging is an attack not only against Hansen and Novack, “but at bottom against the revolutionary SWP of 1940, against Trotsky and the Fourth International. At the time of the assassination it was the Stalinists who charged that Trotsky had been killed by one of 'his own' in a falling out among thieves. The attempt to portray the FI as a morally degenerate gang was part and parcel of Stalin's central task: to discredit Trotsky and the FI as the legitimate continuators of the revolutionary tradition of Lenin. Now the WL has made itself an 'accomplice' of this despicable method.”

Friday, June 5, 2009

Healy's Workers Press Folds (1976)

Workers Vanguard No. 97 (20 February 1976)

Editorial Note

Healy's Workers Press Folds

LONDON, February 14 – The English radical movement is buzzing over the news that Workers Press, daily newspaper of the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) of Gerry Healy, is going under. The bourgeois press yesterday broke the story, followed by the publication in today's Workers Press of a front-page “Final Edition” statement which salutes “the continuous daily publication” of Workers Press as “a magnificent achievement” but presents no plan for the resumption of any public organ, daily or otherwise.

A brief report in the Daily Telegraph (13 February)stated that Workers Press would
“cease publication after tomorrow due to severe financial difficulty, it was announced last night. Mr. Alex Mitchell, editor, said the paper had to close because its printer, Plough Press Ltd., would cease trading from midnight tonight. He emphasized that theprinters were not going into liquidation, and all financial obligations will be met in full. Workers Press... began daily publication in September 1969 as a competitor with the Communist Morning Star. Since last September it has been losing an average of £6,500 amonth.”
A somewhat longer story in the Manchester Guardian (13 February) noted that the WRP “has never fully recovered front the defection last year of Alan ‘The Mole’ Thornett [now head of the Workers Socialist League (WSL)], one of its key supporters in the trade unions. The £50,000 crisis appeal which the WRP launched last year to keep the newspaper afloat is still £ 14,000 short of its target.”

The financial crisis of the WRP/ Workers Press/ Plough Press is political in nature. The Healyites' unsavoury reputation for political chicanery extends into the financial arena, and rumours of-the most lurid sort are rampant. But at bottom the ignominious debacle of the self-baptised “first Trotskyist daily in the world” is a linear product of the much-vaunted Healyite “method”. This method can be roughly summarized as: pretend you're a mass party, dupe as many people as you can into believing it and you will become one. After all, nothing succeeds like “success.” (Even the claim to be “first” is a phony. To our knowledge, the first Trotskyist daily newspaper was the Vietnamese-language Tia Sang published in Saigon by the Internationalist Communist League in the late 1930's.)

The collapse of the WRP's Potemkin Village merely demonstrates once again the fallacy of get-rich-quick charades. Workers Press editor Mitchell himself described the paper's circulation as never having exceeded 20,000 (Guardian, 13 February). It should be recalled that the American Communist Party required a fund of at least a million dollars before launching its Daily World in 1968, recognizing that only such a fund (and several thousand guaranteed subscriptions from Soviet libraries) could cushion the financial drain of a daily paper not supported by a mass base.

The Healyite organization simply does not have the cadres, resources or influence among the advanced workers to sustain a daily press financially or to justify such an undertaking politically. When a party has deep roots in the. workers movement and the advanced workers daily look to it for leadership in their struggles, then a daily newspaper becomes not merely justified, but obligatory. But for an organization of the WRP's modest size to seek to sustain a daily on the basis of the “unstinting devotion and sacrifice of its readers, supporters and subscribers” (Workers Press, 14 February) is consummate cynicism.

The essence of Healy’s “method” has always been to use crisis-mongering combined with appeals to revolutionary voluntarism to wring every last ounce of energy (and shilling) out of his supporters, tossing aside the burnt-out and bitter shells. But pyramid swindles (an old financial con game, in which the investments of new clients are used to pay dividends to the old ones) are dependent upon an ever-expanding base, and always collapse in the end.

The abrupt suspension of Workers Press seems to have caught Healy's international co-thinkers by surprise. The U.S., Workers League (WL), always secure in the knowledge that the best way to please Gerry is to imitate his every gyration, announced less than two weeks ago its intention to launch “the first daily Trotskyist newspaper in the United States in 1977” (Bulletin, 6 February 1976); the Australian Healyites are already on record singing a similar tune. The grandiose pretensions of the American grouping are typically out of phase with its real situation: having purged its founding head, Tim Wohlforth, the WL has just recently made another switch in National Secretary, with David North taking over after Fred Mazelis’ brief moment in the sun.

A thought-provoking sidelight on the Workers Press affair is the concomitant escalation of the Healyites’ campaign of slanders against Joseph Hansen, ideologue of the reformist Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the U.S. The WRP’s descent into paranoid, witchhunting began somewhat earlier, with Healy's personal instigation of the “Nancy Fields case” which succeeded in driving Wohlforth out of his WL in solidarity with his friend Fields. Healy accused his long-time American lackey of deliberately covering up Fields’ alleged family connections with the CIA. After the ensuing dogfight (whose outcome was never in doubt) the pages of Workers Press and the Bulletin were filled with veiled accusations against Fields. In typical Healyite fashion, the articles were careful to note that the WL inquisition had found Fields innocent of any involvement with the CIA – thereby protecting against any possible legal action for slander – then proceeded to pile on paragraph after paragraph of insinuations.

In recent months the WRP and its international claque have been indulging in a disgusting orgy of slanderous personal vilification directed at long-time SWP spokesman Joseph Hansen. Entitled “Security and the Fourth International,” a seemingly endless series of Workers Press centerfolds has sought to smear Hansen as possessing guilty knowledge of the assassination of Trotsky by the GPU in 1940. The technique is to present masses of both true and unproven factual minutiae about the circumstances of the assassination followed by a series of rhetorical questions directed at Hansen; the implication is that Hansen deliberately covered up facts in his possession and misdirected those who sought to protect Trotsky and then to unmask the GPU network which had murdered him. As in the Fields case, Workers Press craftily avoided direct statements, contenting itself with the sheer bulk-of the campaign and the cleverly worded “question” to convey the slanderous content. But in the last weeks, the WRP has thrown caution to the winds. It has been mass distributing a throwaway. reprinted from Workers Press, which leaves little to the 'readers' imagination. The two articles reprinted in the handbill, “We Challenge the IMG” (Workers Press, 3 February) and “We Challenge the WSL (Thornett Group)” (Workers Press, 4 February), publish photos of Hansen and a rather less prominent SWP spokesman, George Novack, provocatively captioned in bold letters: “Accomplices of the GPU.”

The WRP knows full well that the reformist SWP would not in principle shrink from using the bourgeois courts against left-wing opponents (indeed, the Healyites have crossed the class line in such a fashion on at least one occasion). Perhaps as Workers Press’ parting shot, Healy has committed this outrageous and criminal libel, figuring that now he’s got no press left to lose! In view of the years-long political banditry of the Healy tendency, the present slander campaign and its current escalation are a not inappropriate swan-song for Workers Press.

As of now, there is no basis for speculation about the future press plans of the WRP. But there can be no doubt that the suspension of Workers Press is a grave blow to the organizational pretensions of the Healyites both in England and internationally. Just as Stalinists glory in their identification with a bureaucracy administering state power, so have the Healyites flaunted the WRP's daily, their crown jewel.

We do not want to gloat over the spectacular failure of the WRP's financial/political adventure. Revolutionary politics is not a safe “business,” and there are many mishaps that can befall an organization even in normal times. Bourgeois legal repression, ebbs in the class struggle, honest miscalculations of the economic and political conjuncture can have disastrous consequences for a socialist organization. But there is little similarity between the wrenching leaps that a serious Marxist organization finds itself compelled to undertake and the cynical contortions into which the Healyites propelled themselves when they launched the daily Workers Press. An authentically Trotskyist daily newspaper – an undertaking which awaits the future mass proletarian party, whose nucleus we are today struggling to build – will have little in common with Workers Press.

Monday, June 1, 2009

WRP Roars Gently (1975)

Workers Vanguard No 84 (7 November 1975)

Healyite Slander, Hypocrisy and Cowardice

The WRP Roars Gently

Bottom: Let me play the lion too. I will roar that I will do any man's heart good to hear me; I will roar that I will make the Duke say, "Let him roar again, let him roar again."

Quince: An you should do it too terribly, you would fright the Duchess and the ladies, that they would shriek; and that were enough to hang us all...

Bottom: I grant you friends, if you should fright the ladies out of their wits, they would have no more discretion but to hang us. But I will aggravate my voice so that I will roar you as gently as any sucking dove, I will roar you an 'twere any nightingale.
- A Midsummer Night's Dream; Act 1, Scene 2

"For 35 years Hansen has assiduously developed the myth of his titanic services to Trotsky as a guard in Coyoacan.
"This myth has been shattered forevever with the publication of 'Security and the Fourth International.'
"Evidence presented by the IC shows that Hansen did not even see to it that the guards charged with the defense of Trotsky's life were properly trained in marksmanship."
- Bulletin, 24 October
"The Workers Revolutionary Party is a legal Political Party which carries out work publicly in the Labour and Trade Union Movement in addition to contesting Parliamentary elections. It is completely opposed in principle to terrorism and to the possession or use of firearms or explosives. Any member of the party found with firearms or explosives would be expelled."
- Workers Press, 4 October

Gerry Healy's Legalistic Underbelly (1975)

Workers Vanguard No. 81 (17 October 1975)

Gerry Healy’s Legalistic Underbelly

The British Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) of Gerry Healy has always eagerly sacrificed its every ostensible principle to the single-minded worship of its one real god: publicity.

Eschewing the laborious task of building an organization of revolutionary cadres and of patiently working to establish and deepen its authority among advanced workers, the WRP is characterized by overweening fondness for a high organizational profile 'and for publicity stunts which it thinks will dupe the working people into crediting the WRP with mass influence. Hence the WRP's strident crisis-mongering, its unreadable and unread daily newspaper, its concentration on the volatile youth who do not long remain with the organization but turn up for suitably impressive demonstrations, its penchant for celebrities. But the WRP's cynical flamboyance sometimes backfires and lately it has found itself on the receiving end of some much less welcome attentions, as a consequence of sensationalist and anticommunist coverage in the bourgeois media. On September 27 the British cops staged a raid on a WRP center in Derbyshire; they claim to have discovered, among other things, "nine .22 cal. bullets in a stairway cupboard (but no guns)" (Time, 13 October 1975).


The Healyites may believe, as reformists explicitly posit, that the British legal structure ("bobbies" without guns, for instance) is god-given and eternal, or that the armed fist of the class enemy is reserved for faraway places like Palestine or India (or, most distant of all for the Healyites, Ireland).

The English press had splashed the "red menace" of the WRP across a goodly number of pages, assisted by the "true confessions" of an embittered former WRP supporter (English left and ex-left circles crawl with unregenerate cynics and other graduates of Healy's school of political banditry and Stalinist organizational methods, who have taken refuge in "softer" groups, apolitical demoralization, or worse). Actress Irene Gorst's tale of her alleged grilling by WRPers who accused her of working for Special Branch (Britain's counterpart to the FBI) got front-page coverage in the 28 September 1975 London Observer.

The Healyites' well-deserved reputation for browbeating their members - as well as their apocalyptic and increasingly paranoid political style - facilitated the media's scandal-mongering campaign. But what really made the "Red House" affair front-page material was the prominence of its participants. The WRP was hoping to become a household word by capturing a clique of entertainment personalities, the best known being Vanessa Redgrave. It was the defection of one of these hoped-for shortcuts to fame and fortune which catapulted the WRP into the headlines.

Squirming Toward Respectability

In response to the threat of repression, the WRP has crawled for cover. A recent issue of the American Healyite press (Bulletin, 7 October) has printed a declaration by the WRP baldly promising the bourgeoisie that "If anyone in the WRP was found to have a firearm, they would be expelled at once." We certainly defend the WRP against this recent police raid on its premises. But a Marxist defense against red-baiting and witch-hunts has nothing in common with the dive the WRP is taking.

Marxists do not engage in mock-terrorist sabre-rattling. There would be nothing objectionable about putting forward a critique of petty-bourgeois adventurism. in the context of explaining the strategy of preparing the mass of the toilers to resist the onslaughts of brutal reaction which the capitalists will unleash in when their stranglehold on society is challenged by the revolutionary action of the class-conscious workers. But for self-styled Trotskyists to issue gratuitous guarantees of toothlessness is disgraceful.

Marxists are not terrorists. But so often, "anti-adventurism" is found to dovetail with anti-Marxist reformist legalism. When the U.S. Socialist Party expelled Big Bill Haywood in connection with its 1912 "anti-sabotage referendum," what was really involved was a ruthless political purge of the left wing. Marxists are not gun nuts but neither do we run around disarming worker militants.

The Healyites may believe, as reformists explicitly posit, that the British legal structure ("bobbies" without guns, for instance) is god-given and eternal, or that the armed fist of the class enemy is reserved for faraway places like Palestine or India (or, most distant of all for the Healyites, Ireland). But we would remind the WRP of Lenin's adamant view that the proletarian who does not know the use of arms is a self-willed slave.

For Marxists, the idea of a pacifistic bourgeois state is a criminally dangerous illusion which virtually invites the capitalist class-to say nothing of ultra-rightist extremists-to attack the workers movement with impunity. The WRP rips up the core of Lenin's teaching in State and Revolution with the same touching faith in a high-minded, benevolent bourgeois state that the Socialist Workers Party manifests when it calls for the American armed forces to protect blacks.

The English left milieu makes much of the third-period sectarianism and obtrusive organizational beastliness of the Healyites as a convenient horrible example justifying its own pervasive squishy-soft chumminess. But the W RP's cringing rush for respectability is not a new or isolated phenomenon. The surface super leftism of the Healy group has never been much more than skin deep.

In 1966, the Healyites found themselves widely scandalized on the left for the exercise of their usual practice of physically intimidating political opponents, in this case Ernie Tate of the English United Secretariat group. To silence Tate's protests, the Healy organization ran to the bourgeois courts to sue Tate under Britain's harsh anti-libel laws, then explicitly justified and generalized this criminal crossing of the class line. Healy's International Correspondence (6 February 1967) defended the use of the courts against opponents within the labor and left movement, putting forward the bourgeois state machinery as the proper arbiter to defend revolutionaries against expulsion-minded union bureaucrats or "slanderous" criticism by fellow leftists.

The WRP's sanctimonious pacifism in the attempt to deflect provocation today is not different in kind from the panicky piety of the SWP in 1963, when Farrell Dobbs dashed off a telegram of condolences to the widow Kennedy following the assassination of America's chief imperialist executive. Healy has always relished the SWP's embarrassment over this-revealing display of reformist cowardice.

The current gutless "defense" by the notoriously ultra-"hard" WRP against the threat of repression may come as a surprise to impressionists, but Marxists have always recognized the grovelling opportunism which lurks at the core of Healyism. This incident reveals the legalistic underbelly beneath the brittle ultra-left veneer of the WRP.

Workers League Bitten by 7-Headed Cobra (1975)

Workers Vanguard No. 80 (10 October 1975)

SLA: From “Heroic Guerillas” to “Police Plot”

Workers League Bitten By Seven-Headed Cobra

The uproar over recent assassination attempts against Gerald Ford together with the capture of Patricia Hearst and the remnants of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) has spotlighted the chronic inability of ostensibly socialist organizations to analyze social phenomena and events from a Marxist viewpoint. The Spartacist League has been unique in consistently maintaining that the SLA is not part of the left but "an irrational and cultist expression of lumpen-proletarian rage having nothing in common with the struggle of the working class for socialism" (WV No. 43, 26 April 1974).

Quite a different line is presented by the fake-Trotskyist Workers League (WL), which asserts that, "This fantastic tale [Patricia Hearst's 'amnesia'] is being whipped up as a smokescreen to cover up the fact that the SLA was a police operation from beginning to end" (Bulletin, 26 September). This is at least consistent with its cop-plot "theories" at the time the SLA kidnapping of Hearst first hit the headlines: according to a 19 February 1974 Bulletin editorial, "The SLA has all the characteristics of a CIA or FBI creation."

However, between then and now the WL said something entirely opposite. Shortly after Patricia Hearst announced her "conversion" to the SLA, Melody Farrow wrote in the Bulletin (19 April 1974):
"There can be no question of the courage and dedication of the SLA members who are willing to risk their lives to fight capitalism. They must be unconditionally defended against the plans of the government to massacre them."
Thus with consummate fake-"dialectics" the SLA was transformed from a group with "all the characteristics of a CIA or FBI creation" into a band of courageous and dedicated anti-capitalist fighters. And with a wave of the Healyite magic wand - presto! - the SLA again becomes a police creation from start to finish, without a word of explanation.

The explanation is, however, self-evident to those who know the Workers League: discovering that Patricia Hearst and the SLA evoked sympathy from various petty-bourgeois radicals, the WL decided to appeal to these strata by transmogrifying their heros from cops into "revolutionaries." Nor is this something new for these practised political bandits.

Under the leadership of Tim Wohlforth the WL gained widespread notoriety for its political dishonesty, its subordination of political principle to pursuit of organizational opportunities. A truly gross instance was Wohlforth's hailing of Black Panther Party leader Huey Newton for turning to "dialectics" just weeks before Newton turned to the church and the Democratic Party. In the same issue of the Bulletin, Wohlforth also called for all-out labor support to the strike of New York City cops!

Wohlforth is gone, reduced to spending his time sniffing around the social-democratic Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the unsavory, ethereal sectlet of Michel Varga, the International League Rebuilding the Fourth International (LIRQI). But his fabled "method" remains. Under its new lackluster manager, Fred Mazelis, the WL is every bit as unprincipled and dishonest. (See page 8 on the Bulletin's recent flipflops over Portugal.) In addition to the time-honored technique of the Big Lie, one of its favorite modes of argumentation is the amalgam. Thus the 30 September Bulletin attempts to lump the Spartacist League together with the snivelling reformists of the SWP, claiming the SL has been driven into a frenzy by the bourgeoisie's antiterrorism campaign.

Mere facts are of little importance to the WL, but for anyone else there is an obvious difference between the SWP's condemnation of assassination attempts on Ford as "part of the violence, hatred and irrationality which seem to poison American society today," and the SL's forthright statement: "We wept no tears over the death of John Kennedy; and class-conscious workers are not concerned to protect the physical safety of the chief imperialist warmonger, Gerald Ford" (WV No. 78, 26 September).

The Bulletin writer is particularly upset that we could say: "That a disturbed crackpot like Lyn Marcus, for instance, can gain a following of hundreds of youth (some of whom want to see a socialist society) is an expression of the extreme weakness of the U.S. left and the present quietism of its misled and racially torn working class."

"Aha!" cries the Bulletin. "Here in its purest form, is the enormous cynicism and despair of the American middle class." It continues: "The exact opposite is the case. The use of provocations by the ruling class expresses its enormous weakness when confronted by the labor movement... . The key issue is not that the working class lacks sufficient strength to defend its rights, but that it is not conscious of its strength. The task of making it conscious is the central responsibility of the revolutionary party."

The Workers League specializes in the preposterous truism, first presenting false premises, then obscuring the issues and conveniently missing the point. Yes, we said the U.S. left is weak, the working class is quietist, i.e., not conscious of its strength and unaware of its true interests. Why? Because it is misled by confusionists and opportunists. Given the WL's penchant for changing its line as casually as most people change their underwear, it is evident that Mazelis and Co. offer no alternative but only more of the same. The construction of a truly revolutionary Trotskyist party in the U.S. will have as one of its by-products the political destruction of such pettifogging snake oil peddlers.

Confessions of a Renegade (1975)

Workers Vanguard No. 61 (31 January 1975)

Wohlforth Terminated

In an account reminiscent of Jay Lovestone's recitation of the crimes of Stalin, ex-Workers League National Secretary Tim Wohlforth has now surfaced with a long document about his frame-up and purge at the hands of Gerry Healy, boss of the British Workers Revolutionary Party and godfather of the Workers League. After more than a decade of glorying in his role of fawning American junior partner to Healy, Wohlforth was unceremoniously dumped and replaced by his long-time lieutenant, Fred Mazelis (see “Workers League Crumbles,” WV. No. 56, November 1974). The ouster was carried out personally by none other than Healy himself.

While Wohlforth's lurid 39-page account (“The Workers League and the International Committee,” 11 January 1975) is evidently truthful as a description, it betrays a stunning lack of political understanding. Throughout his reign as tinpot despot of the Workers League Wohlforth slavishly emulated his mentor's organizational practices of suppression and slander, the deliberate destruction of cadres and the invocation of the absolute authority of the “International Committee” to intimidate any stirrings of opposition among the membership. Now that Healy has turned the notorious Wohlforthite “method” against Wohlforth himself, the deposed former accomplice finds the only possible explanation to be that Healy has suddenly lost his mind:
“He is seized by at times what approaches madness for subjective idealism is a form of madness as it rearranges the world according to the individual. He becomes convinced that he is surrounded by CIA agents and proceeds on that basis. Anyone who objects is denounced for being an anti-internationalist....”
Subjective idealism must be pretty rampant in Healyite circles. Wohlforth makes the following modest assessment of the import of his removal as National Secretary: “The explosion which has taken place between Comrade Healy and the Workers League is of great historic significance. Condensed within this experience is all the past experience of the Fourth International.” By way of contrast, the Spartacist tendency was compelled to break from Healy in 1962 in order to maintain our political integrity, but we refused to characterize Healy/Wohlforth's unprincipled organizational maneuvering as politically definitive (much less world-historic) until 1967 when it acquired a clear programmatic basis.

Wohlforth's testimony amply confirms every organizational allegation ever made by the Spartacist tendency, but for Wohlforth commencing only on 30-31 August 1974 when the skies fell in on him. Wohlforth's fundamental response to every exposure by us of the Workers League's cynical opportunism, Stalinist-style gansterism and fraudulent “mass” posturing has always been that Spartacist is no good because it is “anti-internationalist” i.e., that we refused to unquestioningly accept the “discipline” of the International Committee. We replied that the IC is no Marxist international, and “the IC” is but an empty abstraction to cover rotten politics, akin to the Stalinists' abuse of "the Party."

The Horse's Mouth

Now let us see what Wohlforth has to say today about the International Committee:
“.. It never was allowed to go beyond the level of small groups basically functioning as appendages of the SLL/WRP [Socialist Labour League was the earlier name of the Workers Revolutionary Party, Healy's British group]. More precisely, the IC never went beyond being an international organization around a single individual, Gerry Healy....

“...That these differences were not openly confronted and fought out within the U.S. and internationally reflected the atmosphere which prevailed in international relations within the IC. Open discussion and political struggle was discouraged by Comrade Healy's tendency to push every discussion to the most extreme point and to seek to break the person who disagreed with Comrade Healy. Only a most muted discussion ever took place in the international movement under such conditions....

“...There are no elected bodies. The IC is, as we shall see, whatever the Workers Revolutionary Party wants it to be. It is the WRP which writes whatever statements are occasionally issued. It is the WRP which calls whatever meetings of the IC that are held and which determines what sections should attend. It is Comrade Gerry Healy who determines what the WRP determines....

“...To Gerry Healy there is a complete identity between the international movement and his national party, the Workers Revolutionary Party. Internationalism stops at the frontiers of Britain. It is seen as a 'principle' which requires the subordination of other parties to the international which is seen as identical with the WRP. To what is the WRP subordinate?”
Well, former head of the American section, you should know. Only, we always thought you liked it that way!

Healy as Big Daddy

Wohlforth always dismissed the Spartacist tendency's allegations about the grossly bureaucratic practices of the Healy/Wohlforth regimes with smug demands that we demonstrate upon what materially privileged stratum the WL regime is based. In his present document, however, Wohlforth (never one to worry too much about consistency) makes no attempt to locate any "material base" for Healy's conduct. He simply declares that the Workers League has reverted to centrism (a term, incidentally, which he employs for every variety of political animal, including Max Shachtman in 1956 as the latter prepared to liquidate into CIA-influenced American social democracy). Yet there is a certain sociological logic to the Healyites' practices.

The Healy organization's attempts to work within the British labor movement have been uniformly sterile and disastrous. At one or another time over the past twenty years they have amassed a certain following among dock workers, construction workers, coal miners and auto workers, and have nothing but their ex-supporters' bitterness at the Healyite oscillations between adventurism and opportunism to show for it. (Their present "mass base" in the television and film industries can be expected to go the same route, although perhaps somewhat more eccentrically considering the vision of social reality as refracted through a television camera.)

But the Healy organization has been quite successful in maintaining a relatively large, flashy, high-turnover youth operation which every year draws in sizeable numbers of militant British youth by offering them pageants, dancing, rock bands and sports events together with a dash of "socialism," miscellaneous marches and lots of newspaper selling. The British masses are infused virtually throughout with a relatively very high degree of class consciousness, so that even the semi-lumpenized youth from whom the Healyites recruit characteristically share a strongly class-conscious outlook, even if their capacity to intervene in the class struggle is marginal and episodic.

But since such layers lack both the discipline of the labor process and any obvious immediate personal use for knowledge, a high-volume, high-turnover operation aimed at them necessarily requires a strong dose of authoritarianism and the manipulative use of dogma as a substitute for program. Thus we can attribute to the Healyites a lumpen proletarian component as the context for their opportunist/ adventurist oscillations and systematic organizational abuses.

Wohlforth as Huey P. Newton

Beginning in the summer of 1971 Wohlforth, evidently in association with Healy, launched the Workers League on a sharp turn "to the youth" intended to parallel the British technique. But the attempt to import the WRP style of semi-lumpen youth organizing intensified the contradiction between "Trotskyism" and the requirements of such an operation. The corresponding layers in American society to the raw material of Healy's Young Socialists are overwhelmingly ghettoized black and Spanish-speaking youth, a generation or two removed from rural isolation and poverty, very heavily chronically unemployed, in a country with no political class consciousness and themselves with so little access to the labor movement that economic class consciousness often appears as a privilege of older white workers aimed against minority-group youth. While Healy's pseudo-Trotskyism associated with a semi-lumpen base makes a certain kind of sense in class-conscious Britain, a nationalist or Maoist rhetoric corresponds far more closely to the ideological proclivities of American raw ghetto youth.

Very serious and dedicated revolutionists can indeed be recruited from such strata, but under prevailing conditions only by the individuals' involved breaking, through a difficult, lengthy (and often unsuccessful) process, from ghetto existence and its dominant ideologies. But the Healy/Wohlforth approach – which is strikingly analogous 'to government summer programs for restless youth – is not intended to lead to the crystallization of black and Spanish-speaking communist cadres but to supply a "mass" base for a mock-extremist political operation. Therefore the Workers League found itself forced to parallel the techniques of, for example, the Black Panthers: an infallible leader and a militarized regime to impose discipline.

The Workers League turn toward "youth in the neighborhoods" was evidently seen by Wohlforth as a bulwark against "liquidation" into “trade union work.” He explains that political backwardness “makes it so easy for demagogic forces to maneuver within the unions disguising themselves as militants. Union policy alone is insufficient to flush them out.” This is, of course, true given the Wohlforthites' crassly opportunist line in their every encounter with the union bureaucracy, which Wohlforth defends at some length over the example of support to Arnold Miller of the Mine Workers.

Not surprisingly, Wohlforth is unable to grasp what is wrong with his organization's incursions into the labor movement. For example, his only criticism of the “Trade Unionists for a Labor Party” operation is that the Workers League liquidated its public face into this front group; there is no mention of the fact that the front group's program deliberately omitted any mention of the crucial political issues facing the working class at that time, racial oppression and the Vietnam war. No wonder Wohlforth thinks that the only way to avoid opportunist trade unionists – i.e., cynical but articulate cadres who will sooner or later abandon the small change of the Workers League to carve out careers within the union bureaucracy – is to build a base in a milieu which is deeply alienated from the labor movement.

The document is full of vituperative attacks against “conservative,” “abstract propagandist” forces in the Workers League who “represented a centrist retreat from the construction of a revolutionary youth movement” and counterposed a call for more trade union work. (Before accepting the bogeyman of a Workers League totally submerged in the unions, we should point out that in the entire document the only trade-union fraction mentioned, although there are references to journalistic coverage of other industries, is a white collar fraction in the SSEU composed of college graduates.) These elements are castigated for holding themselves aloof from the militants drawn around the youth organizing; at the summer camps, for example, they even “hid behind bushes to keep away from the youth.”

What these summer camps were actually like is testified to by Wohlforth:
“...the first days of the [1974] camp became preoccupied with the question of discipline. It actually took longer this year than last to get some agreement on the rules which governed the camp. Even after this agreement was reached the disciplinary problem would plague the camp to its last day.... Anyone who now dismisses this experience as a 'disaster' dismisses the real material struggle to build a movement' of workers.... The United States is the center of the capitalist crisis. A peaceful, orderly camp would reflect only the unreal, idealist distance of such a camp from the class struggle in America.”
It may be surmised that some of the Workers League members balked at serving as wardens for restless youth lured to these events by means such as those of which Wohlforth boasts in explaining the great "success" of the 1973 YS conference:
“We held talent shows and bazaars and other events during. the course of building for the conference... . At the end of the conference, a highly successful dance was held with a well-known band.”
The Ax Falls

Internally in the Spartacist League around 1966, the following historical analogy was presented: Stalin/Healy, Foster/Wohlforth, Browder/Mazelis. Yet now even after the fact Tim Wohlforth is obviously unable to make head or tail of the reason for his dramatic fall from grace.

The first intimation of trouble occurred in 1973, when Wohlforth received a letter from the WRP's Mike Banda criticizing his draft resolution on American perspectives and insisting on “the primacy of the European Revolution-particularly in England” in apparent counterposition to Wohlforth's emphasis, allegedly based on Healy's remarks to a Workers League plenum, on the "understanding that the center of the world capitalist crisis was the crisis of American capitalism." In the present document Wohlforth criticizes Banda for the latter's infatuation with the Vietnamese and Chinese Stalinists, an astute observation coming a mere ten years or so after our tendency had noted that self-same fact. Wohlforth's response to becoming the recipient of two different lines from England was to try "as best we could to straddle the contradictory positions put forward by Healy in January and Banda in March."

But the ax was first unsheathed in conjunction with "a series of classes which we opened up to the Spartacist group" (i.e., the Workers League violated its long-standing practice of excluding Spartacist members from publicly advertised events). Wohlforth describes his peremptory summons to England:

"In late June the British comrades called me over for consultations. They were particularly upset by a reference in one of the classes which suggested that the relations between the British and French movements had been one of compromise.... The British intervention, however, took on an extreme character. Every even potential difference was magnified to an absurd degree. I was even attacked as being an American pragmatist for purchasing an American rather than a British web offset press: As the week progressed the hyperbola progressed. By the end of the week's visit the British comrades-more exactly Comrade Healy-threatened to break a 12 year political relationship with the League over this single sentence.

"The night before I was to fly back the discussion – actually a one way shouting match – went on until 2:30 a.m. I was sent to bed with all political relations broken. A public statement was to appear in the Workers Press [Healy's newspaper]. Then at 5:30 a.m. I was awakened for one last meeting with Comrade Healy at which I was told I would be given one last chance. I was to fight for the very life of the League against centrism within it. . . . Particularly I had to break with the centrist elements around me in the leadership and drive the movement forward into the working class. Special mention was made of Comrades Lucy St. John, Dennis O'Casey and Karen Frankel.

"I returned to the United States shell-shocked. I immediately launched a bitter struggle within the leadership of the party and throughout all the branches in the country...."

Having evidently interpreted his instructions as a license to undertake a wholesale purge, Wohlforth proceeded to drive out of the Workers League virtually every prominent experienced cadre (see "Whatever Happened to the Workers League?" in WV No. 53, 27 September 1974). How hollow now ring Wohlforth's pious words about the preservation of cadres: "Such individuals embody great experience. This is why we must proceed with such care, with such restraint and caution, when moving organizationally with a cadre."

Apparently Healy had not anticipated such carnage, because he intervened again claiming that "the very struggle he had urged me to take up within the party leadership was 'factional'." But he apparently was not yet prepared to move against Wohlforth, for at the April 1974 International Committee conference he held up the Workers League "as a model" and squelched the Greek delegate who requested a full discussion on the hemorrhaging of leading Workers Leaguers.

A Method in Healy's Madness?

Wohlforth was finally removed at the 1974 Workers League summer camp. Wohlforth's own recitation of the events indicates that here was a man who was prepared to capitulate time after time over any political or organizational question, until he was brought face to face with the ultimate insult: Healy's charge that Comrade Fields, Wohlforth's close companion, was an agent of the CIA.

Wohlforth recounts that two weeks before the camp he was again summoned to England. When he arrived:

"I was whisked to a special meeting with Comrade Healy also attended by Comrade Banda and other comrades. The following was immediately proposed: (1) the whole past year had been a mistake, a turn into community politics and a retreat from the working class; (2) the former party members who had left were driven out by myself and Comrade Fields who represented a clique leadership; (3) Comrade Fields was probably a CIA agent; (4) there was to be no national conference this Fall; (5) the group of former party members was to be urged to come to the camp for discussions and brought back into the party without discussion with the PC....

"I returned to the United States a bit shell shocked. The British comrades, I thought, had always been right. They must now be right. I did my best to hold to that position while I proceeded to build the summer camp-now less than a week away....

"Comrade Healy sent Comrade Slaughter ahead of him to make sure it was 'safe' for him to come. Comrade Slaughter was to call England to reassure Healy. A special Political Committee meeting of the WRP was scheduled to decide whether or not Comrade Healy would be allowed to come to the camp without risking his life...

"Immediately upon arriving in Canada Comrade Healy began on the question of the CIA.... Comrade Healy was now convinced he was in the midst of a nest of the CIA. He even considered the thought that the whole Workers League was a CIA front....

"A meeting was immediately organized of IC comrades at the camp. I was accused of harboring and covering for a CIA agent. It was stated that I had failed to report on Comrade Fields' past CIA 'connections'. ... I tried as best I could to accept everything Comrade Healy stated in the way of criticism of the League and my functioning. I no doubt accepted more than I should have. But I simply could not accept this charge against Fields....

"The Political Committee was taken in a large van across to the other side of the lake. There we sat silently with the former party comrades and Comrade Healy proposed their readmission. Without so much as a word being said the Political Committee voted the comrades back into
the party....

"On Friday night Comrade Healy, at the suggestion of the German comrade, called a special meeting of the Central Committee of the Workers League, attended also by IC members present at the camp. At this meeting everyone was encouraged to denounce the leadership of the party in order to bolster the characterization of the past year of party work as liquidationism. Comrade Healy called the session 'Christmas' and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was at this meeting that Comrade Healy first proposed that I be removed as National Secretary of the party. In actual practice, the shift in leadership was already well underway... .

"Comrade Healy started the discussion [at the next Central Committee] meeting with his charges that Comrade Fields was an agent of the CIA. I was held complicit in the situation [by] not reporting it to the "IC....In the middle of these proceedings I stated that I disagreed with the whole proceedings. This produced an extreme' reaction in Comrade Healy.

“It was this mild resistance on my part which encouraged Comrade Healy to go ahead with the already well developed plans to remove me as National Secretary. Comrade Healy proposed that Comrade Mazelis put forward a motion to remove me as National Secretary and to suspend Comrade Fields from party membership pending an investigation into the CIA charges. This Mazelis did and it passed unanimously receiving even my vote and that of Comrade Fields. Then Comrade Healy proposed that I nominate Comrade Mazelis as National Secretary. I proceeded to do so and it passed unanimously.... I shortly discovered that the action taken on August 31 was definitive in character. A special meeting of the IC was called which after the fact: (1) endorsed Comrade Healy's totally unauthorized actions; (2) specifically barred me from any role in the day to day political leadership of the party; (3) barred Comrade Fields from any contact with the League of any sort. I offered my resignation from the League in response to this action. To continue in the League would have been a mockery of the entire struggle which had preceded August 31."

Subsequently a commission of inquiry consisting of two people including Mazelis cleared Fields of the charge of being a CIA agent (although, with typical arbitrariness, after being acquitted she was barred from holding office for two years). On the commission's invitation, Wohlforth reapplied for membership. Healy, however, ruled that Wohlforth must first appear before the IC, which Wohlforth refused to do.

Stalin is reported to have told the Lovestonite leaders in Moscow, "By the time you get back only your wives will support you." Is it possible that Healy was pursuing an analogous method in his choice of technique for the disposal of Wohlforth – finding in Wohlforth's relationship with Fields the key to one abuse which even Wohlforth, with his apparently limitless appetite for political self-abasement, would be unable to swallow?

What is even less clear in the Wohlforth document are the precise reasons for Healy's decision to heave his American epigone over the side. One can speculate about the role of Banda or the possibility that Healy felt threatened by an occasional twisting of his tail by Wohlforth who had actually achieved junior partner status after the rupture with the French made the Workers League a correspondingly larger component, of the IC operation. But it is likely that Wohlforth's wholesale destruction of the Workers League cadre was a prime mover in the process, and thus Wohlforth is a victim primarily of his own gratuitous organizational brutality.

The prognosis for the Workers League is not good. The comparison of statistics Wohlforth adduces to document its decline is unreliable since the earlier counts were originally concocted with Wohlforth's well-known proclivity for mendacious multiplication, but it is obvious that the Workers League membership is shrinking. Healy/Mazelis' efforts to win back the separated brethren will have at best limited success, as the human material is badly damaged by its earlier experiences in Healyite "democratic centralism."

The new leadership is uninspired; even granting Mazelis a certain flair for legalistic stabbing-in-the-back, as demonstrated particularly at the 1966 London Conference (which Wohlforth sat out, sulking), he is so colorless as to be almost invisible. The disruption of the pecking order should continue to produce a lot of scrambling among ambitious WL cadres, among them David North, who figures prominently in the Wohlforth document. And the Healy organization in Britain has itself recently suffered a serious blow with the reported departure of some 200 members around one Alan Thornett.

No Tears for Wohlforth

As for Wohlforth, we can say with sincerity: it couldn't happen to a nicer guy. Wohlforth has spent twelve years masquerading as a Trotskyist and helping Healy to do the same, in the process politically destroying whatever serious elements from among militant minority-group youth his organization has encountered, repelling most of them; convincing them that "socialism" is just another con game whose purpose is their manipulation, and converting a few into cynical fellow operators.

Wohlforth's greatest crime – in which he was abetted by Healy and Art Phillips – was that, in pursuit of supreme authority for himself and shortcuts to influence and numbers, he broke up the left wing within the SWP in the 1961-62 period. He split the opposition to the SWP's sharp right turn, cut it off from the possibility of winning valuable comrades from a section of the old-time SWP membership, set up our tendency for expulsion from the SWP in a situation of weakness and isolation which almost destroyed us, certainly setting us back a number of years. No amount of new-found empirical "wisdom" on Wohlforth's part can undo the enormous objective service he rendered the Pabloists at that crucial juncture, nor his continued service to them as foil and horrible example of what happens to those who break away to the "left."

But his ignominious departure from the Healyite fold at least accords us an opportunity to display to him a little piece of Wohlforthite viciousness. One of the practices at which Wohlforth excelled was the art of gratuitous denunciation. He always insisted that any individual leaving the Marxist movement for any reason must be denounced as a "renegade." In particular he waxed eloquent over a statement circulated internally within the Spartacist League in response to the resignation of Geoff White, formerly a founding leader of our tendency. Our statement replied to the evolved anti-Trotskyist political positions of White but also expressed recognition of his years of collaboration during which, recognizing his increasing political distance (the product in part of the demoralization engendered by Wohlforth's wrecking operations), he sought to train younger cadres to carry the movement forward.

Now Wohlforth has become, in his own terms as well as ours, a "renegade." With his usual pomposity, and lavish use of the imperial "we," Wohlforth pontificates:

"It is true we lost the skirmishes with the centrists but we won the theoretical fight at each point. We have left a priceless heritage in this theoretical struggle. This now passes on to the new generation of revolutionary fighters who face the big battles with the capitalist class itself."
Roughly translated, "I quit." And a final irony is that it was Geoff White who rendered the Marxist movement's verdict on Wohlforth when he remarked years ago, "Wohlforth is the living proof that crime does not pay."

Workers League Crumbles (1974)

Workers Vanguard No. 56 (8 November 1974)

SL Goes Forward

Workers League Crumbles

Crisis Comes, Wohlforth Goes

Amidst the desultory fanfare of celebrating "Ten Years of the Bulletin," the Workers League slid its former leader of more than a decade, Tim Wohlforth, into oblivion without a word of lamentation, jubilation, or even excuse.

An apathetic audience of about 180 listened as the WL's October25 "Tenth Anniversary" public meeting in New York introduced Fred Mazelis as WL National Secretary, confirming the rumors that Wohlforth had been deposed as WL head. (We print below the text of our leaflet distributed at that meeting.)

The ouster of Wohlforth represents a tremendous setback for Healyism internationally. The Workers League is the oldest and largest Healyite colony, and Wohlforth had been its leader, pretentious propagandist and public spokesman from the outset. As befits the WL's razzle-dazzle operation, Wohlforth had at least a certain, albeit tawdry, presence. His replacement by the colorless and slimy Fred Mazelis is apparently a last-ditch attempt to stem the WL's hemorrhaging of its small core of cadre.

For years the WL sought to drive its young supporters to ever greater frenzies of work and self-sacrifice in executing an opportunist line with promises that The Crisis would catapult the WL's Potemkin Village into the big time. With unintentional irony, one young WL supporter told a WV reporter that the bureaucratic and sectarian Wohlforth finally had to go, now that The Crisis has come.

Whether Wohlforth will reappear in the course of some future WL gyration, opposition or palace coup, only time and possibly Healy can tell. But this much is clear: Wohlforth has no future in ostensibly socialist politics outside the Workers League. Even among the most demoralized of the degeneration products of Trotskyism, he is notorious as a demagogue and a fraud.

Only the consummate cynics of the WL would try to disappear their founding leader without one word of denunciation, self-criticism or comment. It might have been wiser, though, to have announced that poor Wohlforth had come down with a bad case of phlebitis.

The pages of Workers Vanguard, Spartacist and individual leaflets have over the years devoted sufficient attention to Tim Wohlforth and the Workers League. We have exposed the WL's shamefully opportunist and self-contradictory positions (most grotesquely, managing in one issue of the Bulletin to simultaneously hail the alleged turn of the corrupt black nationalist Newton wing of the Panthers to "dialectics" and [to support] the striking New York cops). We have exposed the WL's accompanying lies, dishonesty, duplicity and bombastic pretense, centered on the WL’s fake-popular "agitational" newspaper. We have exposed the WL's shameless disregard for the principle of workers democracy. The cynics who have made up the core of the WL either ignored or even agreed with these characterizations and shrugged them off with a "so what? that's how we're going to get ahead."

But the WL's attempt to adapt the usual practices of big-time bureaucratic and revisionist parties to the few hundreds in the WL has been a disaster, as indeed such a one-sided sellout must be. The WL is hopelessly cut off from recruiting militants from any part of the existing left, where everyone who cares knows the WL as a dirty word. The only source left for WL recruitment is raw, semi-political youth, whom the WL tries to turn from would-be socialists into corrupted WL cynics. But the real all-sided irrelevance and isolation of the WL from social or political struggles lead to enormous turnover, for the WL can deliver neither social struggle nor even any real payoff for corruption. So these often serious, if naive, youth just go away, embittered and anti-socialist. The internal life of the WL mirrors its publicly expressed fakery and scumminess. So except for the very narrow central clique, even the most cynical and degenerate WL cadres can only be the recipients of the same endless stupid abuse and lying which the WL tries to dump on the world at large. The political life of a WL member is indeed nasty, brutal and above all short. The WL's basic method of "short-cuts" in principle and endless demagogy is a losers' strategy.


The WL's creeping crisis of cadre loss appears to have reached Tim Wohlforth himself. The main story going around is that he has been deposed as central leader. For all we know he's still covertly the American boss, or perhaps the disappearance of his name in recent Bulletins reflects his expulsion. If the latter is the case this makes Wohlforth a three-time loser as central leader: in 1962 the Spartacist tendency took a majority in the then-common faction away from him; in 1964 his then-buddies, the Phillips state capitalist group, broke with him and took a majority with them; now three quarters of his cadre has walked out on him over the last 18 months, and Gerry Healy appears to have dumped him.

While Wohlforth has preened himself as a master theoretician, parading in his "The Struggle for Marxism in the U.S." as the first real American Marxist and proud author of the eccentric work "Theory of Structural Assimilation" (an embarassed WL disappeared that one several years ago), his main contribution has been to turn crucial aspects of Marxism – "theory," "method" and "dialectics" – into empty mystification in order to peddle political garbage.

The WL has always been a satellite of Gerry Healy's British group and is the product of steady pressure to conform to Healy's imaginings of what an American version of the British WRP ought to look like. Remember that the idiot opportunist WL line of a couple of years ago that "the road to the American working class is through the YSA" was admittedly dictated to the WL in Britain. The WL as it has become is, together with the interchangeable Australian and West German Healyite groups (the only other two visible Healyite groups outside Britain), the foreign face of the British Healy/Banda operation.

To blame Wohlforth and not Healy for the present sad state of the WL would be like blaming William Z. Foster and not Stalin for the crimes of the American CP, and in no case could an Earl Browder/Freddie Mazelis set things right.


Unlike the Healyite shambles, the international Spartacist tendency and its American section, the Spartacist League, have leaped forward, making great gains because of its fidelity to the Trotskyist program and its energetic assault upon crisis-ridden revisionists in a dozen countries. The Spartacist is published in four languages, while the SL/U.S. produces a bi-weekly Workers Vanguard on the road to becoming a weekly, a monthly Young Spartacus and the journal Women and Revolution. In the United States a communist cadre is being forged in the labor movement, through hard-hitting trade-union fractions, and elsewhere.

It is the Spartacist League, not the Workers League, which has been able to win revolutionary elements from Maoism, labor reformism, the SWP and its international bloc partners, and the left social democracy. While the WL press makes wild claims to having brought down Nixon and then warns of resulting iminent fascism which only the WL can stop, the SL and Spartacus Youth League have undertaken real campaigns and struggles: in solidarity with the British miners' strike; around the agricultural workers; stopping the loading of ships to Chile; for the jailing of Nixon; for strikes against anti-labor legislation; for mass united front demonstrations to defeat the racist anti-busing forces. This is why the Spartacist League is undergoing all-sided growth – geographical, among workers and into new industries, among black and student youth

Don't wait for cynicism and burnout, the sure fate of those who stay overlong with the Workers League: like many other fake "revolutionary" organizations, the ranks are better than the counterfeit cause they try loyally to serve. Look to the Spartacist League for Marxist leadership!
To those who cling to the demonstrated bankruptcy of the Workers League's opportunism and deceit, we can only say along with Trotsky: "To face reality squarely; not to seek the line of least resistance; to call things by their right names; to speak the truth to the masses, no matter how bitter it may be; not to fear obstacles; to be true in little things as in big ones; to base one's program on the logic of the class struggle; to be bold when the hour for action arrives – these are the rules of the Fourth International" (Transitional Program, 1938).