Friday, May 29, 2009

Vaudeville at the Hammersmith Odeon (1973)

Workers Vanguard No. 33 (23 November 1973)

Gerry Healy Presents "The Revolutionary Party"

Finding the billing of Socialist Labour League too modest for his pretensions to grandeur, Gerry Healy has proclaimed the advent of the Revolutionary Party. This transformation was accomplished at a rally in London on November 4 featuring the characteristic carnival atmosphere – the rock groups, the comic skits, the dancing girls – to which the SLL has increasingly resorted in order to divert attention from its record of political banditry.

According to the Workers League's Bulletin of 16 November "the great strength of the WRP [Workers Revolutionary Party – the SLL's new name] ... was shown in the completion of the $250,000 party-building fund." (Can the WL's recent request for discussions with the Socialist Workers Party be explained by the SWP's $400,000 party-building fund, supposedly indicating even greater strength?)

For Leninists, the proclamation that a revolutionary organization has become a party is a serious matter indicating an objective, qualitative change in the relationship of that organization to the class and to its existing leadership. Thus Lenin did not proclaim the Bolshevik faction as a party until the Prague Conference in 1912 when the fusion with the "pro-party" Mensheviks had stripped the reformists of their industrial proletarian base.

On a smaller scale, the American Trotskyists did not declare themselves a party until 1938, when they had won over the social-democratic youth group as well as the Socialist Party's best cadre and had acquired indisputable hegemony over those forces to the left of Stalinism. In contrast, the Healyite organization remains a propaganda group whose relationship to the British working class and left has remained essentially unchanged, though somewhat deteriorated over the past decade. Having devoted much energy to making nonsense of the Marxist concept of economic crisis, the Healyites will now devote themselves to making a mockery of the Leninist concept of the party.