Sunday, July 26, 2009

Portrait of a Healyite as Scab/Spy (1979)

Workers Vanguard No. 231 (11 May 1979)

Portrait of a Healyite Scab/Spy

At the May 6 SL picket of the Workers League (WL) slanderers in Oakland, two Healyite goons roamed about seeking confrontations. One of these thugs was already known to us, one “Tim Nichols.”

Who is “Tim Nichols”? He says he dropped out from Princeton, one of the great universities for dumb bourgeois children, and that his father is a CIA intelligence officer. “Tim Nichols” claims the political history of a drifter: after allegedly participating in actions in defense of the Panthers in the 1970 New Left milieu, and in various SWP front groups in 1971, he is known to have joined the Healyite organization in 1972.

He was WL's Oakland organizer in 1974, and claims to have left the WL during the Wohlforth Purge, but the WL's San Jose organizer claims that “Nichols” was asked to resign in 1975 because he had committed racially provocative acts in the black community.

In 1977 “Tim Nichols” came around the Spartacist League intent on joining. But the SL did not take the bait. An SL member who was “Nichols'” roommate during the time they were both in the WL raised questions about him: “Nichols” had come straight from an SWP feminist front to join the anti-women's liberation WL; he was full of questions about international travel; he got a job in the carpenters union by threatening to scab if they refused.

“Nichols'” subsequent conduct as a self-professed SL supporter certainly justified the suspicions about him – that he was irrational, possibly a cop, perhaps a WL penetration agent or maybe all three at once.

We drove “Tim Nichols” away from the SL after a reprehensible incident of crossing the class line, smacking of a provocation. The facts are these. During the 1977 Handyman warehouse strike in Northern California, a picketer was brutally killed. The ILWU in response organized a boycott of Handyman. This boycott was in effect when, in August of 1977, in flagrant disregard for elementary labor solidarity, “Tim Nichols” patronized a Handyman establishment. Since “Nichols” was accompanying a member of the SL on a sale of our press at the time this atrocity took place, the question was strongly posed that “Nichols” – in addition to exposing his own “socialist” pretensions – might be attempting to associate our party with his scabbing.

The SL reacted swiftly. On 21 August 1977 the Berkeley/Oakland SL passed the following motion:
“Whereas Tim N. acted with gross and cynical irresponsibility while on a sale in violating an organized boycott, there by endangering the political reputation of the organization and its trade-union friends, and furthermore that he appears to be erratic and unstable as evidenced by several recent incidents and a perusal of his political history, therefore we do not consider Tim N. a suitible candidate for membership in the common movement... comrades are instructed to keep him at arms length from the organization.”
Now “Tim Nichols” has surfaced as a prominent West Coast goon for the “security” obsessed WL. This provocateur/scab has again found his proper home – if indeed he ever left it. Whoever was running the operation that sent this man up against the SL should take note: if you hope to penetrate the Spartacist League, such low-grade material can't fool our party.

Workers Vanguard No. 232 (25 May 1979)

Correction: In our last issue (WV No. 231, 11 May) “Portrait of a Healyite as Scab/Spy” we attributed to the Workers League (WL) San Jose, California organzier the report that “Tim Nichols” had been asked to resign from the WL in 1975 for committing racially provocative acts. The article should have referred to the former WL San Jose organizer as the source of this statement.