PRE CONFERENCE DISCUSSION DOCUMENT: A CONTRIBUTION TO THE BRITISH PERSPECTIVES

19/03/2014 by socialistfight

New2ForPostsPRE CONFERENCE DISCUSSION DOCUMENT
SOCIALIST FIGHT FOUNDING CONFERENCE MARCH 22-23 2014

A CONTRIBUTION TO THE BRITISH PERSPECTIVES

Laurence Himphries
The Founding Conference of Socialist Fight will be an important milestone in the development of the Organisation. It will give us an opportunity to break out of the propaganda circles that we are in presently. We are an orthodox Trotskyist organisation within a spectrum of Trotskyist organisations some holding centrist positions others sectarian or ultra-left positions. Some of the organisations claim adherence to the FOURTH INTERNATIONAL, others to the FIFTH INTERNATIONAL.

I will reiterate paragraph 26 of where we stand “We are for the political regeneration and reconstruction of the Fourth International as the World party of socialist Revolution and will fight for for the fusions and splits necessary for this in our International Work”. [1]. In my contribution I want to discuss Paragraph 7 which states “We recognise the necessity for revolutionaries to carry out serious ideological and political struggle as direct participants in the Trade Unions (always) and in the mass reformist social democratic bourgeois workers parties despite their pro capitalists leaderships when conditions are favourable”.[2].

 At the present time myself and GD are active in the Labour Party in entry work and that is an important. We are carrying out the policy that Trotsky advocated (sui Generis) and that was so successfully carried out by The British Section of the Fourth International ‘The Group’ from 1947 -1959. That entry work was very successful and led to the capture of the leadership of the Labour Party Young Socialists and prepared the Trotskyists for training and building a cadre in their own organisation when it was necessary to form an independent Organisation the Socialist Labour League. Our aim must be to win and recruit leftward moving forces in the Labour party to SFG. Unlike the Labour Party Marxists a centrist trend it is not our aim to turn the Labour Party into a Revolutionary organisation, that is an idealist pipe dream. In the past we have worked within the Labour Representation Committee, after last year’s AGM I feel that the LRC is moving rapidly rightwards and is more like a reformist organisation. I have proposed a rule change on the LRC and have reported on the role of some Fake Trotskyists inside the LRC, Alliance for Workers Liberty. I have commented on their role in my assessment of the LRC in SF 16. [3]. The Labour Party Marxists are also represented in the LRC and that maybe a milieu we may have to consider, whatever our work in the Labour Party  we may have to consider working within some centrist or leftward moving force.

The decision of the recent emergency Labour Party Conference to sever the Link between the Labour Party and the trade unions also shows the role of the Trade Union bureaucracy who have schemed and betrayed the working class by agreeing to sever the link. In Unite where McCluskey has crawled to the right wing and promised Miliband that Unite will deliver the Unions to the Labour Party right wing on a plate. Of the 6 Unite representatives attending the conference 5 voted for the proposals and I abstained Martin Mayer from United Left McCluskey’s electoral grouping in Unite. [4].

I think we should orientate ourselves to those leftward moving forces and our best possibility is in Brent where there is a nucleus of a left wing formation around Graham Durham and GD in the Brent LRC.

We should also pay attention to those centrist forces outside the Labour Party amongst the two biggest political organisations laying claim to be Trotskyist, the SPEW and the SWP who are both involved in the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition an electoral grouping of centrists like the SPEW and the SWP and so called left bureaucrats like Bob Crowe of the RMT.

The developing split inside the SPEW is the most interesting. BW and SD have raised objections to the SPEW’s position on the falling rate of profit. This has resulted in a group of members being bureaucratically suspended. Because of GD’s patient work SD is now coming to our Founding Conference. If you read the latest Socialist Party Members bulletin you will see that these comrades are moving to very similar positions to us particularly on Rank and file work around Grass Roots Left and the role of the Trade Union Bureaucracy, which I will talk about later.  In this bulletin the comrades from the opposition have exposed the rightward drift of the SPEW leadership who are moving closer and closer to the Trade Union bureaucracy. The SPEW Leadership heap a number of slanders against us and against Comrade GD in particular. They have written an open letter to Unite prior to the Labour Party conference preparing the way when PCS merges with Unite. Many of the PCS bureaucrats are members of the SPEW and it shows that they want a cordial relationship with the Unite Bureaucracy and a cosy relationship protecting their members when the merger takes place. These developments in the SPEW show that these centrists are moving very rapidly into the arms of reformism. You only have to read their abject defence of critically supporting McCluskey in the Unite General Secretary election to show where their politics lies. They are absolutely reformists in their distinction between an Aristocratic workforce and the emergence of a bureaucracy .SD’s criticism of the SPEW leadership coincides very much with our own position in Grass Roots Left where we supported Hicks the rank and file candidate and  supported him in the General secretary Election campaign.

Other centrists like Socialist Resistance International Socialist network a right wing split inside the SWP, the Anti-capitalist alliance and Workers Power are all involved in opportunist activities in either the People’s Assembly or Left Unity. I am with Lenin when he referred to ‘the Swamp’ in what is to be done in Volume 5 of his collected works. [5]. I propose that we keep as far away from these erstwhile comrades as we can.

In our trade Union work great possibilities open up for us in our work in Grass Roots Left a rank and file organisation inside Unite, although numerically very small we are beginning to forge important alliances. We must pay special attention to developments inside centrist forces moving leftwards and one particular group active in Grass Roots left is Revolutionary Socialist grouping of the 21st century a recent left wing split from the SWP, plus some elements of the SWP who are working with us in Grass Roots Left. We are working with centrists like SR, WP and others who are supporting us in our rank and file work. We are carrying out Trotsky’s advice to the letter in the Transitional Programme.  “The crisis of humanity can be reduced to the crisis of proletarian Leadership” [6].

Our perspective in Grass Roots Left must be to recruit every nominated Branch that supported Hicks in the General Secretary’s Election campaign to GRASS ROOTS LEFT.

As an organisation we need to adopt a more professional attitude based on a flexible democratic centralist approach. We must end the practice of openly meeting in pubs without first booking a room. We must start some Education classes on Imperialism and on Dialectical and Historical Imperialism the cornerstone of the Marxist method. The organisation has much to be proud of, a good blog and hopefully in the coming months be able to have an interactive website where e mails and the various Trotskyist currents can be combined. The magazine is of a very high theoretical level but we need to organise regular sales of the magazine. The Editorial Board must function as an Editorial board and not leave the layout and the organisation of the magazine to one or two comrades. The turn to the youth is of paramount importance and the launch of Bolshie youth will be an important development, but above all we must turn theory into practice and recruit workers and youth into SFG and break out of this propaganda circle and truly begin to influence the class. In Britain we are dominated by many centrist groups who have a petit bourgeoisie, middle class approach to politics. We must break that stranglehold, develop our strength and recruit forces that are moving away from these centrists. We have a close relationship with the RCIT and we welcome them to this conference although we still have differences with them on the nature of Imperialism, Libya, Syria and the Ukraine. We welcome the opportunity to discuss these differences with them in order to unite and broaden the Trotskyist movement internationally and we hope that these discussions can continue to be conducted in a comradely fashion. We also welcome our comrades from South Africa and hope that we may have closer links with them and that they become part of our International movement the LCFI.

 NOTES

  1. Where we Stand SFG
  2. Where we Stand SFG
  3. Socialist Fight No 16
  4. www.weeklyworker.org.uk
  5. Lenin.VI  ‘What is to be done’ Vol5 LCW
  6. Trotsky.L  the transitional Programme and the tasks of the Fourth InternationalSF Banner (Liaison Committee)2

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