29/11/2016 by socialistfight
By Gerry Downing29-11-2016
The WRP campaign against the US SWP, claiming they were all CIA agents was designed to cover up for their almost identical capitulation to bourgeois nationalism, included Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran.
This article by Bill Van Auken, who is one of the better SEP theoreticians, was written back in January 1998. He makes many correct points against “Pabloism” and is entirely right to point to the political collapse of the USFI to petty bourgeois radicalism and Castroism, although we would put its origins back in the 1940s and include Gerry Healy in that degeneration back then.
But it reveals its own ideological backwardness. Note the contemptuous rejection of reality in the quote extracted at the bottom. What are “so-called facts”? The things mentioned are simply facts.
And “circumstances” gets those contemptuous quotation marks as if real Marxists never bothered with these things which really do “excluded the conscious struggle of Trotskyists to mobilize the working class independently on its own socialist and internationalist program” not least because we are all agreed that real Trotskyism did not exist in Cuba.
And what of the devastating charge that a workers’ state, albeit deformed, could be brought into being without a mass movement of the working class with soviets/ workers’ councils led by the revolutionary party because we were all agreed it had happened in Eastern Europe after WWII, weren’t we?
If not Sy Landy and the League for the Revolutionary Party was right and these remained capitalist states all along? And Yugoslavia, Albania, China, Vietnam, North Korea, Laos and Cambodia were never deformed workers’ states either as their initiation had a big measure of popular support, unlike unpopular imposition by the Red Army in Poland, East Germany and the rest?
Well, the author is stumped about all that so just puts a question mark over it all.
“The perspective elaborated by the SWP’s Joseph Hansen in relation to Cuba was founded upon a gross vulgarization of Marxism. He took as his point of departure the previous decision by the Trotskyist movement to use the highly conditional and somewhat makeshift definition of “deformed workers state” in describing China and the Eastern European buffer states.”
Clearly that poor man just dosen’t know what to make of that unsatisfactory “conditional and somewhat makeshift definition”. So what is the correct definition? Sy Landy’s or that Stalinist one, “actually existing socialism”?
This is the extract that rubbishes empirical observations, as Cliff Slaughter did back in the early 1960s which Joseph Hansen so hilariously demolished in Cuba, the Acid Test. However the later capitulation to Castroism is also clearly contained in the piece when he ridiculously postulated Castro was just about to break from Stalinism and initiation workers’ democracy, which never came, of course. In that the SLL and Gerry Healy was correct.
“In combating this revisionist attack on Marxism, the SLL traced the dispute over Cuba methodological questions. It demonstrated that the SWP was engaged in what Trotsky had described as the “worshipping of the accomplished fact,” that is, adapting themselves to the so-called reality determined by the existing social structure, the existing leaderships in the working class and the bourgeois forms of consciousness prevailing among the broad masses of workers and oppressed. All of these were accepted as objective, determining factors, entirely separated from the conscious struggle of the revolutionary proletarian party.
The SWP’s method was one of passive contemplation of these “facts”, and an adaptation to existing leaderships, in search of what appeared to offer the most immediate prospects for political success. Thus they became apologists for these leaderships, justifying their every action with the argument that, given the circumstances, what else could they do? These “circumstances” however, always excluded the conscious struggle of Trotskyists to mobilize the working class independently on its own socialist and internationalist program.”
And finally how could you assess Cuba without mentioning its world beating health and education system and making some explanation of why it existed and what that meant?
Castroism and the Politics of Petty-Bourgeois Nationalism
By Bill Van Auken
7 January 1998