The Spartacist Family and the National Question

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04/06/2018 by socialistfight

Image result for Sparts Workers vanguard  Jim Robertson  imagesThe Sparts intervene in East Germany in 1990, eventually leading to the split with Jan Norden’s group, the IG/LFI in 1996.

The IBT defend the indefensible, the SL/ICL and the IG/LFI make a partial correction

By Gerry Downing 4-6-2018

In the Summer of 2017, the Spartacist League/ International Communist League (SL/ICL, “the Sparts”) produced the bombshell document, The Struggle Against the Chauvinist Hydra. It is the furthest they have ever gone in reassessing their own history and so is a welcome development. The ostensible target of the polemic was the number two leader, veteran member Mark Tishman (Joseph Seymour) whom they blamed for their previous, now rejected, positions on the national question. It is impossible to escape the conclusion that the real target is the founding guru himself, James Robertson, who controlled the cult with a rod of iron, certainly since the mid to late 1970s, telling him ‘It’s time to move over’. Robertson is the ideological father of the ‘Spart family’, the US Spartacist League/ICL, the International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT), a split begun in 1978 and not completed until 1985, and International Group/League for the Fourth International (IG/LFI), a 1996 split implicitly in support of work in mass movements of the working class.

First Principles

Let us set out a few principles to guide us through this knotty problem. The first is that all human conflict is ultimately a reflection, no matter how distorted, of the class struggle against capitalism and imperialism. As The Communist Manifesto of Marx and Engels in 1848 tells in the opening passage of the first chapter:

“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles. Freeman and slave, patrician and plebeian, lord and serf, guild-master and journeyman, in a word, oppressor and oppressed, stood in constant opposition to one another, carried on an uninterrupted, now hidden, now open fight, a fight that each time ended, either in a revolutionary reconstitution of society at large, or in the common ruin of the contending classes.”

In all communalist conflicts between what the Sparts call, “interpenetrated peoples” we have a side. We defend the Rohingya people against Buddhist chauvinist onslaughts because the rulers of Myanmar are attempting to make a deal with imperialism on better terms by this repression. We should have defended the Turkish population against Greek fascists of the EOKA B in 1974, because they were seeking to make a better deal with imperialism against semi-colonial Turkey. A senior Republic of Cyprus politician, Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, posted an apology to Turkish Cypriots in August 2016 for the atrocities committed against them during the 1974 War:

 “I feel the need to express a sincere public apology to our Turkish Cypriot compatriots for the horrific crimes committed on 14 August 1974 by EOKA B extremists against 126 women and children in the villages of Aloa, Maratha and Sandalaris and 85 civilian men (including a boy of 12 years) from the village of Tochni.” [1]

We should have defended Milosevic and Serbia against the US/EU/NATO directed war and their bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 despite the reactionary character of Milosevic’s regime. In 1948 we should have defended India’s minority Muslims against the murderous assaults of the Hindu chauvinism because these were Gandhi’s politics seeking a deal with imperialism by destroying the potential for revolution of the time.

The second great interconnected principle is consistent anti-imperialism. Writing in April 1940 in his Balance Sheet of the Finnish Events Trotsky sets out the principle that questions of national independence are always subordinate to the global struggle between the rival imperialism in his day and we would say subordinate to the struggle against the hegemonic global imperialist power, the USA, today.

Under the conditions of World War, to approach the question of the fate of small states from the standpoint of “national independence,” “neutrality,” etc., is to remain in the sphere of imperialist mythology… So far as the small and second-rate states are concerned, they are already today pawns in the hands of the great powers. The sole freedom they still retain, and this only to a limited extent, is the freedom of choosing between masters … On the world arena we support neither the camp of the Allies nor the camp of Germany. Consequently, we have not the slightest reason or justification for supporting either one of their temporary tools within Norway itself… From the standpoint of the strategy of the world proletariat, Finnish resistance was no more an act of independent national defence than is the resistance of Norway… Secondary factors like the national independence of Finland or Norway, the defence of democracy, etc., however important in themselves, are now intertwined in the struggle of infinitely more powerful world forces and are completely subordinate to them. We must discount these secondary factors and determine our policy in accordance with the basic factors.

The programmatic theses of the Fourth International on the war gave an exhaustive answer to this question six years ago. The theses state: “The idea of national defence especially if it coincides with the idea of the defence of democracy, can most readily be utilized to dupe the workers of small and neutral countries … Other petty-bourgeois equally stupid imagined that world war is a means for defending Finland, that it is possible to determine proletarian strategy on the basis of a tactical episode such as the invasion of Finland by the Red Army. [2]

The argumentation between the Sparts/ICL and the IBT have no regard to the “standpoint of the strategy of the world proletariat” but is all argued on the tactical consideration of the struggle within a single multi-national state like Spain, Britain and Canada. And these “second-rate states” are “already today pawns in the hands of” not “the great powers” now but the USA. They don’t even have the miserable “freedom of choosing between masters”, they must either accept domination and subordination to the USA or embark on the struggle for world revolution. That is unless Donald Trump overplays his hand so much that he manages to unite all Europe, Latin America and Russia and China against him. Which is a definite possibility if he keeps on pursuing his trade wars and escalates his military wars.

The third great principle is the question of what national consciousness and the right to self-determination are in Marxist terms? We take the following position of Christian Rakovsky as the correct one, developed by Lenin from his Second Internationalist position of 1913:

“There were many in the party in 1923 who believed that the national problem had already been solved. Rakovsky asked: “Tell me, comrades, how many of you can explain in what way the October revolution solved the nationalities question?” It did not resolve it, nor could it have. National culture does not cease to exist because the state is a workers’ state or because the economy is no longer privately owned. National culture is “the only way” through which the working and peasant masses will gain access to political and cultural life. “And hand in hand with national consciousness comes that feeling of equality which Lenin speaks of in his memorandum. Because of centuries o tsarist domination, the nationalities are now experiencing that feeling of equality in a much deeper and stronger way than we think.” So the problem posed before the Communist Party was not one of the suppression or “overcoming” of national consciousness. “It (the party) faces the question of how to find the bond between proletarian communist internationalism and the national development of wide layers of the peasant masse with their aspirations for a national life, for their own national culture, for their own national state.” [3]

The fourth principle is that all oppression is inter-connected; contempt for the people of an oppressed nation goes hand in hand with contempt for oppressed women who begin to fight back.

women and revolution

Contempt for abused women; Creepy victim-blaming Lolita subtexts, anyone?

Robertson’s marginalisation of Dale Ross (D. L. Reissner), first editor of Women and Revolution 1971, caused her resignation as editor in 1979, and her resignation from the group in 1983. Basically, he seized control of the relatively autonomous women’s magazine. She had produced great pioneering works such as her 1976, Early Bolshevik Work Among Women of the Soviet East, which remains a classic of its kind for its reassertion of the Bolshevik sensitive transitional method of approach to religiously oppressed women and to religious and national oppression in general. [4] Her observation that “the Bolsheviks viewed the extreme oppression of women as an indicator of the primitive level of the whole society, but their approach was based on materialism, not moralism” set the correct tone for the whole piece. By 1980 she had to proclaim, in line with Robertson’s Stalinophilic line of “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan”; “In Afghanistan today the Red Army alone stands between women and the perpetuation of feudal and pre-feudal enslavement”, which clearly embodied the very opposite method of uncritically support for Stalinist bureaucratic imposition, which had such disastrous results, with a contempt for that revolutionary method. [5]

We venture to suggest that the misogynistic attitudes now visible in the Sparts defence of the child rapist Roman Polanski in the 1 June 2018 issue of Workers Vanguard were strongly challenged by Dale as they are now challenged by another woman, Kathleen H., in a letter rejecting the reactionary defence of Polanski. She is a “former member of the Editorial Board of this paper” and it is obvious why the new Dale Ross no longer serves that function. She defends the 13-year-old child, Samantha Geimer, against the 43-year-old rich and powerful rapist and such feminism is not to be tolerated in the Sparts. Basically, they say we should believe the man who anally raped her twice and not believe her. Because his pregnant wife Sharon Tate was horrifically murdered in 1969 and his mother died in the Holocaust and Gore Vidal’s assertion that, “anti-Semitism got Polanski” And they blackguard her by quoting Polanski dubbing her a “little whore” and actually lied in the piece itself to blacken her name. Her Grand Jury testimony was that she had sex once only with her boyfriend and this became her “blatantly obvious sexual maturity”. She also testified that she had once take a “part of a Quaalude” the children found in the playground. The Sparts lied that she was “experimenting with Quaalude since she was 10 or 11”.

Image result for Polanski's victim Samantha Geimer images

Rape Shield laws were in force in almost all US states, including California, at the time of the Polanski case. These laws, many now repealed, in the main did not permit any evidence relating to the past sexual behaviour of the victim and outlawed opinion evidence or reputation evidence. The demand for similar laws here came up over the terrible ordeal suffered by the alleged victim in the case of footballer Ched Evans in October 2016, “the decision to allow the jury to hear the sexual history of the complainant has sparked outrage from women’s support groups and campaigners”, we were told.

The other alleged victim in the Belfast rape trial of the four Irish rugby internationals suffered an even more terrible ordeal. “What was she wearing? Had she been drinking? Her blood-stained underwear was passed around the court and her character was dragged through the mud by the media and public”. In the nine weeks trial, she was cross-examined by the four defence barristers. Thousands rallied in her defence in Belfast, Dublin, Galway, and Cork in late March 2018. In fact, such was the furore in the whole of Ireland over that case that the southern Ireland Justice Minister, Charlie Flanagan, has promised new rights for rape victims in its wake. It really is something when an Irish Fine Gael Minister has a more progressive stance on rape than the great “Trotskyists” of the ICL/ SL! Their disgusting lying about the sexual history of the victim by their “Lolita defence” would have been illegal if the Polanski case had gone to court. The truth would have helped her but presenting their lying account of her sex and drugs history would have earned the Sparts a spell behind bars for perjury. [6]

The Sparts roundly condemn the #MeToo movement because it is clear the Harvey Weinstein case has provoked an uprising of women he, and others like him, have sexually abused. More than 100 have now come forward with allegations against him of sexual abuse. Significantly Weinstein and Woody Allen were amongst the luminaries who signed letters in defence of Polanski in 2009. Many who signed those letters have now withdrawn their approval. Ronan Farrow kicked off the exposure of Weinstein in defence of his sister Dylan and his mother Mia in order to get Allen for the alleged sexual assault on the 7-year-old Dylan in the early 1990s.

The other large cult in the USA, the WSWS/SEP, are also strong defenders of the child rapist Polanski and Harvey Weinstein and other ‘victims’ of tales of rape and sex abuse, including the potential future President of France, Dominic Strauss-Khan. Nafissatou Diallo, the 33-year-old former housekeeper at the upmarket Sofitel hotel in Manhattan, claimed Strauss-Kahn attacked her there on 14 May 2011 as she attempted to clean his room. The WSWS/SEP wrote four articles to blacken her name and defend him; David North, and David Walsh co-wrote the first on 19 May, Walsh alone on 23 May and Patrick Martin wrote the next two on 4 July and 30 November. Nevertheless, rejecting all their Sherlock Homes efforts to prove his innocence strangely Strauss-Kahn paid Nafissatou Diallo an undisclosed figure in compensation, rumoured to be $6 million, rather than accept their cast-iron ‘proofs’ before a judge and jury. Strauss-Kahn was also linked to an alleged prostitution ring in France, but this did not bother David North and David Walsh, those WSWS/SEP militant fighters for the rights of these ‘oppressed’ rich and powerful men.

The Rolling Stone blog reports on the serial rapist Polanski:

He has repeatedly been accused of sexual misconduct with underage girls, including a new accusation this week. Renate Langer, 61, of Germany, spoke with police in Switzerland last month (October 2017) alleging that Polanski raped her several times when she was 15 years old. British actress Charlotte Lewis held a press conference Polanski “forced himself” on her in his apartment in Paris, France in 1983 “He sexually abused me in the worst possible way when I was just 16 years old” she said. Then just last August (2017), another woman came forward to accuse the director of sexually assaulting her as a minor. In a press conference in Los Angeles, a woman identified only as Robin M. claimed Polanski “sexually victimized” her when she was 16-years-old in 1973 in southern California. [7]

Of course, the Sparts’ defence of Polanski has outraged many over the years. In October 2009 Shannon and Meredith M objected in a letter printed in WV in words similar to Kathleen H. now:

“My wife and I are deeply disgusted by the “reporting” on the Roman Polanski case in the most recent issue of the Workers Vanguard [9 October 2009], in which a Workers Vanguard writer falsely reported that Polanski had consensual sex with the girl in question. This is contrary to the published account from the actual trial, which recounted, according to the victim herself, Polanski drugging her with Quaaludes—which the article refers to as “fashionable sedatives”—before having unwanted sex with her. I have no idea what interest the Workers Vanguard has in defending a big-wig like Polanski who clearly thinks he’s above the law because of his fame and money, but we are beyond repulsed at the sexist tone of the entire article, which includes referring to the 13-year-old victim as “precocious”. Creepy victim-blaming Lolita subtexts, anyone? “

Contempt for Oppressed Nations

How far the SL/ICL had degenerated from its previous relatively healthy positions of differing opinions tolerated of the mid-1960s to mid-1970s is shown by the shocking ‘Albanian goat fuckers’ speech by Robertson in 1977. And the fact that the remarks was met with prolonged laughter shows a very degenerate and cultish group indeed; Robertson knew the group so well that he could make such remarks in the middle of a reactionary speech which would have seen him expelled from any half-civilised social democratic party, let alone a group claiming the name of Trotskyism. As with all such outrages in every cult the purpose was to isolate the group for every other political current on the left – if your members tolerated that they would tolerate anything, serving the same purpose as the doctrine of the Unity and Trinity of God did for Christianity, it was so illogical and ridiculously bad that its acceptance signified blind faith and concession of critical faculties to the great guru leader who did your thinking for you.

This is the passage from his speech, never published by the Sparts but courtesy of a group called Communist Cadre who recorded and commented on the entire speech. Its authenticity has never denied by the Sparts:

“And Trotskyism is an “in” word now. The tendency, the attempt is made to say that it’s not a doctrine anymore. It’s a statement that we’re some kind of leftist and that we don’t think eternal truth is locked up with Comrade X in Peking, especially since it turns out to be X, Y, or Z, and that ain’t good. And the harder Maoist types, looking for a spiritual homeland that has state power, are now looking at Tirana” (capital of Albania). Laughter. Robertson now scolds Maoists looking to Albania for political leadership by taking racist swipes at the Albanians. The SL audience reacts to this disgusting performance as though they were at a burlesque house. “WE HAVE HAD OUR COMRADES CHECKING, AND IT IS NOT YET ASSURED, BUT WE BELIEVE THAT MARX REFERRED TO THE ALBANIANS AS “GOAT-FUCKERS”. IS THAT TRUE?” (loud laughter) “but then he was prone to be ethnically pejorative of races”, (laughter rises) “AND IT MUST be pointed out that, to this day, and under the conditions of THE FOURTH FIVE YEAR PLAN, THE PRODUCTION OF GOATS IS STILL THE PRINCIPAL”. Here Robertson is cut short by laughing & whistling and applauding SLers. “So, Trotskyism. There’s a tendency to make it just a word. We want to be more programmatic than that. So that everybody says, “I’m a Trotskyite. I’m a Trotskyite.” [8]

In 1977 leaders or at least some members of the two split groups from the Spart Family were in that room and did not object.

In 2003 Robertson forced the Editorial Board to grovel because, when publishing a letter from the IBT, they did not send it to him first and deleted the PS comment at the end. This was such a heinous crime that they were “beyond stupid, arrogant and uncomradely” and grovelled to him thus:

“The Editorial Board’s actions flouted the democratic-centralist norms on which the Spartacist League and International Communist League operate. Comrade Robertson is a member of the Editorial Board and Spartacist League National Chairman and was personally the target of the BT slander. Yet he was never sent a copy of the BT letter including the “P.S.” Beyond stupid, arrogant and uncomradely, this break in collaboration was an attack on our own revolutionary continuity. The Spartacist League is, and has been from its inception, an organization that says what is, without bowing to petty-bourgeois sensibilities. The actions of the Editorial Board could be borrowed from the practices of centrism, i.e., a divergence between what we stand for and what we do.” [9]

And what was in that PS which enraged Robertson so much? Turbulo informs us:

But Robertson was obviously enraged that the “WV” ed board didn’t immediately take up the cudgels to defend him against the IBT’s “vicious personal attack.” One reason for their failure may have been that there is no defence. Their recent claim that Robertson, in speaking of the “Turds”, was not referring to the Kurds, is totally lame. If Robertson wasn’t, why is the t-word capitalized, and why was this remark made in relation to Reuben Samuels, the SL’s expert on national questions? The Kurdish question is exactly the kind of thing Samuels would have been studying.” [10]

So, the Kurds were worse than the Albanian “goat-fuckers”, they were just human excrement, “Turds”, in Robertson’s opinion.

The national tactical vs the global revolutionary

1977 was a crucial point in degeneration of the Sparts; it was the year of the goat-fuckers speech and the Theses on Ireland, [11] the Sparts came out in support of the child rapist Polanski in 1978 and Dale Ross was ousted/constructively dismissed as Editor of Women and Revolution in 1979 and about then the future IBT began its opposition to Robertson.

Note in this piece quoted below from David Strachan in 1977 British imperialism gets no mention because once we point out that Loyalism supported the British occupation of Ireland and the Republicans opposed it and stop using the terms Protestant and Catholic instead of Loyalist and Republican to designate the opposing sides then the internationalist anti-imperialist position of Leninism-Trotskyism would be immediately apparent, and we couldn’t have that:

“I wanted to make these points to establish that the demand for self-determination is not something that must always be raised. It has to be evaluated in terms of the general considerations of the class struggle. And, in particular, where the exercise of self-determination for one people means that they will, in fact, deny that right to another people, then it ceases to be a democratic demand.

“This arises with interpenetrated peoples, where two peoples are living intermingled on the same territory. I want to argue that this is the case in Ireland, that if you simply demand self-determination (a demand which does not transcend the bounds of capitalism), you are condemning the working masses to further rounds of communal bloodshed, massive population transfers and genocide.

“Those who want to argue that in Ireland the crucial demand is “self-determination for the Irish nation” must face the implications of what they are saying. That is, they are for the forcible reunification of the island under a bourgeois regime, irrespective of the wishes of the Protestants.

“Many of the British left-wing groups don’t want to face up to this, so they argue that there’s some transcendental dynamic that will make everything work out fine. Sixty percent of the Population of Northern Ireland–a quarter of the Population of the whole island-will just give up or get caught up in this revolutionary dynamic and, as the 1M G claims: “The working class will have the opportunity to unite for socialism and peace.” Just like that!

“It ought to be obvious to everyone but the most myopic and the most nationalist that getting the troops out will not by itself solve things. There are more than 100,000 registered guns in Ulster. The vast majority of them are in the hands of the Protestants who are well-trained, well organized and quite determined. As the “Unionist” slogan goes, “Ulster will fight. Ulster will be right.” And they very well might win, certainly against the IRA and even against the Irish regular army.

“The reality of the situation is that a number of possibilities are posed if the British troops get out. There can be the consolidation of a Protestant “Zionist” state accompanied by forcible population transfers, genocide: etc. There could be a reversal of the terms of oppression. That is, the Irish Catholic state consolidated on the whole island, with the Protestants becoming the new Palestinians. There could be a situation like Cyprus, a new boundary change.

“We should also keep in mind what happened in Lebanon, where the most “progressive” Arab state, Syria, the supposed best friends of the Palestinian liberation movement, intervened and blocked with the Christians to smash the Moslem forces. No doubt it will turn around and smash the Christian forces as well. The Irish Catholic state might act in the very same way: intervene in Northern Ireland (with, of course, the support of British imperialism), smash the radical Irish nationalists and then turn on the Protestants. After all, the Irish bourgeoisie has already fought a civil war with the more radical nationalists, so why shouldn’t that happen?” [12]

We must stoutly condemn this piece as an apology for the British imperialist occupation of the six north-eastern counties of the Irish nation under the guise of fair play for reactionary loyalist supremacism. The Oath of Allegiance to the Orange Order still contains the pledge to “counter revolution”. Amazingly that 1977 Theses on Ireland was actually a turn to the left. Previously the Sparts had championed “an independent socialist Ulster, which was the programme of the Loyalist killers of the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDA) led by Glenn Barr for a period. The UDA leader and Vanguard Unionist Progressive Party (VUPP), Assemblyman Barr led the successful Ulster Workers Council Strike in 1974, which brought down the Sunningdale Agreement. Others impressed by the “socialism” and working-class credentials of the Loyalists killers in 1974 were The Militant, who wrote “Nevertheless, the (Ulster Workers Council) strike also demonstrated in a distorted form and on a reactionary issue, the colossal power of the working class when it moves into action.” [13]

Image result for ulster workers strike 1974 images

 

First impressions were inadequate

When we first read The Struggle Against the Chauvinist Hydra we assumed it was simply about the Sparts rejecting their previous positions to fuse with a nationalist group in Quebec and capitulate to nationalism in an opportunist way. This may indeed have been the initial reason to produce the document, but it went far beyond simply adapting to Quebec nationalism and managed to raise fundamental problems about its own previous history on the national question, which, however, we do not think they have really resolved.

We responded then by condemning the capitulation to nationalism on Quebec and Catalonia, which are not oppressed nations but wealthy parts of larger nations. The Sparts declined to take a position in the 2014 Scottish referendum. Workers Hammer No. 226, Spring 2014 lamely proclaimed:

 “We uphold the right of self-determination for Scotland and Wales, which means the right to form independent states. As such, we defend the democratic right of the Scots to choose whichever option they want in the independence referendum, but we do not advocate either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ vote and are indifferent to the outcome.”

In our view Quebec, Scotland and Catalonia are nations with a right to self-determination but we oppose exercising that right because it would divide and weaken the unity of the Canadian, British and Spanish working class, make their workers easier prey for US and EU imperialist transnationals. As we observed:

The Basque Country of northern Spain and southern France has a stronger claim to separation (than Catalonia), or at least far more autonomy, given its history of severe repression under Franco’s dictatorship and the continuing struggles of its liberation movement, ETA, and the numbers of political prisoners held in Spain and France far from their homes.

In that sense, it is more like Ireland than Scotland or Catalonia. But it is not an economically oppressed nation like Ireland was and now obviously still is with the onset of the recession and austerity to pay the debts of foreign and native bankers. Both demands for separation therefore have an overtone of a rebellion against subsidising the poorer and more oppressed regions of Spain and keeping more of their wealth for ‘themselves’. This is a con game, in reality the ruling classes in Catalonia and the Basque Country wish to ally with the US and other European imperialists the better to exploit their own working class and poor. And similar profit motives rule in the Scottish and Welsh bourgeoisie’s desire for independence, whatever the illusions the poor and working class have in these movements.[14]

The IBT have the correct line on both Quebec and Scotland but demand the right of separation of Catalonia, which is wrong in our view. There was a 92% vote in favour on a 43% turnout in the banned Referendum on 1 October 2017 on the question “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?” The big abstention was partially because of the Spanish central state forced closure of many polling stations and there was a boycott those who might have voted no as this was a demand by the central state when they declared the referendum illegal. Also, many voted yes in protest against the brutal repression of the central state of those exercising a simple democratic right to vote and might not have done so in a calmer process like experience in Scotland and Quebec in their referendums.

The IG/LFI took a fudged position on separation in the cases of Quebec and Catalonia by effectively demanding a socialist revolution and a wider socialist federation as a precondition for separation, as the 1977 These on Ireland had done by denying Ireland’s right to reunification under capitalism, and which the above quoted piece refuted so well. They were for Scottish separation in 2014. But their fudged position promised further clarification which is as yet unforthcoming:

“In the rest of the world, virtually the whole of the opportunist left is trying to hop aboard the train of the independentista movement, including the International Communist League (Spartacist tendency), which in its own terminal process has fervently embraced a bourgeois nationalist perspective toward Catalonia, Quebec and in multinational countries (France, Belgium) in general. But that particular and peculiar story requires separate treatment.” [15]

They were at various times:

  1. “For a Federation of Workers Republics in the Iberian Peninsula, Part of a Socialist United States of Europe!
  2. For the “the independence of Quebec in the framework of a federation of workers states of North America”
  3. and advised the Scottish working class to “Cast a Critical Vote for Scottish Independence, and Fight for Socialist, Revolution to Bring Down the Monarchy, NATO and the Rule of Capital, For a Scottish workers Republic in a Socialist Federation of the British Isles.”

As the IBT correctly observed on Quebec:

“From a Leninist standpoint, advocating Quebec independence today makes even less sense than it did in the mid-1990s, given the precipitous decline in popular support for separation. The ICL’s repudiation of the Spartacist tendency’s historic position represented a politically demoralized retreat from Trotskyism and, as such, a manifestation of what the Internationalist Group in another context described as the SL’s “Drift Toward Abstentionism,” culminating in its “Desertion from the Class Struggle”.”

The ‘interpenetrated peoples’ theory is profoundly wrong

One IBT supporter indicated that he still defends that 1977 document, Theses on Ireland, despite the fact that this writer pointed out a number of gross factual and political errors in this document and observed that the IBT supporter himself could write a far better document. We have already polemised against this position in some detail in IDOT 20, Ireland and Palestine. [16]

Image result for the Irgun and Stern Gang  imagesMembers of the Irgun, Menachem Begin, circled. From the left: Menachem Begin, Arieh Ben Eliezer, Leib Boyko, Reuben Franco, and Marek Kahane. The Sparts initially supported these in 1948 and refused to back the Palestinians in the Nakba. 

The Spart Family’s ‘interpenetrated peoples’ theory was used by the early Spartacist League of the US in the mid 1960 to justify James Robertson’s refusal to defend the Palestinians against the murderous assault launched on them by the fascist gangs of the Irgun and Stern Gang on behalf of the state of Israel by taking a pro-Israel position on that 1948 Arab/Israeli war. This was then expanded to take an equally reactionary position on Ireland in 1977 by proclaiming that they opposed the reunification of Ireland under capitalism, thereby accepting the Loyalist veto 21 years before Gerry Adams’ Good Friday Agreement. All the modern ‘Spart Family’, the ICL, the IBT and the IG/LFI continue to defend this nonsense, in line with Robertson’s Shachtman origins. Therefore, we are entitled to ask if the Hydra piece applies to Poland as Lenin saw it why it does not equally apply to Ireland and that reactionary 1977 Theses on Ireland. The Hydra said, and we agree:

“Lenin waged a struggle against the advocates of imperialist economism, including the Polish social democrats who argued that “self-determination is impossible under capitalism and superfluous under socialism” (“A Caricature of Marxism and Imperialist Economism,” 1916). The article in WV Nos. 123 and 125 undermines Lenin’s principled polemics against Luxemburg, claiming falsely that like Luxemburg “he was opposed to federalism, and favored limited regional autonomy for minority nations in a unitary state” (our emphasis). Further, the article advocates the assimilation of the oppressed nations by the oppressors under imperialist capitalism: “While championing the equality of languages and related democratic rights, we work for the gradual, organic assimilation of the various nationalities making up the working class.” [17]

And does not the following passage from the Hydra implicitly reject the entire theory of interpenetrated peoples, even if we do not agree on Quebec and Catalonia, although it does not explicitly say so:

“Fundamentally, our chauvinist programmatic framework on the national question meant a program of forcible assimilation of oppressed nations. This program was embodied in our defence of privileges for oppressor-nation languages and in our opposition to the language laws in Quebec and Catalonia. This conference reaffirms that the equality of languages lies in the struggle against privileges for the dominant language.”

The Sparts are only just beginning to approach the question from “the concrete economic facts” as outlined by Lenin here:

“First, what is the most important, the fundamental idea of our theses? The distinction between oppressed and oppressor nations. We emphasize this distinction–in diametric contrast to the Second International and bourgeois democracy. In the epoch of imperialism, it is particularly important for the proletariat and the Communist International to establish the concrete economic facts and in the solution of all colonial and national questions, to proceed not from abstract postulates but from concrete realities.” [18]

The IBT are not reassessing at all

All the quotations by the IBT from Lenin are from his writings on the national question from 1913 to 1916 but nothing from his post revolution writings and certainly nothing from his last struggle with Stalin on the question of the right of Georgia to self-determination. Remember that in 1913 Stalin wrote his dogmatic piece on self-determination and Lenin agreed with it. He opposed Stalin and others on the national question from 1919 and could scarcely have been stronger in his opposition to him in 1922 and 23. The IBT want to retain the Lenin of 1913-14 which was close to Stalin and the German Social Democracy on certain aspects of the national question but not the Lenin of 1920-23 who had a far more developed position. But the Hydra now acknowledge that Lenin did develop his position from 1913: “Lenin’s last struggle was waged against the Great Russian chauvinist bullying of the Georgian communists by Stalin and Ordzhonikidze.”

When Lenin learned of the actions of Stalin and Ordzhonikidze in Georgia in December 1922 he was absolutely furious. By the end of December, he was able to function almost normally, and he began a merciless political assault on Stalin, it is he who is the prime “rascal and a tyrant” he refers to here:

I suppose I have been very remiss with respect to the workers of Russia for not having intervened energetically and decisively enough in the notorious question of autonomisation, which, it appears, is officially called the question of the union of Soviet Socialist Republics … It is said that a united apparatus was needed. Where did that assurance come from? Did it not come from that same Russian apparatus which … we took over from Tsarism and slightly anointed with Soviet oil? … It is quite natural that in such circumstances the ‘freedom to secede from the union’ by which we justify ourselves will be a mere scrap of paper, unable to defend the non-Russians from the onslaught of that really Russian man, the Great Russian chauvinist, in substance a rascal and a tyrant, such as the typical Russian bureaucrat is. There is no doubt that the infinitesimal percentage of Soviet and Sovietised will drown in that tide of chauvinistic Great Russian riff-raff like a fly in milk … were we careful enough to take measures to provide the non-Russians with a real safeguard against the truly Russian bully? I do not think we took such measures although we could and should have done so. I think that Stalin’s haste and his infatuation with pure administration, together with his spite against the notorious ‘nationalist-socialism’ played a fatal role here. In politics spite generally plays the basest of roles. [19]

In their outrage at past Robertsonian positions abandoned they give us an appalling list of their historical crimes which they feel are about to be repudiated. Not only did they take the pro-imperialist side in Ireland and Palestine; the IBT are nothing if not defensive of all the history of the Sparts before they departed:

“We regard the SL’s position on “interpenetrated peoples” to be among its most important original contributions to the Leninist-Trotskyist tradition. Robertson, who played a central role in developing this approach, as he did on virtually every important programmatic issue (including Quebec), deserves much of the credit for it. The iSt’s theoretical framework on the national question allowed it to develop a revolutionary position on a range of important conflicts, unlike its pseudo-Marxist competitors at the time.

The USec, LRP, CTC and all the others who disagreed with the Spartacists’ refusal to take sides in the Lebanese civil war were similarly outraged by the position of dual defeatism in the Arab/Israeli conflicts of 1948, 1967 and 1973 and the analysis of Israel/Palestine as another instance of interpenetrated peoples. Given the ICL’s recent embrace of what we might designate neo-Pabloism on the national question, might this also be up for revision?”

In fact, the Sparts did take sides in the Nakba in 1948, they took the wrong side, the Zionist side and Yossi Rad/Schwartz takes credit for changing it to a slightly better, but still wrong position of neutrality. Now a member of the Occupied Palestine/Israel International Socialist League and the Austrian-based international the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) Yossi has the correct line of “a revolutionary defeatist position against Israel in its War in 1948 and a revolutionary defencist position for the Arab countries”. [20]

Image result for September 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre  images

Yes, you read that correctly, the Sparts refused to take the anti-imperialist side of the Palestinians and Lebanese leftists led by Kamal Jumblatt and his son Walid in the Lebanese Civil War from 1975 to 1990 that resulted in 120,000 fatalities including the terrible September 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre of the entire camp of Palestinians carried out by the fascist Lebanese Phalangists with the full cooperation of the Israeli Defense Force. “Interpenetrated peoples” you see stopped them opposing imperialism here. And everywhere else. In their reply to the Hydra article there is an incredible section “Neo-Pabloism in Beirut & Entebbe” where they boast of their sordid history and actually quote the obviously correctly criticisms of the League for the Revolutionary Party and the Communist Cadre and whine, in effect, “have you lost the faith, now?”:

“In January 1977, at the height of the Lebanese bloodletting, the Stalinophobic League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP) intervened at a Spartacist League (SL) forum held at Columbia University in New York City:

“LRP speakers charged that the SL had reneged on the revolutionary obligation to give military tactical support in the anti-imperialist struggle in Angola and in the Palestinian fight in Lebanon when they were under attack by the U.S.-backed right wing and the Syrian army. The SL replied that Lebanon was a ‘tribal puzzle’ whose pieces apparently, have no relation to world imperialism.” —Socialist Voice, No. 3, Spring 1977

After 40 years, the ICL has now apparently come to agree with the substance of the LRP’s criticisms, at least on Lebanon.”

Any revolutionary socialist with even a modicum of internationalism would agree with the LRP. But NO, NO, NO, we must believe in the Unity and Trinity of God Robertson. The LRP correctly saw what this meant:

“The uniqueness of the Spartacist League, what many leftists mistakenly regard as ‘sectarianism,’ is that it does not capitulate to the nationalism of the oppressed nations – because it directly reflects the attitudes of the privileged sections of the American working class.” ibid

We are obliged to observe her that the fixation of the entire Spart family with the San Francisco-based International Longshore and Warehouse Union and the Rail Maritime and Transport union in Britain is at least partially directed at privileged sections of the American and British working class as the model for anti-fascist work and work in the trade unions in general. Despite their militancy and principled stances on many issues like the RMT’s British Jobs for British Workers in Britain their militancy is essentially directed at protecting their own privileges. [21]

The IBT further express their outrage that yet another group spotted their crimes back in 1977:

The Stalinophilic Communist Cadre [CTC] groupuscule, which also intervened at the January 1977 forum, put forward a parallel critique of the SL’s “anti-Leninist” policies, which, on some points at least, is uncannily similar to the 2017 “Hydra” document:

“Communist Cadre has repeatedly asserted that the SL in its attitude towards the struggles of the oppressed and the colonial peoples and nations takes an essentially anti-Leninist line. While Leninists and Trotskyists have always insisted upon the necessity of unconditional military defence of the struggles of the oppressed against their oppressors, the SL has sought to evade this communist necessity in favour of a comfortable neutrality.” Ibid.

The IBT put a sub-head here, “What the Spartacist League Really Stands For” and start giving us the full pro-imperialist works:

“The CTC considered the SL’s dual defeatist position in Lebanon to be a refusal to side with “the struggles of the oppressed against their oppressors”:

“During the civil war in Lebanon, where the Lebanese left, and Palestinian Resistance fought a life and death struggle with the reactionary alliance of Phalangists, National Liberals, and Moslem Brotherhood, the SL took a position of open neutrality. The SL invented the reactionary, anti-Marxist formula of ‘intercommunal warfare’ in order to call for defeatism on both sides in that ‘sordid civil war’, as the SL termed it. And while calling for defeatism on all sides, the SL also came out for the right of all communities to self-defence – including those politically and militarily organized by and under the leadership of the Phalange, which even the SL characterizes as ‘Nazi-like.” Ibid.

The LRP and CTC correctly identified the SL’s approach to the Lebanese conflict as deriving from its attitude toward conflicts involving “interpenetrated peoples” (i.e., two or more peoples interspersed in a common territory) in places like Cyprus, Palestine/Israel and the North of Ireland:

“This stance [on Lebanon’s civil conflict] is paralleled for Northern Ireland, where the SL advocates the formation of a trade union militia drawn from Catholics and Protestants in order to defend both communities – Irish and Protestant settler – against ‘sectarian violence.’ While this sounds very reasonable and even-handed, it translates into these terms in political practice: the SL advocates the defence of right-wing Orange settler militants and strongholds against the terror of the Provisional IRA (which the SL characterizes as ‘right-wing nationalist’) and other Irish liberationist organizations. In Israel the SL champions the right of the Hebrew-speaking people, i.e., Zionist settlers, to self-determination.…”

We cannot but give the CTC 100% support on this here. Then they bring up perhaps the greatest crime of all, amongst the many:

“The CTC was also critical of the SL’s neutrality when Israeli special forces intervened in Uganda a few months earlier to free hostages being held by Palestinian guerrillas (see “The Lessons of Entebbe,” Workers Vanguard, 16 July 1976):

“Not only will the SL not defend the PFLP [Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine] militants against the Israeli commandos, the SL refuses to condemn the Israelis for invading Uganda, which despite Idi Amin is after all an oppressed nation. The SL says the left must not be drawn into the ‘hypocritical chorus’ that denounced Israel for its aggression against Uganda and for violating Uganda’s sovereignty and territory. The SL explains to us, you see, that ‘Unlike the right of nations to self-determination, “national sovereignty” is not a bourgeois democratic demand that Marxists support. Moreover, Uganda’s “national sovereignty” was subordinated by Idi Amin’s complicity with the hijackers’.”

And then the IBT rebuts all these obviously correct criticisms of their reactionary stance by an ACT OF FAITH: “We consider the SL’s position to have been essentially correct and in accord with the position on Lebanon held at the time. But what does the ICL think? Does it now see their 1976 stance as another manifestation of the “hydra” of imperial arrogance and chauvinism?”

Holy Mary Mother of God save us from all sinners! The IBT actually tell us that Robertson actually overrode Joseph Seymore’s correct line of defending Uganda against the IDF’s raid on Entebbe in July 1976 and took a neutral stance as the CTC above observe. In their defence this time the IBT actually plead that it is OK because, whilst slapping Seymour down, he actually recorded his humiliation for the entire membership, who would never dream of disbelieving a fart from the God Robertson:

Image result for Raid on Entebbe  imagesImage result for Raid on Entebbe  images

The Raid on Entebbe; glorified by Hollywood’s Charles Bronson and the Sparts James Robertson.

Of particular interest about the raid on the Entebbe airport is that, when news of the event broke, Joseph Seymour’s impulse was to side with the Ugandans against the Israeli commandos. Robertson disagreed and a tape recording of a discussion between the two of them was circulated to the various branches of the iSt to be played for the membership.

No more need to be said by the IBT, there is no need to defend Robertson’s defence of Imperialism’s attack dog in the raid on Uganda. Because it is in the catechism and that’s good enough for us. When we turn to the “catechism”, The Lessons of Entebbe, Workers Vanguard, 16 July 1976, [22] we find a shocking defence of the raid by the IDF much worse than the CTC have related above.

We will highlight the reactionary character of their refusal to defend the semi-colonial nation, Uganda. They begin by telling us that the action of the split faction Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, who had hijacked the jet to Entebbe Airport in Uganda on 4 July 1976. 100 Israeli commandos rescued 102 hostages and 4 were killed. One Israeli unit commander, Yonatan Netanyahu, the older brother of the present Israeli prime minister, was killed. All the hijackers and forty-five Ugandan soldiers were killed, and eleven Soviet-built MiG-17s and MiG-21s of Uganda’s air force were destroyed. In revenge Idi Amin slaughtered several hundred Kenyans then present in Uganda because Kenya had allowed the Israelis to use their facilities to carry out the raid. The raid was later glorified in a Holly blockbuster, Raid on Entebbe.

Robertson is totally opposed and condemnatory of the PFLP militants and cannot hide his admiration for the Israeli commandos, “the hijacking of the airbus was an indefensible act of indiscriminate terrorism” he tells us and goes on to explain that:

 “the oppressed peoples of the world can have nothing but disgust for the sanctimonious and utterly cynical protests of the Israeli militarists and their Western imperialist protectors, who rail against terrorism while preserving a discreet silence about the Israeli state’s vicious acts of wanton violence against the Palestinian people”.

So, the “terrorists” are worse than the Israeli Zionists, who, of course, whilst very bad are not “terrorists”.

In fact, Robertson stands in awe of the:

 “The brilliantly executed Israeli commando raid being lauded in the bourgeois press will serve only to whip up a wave of self-satisfied chauvinism in Israel and serve as a model for further terror against the oppressed Palestinians (our emphasis).”

At the end of the article, Robertson again lets his admiration for the mass murders overcome him. He refers to:

“At bottom (!!!) responsibility for these crimes is borne not simply by the guerrillas who perpetrate them, but by the racist Zionist state which turned the Palestinians into stateless and desperate people. Thus, we give no support to the provocative (and audacious) Israeli commando raid, for the same commandos who free innocent hostages today will be used to shell and bomb Palestinian refugee camps tomorrow (our emphasis).”

The article dismissed the outrage of the 47 member-states of the Organization of African Unity who on 8 July 1976 denounced “the Israeli aggression against Uganda as a violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity” as irrelevant; Uganda did not have any such rights, they tell us, and neither did these other 47 upstarts states by implication.

Then comes more of the real righting reaction:

“As an ideology the nationalism of the PFLP is just as chauvinist, racist and reactionary as Zionism … But if the PFLP had state power it would behave in the same chauvinist manner toward non-Arab minorities as have its mentors in Baghdad toward the Kurds and its foes in Tel Aviv toward the Palestinians Nationalism in power, even the nationalism of a formerly oppressed people, strives to compact a racially homogeneous state through the brutal methods of bourgeois nation-state building: forced assimilation, expulsion or genocide of racial and national minorities. Idi Amin is a consistent bourgeois nationalist when he wears with pride his Israeli paratroop wings while praising Hitler for the massacre of six million Jews.”

This is a complete defence of imperialism itself against the semi-colonial masses, who must not resist until they have learned from James Robertson how to do it correctly. They go on to draw an invidious distinction between legitimate targets of “terrorists” – the armed forces and property of the oppressor nation – and denounce as criminal the targeting of innocent civilian who are members of that nation. Of course, we do not condone such acts which only rebounds on the cause that the militants themselves support but we will always put the blame squarely where it belongs, the imperialist powers themselves and their agents and never equate even the “terrorists” of the oppressed with the mass state terror of the oppressor imperialist powers who are the enemies of all oppressed humanity. Motivation really does matter; the PFLP are “our misguided bastards” and not to be equated with “their counter-revolutionary bastards”, in this case the Israeli commandos leading the raid on Entebbe.

Conclusion, the cultism of Robertson

So, the oppressed of the planet must not rise up against their oppressors lest they themselves become oppressors if they win. There is absolutely no anti-imperialism in this attitude, no support for the rising of the oppressed against the oppressor, just a cultist defence of imperialism itself and a contemptuous rejection of all struggles against imperialism, in direct refutation of the political position of Lenin and the Bolsheviks of Trotsky and genuine Trotskyism ever since.

The IBT quote the extraordinary defence of the US army in a footnote to their reply to the Hydra:

“In the early 1980s, (October 1983) with Lebanon’s intercommunal conflict still raging, the U.S. and France established a military presence in Beirut under the auspices of the United Nations. When the imperialists sought to tip the balance in favour of the Maronite Christians, their Muslim opponents retaliated by attacking the barracks of the foreign legions, killing 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French soldiers with truck bombs in October 1983. We took the view that the blows struck by “Islamic Jihad” (which drove out the imperialist crusaders in short order) were defensible acts – the SL, denouncing our position as “bloodthirsty,” instead called for saving the surviving U.S. Marines. In a 7 February 1984 letter to the SL, we branded this cowardly flinch “a conscious and deliberate adaptation to the American ruling class.” This letter was one of a series of polemics on the issue which we reprinted in “ Marxism vs. Social Patriotism” (Trotskyist Bulletin No. 2).”

The IBT has leaped forward to defend Robertson’s previous line whereas the IG weighed in to defend some aspects and repudiate others. Overall, we judge the IBT to have the worst position now, the ICL to have partially corrected some of its previous dreadful position and the IG/LFI to be making the best effort, although they have not as yet produced a substantial reply to its parent, the ICL, or its sibling, the IBT. The whole messy affair is complicated by the necessity of every split to defend the history of the group, and particularly the infallibility of its historic leader, Robertson, up to the point where they decided to split. However, now that the parent group has broken that golden rule we expect further ideological and political developments in the near future, a mini-version of the political turmoil caused by the WRP explosion in 1985. Contempt for the people of an oppressed nation goes hand in hand with contempt for the oppression of women and particularly those women who begin to fight back against the patriarchy, so diligently championed by the Sparts. Both the IBT and the IG/LFI remain silent on this shocking reactionary line on Roman Polanski because they know it was Robertson that imposed this line in the first place and their leaders had assisted him to do so.

Notes

[1] Former Greek Cypriot foreign minister apologises for mass murder of Turkish Cypriots, 16 August 2016, “Unfortunately, during the past 42 years no investigation has been conducted by the official state of the Republic of Cyprus to unravel the truth behind these crimes and none of the culprits has been brought to justice.” She also conceded that while Greek Cypriots have been highly critical of the crimes and suffering they endured at the hands of Turks during the 30-day war and its subsequent fallout, her community had essentially turned a blind eye to the crimes its own “extremists and fascists committed against civilians and innocent Turkish Cypriots.” http://www.t-vine.com/former-greek-cypriot-foreign-minister-apologises-for-mass-murder-of-turkish-cypriots/

Sandallar turkish cypriots.jpeg

Maratha, Santalaris and Aloda massacre
Part of atrocities against Turkish Cypriotsduring the Turkish invasion of Cyprus

[2] Leon Trotsky, Balance Sheet of the Finnish Events, (April 1940), https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1940/04/finnish.htm

[3] Gus Fagan, Biographical Introduction to Christian Rakovsky, Rakovsky and the Ukraine (1919–23), https://www.marxists.org/archive/rakovsky/biog/biog3.htm

[4] Dale Ross, Early Bolshevik Work Among Women of the Soviet East, From Women and Revolution issue No. 12, Summer 1976, http://www.icl-fi.org/english/womendrev/oldsite/BOL-EAST.HTM.

[5] See Gerry Downing, 1997, Afghanistan: Marxist Method vs. Bureaucratic Method, https://socialistfight.com/2014/08/15/afghanistan-marxist-method-vs-bureaucratic-method-by-gerry-downing-1997/

[6] ABC News, Luchina Fisher, Roman Polanski: What Did He Do?, Sept. 30, 2009, https://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/roman-polanski/story?id=8705958

[7] Jessica Wakeman, Rolling Stone, October 5, 2017, Roman Polanski’s Alleged Sexual Assaults: What You Need to Know, As a fourth woman comes forward with rape accusations against the legendary director, a breakdown of his alleged crimes, https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/roman-polanskis-alleged-sexual-assaults-what-you-need-to-know-w507139

[8] Communist Cadre recorded and commented on the entire speech:

https://archive.org/stream/WhatTheSpartacistLeagueReallyStand ForASelfExposureByJamesRobertson/Goat_Fucker-WhattheSLReallyStandsFor_djvu.txt

[9] Turbulo, Robertson Blows His Stack, October 2003, https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/alt.politics.socialism.trotsky/VLn0dNTKsGg

[10] Ibid.

[11] Spartacist no 24, Autumn 1977, Theses on Ireland, http://www.workersrepublic.org/Pages/Ireland/Trotskyism/thesesonireland2.html

[12] British Troops Out of Northern Ireland, Workers Must Crush Sectarian Terror by David Strachan, reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 156, 6 May 1977, https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/spartacist-us/1972-1980/0024_Autumn_1977.pdf

[13] Militant International Review No. 9, June 1974, 10th June 1974.

[14] Gerry Downing, 6-10-17, The Rights of Nations to Self-determination: Catalonia’s Referendum and the Spanish State https://socialistfight.com/2017/10/06/the-rights-of-nations-to-self-determination-catalonias-referendum-and-the-spanish-state/

[15] The Internationalist, September 2017 Against the Francoist Assault: Defend the Right to Self-Determination and Independence for Catalonia, http://www.internationalist.org/cataloniaselfdetermination1709.html

[16] IDOT 20, Gerry Downing, Ireland and Palestine: Interpenetrated peoples and the rights of oppressed nations to self-determination, https://socialistfight.com/2016/01/28/ireland-and-palestine-interpenetrated-peoples-and-the-rights-of-oppressed-nations-to-self-determination/

The International Bolshevik Tendency and Interpenetrated Peoples – A clarification

https://socialistfight.com/2016/02/07/the-international-bolshevik-tendency-and-interpenetrated-peoples-a-clarification/

[17] The Hyrda

[18] [V.I. Lenin, On the national and colonial questions (Report to the Second Congress of the Communist International, July 1920) http://www2.stetson.edu/~psteeves/classes/lenincolonial.html

[19] Gerry Downing, 2-3-16, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalin on the rights of nations to self-determination

https://socialistfight.com/2016/03/04/lenin-trotsky-and-stalin-on-the-rights-of-nations-to-self-determination/

[20] Yossi Schwartz, (RCIT), May 2013, Israel’s War of 1948 and the Degeneration of the Fourth International.

In this otherwise excellent in the section exposing the crimes of Stalinism in the creation of the state of Israel Yossi manages to flip over to support for the USA/CIA/NATO forces in the following almost comical sentence: “It is in the same reactionary logic that most Stalinist forces today sided with the Gaddafi dictatorship in Libya in 2011 and still support the Assad regime in Syria which is waging a counter-revolutionary civil war against the rebellious popular masses. An authentic revolutionary working class party as part of the Fifth International will have to fight relentlessly against the Stalinist policy” At least it is not the Stalinists who are arming these “rebellious popular masses”. It is the CIA/Saudis/Qataris who supplied/supply the jihadists with the arms in Libya and Syria, so that’s all right, then! In Workers Vanguard No 519, 01 February 1991 they tell us that Yossi Schwartz, who left the Canadian CP last fall for the TL, emphasized the need to defend the Palestinian people against the Zionist terrorists, and the crowd took up the chant. “Israel out of the Occupied Territories — Defend the Palestinians!” so that was indeed a changes line, https://www.thecommunists.net/theory/israel-s-war-of-1948/

[21] Carl Nolte, San Francisco Chronicle, July 5, 2014, When S.F. waterfront was scene of bloody riots, ILWU today, he wrote. are “the aristocrat of the working class; a top member can earn over well over $100,000 a year with excellent benefits”, with vacancies receiving thousands or sometimes even tens of thousands of applications. Union officials claim that pay numbers are inflated because they do not include “casuals”, part-time workers who are not registered ILWU members, do not receive benefits and earn less, with the minimum being $29.49 per hour. https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/When-S-F-waterfront-was-scene-of-bloody-riots-5601244.php#page-2

[22] The Lessons of Entebbe, Workers Vanguard, 16 July 1976, https://www.marxists.org/history/etol/newspape/workersvanguard/1976/0118_16_07_1976.pdf

 

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WRP Explosion

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