“Socialist Fight” and fake polemics

2

12/08/2018 by socialistfight

Alan Gibson enters the fray. Comments welcome.

revolutionaryprogramme

On Thursday I received, unsolicited, a document “Draft SFG ISL (R) Fusion Document September 2018 – International Perspectives (for Conference in Liverpool on 23 September, drafted by Gerry Downing)”.

This fusion between two tiny grouplets of the British “Trotskyist” left will not be of much interest to most people but it is slightly interesting for what it tells us about what passes for political debate among “Trotskyists”.

The section of the document “Stalinism and Soviet defencism in Poland” starts as follows:

The Sparticist Family, the ICL/LFI/IBT, (in lockstep with Stalinism), defend the imposition of martial law in Poland in 1981 on the basis that Stalinism has a ‘dual nature’; sometimes it is counter-revolutionary and sometimes it is revolutionary.

This is simply a caricature of the actual position of these organisations – well certainly of the IBT as I used to be a member and therefore have an intimate understanding of…

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2 thoughts on ““Socialist Fight” and fake polemics

  1. Ian says:

    I used to think like this. But there are problems with it because it gives too much confidence to the Stalinist regimes in saying that they act to defend the gains of the revolution.

    The IBT holds the position that China, to this day, is a deformed workers state when in fact China is dominated by a billionaire capitalist class whose main political expression is the Chinese Communist Party. In China, the state is now an instrument for defending the billionaire class from the masses and though there is still a high level of statification in the economy, its utility is in defending the Chinese bourgeoisie against imperialist domination and regulating the market both to safeguard Chinese capital from the workers and preventing the kind of neoliberal catastrophic decline that Yeltsin initiated. China today is a playground for the many Chinese billionaires and a cheap labour resource for the likes of Apple. Mao’s Iron Rice Bowl is long gone.

    Polish Solidarnosc had a restorationist leadership, which more than anything reflected the regression in workers’ political consciousness that Stalinism wrought. But supporting repression against it was wrong as the Jaruzelskis suppressing it were just as restorationist as Walesa, as shown by his later governing in ‘cohabitation’ with Walesa to restore the market. When such decayed Stalinist regimes were in power, the workers state proved to be an extremely fragile, vestigal and hollowed out formation that transformed into a nascent capitalist state with considerable ease.

    In such situations, the only defence that workers have is the organisations they were able to create themselves. This was true of Solidarnosc, it is also true of the various autonomous unions that came into existence in China in 1989. Supporting repression against such unions is wrong. Irrespective of their awful leadership and politics, as workers organisations they are all the class has got.

    The Spartacist tradition on this is not orthodox Trotskyism, in my considered view, but an inverted Shachtmanism, or you could say Shatchtmanism in fear of itself, somewhat analogous to sectarianism being opportunism in fear of itself. Indeed the Sparts hysterical fear of dissent leading to Shachtmanism is in part what drove the purges and heresy hunts that gave birth to the IBT in the early 1980s.

    What also substantiates this is that the Sparts’ positions on the national question are not inverted Shachtmanism, but just Shachtmanism. Until 1973, the Sparts position on the 1948 war was to support Israel. Their original position on Ireland from 1969 was to call for a Socialist Independent Ulster, as part of a Socialist Federation of the British Isles.

    These pro-imperialist positions were changed in the 1970s but the neutral positions that replaced them did not fully correct the capitulation to imperialism involved. Their neutral position on the Malvinas was also a capitulation. The reasoning was that the 1800 or so British colons did not want to be Argentinian. But for us, this is irrelevant. The Malvinas, and the natural resources commanded by them, belong to the masses of South America, not British imperialism. If those colons want to be British, they should go and live in Britain.

    Liked by 1 person

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