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Commentary :: Globalization : Human Rights : International : Labor : Media : Organizing : Politics : Race : Social Welfare : War and Militarism
The April-May edition of WCE is out!
16 Apr 2007
1. Imperialist War = War on Blacks, War on Immigrants, War on Workers
Strike Against the War! Refuse to Handle War Cargo! (pg. 1)
2. For Labor Action to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now (pg. 2)
3. Stop the raids with the power of all-out workers’ mobilization
Labor: Break with the Democrats!
Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants! (pg. 4)
4. RACIST MURDER: Guatemalan Immigrant Gunned Down by Cops (pg. 5)
5. Editor’s Note: The Future of Working Class Emancipation (pg. 6)
6. Blaming the Workers for his Retreat from Trotskyism:
Yosef M. Responds to The Struggle for a Revolutionary Party (pg. 7)
7. Letter from J. Norden, editor of The Internationalist (pg. 8)
8. Application for Membership to the Internationalist Group – League for the Fourth International (pg. 10)
401-617-3545 * April-May 2007 * (at) * 50¢

1. Imperialist War = War on Blacks, War on Immigrants, War on Workers
Strike Against the War! Refuse to Handle War Cargo! (pg. 1)
2. For Labor Action to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now (pg. 2)
3. Stop the raids with the power of all-out workers’ mobilization
Labor: Break with the Democrats!
Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants! (pg. 4)
4. RACIST MURDER: Guatemalan Immigrant Gunned Down by Cops (pg. 5)
5. Editor’s Note: The Future of Working Class Emancipation (pg. 6)
6. Blaming the Workers for his Retreat from Trotskyism:
Yosef M. Responds to The Struggle for a Revolutionary Party (pg. 7)
7. Letter from J. Norden, editor of The Internationalist (pg. 8)
8. Application for Membership to the Internationalist Group – League for the Fourth International (pg. 10)

1. Imperialist War = War on Blacks, War on Immigrants, War on Workers
Strike Against the War! Refuse to Handle War Cargo!

The Iraqi people are now entering their fifth year under hellish imperialist occupation by US and British forces. The occupation is responsible for well over half a million dead Iraqis, and has plunged Iraq into a new dark age. Literally: among the countless injustices suffered by poor and working class Iraqis under the Green Zone caliphate is that the occupiers, who invaded to grab control of Iraq’s strategic oil deposits, cannot provide the most basic supplies of electricity, gasoline, food or water for the population. After the profits, the bribes, the insatiable needs of the imperialist armies, spies, and diplomats, the sabotage, and the theft, there’s nothing left for ordinary Iraqis.

In Afghanistan, US and NATO troops are waging a “spring offensive” against enemies of the puppet Karzai government. When the US invaded Afghanistan in 2001, it imposed this government, a band of reactionary theocrats and drug lords, former mercenaries in the CIA’s dirty war against the Soviet Union, who have instituted a reign of terror over the Afghan people, especially women. Contrary to the predictions of the State Department feminists, who pimped for US imperialism by promoting high hopes in “humanitarian” war to install this gang of misogynist barbarians, Afghan women now face arrest for appearing in public with men other than their husbands, and death by stoning for adultery. Suicide by Afghan women has reached epidemic proportions.

When “our own” imperialist government invades, occupies, and attempts to colonize a weaker country like Iraq, Afghanistan, or Iran, Working Class Emancipation stands for the military defense of these nations against the United States. Every blow that the resistance is able to strike against the occupying forces is a victory for our cause. We defend Iran’s sovereign right to develop nuclear technology, and its right to a nuclear deterrent against attack from the US, Britain, Israel, or any other imperialist power. This does not imply any political support to the religious and bourgeois nationalist forces that dominate the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan, or for the backward, anti-worker regime of the Iranian clerics. In Iraq and in Iran, these bourgeois leaders are incapable of mobilizing the numerous and powerful Iraqi and Iranian working classes against the imperialist occupiers, since the workers understand that these bourgeois “patriots” are only fighting for the chance to exploit them on behalf of Washington and London. Only a working class leadership is capable of going beyond sporadic skirmishes and ambushes, by mobilizing the numbers and power of the Iraqi workers to drive the invaders and their collaborators out of the cities, the ports, and the oilfields, and sink the imperialist armies into the sand, by turning the war against the invaders into a war for national liberation and working class emancipation, to put Iraq’s vast resources at the command of the workers.

Above all, this requires the struggle to build a revolutionary workers’ party in Iraq that fights for permanent revolution, that is, a party that supports and organizes the struggle for national liberation by transforming it into a class war against the exploitation and oppression of workers and poor farmers. WCE is aware of no such party in Iraq. The social-democratic “Worker-Communist Party” (WCPI) places an equals sign between the resistance fighters and the imperialist occupiers, describing the situation as “a bloody battlefield between the two poles of terrorism” (Forward no. 56, pg. 2) and calls for the reestablishment of “civil society” (a diplomatic euphemism for a more stable capitalist dictatorship) in Iraq. (Forward no. 57, pg. 4) The WCPI sees the civil wars convulsing the world’s colonies and neo-colonies as symptoms of capitalist underdevelopment: “The dark scenario [civil war] can happen in any backward country where [the] capitalist system is underdeveloped” (Forward no. 57, pg. 1). While it is true that the colonies of imperialism, like Iraq, suffer from aspects of underdevelopment, this is a symptom of the world order of imperialist capitalism, the phenomenon known as combined and uneven development, wherein the imperialist centers, in this case the US and British oil monopolies, bring advanced capitalist technology and techniques to the oil-producing regions, take the lion’s share of the profits obtained by their exclusive access, and leave the colonized Iraqi people to “develop” with the economic scraps that they leave behind. In any case, underdevelopment in the oppressed countries is a symptom of a decaying global capitalist system that has long since reached the limits of its development, and no “civil society” within the framework of the world system of imperialism can undo it.

The working class in the US must become the ally of the Iraqi workers in this struggle against their common enemy. It is workers in the US who are in the best position to defeat US imperialism in Iraq and Afghanistan and to prevent a new war with Iran: by taking strike action against war industries and refusing to move war cargo, workers can paralyze the military and seal its defeat. It’s no secret that the war is hugely unpopular here, and has been for years. Millions of workers and youth are rightly disgusted by the daily atrocities that the government is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. As long as US imperialism is able to oppress the peoples of the Asia and the Middle East, it will be able to attack the workers in the US, too. All the “support our troops” flag-waving, the anti-Arab racism, the attacks on immigrants, the endlessly shifting, always lying, official excuses for the war and occupation, are a trick to get workers in the US to identify with the interests of their oppressors, the capitalist class that runs the country and its military, the CEO’s firing tens of thousands of workers and busting unions, the banks foreclosing on mortgages, the landlords raising rents and driving workers out of their homes and neighborhoods, and the racist cops occupying the black and latino ghettos. WCE has repeatedly explained that the political orientation of the existing anti-war movement goes against mobilizing workers’ power against the war, and towards pressuring the war parties in Washington, the Democrats and Republicans, to “bring the troops home.” Instead, what we need is a revolutionary workers’ party that takes sides against “our own” imperialists and their military, and fights to turn US imperialism’s war against the world into a class war at home against the bosses and their government.

2. For Labor Action to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal Now

Mumia Abu-Jamal’s life is in grave danger. A last-ditch appeal in the US third circuit court has been set for Thursday, May 17 in Philadelphia. The workers must act to stop the impending legal lynching of the United States’ foremost political prisoner and free this innocent man now.

Beyond a reasonable doubt, Mumia is innocent. He is accused of shooting Philadelphia cop Daniel Faulkner to death in the early morning hours of December 9, 1981. While on duty in the taxi cab that he drove nights, Mumia heard shots and saw his brother, William Cook, apparently wounded in the street. He got out of his car and ran to the scene, where he was shot by a police officer. Faulkner was found dead at the scene, Mumia barely survived. The bullet that killed Faulkner was of a different caliber than Mumia’s gun. Another man, Arnold Beverly, has publicly confessed to the killing. Former prosecution witnesses have changed their stories and alleged police intimidation. A hospital-bed “confession” by Mumia mysteriously appeared, two months after the police allege receiving it, immediately after Mumia filed charges of police brutality. But Mumia’s doctor says that he was unconscious at the time. Hangman-judge Albert Sabo, who was overheard by a fellow judge proclaiming “I’m going to help fry that n----r” on the first day of Mumia’s trial, allowed the prosecution to purge the jury of qualified blacks. Mumia’s public defender did not interview a single witness to prepare his defense case. The prosecution made the political nature of the case clear as day, arguing for the death penalty by attacking Mumia’s membership in the Black Panther Party.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, a gifted writer, journalist, and organizer, became the Minister of Information for the Philadelphia branch of the Black Panther Party at the age of sixteen. As such, he and every Black Panther were the targets of a bloody campaign of government repression that continues to this day. The FBI was aided by the local cops, like Philadelphia’s arsonist chief of police Frank Rizzo, who as Mayor in 1985, firebombed the MOVE organization house, killing eleven people. Even from death row, facing draconian repressive measures, health problems, and the threat of execution, Mumia has distinguished himself as a fighter for the oppressed and exploited, writing sharp political commentaries against the imperialist wars, and for the rights of blacks, and workers of all nationalities. His radio columns reach millions despite being whited-out by the entire capitalist press. His book on the origins and history of the Black Panther Party, We Want Freedom, should be required reading for all serious activists.

Every effort must be made to get Mumia the best possible legal defense against the state that wants to lynch the “voice of the voiceless.” But a serious investigation of why the government, at every level and from both political parties, is straining to kill this innocent man, should indicate that any reliance on the capitalist courts to win freedom for Mumia is a deadly mistake. The courts are not “impartial” arbiters of justice, but arms of the state, the state that has waged an uninterrupted war of racist conquest against the oppressed peoples of the world, committing every possible atrocity, unhindered by even the most crude code of “justice” or “law,” for over a century. The “criminal justice system” does not float above the society that practices the mass incarceration of black youth, to the point that one out of every three black men aged twenty to thirty finds himself behind bars, on probation, or on parole: it is the arm of the government that enforces this strangling of a generation. And Mumia is not your ordinary victim of the racist criminal injustice system: he is targeted for assassination by the government because he stood up to fight against racist injustice. The calls by the pseudo-socialist organizations for a “new trial” for Mumia Abu-Jamal underline their basic loyalty to the capitalists and their state, and are incompatible with mobilizing the power of organized labor to free Mumia. Workers World writes “Abu-Jamal's lawyers are doing everything legally possible to win him a new trial. This is his only chance of being liberated. The political movement must continue to do its part. The courts, on their own, cannot be relied on to grant Abu-Jamal a new trial.” (17 Feb. 2005) For Workers World, the “political movement” means providing a platform for capitalist politicians like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and Charles Barron, by limiting the political program of the movement to putting pressure on the courts for a new trial. After the racist NYPD assassination of Sean Bell in December, Sharpton and Barron, with the backing of the entire fake-left, negotiated with mayor Bloomberg to tame and contain the massive public outrage. What was necessary then, as now, was an independent working class strategy, appealing to the powerful, multi-racial working class of cities like New York and Philadelphia, to shut down production in protest, an action of class solidarity that would direct and empower the resistance of the dispossessed ghetto masses, youth, students, and other supporters of Mumia.

Other fake-socialist publications take a similar stand. “the movement to free Mumia can help tip the scales of justice and continue to register its impact”, says Socialism and Liberation. (Aug. 2005) Socialist Worker promotes the following program: “the Friends of Justice for Mumia Abu-Jamal (FJMAJ) demand that the unconstitutional verdict of guilt and death sentence against Mumia Abu-Jamal be overturned, that the evidence, all evidence, in his case be heard by the courts, and that he is either set free after having been imprisoned for more than two decades or given a new trial whose constitutionality is guaranteed by independent supervision.” (16 Apr. 2004) Who exactly does Socialist Worker think should “supervise” Mumia’s proposed second pass through the racist frame-up meat-grinder known as the “justice” system? Congress? The Supreme Court? The President? The Pope? Socialist Action’s headline declares, “Mumia: One Legal Decision Away From Execution – Or a New Trial & Freedom” (June 2006). Instead of promoting the illusion that the racist criminal injustice system, if given a second chance, will do the right thing by America’s foremost political prisoner, socialists must insist that Mumia’s freedom requires that his fate not be left up to any “legal” decision: the workers must take matters into their own hands by shutting down the cities to free Mumia Abu-Jamal! The internet-based pseudo-revolutionaries of the World Socialist Web Site, while often criticizing the abject reformism of the aforementioned groups, take a basically similar line, that the movement must pressure the state to do right by its victims: “A fight must be waged through the judicial system, but it is only the mobilization of mass support that can force the courts to grant any concessions to the rights of defendants like Abu-Jamal.” (18 Nov. 1998) While ritualistically mentioning the “broader movement of the working class,” makes no suggestions for union-community forums, labor-led demonstrations, work-stoppages, strikes, or any actual kind of working class mobilization, concluding instead by calling for letter-writing to the Governor of Pennsylvania and other state officials: the epitome of atomized, totally worthless, petit-bourgeois protest politics. The liberal Maoists of the Revolutionary Communist Party pushes the “new trial” slogan, sticking to the same discredited Stalinist/Maoist Popular Front, subordinating the workers’ movement to the capitalists by abandoning a working-class political program, that led to the slaughter of thousands of Communist workers in Canton in 1926 and Shanghai in 1927 by the bourgeois Kuomintang, a capitalist party that the Stalinists had admitted into the Communist International.

Where will all the liberal politicians, churchmen, and celebrities, for whom these reformist “movement builders” moderate their demands, be when Pennsylvania tries to stick the needle in Mumia’s arm? If not cheering on the hangman, they will be sitting at home twiddling their thumbs, and so will the workers, if the workers’ movement does not produce a leadership that fights intransigently against all illusions in the capitalist courts, and for workers’ strikes to free Mumia.

3. Stop the raids with the power of all-out workers’ mobilization
Labor: Break with the Democrats!
Full Citizenship Rights for All Immigrants!

Immigrant workers across the country are being persecuted by a mounting government campaign of workplace and neighborhood raids. ICE (Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement division) Gestapo agents arrested 193 janitors working for the cleaning contractor RCI International in seventeen states and the capitol on February 22. They kidnapped hundreds of workers, mostly women from Central America, from the Bianco leather factory in New Bedford, Massachusetts, on March 6. On March 29, sixty-nine immigrants, working for the Jones Industrial Network temp agency, were grabbed by the ICE in Baltimore, two months after the ICE agents jumped twenty-four immigrant day laborers in the same city. Over two weeks in the end of March and early April, the ICE Gestapo stole over 350 immigrants from their homes in the San Diego area. On April 4, sixty cleaning workers at the Cargill meatpacking plant in Beardstown, Illinois were taken in a raid. Workers in the US have the power to stop these racist atrocities, and the organized, class-struggle defense of immigrant workers is vital to the future of the entire labor movement. As long as latino and other immigrant workers are in chains, either through massive kidnappings or by the imposition of a permanently segregated “legalization” in the form of a “guest worker” program or any of the sadistic bipartisan proposals for a “path to citizenship,” no sector of the workers in the US will be free from the bosses’ threats of union busting, cutbacks, and layoffs. The only position worth fighting for, that represents the true interests of immigrant and native-born workers of all nationalities, is full citizenship rights for all immigrants.

The campaign of state terror against immigrant workers encompasses military patrols at the Mexican border supplemented by fascistic minutemen vigilantes, workplace and neighborhood raids that inevitably leave behind catastrophic social wreckage of broken families and parent-less children, and isolated concentration camps for those captured. But this is more than a governmental policy that begins at the Rio Grande: as WCE wrote in a leaflet issued on March 9,

“The central problem that the reformists share in common is their promotion of kinder, gentler policies toward immigrants by the imperialist government. But in the US, as in all the world’s imperialist countries, the racist persecution of immigrant workers has been an integral part of imperialist war from the very beginning. From the anti-Irish lynch mobs during the theft of northern Mexico to open the territory for slavery, to the massive deportation of Mexican and Eastern European immigrant workers during the First World War, to the internment of Japanese in concentration camps during the Second World War, the scapegoating and persecution of immigrants has served the dual purpose of fortifying the imperialist war abroad, and waging the class war at home by dividing the working class and smashing its attempts to organize across national dividing lines.”

In other words, racist discrimination against immigrants is not a policy that can be changed by appealing to the good will of Congress or the Democrats. The deeper that US imperialism becomes mired in its disastrous war of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan, the harder both wings of the war party, Democrats and Republicans, will press the war against immigrants, both to whip up the poison of national chauvinism, and to win the rich profit margins, from intense exploitation of oppressed immigrant workers, that the bosses have been unable to secure in Iraq. We will only win full citizenship rights for all immigrants through the workers’ struggle for socialism.

Immigrant workers and their allies have struggled courageously against this racist onslaught, marching in the millions on May 1, International Workers’ Day, last year, battling the fascistic Minutemen and other racist vigilante groups in the streets, and responding to every atrocity with impassioned protest. But the workers’ movement faces a formidable obstacle: its own reformist leadership, the reformist union bureaucrats, non-profit organization “community organizers,” and the pseudo-socialist groups that tag along after these misleaders.

In many cities, local committees and organizing groups are meeting, trying to find an answer to the raids. But all too often, these meetings end up resolving nothing, because they focus on the dead-ends of individual solutions to a massive campaign against immigrant workers as a class. While legal advice should be welcomed and carefully considered, there’s only so much good that can come from what amounts to an elaborated reading of the Miranda warning: “you have a right to remain silent ...” What the working class desperately needs is a way to speak in its own voice, for its own demands. At a recent, well-attended meeting on “how to stop the raids” in Providence, the advice from the immigration attorney who was brought in by the reformist organizers was, “avoid public drunkenness.” Brilliant! Until the workers throw out the reformist misleaders of the movement and produce a leadership that means business, these meetings will be idle talk-shops.

In the past year, there have been a number of militant protests, with a composition dominated by students and youth activists, against the fascistic Minutemen and similar groups, to drive them off campuses and prevent them from rallying their forces in public. When the labor movement adopts this policy of militant class struggle against the government’s anti-immigrant crusade, the workers, with their power as the producing class, the rightful masters of society, can sweep the ICE Gestapo off the streets and tear down the walls of the infernal concentration camps where our fellow workers are being held.

In February of 1941, under the heel of the Nazi occupation, workers at a shipyard in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, put down their tools to protest the deportation of their fellow workers. The strike was a temporary success. In response to a roundup of 427 Jews on the weekend of February 22-23 by the Dutch and German fascists, workers poured into the streets in protest on February 24. The Communist Party called for a strike. By the next day, three hundred thousand workers were on strike, shutting down the entire city of Rotterdam. In spite of murderous repression, the Dutch workers would strike again and again against the Fascist regime. If the Dutch, English, and American workers had not been tied to the capitalists and their anti-German nationalism by the Stalinist leadership, these heroic uprisings could have succeeded by spreading to the German working class, undermining the rank and file of Hitler’s army.

We can start preparing for this kind of internationalist, class struggle response to the immigration raids by building the framework of an emergency response network in the unions and the working class and immigrant communities. The unions, and only the unions, have the organized base, the resources, and the class interests to make this possible. The unions could set up and staff emergency hot-lines to call in case of a raid, establish and build phone-trees of their members and supporters to spread the news to every factory and neighborhood. The unions could print and distribute hundreds of thousands of pocket cards with the emergency number, and an appeal for volunteers for the network. They have the ability to call regular mass meetings, to print regular and systematic propaganda, urging union members to mobilize in defense of immigrant workers, to stop the raids. Last year, across the country, many unions and union-supported coalitions were talking about setting up raid-response networks. Some of them even signed up hundreds of volunteers on May Day and at the other marches and protests. What happened? The problem is that the reformists’ idea of a response to a raid is to call a lawyer, call Congress, maybe have a press conference, a meeting, or a prayer vigil the next day. These responses are entirely inadequate, and the political program put forward by the leaders is that the workers and their allies need to demonstrate to Congress, with varying degrees of “militancy,” what kind of immigration reform we want them to give us. This is just as effective as the years of marches to pressure Congress to stop the war: that is to say, the strategy of the reformists is worse than useless. We need a revolutionary workers party that fights for a militant class struggle response to raids and other injustices: when the ICE Gestapo shows up at the door, all the workers in the city need to pour into the streets and shut down production.

The reformists will say this is unrealistic. But it is more unrealistic to believe that Congress and the Democrats will come to the rescue of the workers. Our program is unrealistic only to the extent that the workers have not been not prepared for it. Why? Because every time this idea is even mentioned for consideration or discussion, these reformist leaders step in and say “that will never happen.” We need a revolutionary workers party that fights for this class struggle perspective in the workers’ movement, and against all the traitors who want to chain the movement to the bosses’ parties, the Republicans, Democrats, and Greens.

4. RACIST MURDER: Guatemalan Immigrant Gunned Down by Cops

Police in Central Falls, an impoverished Latino immigrant ghetto north of Providence, RI, killed Selvin Garrido Morales in a hail of bullets on Sunday, April 8. Like many Guatemalan immigrants, he came to the US looking to save his family from an economic crisis imposed by US imperialism. His family’s small-time farm in Guatemala had been ruined by falling prices and his father’s alcoholism. So he came to the US, borrowing $6,500 from “coyote” gangsters, who garnished his wages to collect the debt, to smuggle him past the army of guards and racist vigilantes on the US-Mexico border. He had no relatives or friends in the US, and after paying the border gangsters and the landlord of his cramped attic apartment, he sent the remainder of his wages home to his family in Guatemala.

His neighbors and his family all say that he was quiet, good-natured, and hard-working. But on that Sunday night, cops came to his door on a 911 call, and fired multiple shots at Selvin. No witnesses other than the police, who say that Selvin brandished a knife, have come forward. The media are playing the usual “blame the victim” tune, spreading rumors that Selvin was drunk or high on drugs. Even if these unsubstantiated slanders turn out to be true, what blood alcohol level gives the police the right to summarily execute a Selvin Morales? Like every case of police brutality and police murder, the cops are assumed to have a license to kill, and the victim is forced to prove, posthumously, that he had a right to live.

It wasn’t the knife, if it existed, if he was brandishing it as the cops claim, that got Selvin killed. Selvin is another innocent victim of the iron fist of US capitalist “democracy,” where blacks, latinos, and workers have no rights that the police are bound to respect, no matter what the laws or the Constitution might say about it. Selvin was murdered because he was a Guatemalan immigrant, forced by the bosses to live in squalor in a ghetto where anyone that’s not lily-white and wearing a badge is treated like a suspected criminal.

The reformists, including many who call themselves “socialists,” push various schemes for “community control” of the police. WCE says that the workers must dispense with any illusions that they can “control” these armed gangs at the service of the class enemy, on their own, or through toothless, double-talking committees, commissions, and review boards of city councilors, appointed fat-cats and wind-bags. Cops are not workers, they are not a neutral party that can be brought over to the side of the workers and oppressed through protests and lobbying. The police are the bedrock of the capitalist state, the cutting edge of this machine that enforces the oppression and exploitation of workers like Selvin. This cannot be done without violence: not occasional, accidental violence, but systematic, intentional, and unending brutality and murder. The coming socialist revolution, the expropriation by the workers of the productive social wealth, and the abolition of the police, the imperialist military, the bosses’ work-houses, jails and death-chambers, will avenge Selvin and all the victims of racist police brutality who cry out for justice. To defend immigrant workers against police murder and Gestapo kidnapping, what’s needed is the independent organization of workers’ defense guards based in the unions and the workplaces, pledged to defend the workers’ organizations and the personal safety of workers and oppressed people against state violence and the Minutemen and other vigilante gangs that are inspired by the racist government.

5. Editor’s Note: The Future of Working Class Emancipation

Many of our readers already know that the Working Class Emancipation group recently fell apart, with the resignation of comrade Yosef M. Yosef resigned to withdraw from active intervention in the class struggle, and to pursue a political bloc with various opportunist, pseudo-Trotskyist political currents, primarily the left-Morenoite Fracción Trotskista por la Cuarta Internacional (Trotskyist Faction for the Fourth International, or FT). Our interpretation of this desertion from the workers’ movement and some of our differences with the politics of the FT are outlined in the pamphlet The Struggle for a Revolutionary Party. As promised, we are printing his response to our polemic in this issue, along with comments from the editor of The Internationalist, J. Norden. We think that Yosef’s response vindicates the characterization of his political trend that we made in our pamphlet (available for $2 and included in our subscribers’ bundles).

As much as we disagree with Yosef’s political trend, there is a kernel of truth to his complaints about WCE’s “hyperactivity.” In the opinion of this writer, although we were far from being “hyperactive,” we did sacrifice necessary political preparation to the needs of the day-to-day struggle. The worst result of this lack of focus, as Norden’s letter describes it, was our extended period of uncritical association with the FT, during which we printed and distributed, without comment, a number of our translations of articles from the FT, while simultaneously neglecting to develop our own analysis of their politics, and failing to respond to their requests for a political discussion. The fact that we sold papers on weekends and occasionally on weekdays, that we printed leaflets, sometimes more leaflets than we were able to distribute, and struggled to intervene in the day-to-day political struggle with our modest press, that we intervened with sharp criticism and denunciations in the meetings of ostensibly socialist groups in our area, could hardly be called “hyperactivity.” But to the extent that it exacerbated our lack of political seriousness, particularly our failure to decisively criticize the anti-Soviet and class-collaborationist tendencies represented by the FT, it was a problem of lack of focus. Yosef’s problem is that he wants to codify this error as a virtue and a policy, and combine it with a truly lethargic orientation to the mass movement.

Practically, the result of the split is that WCE has been reduced to an “organization” of one person, this writer, with a small periphery of generally unorganized readers and collaborators. If, as stated in The Struggle for a Revolutionary Party, this meant that WCE was literally “one against millions,” in other words, if we believed that there were no organizations that upheld the program of world socialist revolution as developed by Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Trotsky, then there would be no choice but to make the best of the possibilities that this situation allowed to win workers and youth to our program, and thereby to build the nucleus of a Trotskyist party in the United States. We do not believe this to be the case. In fact, the influence of the comrades of the Internationalist Group (IG) was a major impetus toward the refinement of WCE’s political program. Resistance to this healthy political trend, and to the IG comrades who motivated it, was the underlying cause of Yosef’s desertion from our organization.

This issue of WCE includes my letter applying for membership in the Internationalist Group – League for the Fourth International. It is reprinted in this newsletter, not as some sort of dog and pony show to make it look like WCE is an organization of any significant size which is “fusing” with the IG, but in order to further explain my decision to WCE’s small group of readers and collaborators, to encourage them to investigate the politics of the IG-LFI, to read its journal, The Internationalist, and to consider making the same choice that I have, to declare myself a supporter of the IG-LFI and to work with them to build Trotskyist parties in every country of the world.

That will make this the last issue of the newsletter Working Class Emancipation, although there may be other pamphlets, leaflets, or statements under the WCE imprint, if this becomes necessary during the course of my discussions with the IG. I intend my future efforts as a political journalist and polemicist to be contributions toward the press of the IG-LFI, written in consultation with the editors and supporters of The Internationalist. I am providing our subscribers who haven’t gotten their year’s worth of WCE yet with a complimentary year’s subscription to The Internationalist, because this publication represents the political positions that WCE has evolved to stand for, with a scope and depth of coverage and analysis that my amateurish four-page glorified flier could not even approximate.

Fred Bergen, editor

6. Blaming the Workers for his Retreat from Trotskyism:
Yosef M. Responds to The Struggle for a Revolutionary Party

“It is my considered judgment that the US working class will almost certainly not conquer its own political party in the next twenty years, much less take power.”

Returning to reality after leaving Working Class Emancipation

James Cannon wrote somewhere that politics is the art of knowing what to do next. In order to know what to do, a political group has to understand the nature of the period it faces. Without a healthy respect for reality, a group can exhaust itself in a short time by confronting an actual conjuncture with tactics based solely on slogans.

Now in a group of even modest size, essentially unrealistic perspectives can remain on paper, while, with decent leadership, militants address actual situations using common sense complemented by a rudimentary understanding of class struggle. The Workers International League (WIL), whose press repeatedly predicts mass radicalization and crises in the short term in the US, still has branches where a sane local executive leads the membership in doing effective agitation. That I do not agree with the politics of the WIL, does not change the nature of their practice.

In a much smaller group, personal problems of a single comrade can easily become magnified and infect the nature of political work. This was the reality in Working Class Emancipation (WCE), where one person’s relentless advocacy of an utterly false reading of the existing situation in the US, led to an essentially pointless and exhausting crisis routine.

Examples of this can easily be multiplied: what we could actually accomplish was never sufficient to what were believed to be the opportunities that awaited us. In a period in which nearly 100% of the working class in the private sector is without union representation, when, not surprisingly, most workers have chosen to seek personal solutions to their problems, working longer hours, holding more than one job, trying to cut their consumption and expenses, a period in which the strikes that occur are conspicuous because they are extraordinary exceptions, a group of two people should concentrate on making its point of view known to the existing left, taking advantage of the activities of other tendencies to try to recruit on the basis of a superior program and practice. This is slow work with modest numbers of people, resembling the demanding efforts by the original US Trotskyists in addressing the Stalinized Communist Party, until real mass openings presented themselves in a series of strikes. Yet, according to the comrade who called the shots in WCE, we had to make one thousand copies of our press, in preparation for the January 27, 2007 antiwar demonstration, which meant that we were left with over eight hundred copies unsold. In a period when every single part of the movement, with painfully few exceptions, is exclusively a projection of the Democrat party, our press has to have a hammer and sickle on its front page, sixty years after any significant part of the US working class sympathized with the USSR or socialism.

In a situation in which a terribly important field of work is dominated by pacifists, religious believers, and military families, the comrade calling the shots in the WCE, present at anti-war meetings, chose to ridicule religion and heckle the father of a service member, a youth currently in Iraq; the same WCE’er thought it necessary to applaud when US casualties were mentioned. How does one criticize without provoking hostility? Very simply: avoid the behavior I have described in the last two sentences, instead of making it one's characteristic style of work. I recommend this precisely because I recognize that politics is serious business, and harassment of any speaker with whom one disagrees, however gratifying, is still counterproductive.

Such antics led to the complete, utter political isolation of WCE in the one city where we were active. Where the two comrades of WCE had previously been able to work fruitfully with other groups, we were now forbidden even to attend public functions of the existing left. The conclusion drawn by the comrade calling the shots, in response to this, was to press for doubling the number of monthly papers to be sold. In addition, the WCE must surely be famous for repeatedly calling demonstrations, each one, with zero attendance guaranteed.

The underlying logic of all this was the tireless conviction by one-half of WCE, that the nature of the period could be changed by sweat, by mere exertion. We could alter workers’ consciousness simply by constant mass leafleting. Proof of this is the one thousand copies of a flier in defense of the unfortunate Amber Abreu, that sit quietly on my living room floor, alongside possibly six hundred copies of our February paper, prepared for the March 17 demonstration at the Pentagon, because simply selling the March issue would not have sufficed.

Nothing was ever enough; it was never acceptable to concentrate on only one thing. Many weekends and some weekdays saw yet another contrived crisis, to which we had urgently to respond, like a mass party. Did we miss the connection to Lawrence, Massachusetts? Then we had to take a $75 taxi there, instead of waiting an hour for the next train, in order to arrive in Lawrence – on the wrong day – for Amber Abreu’s court appearance. Everything was like that, a matter of indescribable political urgency. Our forces were perilously close to zero, but every (imagined) opening demanded our intervention, usually with heavy amounts of printed paper. “Frenetic” and “manic,” both describe our activism. This is surely what it was like to work for Gerry Healy.

All this in the US, where they could not even pass the ERA for women’s equality, where both the mass social democratic and Stalinist parties were extinguished by state terrorism, allowing the Democrats to solidify their hold on US workers. It is as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise that hold will only be broken by a catastrophic economic depression, not by printed paper or frenzied voluntarism.

This was what confronted me in the last year in the WCE. In retrospect, the wonder is not that I quit, but that leaving took me so long. I consider my decision to leave, not a desertion, but an act for survival, to preserve my mental and physical health, as well as a political choice: it is desirable to deal with the world as it is, rather than taking refuge in fantasy. It is my considered judgment that the US working class will almost certainly not conquer its own political party in the next twenty years, much less take power.

When I reflect on my experience selling the socialist press on the streets in the US every week for nearly four years now, I am convinced that participating in the class struggle requires orienting to Latin America, where, I am certain, the next two decades will witness attempts by workers to defeat their exploiters and set up workers’ governments, to create healthy post-capitalist societies, making that region the epicenter of the struggle for world socialist revolution. I want to do what I can to help that process; as best I can figure out, this will require solidarity and co-operation with revolutionaries in the hemispheric, largely Bolivarian South.

March 24, 2007

7. Letter from J. Norden, editor of The Internationalist

We reprint comrade Norden’s letter, which brings some useful historical perspective to our polemic against the FT and Yosef’s newfound allies. Norden’s criticism of our pamphlet’s unclear stance on the character of the Stalinist bureaucracy and its counterrevolutionary policies is justified: our arguments against the FT should not be understood as granting any redeeming value to the betrayers of the October revolution. However, the FT’s characterization of the Stalinist bureaucracies as “counterrevolutionary” serves as their alibi for support to the real, capitalist, counterrevolution.

WCE Falls Apart

The grouping Working Class Emancipation has split apart, as it was bound to do, sooner or later, because it was a bloc of two different political tendencies, a temporary coinciding of individuals heading in different directions. Not accidentally, the generation gap coincided with a programmatic gulf. On the one hand, an older comrade frankly “burned out” by past experience with different pseudo-Trotskyist currents, with a pronounced reformist bent. On the other hand, a young militant, full of energy, sometimes needing to be focused, seeking to intervene on a revolutionary program.

The older comrade, Yosef M., complains of hyperactivism, that “nothing was ever enough” and also that they were “provoking hostility because of angular, in-your-face criticism and tactics toward the competing groups” leading to the WCE being “forbidden even to attend public functions of the existing left.” Y. has the intellectual honesty to spell out his defeatist conclusions: “it is desirable to deal with the world as it is, rather than taking refuge in fantasy. It is my considered judgment that the US working class will almost certainly not conquer its own political party in the next 20 years, much less take power.” His conclusion: to set up a blog and to retire to Mexico, literally, rather than “waiting for any highly improbable shift to the left by US labor ... One may just as well hope for the Great Pumpkin to appear.”

If Latin America is “for sure where it is at in terms of workers’ struggles,” as Y. asserts, the struggle for workers revolution will hardly be advanced by North American retirees pushing the program of “solidarity,” à la CISPES. In Latin America no less than in the heart of U.S. imperialism, what is required is an uncompromising struggle for the internationalist program of proletarian revolution. As the current cases of Oaxaca, Venezuela and Bolivia underline, this fight must be waged against all manner of nationalist and reformist misleaders. The alternative is to become cheerleaders or “critical” tails for bourgeois nationalists like Hugo Chávez and Evo Morales or for a non-existent “Oaxaca Commune.”

Now Y. on his Internet discussion group “labor-action” is being stroked by some remnants from the wreckage of erstwhile, wannabe or never-were Trotskyist groupings. Y. says he intends to distribute material from the dissident “ex”-Morenoite Fracción Trotskista (FT – Trotskyist Fraction), led by the Argentine PTS (Partido de Trabajadores por el Socialismo). He is consoled by David Walters, who apparently once was in the periphery of a Morenoite group centered in Los Angeles, the IWP, before hooking up with the Mandelite Socialist Action back in the ’80s. While Walters has done and continues to do very valuable work on the Marxists Internet Archive, it’s noteworthy that the commiseration over the ravages of hyperactivism comes from a layer whose engagement in the class struggle consists mainly in sitting at a computer participating in leftist chitchat forums.

It’s also worth noting some of the recent contributions of David W. to the “labor-action” discussion group. For starters, he derides the WCE call for labor strikes against the war as “nothing but ultra-left posturing” which “appeals to no one, least of all union members, as an actual slogan,” and is characteristic of “small sects” like the Spartacist League, the International (sic) Group, etc. Actually, the SL today opposes a struggle for workers strikes against the war such as the Internationalist Group has fought for since the before beginning of the Afghanistan-Iraq war (and the SL used to call for during the Vietnam and Persian Gulf Wars).

This is not abstract. The IG has called for the West Coast longshore union (ILWU) to “hot cargo” war material, including on the picket lines during the 2002 lockout when this issue was concretely posed. And last May, ILWU Local 10 (San Francisco) passed a resolution “calling on all unions and working people in the U.S., Canada and internationally to mobilize for a strike action September 21 for 24 hours to demand an immediate end to the war and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Middle East.” Evidently, the S.F. longshore workers didn’t get David W.’ s message that a call for workers strikes against the war “appeals to no one, least of all union members.” It would be more accurate to say that such a call doesn’t appeal to union bureaucrats who fear that it could get them in hot water.

Then there is the exclusion of the WCE from activities of the Rhode Island Community Coalition for Peace on the grounds that Fred B. had intervened at a demonstration with “bullhorn chants that exceeded the advertised demands for the event,” and was reportedly “rude” to a Democratic Party “guest speaker,” which could lead to him being “shunned” by this liberal pacifist outfit in which the social-democratic International Socialist Organization plays a leading role. David W. weighs in by saying that “anyone who comes to a demonstration with a bull horn and attempts to change the political character of that demonstration” is “a fool and deserves to be tossed out of the rally.” He follows this up in a later message justifying the exclusion of a Progressive Labor member who was “forced to leave” a Oaxaca rally for “disrupting.”

This brings to mind when in the early 1970s the Socialist Workers Party used goon squads to exclude radical youth with Viet Cong flags from their “peaceful, legal” antiwar peace crawls. Or when SWP thugs physically attacked SL and PL members for objecting to Democratic Senator Vance Hartke on the stage of the NPAC “peace” coalition. Or when the Workers World Party in the early ’80s linked arms to keep out Trotskyists calling for military victory of leftist insurgents in El Salvador. The second time these reformist censors tried this stunt we took down their exclusionist “daisy chain” in short order. The pseudo-socialist WWP thereupon called the D.C. cops to carry out their exclusion. This is how the reformists cleanse “their” protests of communists. The Internationalist Group organized several Oaxaca protests in New York last year, and we made sure speakers from the SL, PL, Socialist Action and any other left group were able to present their politics, however rotten.

David W. also cites the Morenoite outfit set up by one Carlos Petroni in Los Angeles in the early 1980s. Petroni engaged in some pretty adventurist antics in Argentina at the time of the fighting at the regimental army headquarters at La Tablada in 1989 and not long after was chucked out of the PTS. A decade earlier, after participating in the Morenoites’ brief and inglorious faux guerrilla stunt in Nicaragua in 1979 – where they named themselves the “Simón Bolívar Brigade,” donned Sandinista uniforms but fought no somocistas – Petroni wound up in L.A. where he set up shop as Sandinistas for Socialism, soon to be followed by the Revolutionary Workers Front and then the Internationalist Workers Party. When supporters of the Spartacist League protested their exclusion from an IWP “public” forum in October 1982, Petroni and a couple of thugs launched a potentially deadly attack on the SLers and trade-union supporters with a claw hammer and numchakus. IWPers in the Communication Workers of America who were daily crossing picket lines of an IATSE strike then helped CWA bureaucrats to launch a witchhunt against a phone worker supporter of the SL.

These are the antecedents of Yosef M.’s new friends. Bon appétit.

For his part, Fred B. has put out a 14-page pamphlet, The Struggle for a Revolutionary Party, under the imprint of Working Class Emancipation, which recounts the break-up of WCE and takes a self-critical look at the evolution of the group. Clearly, fighting to build a revolutionary Trotskyist party was not what Yosef M. was about, certainly not now, and particularly if it involves ruffling some reformist and bourgeois liberal feathers.

The bulk of the pamphlet is appropriately devoted to a political reckoning with the FT, with which WCE had informal relations. Readers of the pamphlet will notice the close parallels with positions of the Internationalist Group and League for the Fourth International. It correctly attacks the FT/PTS for their monomania of calling for “constituent assemblies” all over Latin America, which in practice amounts to a stageist program beginning with a (bourgeois) “democratic” stage. Thus amid the tumultuous struggle in Oaxaca, FT waxed lyrical about the “Oaxaca Commune,” calling for a “workers and people’s government of the APPO,” and for a Oaxaca constituent assembly. Yet the APPO was not a working-class organization but a multi-class organization led by supporters of the bourgeois PRD.

At bottom, the Fracción Trotskista position contradicts Trotsky’s perspective of permanent revolution, which holds that in semi-colonial countries in the imperialist epoch basic democratic demands can only be won through workers revolution. In contrast to the FT’s classless rhetoric of “self-determination of the masses,” the Grupo Internacionalista put forward a program for proletarian class struggle: for a national strike against repression, the formation of workers defense committees throughout Mexico and the forging of a Trotskyist party. And we fought to realize these calls both in Oaxaca and Mexico City.

Concerning the U.S., the Fracción Trotskista recently published an article headlined, “The Antiwar Movement in the United States Revitalized” (La Verdad Obrera, 2 February). The article writes glowingly of the January 27 demonstration in Washington, D.C. called by United for Peace and Justice. Although the article criticizes the UFPJ for orienting to pressuring the Democrats in Congress, the entire purpose of the January 27 demo was to do just that. The UFPJ and the other popular-front “antiwar” coalitions have always sought to build extraparliamentary support for and pressure on the Democrats. That’s their whole reason for being. Curiously, Yosef in an e-mail described as “one of my proudest moments” when “as a Trotskyist” he refused to move out of the way of the Stalinist Progressive Labor contingent at the D.C. demo. Yet the January 27 “peace” protest, far from “revitalizing” the “antiwar movement,” was one of the most disgusting pro-Democratic peace crawls ever, symbolizing its subordination to the Democrats by circling Congress. The IG published a tabloid headlined: “For Workers Strikes Against the War! Don’t Beg Congress!” of which we sold some 350 in Washington that day.

The WCE pamphlet rightly attacks the FT’s Stalinophobic positions concerning the Soviet Union, noting how it shared Moreno’s effusive support for the CIA/Vatican front Solidarnosc in Poland, how it posed the key task in Germany in 1989 as “national unity,” even calling for a constituent assembly of the two Germanies, and how it writes of the counterrevolutionary destruction of the bureaucratically degenerated Soviet workers state: “Stalinism’s fall does not aggravate, rather it lays the foundations for the overcoming of, the crisis of revolutionary leadership.” While the mainline Morenoites openly hailed capitalist restoration under Yeltsin as a “revolution,” the FT’s line here is backhanded support for counterrevolution. In contrast, authentic Trotskyists fought tooth and nail against the annexation of the East German deformed workers state by imperialist West Germany, and both in the USSR and the DDR for political revolution against the looming social counterrevolution.

But there is a point in the WCE pamphlet that should be cleared up. It refers to “the FT’s class-neutral fight against the ‘counterrevolutionary’ bureaucracy.” Trotsky repeatedly stressed how the Stalinists’ counterrevolutionary policies not only sabotaged revolutionary struggles abroad but also undermined the defense of the Soviet Union itself. At the same time, he underlined the contradictory character of the parasitic bureaucratic layer that had encrusted itself atop and fed off the economic foundations of a workers state while vainly seeking what later became known as “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism.

In the history of the Fourth International, the line denying the dual character of the Stalinist bureaucracy was summed up in the description of it as “counterrevolutionary through and through.” What began as a polemical exaggeration in the fight against Pabloist liquidationism (which in the first anti-Soviet Cold War sidled up to and entered the Stalinist parties) was picked up by fake-Trotskyists like the Healyites and Morenoites who used it to justify support for Polish Solidarnosc and later to justify open or tacit support to Yeltsin against the ossified Stalinists. In referring simply to the “counterrevolutionary” bureaucracy, it should be made clear that the FT is reflecting the “counterrevolutionary through and through” line which portrays the Stalinists as leading capitalist counterrevolution, which would effectively transform this contradictory petty-bourgeois layer into an exploiting class – a hallmark of Shachtmanism, as the pamphlet states.

A final note: in Yosef M.’s resignation letter from the WCE he apparently complained at some length about the Internationalist Group and the SL, of which the founders of the IG were long-time leaders and cadres. One of Yosef ’s complaints was apparently that the SL wrote an article criticizing Simón Bolívar. Horrors! It’s a side point, but an interesting one. Simón Bolívar is hailed by bourgeois and petty-bourgeois Latin American nationalists, but Marxists have never sung his praises. Marx had choice words for this “Napoleon of the retreat,” who handed over independence fighters to the Spaniards. An aristocratic spokesman of the criollo (locally-born) elite, Bolívar called for a hereditary senate as a bulwark against the masses of the newly formed republics. Like George Washington, Bolívar sought independence for the colonies, but by no means a social revolution. In fact, he was horrified at the prospect.

Upon proclaiming independence, Bolívar the Liberator did not liberate the slaves. His republican constitution even prevented free blacks from being citizens. On several occasions his armies were diverted from fighting the Spanish to put down slave uprisings in what is now Venezuela. Forced into exile in Jamaica and then Haiti, as a price for receiving munitions and ships from the president of the black Caribbean republic, Alexandre Pétion, in 1816 Bolívar promised to free the slaves. In fact, he only ordered freedom for slaves who joined his army, and urged the recruitment of large numbers of slaves as cannon fodder because otherwise “they will outlive us again.” Bolívar ordered the execution of General Manuel Piar, the black liberator of the province of Guyana, for wanting to unleash a social war – what Bolívar called “the hateful principles of the war of colors.” Bolívar finally advocated complete abolition of slavery in 1826, by which time he had little influence.

Today Bolívar is the emblematic hero of Venezuelan bourgeois nationalist Hugo Chávez. And while the FT/PTS is currently on the outs with Chávez, its historic pattern has been try to push bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalist forces to the left, such as in its endless calls on the Mexican Zapatistas to call a general strike, lead oppositions in the unions, etc., or its tailing after the Bolivian MAS of Evo Morales by pinning a dangling “revolutionary” modifier on the latter’s calls for a constituent assembly. When Morales actually called a constituent assembly to bolster his bourgeois “Indian” regime, FT supporters were left dangling. The reverence of much of the Latin American left for Bolívar is a classic case of capitulation to, if not open embrace of, nationalism, in sharp contradiction to the proletarian internationalism of Marxism.

Jan Norden

8. Application for Membership to the Internationalist Group – League for the Fourth International


After a series of political discussions and a study of your writings, I am in complete agreement with the aims and political program of your organization. In my opinion, the Internationalist Group - League for the Fourth International (IG-LFI) is the only organization with the correct political program for building the revolutionary party of the working class, the indispensable weapon that the workers must have at their disposal in the struggle for a socialist world. I am applying to be a member of the IG-LFI to join your struggle to build the revolutionary party.

There are many groups in the United States and internationally that claim to be revolutionary or socialist. The crucible of our historical era, a time of war and revolution, when the global capitalist system is choking on its own contradictions and threatening to extinguish human life in a nuclear Armageddon, has already proved every one of these tendencies to be counterfeit. All of the fake-socialist groups are in one way or another the product of the weakness of revolutionary Marxism as an organized party, worldwide and particularly in the United States. Most trace their history to origins in the abandonment of Marxism. Some are new formations, that under the pressure of our reactionary climate and the debased level of political consciousness in the working class as a whole, have rejected Marxism to invent a new theory of social revolution. In their search for “new” answers, these groups inevitably end up dressing up the cadavers of political theories and movements, like anarchism and social-democracy, that lost their relevance to the workers’ movement centuries ago. Lacking a revolutionary perspective, they all become derivative expressions of the political pressure of the bourgeoisie on the workers’ movement. It is imperative to wage an unrelenting political struggle against all of these fake-socialist groups in order to win their best, most committed and most honest militants to a revolutionary program.

The Socialist Party claims to be revolutionary, but it is a confused, contradictory social-democratic formation, whose few subjectively revolutionary members are paralyzed by the party’s right wing. The real, living American Socialist Party was dismembered by state repression during the first World War, and its best elements joined the Communist movement after the Russian Revolution. The organization that calls itself the Socialist Party today copies only the errors of early US social-democracy, and mistakes them for virtues: the rejection of democratic centralism, an incomplete and inconsistent understanding of the imperialist system, the labor aristocracy, reformism, and the failure to recognize black oppression in the US as the cornerstone of capitalist rule. Similarly, the anarcho-syndicalist leadership of the Industrial Workers of the World, once the most militant labor organization in the US from whose ranks many of the leaders of the early Communist movement were drawn, has mistaken the organization’s tragic failure to learn the lessons of the Russian Revolution, its dogmatic rejection of “politics,” as a virtue. Without the correct political leadership, the subjectively revolutionary intentions of many IWW members are for naught; the organization inevitably becomes a radical tail of the established labor bureaucracy and its auxiliary non-profit organizations.

The disastrous policy of the Popular Front, the Stalinist bureaucracy’s futile attempt to make peace with imperialism, by imposing alliances with the bourgeoisie and its parties on the workers, holding back their struggle and preparing defeat after bloody defeat, from Shanghai to Barcelona, turned the Communist Party, USA into a red-white-and-blue apologist for the imperialist Democratic Party. Today, the CP even argues against the demand for immediate withdrawal of the US occupation from Iraq, so as not to stray outside the boundaries drawn by the war criminals in the Senate. The right-wing split from the CP, the Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism, has taken the next logical step, and given up all pretensions of being an independent workers’ political formation.

Leon Trotsky, a principal leader of the Russian Revolution, led the fight against the bureaucratic degeneration of the Bolshevik Party, the Communist International, and the Soviet workers’ state. His summary of the international political situation and the tasks of the revolutionary workers, the Transitional Program, is still valid today. Revision of the Transitional Program is a diagnostic trait of every kind of pseudo-Trotskyism. Most common is the completely dishonest conflation of a reformist program of pressuring one or another wing of the capitalist parties, with the transitional program of directing the struggle of workers to the only possible solution to their demands: a socialist revolution and a workers’ government. The reformist pretenders to Trotskyism invariably confuse the transitional method of demonstrating, through the fusion of polemical exposure and practical intervention in the struggle, that the only solution to the demands of the workers and oppressed peoples is the dictatorship of the proletariat, with their tailing after the mass movement and its reformist leadership, always promising to turn the movement in a revolutionary direction, sometime in the future. If these pseudo-Trotskyists do not themselves fall victim to the illusions promoted by their own reformist propaganda, their “movement-building” activities only amount to waiting for someone else to tell the truth to the working class.

The Socialist Workers Party has become a mouthpiece for the the Stalinist bureaucracy in Havana, ever since it opportunistically characterized the Cuban regime, the product of a petit-bourgeois guerrilla army that politically expropriated the Cuban working class, as a “healthy” workers’ state. While the SWP has dwindled in numbers to a relatively insignificant sect, its latter-day imitators on the pseudo-Trotskyist left have mistaken the signs of its political decay – the tailing after Black nationalism and the “single-issue” anti-war popular front – for an example to emulate, and diverted new ge

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