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Commentary :: DNC : Human Rights : Organizing
Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
23 Jul 2004
Really, REALLY Authoritarian “Anti-Authoritarians”

PROTEST BL(A)CK TEA SOCIETY ANTI-COMMUNIST EXCLUSION!

The self-proclaimed “anti-authoritarian” Bl(A)ck Tea Society (BTS) has banned the revolutionary communist Spartacist League from having a booth at its “Really, REALLY Democratic Bazaar.” The BTS advertised the bazaar, held in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention protests, as an event where “Everyone is invited and encouraged to come set up a ‘booth’ at the Bazaar that expresses their visions and practices of a better world” (BTS Web site, undated). Not quite. A featured speaker at the BTS bazaar is Green-Rainbow party activist Dan “The Bagel Man” Kontoff, who ran for City Council last year and supports such capitalist politicians such as Felix "friend of the Democrats" Arroyo (former policy advisor to Kerry, no less) and Chuck Turner. Along with Kontoff and his ilk, Buddhists and advocates of running a Diesel car on waste vegetable oil are more than welcome; revolutionary communists however are banned in BTS-land.

We learned of this from the BTS July 8 organizing meeting minutes on its Web site, which read in part: “If a group or organization with a history of creating diruptions (sic) at events would like to sign up, or if a group holds principles and intentions that are not respectful or compatable (sic) with the bazaar and want to sign up, they will be contacted and told why they are not welcome. This applies to folks like the SPARTS, World Church of the Creator and so on.” To cover for its allegiance to “lesser evil” capitalist politics, the BTS has borrowed from garden variety liberal anti-communism here, outrageously lumping communists with a fascist outfit. Unfortunately for the BTS, this particular slander flies in the face of such facts as the 200-strong united-front demonstration initiated by our comrades in Chicago that drove the head World Church fascist, Matthew Hale, off Northwestern University campus. As comrade Trotsky noted, even slander should make some sense!

The BTS’ anti-communist exclusion is motivated by its deeply-ingrained hostility to revolutionary, proletarian politics. For our part, we fight for a communist egalitarian society of material abundance, achieved through the victory of socialist revolutions across the planet. Our model is the Bolshevik Party of Lenin and Trotsky that led the Russian workers to power in October 1917 and established the Soviet Union, the first workers state, as a beacon for the struggles of workers and oppressed internationally. The BTS follows in the worst of the anarchist tradition, from Prince Kropotkin who preferred Kerensky to the Bolsheviks to the counterrevolutionary exploits of Makhno and others who sided with the imperialist-allied White Guards against the Soviet workers state. At bottom, there isn’t much to distinguish the BTS from social democrats and liberals who have and will resort to any means to smear communists as “authoritarian,” denouncing the “extremism” of right and left, giving oh-so-“democratic” aid and comfort to the forces of bourgeois repression.

For all its “direct action” posturing, when last seen the BTS was, according to a report on Boston Indymedia (19 May)--a report not refuted by the BTS--an early member of the Boston Democratic National Convention Coalition, along with city councilors and pro-capitalist liberals such as the American Friends Service Committee and United for Justice with Peace. We say clearly: the Democratic Party, like the Republicans, represents the class interests of the capitalists and therefore carries out imperialist war abroad, metes out racist oppression and executes other repressive measures at home, all in order to the further the exploitation of labor in the interest of profit. It cannot be pressured to act in the interests of the workers and oppressed. The working class needs its own party to lead the fight for the revolutionary overthrow of the capitalist system and the establishment of workers rule. While the BTS whines about "corporate parties," we pose a proletarian perspective--class against class--and a political struggle against the reformist misleaders of the liberal "anybody but Bush" crowd.

Activists coming to Boston who were arrested at the RNC and DNC in 2000 or at last year’s FTAA protests in Miami will be interested to learn that the BTS recently joined picket lines organized by the Boston Police. The BTS announced this at its July 13 meeting at Lucy Parsons Bookstore. As communists, we know that the cops are not part of the working class, but are an integral part of the repressive apparatus of the racist ruling class, i.e., of the bourgeois state. The BTS received its own object lesson in this fact when the cops kicked BTSers off the picket lines after they found out who they were. As opposed to opportunist “anarchists” who solidarize with striking police whose demands are for better compensation for and means to break strikes, terrorize black people and repress all those who would protest the racist, capitalist status quo, revolutionaries fight within the working class to bring to it the understanding that cops are not part of the working class but rather its armed enemy.

The BTS also made clear at its July 13 meeting that its political differences with our Trotskyist politics motivated its exclusion of the Spartacists from the woefully misnamed bazaar. Thus, in response to our protest of this exclusion at that meeting, the BTS responded that it was horrified that we hailed the Soviet Red Army intervention into Afghanistan in 1979 against the CIA-backed mujahedin reactionaries. Indeed we did! The only force to defend the rights of women in Afghanistan was the Red Army, while on the other side were Islamic fundamentalists who shot teachers for teaching girls to read, who threw acid in the faces of women who refused to wear a veil. Sundry anarchists, “anti-authoritarians” and run-of-the-mill liberals, hostile to the Soviet Union, sided with the imperialist-backed forces in Afghanistan. We unconditionally militarily defended the Soviet Union against imperialism and internal counterrevolution and hailed the unquestionably progressive intervention into Afghanistan. The Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan--a treacherous capitulation to U.S. imperialism--was the prelude to the counterrevolutionary destruction of the USSR in 1991-92. That defeat has meant untold misery for the peoples of the former Soviet Union, for the women of Afghanistan and the world’s workers and oppressed. The mujahedin victory ultimately led U.S. imperialism’s Frankenstein’s monster--reactionary Islamic fundamentalism a la Osama bin Laden--to turn against its master. That in turn was an opportunity for the U.S. rulers--now unfettered by the USSR, the industrial-military powerhouse of the non-capitalist world--to unleash their endless “war on terror” at home and abroad, slaughtering untold thousands in Iraq.

No doubt the BTS is just as horrified by our unconditional military defense of the Chinese, Cuban, North Korean and Vietnamese deformed workers states against imperialist attack and internal counterrevolution and our call for proletarian political revolution to oust the Stalinist bureaucracies. Such revolutionary proletarian politics could, after all, disturb the BTS’ media-friendly bazaar celebrating “our diversity and our autonomy, our love and our freedom.”

In spite of the BTS’ wretched politics, we defended them against the MIT administration’s attempts to censor them in May, and we will continue to defend them against such attempts and state repression, because we are consistent defenders of workers democracy. As the Wobblies (Industrial Workers of the World) put it: an injury to one is an injury to all! We call on all those within the left and workers movement to protest the BTS exclusion of the Spartacist League from the “Really, REALLY Democratic Bazaar.” And if you are interested in building a revolutionary workers party that fights for all the oppressed, that aims to get rid of the capitalist system and its state (cops, courts, prisons, military) through socialist revolution, then subscribe to Workers Vanguard, the newspaper of the Spartacist League, and find out what the Bl(A)ck Tea Society doesn’t want you know. As Marx said, ignorance never did anybody any good!
See also:
http://www.icl-fi.org

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Comments

Good for the Black Tea Society.
23 Jul 2004
First of all, the Spartacist League is not known to be a democratic organization. Secondly, the Spartacist League is authoritarian. Why would anti-authoritarians want to invite authoritarians to an event?

As an example of Spartacist authoritarianism I note the use of "(sic)" to point out spelling "mistakes." I take it that the Spartacist author believes that since Webster, an authority, decided how various words should be spelled, it is imperitive that said words be spelled thusly.

I am not a member of the Black Tea Society. However, I see nothing inconsistant, from an anarchist perspective, in choosing not to associate with authoritarians. More power to them!
Re: Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
23 Jul 2004
Ha, ha... oh man... are these serious? Sounds like someone's tin-foil helmet needs is a little loose.
In case anyone is under any false illusions about this goony Trot outfit, they are a straight up cult. Avoid them like the plague!
What Do they Expect?
23 Jul 2004
It seems to me that a group such as the Sparts, who are not only renound for their anti-anarchist antagonism, but have previously specifically antagonized the Bl(A)ck Tea Society at the BTS's febuary consulta, should learn the meaning of "voluntary association" before they write articles like this. If the Bl(A)ck Tea Society doesn't choose to associate with an organization that not only contradicts their (very vague) politics, but that has a specific history of causing trouble at their events, then that is an obviously justifiably choice on their part.
As for the claim that BTS is anti-communist, thats absurd. Many BTS members identify as communists. BTS members who identify as such are working for an anti-capitalist, communist society based on communal descision making, property held in common and so on. (Disclaimer, this is a personal opinion and not a Black Tea Society line, as the BTS has no specific politics other than an Adhoc coalition of Anti-authoritarians organizing to resist the DNC) The difference between this and the Spart's stateist communism is that we don't believe revolution can be sustained from above, and have seen that rulers are easily corrupted, and that Communist states turn into opressive regimes. Furthermore, such anti-authoritarian communists prefere not to have to dogmatically follow policies dictated from above, and would rather organize by consensus and have their opinions actually matter as oppossed to being told what to think, say, write, and where to sell newsletters.
The reason the Sparts were specifically mentioned as a group not welcome, far beyond the fact that they are organized from the top down, is that they have a specific history of causing trouble at anarchist and anti-authoritarian events. Inviting them to set up a booth amungst anti-authoritarian and anarchist organizers would have been stupid and irresponsible.
Cops and Sparts, Partners in Disruption
23 Jul 2004
It is rather curious that the Sparticists decided to issue this public smear against Black Tea Society just as the police and federal authorities have stepped up their surveillence and intimidation tactics on anarchists activists locally (and elsewhere). Actually, the timing is impeccable.

Kind of makes you wonder. Especially in light of the years of disruption aimed at other leftwing groups (anarchist, socialist, and otherwise). Honestly, has the Sparticist League ever done anything constructive in it's lifespan (and no, taking credit for marches you did not organize does not count!)?

I don't know what their true intentions are, but as far as I am concerned if they are willing to do the work of the enemy (attacks, disruptions, lies), they should be treated like the enemy.
Red Tea
23 Jul 2004
As a longtime Indymedia volunteer and, shockingly enough, communist -- banning the Sparts has nothing to do with "anti-communism." They are disruptors who do not work in good faith with other groups. Ban them and don't worry about it.

The Sparticist League's singular activity is to show up at events other people organize to denounce them for reasons real, or imagined. They are a waste of energy. Banning them is entirely legitimate. Let them organize their own events.

The article above makes that clear: Black Tea Society is actually protesting the Democrats, not working for them. But to the Sparts such obviousness is lost.

--------

On the other hand, I think they are about the only group that merits this.

Other Trotskyist organizations and the rest of the Marxist left actaully do things, whether you agree with them on all the particulars or not. No other (national) organization has the Sparts unredeemable track record.

Equating socialists with fascists is generally a bad move. It's not correct. Aside from anarchists, everyone else in the world -- and that's a lot of people -- recognizes the state as a fact. Banning those revolutionaries who are concerned with politics is a recipe for sectarianism -- who wants to be an Anarcho-Spart? I've met the type.

That said, banning a group of proven disruptors is not sectarianism -- it's common sense.

Best of luck with the DNC -- I'll see you there.
Re: Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
23 Jul 2004


Uh-oh. These guys are serious. Military defense. Damn...

Uh, here's a question: Since when does the Spartacist League have a military apparatus? Last I knew your membership was made up exclusively of skinny, awkward, twitchy priveledged students who harrangue people with newspapers and get all crybaby when you don't get invited to anarchist events.

So, exactly how much combat experience have you all seen during your "unconditional military defense" of these "deformed workers states" (re: state-capitalist regimes)? Any? Have any of you even held a gun in your hand before? Hell, have you ever even gotten in a fight? This is all just too silly.

Newsflash: YOU ARE THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE LEFT. GIVE UP AND GO HOME.
Re: Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
24 Jul 2004
This nonsense from the Sparts isn't worth a rebuttal, since they are a marginal sect that has been causing disruptions like this for many years. I remember when I first saw them disrupt an anti-apartheid conference in 1985. It was my first introduction to left sectarianism.

It's kind of ironic, on the other hand, that burningman sticks up for the anarchists, when everybody knows that he actively campaigns against anarchists. He thinks that he is a clever communist, but anarchists in New York and elsewhere know who he is and what he does. Burningman needs to get it through his thick skill that anarchists have nothing in common with authoritarian like him. And this jealousy thing he has against anarchists is pretty pathetic. He should get a job with Fox News or the NY Daily News.
I'm a communist and they haven't excluded me
24 Jul 2004
A long time ago, when I was first checking out leftist politics, I wasn't sure what my "brand" of revolutionary politics was... but as soon as I saw the Workers Vanguard being waved 2 inches from my face I knew I would never be a Spart.
Revolutionairies in the amphitheatre
24 Jul 2004
Revolutionairies in the amphitheatre - from the "Life of Brian"

- With deepest apologies to Monty Python, and dedicated to those lonely quarks in the nucleus of the vanguard - The Sparticist League

( not to be confused with Rosa Luxembourg
, Karl Liebknecht and the German Spartakusbund of 1919 )


Brian - Otters' noses. Ocelots' spleens...

Reg - Got any nuts?

Brian - I haven't got any nuts, sorry. I got wrens' livers, badgers' spleens...

Reg - No, no, no...

Brian - Otters' noses?

Reg - I don't want of that Roman rubbish!

Judith - Why don't you sell proper food?

Brian - Proper food?

Reg - Yeah, and not those rich imperialist titbits!

Brian - Well, don't blame me, I didn't ask to sell this stuff.

Reg - All right, bag of otters' noses then.

Francis - Make it two.

Reg - Two.

Francis - Thanks Reg.

Brian - Are you the Judean People's Front?

Reg - Fuck off!

Brian - What?!

Reg - Judean People's Front! We're the People's Front of Judea! Judean People's Front! Cough!

Francis - Wankers!

Brian - Can I... join your group?

Reg - Now, piss off!

Brian - I didn't want to sell this stuff! It's only a job! I hate the Romans as much as anybody!

Reg - Ssshhh! Listen, if you wanna join the PFJ, you'd have to really hate the Romans!

Brian - I do!

Reg - Oh yeah? How much?

Brian - A lot!

Reg - Right, you're in. The only people we hate more than the Romans are the fucking Judean People's Front.

All - Yeah, splitters.

Francis - And the Judean Popular People's Front!

All - Yeah, splitters.

Stan - And the People's Front of Judea!
All Splitters!

Reg - What?

Stan - The People's Front of Judea! Splitters!

Reg - We're the People's Front of Judea!

Stan - Oh, I thought we were the Popular Front.

Reg - People's Front! What's your name?

Brian.
Re: Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
24 Jul 2004
Brothers and sisters,

Ya know, it's dumb easy to insult the Spartacist League...their cadre can be kinda irritating, and they are very sharp tounged folks (and I should know, I've been personally attacked, BY NAME, in the pages of "Workers Vanguard"....they compared me to Pat Buchanan!!)

With that said, however, I've gotta defend the Spartacists here....

If you claim to be "anti authoritarian", as anarchists like the Bl(A)ck Tea Society do... and you have the intestinal fortitutde to call your event the "Really REALLY Democratic Bazaar"....then it's SERIOUSLY hypocritical to exclude folks just because they're Communists...

It speaks volumes about the hypocracy of many anarchists that they can actually DEFEND this blatantly anti communist act....

And, on the real, considering how marxistophobic that anarchists can be, I'd bet money that, even if the Spartacists were super polite and deferential, they'd be barred anyway, merely for disagreeing with the Bl(A)ck Tea Society's anarchist politics from a marxist perspective...

To make things even worse, the Sparts actually DEFENDED the Bl(A)ck Tea Society's freedom of speech rights at MIT....

Also, down here in New York City, back in November 2003, when the NYPD raided a party held by the Anarchist People of Color collective (APOC) at the offices of anarchist-led prison abolition group Critical Resistance, the Sparts were quick to publicly support APOC and CR, and to call for the release of the 10 arrested anarchists and anarchist sympathisers...

Despite those defenses of anarchists by the Sparts, I guess the Bl(A)ck Tea Society aren't willing to return the favor....

And, to add insult to injury, they compare the Spartacists to a bunch of homicidal Nazis, the World Church of the Creator....

Now, say what you will about the Sparts racial composition(and, as a Black man, I've got a lot to say about the Spartacists failures to be sufficiently sensitive to the national feelings of African Americans), but they WILL go toe to toe with the the KKK IN A HEARTBEAT...and, on many occasions the Sparticsts have been front and center in stopping the Ku Klux Klan from marching...they even go out into the boonies to fight the Klan...

Other than the Skinheads Aganist Racial Prejudice (Sharp), the Anti Racist Alliance and the Progressive Labor Party, NOBODY on the White left has bumrushed the Klan as many times as the Sparts have...so it's disgusting to compare them to the Klan!!!!!

Hey, Bl(A)ck Tea Society...when's the last time YOU tried to stop the KKK???

For that matter, do YOU raise money for Mumia Abu-Jamal's legal expenses, like the Spartacist League front group the Partisan Defense League does???

Bottom line, if you hold a Really REALLY Democratic Bazaar, you've got to be open to ALL of the left...including the Marxist left....

Thank you...

FRATERNALLY,
GREGORY A. BUTLER,
LOCAL 608 CARPENTER,
FOR GANGBOX: CONSTRUCTION WORKERS NEWS SERVICE
http://finance.groups.yahoo.com/group/gangbox/
http://www.geocities.com/gangbox/
"UNION NOW, UNION FOREVER"
Re: Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
24 Jul 2004
No one is excluding the Sparts for being communists or Marxists. They are being excluded for years of disruption, provocation, slander, defamation, harrassment and general obnoxiousness towards anarchists.

After years of dealing with this shit, are they at all surprised they would not be embraced with open arms at an event that anarchists and anti-authoritarians have spent months organizing?

Also, as someone who has fought neo-Nazis and Klansmen in the streets on numerous occasions over the years, I am not at all impressed by the Sparts track record.

Say what you will about an outfit like the PLP (Stalinists), but at least back up their posturing and will have your back in the streets. Sparts run and hide, and than take credit later, claiming leadership roles for events they had minimal participation with.

And, while supporting APOC arrestees, or Critical Resistance, or Mumia is crucuially important, you'll have to excuse my cynicism in thinking that this is completely disingenuous opportunism on the part of the Sparts.
Re: Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
24 Jul 2004
No one is excluding the Sparts for being communists or Marxists. They are being excluded for years of disruption, provocation, slander, defamation, harrassment and general obnoxiousness towards anarchists.

After years of dealing with this shit, are they at all surprised they would not be embraced with open arms at an event that anarchists and anti-authoritarians have spent months organizing?

Also, as someone who has fought neo-Nazis and Klansmen in the streets on numerous occasions over the years, I am not at all impressed by the Sparts track record.

Say what you will about an outfit like the PLP (Stalinists), but at least back up their posturing and will have your back in the streets. Sparts run and hide, and than take credit later, claiming leadership roles for events they had minimal participation with.

And, while supporting APOC arrestees, or Critical Resistance, or Mumia is crucuially important, you'll have to excuse my cynicism in thinking that this is completely disingenuous opportunism on the part of the Sparts.
Re: Protest Bl(a)ck Tea Society Anti-Communist Exclusion!
25 Jul 2004
Just one more time, for the people who still seem not to get this:
The Bl(A)ck Tea Society is not Anti-Marxist, and not Anti-Communist, and in fact have many outspoken members who are Marxists and Communists. The Sparts were not excluded for thier ideology, they were excluded because they have been disruptive to Anarchist and Anti-Authoritarian events, and specifically to Bl(A)ck Tea events, will be disruptive towards them in the future, and would most likely would have disrupted this event (probably still will). The Bl(A)ck Tea Society is NOT anti-Commie, the Sparts are just actively anti-Anarchist.
-Libertarian Communist member of the Bl(A)ck Tea Society