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Engraving of Lenin busy studying

Economic and Philosophic Science Review

Only he is a Marxist who extends the recognition of the class struggle to the recognition of the dictatorship of the proletariat. This is the touchstone on which the real understanding and recognition of Marxism is to be tested. V. I. Lenin

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No 1384 19th March 2011

DEFEAT for imperialism and its phoney monarchist “revolution” stunt in Libya to stampede the world into further warmongering, the only answer to its desperate Slump crisis disaster. Fake- “left” of all shades in cowardly complicity with Western NAZI media (& Cameron, Sarkozy) or covering Beijing revisionist capitulation. Leninism urgent

Courtesy of the foul criminal treachery and confusion of the fake-“left”, the monopoly capitalist system has stepped up another notch the world wide warmongering and destruction which its crisis is leading to.

Without their stoogery and collusion the ruling class would find it ten times more difficult to put over its Goebbels level war pretend “revolution”propaganda stunt against Libya.

Both the festering collusion of the Trots, vying to outdo the capitalist press in their bilious hatred for Gaddafi, and opportunist and pointless “Hands off Libya” ineffectual pacifist feebleness of the revisionists (desperately covering up the detestable capitulation of China in the UN security council which voted for sanctions and refused to use its veto to stop the air attack motion) are the most disgusting stinking betrayals yet of the need for revolutionary political understanding and truth for the working class, which needs to begin with a call for the total DEFEAT of imperialism in Libya and everywhere else.

Nothing else is going to rescue the world from an accelerating plunge into complete destructive mayhem but the complete overturn of historically moribund capitalism by the ordinary masses of the planet.

The bankrupt and failed imperialist order is hell bent on war, desperate to divert the world’s attention from the renewed Slump disaster its profit system is imposing on the world all over again (after WW1 and WW2).

More than a decade ago dominant but bankrupt US imperialism began to seize every chance and opportunity to push forwards a programme of deliberate and escalating warmongering, to “shock and awe” the rising Third World rebelliousness against endless sweat shop exploitation and to face down the increasing challenge of other capitalist powers as desperate slump disaster stared it in the face.

It has quickly seized the chance to twist the genuine revolutionary ferment elsewhere in the Middle East into counter-revolution to intimidate and confuse the rising Arab revolt in the Egypt and Tunisia, Yemen and Bahrain, and simultaneously put down old thorns in its side, while stepping up the overall temperature of war in the world, the preferred and only “solution” to its crisis ridden Slump shame.

Tens of thousands of Libyans are now likely to die at the hands of Western blitzkrieg and high technology bombing, with all the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, torture and mayhem has already imposed on Serbia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Somalia, increasingly Pakistan and endlessly and repeatedly on the benighted and devastated Palestinian nation (as well as far more blitzkrieging devastating wrought in hundreds of interventions, coups, wars and invasions since WW2).

But the entire fake-“left”, from the “great” liberals like Noam Chomsky to the demented Trotskyists are now utterly tangled in knots because of their disastrous failure to grasp and expose the utterly bogus nature of the alleged Libyan revolt.

They cannot even spot the breathtaking hypocrisy of the stampeding world media campaign which even while it is pouring out the hysterical nonsense against Gaddafi is utterly ignoring the huge and genuine democracy movements in Bahrain, Saudi, Yemen etc.

In one way or another they have been swept along by the demented Western onslaught of absurd and wild lies about “massacres” and “slaughter” larded with a hate language campaign against Gaddafi of unparalleled suddenness and viciousness.

Lurid tales of supposed “hospital wards full of victims” and “shooting down in the streets” and “terrible violence” have been stitched together by the key intelligence agency-planted phrase about a “regime attacking its own people”, a carefully confected mantra that has been repeated word for word by politicians, Western TV and newspapers over and over – and which never gets used about the Saudis, the Yemen dictatorship, The Bahraini Royal family which actually have been provably shooting their own people on camera.

Demented LIES have poured out of this willing and complicit Western media whose journalists are criminally and knowingly misleading the world with this hysterical garbage, pouring out insane nonsense about “mass rebellion” when the film and TV behind them is showing a few dozen reactionaries at best lined up behind a reactionary monarchist flag.

The tide of fabricated biliousness is even worse than the insane stories of “babies being thrown out of incubators” which were disseminated by the world media over Kuwait to get the first Gulf War going.

(And some of the EPSR objectors still declare that “you cannot say that we are in a fascist stage yet”!!!)

What else but Nazism is this lurid tide of hatred poured out against the Libyan regime, which for all its bizarre idiosyncrasies and failings (it is by no means a coherent and consistent anti-imperialist let alone socialist order) is a million miles away from the tyranny and barbarism of Western funded and supported gangster dictators like Mubarak, Ben Ali etc (all conveniently forgotten suddenly) or the arrogant and corrupt feudal torturing tyrannies elsewhere (themselves installed by Western intelligence operations long ago - from T E Lawrence onwards).

Nor is it a Saddam Hussein as the deliberate confusion goes, who was a CIA stooge who turned against his masters because of rising anti-imperialist and anti-Zionist pressure beneath him.

Gaddafi’s erratic order is part of the revolutionary anti-imperialist wave of the post-war period and has been consistently hated by imperialism because of it subject to constant attack.

But the West has seized the chance to whip up a world hysteria using every Goebbels big lie trick in the book and more.

Not one of the fantastical stories of supposed “thousands being shot down” (as one “London based Libyan dissident” was allowed to poisonously pour out unchallenged and unquestioned on Channel Four news for example) has remotely come close to being proven or backed up with a single shred of evidence, TV film, properly verified witness account, or photograph of any bodies at all let alone the alleged “hundreds killed“, “mountains of bodies in the street”, “horrific civilian slaughter” etc etc which have filled the airwaves.

Just the opposite. While the media has ignored genuinely huge anti-Western rallies in Yemen and Bahrain it has shown ridiculously small groups of paid stooge braggarts careering round empty Libyan streets in gun cars to lurid voice overs from the Western TV about their alleged “determination and bravery” (hundreds of miles away from any real fighting)..

There has been no UN calls for “air strikes” on Yemen, Saudi etc despite the Tories suddenly discovered love of “freedom” and the “rights of ordinary people”.

The only “destruction” in Libya has instigated by the initial attacks by the “demonstrators” who from the outset have fostered as much violence and mayhem as they could manage with arsonist attacks on government buildings, and police stations filmed from day one, followed by damage now because a successfully destructive civil war has been unfolded, backed by the hidden hand of western intervention (the botched SAS landing in the desert is the one the world heard about).

The Libyan “revolt” is an entirely stunted up provocation, organised and instigated by Western intelligence which has been preparing just such Goebbels onslaught for decades against Gaddafi’s 42 year bourgeois nationalist revolution, hated ever since.

What genuine “peoples” revolution would call upon the US constantly for “aid” and military interventions, would wave the old colonial days monarchist flag around (and more than that - wants to see the old order back), would gather the unwavering and constant support of the biggest crew of reactionaries and vicious imperialist warmongers on the world stage from Tory David Cameron to reactionary French president Nicolas Sarkozy and ex-republican presidential candidate John McCain??

Why are the Trotskyists lined up with these and the Gulf Cooperation Council (United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia etc) which called for the air strikes initially and have volunteered for them, which comprises the greatest collection of backward feudal sheikhs and torturing repressive stooges on the planet?? Why are they lined up with the bourgeois stoogery and reaction of the Arab League??? With the stinking stoogery of the US dominated and controlled United Nations, the war happy Pentagon serving Obama presidency (whose Nazi nature is being confirmed by the re-opening of Guantánamo, escalated civilian blitzkrieging in Afghanistan etc.)

Because they are nothing but lying opportunists who deep down can neither grasp nor want to grasp the Leninist understanding of calling for total defeat for imperialism.

But the fake-“left” oddballs (like FRFI or the reformist SLP) and revisionists “supporting” Libya are just as bad.

Gaddafi’s barmy Green Book ideas are not the revolutionary socialism the working class needs either.

If his forces inflict further defeat on imperialism well and good but that is different to full support. The working class needs to march alongside against imperialism but with faith only in Leninist science.

That is the way forwards, to topple capitalism to establish the dictatorship of the proletariat. Build Leninism DH


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Leninist open political struggle for revolutionary understanding is the only path for winning and building leadership

The evasiveness and dishonesty which split the EPSR 18 months ago, has tragically dragged another former supporter along in its wake.

Like the damaging and aggressive posturing which was used to cover up a retreat into reformism and anti-revolutionary politics at that time, the withdrawal this time has been done with a flurry of attacks on the polemical method and argument of the core EPSR supporters.

But it appears all to have been sent up as flak, to cover over a wish to pull back from the continuingly difficult battle for revolutionary understanding (see following letter p9).

Hopefully however something can be learned from the expressed disagreements which at least come in a written form (unlike the earlier disputes with the south-west) giving a better chance for some understanding to be won from the argument.

But it will not come without trying to disentangle the latest “criticism” of the EPSR which is mixture of confusion and the same duplicities as in the previous attacks, full of sly innuendoes of the “have you stopped beating your wife yet” type, via portentous sounding declamations of how “parties should conduct themselves” (falsely implying that the EPSR does the opposite and is wilfully sectarian) and allegations of “insults and abuse” (which are nothing more than the robust phrasings of polemic).

There are plain misrepresentations suggesting EPSR would not “patiently explain” its politics to those outside it in order to win understanding and consciousness.

But it has long been understood in the EPSR that enormous tolerance of all sorts of misunderstandings and wrong grasp is always to be strived for in struggling with those just turning to political understanding, but possibly still full of the confusion and/or backwardness installed by relentless capitalist brainwashing lies and anti-communism (as flooding out over the attempts to stampede the world into a war to destroy Gaddafi’s Libyan anti-imperialism, and to escalate general world war fever, for example).

Patience in explanation is one thing when arguing with workers and others genuinely responding to the contradictions of the growing capitalist crisis and looking for clarity – along with acceptance that the revolution which overturns capitalism and its poisoning philosophical brainwashing impact will be carried out by the same flawed human material that capitalism itself has produced. And there are always lessons to be learned from the masses too.

The EPSR has never taken the high-handed moralising position that workers MUST first of all be pure anti-racists, atheist and free of all other deemed prejudice (some of which Leninism would challenge anyway, such as pretending homosexuality is “normal and “just like” heterosexuality) before they can make revolution,

This single-issue reformist “purity” which the fake-“lefts” insist on is a subjectivist nonsense.

But judging when the overall revolutionary development of an individual or a particular struggle is moving forwards despite its flaws, is a critical question.

It is another matter when confronting seasoned opportunists, revisionists, cynics, timewasters and anti-Leninists, in which the British “labour movement” and plenty of the international “solidarity movements abound(and which a Guardian news story just revealed, have been deliberately set up by the CIA and US military on the Internet to swamp online chat forums and opinion blogs etc).

Patient explanation and tolerance of the flawed nature of almost all those developed under capitalism is one thing. Tolerating reaction or anti-communism within a party is pointless if the individual concerned simply does not develop, or understanding develop.

By all means, as the letters suggest, as much time as can be spared to keep on with the discussion is important.

But there is a time and a place for such repetitive discussion - outside the centre of the main struggle for understanding. It is not ruled out that all sides will move forwards in such debates but there should never be any conflating of “patience” with compromise in the understanding.

And if individuals are genuinely confused that can anyway only be helped ultimately by exposing the falsity of their politics (as gently as possible) not by a modification of the scientific understanding of the world to make it “more palatable”.

In other words patient explanation is still an explanation by struggling for the scientifically won understanding of Marxism, not a compromise on that understanding.

In its political development a Leninist party would never “suspend discussion” in order to “come to an accommodation” over the nature of its theoretical understanding (as the start of the letter suggests had been “promised” in a phone call).

It is just such a fudging of questions or papering over the cracks that the EPSR has long criticised the fake-“lefts” for, who have tried numerous such “accommodations” to form their endless “Socialist Alliances”, working on the basis of the “95% that we all agree on” and ignoring differences.

With monotonous regularity such fake-“left” coalitions fall apart because the “little differences” are actually the crucial points – and are rarely just the “5%” they are said to be anyway.

Leninism would always push the struggle as far as it could go, if major disagreements were raised over the understanding, holding off only tactically if other issues were more pressing.

That does not mean splitting, or refusing to continue discussing with individuals whether they are new or long time cadres.

It will constantly be a matter of whether overall progress is being made in a revolutionary direction which can only be judged in the particular circumstances of each individual (or perhaps group) discussion.

For all that it seems “just words” or “nothing but theory” this struggle to keep a clear scientific line is a difficult and demanding fight, against the relentless daily pressure of bourgeois ideology which swamps newspapers, TV, culture and education.

It is a central part of the class domination of capitalism with an almost tangible and physical weight – most apparent when trying to stand up and fight for the truth publicly in meetings etc but always present.

It is intensified hugely as the crisis deepens,

Not coincidentally the new attack in these letters, and the earlier disruption, come just when the catastrophic slump failure of the long-rotten ripe capitalist system has burst open in the “credit crunch” (which has not entered “recovery” but continues to unroll devastatingly, however hidden by “quantitative easing” dollar printing).

Events have hugely confirmed the “catastrophist” perspectives of Leninist theory in contradistinction to all of the great fake- “left” swamp who derided or blocked such views and argument for decades in bureaucratically chaired union and political meetings and in their press.

The fascist readiness of the imperialist system to turn to warmongering as a solution has never been clearer.

The correctness of Leninist understanding that capitalism must be overturned and can only be changed by revolutionary transformation has never been more sharply demonstrated.

The disgusting failure to challenge, and craven capitulation of the fake-“lefts” to, imperialist propaganda and stampeding pressure towards war and blitzkrieg has never been more grotesque and more easily exposed, as over Libya.

So the chance to argue for revolutionary politics, and the need to do so, have not been greater or more urgent in decades, and in that sense at least “easier” to do.

The painful lessons being taught to the working class everywhere in savage Slump cuts, the growing anti-imperialist ferment of the Middle East uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Oman and even Saudi Arabia, the demented Goebbels propaganda against anti-imperialist Libya to try and divert attention from the spontaneous revolt elsewhere and confuse it with a trumped up counter-revolution against Gaddafi, demand total revolutionary clarity to see the balance of class forces and class interests at work.

Until that comes the ruling class will continue to run rings around the working class, splitting it, confusing it, tying it up in chauvinism and petty squabbling for resources, and in scapegoating hatreds to keep it trapped within capitalist illusions which are heading only for slump and warmongering destruction.

Not one street demonstration, mass action, strike or whatever else will change the world until the capitalist enemy is properly identified and the struggle to overthrow the ruling class for good is taken up.

It can only be achieved by building a revolutionary party of scientific Marxist Leninist leadership and the struggle for revolutionary truth about the world.

Bourgeois hostility and anti-communism, and the weight of reaction and the whipping up of warmongering chauvinism, racist and other scapegoating and sheer deliberate confusions all demand greater determination and clarity than ever.

Such revolutionary leadership has only ever been won in unity and conflict with the working class.

The argument needs to be firm and determined against the huge ideological pressure from the whole of bourgeois culture to go along with dumbed-down consumerism and reactionary petty “great nation” arrogance, all mixed in with petty bourgeois complacency and smugness, and arrogant, imperialist, and usually racist, anti-communism which swamps over the world working class, and particularly the reformist corrupted working-class in the “advanced” rich imperialist countries.

It can be overwhelming especially for individuals.

No-one likes to be woken up to the realities and necessities of existence.

One constant pressure is for the politics to be changed or “rounded off” (and then perhaps the necessities it identifies can be made to go away in individual consciousness).

And that is just what the letter is demanding.

The real point issue at stake in this letter and in the past discussion is a wish to change the understanding of the EPSR and its Leninist revolutionary perspectives built up over 30 years. To revise the politics in other words.

The writer says specifically that he wants the EPSR to “open the discussion” to subjects he declares to have been “hidden away” in the past because “comrades did not have the confidence to tackle these questions when the former editor was still alive”(!!!) (though failing to say how this was so).

Presumably they feel the polemical capacities and understanding of the party are now reduced and therefore they can stick their heads above the parapet and get away with notions that would previously have been exposed and polemicised with by the determination and capability of the “previous editor” and core of suporters??

Or why not straightforwardly have brought them up long ago?

The point is made again in the addendum, a second letter which has been added to the first after holding on to it for 15 months.

Because the politics of the party has not found widespread acceptance yet, the writer declares in this, “we have little alternative but to change”.

But this is exactly the policy adopted by the great mass of opportunist parties, tailoring their views to what is “acceptable”.

A piece of cod-philosophy goes with this tail-ending proposal, suggesting that because the nature of the universe is one of constant change then changing the understanding would be no bad thing ( – presumably even the dialectical scientific understanding that the universe is always in flux could therefore also be “changed” – so that the universe is no longer in a state of change and therefore the need to change at all would disappear completely?)

Such desperate “adjustment” of the party’s understanding matches the finest opportunist Trotskyite arguments of not “getting ahead” of the working class – and therefore conveniently not having to mention the revolutionary perspective.

The south-west has also been trying to find a way off the philosophical hook by revising the Leninist perspectives and the Leninist methodology, using specious attacks on the way the party conducts the discussion, all combined with a refusal to expose the new positions to any kind of polemical or open debate.

But revising well thought through and long argued and established scientific positions is a fraught business liable to call forth opposition and vigorous opposition at that.

So much of their argument previously was about avoiding the struggle to clarify issues.

Some of this is made clearer now by the content of the two letters – particularly the older letter which formulates and echoes many similar arguments put over the phone and in meetings by the south-west over a three year period before the discussion finally erupted into indisciplined anarchic hostility around Obama-ism.

Firstly, political arguments are simply declared to be “unimportant” if they are challenged, either by ignoring or by downplaying political positions once they have been challenged, as with the debate on Obama-ism and NAZI-ism at that time and later.

Then there is a constant refusal to spell out the objectors’ positions clearly, notable all through the debate 18 months ago, when repeated requests for written outlines of the arguments were rejected or not responded to.

When, infrequently, things are written down by the objectors, as at least in these new letters, they are left vague like the demand for “more on China”.

Finally if the polemic cannot be avoided, there is an attack on the very basis of argument, either declaring the robustness of polemic to be too much to bear, “offending the sensitivity” of the disputants and “insulting” them or to be somehow “unfair” because of some alleged “practised skills” possessed by the EPSR core.

Beyond that an elaborate business is concocted to change the very basis by which theoretical struggle is conducted, asking that the very basis of the Leninist approach of a complete focus on disciplined and controlled discussion, should be abandoned.

All this is missing completely the importance of theory and of battling out the differences that arise as a reflection of the world class struggle, in order to pin down the issues and class forces at work.

All the revisionism which these comments reveal (revisionism is not an “insult” incidentally - it is a political description which means “revising the politics”) has been covered up with the welter of criticism of the alleged intolerance of the EPSR and its way of struggling for politics past and present.

A first line of attack is the allegation that there is no opening for the discussion in the EPSR paper.

But this is a complete nonsense.

Discussion in general has never been “closed down”.

The EPSR has always been open for letters, discussion, polemic and argument IF the contributions are serious, and a making proper efforts to understand complex issues (and not deliberate time-wasting repetitions, ludicrous falsehoods, or constant harking back to already settled argument when no new material has emerged – or provocative anti-communism, all of which are commonplace in the philistinism and opportunism of capitalist “culture”).

The great general problem in tackling opportunism and fake-“leftism” of all kinds, but particularly Stalinist revisionism, is the refusal to debate and analyse the difficulties and failures of past attempts to build socialism and most of all those of the Soviet Union where retreat from revolutionary understanding led to the eventual liquidation of the first historic 70 year long building of a powerful workers state and society.

Layer upon layer of cover-ups are engaged in to slide over past mistakes, like for example the Lalkarites’ appalling tangle in trying to explain away why they declared Mahmoud Abbas and his direct mentor Yasser Arafat to be “geniuses of the struggle” against Zionism when the compromises and illusions of the two-state solution (which revisionism urged) were from the beginning nonsensical confusions which have led to the most degenerate stoogery and collaboration with Zionism and US imperialism, all now suddenly not part of Lalkar’s analysis and simply brushed under the carpet.

Or how do they explain their current difficulties in dealing with Chinese revisionism’s dire collusion with Washington over the monstrous counter-revolutionary CIA civil was stunt set going in Libya, voting on the UN security council for sanctions (and now allowing through airstrikes) against Gaddafi. With not a word is the answer, hoping “no-one will notice” the glaring contradictions and confusion and thereby making them even worse.

Every issue and polemic ever raised by the EPSR even when discussions have been agreed and meetings held with the few groups who temporarily responded has been ignored (including by Lalkar/Proletarian which has never answered the polemic around a major public debate in 2003, transcripts of which were made and promised the EPSR but which have never appeared).

It is also one of mainstream capitalism’s chosen anti-communist strategies to ignore Marxism, never to discuss it, give it credence, newspaper space, airtime or any attention at all.

It is not Marxism that prevents the debate!!!

On the specifics of the south-west debate, major attempts were made to take up the arguments in several meetings in that region, numerous phone calls and eventually (after an extended period) written debate in the EPSR, despite the absence any contribution from the protagonists in writing.

The damaging and destructive attacks made on the EPSR 18 months ago were focused eventually on the paper’s analysis that there is no special stage of “fascist” development of imperialism, marked by new features and class forces, and that NAZISM and fascism are simply a feature of the decline of capitalism itself into Slump and War crisis.

Capitalism itself degenerates all the way into fascist warmongering and blitzing, and will continue to do so until it is overturned.

This was combined with warnings that far from being a “step forwards” for the working class as the south-west declared, the election of the Obama presidency was an even more devious and duplicitous trick (a kind of super-Blairism tapping feminist and black nationalist single issue political diversions) to extend the life of increasingly threadbare bourgeois “democracy” allowing it to not only to continue its fascist world blitzkrieging but to step it up.

Everything since has proven the EPSR’s position, not least the monstrous CIA manipulated “rebellion” to instigate destructive civil war in Libya (and now all-out war), the glaringly hypocritical continuing support for actual Middle East dictatorships and feudal reactionaries, the endless blasting apart of civilians in Afghanistan (including groups of children), coups in Honduras etc etc.

Exactly to the contrary of the latest letter writers’s ringing accusations, that Bristol was not “given any space” in the paper, there was a constant request for written articles or contributions, repeated on numerous occasions, to make the issues clearer particularly over Obama-ism.

It is a basic of philosophic and Leninist struggle that those wanting to challenge a particular line should formulate the arguments in writing so that everyone can see what is being said and focus on the issues.

It is the only scientific approach.

Without it there is a shifting sand of argument.

In the southwest debate there was a constant retreat by the dissenters from their verbal positions when facts or arguments were challenged or exposed as wrong.

Three short letters were received in the debate early on, but they were all marked “personal - not for publication” and although some phrases from these were used by the EPSR centre to characterise the south-west position and show it was wrong, (which naturally was written at substantial length in the paper - see issues ) generally the refusal to submit written positions made clarifying the issues more difficult.

At the time the dissenters excused themselves on the grounds that they did not have “writing or journalistic skills” and were “busy with the necessary jobs and work to sustain existence”.

Everyone exploited by capitalism faces these difficulties but this was a very thin excuse.

Firstly most of the western objectors were highly educated and holding good jobs which involved writing and articulation of thoughts on a daily basis, so they it was, and is, easily in their capabilities to write down their positions.

Secondly the argument raged for many weeks, months, giving plenty of time even for those in stressful or busy working lives, to write something down.

Thirdly it has never been the case that refined style and bourgeois professional methodology is needed to write the revolutionary arguments or make the case; just the opposite, the EPSR in its 30 year existence has not only constantly encouraged those becoming involved to crystallise their thoughts in writing but values the raw expressions of class feelings and experiences that can be made this way.

Cadres will anyway only gather the experience to develop the arguments by pitching in.

Tellingly, not one jot of written argument has emerged from the south-west in over one and a half years since it split despite aggressively made boasts that there were “many around in our area who support our position” and that they would build their own group “our way”.

Anyone who was serious about Leninist politics would surely have begun such a group by following the basic understanding of Lenin that “without revolutionary theory there can be no revolution”???

That would have meant setting out in written form at least the basic understanding that the new group had, and all the more so if it had come to the conclusion that its view was a better attempt at correctly representing the world than that of an EPSR centre that had allegedly “gone wrong”.

But a few casual discussions in the pub, with no attempt to formulate any kind of written perspectives in a year and a half are simply not serious, and this is certainly not Leninism.

However hard pressed they might be in the demands of daily life it is surely not credible that as the greatest catastrophic crisis of capitalism ever has broken into the open, the world rebellion has accelerated and counter-revolutionary Goebbels bullshit has bucketed forth from every capitalist (and opportunist fake-“left”) orifice, that they do not set out their stall with a perspective of the world and their basic positions?

The EPSR has been awaiting some paper, leaflet, statement or manifesto from the south-west ever since they split, in order to see better what the politics were and to take them up if necessary.

They can argue, as the latest letter does indeed, that there is another way to build a party, but it is not Leninism.

It is dilletantism.

The letter is wrong and this repeated attack is dishonest, particularly as the writer was already told this on the phone.

The comrade has obviously been completely misled by the objectors.

But he himself has also tried to mislead.

In a phone conversation in January it was the understanding of monopoly capitalism as NAZI and fascist which was raised as a key political difference leading him to follow the Bristol group.

But staggeringly the crucial importance to him of this matter – over which he has broken contact and support with the EPSR centre, has vanished into a small parenthesis in a larger tail-end paragraph at the very end of his letter, declaring that it is all “no major issue one way or another and certainly not worth leaving over”(!!!).

Opposition to the insistence of the EPSR that the Slump degeneration of Washington was not only unchanged by the Obama election but was being escalated, using precisely the “politically correct” virtues of the “handsome black man” playing on the illusions of reformist “black progress” and feminism” to give the Bush defeated and tired “democracy” trick one more spin, this was a central part of the objectors’ arguments along with a contention that Obamism was “an advance” for the world working class.

The about turn on this in the letter, airily dismissing, it is astonishing.

What could have caused the reversal?

An explanation requires an account of the build up of the discussion.

The current letter is a response to a phone call, made from the centre some weeks previously inquiring about the writer’s position, and a subsequent letter again from the centre with copies of past EPSR’s and quotes from articles completely disproving his arguments made during the phone call.

The comrade had been a long time, if infrequently seen, supporter of the EPSR both politically and materially, but had not been heard of for a year. Then his financial contribution stopped but with no indication of why.

The call from the centre followed this withdrawal, not “pursuing” the comrade for contributions or any such bureaucratism, but to get political understanding about why he was leaving.

In a long phone call, which the writer seems to have trouble recalling (despite his alleged word perfect recollection of a call 18 months previously) he declared that the EPSR’s use of the term “fascist” and “NAZI” to characterise degenerating capitalism and particularly dominating US imperialism, and the Obama presidency running it (escalating the war in Afghanistan, colluding with Zionism, and whipping up the Libyan nonsense, tacitly supporting the coup in Honduras (among many other things) was not only an exaggeration but wrong and dangerously misleading.

He said that we are “not yet” in the “stage” of fascism.

He added that using such terms was a change in the understanding of the EPSR and that the previous editor (Roy Bull, who died in January 2004) had never done so.

On this basis particularly, he said he had major disagreements with the EPSR.

Both the general political point and the argument that the paper’s line had changed since the previous editor are wrong, as he was told on the phone.

Fascism is nothing but the expression of warmongering imperialism itself, whether carried out by blitzkrieging Bush or Hitler, as it runs into its historic and catastrophic crisis and turns to increasingly vicious domestic dictatorship and international warmongering, to get out of it.

It is an understanding put forcefully by the EPSR for at least two decades, (it was said of the vicious Reagan invasion of the tiny revolutionary island of Grenada in 1984 for example) precisely to counter the pernicious complacency that fascism is some “special case” which can be “stopped” on the street (and the implication arising from that, that therefore “democracy” is qualitatively different and “better”. Trying telling the shattered Libyans right now.)

It was argued in issue 1360 for example which quoted the previous editor’s papers at length.

And more trivially, the terms “fascist” and NAZI have frequently appeared in the articles and even the HEADLINES of the EPSR long before the current editor.

Copies of these articles and previous headlines were made and sent to the comrade, in the wake of the phone conversation which decisively countered his argument.

It would seem this is the reason he has suddenly decided it is all of “no significance”.

Is not the term “dishonest” a true one for such trickiness and not “unwarranted abuse”???

Is not the term “evasive”, for avoiding taking the argument forwards, also true???

This is only a start.

The letter descends almost to farcical childishness next, using a silly playground “logic” to declare that because the author had not contacted the centre at all, it could not be said that he had “never mentioned” his doubts.

This trivial playing with words is almost unbelievable.

This silliness is used to try and defend the author from the quite reasonable criticism that he has treated the paper and those he has worked for many years in a completely contemptuous way.

The start of the letter illustrates another of the tricky evasions used by the objectors.

To avoid sticking to the point they play (metaphorically) the game of suddenly pointing “over there”.

He begins with an alleged “disappointment” that the EPSR had not suspended the arguments with the south-west and that a long analysis of China had not been made.

As discussed above and in a following archive piece from the “former editor” (see end pages) this is an absurdity – the core of Leninism is the battle for understanding and the working through of issues to as best a conclusion as the evidence will allow.

As far as China was concerned, the critical matter to be dealt with at that time was this struggle over Obama-ism which was raging in phone calls and EPSR meetings and the energy and effort of the EPSR and its paper had to be devoted to those matters.

Of course China, like any other issue, needs to be examined more closely – but why does the letter writer or the south-west want to do this?

What is the request for a “statement” driving at?

Neither the writer nor the south-west explain anything, leaving mysterious implications hanging in the air that the EPSR understanding is not correct about China.

The vaguer the better is the watchword.

This is the politics of “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” over-the-garden-wall gossip mongering and nothing to do with science.

Let them advance something concrete and of course it will be taken up in due course as and when the priorities of world politics and the limited resources of the EPSR allow (now more limited by the actions of the south-west).

But the EPSR has anyway made its overall position clear in many papers: China is part of a great revolutionary wave that swept the world in the wake of the last great monopoly capitalist breakdown into the 1930 Slump and the World War which it generated, leading to a mass discontent and vast inspiration for the world’s masses from the great Soviet Red Army’s huge revolutionary battles and sacrifices.

Equally heroic and titanic battles by the Chinese working class and peasantry led to the 1949 founding of an enormous workers state which continues to this day with an astonishing and unprecedented pace of transformation of one of the largest, most backward poor and most contemptuously exploited countries in the world into a modern advanced industrial nation, powering hundreds of millions from poverty into prosperity and developing science, culture and society at a pace never seen in world history.

It has used capitalist methods to do this, but under the overall command and control of the political direction of a workers state, and carefully constructed planning to accelerate development in ways that anarchic capitalist exploitation has never done and could not.

That is no more or less than Lenin understood to be necessary in order to develop to a high level, using the New Economic Policy in the nascent Soviet Union to tap and use unavoidable capitalist development while keeping it under control.

“Learn to trade” he advised and China does so cleverly world wide and in a balanced manner which has positive impacts on development in many of the once colonial regions which capitalist exploitation has driven into the ground

Its fair trade with countries like Cuba, many African nations, Venezuela, Sudan, Zimbabwe and so on is hated by the West which wants to strangle and starve these assorted scapegoats.

But Beijing’s leadership is simultaneously one of the most dire expressions of revisionist retreat from revolutionary understanding, failing to develop revolutionary sensibilities and understanding at home and capitulating to the most disgusting imperialist “freedom and democracy” Goebbels lies abroad.

It allows the most philistine consumerism and inequalities to develop domestically and goes along with the Goebbels pretences and lies of Washington’s “war on terror” and the “fight for freedom and democracy” either because the brain-deadening idiocies of Third International revisionist “philosophy” have so addled its understanding that it does not even see through this lying fraud, or because it thinks it is “cleverly” going along with western policy in order to “contain it” and allow a “peaceful development” of its economy without “provoking” imperialism.

Clever tactics are fine and pointless provocation to be avoided – but not as a complete world view.

This is the thrust of Stalin’s 1953 post-war theoretical work “Economic Problems of Socialism” which declared that capitalism was now “hemmed in” by developing socialism and as long as the working class pursued the “peace struggle” war could be stopped and imperialism would eventually be effectively stifled. Its nonsense underlies all the subsequent pacifist and “democracy” illusions that have diverted the world working class from the only path that can possible change anything, the overthrow of capitalism.

The twists and convolutions of this opportunist confusion have led the Chinese into increasingly monstrous collusion with imperialism, joining it in “anti-terrorism”, scapegoating Iranian anti-imperialist posturing with sanctions no less, cooperating with “anti-piracy” around Somalia and now even more monstrously, voting with Washington in favour of the stunt warmongering being waged against Muammar Gaddafi’s 1953 anti-imperialist revolution.

This is a sick depravity, strengthening imperialism’s hand, helping feed its Goebbels confusion mongering about “freedom”. Most stupidly of all it could and almost certainly will bounce back dangerously on China itself, which is permanently in the Pentagon’s gunsights and only not attacked because it is large enough and big enough for the moment and the crisis has not yet pushed imperialism to the point of total desperation.

But what does Beijing say the next time the CIA subversion is unleashed against it (as was tried two months ago in a “Jasmine revolution” Internet stunt) and perhaps some successful violent provocation is whipped up (which after all was already tried in Tian an Men in 1989).???

How will it vote at the UN on its own inevitable (and correct) use of state forces to suppress counter-revolution if that happens?

For the moment the EPSR energies are being focused on answering this specific objector and the issues about party building his letters have raised.

The originally unposted second letter wants to rearrange the way the party conducts discussion and debate so that formal and clear struggle to clarify issues in a disciplined and scientific way is abandoned.

And why is that wanted? So that revisions can be made to the body of understanding built up by the EPSR over 30 years but without having to defend such changes in polemic and fight – because they are undefendable.

And to cover this avoidance there is much noise made about “offense” and “insults”.

Of course the most polite and respectful manner of dealing with serious debate should always be strived for and is strived for.

But sometimes this can slip in the heat of argument and debate. But to suggest that even when voices might be raised this constitutes gratuitous or “unjustified” behaviour of such a reprehensible nature that it overrides completely the political content being strived for (and it is implied is akin to near-fascist suppression of comrades) is just posturing nonsense.

When such offence is taken over shades of political meaning in written polemic, it is just ludicrous.

A constant readiness to take offence has been part of the objectors’ armoury.

Allegations of supposed “insults” and improper ways of conducting business come thick and fast, as do the complaints of “disrespectful” language etc, all made much worse it is declared, because the “victims” have been around for many years (though it is interesting to know why the “respect” demanded for those who have been in the group for many years does not apply in reverse, from the objectors towards the comrades still building the EPSR who have been about equally as long??.)

“Politics is a social activity” the letter author concludes his letter, as much as a theoretical activity (not “as much as”) and both should be “understood and practised”.

Only in one direction, it seems, while complete disrespect and contempt. including making no contact at all for 12 months and leaving without warning or explanation, will suffice for the supporters’ centre.

Leninism will develop the deepest comradeship but it was not built on petty bourgeois moralising notions of “loyalty” and “friendship”.

Getting the theory right will override all other considerations.

Lenin split repeatedly with renegades and opportunists that he had worked closely with, and no amount of pleading that they had done good work previously would do to defend their current wrong position.

It is the correctness of the understanding that counts and is primary.

Lenin was quite prepared to give recognition to past achievement even when exposing a currently opportunist line; he recommended Georgio Plekhanov’s (still powerful) earlier philosophical works, long after Plekhanov had turned social-chauvinist traitor, becoming a pro-bourgeois warmonger and bitterly anti-Bolshevik during the First World War.

Even after the 1917 revolution Lenin also still famously quoted the 1903 writing and even earlier writings of the equally opportunist Karl Kautsky (like his excellent book on Thomas More’s Utopia for example, a great materialist explanation of the rise of absolute monarchy and the bourgeois class) in one case declaring “how well he wrote then!”.

But he tore apart their craven capitulation to bourgeois pressure when it occurred, such as when the entire Second International capitulated to bourgeois warmongering pressure in 1914, as the fake-“lefts” now have capitulated to the demented hysteria of the ludicrous “war on terror” excuses for warmongering.

Lenin had little time for petty bourgeois vapours about being “insulted” and had plenty to say about the “sensitivities” of opponents, as here for example in the great struggle over what should be the nature of the revolutionary party and the way in which it built its understanding. From One Step Forwards, Two Steps Back in May 1904. Cllcted Wrks Vol 7:

pp228-9 Comrade Martov characterised this episode fairly accurately at the League Congress when he said that “a trifling dispute over the formulation of one point of the programme became a matter of principle because half the Congress was prepared to overthrow the Programme Committee”. Precisely.* The immediate cause of the conflict was indeed trifling, yet it did become a matter of principle and consequently assumed terribly bitter forms, even to the point of attempts to “overthrow” the Programme Committee, of suspecting people of a desire to “mislead the Congress” (as Egorov suspected Martov!), and of personal remarks of the most ... abusive kind (p. 178). Even Comrade Popov “expressed regret that mere trifles had given rise to such an atmosphere” (my italics, p. 182) as prevailed during the course of three sittings (the 16th, 17th and 18th).

All these expressions very definitely and categorically point to the extremely important fact that the atmosphere of “suspicion” and of the most bitter forms of conflict (“overthrowing”)—for which later, at the League Congress, the Iskra-ist majority were held responsible! —actually arose long before we split into a majority and minority. I repeat, this is a fact of enormous importance, a fundamental fact, and failure to understand it leads a great many people to very thoughtless conclusions about the majority at the end of the Congress having been artificial. From the present point of view of Comrade Martov, who asserts that nine-tenths of the Congress delegates were Iskra-ists, the fact that “mere trifles”, a “trivial” cause, could give rise to a conflict which became a “matter of principle” and nearly led to the overthrow of a Congress commission is absolutely inexplicable and absurd. It would be ridiculous to evade this fact with lamentations and regrets about “harmful” witticisms. No cutting witticisms could have made the conflict a matter of principle; it could become that only because of the character of the political groupings at the Congress. It was not cutting remarks and witticisms that gave rise to the conflict—they were only a symptom of the fact that the Congress political grouping itself harboured a “contradiction”, that it harboured all the makings of a conflict, that it harboured an internal heterogeneity which burst forth with immanent force at the least cause, even the most trifling.

* Martov added: “On this occasion much harm was done by Ple-khanov’s witticism about asses.” (When the question of freedom of language was being discussed, a Bundist, I think it was, mentioned stud farms among other institutions, whereupon Plekhanov said in a loud undertone: “Horses don’t talk, but asses sometimes do.”) I cannot, of course, see anything particularly mild, accommodating, tactful or flexible about this witticism. But I find it strange that Martov, who admitted that the dispute became a matter of principle, made absolutely no attempt to analyse what this principle was and what shades of opinion found expression here, but confined himself to talking about the “harmfulness” of witticisms. This is indeed a bureaucratic and formalistic attitude! It is true that “much harm was done at the Congress” by cutting witticisms, levelled not only at the Bund-ists, but also at those whom the Bundists sometimes supported and even saved from defeat. However, once you admit that the incident involved principles, you cannot confine yourself to phrases about the “impermissibility” (League Minutes, p. 58) of certain witticisms.

...(pp312-314) Again the minority did not dare to take up the gauntlet and did not say a word as to who, in their opinion, was suitable for what was more than a literary body, as to who was a figure of a “quite definite” magnitude “known to the Congress”. The minority continued to take shelter behind their celebrated “harmony”. Nor was this all. The minority even introduced into the debate arguments which were absolutely false in principle and which therefore quite rightly evoked a sharp rebuff. “The Congress,” don’t you see, “has neither the moral nor the political right to refashion the editorial board” (Trotsky, p. 326); “it is too delicate [sic!] a question” (Trotsky again); “how will the editors who are not reelected feel about the fact that the Congress does not want to see them on the board any more?” (Tsaryov, p. 324.)*

Such arguments simply put the whole question on the plane of pity and injured feelings, and were a direct admission of bankruptcy as regards real arguments of principle, real political arguments. And the majority immediately gave this attitude its true name: philistinism (Comrade Rusov). “We are hearing strange speeches from the lips of revolutionaries,” Comrade Rusov justly remarked, “speeches that are in marked disharmony with the concepts Party work, Party ethics. The principal argument on which the opponents of electing trios take their stand amounts to a purely philistine view of Party affairs [my italics throughout].... If we adopt this standpoint, which is a philistine and not a Party standpoint, we shall at every election have to consider: will not Petrov be offended if Ivanov is elected and not he, will not some member of the Organising Committee be offended if another member, and not he, is elected to the Central Committee? Where is this going to land us, comrades? If we have gathered here for the purpose of creating a Party, and not of indulging in mutual compliments and philistine sentimentality, then we can never agree to such a view. We are about to elect officials, and there can be no talk of lack of confidence in any person not elected; our only consideration should be the interests of the work and a person’s suitability for the post to which he is being elected” (p. 325).

[* Cf. Comrade Posadovsky’s speech: “...By electing three of the six members of the old editorial board, you pronounce the other three to be unnecessary and superfluous. And you have neither any right nor any grounds to do that.’]

We would advise all who want to make an independent examination of the reasons for the Party split and to dig down to the roots of it at the Congress to read this speech of Comrade Rusov’s over and over again; his arguments were not even contested by the minority, let alone refuted. And indeed there is no contesting such elementary, rudimentary truths, which were forgotten only because of “nervous excitement”, as Comrade Rusov himself rightly explained. And this is really the explanation least discreditable to the minority of how they could desert the Party standpoint for a philistine and circle standpoint.*

[* “In his State of Siege, Comrade Martov treats this question just as he does all the others he touches upon. He does not trouble to give a complete picture of the controversy. He very modestly evades the only real issue of principle that arose in this controversy: philistine sentimentality, or the election of officials; the Party standpoint, or the injured feelings of the Ivan Ivanoviches? Here, too, Comrade Martov confines himself to plucking out isolated bits and pieces of what happened and adding all sorts of abusive remarks at my expense. That’s not quite enough, Comrade Martov!]

Comrade Martov particularly pesters me with the question why Comrades Axelrod, Zasulich, and Starover were not elected at the Congress. The philistine attitude he has adopted prevents him from seeing how unseemly these questions are (why doesn’t he ask his colleague on the editorial board, Comrade Plekhanov?). He detects a contradiction in the fact that I regard the behaviour of the minority at the Congress on the question of the six as “tactless”, yet at the same time demand Party publicity. There is no contradiction here, as Martov himself could easily have seen if he had taken the trouble to give a connected account of the whole matter, and not merely fragments of it. It was tactless to treat the question from a philistine standpoint and appeal to pity and consideration for injured feelings; the interests of Party publicity demanded that an estimation be given in point of fact of the advantages of six as compared with three, an estimation of the candidates for the posts, an estimation of the different shades; the minority gave not a hint of any of this at the Congress.

By carefully studying the minutes, Comrade Martov would have found in the delegates’ speeches a whole series of arguments against the board of six. Here is a selection from these speeches: firstly, that dissonances, in the sense of different shades of principle, were clearly apparent in the old six; secondly, that a technical simplification of the editorial work was desirable; thirdly, that the interests of the work came before philistine sentimentality, and only election could ensure that the persons chosen were suited for their posts; fourthly,

But the minority were so totally unable to find sensible and business-like arguments against election that, in addition to introducing philistinism into Party affairs, they resorted to downright scandalous practices. Indeed, what other name can we give to the action of Comrade Popov when he advised Comrade Muravyov “not to undertake delicate commissions” (p. 322)? What is this but “getting personal”, as Comrade Sorokin rightly put it (p. 328)? What is it but speculating on “personalities”, in the absence of political arguments? Was Comrade Sorokin right or wrong when he said that “we have always protested against such practices”? “Was it permissible for Comrade Deutsch to try demonstratively to pillory comrades who did not agree with him?” * (P. 328.)

There is a more pernicious subtext in this “insults” issue too, which it is to imply that argument is “out of control” and (nudge-nudge) “we all know where that leads don’t we”; the sly argument that “in the end” everything will become a “totalitarian nightmare”, the deliberate refrain of capitalism that Leninism leads directly to the grotesquely one-sided parody it presents of Stalinism as “so much worse than Hitler even”.

But the great tragedy of Stalinism is not the opportunism and paranoid crimes but the philosophical retreats from revolution and the cover-up of the confusion, and the pointless revisionist liquidation of the great Soviet workers state that it led to under Gorbachevism.

The paranoid crimes this theoretical tangle included (alongside huge and heroic leadership of the struggle against capitalist war and onslaught on the USSR, in 1941-45 particularly) still require an objective assessment and research but they are of another order of magnitude than the demented and ludicrous accusations of anti-communism which want to throw all attention away from the actually proven depravities in history of capitalist fascist slaughter and oppression - where the real “tens of millions” were killed and continue to be killed now and potentially.

Polemical struggle equals bad, this equation suggests.

So to consolidate and end polemic and exposure of false political argument why not completely eliminate this method of battling??

Hence surely the “profound” comments on the nature of the party and its discussions?

And what do these boil down to? Nothing but doing away with the disciplined political framework of polemic and debate.

We should get rid of the “old hat” means of discussing with the various political arguments given the space and time to be developed in discussion, with a chairman guiding the debate to allow all the threads of the discussion to be drawn out, says the writer.

To deride this as just a “buggins turn” is to profoundly miss the point of what a “party of a new type” is about.

Leninism is about getting the theory right and that is done by struggle.

The letter confuses early understanding by the ILWP (the forerunner to the EPSR) of the pointlessness and counter-productiveness of bureaucratic and formalistic petty bourgeois notions of the various sectarian groups in running around to sustain a “proper paper” at great cost, and oppressive demands on the “foot soldiers” who made no useful political development thereby, with a lack of all discipline in the discussion.

But eliminating pointless and futile mechanics of what a party was supposed to be (with a ‘proper paper’ etc however it soaked up resources and funds) allowed the ILWP to concentrate on the real discipline needed, the political discipline to pursue the theoretical struggle.

It is staggering to learn after so long, that this crucial aspect of the party is still not grasped and that the highest level of theoretical struggle which it achieves in its discussions is derided as “buggins turn” and “point scoring” as if the proper civilised opportunity for comrades to participate in the struggle is all such much trivia.

But it is the only calm and civilised way to proceed, with the agreed most politically competent and experienced chairman guiding the discussion (which precisely does not mean giving calling on all the participants to “take turns” but allowing the main arguments to be put forwards and focused with repeated chances to come back on the argument as it develops by the main protagonists if necessary).

This is a highly civilised approach which recognises not just the contributions of as many as possible but pushes the collective mood and understanding of the group to higher levels.

At the best level, the self-control and development of comrades requires virtually no intervention at all by the chairman except to keep a list of who wants to make a contribution.

It is only because of the tangible climb in consciousness achieved by this politically guided and disciplined discussion that the more relaxed discussion after the meetings is usually full of vibrancy and further debate.

But it is simply nonsensical to suggest therefore that “the best understanding has come from the informal discussions after meetings when there is no control by a chairman.”

It reflects a gobsmacking failure to understand theory and how it emerges.

And it reflects the same indiscipline which sees no point in actually crystallising understanding and trying to write it down so that others can then grasp (or challenge) it.

This wish to throw off the discipline of polemic and political struggle is the reason for the silly jibe about “not knowing I had to have permission to speak to anyone” and its subsequent hanging and unexplained innuendo about this “speaking volumes about where the EPSR has gone sine 2004”.

Once again not one word of the tens of thousands that these supposed “volumes” must surely contain is elucidated here however.

The comment just hangs there like some piece of abstract innuendo, calling for people to elbow each other knowingly.

The essence of the fight for revolutionary understanding is just that – a philosophical fight to sort out and clarify the differences that arise, to tease out the real issues in them and see the class basis of each side.

Every arising serious difference should put forwards and is welcomed, both in formal discussions, and in the paper.

More, the greatest ferment of debate and discussion is to be encouraged (as if in the coming revolutionary transformations of the world it could be stopped anyway).

But that does not mean that an eclectic soup of views and opinions asked for or should prevail, as numerous Internet forums do, or groups like the cryto-Trotskyist CPGB’s Weekly Workers does on its letters page, or worse still that they should be endlessly repeated, however reactionary, trivial, disproven or stupid.

The point is to bring the issues into the open and work them through in struggle.

The party acts in that sense as a barometer of emergent class issues which are just taking shape, and means of seeing such issues and understanding them, however painful the process.

It is not always possible or easy to do so, or even appropriate on side issues and tactical matters – and in many cases the foggily emerging forms of the world class struggle are not sharply enough delineated to reach a complete understanding immediately.

But anything else is undisciplined and actually anarchic.

Lenin was very clear about this in the great battles over how a party had to operate in the famous 1903 Second Congress and the detailed assessment he made of it afterwards.

Conditions of Tsarism and exile are not comparable with late degenerating capitalism and the delights of “democracy”, but the essence of the argument remains the same – that the petty bourgeois opposition wants to escape from a disciplined battle to understand (and act upon that understanding).

He scathingly described those who rejected the call for a disciplined approach as “intellectual or aristocratic anarchists”:

The fact that the organisation of our work lags behind its content is our weak point, and it was our weak point long before the Congress, long before the Organising Committee was formed. The lame and undeveloped character of the form makes any serious step in the further development of the content impossible; it causes a shameful stagnation, leads to a waste of energy, to a discrepancy between word and deed. We have all been suffering wretchedly from this discrepancy, yet along come the Axelrods and “Practical Workers” of the new Iskra with their profound precept: the form must grow naturally, only simultaneously with the content!

That is where a small mistake on the question of organisation (Paragraph 1) will lead you if you try to lend profundity to nonsense and to find philosophical justification for opportunist talk. Marching slowly, in timid zigzags!119—-we have heard this refrain in relation to questions of tactics; we are hearing it again in relation to questions of organisation. Tail-ism in questions of organisation is a natural and inevitable product of the mentality of the anarchistic individualist when he starts to elevate his anarchistic deviations (which at the outset may have been accidental) to a system of views, to special differences of principle. At the League Congress we witnessed the beginnings of this anarchism; in the new Iskra we are witnessing attempts to elevate it to a system of views. These attempts strikingly confirm what was already said at the Party Congress about the difference between the points of view of the bourgeois intellectual who attaches himself to the Social-Democratic movement and the proletarian who has become conscious of his class interests. For instance, this same “Practical Worker” of the new Iskra with whose profundity we are already familiar denounces me for visualising the Party “as an immense factory” headed by a director in the shape of the Central Committee (No. 57, Supplement). “Practical Worker” never guesses that this dreadful word of his immediately betrays the mentality of the bourgeois intellectual unfamiliar with either the practice or the theory of proletarian organisation. For the factory, which seems only a bogey to some, represents that highest form of capitalist co-operation which has united and disciplined the proletariat, taught it to organise, and placed it at the head of all the other sections of the toiling and exploited population. And Marxism, the ideology of the proletariat trained by capitalism, has been and is teaching unstable intellectuals to distinguish between the factory as a means of exploitation (discipline based on fear of starvation) and the factory as a means of organisation (discipline based on collective work united by the conditions of a technically highly developed form of production). The discipline and organisation which come so hard to the bourgeois intellectual are very easily acquired by the proletariat just because of this factory “schooling”. Mortal fear of this school and utter failure to understand its importance as an organising factor are characteristic of the ways of thinking which reflect the petty-bourgeois mode of life and which give rise to the species of anarchism that the German Social-Democrats call Edelanarchismus, that is, the anarchism of the “noble” gentleman, or aristocratic anarchism, as I would call it. This aristocratic anarchism is particularly characteristic of the Russian nihilist, He thinks of the Party organisation as a monstrous “factory”; he regards the subordination of the part to the whole and of the minority to the majority as “serfdom”* (see Axelrod’s articles); division of labour under the direction of a centre evokes from him a tragicomical outcry against transforming people into “cogs and wheels” (to turn editors into contributors being considered a particularly atrocious species of such transformation); mention of the organisational Rules of the Party calls forth a contemptuous grimace and the disdainful remark (intended for the “formalists”) that one could very well dispense with Rules altogether.

Incredible as it may seem, it was a didactic remark of just this sort that Comrade Martov addressed to me in Iskra, No. 58, quoting, for greater weight, my own words in A Letter to a Comrade. Well, what is it if not “aristocratic anarchism” and tail-ism to cite examples from the era of disunity, the era of the circles, to justify the preservation and glorification of the circle spirit and anarchy in the era of the Party?

Why did we not need Rules before? Because the Party consisted of separate circles without any organisational tie between them. Any individual could pass from one circle to another at his own “sweet will”, for he was not faced with any formulated expression of the will of the whole. Disputes within the circles were not settled according to Rules, “but by struggle and threats to resign”, as I put it in A Letter to a Comrade * summarising the experience of a number of circles in general and of our own editorial circle of six in particular. In the era of the circles, this was natural and inevitable, but it never occurred to anybody to extol it, to regard it as ideal; everyone complained of the disunity, everyone was distressed by it and eager to see the isolated circles fused into a formally constituted party organisation. And now that this fusion has taken place, we are being dragged back and, under the guise of higher organisational views, treated to anarchistic phrase-mongering! To people accustomed to the loose dressing-gown and slippers of the Oblomov120 circle domesticity, formal Rules seem narrow, restrictive, irksome, mean, and bureaucratic, a bond of serfdom and a fetter on the free “process” of the ideological struggle. Aristocratic anarchism cannot understand that formal Rules are needed precisely in order to replace the narrow circle ties by the broad Party tie. It was unnecessary and impossible to give formal shape to the internal ties of a circle or the ties between circles, for these ties rested on personal friendship or on an instinctive “confidence” for which no reason was given. The Party tie cannot and must not rest on either of these; it must be founded on formal, “bureaucratically” worded Rules (bureaucratic from the standpoint of the undisciplined intellectual), strict adherence to which can alone safeguard us from the wilfulness and caprices characteristic of the circles, from the circle wrangling that goes by the name of the free “process” of the ideological struggle.

The editors of the new Iskra try to trump Alexandrov with the didactic remark that “confidence is a delicate thing and cannot be hammered into people’s hearts and minds” (No. 56, Supplement). The editors do not realise that by this talk about confidence, naked confidence, they are once more betraying their aristocratic anarchism and organisational tail-ism. When I was a member of a circle only— whether it was the circle of the six editors or the Iskra organisation—I was entitled to justify my refusal, say, to work with X merely on the grounds of lack of confidence, without stating reason or motive. But now that I have become a member of a party, I have no right to plead lack of confidence in general, for that would throw open the doors to all the freaks and whims of the old circles; I am obliged to give formal reasons for my “confidence” or “lack of confidence”, that is, to cite a formally established principle of our programme, tactics or Rules; I must not just declare my “confidence” or “lack of confidence” without giving reasons, but must acknowledge that my decisions—and generally all decisions of any section of the Party—have to be accounted for to the whole Party; I am obliged to adhere to a formally prescribed procedure when giving expression to my “lack of confidence” or trying to secure the acceptance of the views and wishes that follow from this lack of confidence. From the circle view that “confidence” does not have to be accounted for, we have already risen to the Party view which demands adherence to a formally prescribed procedure of expressing, accounting for, and testing our confidence; but the editors try to drag us back, and call their tail-ism new views on organisation!

Listen to the way our so-called Party editors talk about writers’ groups that might demand representation on the editorial board. “We shall not get indignant and begin to shout about discipline”, we are admonished by these aristocratic anarchists who have always and everywhere looked down on such a thing as discipline. We shall either “arrange the matter” (sic!) with the group, if it is sensible, or just laugh at its demands.

Dear me, what a lofty and noble rebuff to vulgar “factory” formalism! But in reality it is the old circle phraseology furbished up a little and served up to the Party by an editorial board which feels that it is not a Party institution, but the survival of an old circle. The intrinsic falsity of this position inevitably leads to the anarchistic profundity of elevating the disunity they hypocritically proclaim to be past and gone to a principle of Social-Democratic organisation. There is no need for any hierarchy of higher and lower Party bodies and authorities—aristocratic anarchism regards such a hierarchy as the bureaucratic invention of ministries, departments, etc. (see Axelrod’s article); there is no need for the part to submit to the whole; there is no need for any “formal bureaucratic” definition of Party methods of “arranging matters” or of delimiting differences. Let the old circle wrangling be sanctified by pompous talk about “genuinely Social-Democratic” methods of organisation.

This is where the proletarian who has been through the school of the “factory” can and should teach a lesson to anarchistic individualism. The class-conscious worker has long since emerged from the state of infancy when he used to fight shy of the intellectual as such. The class-conscious worker appreciates the richer store of knowledge and the wider political outlook which he finds among Social-Democratic intellectuals. But as we proceed with the building of a real party, the class-conscious worker must learn to distinguish the mentality of the soldier of the proletarian army from the mentality of the bourgeois intellectual who parades anarchistic phrases; he must learn to insist that the duties of a Party member be fulfilled not only by the rank and file, but by the “people at the top” as well; he must learn to treat tail-ism in matters of organisation with the same contempt as he used, in days gone by, to treat tail-ism in matters of tactics!


..Inseparably connected with Girondism and aristocratic anarchism is the last characteristic feature of the new Iskra’s attitude towards matters of organisation, namely, its defence of autonomism as against centralism. This is the meaning in principle (if it has any such meaning*) of its outcry against bureaucracy and autocracy, of its regrets about “an undeserved disregard for the non-Iskra-ists” (who defended autonomism at the Congress), of its comical howls about a demand for “unquestioning obedience”, of its bitter complaints of “Jack-in-office rule”, etc., etc. The opportunist wing of any party always defends and justifies all backwardness, whether in programme, tactics, or organisation. The new Iskra’s defence of backwardness in organisation (its tail-ism) is closely connected with the defence of autonomism. True, autonomism has, generally speaking, been so discredited already by the three years’ propaganda work of the old Iskra that the new Iskra is ashamed, as yet, to advocate it openly; it still assures us of its sympathy for centralism, but shows it only by printing the word centralism in italics. Actually, it is enough to apply the slightest touch of criticism to the “principles” of the “genuinely Social-Democratic” (not anarchistic?) quasi-centralism of the new Iskra for the autonomist standpoint to be detected at every step. Is it not now clear to all and sundry that on the subject of organisation Axelrod and Martov have swung over to Akimov? Have they not solemnly admitted it themselves in the significant words, “undeserved disregard for the non-Iskra-ists”? And what was it but autonomism that Akimov and his friends defended at our Party Congress?

...It was autonomism (if not anarchism) that Martov and Axelrod defended at the League Congress when, with amusing zeal, they tried to prove that the part need not submit to the whole, that the part is autonomous in defining its relation to the whole, that the Rules of the League, in which that relation is formulated, are valid in defiance of the will of the Party majority, in defiance of the will of the Party centre. And it is autonomism that Comrade Martov is now openly defending in the columns of the new Iskra (No. 60) in the matter of the right of the Central Committee to appoint members to the local committees.

I shall not speak of the puerile sophistries which Comrade Martov used to defend autonomism at the League Congress, and is still using in the new Iskra*—the important thing here is to note the undoubted tendency to defend autonomism against centralism, which is a fundamental characteristic of opportunism in matters of organisation.

Perhaps the only attempt to analyse the concept bureaucracy is the distinction drawn in the new Iskra (No. 53) between the “formal democratic principle” (author’s italics) and the “formal bureaucratic principle”. This distinction (which, unfortunately, was no more developed or explained than the reference to the non-Iska-ists) contains a grain of truth. Bureaucracy versus democracy is in fact centralism versus autonomism; it is the organisational principle of revolutionary Social-Democracy as opposed to the organisational principle of opportunist Social-Democracy. The latter strives to proceed from the bottom upward, and, therefore, wherever possible and as far as possible, upholds autonomism and “democracy”, carried (by the overzealous) to the point of anarchism. The former strives to proceed from the top downward, and upholds an extension of the rights and powers of the centre in relation to the parts.

...It is highly interesting to note that these fundamental characteristics of opportunism in matters of organisation (autonomism, aristocratic or intellectualist anarchism, tail-ism, and Girondism) are, mutatis mutandis with appropriate modifications), to be observed in all the Social-Democratic parties in the world, wherever there is a division into a revolutionary and an opportunist wing (and where is there not?).


The letter writer’s statement that “no reconciliation” is possible is only an expression of a political position which does not want reconciliation.

But there is every possibility for all kinds of movement forwards for the great majority who will be increasingly reconciled to the need for revolutionary theory as the appalling conditions of slump and war are pushed down on them ever harder.

Capitalism is finished but it will go down it a welter of foul depraved Goebbels lies and confusion.

Only by struggling for total theoretical clarity will the working class find the leadership and unity that will eventually enable it to make a revolutionary overturn of capitalism to build planned socialism and a conscious civilised classless society.

Don Hoskins

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No place in EPSR for any reconciliation

I decided against sending the letter (enclosed) that I wrote on 13 October 2009 because during a one hour discussion, which took place over the phone on the 17 October 2209 between the editor and me, it was agreed that no further articles should be written on this issue relating to the Bristol comrades. The reason for this was that by not publishing any article for a “period of time”, this would enable comrades on both sides of the argument time to reflect on what had been said and to come to eventually come to an agreement (or if this was not possible, some “accommodation”).

What was also agreed was that the EPSR’s position on China’s role within the world, including its role in Africa would be discussed in full in the paper “within the next few weeks” but without linking it at all with the Bristol comrades.

I was therefore extremely disappointed, to say the least, to see a letter written and published in the very next issue of the EPSR No 1358, dated 29 October 2009. It is also regretful that an article from Chris Barratt implied that the Bristol comrades were anti-communist, by stating that “EPSR supporters have both exposed and routed the anti-communist attack...from the Western region (Bristol comrades)”. Having a disagreement with an individual does not mean that the other person is an “anti-communist”, it does indicate that it is now impossible for any possible reconciliation now or in the future. I simply cannot stay in a group that has no place for the Bristol comrades. This abuse by the EPSR against the Bristol comrades is infantile and 100% Incorrect.

To answer some of your points that you raised in your letter dated 29 January 2011. Firstly, in your letter you said “I was somewhat dismayed to discover that you have so many doubts, but have never mentioned them to us, let alone tried to take up the discussion and that you are telling me things which are a misrepresentation of that has happened”. To answer your point, I have not been in touch with anyone in the EPSR since our telephone discussion on 17 October 2009, therefore I have hardly “never mentioned” any doubts, when I have not spoken to anyone. Also the “misrepresentation of that has happened” is to imply that there was no agreement or discussion on the above points, I am very clear that after over 1 hour on the phone that there was an agreement even if you prefer to “forget” that discussion or that I have misrepresented what had been said.

Also you said in your letter “ is equally dismaying to learn that you have frequent discussions with the South-West without mentioning this to us at all, even briefly, and in a context of knowing that there had been a major political conflict”. Again as above, I have not been in touch with anyone in the EPSR since our telephone discussion on 17 October 2009, but more importantly, I did not know that I had to have permission to speak to anyone, including past or present members of the EPSR. This probably speaks volumes about where the EPSR has gone since the 2nd January 2005.

Please take note; I do not believe there was any “major political conflict”, a political disagreement...yes. From my letter dated 13 October 2009 I wrote “Have they (the Bristol comrades) been given any space to argue their point in the paper?...NO. Have they tried to build an opposition within the EPSR?...NO. Have they done anything to stop the work of the EPSR?...NO.

The point that “no one has written anything down” is 100% incorrect. Bristol has written down issues to you, and Jenny Yeomans from Manchester (in error I believed she was a comrade from Bristol) has written and the letter published. And she wrote very clearly about this “major political conflict” in her letter (EPSR No 1360), dated 2 December 2009:

“Differences in opinion should be able to be battled through in a constructive and healthy manner without abusive name-calling and allegations of ‘attacking’ the EPSR...In a climate of hostility to a challenge of ideas it is all too easy to paint comrades as ‘the opposition’ and create a bad atmosphere for any clarity on, and useful resolution of diverging analyses”

By the way, part two of the letter on homosexuality was never published (or “held over”). And again the EPSR said in that (the letter) was a “petty bourgeois attack on the EPSR” (what attack????) because “It (the letter) reeks with confusion and lack of revolutionary content or spirit” nonsense. What Jenny Yeomans wrote should be the basis for any revolutionary Marxist group, that “Differences in opinion should be able to be battled through in a constructive and healthy manner without abusive name-calling”, and without the use of the derogatory and patronising term “The ABC of Marxism” when someone disagrees with the party line.

I wrote the following on 26 September 2010:

“It is open the discussion to subjects that have been hidden away in the EPSR, because comrades did not have the confidence to tackle these questions when the former editor was still alive, such as homosexuality, the family, marriage, the role of men and women etc...Let us not have anymore of “this subject can be better discussed in the pub”. Let us discuss these subjects now, or when they emerge”

Again answering some of your points:-”taking up a polemic as we did against the S.W. is not uncomradely”. I do not believe abuse against someone who has a political disagreement and calling them calling them “anti-communist”, “objectors”, “sly”, “renegade” and “reactionary” is NOT polemicizing. It is just ABUSE! Another point that you raised “If you are stopping support for the EPSR and instead having discussions with those who have left, would it not be right to tell those you have worked with for over 20 years”. I still had hoped for a reconciliation between the EPSR and Bristol...this hope has dwindled ever since October 2009, and the telephone call on 29 January 2011 has finally made my mind up as to what I should do.

Leaving the EPSR is difficult, but I have done it before, when the EPSR had illusions that Leninist politics could be implanted into the reformist Socialist Labour Party with Arthur Scargill as its head. I left the EPSR then not because of the politics, but because of the wrong tactics. Tactics which I believe were never fully analysed later to examine why the decision was made in the first place.

I do recall Roy telling me over the phone to “keep in touch” and “keep reading the paper”, there was never any name calling just because I did not agree with him or the EPSR, therefore I left the EPSR on the best possible terms.

And now I am finally leaving the EPSR again, not because of politics (even the discussion over the term “Nazi” (or “fascist” which I did not mention anyway) is in reality no major issue one way or another and certainly not worth leaving over), but because of the unwarranted abuse by the EPSR against the Bristol comrades (who I have known and trusted for over 25 years), calling them “anti-communist”, “objectors”, “sly”, “renegade” and “reactionary”, instead of seeing the debate on China, Africa, Obama etc as an opportunity to discuss these issues even deeper, without the fear that the conclusion may be different to what the EPSR had understood up until the 2nd January 2005.

This whole matter could and should have been handled better, unfortunately too much has now been said for any reconciliation. I honestly hope that the EPSR grows into a mass revolutionary party, it will however, be built without me. However, my view is as I said in my letter of 13 October 2009 that “the inevitable consequence of this will be that (eventually) the EPSR will be left with a party of one”. Politics is as much a social activity as it is a theoretical activity, both should be understood and practised.

(MC)7 February 2011

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Addendum: letter received as attachment to proceeding letter (dated October 2009).
Are we building the party of a new type?

The history of the EPSR has been the struggle to provide the working class with the very best leadership in the fight for a socialist revolution to overthrow capitalism. The achievements of the EPSR in providing analysis of every major world event and the coming global meltdown of capitalism are clearly demonstrated in the 1,357 editions of the EPSR and its forerunners. The struggle, insisting on scientific Marxist theory being key to all our work in opposition to the reformist Labour Party, the “official” Communist Party’s “peaceful road to socialism” and the anti-communist Trotskyite groups, all within the British labour movement.

Consciously (and correctly) the ILWP, the forerunner of the EPSR, came to the conclusion that the only reason for a party’s existence was to provide the best possible Marxist-Leninist theory and leadership. As Lenin said in What Is To Be Done?, “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement”. This is 100% correct. But the reason for doing this has always been to change the world by replacing capitalist class divided society by eventually a classless society. But this would only be possible by a socialist revolution and the dictatorship of the proletariat over all other classes.

But it is also the task of all those who support the EPSR to build it into a genuinely mass party of the working class, a party that is based on a deep grasp of Marxist-Leninist theory. Without the revolutionary party, it will be impossible to lead the working class in their struggle to overthrow the capitalist class.

The work of the Leninist movement must be to integrate theory with practice, in everything that we do. Self-criticism must be encouraged in all our work. A good starting point is to ask ourselves the question, “Are we now closer or further away from building a mass revolutionary party?” We can begin by quickly answering this simple question, “how much influence does the paper have within the working class?” We all have to be brutally honest with ourselves and answer the question not in a negative or defensive manner such as “Can you do any better?” or “What are your achievements over the last 30 years comrade?” If the true answer to the question is that the EPSR still has little or no influence within the working class, then we have little alternative but to change. All matter is in a constant state of change, so as nothing can remain unchanged, we are either getting better, or getting worse at providing leadership and influence within the working class.

“Building the party of new type” can be a glib phrase used without really understanding what it really means. My understanding is clear, that all the norms of establishing a (bourgeois, petty bourgeois or “left”) political party are completely at odds with building a revolutionary Leninist party of a new type. The EPSR understood very early on in its development that membership cards, a party constitution, party rules, selling 50 papers per week, party raffles etc etc....was activist nonsense, consciously developed by anti-communist leadership to stop any meaningful discussions about the politics.

However, vestiges of this “democratic” process still remain in the formal seminar meetings, where every intervention must go “through the Chair”. If this approach is fully analysed, it is clear that this “procedure and practice” is yet another bureaucratic method to stifle the very best debate, in favour of “everyone having their say”. The best theory and understanding in the EPSR has historically always come from the informal meetings afterwards, where the argument is still “live” and an issue can be address immediately, without having to wait until “everyone else has their say”, which when addressed generally appears to be point scoring and looses any real value in the discussion.

Other areas of work which should be addressed is the area of communications. The method that the paper is printed and distributed is completely different to all the other 57 varieties of Trotskyite/ anti-communist / trade unionist “left” groups. This method was established early in the party’s development through necessity, rather than by conscience planning, but it worked, the party was able to carry on its work without worrying about if the party could afford to “print the paper next week”.

Thirty years on from establishing the ILWP, we must understand that the methods of communicating in the world has changed enormously, we must change too. How can we communicate to larger sections of the working class? Are there better ways? Is the paper and the reprint of the paper on the internet site really the best and only way to communicate our understanding with the working class? Can we extend our discussions further through new innovations on the internet for example? Why not consider how young people communicate? The G20 riots in London show that there is a mass of people that oppose imperialism, even if they are being inspired by the anti-communist anarchists.

Marx wrote in the Manifesto of the Communist Party that “The Communists do not form a separate party opposed to other working-class parties. They have no interests separate and apart from those of the proletariat as a whole. They do not set up any sectarian principles of their own, by which to shape and mould the proletarian movement”....this needs to be read again and again, and fully understood.

We must open up our discussions with all other groups that are prepared to discuss with us and to continue this even when they disagree with us or we disagree with them. Other groups on the left or long standing supporters of the EPSR should not be cast aside as “anti-communists” or “tankies” or “renegade objectors”, this is not helpful to us, apart from unnecessarily antagonising those other organisations and individuals. Name calling is insulting, and adds absolutely nothing to the discussion or to our understanding. If the mass party is to be built, and in what ever form or name it finally takes, I have no doubt that it will involve elements presently in other working-class parties and also the “western objectors”, rather than just the small group currently supporting the EPSR.

The role of the editor in the EPSR is clearly the most important and most difficult task given to anyone to undertake. The editor must ensure that the paper remains at the forefront of providing the working class the best possible understanding of the crisis of capitalism. The editor must be supported by all those in the EPSR. And likewise the editor must understand that others may not have the clarity to express their views in the same forceful manner. Point scoring in any debate is a futile exercise. If there are misunderstandings, genuine confusion or even subjectivity bourgeois influence, then this should be dealt, hopefully in the most comradely manner possible.

In this period when the working class still have many illusions of the market system (capitalism), anyone who can be bothered to get out of their armchair and talk politics must be encouraged. The only time when it is necessary to push someone out of the EPSR, is when the backward anti-communist politics becomes a challenge to the running of meetings and to the EPSR in general. It is hard to understand why it is necessary it use a sledgehammer to crack a nut in these discussions with the Bristol comrades. Individuals discussing politics will have all kind of illusions about capitalism, inevitably so, as everyone in the EPSR has to a greater or lesser extent. The point however is to continue to discuss all issues until the individuals no longer wish to discuss politics any more, not the other way around. We simply do not have the resources (and never should) to slam the door on anyone who wants to continue to talk serious politics to the EPSR.

Why is it necessary to alienate the Bristol comrades of 30 years over this issue? Was it not the Bristol comrades who provided much of theory surrounding the collapse of the ‘municipal socialism’ fraud in Lambeth Council (see EPSR Books vol. 9)? And did they not warn the EPSR of the “Black Nationalist” sectarians in London in the first place, when the leadership was happy to provide them with resources to produce their own paper (ARISE)? I find it ironic that from the EPSR No 1357, “...It (the disagreement with the Bristol comrades) echoes all the old arguments from the “black nationalist” debate, though hidden away (?), because the objectors know only too well that the politics was brought out into the open and exposed at the time”...yes, by the Bristol comrades (the “objectors”) themselves!!!!

I believe the debate at the time was that the ARISE group in the EPSR believed that they were being held back from doing some “excellent work” by the established leadership in, London, who had “dominated the discussions”. If the Bristol comrades had argued for the paper to “tone down the politics” or that “some people should be excluded from the debate, because they do not understand Chinese or African politics”, then clearly this would be 100% wrong. However, I do not believe this has ever been the case in this discussion.

It is not the case of “accommodating” or “overlooking” anti-communism or anti-revolutionary single-issue politics etc. etc. Yes, we should deal with all forms of anti-Marxist-Leninist understanding, no one disputes this at all, but to label the Bristol comrades as “sly”, “renegade” and “reactionary” is not increasing anyone’s knowledge and understanding.

The EPSR had been happy to accommodate “workerist” bollocks from sections within the Manchester branch for years, while Roy Bull was still leading the EPSR, without the insults and name calling. It is ironic that these elements have subsequently found a cosy anti-communist home in the Labour Party or have completely given up on politics altogether.

Individuals will always bring into the party “political baggage”, from their own political experiences. However, should everyone who wants to discuss Leninist politics in a work setting or social group, first go through a “truth test” to ensure that they have not got any lingering bourgeois ideology somewhere still lodged in their brain? And that they 100% understand the EPSR line on every issue past and current?...NO. Even if a comrade only understands half or a quarter of the EPSR line and the rest of their understanding is reformist nonsense, it is still better than Leninism not being discussed at all.

The Bristol comrades requested an open debate about China and Africa, this should be welcomed. If confusion exists within the EPSR, this should be discussed as a matter of urgency. No one should feel that China and Africa have to be discussed only within the confines of the EPSR line. China is a new phenomenon, which we have never seen before; a workers state, which appears to many workers to act exactly in the same way as an imperialist state. We must do more work on this question, as it confuses large sections of the working class (deliberately fuelled by the capitalist media).

The question that needs to be answered is, “How much of a threat are the Bristol comrades to the EPSR?”

Have they been given any space to argue their point in the paper?...NO.

Have they tried to build an opposition within the EPSR?...NO.

Have they done anything to stop the work of the EPSR?,..NO,

Clearly it is not the case that the Bristol comrades “will not write anything

down”. The letters that have been circulated show the original letter

written to the editor plus responses to the statements made in the EPSR.

However, by equating the “black nationalist sectarians” in London in 1989, with the Bristol comrades (the “objectors”) in 2009 is totally inappropriate. By using the headline “No place In the ILWP for ‘anti-racist’ sectarians” this implies that the same headline should equally apply to the Bristol comrades, i.e. “No place in EPSR for the ‘objectors’”. I cannot agree with this, it is 100% WRONG. Does this also mean that if any comrade who has a difference of opinion (or who wants further clarification on an issue), will make them an “objector” who has “no place in the EPSR”? The inevitable consequence of this will be that the EPSR will be left with a party of one; this is NOT building the party of a new type.

Mark 13 October 2009

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EPSR Archives

(Selected quotes from past issue).
Many of the issues in the south-west objections emerged in an earlier form in the discussions over black nationalism [ILWP Bulletin No 477 11-01-89]

Discussion: Use the frankness of conflict to re-examine everything

The debate inside the Party arising out of the now-resolved disagreements (which doubted the primacy of revolutionary perspectives over all partial or piecemeal aspects of the anti-imperialist struggle including anti-racism protests) is possibly on the way to identifying some of the weaknesses revealed in ILWP cadre-training.

They concern what has been actually understood by comrades in acknowledging the absolutely vital and fundamental role of theory in grasping the concrete reality of the ILWP as the Party of revolutionary theory in fully appreciating the difference in practice of the Party’s claimed Leninist method of struggling for the truth (through exhaustive scientific polemic) until a clear majority is agreed, and then through reviewing the decision in its practical implementation) from the ‘democratic’ hypocrisy and bullying instructionalism of the reformist(anti-Leninist) swamp and in actually challenging the reverse-racism of black nationalists and other revisionist and reformist reactionaries.

...The failure of the ‘critics’(in the recent dispute) to have the faintest grasp in practice of what they had declared for years to be their grasp of the ILWP’s Leninist method of struggle, is an even more fundamentally alarming gap between theory and practice.

Part of the bad-mouthing challenge to the Party arose, it seems, from an immediate willingness to assume(based on misleading reports) that the leading ‘critic’ had only failed to win the argument (for making anti-racism the equivalent to the fight for revolutionary perspective in the understanding of Leninist theory) because of “being shouted down by the leadership”!

This is a truly alarming and unpleasant ‘discovery’. It appears that this delusion arose from a combination of personal nervousness in struggling for theory in the Party; a fear of the chairman’s ‘loud voice’; plus some indistinct prejudices that in the matter of grasping anti-racism and its place in Leninism’s theory of revolutionary priorities, the leading ‘critic’ was bound to have more understanding.

Apart from the comical subjectivism and white-liberal-guilt aspects of this revelation (the painful honesty of which is enormously appreciated),- the absence of any internal check-mechanism asking “But how does this ‘shouting-down’ square with the Party’s known methods of deliberately encouraging open inner-Party polemics to exhaustion,- all printed, published, and paid for by the Party”;- is worrying.

No one wishes to be naive about how obviously nerve-racking and intimidating it must be to be in conflict with a forceful and dominant party leadership.

But the reality of the incomparable gulf between the ludicrous hectoring and instructionalism of the swamp, and the genuinely polemical openness of the ILWP is so vast that some glimmer of understanding of the Party’s serious scientific methods would hopefully have penetrated even the most nervous fog of confusion to dispel the “we are being shouted down” slanderous nonsense.

It would seem that the enormous novel significance of the ILWP’s willingness to openly polemicise with any serious mainstream revisionist/reformist nonsense or near-truth is totally unappreciated in some cadres’ understanding. Wider experience of the Party’s own past struggles, plus greater familiarity with the cowardly evasions of the entire swamp, would seem to be in order, plus maybe some training in trying to discern sound arguments from merely loud voices.

More personally subjective reasons for individual comrades imagining they are being dealt with heavy-handedly (when the Party’s undeviating polemical methods amount to exactly the opposite of bullying),- may prove harder to identify and will be the hardest of all to wear down.

No one is free from interpreting the world through their own unique subjective filter. All are ‘subjectively’ vulnerable to a lesser or greater extent. And only in better practice consciously is it possible for individuals to work away at curbing or controlling their own tendency towards subjective blind spots or failings, etc.

But identifying elements of subjective idealist illusions does help enormously for working on them to remedy them; and contained within these fantasies about ‘being shouted down’ are signs of unbalanced anti-racist emotions, and reverse racist philistinism.

It is possible that comrades are still held back by a partially moralising attitude towards racism. Certainly racism is intolerably loathsome because of its hate-filled ignorance and barbaric viciousness and imperialist arrogance. But it is a million times more despicable because it is a weapon in the hands of the bourgeois-capitalist state (for filling workers with ideological backwardness and keeping them divided, - ‘free’ from communist consciousness, and therefore easily ruled. Jingoist-chauvinist excesses are deliberately worked up to impose civil war to split the masses).

It is as a tool of bourgeois-ideological confusion-mongering that racism must first and foremost be fought (by the sole effective means of building mass revolutionary consciousness so widespread, covering every aspect of the offensiveness of capitalism for every sector of society, that the capitalist state itself can be overthrown), not for morality.

In this sense, racism must be fought exactly as reformist opportunism must be fought, or religious mania, or anarchic cynicism, or drug-culture irrationalism, etc. Or reverse racism.

In this sense, all subjective idealism and unscientific illusions stand alongside every other aspect of the reformist/revisionist/nationalist swamp in being merely varieties of vehicles of bourgeois confusion-mongering, paralysing and dividing the working people with sectarian stupidity, making the job of Leninist science impossible and the task of capitalist-state divide-and-rule easy for the ruling class, (-for monopoly imperialism.)

But still the smugness is pouring out of our critics, instantly scoffing at the notion of ever seeing reverse racism and fascist-racism as illustrating features of a much more fundamental survey of the terrible class-war damage to the proletariat of all bourgeois ideology in common, regardless of their widely differing specifics.

Sympathising with the reverse-racist victims of imperialist prejudice and oppression doesn’t substitute for the urgently-needed greater theoretical clarity of the terrible divisivenes of all philosophical idealism (anti-Leninism), - whatever sectarian dead-end or backwardness it leads workers into.

The imbecilic aryan supremacist doctrines of the National Social-Democratic Workers Party of Germany were far from the only ideological tune the Nazis harped upon. Limiting denunciation of the Brownshirts to their anti-semitic racism could hardly have proved conclusive however brilliantly it might have been done.

The Hitlerites were practised ‘anti-imperialist’ propagandists too, railing (correctly) at the infamous Anglo-Saxon bourgeois imperialist conspiracy over the world which had reduced defeated Germany (WWl) to something approaching (truly) permanent subservient status.

The Nazis also fared well on anti-Bolshevik propaganda, on anti-slump propaganda, and on the anti-industrialisation idyll of a happy German land of rural bliss and plenty which would be achievable if only the Western international money-market slump-dominance could be got off Germany’s back. Jewish financiers entered the Nazi demonology only at this point.

The flaw in the anti-Nazi struggle was not in insufficiently stressing Hitler’s anti-semitism, but, just the opposite, in not sufficiently identifying the Nazis with the capitalist system, and not sufficiently identifying all of the parliamentary-democracy bourgeois party circus with incurable inter-capitalist slump and the incurable drift by the whole ‘free’ West (anti-Bolshevism) into renewed inter-imperialist war inevitably soon, under ruling class dictatorship.

And all of these crucial NSDAP ‘happy German farmer’ illusions were right in the tradition of all unscientific bourgeois-idealist reformist-nationalist-revisionist diversions which have ever helped imperialism’s non-stop ideological onslaught to divide workers into their own smug sectarian complacent enclaves (including reverse racism), thereby effectively ruling them all.

Only the most decisively-confident and aggressive Leninist revolutionary theoretical leadership could have offered German workers a more credible and stimulating perspective-, but the defeatist insecurity and vacillation of Stalinism at the head of the Third International lacked the necessary inspiration by a long way. By the early 1930s, the Third International’s record was already littered with muddled failures to maintain the correctness and decisiveness of Lenin’s revolutionary-internationalism mastery; and far from scientific relations of struggle already prevailed,- leaving their dead-hand influence all over the International.

It is as building a party of revolutionary theory that the critics struggling to overcome their subjective complacency also need to come to terms with their smug sectarian departure from the ILWP and from Leninism.

First and foremost, it is a party of leadership,- not just because that was in practice how Bolshevism worked in conditions of underground and revolution, nor just because of the inevitable relationship between the advanced part of the class and its vanguard, but also because of deeply essential characteristics of all human achievement.

Correct understanding, organisational strength, and courage reach new peaks during conflict throughout the history of civilisation’s affairs so far. The willingness and ability to give a successful lead is a priceless achievement at the moment it is needed, and occupies a large part in the cultural annals of society. Leninism doesn’t bother or need to go on about this, preferring to let correct arguments and leadership speak for themselves. But any ‘democratic’ worms of anti-leadership lurking about need rooting out. They are sheer philistinism, and such maggots would rot the entire Party.

Feminism is a prize source of this anti-leadership poison, and the critics want to take this polemical opportunity in the Party’s development to look again at their attitudes to such matters to make sure they are not infected,however slightly, with this most abysmal of all ignorant petty-bourgeois ‘democratic’ postures (concealing shallowness in grasping the true extent of the class-war crisis in human history), which self-indulgently clings to anti-leadership posturing as an ‘alternative’ to offering better leadership themselves.

The ILWP does not build up ‘leaders’. It has no need or interest in doing so. But the healthier parts of the Party are aware of who has endlessly shown the courage to lead, and the ability to assess things more or less correctly when new situations have constantly faced the Party in theory and practice; and which comrades have most loyally rallied to the ILWP in times of difficulty to give their support to the right line.

The constancy of peoples’ support to build a strong party of leadership,- centrally, and hopefully at every level of the Party eventually,- is a priceless Bolshevik attitude,- in no way conflicting at all with a willingness to honestly debate all differences within the Party, or initiate them.

The contradiction lies with people who even in this late stage in this dispute are still poking around trying to score points in mitigation of themselves against ‘leadership heavy-handedness’,etc.

But it is precisely the firmness of leadership which once again in this dispute as in most others has proved itself decisive in rooting out what is emerging as a very serious weakness in the Party’s understanding, and a very grave split in the Party’s ranks.

Discovering just how much the ILWP didn’t understand or was not fully conscious of (in the devious intricacies of popular ‘sensitivity on the race question’ concealing grotesque concessions to sectarianism and anti-Leninism in that area), - ranks a million times higher in importance to the Party than ‘discovering’ who has ‘glared’ or who has a ‘raised voice’, or what might have been the significance of X saying to Y that it might have been better if Z had been less ‘rugged’,(if a one-sided report on it was to be believed),etc.

In a young party struggling against the currently monstrous conditions in the West of anti-Leninist philistinism (aided and abetted by the monstrous conditions of anti-Leninist philistinism prevailing in Moscow and many other important socialist states at the moment), it is this firmness in being willing to stick one’s neck out for Leninist science which is the priceless quality in the ILWP.

Trying to dismiss this as just “doing what the chairman says” is the epitome of cynical philistinism. If that was all that fighting for the ILWP’s line amounted to, the Party would have collapsed a long time ago instead of recently doubling its full-time strength and its organisational capacity. And within the multiplicity of Party relations, it is the exact opposite of this spirit of subjective carping which makes for good Bolshevism, - a spirit of confident objectivity about how the world is going, and about how the ILWP has successfully tried to give Leninist leadership in interpreting the historic class war, the only basis for successful political practice ultimately.

There would also appear to be much confusion still about exactly how crucially the weekly Bulletin plays its role in correctly assessing the international balance of class forces in their endless development. The Bulletin’s concentration on any particular theme at any one time should never never be viewed as merely ‘obvious’, or ‘repetitive’, or ‘boring’, or ‘puzzling’, and shrugged off. Its editing can never be treated as simply an arbitrary selection of material, and taken or left as fancy dictates. The Bulletin must try reasonably consistently to reflect the latest highest point of development of theoretical clarification of the international class struggle, to keep the Party abreast of the latest issues facing workers and intellectuals, and to rehearse the Party in guidelines for intervening in public meetings,etc.

If an analysis it has published is viewed in any of the above ways, then the failure of the central Party structure for Leninist cadre-building should be taken up widely as a matter of some urgency for the ILWP. The impression of ‘endless’ articles on Gorbachevism, without any understanding of why, is not something which should be just ignored, and least of all cynically joked about. What would be so funny about the Bulletin not knowing its arse from its elbow?

Such attitudes would again seem connected to the shallowness of “theory is easy” thinking, coupled with the class-subjective sectarianism of assuming the Party could not possibly understand revolutionary priorities as well as ‘black revolutionaries in the front line’,etc.

It is also obvious that this insidious web of revisionist attitudes could only grow in a suitable supporting social milieu of one kind or another. Politics is a highly social activity. Such a well-formed subjective filter as has begun to strangle Leninism in one corner of the Party could not be the result of just a mistaken understanding, or two, alone.

This class-subjective attitude would have had to have felt sustained in some way by some feeling of finding a ‘political home’ to some extent elsewhere outside of the Party, - supplying its own alternative esteem, corroboration, stimulus, perspective,etc. Such well-rounded revisionism of the kind in the Party can be isolated in argument as a failure of Leninist theory, but it grows in reality within the comfort of petty-bourgeois sectarian class instincts. And it is this cosy subjective social background which is fuelling such degenerate humbug, for example, as implying that the ILWP leadership line can better be judged by discovering whose hand has been placed on whose knee rather than by any reference to Leninism.

If this is an attempt to imply that the ILWP’s political analysis or decisions have ever been decided or influenced by such priorities, it is a falsehood so completely unconnected with the ILWP’s openly party-wide-debated developments as to be certifiable. If it is an effort to make rival personal ‘morality’ the arbiter of international class-war leadership capability, then it is even more ludicrous. Who wants to know about the ‘moralising’ pretensions of life in SW17, SW19, or wherever. Yugcchh!

Every person to their own taste in these matters. And what on earth has it got to do with anyone’s stand on international politics?

This sick garbage is the nearest thing to Goebbels-feminist propaganda and is made none the sweeter by the fascist hypocrisy of it all. If it is a hands-on-knees count that the critics want, it is by no means clear that it is the critics who would come out looking the more saintly, for what such sanctimonious gobshite would be worth.

Dirty subversive tactics such as these will succeed neither as behind-the-hand tittle-tattle or as threats of open political blackmail.

As in all other matters, once again the critics reveal their petty-bourgeois class bankruptcy,- their attempted ‘moralising’ approach to this area of human activity being no freer of canting deception or closer to dialectical-materialist understanding than in any other smug ignorance they have tried to disrupt the Party with.

And once again, the critics cannot see the wood for the trees. So busy are they carping at alleged ‘leadership failings’ that they cannot even see the Party which nevertheless is being built on remarkably resilient and correct theoretical foundations, much less offer any seriously thought-out or comprehensive alternative lead, - even in this debate which they have initiated - (no reply to discussion yet),- nor on any of the other matters they have been ‘critical’ of, let alone coming up with any credible alternative programme, strategy, and tactics for the Leninist party.

Despite all this unpleasant nonsense which the discussion is now correctly squeezing out of the Party, the ILWP will undoubtedly be enormously strengthened by this conflict.

Once again, the ILWP’s fundamental method of trusting to living Party experience (aided by real and open polemic) alone to finally prove the truth or incorrectness of new turns the Party is obliged to make, has triumphed. Its relative inexperience in campaigning around certain selected areas of frontline class struggle raised tactical problems to which various solutions were considered in practice,-eventually emerging as two vaguely distinct ‘styles’ of work.

nist backwardness. The allegedly ‘abrasive’ approach stands confirmed as the courageous principled, and far-sighted struggle for Leninism.

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