hate trotskyism, hate the spartacist league hate trotskyism, hate the spartacist league -a bulletin
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Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spartacist League
-a bulletin series of opponent material
NUMBER 12 English-language translation of "Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spartacists" Bulletin No.1, published by the Spartacist Group of Poland (SGP), section of the International Communist League (Fourth-Internationalist)
leL Trotskyism vs. Mandelite "Left" Polish Nationalism
On the Spartacist Renegades Reprint of a polemic by a supporter of the NLR [Revolutionary Left Current], undated, distributed in December 1998
For New October Revolutions! lel Trotskyism vs. Mandelite "left" Polish Nationalism
Reply of the Spartacist Group of Poland, 14 March 1999
Spartacist Publishing Company Box 1377 GPO New York, New York 10116 USA
December 1999 whole no.12
US$1.50 Cdn$2 Mex$5 FF8 DM2.50 £1 L.2.300 zl2
Reais.75 Rand 4.50 ¥150 A$2
Introduction The content of this bulletin is an English-language
translation of "Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spanacists" Bulletin No.1, published in March 1999 by the Spar- tacist Group of Poland (SGP), section of the Interna- tional Communist League (Fourth-Internationalist).
This bulletin, contains an exchange of documents with a member of Nurt Lewicy Rewolucyjnej (NLR, Current of Revolutionary Left)IDalej!, which is affili- ated to the late Ernest Mandel's United Secretariat of the Fourth International (USec). The first two items in this bulletin are "On the Spartacist Renegades, Part I and 2," both undated, but circulated in late December 1998/early January 1999. Our reproductions of this material are taken straight from the originals; respon- sibility for all typographical, spelling and punctuation errors lies with the author. The SGP's response, dated 14 March 1999, makes up the last item in this bulletin.
This is the first "Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Sparta- cists" bulletin published in the Polish language. It con- tinues the traditions of our comrades of the Spartacist League/U.S. of producing material hostile to our ten- dency written by ostensibly Marxist opponent organi- zations. This series has allowed us to make available to our members and others interested in our organization, representative arguments against our politics, particu- larly by left-sounding centrists and critics.
The first number in this series of the SLIV.S., dated March 1975, reprinted a document entitled "Spartacist League: Anatomy of a Sect," which was published by the more left-wing adherents of the USec in North America. In those days, when the Mandelites were en- thusing over the Vietnamese National Liberation Front and posturing as armchair guerrillaists, we were reviled for not embracing Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro as modern-day equivalents of the Bolsheviks Lenin and Trotsky. At that time the USec claimed the Spartacists were "Stalinophobes," charging that we deemed the degenerated and deformed workers states "unworthy of unconditional defense against imperialism (third campism)." One selection from this document reads as follows:
"The Spartacists' conception of deformed workers states as being only slightly 'superior' to capitalism. and qual- itatively inferior to healthy workers' states, leads to the same kind of sectarian third campism in practice. It leads to underestimating the gains for the masses which a
workers state of any kind represents: protection against the armies of imperialism and native capitalism, the tre- mendous development of productive forces, witnessed in Eastern Europe and China, for example."
The reader of course will observe that the NLR polemicist's main attack against us today comes from a diametrically opposite viewpoint: he accuses us of being apologists for the Stalinist bureaucracy. But it is not our politics that have changed. The ICL (formerly the inter- national Spartacist tendency) has remained consistent in its adherence to Trotskyism. The USec, however, has tailed whatever political movement is trendy at a given moment in petty-bourgeois radical circles. In the 1950s they broke from Trotskyism, preaching that the Stalin- ist leaderships would be forced by objective pressures to playa revolutionary role. In the 1960s and 1970s, they hailed "new mass vanguards" such as bourgeois feminism and student power. In the late 1970s and 1980s, they became the biggest cheerleaders for coun- terrevolutionary forces that sought the destruction of the Soviet Union, from Khomeini's Islamic guards in Iran to Solidarnosc in Poland. They rejoiced at Boris Yeltsin's victory in the USSR which ushered in the destruction of the Soviet workers state. In order to avoid responsibility for this betrayal of the interests of the working class, the USec now denies that the counter- revolution has actually taken place, while giving polit- ical support to the pro-capitalist social democrats.
We believe the counterposition of the ICL's Trot- skyist program to the "left" Polish nationalism espoused by the USec in Poland will be a useful guide to all those seeking the road to authentic communism in Poland and internationally today.
As supplementary reading to this bulletin, we refer our readers to our earlier polemic against the USec enti- tled "USec's Nationalization Fetishism," published in Platforma Spanakusowcow No.4, Summer-Fall 1993, which takes up the USec's line that the former Soviet Union is still a workers state. English-speaking readers are also referred to Spanacist No. 52 (Autumn 1995), which contains a political obituary of Mandel, as well as the presentations, summaries and some excerpts from the discussion at a debate between Mandel and Joseph Seymour of the ICL in New York City on 11 November 1994.
-16 March 1999
[Translation, document undated/received 16 December 1998]
On the Spartacist Renegades Part One
To introduce the topic I'll point out at once that the sense of this polemic may seem doubtful in view of the fact that its subject, i.e., the Spartacists, are outside the workers movement. Lenin polemicized with the ultra- leftoids, the economists, the Kautskyists, etc. only because these currents represented a real part of the workers movement, thus their ideological effect on the working class could have catastrophic results from the viewpoint of the interests of world revolution. I decided to take up a polemic against the Spartacists not because they have a negative influence on the working class (as fortunately they have no influence at all on the latter) but because they could have a negative influence on a few people who declare their openness to revolutionary Marxism, take part in the informal debate going on between the SGP, Solidarnosc Socjalistyczna (now Employee Democracy) and NLR (Mandelites). In this informal debate, both the SGP and SS use punches against the NLR that are below the belt, using lies, mis- representations, etc. They even resort (especially the SGP) to censoring Trotsky's writings, despite the hag- iographic interludes regarding him in their papers. The Spartacists also sow a great deal of ideological muddle, create lots of confusion around their own sect, disorient external observers and compromise the revolutionary left in the eyes of its potential participants. The theoret- ical mess served up by Platforma Spartakusowcow stands in blatant opposition to the elementary principles of Trotskyism and Marxism as a whole.
The theoretical errors of the Spartacists derive in a considerable degree from a failure to understand the nature of the degenerated/deformed workers states, the nature of the bureaucracies of the workers countries, the relation of the bureaucracy to the class foundations of the workers state, the dual nature of the bureaucracy, etc. In order to demonstrate the error of the theories publicized by the SGP, the focus must be placed on these vitally important questions.
In politically expropriating the Soviet proletariat the Soviet Stalinist bureaucracy did not carry out a counter- revolution, in that it did not replace the mode of pro- duction (and the type of social relations which go with it) proper to the dictatorship of the proletariat by a new mode of production and a new type of social rela- tions proper to the rule of some new social class. The bureaucracy was thus not rooted in a mode of produc- tion different from that of the proletariat. We thus were dealing with a political counterrevolution, a Thermido- rian overthrow, rather than a social counterrevolution. The degenerated Soviet workers state remained a work- ers state to the degree that its class basis and the social gains connected with this, which resulted from the October Revolution, were not overthrown by the bureaucracy and replaced by different ones. Conclu-
sion: the USSR and other states in which capitalism was overthrown, introducing into them the same kind of economic-social relations, were workers states to the degree that as states they remained on the basis of, and sometimes even defended, the class foundations whose genesis traces back to the October Revolution, i.e., to the degree that they remained based on the anti-capitalist planned economy (the social gains in the workers states were inseparably linked with the planned, non-capitalist character of the economies of these states). By way of analogy, as Trotsky wrote, we are dealing with the true dictatorship of the proletariat in Russia not from the moment at which the Soviets seized power, but from the moment at which the bour- geoisie was expropriated, the economy was nationalized and capitalism was replaced by a planned economy, i.e., since 1918.