By Yossi Schwartz of the Internationalist Socialist League (ISL)
The latest issue of Workers’ Vanguard, the organ of the American Spartacist League, carries a report on the joint forum the ISL and US League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP) recently held in New York City. The report is titled “LRP State Department Socialists Embrace New Bedfellow”, loyal to the Spartacist tradition of slander and dishonest debate.
The writer of this sham report claims that SL members were at the forum to defend genuine Trotskyism from us “State Department Socialists.” But this claim does not seem very credible when among the people who were very much impressed by it are reformists like Uri Weltmann, a member of the Israeli Communist Party, which supports the Israeli imperialist state and the so called “two state solution”, i.e a Bantustan Palestinian “state” alongside Israel, as well as other sterile blabbermouths and gossipers on the Leftist Trainspotters website. This comes as no surprise to us; we are used to counter-revolutionaries of all colors uniting in their struggle against us. They are happy to deal with the fact that Yossi Schwartz was a member of a few organizations in his 45 years of political activities, without dealing with the political issues raised in the forum. How could it be any different? In this reply I will deal with the poor arguments and falsifications in the Spartacist article.
The article begins, unsurprisingly, with slander:
“The vicarious Third World nationalists in the League for the Revolutionary Party (LRP) sponsored a forum by a former member of our organization, Israeli pseudo-Marxist YossiSchwartz.”
Serious people, unlike gossipers, try to prove their points by quoting statements made by their opponents. The ICL does not feel the need to do so. There is a very good reason for this. The ICL has a long documented history of support not only for Soviet imperialism, but for Western imperialism, and we shall cite some of it in this article. Little surprise, that those who support imperialism and revise Marxism to fit the needs of the imperialists call revolutionaries “third world nationalists” and “pseudo-Marxists.”
During the conflict between Russian and American imperialism in Afghanistan, the Spartacists’ main line was “Hail to the Red Army”. They readily admit this:
“Yes, we said ‘Hail the Red Army in Afghanistan!’ We proudly stand on that tradition. That was the only force that was bringing social progress to the Afghan peoples.”
While for Trotsky, even in the 1930s, when the Soviet Union was still a deformed workers state, the Stalinists were counter-revolutionaries, unable to create workers’ states, and for this reason a new International was needed, for the Spartacists, in the best tradition of the Pabloites, the Stalinists became a revolutionary agency capable of replacing the working class and its revolutionary leadership in creating workers’ states, deformed or not – states that in reality exploit and oppress the working class. To them Capitalist China, even today, is still a deformed workers’ state. The call “Hail to the Red Army” is a full political endorsement of Stalinism. No wonder the Stalinists in the Israeli Communist party, that had the same position in the war in Afghanistan, are happy to hail the Sparacists!
The other side of the same politics is the Sparacist position during the Malvinas war between British imperialism and Argentina, a non-imperialist country. Unlike Lenin and Trotsky, who wrote countless articles about the need to stand with the non-imperialist side in a war without giving its bourgeois leadership any political support, the Spartacists took a neutral position. In both cases the SL stood with the imperialists.
The Spartacists have a long history of supporting Zionism. Before they met Yossi Schwartz, they had the position of support for Israel in the war of 1948 – a war in which the Stalinists provided weapons to the Zionist gangs that in turn used it to expel the Palestinians. In the 1967 war they took a neutral position.
15 years ago, when I left the ICL, I refused to call the Communist party a fascist party because of its alliance with the Browns. I explained that calling the CP fascist is the same method the Stalinists used in Germany in the early 1930s when they called the reformist Social Democrats, who helped the far right murder Rosa Luxemburg, fascists. In the 1960s the CP held a common demonstration with Herut, Begin’s Party, at that time clearly a fascist organization, against Adenauer’s visit. This did not turn the CP into a fascist party.
Ironically, Stalin signed a well known treaty with Hitler – the Ribbentrop -Molotov treaty, in which, among other things, the two monsters agreed to divide Poland amongst themselves. This treaty was a reflection of the social counter revolution that was taking place in the USSR. According to the logic of the Sparacists, the treaty should have turned the Stalinists into fascists. It is very strange to hear that the Spartacists hailed an army turned fascist decades earlier!
But obviously, the ICL does not need logic and one must wonder if anything resembling it still exists in their minds.
There is another good reason for Uri Weltman to be happy with the Sparticist argument. The CP gives political support to the PLO misleadership of the PA. During the civil war in Gaza the PA, backed by Israel and other imperialists, attacked the elected government of Hamas. The CP refused to defend the will of the Palestinian people. The Sparacists have exactly the same position. This mutual defense of Zionism and hostility to Palestinian self-determination in a state from the river to the sea creates a very special bond between these two counter-revolutionary tendencies. Yes, Uri Weltmann is very happy with the Spartacists. This is just one more proof of the reformist political nature of the Spartacist League.
Finally, the irony of history is that the sectarian ICL and the opportunist IMT have the same politics on this issue as well as many others: both refused to defend Argentina against Britain in the Malvinas War; both claimed that the Russian Stalinist army in Afghanistan was the army of a workers state; both support the Zionist right to self determination and both refused to defend the will of the Palestinians and stand against the attack of Abu Mazen on the Hamas government, the former being backed by the Zionist state.
It took me many years of struggle in different organizations claiming to be revolutionary to discover their common reformist nature, and for this reason, instead of dealing with their real rotten politics when they argue against me, they prefer to point out to the fact that I was a member of different organizations. However, if any one of these fake middle-class reformist groups was a revolutionary organization I would be still a member of it.