Socialist Labour Party

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at columbia.edu
Mon Nov 20 08:35:04 MST 1995


On Mon, 20 Nov 1995, Steve Wallis wrote:

> I agree with Ryan Daum that Louis' "advice" that Militant Labour
> dissolves itself into the Socialist Labour Party is a recipe for
> disaster.
> 
> However much you may personally abhor factions, you cannot simply wish
> them away.  If the left is not organised, then that is not going to
> stop the right from being organised.  Undoubtedly, reformists of

Louis: I am not at all opposed to factions. I am opposed to *permanent* 
factions, which pretty much defines the identity of Marxist-Leninist, 
Trotskyist, democratic-centralist groups in the larger mass movement. I 
speak from experience on this matter. We used to have "fraction" meetings 
of the SWP before mass antiwar conferences where the line was explained by 
our floor leaders. "Remember, the date is Oct. 21, not Nov. 4 as the CP 
proposes. Also, the line is 'Bring the troops home now', not 'Bring the 
troops home now, and withdraw the National Guard from Watts', as some of 
our opponents propose. If you have questions about which way to vote, 
just look to our floor leader Fred Halstead. (Fred was 6'9" tall and 300 
pounds, so there was no missing him in a crowd.)"

What if an individual member of the SWP was persuaded by the passionate 
antiracist remarks of Scott Marshall and wanted to vote with Scott? Too 
bad, you couldn't break discipline. You had to wait until the next SWP 
convention which might have been 18 months away.

Is this the way the Militant Labor will function in a Socialist Labor 
Party? Will you vote differently from your floor-leader if your heart and 
mind tell you to?

This is not the type of democratic-centralism we need. It is not the kind 
the Bolsheviks practiced. Bolshevik newspapers and politicians were 
arguing *in public* the week before the November 1917 revolution whether 
or not to take power. Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev spoke against and 
Lenin for. Not only did Stalin and the others argue publicly, they 
actually *broke discipline* during the November days. They were not even 
expelled for this indiscipline.

This has nothing to do with the cult-sect understanding of 
democratic-centralism that prevails in the Maoist and Trotskyist 
left. Up with Lenin, down with Marxism-Leninism.


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