Adam Rose on vanguards

Louis N Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Oct 24 11:50:20 MDT 1995

Louis: The 'broad' party I am for is like Lenin's Bolshevik Party, the
party of Russian socialism. Lenin defined it as being "for Marxism".
Besides the occasional free-spirit like Chris Sciabarra or mean-spirited
bigot like Alex Trotter, most of the people on this list fall into this
category. That is why they subscribed to the list to begin with.

Now I am somewhat out of touch with Trotskyite circles, but I understand
that your organization believes that the former Soviet Union was "state
capitalist" or some-such thing. I must assume that the ISO newspaper
young folks hawking in front of the gates at Columbia must share that view as

The idea of building a group in the United States that defines membership
on the basis of an interpretation of the former USSR is wrong. The
"Russian questions" that people like James P. Cannon, Gerry Healey, etc.
fought so hard to build organizations around is just the wrong set
of questions. They should have focused on the "American" or "English"
questions, just as Lenin focused on the "Russian" questions.

The dividing line between revolutionaries and reformists is real. There
is a place for the DSA just as there is a place for a party to the left
of it. I would expect that under pre-revolutionary conditions, which will
occur most certainly over the next decade or two, that there should be an
alliance between revolutionaries and reformists.

What I don't think there's a need for is "nuclei" of vanguard parties
like the SWP. There is a built-in cult and sect logic to these types of
formations that is irresistible.

On Tue, 24 Oct 1995, Adam Rose wrote:
> How broad ?
> Should it have revolutionaries + reformists in one organisation ?
> Is a condition of membership believing that the working class
> is the key to change ?
> Adam :-)
> ( Incidentally, if there was a real movement towards a mass left
> reformist/centrist party in the UK, the SWP would probably be a
> part of it, either trying to win the whole thing over to
> revolutionary politics or as many of the rank + file as possible.
> We wouldn't stand in its way at all - and I believe the ISO
> would have a similiar attitude re: a Labour Party in the US,
> although I wouldn't want to speak for them ).

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