Conference on Trotskyism

Philip Ferguson plf13 at
Sun Oct 1 15:48:10 MDT 2000

>I'll have a much more detailed report on the American Trotskyism conference
>taking place this weekend.

I'm looking forward to this very much, as I'm sure many are.  Are there
plans to publish the papers from the conference?

>(Today I present my defense of the
>Cochran-Braverman group, which will be like eating a porkchop sandwich in a

That may be the case among the sect/cults, but I think there are actually a
lot of people around these days who are much more open-minded on the

>I had dinner last night with Richard Fidler, down from Canada
>with Ernie Tate and another Canadian veteran. Tate is an interesting
>character, recruited Tariq Ali to the IMG--he was also beaten up by Healy's
>goons in the 1960s, which prompted a significant defense effort.

I heard the Ernie Tate story a few times.  Although I have no desire to
defend the Healyites, who certainly became hoods, what I recall is *not*
that Ernie Tate was 'beaten up'.  He was pushed, while selling papers or
giving out leaflets outside a Healyite meeting in England.  The story got
exaggerated with repeated tellings and the passing of years.

>But I have to share with you Kim Moody's observation made yesterday during
>the best-received talk of the conference, which mostly consisted of a
>report on Sol Dollinger's "Not Automatic". He mentioned that Trotskyists
>are preoccupied with the question of party-building. As Trotsky said, the
>crisis of humanity can be reduced to the need for proletarian revolutionary
>parties or some such thing. And when you get right down to it, the
>Trotskyists *have* been eminently successful at party-building. No other
>tendency on the left has built more parties. What they can't seem to get
>right is size.

That reminds me of that flamboyant guy who used to be lead singer in Van
Halen and then had a big solo career for a while.  He was attacked by the
Christian fundamentalists for being 'anti-family'.  His response was that,
far from being anti-family, he had started up families all over the USA.

Still, for a while the Maoists gave the Trotskyists a run for their money
on building the most parties.


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