[Marxism] RE:It's those damn petty-bourgeois at it again!

Einde O'Callaghan einde at gmx.de
Wed Nov 30 18:43:31 MST 2005

dwalters at marxists.org wrote:

> My first two cents on this.
> In the US, my encounter with, membership in, and observation of various
> Trotskyist groups seems to boil down to this: groups with the "worker state"
> position don't care about it's members that have "state cap" positions, for the
> most part. Those that have "state cap" positions elevate this question to a
> level that requires agreement with them before they can even join, at least it
> used to be like this. Not sure what that means, but I always thought that
> interesting.
I don't know about the ISO, David, but certainly my experience of the 
IS/SWP is that adherence to state capitalism certainly isn't a 
pre-condition of membership. It certainly wasn't in my own case. When I 
joined the IS 30 years ago I had a fairly orthodox workers'statist 
position on Russia and Eastern Europe, a hangover from my earliest 
experiences with the Trotskyist movement, Gerry Healy's Socialist Labour 
League - for my sins, I was a founder member of the Irish Healyite 
organisation, called the League for a Workers' Vanguard at that time 
(N.B. this wasn't the same organisation as the League for a Workers' 
Republic, which was headed by Paddy Healy - no relation).

Another member of my first IS branch (who is still a member of the SWP) 
even thought that Mao's China offered a possible model for socialist 
development, particularly in underdeveloped countries. Over a period of 
several years we both came to a more profound theoretical understanding 
and both of us now have what you might call a more or less orthodox 
"Cliffite" analysis - but even today there are several finer points 
where you will find differences between leading theoreticians in the SWP 
(e.g. some are much more "Trotskyist" than others!).

I think that there are certain ramifications for other political 
questions that arise out of adopting a state capitalist position (e.g. 
the centrality of working class SELF-emancipation), but when I talk to 
people about joining Linksruck today I don't discuss Russia - or even 
the GDR, although I live in the former territory of that state. I talk 
about things like self-activity, organisation and responses to current 
political issues, just as I always have since joining the IS 3 decades ago.

Einde O'Callaghan

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