[Marxism] My appreciation of Nat Weinstein!

Anthony Brain brainanthony816 at yahoo.com
Sat May 10 11:02:26 MDT 2014

 I been a Trotskyist since the age of 10. I started to read American SWP Pre-1981 Barnes Education for Socialists at age 11. I supported the Fourth Internationalist Tendency and used to read their monthly publication the Bulletin In Defence of Marxism.

 On Nicaragua I agreed with the FIT line that a workers' state had been established by 1983. The Nicaraguan workers' state had its own peculiarities such as not having full nationalization of every industry. Initially from July 1979 to the early 1980s the Sandinistas ruled with Liberal Bourgeois elements so it was not even a workers and farmers government. When the Sandinistas started moving on the ruling class the Liberal Bourgeoisie left the government so becoming a workers and farmers government. By 1983 the Sandinistas had started expropriating the Bourgeoisie in several industries/sectors of the economy. In my opinion it was a workers' state because they were defending the new property relations which the Contras were trying to stop by fighting a civil war. Even in 1996 after the Capitalists re-took the government in 1990 there was an article in the American Militant documenting which contradicted their line that Nicaragua was always Capitalist
 that in those sectors which were nationalized had better eye and teeth health services. The land reform of the Sandinistas had not been overturned fully in 1996 by the pro-Capitalist government, by 1996. Despite the pro-Capitalist government even by 1996 they had not fully overturned the workers' state Since then I have not done sufficient research to know if Capitalism was restored after1996 in Nicaragua. 

I broke with the FIT majority when they went into a unprincipled fusion with Solidarity. Until 1999 I had too many differnces with Nat Weinstein to work with him.. By 2002 I worked with him until his illness in 2007. I started to work with him because of our common analysis of the ISG and FI's degeneration. In 1999 I had the same line on Kosovo.as him that once NATO bombing Serbia that the battle against Stalinist national oppressions in Kosovo had to be subordinated with defence of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a workers' state. This line was the majority view of American Socialist Action until he became a minority at the 2000 SA conference. Shannon Shepherd when she run the Holt Labour Library photocopied some documents where there was an extensive documented debate on the differinces between Nat and Gerry Foley and Jeff Mackler. On moist questions I documented my differinces with the ISG majority but I regret I did not challenge in documents
 the ISG's majority Stalinphobic line on Kosovo. Nat in the tradition of American Trotskyism left a good documentary record in his battle with Foley and Mackler. 

When Socialist Viewpoint was launched in April 2001 after Nat's split with SA me and my Father had good prospects for it to be a cadre magazine. Pat had left the ISG due to ill health a month before Nat left SA. I could not work with Nat due to him splitting SA he left the FI. If Nat had been expelled I could have worked with him if he went as a expelled public faction seeking to be readdmited in SA. When the LCR majority supported Chirac; during April 2002; the ISG majority dumped the workers' states in Eastern Europe; Russia; and China under pressures for an unprincipled fusion with the British SWP; and I could not intervene at the FI's 15th World Congress during November 2002 due to insufficient time to polemicize with the FI Majority's documents I left the ISG and FI. 

The next day I left the ISG and phoned Nat up. Somebody in the Socialist Viewpoint office gave me his home phone number. For 2 to 3 years I used to have long conversations on the phone for 20 minutes on different aspects of Trotskyist theory. In 2004/05 when I opposed John Rees's opportunist Respect turn and I mentioned to him that Tom Kerry opposed the Peace and Freedom Party in 1968. Nat told me that Kerry had to defeat Barnes in the SWP NC who wanted to support the Peace and Freedom Party. This Nat thought was the firsts signs that Barnes started to adapt to anti-Trotskyist forces. I only spoke to Mackller in August 1999 to find out whether the Polish section of the FI had a 3rd camp line on Poland because Stuart Richardson was organizing a public meeting with Dave Pardo In Birmingham who had the same line on Poland as the Polish section. This was against the ISG's majority line who still defined Poland as a workers' state. I found out what I needed
 to find out from Mackler but he would not discuss with me how to theorectically to take them on. 

Nat being closer to Trotskyism would discuss theory and practical steps to reconstruct the Trotskyist movement. His articles in Socialist Viewpoint from the early to mid-2000s defending the workers' states analysis in Russia; China; and Eastern Europe were some of his best articles in analysing the different stages these transitional societies were at. In 2005/06 Nat wrote, what me and Pat thought was a brilliant article on how the economic successes of the Chinese Workers' sate helped those Bureaucrats in Russia to weaken the Capitalist restorationists; and defined Putin correctly as a Stalinist with a dual character. From 2005 I used to e-mail him extensively. In 2010 he e-mailed me as one of his closest supporters. I lost touch after his heart operation in 2007. 

It is a shame Nat has died when Trotskyists can begin serious discussions on the principled and programmatic basis for Trotskyist regroupment which will analyse why the ex-Trotskyists have degenerated and most of them are right Centrists rapidly moving to the right. The Lambertists have made a left turn on China being a workers' state and calling for Political Revolution. Reading between the lines there is a workers' statist tendency in the Lamberists on Russia. The Trotskyists in Argentina are doing serious work and the majority are correct to critically support Russia in the Ukraine crisis despite them not theorectcially recognising the Russian workers' state. As they have a mass base there might be tendencies among them closer to Trotskyism on the workers' states. 

I really miss Nat because outside of my own father one of the last cadres trained in the heyday of American Trotskyism has died. Due to the decay of world Capitalism which is destabalzing the Bureaucratic castes within the workers' states could produce the best Trotskyist cadres ever. When Socialism is established Trotskyists like Nat; my Father; and me will be remembered in keeping Trotskyism going in the worse years when 90% of the ex-Trotskyists degenerated!

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