Reply to the RCIT – 1
Correcting Errors Trotskyism inherited from the Third International
The following is the first of two replies to comrades from the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, a international grouping of Trotskyists from various traditions, which is a split from the international tendency around the British Workers Power Group, the League for the Fifth International. This tendency has also the adherence of an Israeli grouping, the International Socialist League, whose main leader, Yossi, has a long and complex history of associations, including with the Spartacists, the Grant/Woods tendency, and the US League for the Revolutionary Party.
This first item tries to address, among other things, the flaws in contemporary communism that have led to such a dazzling array of splits, which itself is deeply damaging to the left. The second item takes up some of their positions on Israel and its relationship with US imperialism and its other imperialist allies, and has particular relevance to the views of their Israeli group.
The following statement was issued by Left Unity in support of the candidacy of Rabina Khan for the position of elected mayor of Tower Hamlets in the upcoming mayoral election, which takes place in less-than-democratic conditions in the context of what amounts to a racist coup against the elected Mayor and council of Tower Hamlets, led by the Tory/Zionist minister Eric Pickles.
Some political background on this anti-democratic coup can be found in the recent Communist Explorations leaflet on this, and further useful material is to be found in this article by the Trotskyist group Socialist Fight on the same events.
The current General Election is taking place in conditions where British politics is in a state of more flux and fragmentation than not only in the lifetimes of those generations alive today, but also of previous generations. In some ways it is unprecedented: there are no apposite comparisons in the history of British capitalism. Both major parties, the Conservatives and Labour, are at such historically low levels of popularity that it is hard to imagine that either of them are likely to be able to achieve an overall majority in parliament even though we have an undemocratic first-past-the-post system that is biased to giving the party with a plurality of votes a crushing, undemocratic overall majority in parliament. It could not be absolutely ruled out that either party might just make it as a result of some event stampeding voters in either direction, but it is not something most people would like to take a bet on.
The new phenonemon represented by the SYRIZA/ANEL (Independent Greeks) coalition has not been theorised by the left as yet. The question of the coalition with the Independent Greeks is something of crucial importance, which has to be addressed theoretically and programatically.
My strong suspicion is that even those who are most enthusiastic about the politics of SYRIZA are uneasy about it. Various people have expressed real reservations about it, saying it is a bad sign, that it will not last long, etc, and they may well prove to be right about that. But no one has offered a theorisation of what is going on here.
Lets be very clear. This is a popular front government, and the situation is very dangerous. It could be just as dangerous as the Chilean Popular Unity experience for the working class. Though that is not certain; there are some complexities and differences also.
The following exchange illustrates the pointless and self-defeating effect of political dishonesty in communist politics. In bourgeois, i.e. capitalist politics, the point of political activity is to bolster and defend the position of a small, exploiting minority, the owners of capitalist property, against the great mass of the population who have no such wealth. It is obvious that this kind of politics would necessarily be replete with corruption and mendacity, since the maintenance of injustice and social and economic inequality requires fooling the mass of the population to acquiesce in their own victimisation and exploitation. The only way to do this is by systematic lying, in order to create and promote myths, and also to create and maintain divisions among the working-class majority.
Communist politics, on the other hand, has truth as its only weapon. In order to understand the real situation, the mass of the population need to have a accurate picture of political, social and economic relations, which can only be developed over a long period by a political leadership that uses truth as its main weapon. Such a politics is fundamentally different from bourgeois politics. Whereas bourgeois politics promotes mystification and lies in the interest of a minority, communist politics must ruthlessly tear away mystification and expose all social lies. If a would-be communist organisation begins to engage in lying itself, it digs its own political grave, since the only basis on which it can garner and keep support on a healthy basis is through this process of exposing difficult truths.
Socialists, communists and class conscious working class people should critically support the current election campaign of SYRIZA in Greece. We should, while not taking responsibility for the programme of a SYRIZA government, nevertheless support measures by such a government that are directed against the austerity directed from Brussels, Berlin and Paris, assuming such measures are enacted.
As is well known, a massive economic and political crisis led to two Greek national elections in 2012. The immediate issue was finally settled with an unstable coalition led by the main right-wing capitalist party, New Democracy (ND), supported by the main bourgeois-populist pseudo-socialist party, PASOK, and the right-wing splinter party from SYRIZA (or rather its immediate precursor) known as Democratic Left. That government enforced the Eurozone’s bail-out conditions, involving massive attacks on Greek workers’ wages and salaries, and what remains of welfare and public health provision, to the point that Greek society came close to ripping apart. There was a very dangerous and worrying growth of Golden Dawn, an outright fascist party that openly took its inspiration from Hitler’s National Socialists, together with a torrent of violence and racist terrorism against African and other migrants living in Greece.