On Saturday 1 July 33 members of the LFI in Britain, Australia , Ireland and Sweden (30% of the LFI membership) were expelled by the International Secretariat (IS) of the League. They were all members of an International Faction (IF) that had been formed in the run up to the League’s 7th Congress in July.
The formation of the IF was a culmination of a two year long struggle beginning in Workers Power Britain (WPB) and extending into the League. That struggle was around perspectives and tactics. The majority perspectives adopted at the 2003 congress, and many of the tactics deployed by the organisation on the basis of these perspectives, were wrong, especially around the use of the slogan of a Fifth International within the anti-capitalist movement.
According to another Trotskyite sect, the Alliance for Workers’ Liberty, these 33 members do indeed constitute around 1/3 of the total membership of the ‘2/3 League for a Fifth International’. Given that 5 of the expelled members were from Australia, I think Revo Australia* / Workers Power may have to be added to the endangered species list.
(*Ugh. That name.)
Choice quote from the ones left holding the bag:
…some of our ex-member[s] are now arguing that individuals and minorities should have the right to argue different lines from that of the majority – even to recruit people to minority positions. This centrist position, condemned by Leon Trotsky, betrays their individualistic outlook. A communist, speaking in public on political questions, is not exercising her or his “free spirit”. We leave that to anarchists and liberals…
The 66 or so left behind by the 33 remain defiant, “[i]n spite of the splitters and deserters”.
That’s the spirit!
The Weakly Worker comments:
When we have felt it worthwhile, we have featured some journalistic commentary on this. We have pointed to the group’s pandering to anarchistic sentiment in the so-called anti-capitalist movement; its overblown perspectives concerning the political character of the period; its mildly embarrassing bout of youth vanguardism; and its laughably pompous and profoundly misplaced belief in its own destiny as the anointed leader of the world’s proletariat, often expressed in the form of a lofty disdain for the rest of the revolutionary left.
Pandering to anarchistic sentiment is barking up the wrong tree; overblown perspectives are to be expected; vanguardism of any sort is laughable; so too, any and all claims to proletarian dictatorship.
(Anyway, what have the Romans ever done for us?)
Back to the 2/3:
The only problem for the minority faction was that outside the British Section and the four members of the Australian section their support was negligible…
It is clear from the emails that, in an online ‘referendum’, a clear majority favoured an early split before the congress, because they feared their own demoralisation as a result of having to argue with the majority at the congress. They feared that they would either “get trapped “ by having no excusable pretext for leaving or would have to walk out after a heavy defeat. Instead they have decided to hold a founding conference in London with the British minority and the two Australian delegates. The latter were brazenly encouraged to get the money for their fares paid from the League for attending its congress and then attend the split meeting instead…
In addition Workers Power (Australia) voted unanimously at its aggregate to support one of its members “ignoring Majority faction dictates at the Revo Conference 2006”: that is, to break from the League policy of continuing the work of strengthening international democratic centralism within REVOLUTION [“REVO“] and instead fight for it to completely break its links with the League. (Lisa F, ‘WPA Aggregate/Faction meeting’).
The Faction planned to cease paying League subs from July and began transferring money to a new bank account, having discussed a subscription scale for their new organisation. Some of them it seems have already cancelled their subscriptions.
The Faction has entered into communications with organisations and individuals hostile to the League in Austria and has a project of “regroupment discussion” listing an assortment of centrist and sectarian organisations, including some who split from the League over issues on which the then faction leaders totally supported the majority…
In accordance with its inner logic this process has now culminated in a classic petit-bourgeois rebellion against democratic centralism – the highest form of proletarian organisation.
(Take that, Spartacist League!)
The petit-bourgeois diletanttes at libcom.org express typically anarchistic sentiments with regards this, the ‘tragic necessity’ for a split in the League. And their mocking the importance of the correct slogan (“especially around the use of the slogan of a Fifth International within the anti-capitalist movement”) — betrays their, um, “individualistic outlook”. A result of too much over-exercising of her or his “free spirit”, I expect; and the paying of too little attention to the views of (the majority of the) 66 members of the 2/3 of 1/5 International.
See also : ‘Workers’ Power: a tale of kitsch Trotskyism’ (AWL, 1993). One Trotskyite sect having a crack at a (former?) competitor.
We Are… The League! The only League worth listening to.