Trot Guide 2003: #0.0

Sorry, but I just couldn’t resist…

The International Bolshevik Tendency (IBT) is a tiny splinter from everybody’s favourite Trot group the (not-much bigger) Spartacist League, a/k/a the international Spartacist tendency (iSt), a/k/a the International Communist League (Fourth Internationalist). So what? Well: a) my old mate Bill Logan (Counsellor and Celebrant) established the New Zealand chapter of the IBT — via the Permanent Revolution Group — and; b) back in 2003, it was one of a number of Trotskyist groupuscules duped by a group of Ukrainian scam artists, or as the IBT puts it: ‘Fraud against the workers’ movement: IBT Conned in Kiev’ (August 2003).

The scam artists in question — of which the Communist Party of Great Britain (CPGB) claims there were five (or possibly seven?), variously known as the ‘Young Revolutionary Movement’ / ‘Communist Struggle Group’ / ‘Radical Communists’ / ‘Workers Revolutionary League’ / ‘Ukrainian Trotskyist Opposition’ / ‘Ukrainian Workers Committee’ and more besides — managed to milk a number of competing Western Trot groups simultaneously for cash and other resources through their ability to convince the groups concerned that, with their generous assistance, a Ukrainian Trotskyist movement was a bankable proposition. According to the IBT, and prior to the fraud being discovered, the scammers:

…derived from a circle of Kiev teenagers who, in 1989, obtained a copy of Leon Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed, and discovered that it contained a wealth of political insights profoundly relevant to the events taking place around them, as the forces of capitalist restoration gained momentum in the Soviet degenerated workers’ state. From that original grouping, a broad spectrum of leftist organizations, all critical of Stalinism and, in most cases, identifying themselves as Trotskyist, has reappeared in Ukraine.

1917, No. 24, 2002

Ah yes, drop a copy of Leon Trotsky’s The Revolution Betrayed and voila!, the political consciousness of teenaged workers is magically transformed. Well… maybe not.

For further details on How to Make Ukrainian Alphabet Soup, see Internationalist Group / League for the Fourth International (Est. 1988), ‘A Band of Political Impostors and Swindlers in Ukraine’, The Internationalist, August 2003; Workers’ Liberty (Est. 1993), ‘Scam in the Ukraine’, August 23, 2003.

‘Attack of the clones’ (Weekly Worker, No.493, August 28, 2003) appears to provide the most coherent account of the fraud, which apparently involved both the above groupuscules as well as a number of others: the Committee for a Workers’ International, the Workers Revolutionary Party and its ‘Fourth International’, the (US-based) League for the Revolutionary Party, the Committees of Correspondence (publishers of News and Letters), the Socialist Party of Great Britain and Workers Power, along with its “burlesque” League for the Fifth International.

See also : John Percy, ‘The Ukraine scam, internationals and internationalism’, Links, No.25, January-June 2004 | ‘Ukraine Deception Exposed’, Socialist Labor Party of America Statement, September 2, 2003 | ‘Radical Communists of the Ukraine’, International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party Statement, September 9, 2003.

About @ndy

I live in Melbourne, Australia. I like anarchy. I don't like nazis. I enjoy eating pizza and drinking beer. I barrack for the greatest football team on Earth: Collingwood Magpies. The 2023 premiership's a cakewalk for the good old Collingwood.
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8 Responses to Trot Guide 2003: #0.0

  1. Sophia says:

    Have you ever considered cashing in on the Trot Guide idea? Maybe a boardgame, monopoly style- whoever gets control of the most splinter factions wins! Or even better, a reality TV show- put one from each faction in a house and see what happens? I’m sure it would make for mild entertainment, at least.

  2. ajohnstone says:

    Fortunately for all those groups, the ultra-democratic Socialist Party of Great Britain with its long-held commitment to openness and transparency was one of the main organisations to expose this fraud. Hate to think what would have happened if another group had discovered it and hadn’t possessed the SPGB’s honesty to admit to being duped.

    It was recently revealed that the chief protagonist and mastermind of the fraud, Olga Vernik, is still active with Trotskyists and participating in international conferences. Eternal shame on those organisations and individuals who have not ostracised him completely from the workers movement.

  3. @ndy says:

    I think that may be ‘Oleg’ or ‘Oleh’, not Olga…

    Радикальні Комуністи України (РКУ)
    “Radical Communists of the Ukraine”
    A Statement from the International Bureau for the Revolutionary Party, September 9, 2003

    A list of the groups/parties Vernik & Co. claimed to have founded, and international linkages:


    1) Radical Communists of Ukraine (Radykal’ni Komunisty Ukrainy, RKU) : IBRP

    2) Revolutionary Communist Organisation (Revolutsionnaya Kommunisticheskaya Organisatsiya, RKO) : LFI

    3) Revolutionary Workers Organization (RRO) : COFI

    4) Socialist Labour Party of Ukraine : SLP, USA

    5) Ukrainian Trotskyist Opposition (Ukrains’ka Trotskists’ka Opozytsiya, UTO) : ITO, MRFI

    6) Ukrainian Workers Committee (Ukrains’kiy Komitet Robochykh, UKR) : IWC

    7) Ukraine Workers Group (Ukrains’ka Robitnycha Grupa) : News & Letters, USA

    EIGHT) Ukrainian Workers Tendency : AWL, GB

    9) Workers Power – Young Revolutionary Marxists (Robitnychya Vlad – Molodiye Revolutsioniye Marksisty, RV-MRM) : L5I

    10) Workers Revolutionary League : ICFI2

    11) Young Revolutionary Marxists (Molodiye Revolutsioniye Marksisty, MRM) : IBT


  4. raz says:

    Bill Logan!!! Aaaaaargh!!!!!!

  5. trots should be shot. viva the stalinist league of australia. Ha, why don’t you include the SLA in it

  6. @ndy says:

    When you can answer that question, you’ll no longer have a need for the League.

  7. Because it is stalinist isn’t?

  8. As a militant of the IBRP, I should like to note that we never gave this Ukrainian any money. We did offer material assistance, which they refused. They weren’t interested in groups that were poor or didn’t have anything in the way of resources to rip off. Not all “revolutionaries” are the same. Some of us actually are working class.

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