Polemics with the ICL:
Kurdistan & the Struggle for National Liberation
Bill Logan: One Sick Puppy
BT: A Walking Provocation
Reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 808, 29 August 2003.
In “BT: Renegades for Hire” ( WV No. 807, 1 August), we documented the Bolshevik Tendency’s role as a walking provocation against the Spartacist League and exposed the manipulative sociopath it embraces as its leader, Bill Logan. Defending its “chauvinism” slanders against our party, the BT replied with a letter posted on the Internet titled “The Truth Hurts” (8 August). It sure hurts them. Despite being at the center of the events they distorted to spin their lies, Logan, the líder maximo of the BT since 1990, still remains the black hole in their latest “reply.”
As detailed in our last article, in a “postscript” to its 12 June letter nominally on the Kurdish question, the BT presented a short quote dragged out of context from a presentation the SL’s national chairman, Jim Robertson, made 25 years ago to our New York local. Reporting on the party’s fight to remove the brutal and nasty regime Logan had been running as leader of our British section and the manifold ways in which Logan manipulated the internalized oppression of particularly young women and minority comrades, Robertson raised a criticism of a leading comrade, Reuben Samuels, for absenting himself from this fight:
As we wrote in our last article, “Only in the minds of those genuinely inspired by chauvinism could ‘turds’ be seen as referring to Kurds!” For all its oh-so indignant and consummately disingenuous charges of “vulgar chauvinism,” the BT introduces this quote by saying, “Robertson teased Samuels for having been left out of the loop and missing the excitement.” Far from teasing, this was a serious indictment of a senior leader of our international for having his head in the toilet when what was posed was a fight to save our British section from Logan. Now the BT opines that the proof that we are covering for “vulgar chauvinism” is demonstrated by the fact that our last article didn’t mention that Samuels “had been flown in from Toronto specifically to give his talk on the Kurds.” The latter is absolutely correct. Robertson and the rest of the international leadership saw to it that our best-informed comrade on the question, Samuels, flew to London, not once but twice, in order to give a “good educational” on the struggle against Kurdish oppression—a need particularly posed by the recent recruitment of Turkish comrades to our British section. And that’s what the BT calls “chauvinism.”
More than a hundred opinionated, argumentative young communists of many different ethnic backgrounds heard Robertson’s presentation. They understood it for what it was: a powerful indictment of the all-sided oppression of capitalist class society, and a record of the struggle against a sick character who tried to destroy comrades. Those who were in the room recall being elated at the end of the report, because we had won a fight to save our British section and prevented a serious setback in our struggle to build an international. To assert that a hundred communists would not have reacted with hostility and indignation to a chauvinist slur is a slander of all of our comrades. To believe the BT, the members of the International Communist League to whom it makes its unctuous appeals to break with the ICL are worthless as any kind of communists but are rather merely obedient tools, fools and perhaps racists themselves. But then what does that make the BT’s own “founder-leaders,” who were around at the time of Robertson’s New York presentation and said not a peep? They indict themselves on the charges they falsely fling at us.
For the 20 years of its existence, the BT has specialized in lying diatribes against our organization. The bulletin containing Robertson’s presentation was made publicly available by us over two decades ago. Yet only now has the BT surfaced its “recovered memory” that the fight against Logan was really a cover for anti-Kurdish chauvinism.
In our article last issue, we noted that the BT had omitted any mention of Logan either in its “P.S.” or in a 4 July leaflet titled “Robertson’s Vulgar Chauvinism” distributed for the benefit of Stalinophobic thugs and Spartacist-haters at the British Socialist Workers Party’s “Marxism” event in London. The BT couldn’t even manage to give the main title of the International Discussion Bulletin it quoted from, “On the Logan Regime Part I.” “Why has Logan become the equivalent of that empty space on retouched photos?” we asked. “What is the BT hiding?”
The BT’s latest letter mentions Logan’s name a few times in passing, including the enigmatic statement that Robertson “had decided to topple the Logan regime.” Why was Logan “toppled”? Not a word. The BT is also silent on the monstrous crimes that were reported by comrades in our Australian section, where Logan had previously been national chairman, once the lid had been pried open by the fight in Britain. Logan willfully broke up couples and pressured comrades into sexual relationships. He pressured a young comrade to have an abortion, and when she refused, he made her put the child in a foster home, ultimately driving her to an attempted suicide. We convoked a trial body at our first international conference in the summer of 1979. Logan was expelled by a unanimous vote of the membership (including, again, those who would later form the BT). We made our bulletins on the Logan regime public in order to warn the rest of the workers movement about this sociopath.
The BT did not respond to our exposure of Logan’s current vocation as a New Age snake oil salesman who peddles his grotesque services-as a “celebrant” and “counsellor” for baby funerals and “partnership break-up” among other things-on his Web site (bl.co.nz), which also features a link to a “Folksong Index” where you can listen to such “folk” classics as “Deutschland Über Alles,” “The Swastika Song” and “Come All Ye that Hold True Communion with Southern Confederates Bold”! Here is a leader of a putative “Bolshevik” organization whose Web site speaks not of the influences of Marx, Lenin or Trotsky but of the “Anglican and Presbyterian influences of my childhood.”
Now, as part of its escalating provocations, the BT claims that our last polemic “recalls the 1973 pronouncements of Lyndon LaRouche (then known as Lynn Marcus) when he was winding up his devotees for their ‘Operation Mop Up’ vendetta against the Communist Party.” “Operation Mop-Up” was a campaign of murderous violence against Communist Party supporters by the LaRouchites as the latter exited the workers movement on their way to the fascistic right and links with various state agencies. So the BT is insinuating that we’re crazed thugs and on our way out of the workers movement altogether.
We wrote in the 1987 SL/U.S. national conference document:
In the Editorial Statement we published last issue, we acknowledged our mistake in excising the BT’s “P.S.” rather than exposing it for the contemptible lie it is when we published the exchange “BT Doth Whine Too Much” ( WV No. 806, 4 July). In this statement, the BT can see only a “mea culpa” and a “public slapdown of the editorial board.” The idea of basic communist honesty and integrity, the fundamental concept of speaking the truth and openly admitting a mistake to the working-class public, is something wholly alien to the BT charlatans. For them, it is simply evidence of “Obedience Training in the SL,” as they called it in their luridly anti-communist 1985 account of the supposed Spartacist gulag, “The Road to Jimstown,” a reference to Jonestown, Guyana, where a religious cult under Reverend Jim Jones carried out a mass suicide in 1978. In their latest letter, they write that the SL is a cult whose “central organizing principle is that founder/leader Robertson can never be wrong (unless he says so).” This is beyond stupid-since when do cult leaders admit to being wrong?
The BT acknowledges that the ICL preserved “the thread of revolutionary continuity after the degeneration of Cannon’s party,” i.e., the U.S. Socialist Workers Party, but claims that we in turn have degenerated. Well, we wrote in “From Cream Puffs to Food Poisoning” ( WV No. 349, 2 March 1984): “Yes, comrades of the ET, sooner or later and if we do not take state power first, a revolutionary Marxist organization outlives the effective political lifetime of its founding cadre; the defense of the party’s original purpose and intent characteristically involves organizational discontinuity (i.e., split on behalf of the new revolutionary generation). But not yet for us, ETs, and in any case you stand in no relationship to that process.” That was in 1984; today you stand among the enemies of revolutionary Marxism and of working-class victory.