Marxist Bulletin No. 4
Expulsion from the Socialist Workers Party
Statement on Suspension of Robertson-Tendency Members
Clara Kaye; Dick [Fraser] supports this statement
November 15, 1963
1. The Seattle Branch representative to the Nominating Commission
at the July Convention questioned the procedure of the Commission on 2 counts:
penalizing two Wohlforth tendency National Committee members by throwing them
off the Committee in response to charges made against them in the Convention
and refusing to place Robertson on the Committee for similar reasons. The
Nominating Commission thus transformed itself into a virtual Control Commission
and exacted punishment -- without any hearing or trial on the charges. This
procedure was unprecedented. The Convention was presented with a fait
accompli -- an execution before a trial.
2. The current suspension, accordingly, was well prepared
psychologically. But that does not make it politically or legally supportable
in terms of democratic centralism and the SWP Constitution. The latter nowhere
enjoins comrades of any tendency from engaging in private, personal and normal
debate over disputed questions or any other questions; to cite the Constitution
as evidence against the suspended members is meaningless.
3. The Control Commission was represented by only one regular
member. In a case of this seriousness, surely the entire Commission should have
4. The Control Commission evidently never held a hearing nor
solicited the reactions of the minority to the charges. The party has not heard
the other side; the minority had no chance whatsoever for self-defense. The
Control Commission therefore acted not as an impartial body serving the party
as a whole, but exclusively as an agent of the Political Committee, which is
not its proper role.
5. Not actions or official group policy are being punished here,
but the ideas of two individual minority members. And 5 people are suspended.
Both possible intent and guilt by association with individual ideas are the
crime here. Yet it would appear that the charge is more dangerous than the
6. How did personal minority documents come to be in the hands of
the Control Commission? Have minorities no longer the right to internal private
discussion amongst themselves?
7. The double recruitment charge is puzzling. A
minority often recruits a person to the party and not to itself at the same
time. This may or may not materialize later. But a minority may recruit a
person to both, simultaneously, or almost so. The charge of disloyalty would
only make sense if someone were recruited only to the faction and not to the
party, or out of the party and into the faction. This is exactly what the
Goldman-Morrow faction did, as well as some other factions in the past. But
this is not the charge in this case.
8. The one Robertson tendency member in Seattle (recruited in New
York) is an active and reliable branch member and youth organizer. His behavior
would belie the almost wholesale charge of Robertson-tendency disloyalty. Is
there concrete evidence in other branches of disloyal behavior, selective
activity, contempt for the party, etc.? In lieu of this type of real evidence,
the Control Commission has given us only an indignant expose of two unutterably
ignorant and pretentious documents by two minority members; but since when has
individual stupidity, privately or publicly expressed, been grounds for
suspension? This is, indeed, an impossible precedent.
9. Such primitive fervor against a generally young and sincerely
revolutionary tendency, their own factionalism notwithstanding, is unnecessary
and ultimately degrading. The present explanation of the suspension is entirely