Marxist Bulletin No. 4
Expulsion from the Socialist Workers Party
Letter to the National Committee
By D.G and R.S.
December 17, 1963
December 1963 Plenum
We came into the party during the McCarthy witch-hunt period. Our
struggles in our trade unions and in civil liberties organizations against the
injustices of those days contributed to the social consciousness that led us to
the SWP and into the general revolutionary struggle. Some eight years later we
find ourselves struggling in the party against the same kind of practices that
helped to propel us into the party in the first place.
We carry no brief for the Robertson-Mage-White tendency.
Politically we characterize them as petty-bourgeois. We regard them as
fundamentally incorrect on the questions of China, Cuba and the Negro struggle.
We have opposed them polemically many times in both floor and literary debates.
And we do not condone the opinions expressed in the Robertson-Ireland document
of September 6, 1962. (It is the thoughts and opinions in this
document that constitute the main basis for the so-called disloyalty charges
against the tendency.) It would be very easy, therefore, to find excuses and
justifications for removing them from the party. But our concern for the
principles of socialist democracy and for the future viability of our party
will not allow us such opportunistic indulgence.
The Swabeck tendency has been called Stalinist by
leaders of the party and leaders of the youth. Yet here are we alleged
Stalinists struggling against the same techniques used by Stalin
against Trotsky and the Left Opposition. Only now they are being used in the
name of Trotskyism against political opponents in the Trotskyist movement.
The leadership of our party accuses a minority tendency of a
hostile attitude, a split perspective, and double recruiting. All
three really fall under the category of perspectives and attitudes, for the
charge of double recruiting was not substantiated by actual evidence either in
the PC charges or in Comrade Dobbs presentation to the New York branch.
They are suspended as disloyal not for any specific acts but for
attitude and perspective--that is, for thoughts and
ideas. This is the technique of thought control.
Thought control techniques and concepts have been used throughout
history as one of the main weapons against the revolutionary progression of
society. To the extent that the SWP leadership uses the counter-revolutionary
weapon of thought control against its political opponents, to that extent it
will cease being revolutionary. Before their conviction and jailing under the
Smith Act, suppose Comrade Dobbs and Comrade Cannon had used within the party
concepts of thought control similar to those the PC is now using against the
Robertson-Mage-White minority. Would they not have been in a compromising
position? (Unjust expulsion from the revolutionary party is tantamount to a
jail sentence to anyone who regards himself as a genuine revolutionary.)
The charges of split perspective, hostile attitude and double
recruiting (unsubstantiated) taken together form the basis for the partys
charge of disloyalty. None of these is alone sufficient to support the charge.
They are dependent on each other. Therefore, the party leadership just fuse the
three to give them weight in lieu of any acts of disloyalty. This is a
Hostile attitude and split perspective are abstract ideas, not
actions. Double recruiting, on the other hand, is concrete; it is an action.
Therefore, it must be examined separately.
Double recruiting, as an accusation implying disloyalty, appears
to have a factional motivation, because if logically extended and rigidly
applied such a concept would restrict party membership to people in complete
agreement with all of the partys current majority positions.
Take the members and sympathizers of Uhuru in Detroit as an
example. They have been described by one of their spokesmen as Mau-Mau Maoists
who use as basic texts the writings of Mao Tse-tung. If they joined the party
they would quite naturally be members of the Swabeck tendency, irrespective of
whether they joined the party on the basis of the partys line on the
Negro movement. But what if the Swabeck tendency were instrumental in
recruiting such people? Is the Swabeck tendency to be charged with disloyalty
for double-recruiting and expelled from the party? Will prospective
black revolutionaries whom the Swabeck tendency might recruit be refused
admittance to membership if they share the Swabeck position on China? Obviously
if such a course were adopted the party would be committing hari-kari.
Is the Seattle branch, which in the main supports the Kirk
resolution, to be expelled by use of such criteria as has been used against the
Robertson-Mage-White group if their members should recruit people supporting
the Kirk position, as would be almost unavoidable in the circumstances? And
what about the Milwaukee branch? It supports the Freedom Now resolution, but
most of its members also support the Swabeck position on China. If they should
recruit Negro militants with a predilection for the Swabeck position on China,
are they to be suspended and the prospective members rebuffed?
The party is suicidally impaling itself on the horns of a
self-defeating dilemma. Comrades, isnt the party small enough after 35
years without further reducing its potential by the introduction of these
In order to purge out dissent, the party leadership is touching
all the well-known bases used both by the bourgeoisie and by Stalinism. It is
with a horrible fascination and deep indignation that we watch this process
unfold in the SWP.
By such compromising acts and unprincipled tactics the SWP
discredits itself and the entire Trotskyist movement, and forfeits any right to
lead the masses in the name of and toward the revolutionary conquering of power
for socialist democracy.
We protest the suspension of the Robertson-Mage-White tendency by
the Political Committee and request the National Committee at its Plenum to
reverse this decision.
/s/ D. G.
/s/ R. S.
NOTE: This communication represents the personal views of
the writers. We have not consulted with the Swabeck tendency, of which we are a
part, as to agreement or disagreement on its contents. We opposed the
suspension of the minority in the discussion following comrade
Dobbs presentation of the PC position at a New York branch meeting.