ICL Backpeddles on Support for U.S. Troops in Haiti
On Saturday 20 March, the Trotskyist League (TLCanadian affiliate of James Robertsons Spartacist League/U.S.) held a forum on Haiti in Toronto where they announced that they no longer support the presence of U.S. occupation forces in Haiti. In a rambling and listless talk, comrade Arthur Llewellyn interspersed general observations on various aspects of Haitian history and social relations with comments on Cuba, Quebec, Afghanistan and East Europe. TL supporters at the event seemed a bit on edge, and their mood did not improve as most of the handful of new people in attendance walked out during the presentation.
Llewellyn discussed the positions of different left groups on Haiti, in particular singling out the Internationalist Group (which has yet to appear publicly in Toronto) and the IBT. He only obliquely addressed the central issue in dispute, i.e., the denunciation in the 29 January issue of Workers Vanguard [WV] No. 951 of those who demanded the immediate removal of U.S. occupation troops as cynically toying with rhetoric, blithely unconcerned with the fact that, in the real world, if the policies they advocate were implemented, they would result in mass death through starvation. Llewellyn dodged the question of whether or not revolutionaries should have called for the removal of imperialist forces by posing the issue as simply one of whether or not to support the delivery of aid. Lumping the IG together with IBT supporters in the room, he denounced us for accusing the ICL of capitulat[ing] to imperialism because they were not opposing aid to [Haitis] desperate masses.
In the discussion round that followed an IBT supporter responded to the TLs politically cowardly dive:
Instead of responding to the question of whether opposition to imperialist occupation forces in neocolonies is a principled question, or merely a tactical one, the TL called on a friendly ingénue who said that we must be mistaken as she had read articles from Workers Vanguard as far back as 2004 which clearly called for the removal of imperialist troops. This was greeted with applause by the ICLers, who throughout the rest of the meeting refused to frankly acknowledge their own position.
We were surprised by this uncharacteristic behavior. In the pasthowever appalling the positionthe Spartacists have tended to brazen it out, aggressively defending the line advanced in their public press. It is difficult to interpret their refusal to engage on this question as anything but an admission that they are relieved that they can now begin sweeping their conjunctural support for imperialist occupation forces in Haiti under the carpet.
Posted: 22 March 2010