Letters: Clique of Political Gangsters
Clique of Political Gangsters
Writing in the February Socialist Standard (“Militant Dishonesty”), Adam Buick comments: “Imagine what a Trotskyist dictatorship would be like; not too different from a Stalinist one. we would suppose.” Very true.
Leon Trotsky was every bit as ruthless as Joseph Stalin. His only problem was that he lost out to Stalin in the inevitable power-struggle following the Bolshevik coup d’état in Russia, in 1917, and was expelled from the country, and ultimately killed in Mexico City by one of Stalin’s henchmen.
It should not be forgotten, however, that Trotsky supported the dissolution of the democratically-elected Constituent Assembly on January 6, 1918, because the Bolsheviks were in a minority; that Trotsky, together with Lenin, argued that the trade unions should be subordinated to the government; and. following Trotsky’s appointment as Commissar of Military Affairs, he established the death penalty for disobedience under fire into the Red Army, and restored the saluting of officers, of whom many were former Czarist officers, and other privileges for senior officers. In December 1919 Trotsky submitted his proposal for the “militarisation of Labour”; and on December 27, the Soviet government, with Lenin’s approval, set up their Commission on Labour Duty, with Trotsky. as Commissar for War, as its President. Trotsky stressed that coercion, regimentation and militarisation of labour were not mere emergency measures; but that the Soviet state had the right to coerce any citizen to perform any work, at any time of its choosing. Just as Stalin did, with his forced labour camps, ten years later. In February 1921 strikes broke out in Petrograd and Moscow, after the government had announced that the very meagre bread ration was to be cut by a third. In the Kronstadt naval base, the sailors rebelled; and, on March 5, Trotsky issued an ultimatum, demanding the immediate and unconditional capitulation of the sailors, saying “only those who surrender unconditionally may count on the mercy of the Soviet Republic”.
And so on . . .
Had Trotsky won and Stalin lost in their struggle for power, the outcome in the Soviet Union would most certainly have been the same: the emergence of a state-capitalist dictatorship (Lenin admitted that Russia had become a state-capitalist dictatorship even before he died in 1924). ruled by a privileged and parasitic minority of bureaucrats and apparatchiks. Even limited bourgeois democracy was anathema to Leon Trotsky.
And this is the man that the Militant Tendency, now masquerading as the Socialist Party, eulogise. Socialists must confront them, demand to speak in opposition at their meetings (as socialists allow opponents at theirs), and expose them for what they are—an anti-socialist clique of political gangsters. There is no alternative.
Leading members of “Militant/Militant Labour” might well argue that they were unaware of the existence of the Socialist Party. However, Peter Taaffe. editor of Militant since 1964. and now general secretary of their party, has mentioned us, as “Socialist Party” (without the “the”) in writing, in his long and turgid tome. The Rise of Militant (Militant publications, London, 1995. Chapter 54. p.544). “Euro-Elections”: “Militant Labour and Scottish Militant Labour decided to nominate Tommy Sheridan as a candidate for the European elections in Glasgow . . . He beat the Tories, Liberal Democrats, Greens, Socialist Party, Natural Law Party and the Communist Party of Great Britain” (emphasis mine).
So, there we are.
What’s in a name?
The news that the Trotskyite wing of the Labour Party is to call itself “The Socialist Party” has rightly caused consternation among true Socialists. But then, so many other bodies have adopted similar tactics this century. Even the New Labour Party, under Tony Blair, has many members chaffing at losing their “Socialist” identity.
The trouble is that nowhere in the world is that word “Socialism” recognised in its true meaning, apart from by an insignificant few, who ruffle no political surface anywhere . . . after ninety-two years of intensive propaganda.
The word “Socialism” in its true meaning has always failed to communicate itself, simply causing greater confusion.
Why not shut the door on this useless piece of baggage and let your objectives be your title? For example: “The One World Moneyless Society Party”?
In one stroke confusion is ended. Only true Socialists can follow you down that path. That word is made redundant. It has never served its purpose and has no future.
We don’t agree. While it is true that the word “Socialism” has become distorted this century to mean state capitalism even for most of those who consider themselves socialists, the word still does convey, better than for instance “moneyless society” which suggests a mere economic change, what we stand for: a society where productive resources are commonly, i.e. socially, owned and where people cooperate. i.e. act socially, to produce what is needed. After all, we say that humans are social animals, and what better name for a society where humans can develop their social potential to the full than “socialism”.
- That how will it be possible to bring the proletariat round to a revolutionary consciousness without a minority vanguard (and further what use then is such a party as yours?).
- That a world-wide revolution is not possible both because of the impossibility of the world-wide proletariat rebelling simultaneously, and further that the capitalist imperialist system has damaged the development of many countries, thus preventing them from having the infrastructure necessary to progress to communism. And I wonder how your party can answer these arguments, because my usual response is to bluff my way out of them, as I can’t see a real answer (particularly vis the awakening of revolutionary consciousness of the people).