A struggle within the Socialist Party of England and Wales and Socialist Party Scotland (both part of the Committee for a Workers International) started nearly two years ago over Marxist theory, which soon led to a questioning of the ideas held by the leadership.
Two members, Steve Dobbs and Bruce Wallace, were declared “indefinitely suspended” by the CWI leadership in 2014 for spurious apolitical reasons, but in reality were expelled (in all but name) for raising Marxist ideas and challenging the wisdom of the Socialist Party EC- namely Peter Taaffe and Lynn Walsh.
Throughout the period prior to suspension, Steve and Bruce continuously enquired about the right to form a faction, which, according to the constitutions of both respective parties, is the right of all members. These requests were completely ignored and, in one case, facetiously rejected outright.
As members of the CWI, we have therefore been given no choice but to form a faction to defend the genuine ideas of Marx, Lenin and Trotsky from centrist and reformist distortion. At the present time, our other supporters cannot identify themselves for fear that organisational measures will be taken against them.
This is a totally undemocratic response by the leadership of the CWI and utterly against the methods of Marxism in relation to party building which the CWI is supposed to uphold. We stand by the principles of democratic centralism and declare the leadership of the CWI in breach of these principles.
Our organisation (i.e. what later became the CWI) existed long before the current Socialist Party EC took the reins. Our organisation, which many of us have given a lifetime of support, is not the property of one man or one small group who claim only they can interpret Marx, and everyone else be damned. That is why we believe in a single, multi-tendency organisation of the working class as was outlined by Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Therefore we believe that genuine, open democratic debate should be restored in the CWI – and is in fact essential for a healthy revolutionary party. A leadership that has a dictatorship on theory (and therefore practice) can only lead to the continuous splitting and demoralisation of the workers’ movement. We stand for an open, democratic party with the right of groups to put their own platforms and positions, while collaborating on elections, Trade Union works etc, both in relation to the CWI and TUSC.
We remain loyal members of the CWI but are opposed in principle to the un-Marxist position taken by leading members of the party, particularly on central aspects of Marxist theory and practice. Our aim is win back the CWI to a Marxist position on these key questions.
Where We Stand
- We believe the SP/CWI does not have a healthy, democratic internal life. We are in favour of genuine democratic centralism – a lively, healthy culture brought about through the multitudes of ideas and even factions, but where unity is on the basis of action and programme.
- We believe the SP and CWI leadership have made serious errors in their economics analysis over the last period. We believe robust, democratic debates on the cause of the capitalist crisis and political perspectives for the current period are long overdue. We believe the leadership are mistaken on a number of political issues.
- We believe that the SP should approach all Left organisations to join the TUSC steering committee. All participating organisations should agree to the basic electoral programme of TUSC but have the right to exist as a separate entity with its own identity and material, as per the federal structure of TUSC
- We believe the CWI should end all suspensions and expulsions! We are for the reinstatement of members previously suspended for raising genuine political criticism.
Our core documents that outline our position on some of the key questions are:
- What Is the Cause of the Current Capitalist Crisis? http://marxistworld.net/2013/09/what-is-the-cause-of-the-current-capitalist-crisis/
- In Defence of Marx’s Law of the Tendency of the Rate of Profit to Fall http://marxistworld.net/2013/11/in-defence-of-marxs-law-of-the-tendency-of-the-rate-of-profit-to-fall/
- Building a Revolutionary Party in the 21st Century http://marxistworld.net/2014/01/building-a-revolutionary-party-in-the-21st-century/
Our website, MarxistWorld.net, will host a range of material that we believe is crucial for the labour movement as a whole. It will be critical and polemical in the best traditions of Marxism.