Wed Apr 24, 2024
April 24, 2024

Some Remarks On The Dispute Inside CWI

Recently, several Members’ Bulletins by the Committee for a Workers International (CWI) were released on several websites, including one of the bourgeois press, the Irish Times.

By Marcos Margarido

The CWI’s historic leadership, represented by Peter Taaffe, launched a faction in defence of its stance against some policies adopted by its Irish section, the Irish Socialist Party (ISP), which was supported by a majority of votes from other parties at a meeting of the CWI’s International Executive Committee (IEC), held at the end of last year.

As it has become a public debate, whose themes are part of important discussions for the guidance of revolutionaries and the CWI is identified by the vanguard in some important countries as the expression of Trotskyism, we want to examine the themes of this debate.

A concise review

In order to understand the differences between these two sectors (the minority of the last IEC of the CWI, where its historical direction is located, and most of the last IEC of the CWI, which includes the Irish and the North American, Greek, Brazilian, Swedish parties, among others [1]) it is necessary to make a brief, incomplete review of the events that took place before this IEC and the crisis that opened after its realisation.

In 2018, a discussion was opened between the CWI’s International Secretariat (IS) and its Irish section, centred on two points: the ISP’s policy on the fight against female oppression and its electoral policy, mainly in relation to Sinn Féin, a bourgeois-nationalist party and a political arm of one of the currents in which the “old” Irish Republican Army split after the War of Independence with England (1919-1921).

According to the IS, the ISP has developed a policy of capitulation to radical feminism, which advocates “identity politics,” during the struggle to end the abortion ban in the Republic of Ireland. This bill was repealed after a plebiscite in May 2018 that spectacularly defeated the positions of the Catholic Church and a broad section of the Irish parliament and government, which advocated maintaining the ban. The ISP had outstanding participation in this fight.

On the other hand, the IS accused the ISP of having a sectarian policy of “denunciation” against Sinn Féin in the 2016 and 2018 election campaigns and of not having presented a transition electoral programme because it did not include the slogan of “nationalisation”. This last criticism was accepted by the ISP’s leadership and we will set it aside. The ISP has 2 Teachta Dála (TD – Members of Parliament) in the Dáil Éireann, the Irish parliament, and is the only CWI section with Members of Parliament.

As the development of the discussion resulted in the crystallisation of the two positions, a meeting of the CEI of that organisation was held at the end of 2018, with the aim of taking a final position. However, the differences, which until then were limited (formally) to the IS and the ISP, polarised the IEC and the discussion was closed with the vote of the opening of an international pre-congress, which eventually divided the IEC into two sectors defined above.

In short, the IEC majority approved by three votes that it opposed any split threatening, that there were no divergences of principle between the two positions and that the CWI congress would be held in 2020. The minority position, in which Peter Taaffe and most of the SI were included, advocated the existence of differences of principle and the holding of the congress in January 2020 [2].

During the IEC, and seeing his stance would be defeated, Peter Taaffe launched a faction (In Defence of a Working Class Trotskyist CWI) with the support of 11 party leaders and IS members. His faction was later weakened by the break with the CWI of the Spanish, Mexican and Venezuelan sections, which signed the faction’s platform, as well as the Portuguese section, during a faction meeting in last March in London. The faction platform not only opposed the positions of the IEC majority but accused their representatives to form a “faction non faction” that is a secret fraction, which definitively transformed the debate in a faction dispute for the CWI’s leadership.

The main programmatic differences

In this text, we are going to stick to some theoretical-programmatic positions of the CWI that we consider relevant to the discussion: the issue of mass consciousness, the United Front issue, and Brexit.

  1. The consciousness of the masses and the elaboration of transitional slogans

This issue has always been present in the main divergences that the IWL-FI has had with the CWI since the 1990s, for example, the Palestinian question. In the present debate, between the IS and the ISP, it forms a permanent background.

We could sum up the traditional CWI’s stance as the elaboration of a transitional slogan must take into account the needs of the masses and, at the same level of importance, their conscience, even of their backward sectors.

An example is a document on migration passed at a Socialist Party (SP) 2013 Congress [4]. It makes a generally correct characterisation on the issue of immigration in England and the attacks on immigrants, and a prediction that has proved correct: “As the crisis in the Eurozone develops it is possible that free movement across the EU could be threatened.”

However, it draws the following political conclusion:

“69. Of course, we have to stand in defence of the most oppressed sections of the working class, including migrant workers and other immigrants.

“We staunchly oppose racism. We defend the right to asylum, and argue for the end of repressive measures like detention centres.

“At the same time, given the outlook of the majority of the working class, we cannot put forward a bald slogan of ‘open borders’ or ‘no immigration controls’, which would be a barrier to convincing workers of a socialist programme, both on immigration and other issues.

“Such a demand would alienate the vast majority of the working class, including many more long-standing immigrants, who would see it as a threat to jobs, wages and living conditions.”[5]

That is, given that there are vast sectors of workers, including legalised immigrants, who are against the right of immigration of all those who so desire, the SP does not defend the policy of “open borders” and immigration without restrictions. On the contrary, it advocates selective immigration. In practice, only those who apply for political or economic asylum without any racist bias in the granting of a visa would have this right. And they justify it by saying that such a broad slogan would prevent the presentation of a socialist programme to vast sectors of the working class. That is a “socialist programme” without the defence of the right of free movement of peoples, which is an essential part of any revolutionary program.

This type of elaboration is not only a capitulation to the low level of consciousness of the masses (which is always a backward level of consciousness), but also to the bourgeoisie itself, the real instiller of the poison of xenophobia, racism, sexism, etc. into the masses’ consciousness.

How did Trotsky address this issue? The Transitional Programme (which was approved by the Congress of the Foundation of the Fourth International in 1938) stated: “This bridge should include a system of transitional demands, stemming from today’s conditions and from today’s consciousness of wide layers of the working class and unalterably leading to one final conclusion: the conquest of power by the proletariat.”

At first glance, one should take into account, on an equal basis, the current conditions and the consciousness of the masses. This issue also caused confusion in the North American SWP, but Trotsky, in a well-known conversation with that party’s main leaders, solved it as follows:

“Some comrades say that this program draft in some parts is not sufficiently adequate to the state of mentality, the mood of the American workers. Here we must ask ourselves if the program should be adapted to the mentality of the workers or to the present objective economic and social conditions of the country. This is the most important question.”[6]

And he responds, first of all, by stating that “[t]he mentality is in general backward, delayed, in relation to the economic development,” that is, the objective conditions. So the starting point must be the concrete situation: “The program must express the objective tasks of the working class rather than the backwardness of the workers. It must reflect society as it is and not the backwardness of the working class.” That is the delay of their consciousness in relation to the objective situation.

Nothing more clear. But how can we resolve this mismatch between objective needs and awareness? As Trotsky explains: “Another question is how to present this program to the workers. It is more a pedagogical task and question of terminology in presenting the actual situation to the workers.

That is, in formulating the content of a transitional slogan we take into account the objective needs of the working class, but to put it on paper we must take into account the level of consciousness of the masses to make the content understandable for them. As Trotsky says, being understandable does not mean to be accepted, but the task of the programme is to “present the situation as it is,” for “we cannot postpone, modify objective conditions which don’t depend upon us.

As one can see, there is an insurmountable gap between the meaning of the above Transitional Programme’s quote and CWI’s interpretation of it.

It becomes then easier to understand the errors of the traditional position of the CWI in the discussion at hand. Let’s show them by means some examples.

In the document on the United Front issue, written by ISP Steering Committee member Paul Murphy, that we believe to represent the traditional CWI’s position (and therefore of the current Peter Taaffe’s international faction) some paragraphs are devoted to Brexit and its implications in Ireland, in particular, the establishment of a customs union at the border between Ireland and north of Ireland [7].

Murphy criticises the majority position of the ISP leadership for being passive and abstract because of the following statement: “We say that whatever way the different capitalist vested in­terests resolve their business dispute, it must be done without any physical or repressive borders.” [8]

Indeed, this stance is a clear position in principle, as it points to the unification of Ireland (no frontier), a historical struggle of the Irish people. What is lacking in this statement is the recognition of its implications, i.e. a struggle for the independence of Northern Ireland, against the English occupation, calling for an alliance with the Irish proletariat to achieve the reunification of Ireland.

The problem is that the CWI is far from recognising this historic struggle as an immediate necessity of the Irish people, that must be part of the transitional programme of a revolutionary party. The case of Ireland draws more attention because there is a Marxist elaboration on this issue from Marx himself and later claimed by Lenin in his writings on nationality issues. Marx’s reasoning was opposite to that of the SP. In 1870 Marx wrote a letter to Meyer and Vogt, from which we quote:

“England, the metropolis of capital, the power which has up to now ruled the world market, is at present the most important country for the workers’ revolution, and moreover the only country in which the material conditions for this revolution have reached a certain degree of maturity. It is consequently the most important object of the International Working Men’s Association to hasten the social revolution in England. The sole means of hastening it is to make Ireland independent. Hence it is the task of the International everywhere to put the conflict between England and Ireland in the foreground, and everywhere to side openly with Ireland. It is the special task of the Central Council in London to make the English workers realise that for them the national emancipation of Ireland is not a question of abstract justice or humanitarian sentiment but the first condition of their own social emancipation.”[9]

Murphy’s response is at the same time a capitulation to reformism (that is, to the bourgeoisie) and a completely abstract formulation of how everything would be solved in socialism. Let’s see:

After agreeing with the ISP leadership’s proposal to call the unions to a conference to organise the fight against any attack on workers’ rights, Murphy says that this is not enough because “We have to find a for­mulation to say what we think should happen and what our vision of a socialist exit is.” And he gives an example of what should be such a formulation and vision of a socialist way out.

“Corbyn’s position, outlined in a speech in February, gives an outline of how a left government would deal with the issue of the Customs Union. Effectively, he counterposed the existing pro-capitalist Customs Union to one in the interests of work­ing people. This would ensure no hard border and tariff-free trade, but without all of the neo-liberal rules and restrictions which would block a left government from implementing policies such as nationalisation. If Corbyn boldly put this po­sition forward, instead of seeking compromise with the Blair­ites, and linked it to the need for socialist change, it would be enormously popular on this island and in Britain. It would address the real fears and concerns of working people in rela­tion to the economy and the border.” [10]

And he says that in the context of the political crisis in Britain, it is necessary to demand “a general election in Britain and for Corbyn to come to power on a socialist programme.” So, the wording advocated by the CWI to resolve the customs issue is the same as that of Corbyn, a well-known leftist reformist, that is to maintain a customs union, after all, but not as hard as that advocated by the British government, but a softer one.

This, according to Murphy, would solve the fears and worries of the workers, in this case of the British. That is, the CWI establishes its policy based on the backward level of consciousness of the Protestant workers and not on the need to take advantage of the current political crisis to reignite the flame for a united Ireland with no border at all. But this would entail a battle to overcome the backward consciousness of the majority of the population in Northern Ireland that, poisoned by the religious propaganda of the English empire, is against being independent of England. If this were not enough, the five points outlined by Corbyn [11] to solve the frontier question are completely pro-capitalist, they have nothing to do with the “interest the workers.”

As for the socialist exit for the crisis, the CWI makes a mistake that is recurring in the policy of the Socialist Party: raising the possibility of reaching socialism through elections and, worse, the election of a reformist. Voting for Labour in the upcoming general elections for Corbyn to be the prime minister with a “socialist program” is to keep the masses’ illusions in the reformist deception and has nothing in common with a real transitional programme. According to the CWI, all this would be guaranteed if the demands of the SP were met, that Corbyn reopens negotiations with the EU on new bases; that it should make internationalist appeals to European workers, over the heads of EU negotiators … that is, minimum requirements which are by no means decisive points for a socialist programme for Britain, a fiction from the beginning to the end.

At another point, the same document states:

“However, no comrades are in favour of raising the de­mand for Ireland to leave the EU at this stage. Are we guilty of not “telling the truth” to the working class when we don’t bring a demand to leave the EU and establish a state monop­oly on foreign trade to the fore? […] We always tell the truth to the working class. But we present the truth in the way which is most digestible to the working class at a particular time, bringing to the fore demands which address the pressing needs of working-class people and connecting them to the need for revolutionary so­cialist change and to activating the working class in struggle.” [12] (our emphasis)

This is a play on words that has nothing to do with Trotsky’s teachings. Murphy tries to convince CWI militants that “not telling the truth” means “telling the truth.” Trotsky even suggested using mass psychology to always tell the truth, not just what is most digestible at a particular time. The CWI’s method is to defend at all times some of the workers’ pressing needs and at the same time to omit strategic objective needs that may not be accepted at that time by the broad masses, since they always present a mismatch between their consciousness and those needs. This is a modern version of the Social-Democracy method of separating the programme in maximum and minimal programmes, the last for agitation while the former is as Trotsky said, for feast days. That is, to lead the workers to the struggle for their pressing needs without proposing any slogan that points to the strategy of the seizure of power, which is limited to the propaganda of socialism.

In the case of the immediate need to destroy the European Union, which is a social war machine of European imperialism, led by Germany and France, this mistake becomes flagrant because it leads to different policies in each country. In England, the SP advocates leaving the EU; in Ireland, the ISP does not advocate. In some other country, you can defend it or not. It all depends on the level of consciousness of the masses and not on the objective necessity of the working class.

The CWI, an international organisation with sections in a number of European countries, some of them with a significant presence in the class struggle, which are expected to present candidates in the next European elections or at least have a position in relation to them, will not present a unified policy. This will show, not the strength of such an international organisation, but its weakness due to its political narrowness.

What would Trotsky advise for such an organisation? Let’s see how he guided the US SWP:

“What can a revolutionary party do in this situation? In the first line give a clear honest picture of the objective situation, of the historic tasks which flow from this situation irrespective as to whether or not the workers are today ripe for this. Our tasks don’t depend on the mentality of the workers. The task is to develop the mentality of the workers. That is what the program should formulate and present before the advanced workers. […] We must tell the workers the truth, then we will win the best elements.”[13]

The United Front

This is an important discussion, not only in the current crisis affecting the CWI but also for all revolutionary parties. It is a matter of applying a tactic to compel the great reformist workers’ organisations to mobilise the masses under their influence, calling them to fight for the pressing needs of the masses, or to unmask them if they refuse, and in that process, by the positive or by the negative, winning the best elements for the party.

However, the CWI extends this concept by making the United Front a strategy, or a method [14], as Paul Murphy asserts, not a tactic. A permanent method that extends well beyond the limits defined by the IV Congress of the Communist International (IC). Let’s see.

The document cited above states that:

However for Trotsky, as for Lenin, this was merely the application of a more general method to a concrete situa­tion. It is a method that is not only applicable when the work­ing class looks to mass reformist workers parties, but can be applicable whenever revolutionary ideas are not in the over­whelming majority of the working class, and instead other re­formist, petit bourgeois or even bourgeois ideas and organisations hold sway.”[15]

For the CWI, therefore, the “method” of the United Front is applied not only to call workers’ organisations to fight but also petty-bourgeois and even bourgeois organisations. The opportunities, therefore, are innumerable and of the most diverse types, to the point of reducing the importance of the traditional tactic of United Front:

It is not the narrow version of a united front tactic, as defined by the ‘Brief Contribution’[16], which has relevance today. Instead, it is elements or aspects of the fundamental method outlined above which have applicability today. […]

Brief Contribution’, which has relevance today. Instead, it is elements or aspects of the fundamental method outlined above which have applicability today. […]

Indeed, the CWI internationally has implemented this general method to non working-class formations, where they have a mass base of support amongst workers we are seeking to win. For example, the method in­formed our approach to the ANC in South Africa, and more recently towards the National Conscience Party in Nigeria. This was seen most recently in the approach we took in the US to Bernie Sanders, a candidate in the primary elections in one of the US’ two big capitalist parties. [17]

The possibilities of the “method” would go even further: “It is also how our comrades have intervened in Brazil, calling for a vote for the PT’s Haddad in the second round to defeat Bolsonaro and participating in joint mobilisations with the PT and others.”

That is, the United Front “method” is also applicable in electoral campaigns: in the case of Brazil, in coalitions, in Europe, in parliamentary alliances between parties. They also cite entrism as an expression of this “united-front method.”

The CWI expands its policy by naming “United Front” any tactic. However, this is a political dilution that is not part of the CI tradition. The Workers United Front Theses, approved by the IEC of the IC in December 1921, state: “Guidelines on the worker’s united front and relations with workers that belong to the Second, Two-and-a-Half, or Amsterdam Internationals, as well as to those who support anarcho-syndicalist organisations …“[18]. That is, the tactic (not a method) is related only to reformist workers’ organisations. For no other reason is it called the Workers United Front. Trotsky’s On the United Front (1922), goes in the same direction and need not be quoted here.

It is clear that some of these tactics are valid, such as entrism, or calling the vote in a reformist candidate, depending on the situation, the goal and the policy adopted. Others are unacceptable to a revolutionary party, such as participating in an election campaign in a bourgeois party, and in the case of the US, not only bourgeois but imperialist, to elect socialist or progressive candidates. In this regard, the Resolution on Tactics of the Fourth Congress of the IC is clear: “By no means does the united-front tactic mean so-called electoral alliances at the leadership level, in pursuit of one or another parliamentary goal.” [19]

By shifting the concept of a well-defined tactic to a method that involves all kinds of activity in the class struggle, the CWI opens the door to alliances with bourgeois and petty-bourgeois organisations, including electorally and in addition dilutes one of the main purposes of the tactic of United Front: to destroy the treacherous leadership of the labour movement.

The CWI says its method aims to “win the majority for the revolutionary programme,” but at no point does it say that, for this, it is necessary to politically destroy the reformist leadership that influences this majority. It is as if everything would be achieved peacefully, convincing the workers of the superiority of the revolutionary party in the common struggle with the reformist formations. And not a mortal fight against these bourgeois agents in the workers’ movement, the reformists and their neo-reformist satellites. We see this in practice in England where the SP applies its particular United Front method to the Labour Party, by which it calls the working class to trust and vote for Corbyn, while making timid criticisms of its policy (and always positively, of the kind, how good would it be if Corbyn did this or that), because it is he who will lead the workers to socialism, on the electoral path!

However, it is true that bourgeois or petty-bourgeois parties can have an important influence on the mass movement and, sometimes, hegemonic, as was Chavez in Venezuela. How do we get the masses to experience these organisations? In the case of Venezuela, the capitulation of almost all the world left to “socialism of the 21st century”, in defending Chávez, his regime, and his politics, and in proposing the realisation of united fronts against imperialism, delayed in many years the experience. And now when the masses themselves, at the cost of enormous disasters and suffering, have come to the conclusion that Chavismo, now in the hands of Maduro, is a counterrevolutionary current, they do not see an alternative to the left and are subject to the bourgeois alternatives of the Guaidó type. In the case of England, the same is happening. In the recent local elections, both Tories and Labour were rejected by the masses due to the austerity policies applied by the Tories nationally and by Labour Councils locally. But the vast majority of the British left, including the CWI section, continue to champion Corbyn, who now openly negotiates with Theresa May for a way out of the Brexit crisis. For them, the problem is not Corbyn’s reformism but Labour’s right wing.

Revolutionaries may demand Labour to fight against the austerity imposed by the government, and if they take action, make a unity in the struggle, but never failing to denounce them by their own austerity policy in Labour Councils. And never call the workers to trust this enemy of the workers, even if by supporting only the Corbynists.

Therefore, the revolutionaries differentiate the various tactics that can be applied to each situation, all well delimited and with precise objectives. And all of them, aimed at the mobilisation of workers and, in the common struggle, at the destruction of bourgeois, petty bourgeois or reformist movements. Nahuel Moreno states that:

Trotskyism must combine its permanent and systematic struggle to make the working class independent of all other class sectors and to organise it independently, fuelling and participating in every progressive struggle, even if it is not a working class one. If we do not act in this way, the working class will never be the leader of all exploited people and, more seriously, our parties will not be the leaders of the working class. The party solves this contradiction by promoting united actions that are positive for the development of any progressive class struggle. But the united action is the opposite of the Workers United Front, it is the opposite in time, structure and purpose. The United Front creates relatively permanent bodies, encourages the organisation of committees with a relatively democratic operation, as well as the permanence in the action. The united action, on the other hand, is momentary, does not create a body with more or less democratic functioning, but works through agreements and maintains the total independence of the organisations involved. Unlike the Front, the unity of action is fleeting.

That is why we are for the anti-imperialist united action; for the women’s united action for abortion, divorce or the right to vote, for united action with any political party to request equal electoral time on radio and television; to demonstrate with any organisation that demands these democratic rights against a Bonapartist and totalitarian or bourgeois-democratic government. But we do not confuse the united action with the formation of a Front. We are against making united fronts with bourgeois or petty-bourgeois parties to defend democracy, even when we agree with them in the defence of certain democratic issues.“[20]

ISP errors are not what the CWI SI criticises

The Irish SP states that it was not right to make a united front with Sinn Féin in the fight against the water tax, with which we agree. But its reasoning for denying this united front is purely tactical, not principled. It was not because Sinn Féin is a bourgeois party, but because it did not want to fight the tax. According to the ISP, the problem was reduced to the fact that its position was unpopular, and because of the proximity of the elections, this call would not give time to get a visible result and would prevent them from capitalising on the election. That is purely electoral reasoning. Let’s see what the ISP says:

Our focus wasn’t Sinn Fein. There was no agreement or shared goal, even in words, between us and Sinn Fein or its members on the water charges. Behind a tokenistic opposition to water charges, Sinn Fein in reality said people might as well pay the charge because a struggle can’t win … We had little time to [e]ffect a shift in voting intentions if we were to achieve a victory for ourselves and the new movement. That didn’t allow time for a period of united front or common struggle with Sinn Fein, even if, in words, one had been possible. [21]

In fact, it is ISP’s stance on a possible ‘left’ government that makes up its great strategic error as it remains within the traditional CWI framework. In the same document, the ISP admits that it could be part of a “leftist government” that would adopt radical measures in favour of the workers and, in the absence of an agreement, its TDs (in the Solidarity front today) would only support measures that benefit workers and oppose those that did not. What would this leftist government be? A possible parliamentary coalition involving “other parties [on the left] and Independents“, that is, except for Labour, Fianna Fail, and Fine Gael. Among the “other parties” is Sinn Féin. For them, it would be a principled position regarding the formation of a left government.

The experience with such governments of both Social Democracy and Stalinism (in this case, allying itself with the so-called ‘progressive’ bourgeois sectors), in the 1930s and 1960s-70s, including England itself, has shown that such governments are subordinated to the capitalist domain and submitted to the bourgeois state. And now neo-reformist parties, such as the Left Block supporting the government of Geringonça in Portugal, or Podemos in Spain, supporting the PSOE, revived this tactic of Social Democrats and Stalinists with equally disastrous results for the workers. But on this issue, Paul Murphy has no criticism to make as it does not differ from his positions on the subject.

A bureaucratic stance

We could not end this discussion without pointing out a serious situation opened by the majority of the CWI SI when it was left in a minority in the IEC that discussed the Irish issue by immediately casting a faction during the IEC itself, even before the discussion had reached the sections’ membership.

And it did so by accusing party leaders who initially opposed the policy of the IS majority (Belgium, Sweden, Ireland, USA, and Greece) of forming a “non-faction” faction because they had organised meetings outside the plenary and acted in a coordinated way at plenary meetings. That means, they did what party leaders are supposed to do. In addition, it stated that there was the possibility of rupture due to the existence of principled differences.

That is to say, it initiated a pre-congressional discussion charging the leaders of some of the main CWI sections with forming a secret faction and threatening the membership with the possibility of an international rupture. That this situation expresses a serious crisis is shown by the fact that before the discussion actually began, the Spanish, Portuguese, Venezuelan and Mexican CWI sections split during a meeting of the faction.

The CWI IS is strongly influenced by the British section leaders. This has led in several previous moments that the weight of the British leaders is predominant over all the rest of the parties leading to a distortion in the work of the international organisation. It is a phenomenon that also occurs in other international currents, favouring what we call national-Trotskyism. But what called attention to this dispute is a fact: the body elected by the international congress is the IEC that has a more diverse composition while the IS, which is chosen by the IEC, has a greater weight of British leaders. In other words, it seems that the differences that have arisen have taken on a new significance, with an immediate risk of rupture, due to the fact that the IS majority – the SP leaders and their allies – became a minority in the IEC and its abrupt reaction has to do with the struggle for the leadership control against the IEC majority causing even the CWI split if they cannot win.

The problem is that this kind of building method leads to the worn-out of Trotskyism and the very Leninist party conception at the vanguard that is associated with this kind of bureaucratic stance. Obviously, differences can arise regarding class struggle developments and, depending on their depth, can lead to crises and even the need for divisions in different organisations due to existing programmatic differences. Depending on how it happens, it can give rise to the development of separate organisations with their respective positions. But it does not have to be done in a bureaucratic way. This kind of methodology makes its consequences destructive. Regrettably, this seems to be the case with the CWI.


[1] These minority/majority sectors refer to the vote in that IEC. The countries that made up the majority of 14 votes (against 11) are USA, Brazil, Belgium, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Ireland, China / Hong Kong / Taiwan, Russia, Australia, Sweden, Israel-Palestine, Nigeria, and Poland.

[2] According to some IEC members, the first IS proposal was to hold the congress in July, but it retreated after receiving harsh criticisms.

[3] This meeting was held on 17-28 March in London in which the leader of the Spanish section, Juan Ignacio left the plenary shouting “we were deceived.”

[4] British Perspectives 2013: a Socialist Party congress document, at

[5] Idem

[6] L. Trotsky, The Political Backwardness of American Workers,

[7] One of Brexit’s main discussions is about what kind of customs will exist on this border when (and if) Britain leaves the EU.

[8] Quoted in Paul Murphy, The United Front method and putting forward a Socialist Program today, Members Bulletin, Documents on the dispute that arose at the IEC.

[9] Marx to Sigfrid Meyer and August Vogt in New York,

[10] Paul Murphy, The United Front method…

[11] The five points proposed by Corbyn to make an agreement with the government are: 1. A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union, an agreement on a commercial policy that includes a UK say on future EU trade deals; 2. Close alignment with the single market, underpinned by shared institutions and obligations…; 3. “Dynamic alignment on rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe…; 4. Clear commitments on participation in EU agencies and funding programs…; 5. Unambiguous agreements on the detail of future security arrangements, including access to the European arrest warrant and vital shared databases.

[12] Paul Murphy, The United Front method ...

[13] L. Trotsky, The Political Backwardness of American Workers,

[14] Murphy severely criticises the ISP’s majority document for using the word tactics instead of method.

[15] Paul Murphy, The United Front method and putting forward a Socialist Program today, Members Bulletin, Documents on the dispute that arose at the IEC.

[16] Brief Contribution is the majority document of the leadership of the Irish ISP.

[17] Paul Murphy … see ref. 12.

[18] Toward the United Front, Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922. John Riddell. Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2012 p. 1164.

[19] Idem, p. 1158.

[20] Nahuel Moreno, Transitional Programme Today,

[21] Laura F, Stephen B, Kevin M, Joe H, A brief contribution on some political issues mentioned by PM in Members bulletin: Documents on the dispute that arose at the IEC, 10/10/2018

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