It is always gratifying to receive confirmation that a polemic has drawn blood. In this connection we were pleased with the response to a major article in our first issue (The Robertson School of Party-Building) which pointed out the uncanny similarities between the methods of party-building attributed to Gerry Healy (recently deposed founder/leader of the British Workers Revolutionary Party) in the winter issue of Spartacist and those practices current in the Spartacist League (SL) itself.
Unable to rebut our attack, the SL opted to brazen it out. To this end they purchased several hundred copies of the first issue of 1917 and stamped Hate Trotskyism, Hate the Spartacist League No.4 across the top of them in bright red ink. Thus adorned, these copies of our journal were retailed (at a modest 100 percent mark-up) from SL campus literature tables across the country.
Were not complainingindeed we are grateful to the SL for bringing our critique, the product of many years spent as cadres of the international Spartacist tendency, to the attention of a few dozen people to whom we would not otherwise have had access. We hope SL caudillo Robertson decrees that our polemics continue to be distributed in the future.
We were also pleased by the prompt public repudiation which followed our critique of a particularly stupid leaflet issued by the unfortunate members of the Harvard Spartacus Youth League (see:A Disavowal, Workers Vanguard, 14 February). They have learned that in the SL, as in the WRP, dialectics is whatever the founder/leader says it is. Likewise Marxism. How else to explain the fact that the San Francisco Red Avengers who engaged in even more egregious departures from Marxism (including one who dressed up as a Nazi) were hailed, while the (now ex-) SLers who took the rap in Boston are reduced to express[ing] a desire to rejoin at a later time?
Published: 1917 No.2 (Summer 1986)