Open letter to Workers Power

Revolutionary Principles vs. Cynical Manoeuvres

29 March 2006


At the conference of the ‘Campaign for a New Workers’ Party’(CNWP) held in London on 19 March, supporters of the International Bolshevik Tendency were denied the opportunity to speak because we could not sign the campaign’s founding declaration. We have serious differences with its reformist thrust, exemplified by its characterisation of the history of the Labour Party (see

Workers Power comrades who signed the declaration were permitted to speak, move motions and even sit on the CNWP steering committee. Yet in December 2005 you observed:

‘[T]o endorse the declaration of a new workers party, workers and organisations signing will have to agree with the SP’s idea of a “golden age” of Labour. Clearly this is a non-starter.’
(‘How do we build a new workers party?’ Workers Power 301, December 2005)

The CNWP has set itself the task of reviving Labourite illusions at a time when the logic of reformism has become clear for all to see. It is already obvious that the campaign will remain a ‘non-starter’. Your willingness to sign your name to fables about a ‘golden age of Labour’ in order to cosy up to the ranks of the Socialist Party and your attempts to animate this sham (and even take responsibility for ‘steering’ it) graphically demonstrate the chronic opportunism that has been Workers Power’s defining characteristic over the years.

The Socialist Party seem to see your contribution as providing left cover for the CNWP, as well as proof that their ‘campaign’ is not just a Socialist Party front group (which of course it is). You presumably think that your participation is a ‘smart’ tactic. Your motion on the ‘revolutionary transformation of society’ provides some left cover of your own, but after its entirely predictable defeat you carry on regardless.

After the conference, you complained of the CNWP:

‘Its weakness is that debate on the programme for the new party has been shelved, at least for a year, with minimal demands put as stop-gaps. Clearly, the SP hopes that these will become the new programme by default.’
‘Campaign for a New Workers Party debates reform or revolution’ Workers Power e-News, 23 March 2006

Those ‘minimal demands’ are almost certainly the only ‘programme’ the CNWP, a shell without a future, is ever going to have. The main motion approved by the conference included the following:

‘We reaffirm our support for the declaration for a new workers’ party and will continue to use it as a means [to] build impetus for the idea of a new party.’

You voted against this motion, but have committed to building the organisation within its framework.

Revolutionaries are distinguished from centrists, reformists and every sort of pseudo-Marxist charlatan by their ability to tell the truth. Your cynical manoeuvre in endorsing this ‘non-starter’, which is based on a programme you ostensibly reject, demonstrates that for you the prospect of short-term organisational gains will always trump political principle.

Yours for a revolutionary workers’ party
Alan Davis
for IBT (Britain)

Posted: 29 March 2006