A Letter to Former Members of the IBT

2 January 2019


You resigned from the IBT on 2 October 2018, declaring that you were “dissolving” the 28-year-old fusion between the BT and PRG, which pre-dated the membership of the majority of the IBT, including many of your supporters. You acknowledge that for most of this period the IBT had been “programmatically homogenous.”

You say you uphold “the entire published record of the IBT to date” – a body of work created over decades in collaboration between comrades from the BT, PRG, GIVI and those who were recruited after the 1990 fusions. An early and significant example of this collaboration is our position on the defeated coup in the USSR in August 1991. It took considerable effort to persuade comrades from the BT that this marked the end of the degenerated workers' state, a position your co-thinkers would likely not have adopted at all had they never fused with the PRG.

Your recent appraisal of Howard Keylor on his 93rd birthday is oddly shaped to fit your new perception of reality, mentioning his valuable revolutionary work only up to 1984. Comrade Keylor was a key figure in the consolidation of the 1990 fusions into a common organization, working in the U.S. and Germany over subsequent decades and providing a living link from the IBT to the revolutionary work of the past. We salute his long lifetime of important contributions to the IBT and the workers' movement in general.

In your resignation letter you state: “The only substantial asset the IBT has ever possessed is our political continuity with the programmatic legacy of the RT/iSt.” Your behavior since you left the IBT seems calculated to sabotage that legacy.

In a childish parody of Trotskyism, you have adopted a name virtually identical to ours, and you are selling hard copies of IBT literature that do not belong to you (including, with a nice sense of irony, a pamphlet originally published by the PRG before the 1990 fusion).

You have retained control of a considerable sum of IBT money in North America and have made no attempt to return this to us.

Ostensibly, the chief reason for your resignations was our long-standing dispute over whether Russia is imperialist. You had a majority on this question and controlled the position of the IBT, which was defended in public by all members.

You have made clear in recent personal conversations in London and Toronto that you are more concerned about differences over what military-tactical approach to take toward the attempted coup in Turkey in July 2016, a question on which you were in a minority. You express concern that this will lead to future hypothetical differences. It is another irony that at least one of your supporters agrees with the IBT on this question.

This is not the Leninist way of conducting politics. The differences we have do not justify separate organizations. The “programmatic legacy of the RT/iSt” is based on unity of anti-Pabloite forces and against light-minded splits over secondary questions. Your behavior is counterposed to this, being more reminiscent of Wohlforth dividing the forces of the early Revolutionary Tendency, or Norden ensuring that the anti-revisionists leaving the Spartacist tendency remain divided, both of whom acted for reasons of prestige and pique.

We maintained discipline over many years in order to avoid this split, and we do not want it now. We would therefore welcome applications to rejoin from those comrades who may be having second thoughts about your decision.

Comradely greetings
Josh Decker
for the IBT