The Centrism of the SWP and the Tasks of the Minority
By Jim Robertson & Larry Ireland
[The following 9/6/62 document from the internal discussions of the Revolutionary Tendency inside the Socialist Workers Part was republished in Marxist Bulletin #2 titled “The Nature of the Socialist Workers Party – Revolutionary or Centrist”. It was originally posted at http://www.bolshevik.org/history/MarxistBulletin/MB2_05.html]
I. The Centrism of the SWP
1. The Decisive Importance of the Nature of the Party.
The American Minority has been nurtured in the SWP and is a tendency within the party. The SWP (& youth) continue to loom large as a shaping influence upon the minority. How the SWP is analyzed and summed up determines a) the tasks of the minority which are carried out within and through the SWP, b) the nature, scope, and very existence of the minority grouping, flowing from our conclusions about the state and direction of development of the party. Thus the question of the nature of the SWP is of decisive and central importance to our perspective and tasks.
It would be an error to view the “nature of the party” as some kind of a priori or external label to be applied to the SWP. To know the nature of the SWP is to know how the party is moving and will move in response to events, opportunities, and challenges in the class struggle and in relation to the aim of the Socialist Revolution.
It is possible to perceive the broad outlines of the party’s political shape even under conditions of relative quiescence. It must be our continual responsibility to do this, checking our expectations against results, so as to properly orient our tasks. To do otherwise would render our entire role directionless and random, at the mercy of chance impressions and momentary situations.
2. Some Relevant Party History (A Sketch of Highlights since 1940).
a. The American Trotskyists took a stunning double blow in 1940. Over half of the movement broke away and a few months later Leon Trotsky was murdered. Among those breaking away from the movement (40% of the party and 80% of the youth) were most of the party’s writers, theorists, as well as a whole political generation who had made up the youth leadership. The party lost nothing in the way of intransigence and solidity through these blows as was shown by its resolute role in the Smith Act trial and the upsurge in the working class trade-union struggles during 1943-47 out of which issued Cannon’s affirmation, “The Coming American Revolution.” However, a theoretical sterility and blunting of political alertness took place and was never made good. All these circumstances underlie the recent statement of the British SLL that the SWP had made no political contribution to the world movement since 1940 [in “Trotskyism Betrayed” by SLL-NC, July 21, 1962].
b. The response of the SWP to the Tito-Stalin split marked the opening of a period in the party’s existence which was concluded with the end of the regroupment period. (The response to the Cuban Revolution is on a new and different plane.) It was a period in which, when opportunities opened up somewhere, the party typically would initially respond in a revolutionary manner. Failing to get sufficient results, it would begin to water down its approach, enthuse over dubious elements and press hard against the limits of formal revolutionary doctrine. Then a halt would be called, a cooling off took place and its “historic opportunity” or “hero” of only yesterday, though perhaps unchanged, became completely passé.
The eulogistic and shameful scrabble after “comrade” Tito in 1949-1950 was a reaction to disappointments in the reversal of the trade-union struggle, a sharp decline in the party’s size and influence, all in the context of the growing witch hunt, which started Cochran-Clarke’s restlessness to break out of the revolutionary movement.
Similar reactions set in internationally in the Fourth International; but it was not until the Cochran group in the United States was ready to break overtly with Revolutionary Marxism that the then US majority recoiled and led a world split which arrested the rightward drift in the party for a time. Yet, the split was weak and defensive for the following reasons:
1.) It placed organizational over political issues. The split of the FI was simply announced in the pages of the Militant as a reaction to the world center’s support of the Cochran-Clarke group. It was not fought out to a culmination and rupture, thus catching the SWP’s co-thinkers by surprise and unprepared and left the neutrals perplexed and inside the FI.
2.) It placed national over international considerations, as was in addition shown by the SWP’s endorsement of the expulsion of the French majority by the Pablo center in 1952 [See SWP International Bulletin of November, 1952, “Documents on the Crisis of the PCI (French Section of the FI).”] This took place only a year prior to the SWP’s own break with Pablo.
Immediately in 1954, at Weiss’ instigation, the party was made to undergo the strange experience of the anti-McCarthy campaign in which McCarthy was dished up as a full-blown fascist who had to be fought in the streets by the trade-unions. This qualitative overstatement of McCarthy’s role was accompanied by an agitational campaign in the very depth of a period of terrible isolation, reaction, and passivity, while the Militant, week after week, shredded and reduced to a parody the Trotskyist understanding of fascism.
Then in 1956-1958 came the series of regroupment activities growing out of the Stalinist crisis which began with the adoption of the excellent SWP “Statement on Socialist Regroupment” and which correctly facilitated the SWP’s involvement in open forum discussions. It also facilitated and encouraged the winning-over of a left-wing from the liquidating Shachtmanite YSL. Soon, however, the impatient attempt at a pay-off at any price led to flattery in theMilitant of the Gatesites who were heading for the Democratic Party and to an adaptation to the National Guardian, as in the building of Guardian supporter clubs. Then came the treatment of the ISP with an approach of rubbery principles. Only the intransigence of anti-Trotskyist elements saved the SWP from being a partner to a common electoral New York State slate which would have placed the SV/P in the compromising position of being in an electoral block for propaganda. The feverish assertion in the PC draft resolution of March 1959 that regroupment was bigger and better than ever, came just when the regroupment period had palpably come to an end. But then J.P. Cannon called a halt and that was that. The party was contained rather formally within nominally principled limits.
3. The Present Political Positions of the SWP (i.e. the “autocatalytic” or “chain-reaction” breakaway of the SWP from the programmatic fundamentals of Revolutionary Marxism.)
Revolutionary parties are not immune to errors (e.g. the Bolsheviks’ “revolutionary democratic dictatorship of the proletariat and peasantry”.) However, the further and clearer the departure from the politics of a consistently class-struggle character, the stronger the restorative (correcting) force within the party. But, after an incubation period of some years (see point 2) the party, unclearly over the youth, openly on the Cuban Revolution (i.e., the permanent revolution), and grossly over Pabloism and the Fourth International (i.e., internationalism) has not merely broken with Leninism, but has overtly replaced it with something else. What had been in recent years a tendency to give an opportunist twist in practice to attempts of the party to seize on opportunities, until a halt was called by restorative forces within the party (characteristically J.P. Cannon), has changed to an overt breakaway from Marxism with the party’s response to the Cuban Revolution, so that the accumulated opportunist forces and appetites within the party were not only unleashed but outright encouraged by Cannon’s initiative in attacking the SLL. With the response to the Cuban Revolution, the variance between words and deeds has become qualitative. The dominant motives and practice today are a clash of attempts to recruit dubious human material at the expense of revolutionary principles, opposed by the fear that any recruitment efforts might alienate the “friendly” leadership groupings of whatever organization the majority can locate (i.e., July 26, Local 1199, NNCC, etc.)
4. The Degenerative Process–The SWP as a Centrist Party.
Centrism is a catch-all word to describe any of those organizations which in Lenin’s words are “revolutionary in words, opportunist in deeds.”
The SWP in particular has fallen victim to degenerative processes similar to those which overtook the pre-World War I German Social Democracy and Lenin’s Bolsheviks, so that the party stands today:
a. in opposition to the most essential aims of the Trotskyist movement for a major part of the globe in the declared dispensability of a revolutionary proletarian party to lead the colonial masses to victory (victory as opposed to the stalemate of the deformed workers’ states or the still more illusory “victories” that do not transcend the entanglements of capitalist imperialism);
b. internationally no longer for a world party, a Fourth International as the self-organized, international vanguard of the working class; instead the SWP seeks a limited unity of mutual amnesty with other centrists in order to form both an “international publicity agency for assorted ‘leftward-moving’ bureaucracies” and to retain an organizational fig leaf to cover their break with the essential substance of proletarian internationalism–the struggle to build a world party of the workers.
Given these profound differences with Revolutionary Marxism, it is to belabor the obvious to insist merely upon the centrist character of the SWP. On the contrary, it is critically important, in accepting the characterization of the SWP, not to be swept away and into a split perspective as though centrism equaled some kind of political leprosy. To quote a “Letter to Ed” of October 1961 which deals with this question:
“In the past few years the party has began to react to opportunities by turning each one into a cycle of opportunism until the given opening is exhausted. Each time a selection takes place, some–notably the Weiss group–get worse and move toward liquidationism, but others react and are impelled in a leftward direction. This process has just begun, if one stops to view the SWF historically. There are two roads open. Either each wave of oppositionals will let themselves get washed out of the party, making it even harder for succeeding left-wingers, or each opportunist venture into fresh fields will augment the revolutionary Marxists with additional forces.”
5. The SWP as a Rightward-Moving Centrist Party.
Centrism is a phrase which covers a multitude of sins. As Trotsky put it: “Speaking formally and descriptively, centrism is composed of all those trends within the proletariat and on its periphery which are distributed between reformism and Marxism and which most often represent various stages of evolution from reformism to Marxism–and vice versa.”
The SWP falls short of being a left-centrist party, that is, one of those organizations or groupings (often moving left from the social democrats or out of the CP) which genuinely desires and seeks to work for the socialist revolution but suffers some internal limitation in the form of ideological or organizational baggage which it is unable to transcend in practice (eg. the Workers Party-USA, 1941-46; the Austrian Revolutionary Socialists, 1934-38; the left-wing of the POUM at various times.)
The SWP’s practical excursions into activity bear not merely the stamp of being mistaken or inhibited in some way from a revolutionary standpoint, but in addition have become opportunist in intent. The theoretical or political “explanations” are just that, not guides to revolutionary action, rather “covers”–rationalizations to maintain a revolutionary rhetoric. Comrade Mage’s recent “Critical Notes on the Political Committee Draft ‘Problems of the Fourth International and the Next Steps’” is nothing but a political exposé of a whole series of such rationalizations.
The disease of the SWP is degenerative in character and some insight and guidance can be gained for us by comparison with the CPUSA which was undergoing a degenerative process in the period 1924-34. However, it is important t» keep in mind the quite different circumstances and mechanism in the case of the SWP.
The SWP in its leadership has become a very old party. From 1928 to the present–54 years–it has been led by the same continuous and little changing body of personnel. Thus it is the most long-lived, ostensibly revolutionary, organization in history. Its current National Committee must have one of the highest average ages of any communist movement ever.
While the leadership is old, many of the leading rank and file party stalwart at the local branch level are middle-aged and comfortably well off–skilled workers with many years’ seniority and homeowners to boot. Most extreme, but by no means unique in this respect, is one of the two largest party branches, Los Angeles.
6. General and Long-Term Conclusions re the SWP.
The divisions within the SWP are irreconcilable since they reflect differences which are and will ultimately be reducible to the difference of reform vs. revolution. It is a strong temptation in politics to succumb to impatience and seek to artificially accelerate what is deemed inevitable in the long run into an immediately posed issue. The break of the SWP with Marxism has taken place over “foreign” issues about which many subjectively revolutionary members are insensitive and unaroused.
The process of clarification within the SWP will not be complete until the party has to face up to major class struggles within the United States. From now until such a time the role of the revolutionary Marxists within the party must be that of an aggressive, political polarizing force.
II. The Tasks of the Minority
7. The fundamental task of the minority must be to win unambiguously the mantle of Trotskyism, of recognition as the revolutionary Marxist party, within this country. The basic character, course and [crises] of this undertaking are determined by the irreconcilable differences generated by the rightward-moving and degenerative process of the SWP and the resolute opposition to this process which must be undertaken by the minority. The heritage and unbroken tradition of Marxism in the United States must not be allowed to falter and be dragged through the slime of centrist politics which can have no other effect than of selling short the American revolution.
That the leadership of the SWP is well on this road can be seen not only in the positions taken by the party on such international questions as Cuba, Algeria and the Colonial Revolutions in general, but in a more fundamental sense in the common denominator running throughout these and all other positions and actions taken by the party which run counter to or tend to sabotage the formation of revolutionary Marxist parties. The slighting of revolutionary parties is well illustrated in an absurd and criminal half-quote selected by the National Committee from Trotsky’s Stalinism and Bolshevism: “… The party is not the only facto of development and on a larger historical scale is not the decisive one.” Thus does the SWP signal its retreat from Marxism and here the battle for Marxism begins in the American Section of the Fourth International.
8. The battle for the preservation of Marxism in this country is not, however, one which has begun only in the past few months. On the contrary, the discussions on the reunification with Pablo and the panegyrics of the party over the course of the Algerian revolution can be traced quite easily to those positions decided on in the course of the Cuban Revolution. The failures to undertake a principled and critical defense of the Cuban Revolution have, in turn, their roots far back in the history of the SWP.
Principally, however, the organizational and tactical battle has been going on since the organization of the minority evolved over the course of the discussion on Cuba. We have been struggled against not only politically, but organizationally as well since we began to raise a concerted voice concerning the new course followed by the SWP. The shape and nature of this battle have only recently come to be recognized as such a vicious and severe one simply because the minority has only recently realized the seriousness of this struggle and attempted a more vigorous resistance. In other words the party has been attacking us all along and primarily in the area which they have come to understand best–the organizational area of bureaucratic manipulation.
9. It is time that we appraise not only the sources and nature of this fight within the party but further that we correctly evaluate the likely path of struggle in order to best prepare and implement the most determined, resolute and conscious opposition. Basically the speed with which this conflict is finally resolved will depend upon how swiftly events move on the national and international arenas. It will also depend in large measure on the degree to which we are successful in swelling our membership, that is, comrades who adhere to our fundamental program. From most indications on the American scene, this is likely to take some time; a period of several years.
However, there are at least two areas of important and immediate unrest and conflict. By all criteria, the largest and most important of these is the civil-rights struggle in the United States and particularly in the American South. This clash contains the genuine seeds of pre-revolutionary conflict in this country.
The other area lies in the direction of the peace movement which in many cases marks the attempts of youth to break away from the cul-de-sac of bohemianism and locate a base from which they can express their militant dissatisfaction with the cold and hot war policies of the Washington government.
There are many ether potential areas of conflict as well, not the least of which is the trade union movement. It is, for example, highly interesting to note that many trade unions in this country have contributed funds to the SNCC which is at the moment the left-wing grouping of the civil rights movement in this country.
10. It will therefore, be a period of years in which we are involved in this struggle for Marxism. We must not slight the serious, bitter and protracted nature of this struggle since each delay, every detour and all indecisive actions on our part can only contribute to the further strangulation of revolutionary opportunities in the United States. It is absolutely necessary that we utilize what Trotsky called “the superiority of foresight over ‘astonishment’” and reject all forms of crass empiricism which have become so popular with the majority.
For instance, some majority comrades are currently assaying as the real item the “crisis view of history” which amounts to the proposition that the economy is headed for another severe slump which will (automatically) assure a mighty gain in membership and influence for the party. According to this view Fascist and other Bonapartist possibilities are severely discredited. The revolutionary party is reduced to a colossal container to catch the cast-offs of this process. Minority comrades are well able to discern the falsity of this approach. But we must beware all temptations to sit back and wait for a split in the majority ranks or a major social upheaval as a substitute for decisive actions now. That we will gain from these clashes is incontestable only if in the interim we have become a viable revolutionary grouping! As Leninists we seek no quack formulas for quick revolutionary victories.
11. Knowledge of the immediate and forthcoming struggle with revisionism can only serve to help prevent shock, disillusionment and “astonishment” over the highhanded techniques with which the majority bureaucracy are currently attempting to quash the minority. Throughout, of course, the party leadership will genuflect in the direction of “democratic” centralism. But none will be surprised at times when centralism elbows democracy aside.
Thus the party welcomes all minority comrades who wish to blindly do party work. But as the recent episode of Comrades Shirley and Steve strikingly portray, we can expect the most vicious resistance when seeking to be placed in positions of genuine importance. The disgusting and unprincipled tactics utilized by the Carl Feingolds and LeRoy McRaes only serve to underscore the profound mistrust of the SWP towards all fresh, youthful, revolutionary currents. The majority with “good” reason does not trust us and will attempt to veto any attempts of ours to integrate ourselves into the party. Fighting by their rules, we will never raise ourselves above an errand boy (or girl) position. Even those few comrades left of the tendency who hold responsible positions within the party are on their way out with the possible exception of one or two who will be permitted to remain if only to keep the majority au courant with the latest positions of the minority.
12. The majority rank and file, however, contains many valuable elements who will more and more become disgusted at this unprincipled behavior and find it increasingly difficult to reconcile this activity with their conceptions of democratic centralism. One of our major tasks must be to recruit these comrades to our tendency. This in fact is our first line of recruitment and is of vital importance. Those majority comrades who currently refuse to join us may well comprise groups who will join us at later times as the SWP continues its reckless course. It is important that we remain sensitive to the stirrings of the majority and give them as many openings as possible to reach us and exchange ideas, opinions, etc. On the other side, we must incessantly attempt to contact them and push their doubts about the party into the open. But this process, although one of the most important, is but one of the ways in which we will increase our numbers; it is by no means the only one and we must seriously begin to consider the possibility that we will not gain a majority following within the party.
13. We seek to recruit to the tendency. All organizational tasks must be undertaken with this concept in mind. Leninists seek everywhere to carry out the revolutionary program of the Fourth International and today that revolutionary program is embodied in the principles and program of the American minority. At present, largely because the SWP is the ostensible revolutionary party in the eyes of the radical public and the party membership, we work through the SWP. But we can have no intention of building centrism. We work within the party because it provides us with the best possible opportunity for building our tendency and not through any mistaken concepts of loyalty to a diseased shell.
14. Our discipline is with the ranks of the tendency as well. Discipline binds us to a program of action and functions through the form of a party. But in this period, when the program has become separated from the majority of the party, our discipline must be with the minority until that time when program and form are again united. It is imperative that this uniting take place as quickly as possible, but for the various reasons given above, it is likely that this will take some time. In the interim, we must not allow ourselves to drift back and forth confusing, now, discipline with the form of the SWP and, then, with the minority.
15. Ours will be a problem of a “double” recruitment. As we seek to build the tendency, therefore, and as we have the perspective of working within the SWP in the coming period, recruitment of new cadres from outside the party will involve considerable effort. There can be no question of meekly handing this raw material over to the party for conversion into careerists or a probable speedy disillusionment. At the very least, we must exercise as complete communication and access a possible with these elements when they are first introduced to the party. But the source of cadres for our tendency is second only to recruitment within the party and is therefore of the utmost importance.
16. As our tendency builds its ranks, the SWP will become more and more reluctant to accept members in its various branches who are evidently supporters of the minority. On one pretext or another the SWP leadership will refuse to take these comrades in, or suggest that they do not have “enough experience”, etc. Thus Goran Moberg was refused admittance to the party on the grounds that he was living in Puerto Rico which was not a part of the United States. Requests to make him a member-at-large were considered out of the question by Carl Feingold.
We can not drop these comrades! On the contrary, we must keep them in as close a contact as possible with the functioning and activities of the Socialist movement. Under no conditions must this vigorous new material be allowed to wither up and drift away because of insufficient political and organizational contact with revolutionary Marxism.
17. Gathering all of our forces together, and acting in a cohesive fashion, we must press the struggle within the party on an organizational level as well as on a political one. But our primary battle is a political one and we must not allow ourselves to succumb to the majority disease of organizational manipulation in lieu of political struggle. We have, nevertheless, much to learn on the organizational plane, but we must learn these techniques while battling against them. In many meetings, it is possible to utilize tactics which will at the very least give us an opportunity of being “heard”, that is, of carrying our arguments to the other comrades.
18. To repeat, our major battle is a political one and we must seek whenever possible to counterpose revolutionary arguments and programs to those of the SWP. The effect of this tactic will be a two-fold one. That is, it will help to bring over additional majority comrades to our ranks and at the same time it will help to crystallize the political thinking of the minority comrades who carry out these appeals. No item in the Militant or the ISR should be too small for us to fasten upon and expose its true nature. We must seek to open political discussions at all times if only during the coffee break at branch meetings. There are no shortages of areas on the American scene in which we can ask for discussion: the civil rights movement, etc.
19. In general we must pick and choose our battles in order to avoid defeats and losses which might weaken the fighting spirit of the minority. But there is no reason why we can not act as united blocs within the party when approaching some outside activity as a strike, campus activity or the like. This will always be a highly difficult proposition because of our position within the SWP, but we must attempt to utilize every opportunity possible for recruitment. Planned and united actions within the party will exact a much greater reward than haphazard and self-contradictory actions. This places a tremendous burden upon the various minority comrades who are expected to carry out these actions, but they are therefore not the less needed.
20. The situations in the various branches are differentiated in degree from that in New York. Thus, there is an opportunity present in certain cities such as Berkeley-Oakland or New Haven of our winning organizational control. All comrades in these critical areas should be encouraged and aided as completely as possible. Visitations by groups or individuals, many letters, and material aid should be made available in order to make the most of any opportunities which may present themselves. Organizational control in a branch would render the task of recruitment much easier. Control would also make it much more possible to reach other majority comrades through the National Convention, etc. Therefore, in addition to the suggestions above, comrades should be encouraged to move to places where they can be most politically effective.
21. The situation facing our forces is qualitatively the same in the YSA as in the party. But in the youth a more open and revealing process takes place, paralleling the course of the SWP. The process is the more open because those currently carrying out the majority line there are usually not as skilled as the SWP’s Carl Feingold in manipulating organizationally. But that they are less skilled does not mean that they are less dangerous. Still, by virtue of their fluster and bluster they can often be temporarily beaten or side-tracked. Comrades operating in the YSA can speedily detect those times when it can be most advantageous to attack with vigor and those when it will be best to maintain a silence. But at no time must we fall into the trap of lending other than critical or conditional support, depending upon the circumstances, to the various proposals and activities. At other times, we must resolutely offer, in the words of Comrade Harper, “a revolutionary alternative on the issues under discussion.”
22. The document submitted by Comrade Harper (Orientation of the Party Minority in Youth Work [draft]) on 8 August 1962 to the New York Tendency contains our basic position in regard to youth work. This document should be supported, developed and implemented at every opportunity.
23. The essential prerequisite for developing and implementing the minority program and tasks is a high caliber of political and theoretical training. Without this preparation and continued development of cadres, we can have no other option than to function on the basis of personalities and “facts” rather than on the basis of Marxist theory and dialectical processes. It makes absolutely no sense to demand that comrades be more “active”, particularly in such a danger-laden situation as the one we are presently in, without at the same time demanding a tendency program designed to continue the development of political awareness which forms the sine qua non of our existence as socialists.
24. One of the charges which has been made amongst the minority is that our tendency stands in danger of becoming a “study circle”. Presumably, the reference attempts to characterize a latent or explicit desire for minority comrades to shirk from mass contact and (centrist) party building concomitant with a preference to discuss revolutionary work as abstractly as possible. But not a single member of the minority fills this bill of goods! Each has at the very least taken the significant step of joining what he or she took to be the revolutionary party in this country. In addition, the minority is primarily composed of comrades who have worked tirelessly in the party on a political and organizational level and who have made many of the most outstanding contacts with mass groupings. One of the most noteworthy complaints of these comrades is not that they do not wish to do party work, but that they do not care to be reduced to cogs in an autocratically managed centrist party, that is, a party which limits the areas of political usefulness. Our comrades want to be active, but they want to be active as revolutionary Socialists.
Therefore, one of our major tasks at this moment is to become a study circle! The ability to reason and develop our program, both individually and collectively is absolutely necessary if we hope to win new elements while carrying on a sustained struggle. We are the vanguard precisely to the extent that we become capable of carrying out the tasks of a vanguard. The carrying out of these tasks necessarily presupposes study on all problems facing the proletariat as a class engaged in struggle as well as on all problems before its vanguard.
25. It is necessary to develop both formal and informal political discussion among ourselves. To this end we seek to have forums, educationals and the like in the SWP and YSA given by members of the minority. In addition, we must supplement this pattern of education by a full range of programs within our local tendency units. More, we must see to it that minority comrades are provided with the fullest and widest possible knowledge of national and international developments. There can be no meaningful development and application of Marxism without the greatest practicable exchange of information concerning the various moods, trends and events in the world Trotskyist movement. It must be an unquestioned obligation for all comrades to see that others are furnished copies of relevant correspondence whenever possible. At the very least full and continued access to these documents must be the right of all minority comrades. Any inclination to build personal prestige or status by the arrogation and withholding of reports must be checked.
26. Fundamental to the tasks of our tendency which can only be successfully carried out by means of raising the caliber of the minority as Marxists is the resolute shattering of the petty-bourgeois and reactionary division between Marxist “thinkers” and Marxist “doers”. Any notions along this line in our ranks can only, if encouraged, bring a most pernicious outcome to our struggle. All comrades should be included in the happenings and encouraged in every imaginable way to take part. This is particularly important at a time when we are so few in numbers. And since we are so few there can be no excuse for failing to carry out this proposal. Failure to include comrades in discussions, consult with them, and heed their proposals indicates an attitude of contempt for the very idea of a Leninist party.
27. Yet even our short-term perspective is not that of becoming a “permanent discussion group” or a Marxist coterie. But we must realize that lacking a clearly thought out–and discussed!–set of tactics, strategies and programs we will only function to see ourselves drowned by the Charybdis of sectarianism or rent by the Scylla of opportunism and petty-bourgeois accommodationism. “Without revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary action” is an absolutely correct maxim. Nowhere today is the need for the correct application of this maxim more necessary than in the struggle ahead.
28. Let us take the motto of Karl Liebknecht for ours in the coming period: “Studieren, propagandieren. organisieren”–Study, propagandize, organize. The success of our struggle to seize the mantle of Trotskyism depends upon it.
6 September 1962