[Appendix I to Letter of Resignation from the International Bolshevik Tendency by Samuel Trachtenberg]
Posting To alt.politics.socialism.trotsky —“Publish and be damned”
From: Philip Ferguson <pl…@csc.canterbury.ac.nz>
Subject: Att: Peter West, Re: Publish and be damned
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To Peter West,
Peter here’s some stuff that was posted on apst some time back by a former PRG member, dealing with how the Logan regime operates.
The ex-member is a guy called Peter de Waal, who was one of a number of members whom Logan decided constituted a ‘Menshevik Bulge’ in the organisation. In fact the moves against this ‘Bulge’ were part of Logan conducting a disciplining of the organisation, so that the mebers ot to understand that only those who truly loved him and saw him as the world proletariat’s lost leader would be fit to stay in the PRG.
Those refusing such obeisance had to be destroyed, both to get rid ogf them as non-believers and also to send a clear message to the rest of the members. This is the methodology Alan Gibson and Barbara Duke have been trained in.
I’ve edited out references to the names of a number of other PRGers who supported the purging but have since left the outfit. At the end I add a few comments of my own. Where events or people need some explanation, I have added info in brackets, along with my initials. Other stuff in brackets was in the original text. Where PRGers use party surnames, I have changed the name in the text to their party name.)
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From Peter de Waal:
Sheepstation Zero Presents “PRG Quotes – The Stuff They Hoped Wouldn’t Come Out.
Here’s a few examples of the kind of stuff that circulated on the IBT’s international bulletin boards after I left the PRG. In my previous postings I have only alluded to this stuff, here’s the evidence! It’s pretty obvious from reading it that these people are unreconstituted Stalinists, the postings from Bill Logan and Harlan being particularly interesting. It all reminds me of a joke I once heard – “we’ll torture you so slowly, you’ll think it’s a career”.
– How to break a comrade
>from Logan BL30526 26/5/93 – Developments in the PRG
p.3: We are not used to this kind of political discussion in the PRG, although of course it is not historically unusual for a demoralized comrade to leave a revolutionary organisation in a messy argument which involves some combination of disciplinary problem and accusations of bureaucracy. In general the important thing to do is to have several long hard rounds with the intention of exposing to the departing comrade (and to other members) the subjective motivations involved and the general deep inadequacy of the departee. In these cases of course, where you are fundamentally dealing with personal demoralisation, questions of personality and programme are fused. Such comrades make program out of their personal needs.
We would prefer that such people have as little to do with politics as possible for a period, and a hammering can sometimes deepen the demoralisation, which is to the good.
Because there was no preparation whatever, and because we have never had such a situation before, the process in this instance was unusually kind in my experience, although there may have been comrades who nevertheless felt the process not sufficiently kind on Peter.
And there may also be comrades who hoped that a softer touch with him was more likely to enable us to use him in damage control exercises in Auckland and the South Island. My own view is that if there is any prospect of using him in such exercises – and that seems unlikely – it would only be after a sharp confrontation in which he got a thorough political beating.
Part way through the second round of the discussion Peter said that he was incapable of continuing the discussion – and it was pretty mild. I still hoped that we would be able to elicit more information from Peter and believed that he should in any case face up to the discussion, so I moved a motion making it clear he was under discipline to remain at the meeting. That motion was passed with only Peter dissenting.”
p.4 “My own sense is that the comrades are being a little over-critical of me, a little to scrupulous about the proper mode in which political struggle is conducted. There is a view that this is a personal rather than a political attack. I don’t have much in the way of regrets here.
Furthermore my judgement of him is that sharply pointing out to him that he has little to offer politics might well help him along in the direction of retirement.
Rory RT30527 27/5/93 (Rory was one of the ‘Menshevik bulge’ – PF)
p.1: “My experience of this organisation is that it is not a place for clarifying differences, rather, it is a place for dismantling the opposition.”
– from a note to Sari “Bill’s psycho-pathology had become imprinted in the organisation”. Apparently Rory was referring to a conversation he had with Bill, where Bill candidly asked Rory of his opinion of the PRG, as a trained counsellor.
Harlan (Leader of the German IBT)
Document dated 16/6/93, copies to all points except London – Jill & Garry in London were only supporters at the time and Bill didn’t want to scare them off
p.1 Nevertheless, I am slightly alarmed that a number of comrades internationally appear not to have understood that the tone and manner employed by Bill and Adaire in the 25th May meeting was appropriate to dealing with a member of a revolutionary organisation who covered up the theft of internal PRG materials, characterised the leader of the section as non-Bolshevik, and refused to make a political fight.
This was not a ‘normal’ political fight; not even one which could lead to a split over real political differences. Peter collaborated with an enemy of the organisation to which he had given his allegiance, an organisation which embodies the historical needs of the international working class. (I think this refers to someone from IS staying at Logan’s and nicking a PRG document, with de Waal knowing about this and not saying anything, but I’m not sure – PF)
He initially lied about that collaboration. I think it would be useful to address how the PRG would have dealt with the traitor Peter in the context of proletarian insurrection or a civil war between revolutionary proletarian forces and capitalist forces. A revolutionary organization leading such a desperate struggle would have promptly physically disposed of the traitor after extracting information from him by whatever means were found necessary.
In the present situation the tasks for the PRG were to get rid of Peter in a manner which accomplished two purposes:-
One: render him ideologically and emotionally incapable of doing the PRG damage.
Two: drive home to the PRG membership the full scope of Peter’s betrayal and his uselessness to revolutionary Marxism.
Bill and Adaire’s conduct were well within the REQUIRED parameters. Confusion between the desired norms of inter-party differences and struggle and between workers democracy on one hand and the extraordinary means appropriate to dealing with a morally weak traitor on the other hand causes me concern about the present ability of some IBT comrades to distinguish Bolshevik norms of internal life from the sometimes necessarily brutal measures an organisation must use in dealing with the Peter’s of this world who accidentally wander into a revolutionary combat organisation.
The aggressive and (politically-personally) abusive posture of Bill toward Peter during the break was an appropriate device to try to elicit either
- a) a more political elucidation of his perception of the PRG as distorted by Healyite organisational practices.
- b) an emotional breakdown into self contempt (quite appropriate) which could help in damage control.
- c) a cornered rat reaction of physical violence which would have been useful to the PRG in discrediting Peter in his probable future career of anti-PRG “expert”.
- d) getting more information.
p.2 The worrisome thing is that some PRG members still think that Bill and Adaire’s tactical leadership was ‘deficient, in that there was a pattern of conduct on the part of these two comrades involving behaviour the tone and style of which was excessively inflammatory, and was therefore inappropriate to this particular (!) situation’. (quoted from Marcus Hayes, PRG, emphasis Harlan’s) ‘and that Adaire’s intervention on the round was ‘extremely contemptuous’.
(This above stuff refers to the fact that at this bizarre meeting Peter de Waal was subject to vitriolic tirades by Logan and the madwoman Hannah, and that in the break Logan attempted to provoke Peter de Waal into hitting him. This would have then been used to destroy de Waal politically in the eyes of PRG members and make his name dirt on the left. Some PRGers, including one of the leaders – Marcus Hayes -thought this approach was a bit out of order, and Marcus, to his credit, subsequently said or wrote that if Peter de Waal had’ve hit Logan, then Logan would have borne some of the moral respsonsibility. This led Harlan, the maniac in charge of their German operation, to go off the deep end at Marcus, as evidenced in what you’re reading now.- PF)
Extreme contempt was the only appropriate “tone” in which to characterise Peter’s conduct and Peter as a soon to be expelled member of a revolutionary organisation. Peter had made a commitment to revolutionary proletarian Marxism. Whether he was personally of sufficient emotional maturity and capable of an objective evaluation the requirements of commitment are quite beside the point. Making a proper example of Peter and driving him into political suicide was the desirable outcome of the 25th May meeting.
I do not think that Bill’s characterisation of Peter as a ‘pathetic piece of human material’ was inappropriate or unnecessarily abusive, I just think it was unscientific and insufficiently insulting.
p.3 We want the traitors such as Peter to exit in a demoralized state as we can possibly help bring about. We have no interest in or perspective in keeping in touch with Peter, or of sorting out our differences with him whilst he is outside of the organisation. Nor are we interested in re-recruiting him in another possible conjecture.
Peter de Waal wrote about this:
– Pretty simple really:- 1) destroy Peter, 2) put a flinch into the rest of the comrades. Notable is Harlan’s belief that the IBT embodies the historical needs of the working class. Bill used to rave on that as an ex-Spartacist Leaguer he was connected by organisational method and inculcation to the original SWP(USA) and therefore to Trotsky, Lenin, in an uninterrupted bloodline of communists. I used to refer to this notion as the S.T.D. (Sexually Transmitted Disease) theory of Marxist consciousness – you have to catch it by personal contact and you can only get a dose from one of the chosen, e.g. Bill. With regard to Harlan’s reference to what they would have done to me under a war communism setting, it reveals more about the functioning of Harlan’s mind than is relevant to the discussion. I suppose the feelings of powerlessness arising from his life experience find expression in such calls for bloody justice.
Physical Intimidation – Boyd – BABT 15/6/93 (This is a contribution to the discussion by an IBTer in the Bay Area, who was also disgusted by Logan’s method – PF)
p.2 Worse than simply staying in the viscinity of Peter, Logan admits to having consciously aggravated him by using a loud, angry and insulting tone. Logan’s demeanour was by all accounts calculated to reduce the situation to fisticuffs. Logan admits to being aware that Peter was at breaking point and might have hit him. Logan even wrote that it might not have been a bad thing if Peter had hit him. This is not the kind of atmosphere we want to be creating internally.
We must hold our comrades, senior leadership in particular, as we recently held myself, to a higher standard of behaviour. The IS has let comrade Logan off the hook and in doing so has set a precedent. To what extent this precedent becomes practise we will have to see.
Indirect Intimidation – Boyd 9 June,1993
p.5 Lastly and most importantly, my experience is that junior comrades (observers to the harsh and angry exchanges) might be intimidated. I think Adaire and Bill, in particular, don’t see the issue of indirect intimidation. It has been my observation that comrades with less intestinal fortitude, comrades who may already be insecure in their thoughts and feelings, upon observing the treatment of Peter will be even less likely to speak up. It doesn’t matter that this has not been the usual pattern of discussion in the PRG. For some comrades it may only take one such incident to intimidate them. Perhaps, this is also an unexpressed concern of comrades who voted to criticise Bill and Adaire.
I can tell you that it is a very slippery slope you will be on if you decide that angry and emotion laden confrontation is the general approach you want to take.
That style is then communicated to new recruits who either adopt it or silently put up with it. It is the road towards the CULTISH ‘gang bang’ method of the SL. It is not the general approach we want to take. We GENERALLY want to encourage the style and method that the PRG have traditionally used. At this point I really don’t fear your degeneration into the Smith/Ryker style, but I’m a bit bothered by written defences such as Bill and Adaire’s that would seem to counsel such.
– Here Boyd correctly ascertains the reason for the manner in which the 25 May 1993 meeting was conducted, to put a flinch in the rest of the organisation. The following is a statement by Nicci, told to Sari “Nicci said that she wanted to talk to Adaire about her intervention against Peter, but she didn’t feel able to, as she felt intimidated by Adaire and didn’t think that Adaire would listen anyway.”
(these are two people who left as part of the purge of the ‘Menshevik bulge’ – PF)
“Motions of the PRG Meeting – Tuesday 8th June, 1993
The executive on Monday 7th June voted by majority to recommend the following to the PRG:-
‘That we note that insufficient thought was given by the exec to the security implications of having Glenn stay at Bill’s place while he was in Wellington. In view of the centrality of Bill’s place to certain aspects of our organisation it would require a level of care which would be very disruptive, or the installation of a lock on Bill’s study door, to make the place safe for someone such as Glen. Adaire objected to Glenn’s being placed at Bill’s in a gathering of members of the executive, and Bill assured comrades that it would be OK, so he must take primary responsibility for this. The precautions discussed among exec members (having to do with computer security), and other precautions which were taken, proved to be inadequate.”
More from Bill Logan on his fuck-up BL30526 26/5/93 – Developments in the PRG:
p.4 “First there is Adaire’s point, which precedes the meeting. She had warned that Glenn was a cunning and experienced bastard and should not be allowed in my house. In retrospect it is hard to argue with that.”
Harlan Document dated 16/6/93
“But the most alarming aspect of this incident is the ease with which a hostile person got access to internal printed materials dealing with personnel questions. Laxness on security is not limited to the PRG. After Smith was placed on suspension without access to IBT internal political life he apparently had access to Compuserve until Jensen’s intervention into technical security questions in the Bay Area. I suspect that some of the material printed in the CWG ‘historical’ document post-dated Smith’s suspension.”
Sari: “Glen was invited by Bill to use his study desk whilst staying with Bill. He saw the 7th May doc on the desk and read it. He told Peter that night of it’s contents and that they intended to ‘do Peter’. The next day Glenn returned to Bill’s to collect his gear and grabbed a copy of the 7th May doc and brought it back to Peter before he left for Auckland.”
(Glen is the guy from IS who as staying at Logan’s – PF)
>from David Wincop DW30604 “Tactics Concerning Peter” 30/6/93
p.1 “Marcus says that ‘if Peter had struck Bill, then Bill would have shared a kind of low-level responsibility for the violence’. I feel that this statement needs to be thoroughly opposed and that Marcus should retract it. If a sexily dressed woman, who dances dirty, is subsequently gang raped(as portrayed by Jodie Foster in the true-story-based film “The Accused”), does that mean she “would have shared a kind of low-level responsibility for the violence”? Of course not. If Peter had struck Bill then the only person responsible would have been Peter.”
– Bill as a sexy woman, Peter as a rapist??!!!! Sex = violence? Sick puppy stuff! David is now available for viewing in the London IBT section.
The Menshevik Bulge’s Revenge
“When Peter left, I was allowed to rejoin as they wanted to refute the commonly held perception that they were engaging in a “purge”. They went to extreme lengths to keep Nicci in the organisation, and when Spike left they didn’t tell anyone for ages that he had gone. Apparently Spike agreed to go along with this deception, as the PRG still seem to have some sort of moral hold over him and he’s still friends with a few of them, I guess he feels guilty about working in a structure devoted to throwing workers on to the streets. Unfortunately for them Rory left three weeks after Peter, after some bitter arguments over the structure and methods of the PRG and particularly it’s behaviour towards Peter.”
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Since this time, 1993, the PRG has hardly recruited anyone. They have lost rather than grown in numbers. This whole episode and the behavior of Logan and Hannah showed conclusively that they hadn’t changed from the days when they were running Spart operations in Australia and Britain like a pair of sociopaths. Logan was expelled by the Sparts for being a sociopath and lacking even the most rudimetary human decency. The Sparts actually produced three volumes dealing with his internal trial and his sociopath behaviour in Australia and britain. W he came back to NZ, they donated copies to all the public libraries, to warn everyone on the left here about him.
The Menshevik bulge episode gives a small glimpse into the recesses of a totally sick and warped outfit, run by a pair – Logan and nutburger Hannah – whom no healthy left-wing organisation would let within a mile.
The IBT is disintegrating – most of the North American IBT has up and left, a chunk of the wee band in Germany has gone, the British operation has been an unmitigated failure over the past three or four years Logan’s cubs have been there, and in New Zealand the attempt to expand into Auckland has seen most of the people sent there drop out.
The PRG hasn’t produced an issue of its deadly dull ‘journal’, ‘The Bolshevik’, for over two years. The last issue was a few badly photocopied A4 sheets stapled together in one corner. The IBT hasn’t produced their wooden and soporific supposedly ‘quarterly’ journal ‘1917’ since January of this year.
Everyone involved in left politics in this country has favourite stories about the psycho-pathology called the ‘PRG’, but one of my recent favourites is this. At the last Socialist Student Conference in Wellington, Adaire Hannah did her usual ranting, raving piece from the floor (she really is, as one ex-PRGer described her, “the stereotypical middle-aged spinster school marm from hell”. Other people just call her ‘Nutburgher Hannah” or “Mad Adaire”). Anyway, after that particular session, the PRG tops sent their members around at break time to eavesdrop on people’s conversations – this kind of whacko stuff is what the Logan-Hannah school regard as clever ‘Bolshevik’ organisational procedure. One of their innocent rank and file was doing her eavesdropping duties, hovering and listening in to a conversation including a woman the PRG had its eye on. Just as the Purg was eavesdropping, this woman started talking about Adaire Hannah being mad! The poor PRGer! What the PRG think is some kind of clever tactic (eavesdropping) resulted in the typical eavesdropper’s nightmare – hearing something that they really would rather not have heard.
One of the most disturbing aspects of the Logan regime – and which is further conclusive evidence of how little he has changed – is the manner in which he tries to inculcate loyalty. This seems to consist fo two tricks:
One is that he is the world proletariat’s lost leader, who has inherited the mantle of Lenin (via Trotsky, Cannon and Robertson)
The second one is by playing the victim. The way this works is that he presents himself as poor old Bill, he’s gay, he was treated real mean by the Sparts, nobody understands or loves him, even his lover committed suicide a while back. Thus everyone is supposed to rally around poor old Bill, and help protect him from the cruel world. So people are psychologically tied to him with this particular mind game crap.
As time has gone on, anyone healthy has left the PRG and they are starting to get down to the hard core of people who will always go along with the pathology.
Lastly, to the CPGB, if you want a debate with the MB, you need to understand that Gibson and Duke are just the monkeys. Logan is the organ-grinder, and neither Gibson nor Duke would do anything or write anything to you without it all being cleared (if not actually written) by the organ-grinder.
Some times, you know, groups on ht left just have crappy politics. Some other times they are just plain psycho cases. Logan is the latter.