Reply to the lies in the answer by WSP’s leadership to our Open Letter

First part of our reply to WSP’s answer to our Open Letter to their membership

On 14 October 2018, Revolutionary Regroupment published an “Open letter to members of the Workers Socialist Party of India” https://rr4i.milharal.org/2018/10/14/open-letter-to-the-members-of-the-wsp-of-india/

One day later, the WSP posted a response on their website, entitled “Our Answer to the Frantic and Spurious ‘Open letter’ by Revolutionary Regroupment, Brazil, Addressed to WSP Members!” https://workersocialist.blogspot.com/2018/10/our-answer-to-frantic-and-spurious-open.html

The response was a flat denial of many things that Revolutionary Regroupment wrote, which are claimed to consist of lies, along with some vulgar political attacks. WSP’s leadership claimed that we never attempted to contact them and said that our open letter consisted of dishonest “trickery”. We will answer their slanderous accusations first.

The open letter, after giving a brief introduction of RR, opens with these words about the WSP: “We persistently tried to contact the WSP leadership in the interest of exchanging political views after reading the Program of WSP and other of your documents”.

In its answer, the WSP leadership repeatedly claims that:

In the first instance, the claim that RR has ever made any effort, leave aside persistent efforts, to contact the WSP leadership, is false and false to the core. Nothing can be farther from the truth. Let the signatory of the open letter, RR, present a single letter they had ever written to the WSP inviting us to open any discussions with it!

You say that you “persistently tried to contact the WSP leadership”. But WSP leaders are unaware of it! WSP leaders are all present on social forums, continuously engaged in war upon world capitalism. There is no trace of your ‘persistent struggle’ to contact them!

Instead of opening any dialogue with WSP leaders on any issue, you resorted to the foul play of issuing an open letter to the WSP members against leadership. This depicts your intention of not being serious about any dialogue but resorting to tricks that we must deprecate.

RR says that it intends to be part of the efforts for creation of an International. … If it was really serious about it, it should have issued a critique of the program of WSP where is disagrees with it and we would have definitely responded to it. Did it do any critique? No!

Amazing! Only you knew till date on what points of WSP program you agree and on what you not! What prevented you really from drawing an account of these agreements and disagreements? It is beyond any doubt that till date you never ever speak on any point of agreement and disagreement.”

The leadership of WSP challenged us to present proof. We can not only do that, but provide a detailed chronogram of our attempts at contacting them. Every letter mentioned here will be present in full in the end of the document.

In the end 2017, Revolutionary Regroupment was already aware of WSP’s existence. One of RR’s sympathizers and one of the members of WSP met through online political forums, and both were interested in arranging a political exchange between the groups. Upon knowing about the group and given a short study of its politics, RR sent two letters introducing itself to WSP (In 2 and 7 of November). The letters were ignored by the party leadership, but RR held conversations with said member of WSP (to whom we will refer as V. from now on) to know more about the program and politics of the group.

In 4 December 2017, after a study of their program, RR sent a more detailed letter to WSP’s email (workers.socialist.party@gmail.com, which can be seen in the contact section of WSP’s website: http://workersocialist.blogspot.com/p/contact-us.html) and to said member of WSP, with the goal of verifying potential political differences with the group. It included the following paragraphs:

We read with interest the “Program of WSP”, as well as the following documents from your website: “Revisiting the politics of Morenoists”, “Our viewpoint on the Kashmir question and the appraisal by the centrist Morenoists”, “Our viewpoint on Maoism” (all three by Rajesh Tyagi) and “The Outcome of the 1st BRIC summit: a derelict zero” by Sushovan Dhar.

As stated to comrade [V.], we are in full agreement with your program on the issues of firm opposition to popular-frontism, opposition to all variants of Stalinist/Maoist stageism, your analysis of the Pabloite centrism that has dominated the Trotskyist movement since the 1950s and your defense of a transitional program adapted to each country. Your analysis of the history of class struggle and imperialist domination in India (aided by the national bourgeoisie) makes the program a very sophisticated document. We therefore regard the WSP as a very interesting group and would like to know it better.

We have, however, detected some potential political differences on the issues of the Marxist program towards national oppression and your attitude towards the trade-unions. We have no difference with most of your analysis of the objective situation. But we are not in favor of a one-sided non-participation/break with trade-unions, since they are still working class organizations and can play a defensive role against attacks by the ruling class, as well as provide revolutionaries with access to organized sections of the working class. On the issue of national oppression, your program has some contradictory statements and we would be very interested in a clarification. We too defend the “right of self-determination, including secession”. And while we would give no political support to nationalist movements nor defend “balkanization” of any country, we would defend the right to independence of an oppressed nation that has already decided so, at the same time we would defend working class unity against all sections of the bourgeoisie. We are interested in working class unity for economic and political purposes, but have no intention of maintaining “unity” under the stronghold of the bourgeois state of an oppressor nation.”

Again, there was no response to our letter from the leadership of the WSP, even though V. confirmed he received the email and that they (WSP’s leadership) were aware of our attempts at contacting them. RR kept in touch with comrade V. who later informed us he would continue in contact with us as he was “put in charge of international relations” (we found it odd that someone who was not in the leadership was “put in charge of international relations”) and this allowed us to continue studying WSP’s program and politics, and to continue trying to contact and arrange a meeting with its leadership.

In 2 of June, 2018, a copy of WSP’s electoral declaration was sent from a member of RR to RR’s internal communications, after which a debate on it amongst the members followed, with the help of a few clarifications from comrade V.

In 16 of July, 2018, it is noted in RR’s internal communications that “[A few days ago] There was a meeting with [V.] from indian WSP. Unfortunately, the member from the leadership couldn’t show up.” At said meeting one of our comrades (The sympathizer mentioned earlier, now a member who was actively participating with the conversations with V.) spoke on the electoral declaration with V., giving a few suggestions on how the agitation for this position could be improved particularly by warning him against the possibility of the Stalinists seeking a way out through the formation of a “Left Bloc” of worker’s parties running on a liberal-“progressive” program.

10 of September, 2018 was the last attempt at holding a conversation with the leadership of the WSP, in a date and time chosen by a member of the leadership himself on great insistence of comrade V. Again, said member of the leadership did not show up.

At that point in time, after more than 3 letters being sent and various attempts at reaching out to them through other ways, including at least two times where it is recorded that their leadership had refused to show up to a meeting agreed upon in advance, our patience finally ran out and we started to believe that we had exhausted our possibility of reaching out to the WSP through its leadership. After a debate on the question we began drafting our Open Letter to the WSP’s membership.

The WSP’s leadership can and probably will deny all of this. However, they will have to answer the much more important question: why have they resorted to drive from the party comrade V. and all people who were close to him, who knew about these matters in more detail?*

Why does the WSP leadership appeal to Stalinist methods on the question of internal regime, all the while you claim “with all pride that WSP is the party where all discussions take place with full freedom of expression.”?

WSP’s leadership also claims we lied about their position on Trade Unions:

On Trade Union question, you claim that WSP is rejecting the work inside Trade Unions.”

“From where did you get this dismissal in our program? On the contrary, we call for most fervent activity inside the Trade Unions and all workers organisations however sectarian they may be. We have called upon the workers everywhere to fight against TU bosses and form struggle committees to carry forward the struggles over the heads of the TU bureaucrats. Is it dismissal of the TUs or animation of a passionate struggle inside them?”

“Your comments upon WSP program and political orientation show beyond all pale of doubt that you took no pains to study and understand the program of WSP and have shown undue haste only to fool yourself, none else.”

We wonder when will the WSP leadership’s tendency of accusing us for their faults end. They proclaim that we have not studied their program to criticise them. Yet, they claim that we misrepresent their policy on trade unions, and then proceed to claim that “On the contrary, we call for most fervent activity inside the Trade Unions.”

As answer, we quote directly from WSP’s own program, which, again, is on WSP’s own website (at http://workersocialist.blogspot.com/p/our-program.html):

The Trade Unions at the most represent the workers as an oppressed mass and not as a revolutionary class. With the decline of the age of nationalism and reformism, the role of trade unions has come to a dead end.

We call for a break with these redundant, sectarian and corrupt bureaucratic organizations, which do not represent in any manner whatsoever, the interests of the modern proletariat. Instead, we must focus upon formation of new independent organizations – such as factory and workplace committees – that truly represent the interests of the rank-and-file workers and have potential to grow directly into workers soviets.“

We would like the WSP leadership to explain to us how exactly can one call so passionately for workers to break from unions, and then turn around and declare that you passionately defend the expansion of the activity of the party inside said organizations. This is a full 180º turn on this question.

This response by WSP’s leadership only made even more clear is that there is no path for discussions with the Party’s leadership, which had been (contrary to their statement) installing and avoiding discussions with us, despite the fact that we have important programmatic agreements and had contact with WSP rank and file members who were in favor of such approach.

It also ought to be noted that this is the first Open Letter that Revolutionary Regroupment publishes in its website. There are plenty honest discussions, sometimes open polemical exchanges, such as those with the Brazilian group Luta Marxista (Marxist Struggle), sometimes public documents which came after private discussions, as evidenced by the establishment of fraternal relations with the group O Que Fazer? (What is to be done?). We have often been conducting dialogues of this kind with a wide variety of groups which claim to be Trotskyist in the interests of making our political and programmatic similarities and differences clear, in order to verify the possibility of fusion. Now we have decided to reach out to WSP’s members with an old method in the Trotskyist tradition, that of the Open Letter. (See Trotsky’s Open Letter to the Leninbund as an example)

It is ironic that the WSP accuse “RR’s leadership” of lying to our members. Every member is well aware of everything that went on, and took part in the debates on WSP, as in the elaboration of the Open Letter. It is very clear that the same is not the case with WSP, since months after we sent various letters and tried to arrange meetings with its leadership, another one of WSP’s members reached out to one of our comrades and after basic introductions asked us if we had ever heard of the WSP.

WSP’s response to our open letter was also published in one day, which means it was not properly debated within the organization, either because the leadership did not open it for debate or because the cadre did not question the leadership’s lies and poor political formulations, which allowed for the vulgar and unserious political positions defended in the response.

Members of the WSP: your leadership is driving you to a dead end, trying to discipline you into following them in their conservative passivity and their lack of seriousness towards the program and tasks of the Marxist vanguard, which will end up leading the whole party into irrelevance. Read the more detailed polemic that will follow with attentiveness! WSP leadership: act upon your words! Allow the re-entry of all comrades who were driven out from the party thanks to their actual or perceived knowledge on the actual facts, so they can debate internally the polemics between the RR and WSP and tell to the cadres of the WSP what really happened during the last year. WSP’s leadership claims it allows a democratic internal life. Then allow for real debate with democracy!

We will continue our answer in another text, where we will give an appropriate response to what WSP’s leadership wrote on the political questions of internationalism, deformed workers states, democratic centralism and homosexuality.

We mistakenly implied that these former members were driven out partly because of our Open Letter. Comrade V. ‘exited’ the party during the drafting of the document, and only later learned that they had also been forced to leave it. Since then we learned that their departure from WSP came a few days before our Open Letter, and was motivated mainly by organizational questions.

Emails sent from RR to WSP:


To workers.socialist.party@gmail.com
2017-11-02 19:49

Hello, comrades.

We talked briefly on FB.
We are a small group with comrades in Brazil and in the US. We would be interested in having a chat with you in order to get to know your program and organization.

Our website is http://www.rr4i.org

We have several publications on English, Portuguese and Spanish, and a few ones in French.

All of them are in our webpage.

Let’s arrange a chat using Skype or a similar tool (we usually use Jitsi for video calls) if you are also interested.


To workers.socialist.party@gmail.com
2017-11-07 12:28

Hello, comrades. We will study your documents with interest.
As we promised in our brief FB chat, here is our page of publications available in English:
https://rr4i.milharal.org/english/

We would specially recommend this text for you to have a grasp of what we are politically:
https://rr4i.milharal.org/2008/12/01/introduction-to-the-marxist-polemic-series/

There are texts on a variety of topics, such as Bernie Sanders campaign, the US threats against North Korea and China, the war in Syria, the history of the Trotskyist movement internationally, as well as several polemics against self-proclaimed Trotskyists.

We reinforce the proposal to have a hangouts, Jitsi or skype chat at any time you are available, in order to facilitate the exchange.

Greetings!

I., for Revolutionary Regroupment


To workers.socialist.party@gmail.com
2017-12-04 17:17

Dear [V.] and other comrades of the WSP,

We read with interest the “Program of WSP”, as well as the following documents from your website: “Revisiting the politics of Morenoists”, “Our viewpoint on the Kashmir question and the appraisal by the centrist Morenoists”, “Our viewpoint on Maoism” (all three by Rajesh Tyagi) and “The Outcome of the 1st BRIC summit: a derelict zero” by Sushovan Dhar.

As stated to comrade [V.], we are in full agreement with your program on the issues of firm opposition to popular-frontism, opposition to all variants of Stalinist/Maoist stageism, your analysis of the Pabloite centrism that has dominated the Trotskyist movement since the 1950s and your defense of a transitional program adapted to each country. Your analysis of the history of class struggle and imperialist domination in India (aided by the national bourgeoisie) makes the program a very sophisticated document. We therefore regard the WSP as a very interesting group and would like to know it better.

We have, however, detected some potential political differences on the issues of the Marxist program towards national oppression and your attitude towards the trade-unions. We have no difference with most of your analysis of the objective situation. But we are not in favor of a one-sided non-participation/break with trade-unions, since they are still working class organizations and can play a defensive role against attacks by the ruling class, as well as provide revolutionaries with access to organized sections of the working class. On the issue of national oppression, your program has some contradictory statements and we would be very interested in a clarification. We too defend the “right of self-determination, including secession”. And while we would give no political support to nationalist movements nor defend “balkanization” of any country, we would defend the right to independence of an oppressed nation that has already decided so, at the same time we would defend working class unity against all sections of the bourgeoisie. We are interested in working class unity for economic and political purposes, but have no intention of maintaining “unity” under the stronghold of the bourgeois state of an oppressor nation.

We would also like to ask if you have an opinion about the anti-Pabloite Trotskyists, since you have a positive attitude towards Cannon, at least in the first years of his struggle against Pablo’s “International Secretariat”. We believe it is important to know the trajectory of those Trotskyists who contributed to a correct program and strategy in the post-WWII. The majority of the British RCP (before their expulsion by Pablo), the Vern-Ryan tendency in the American SWP, the International Committee (despite their lateness and serious errors) and the “Revolutionary Tendency” of the SWP (which later became the Spartacist League/US) contributed to the struggle for a consistent Marxist (i.e. Trotskyist) program in our epoch, in our opinion. The degeneration of the SL/US led to the formation of the (International) Bolshevik Tendency (BT/IBT), which also made important contributions, but never broke out of their isolation and fixed leadership, which we now believe to be degenerated in passivity.

We would like to discuss those issues with you, as well as some other topics. We still do not know your positions on the events that shook the Middle East in recent years, the crisis and betrayal of SYRIZA in Greece or your analysis about the remaining deformed workers’ states such as Cuba, North Korea, China etc. and the ones which were destroyed by counterrevolutions between 1989-1991 (the USSR, Eastern Europe).

We are attaching a text file with some comments on the points of your program we have doubts about or disagreed with. Notice that we were in full agreement with all the parts we didn’t include.

Revolutionary Regroupment is a small Trotskyist tendency from Brazil. We do not yet have a formal succinct political program. But we would like to suggest the reading of some articles that will allow you to have a first appraisal of our group:

Our document of fraternal relations with “What is to be done?”, another Trotskyist group from Brazil: https://rr4i.milharal.org/2016/10/11/declaration-of-fraternal-relations-between-revolutionary-regroupment-and-o-que-fazer/

A statement on recent international events involving US imperialism: https://rr4i.milharal.org/2017/05/02/international-statement-in-defense-of-syria-china-and-north-korea/

An academic article written by one of our members dealing with our position on the post-WWII Trotskyist movement (link via Sci-hub):
http://sci-hub.bz/http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03017605.2016.1236477

A statement about the recent political situation in Brazil (one of the things asked by comrade Vivek): https://rr4i.milharal.org/2013/05/29/statement-on-brasil/

Our analysis of the North Korean deformed workers’ state: https://rr4i.milharal.org/2017/05/31/2908/

Our analysis of the situation in Syria: https://rr4i.milharal.org/2016/01/19/syrian-civil-war-the-islamic-state-and-the-battle-of-kobani/

A criticism of the centrist CWI on their support to Democrat Bernie Sanders in the US: https://rr4i.milharal.org/2016/09/10/cwisocialist-alternative-centrists-for-bernie-sanders/

Our criticisms of the centrist FT-CI (Argentinian PTS) on the issues of their appeals for unity to centrists and on the “Constituent Assembly” slogan: https://rr4i.milharal.org/2015/11/20/on-the-trotskyist-fractions-centrist-zigzags/ and https://rr4i.milharal.org/2016/10/11/cats-do-not-lay-eggs/

We of course have no need or rush to discuss all these documents at once. We can choose one or two of these documents for a conversation / Skype session.

Revolutionary greetings,
I. Kaleb (for Revolutionary Regroupment)

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