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What is the faction?

The International Bolshevik Faction for Unity and Democracy of the IMT was initiated by the Executive Committees of the Iranian, Polish and Swedish sections in January 2010. Its purpose is to fight within the IMT for a strong and united IMT.  This can only be done on the basis of democratic centralism. The present leadership of the IMT has substituted democratic centralism with what it calls “the basic rules of democratic centralism”. In actual fact, these rules are the basic rules of bureaucratic centralism. All members of the IMT that support the platform below are welcome to join our faction. We are in the process of discussing further faction documents. Anybody who joins our faction is welcome to participate in the creation of these documents. Please contact us if you would like to join. email admin@karlmarx.net

 

Amin Kazemi: +44 7913 818648, amin0kazemi@gmail.com

Maziar Razi: (Skype) m_razi,
maziar.razi@googlemail.com

Wojtek Figiel: (Skype) wojtek.figiel, +48 223 929 155,
wojtek.figiel@gmail.com

Bojan Stanislavski: (Skype) acnapyx, + 48 502 454 321,
bojan@socjalizm.org

Swedish Center: (Skype) socialistensweden,
red@socialisten.nu

Jonathan Clyne: + 46 707 600 508,
bretorp@telia.com

Martin Lööf: (Skype) martin.loof79, + 46 737 040 457,
martin.loof@gmail.com

Lena Ericsson Höijjer:
lena.ericsonhoijer@telia.com

 

 

Platform of the faction

 

“Correct policies and a healthy internal regime were equally essential in the construction of a revolutionary tendency”

Ted Grant and Alan Woods: Against Bureaucratic Centralism, 1992

 

Forward to democratic centralism!

 

Our international has plunged into a deep crisis. At the beginning of 2009, we were poised to make major breakthroughs in several countries. The long awaited deep capitalist crisis had arrived. We all expected that it would give us the chance to take real strides forward. Instead, a year later, we have to write down a big minus – the biggest section in Europe reduced to a handful of comrades; the Venezuelan section, the only section that already today could make its influence felt in a real live revolution, split, with most of the leadership outside the international; and to what extent we will have a Mexican section is still unclear.

 

For most comrades the crisis appeared like a bolt from the blue. The Spanish section was upheld as a model section for many years. Yet the IS decided that the Spanish section “would have placed itself outside the ranks of the International” if its leadership did not pay money owed by the end of the year. This is the exact same formulation used as a euphemism for expelling us in 1992. (Since then the IS has backed down and referred the matter to the IEC).  The Spanish, the Venezuelan, and the Mexican leadership that for years had laced most of their speeches with appreciation for the IS and comrade Alan Woods in particular, suddenly accused the IS and Alan Woods in particular of organising a bureaucratic coup against them. The IS in turn started to reveal a catalogue of bureaucratic manoeuvres and political mistakes committed by all these leaderships.

 

Not a cadre organisation

 

The fundamental cause of the split is the failure over the last eighteen years to turn our organisation into a cadre organisation. A cadre organisation is an organisation that consists of leaders. Comrades who can think independently, and act independently, precisely because they are a part of a revolutionary organisation. Every individual becomes a strong individual who can act independently, because they get the support of others. Every comrade learns through a process of discussing with other comrades.

 

Not that we do not have good comrades. But too many comrades rely on their “trust” in and are “loyal” to the leadership, rather than their own critical thinking honed to a sharp edge in the rough and tumble of discussions within the organisation and the Labour Movement.

 

We have the “teachers” and the taught, rather than a lively interaction between comrades with different experiences, some with a greater knowledge of the labour theory of value and some with a greater knowledge of life today among workers. A mutual exchange that develops everybody into real leaders. That is not to say that within our own organisation we should not have an elected leadership with clearly defined responsibilities, real political authority must be based on what one actually says and not on the formal position one has. 

 

A top-heavy organisation in  which power and influence is skewed in favour of the leadership means that when the organisation is under pressure, whether due to changes in the objective situation or internal disputes or both, tensions build up to such a degree that they cannot be resolved via discussion, but end in splits.

 

In 1992, after the last big split, there were big hopes and expectations. We were going to build a real cadre organisation. We were going to put the ideas, the development of theory and perspectives above all. This was to be realised by having a healthy, lively, and democratic internal regime. How come this was not realised? The truth of the matter is that the germ to the present mess was transferred during the split. The lessons we drew then were incomplete. We did not do our homework. We did not study Lenin and Trotsky sufficiently. We were not bold enough when we began the construction of the new international organisation. We transferred the old “basic rules of democratic centralism” into the new organisation.

 

The split brought a fresh breath of free discussion back into the organisation, but bit by bit the “basic rules of democratic centralism” reared their head and the discussion was gradually snuffed out, and we failed to build a cadre organisation.

 

“The basic rules of democratic centralism”

 

These rules of are not written down. They belong in an obscure realm which is called “tradition”. That in and by itself ought to make us suspicious of them. Their origin is  untraceable. They are somewhat arbitrary and subject to interpretation, and normally only appear on the scene to criticise somebody who is critical for not criticising in the “correct” manner. Like secret weapons, they take members by surprise and leave them gasping for breath. Nonetheless, it is possible to discern eight different rules that have more or less governed the way the organization has been run. This rules have very little to do with Lenin's conception of democratic centralism. Yet, they have been a central part of our internal life.

 

1.      The leadership must lead. The main ideas of the organization should come from and be expressed by the leadership.

 

On the surface of it this seems like a reasonable statement. After all, why should one elect a leadership if its task is not to lead? However, if you look at what is actually being said it is not that the leadership should lead because it has the time and capacity to develop the best analysis, program and methods of work. Nor is it said that the leadership should lead because it is capable of convincing and enthusing the membership to work along the lines that they are proposing. No, what is said is that leadership should lead, simply because it is elected. This is formalism. Being elected never turned anybody into a leader. Nor does electing a leader mean that they will remain a leader simply because they are elected until their term of office is over.

 

If the leaders must lead (and therefore all the main ideas must come from them), the working out of perspectives and theory is mystified. No longer the result of the sweat of the intellectual effort of discussing, of being challenged, of digging up facts and arguments, of developing, of discovering new ideas, it becomes the result of some mystical process going on in the head of the supreme leaders or leader. Nobody can see into that head, nobody can understand the processes going on there, at best one can guess. So, it is better to remain intellectually passive and wait and prepare for how best to present things when an idea finally pops out of the head of the leader.

 

A self-perpetuating circle is created.  The leader must lead; the members become intellectually passive; this reinforces the need for the leader to lead; the members become even more passive; the lack of any outside stimulus to thought leads to the quality of leadership declining; quality in speech and writing is replaced by quantity and a tendency to fake leadership; on the other hand, there is a tendency among members to interpret unclear statements from leaders as being more profound than they actually are; the psychological mechanism is that the leader must know more than me, otherwise he would not be the leader, therefore when he says something that is boring or incomprehensible it must be my fault; I am too stupid to understand his profoundness, therefore I must not question him; this pacifies the members even more (or they simply ignore the leader and get on with building as best they can, without leadership); and so the circle continues. 

 

2.      The leadership must be in complete control of every aspect of the work.

 

To be in complete control is of course impossible. It is an illusion. It leads to a complete loss of control, because the leadership instead of concentrating on the most important general lines is lost running around the place trying to control every detail. It leads to exhaustion of the leadership. Every year since the new organization was founded we have been lambasted by how overworked the IS is. Exhaustion leads to being even less capable of identifying and dealing with the most important problems. It leads to political mistakes.

 

This rule also leads to faking that one is in complete control over the situation. And then when one discovers that some part really is completely out of the control of the leadership, one rushes for a quick fix – to simple chop of those parts of the organization (or drive out those individuals) that the leadership feel they are not in control of. Understanding, discussing, trying to win as many as possible become completely subordinate to quickly gaining control, even if the cost is high.  One expulsion inevitably leads to more expulsions. Every expulsion is a substitute towards finding a political solution to problems. As the political problems remain unresolved they resurface and become even larger.

 

3.      Discussion must be channelled through the democratically elected bodies of the organization. This means that if there is a disagreement, then it should first be discussed with or in the EC (or IS at an international level). If it is not resolved there then it should be dealt with by the CC (or IEC). And finally if that does not work out either, a discussion should be opened up in the whole organization with both sides being able to put forward their views verbally or in writing. Then it is up to the congress to decide.

 

There is a strict and a looser interpretation of this rule. Before the split in 1992 it meant that if there was a disagreement within for example the EC then after discussion and a vote within the EC, all members of the EC had to put the majority line to the CC (unless a faction was declared). If there was a disagreement within the CC, after a discussion and a vote, only the majority line was put to the congress. After 1992, it was accepted that this stifled debate and was ineffective and a looser interpretation was allowed. Minority positions in the leading bodies could also be presented lower down the line. Nonetheless, the old stricter interpretation has lived on in parts of the international (like Spain and Britain).

 

Strict or not, this rule is a sure recipe for in practice disenfranchising the membership. Already battered by the other “basic rules of democratic centralism” most comrades simple don't bother expressing what they think. After a while they either stop thinking or leave the organisation or their criticism is bottled up. The criticism then re-emerges much later. By that time it is extremely infected and it is too late to resolve the question through discussion.

 

4.      Factions are generally considered a bad thing and discouraged. The establishment of a faction has to be approved by the leadership.

 

This rule is also an effective means of maintaining the rank-and-file atomised and weak in comparison to the leadership, which is highly organised. This is precisely the way in which the bureaucracy in the Labour Movement maintains its position.

 

Naturally it is absurd that the power to decide if one is allowed to organise against the leadership rests with the leadership. It means that factions can only arise when it is too late. In the meantime an inordinate amount of time is wasted in accusing each other of organising secret factions. This discussion tends to completely overshadow the actual question that is supposed to be in dispute. 

 

Factions are a necessary part of working out a political line. They were common among the Bolsheviks. They came and they went. And precisely because the Bolsheviks had a more relaxed attitude to factions, factions did not damage them. When the leadership is uptight about them, as it is now, they burst forth onto the scene in a destructive manner. Which leads to the leadership drawing the false conclusion that the creation of factions should be avoided at all costs.

 

5.      Once a vote has been taken, the discussion ends and everybody must argue for what has been decided.

 

If one wants a weak, rigid and inflexible organisation that will break up at every major turn, this is the rule to guarantee it. Take the discussion of theoretical issues such as the class character of China or the causes of the capitalist crisis. Both discussions are on a very high theoretical level, or at least ought to be. Marx spent many decades developing his analysis of the causes of the capitalist crisis. Faced with an entirely new phenomenon, Trotsky spent the best part of almost one and a half decades analysing and re-analysing the class character of the Soviet Union.  (And discussing it publicly with all kinds of people within and outside the organisation). If Trotsky needed that, we will certainly also need it to analyse China. Either China is the first major underdeveloped country since imperialism came to dominate the globe at the end of the 19th century to undergo a spectacular economic development or it is a new type of deformed workers state. In the bourgeois media in the last decade the “rise of China” has been by far the biggest news item, four times the number two item, the Iraq War.

 

Yet there is a widespread feeling in the Tendency that for us, a revolutionary organisation, it is enough to have discussed and taken a decision three and half years ago about a country with by far the world’s largest working class. It is considered a great “concession” to have a debate at the Summer School.

 

Secondly, look at the discussion about more practical question like the orientation to the Labour Movement. As the parties of the working class are continuously changing, as new situations arise within these parties, as we need to maintain a balance between work in the parties and independent work, it should be obvious that this is a subject for continuous discussion that cannot be limited to a brief period before a congress.

 

But the worst part of this rule is the part that everybody must argue for what has been decided. This undermines the very soul of a revolutionary organisation - its uncompromising integrity. To argue in favour of something that one does not believe runs down the self-confidence and enthusiasm out of anybody. It means reducing human beings to robots. It is destined to create artificial enthusiasm that sooner or later leads to bitterness. It is impossible to be enthusiastic for something because of a congress vote. Of course, one cannot accept members working against activity decided upon democratically, but that is an entirely different thing than being forced to convince a fellow worker of something one does not believe in.

 

Not only is the integrity of the individuals who are forced to argue for a position they do not support destroyed, the integrity of the whole organisation is undermined. Truth and honesty become devalued. They become commodities that depend on a vote. Maybe one happens to be able to put forward what one thinks today because it happens to be what the majority agree today, tomorrow one might have to put forward another line.

 

To have a dissenting opinion is not the same thing as being a strike-breaker. A strike-breaker is somebody who after a majority decision breaks the activity decided upon. Not somebody who has an opinion about whether or not there should be a strike. At almost any strike meeting there will always be somebody arguing in favour of going back to work. This is completely accepted by almost all workers. It provides the opportunity to re-discuss the strike, but it is not accepted to stay in the factory when there is a strike. Those that do not strike are often treated harshly, but not those that argue at any time in favour of not going on strike. In the beginning they will be in a small minority, but in all likelihood, eventually, there will be a majority opinion in favour of returning. It is absurd to say that one cannot raise the possibility of ending the strike until, by some mysterious process, the majority of workers have suddenly come to that conclusion. Yet, we have this metaphysical idea as to how to change a line in our own organisation.

 

6.      Discussions within the EC, CC, IEC etc. are “confidential”. Anything said in these discussions is not to be quoted outside of these bodies. Likewise with “private” discussions between individual members of these bodies and other individuals.

 

Trotsky emphasized the need for confidential communication concerning opinions about individuals. In general this is true. It is even true that it is good to have other confidential private discussions.  But there has been a tendency to abuse this confidentiality, to turn it into something completely different - a front for bullying. By attacking comrades ‘in private’ leaders have been able to say things that would be completely indefensible if they were publicly know. It has been a front for screaming at comrades, thumping one fist on the table, and lining up a whole battery of full-timers to confront one or two comrades.

 

In a more subtle way, “confidentiality” has also been used to tie comrades closer to certain leaders. Thus comrades will be told in private ‘I think that there is this or that comrade has this or that problem”. The comrade being told this will feel that they are trusted, as against those that are criticised. The ‘trusted’ comrade will feel that the criticised comrade is not trusted. These are the methods used to distinguish between those that are part of the ‘in-crowd’ and those that are simply out. It is a way to create loyalty to the leader. These sorts of confidentialities are poison in any organisation. The inner life of the organisation begins more and more to revolve around who is most loyal to the leadership and not around developing our political ideas.

 

7.      The leadership should decide what information and whose ideas reach the members.

 

Fortunately, this rule has not been expressed in public yet, as it would be suicide for the organisation in the eyes of any worker or youth with any familiarity with modern means of communication. They would say ‘I will never put these people into power as they think that they have the right to decide what I read and don’t read’.

 

Email lists can give comrades who are too shy or feel too intimidated at meetings can express what they think. Are not their voices to be heard too? Is it only the voices of the professional talkers that are worth something? Email lists are a fantastic opportunity for the leadership to get a greater understanding of what comrades are actually thinking and to reach comrades with the ideas of the leadership. An intranet is a simple device for organising the discussion and giving comrades the space to decide when and what to read. And if the leadership has real political authority it is not difficult for comrades to decide what to focus their reading on.

 

Creating layers within the organisation in which different layers have different access to information means that the political level of those further down is lowered, not raised. The best way of developing oneself is precisely by having access to as much information as possible and then deciding oneself what is important.

 

8.      Discussion should be kept within the confines of the organization

 

Making our differences public is the taboo of taboos. This rule is defended with homely expressions like “we do not wash our dirty linen in public” and empty phrases like “we shouldn’t let our enemies know about our differences”. The fact of the matter is that our real enemies, the capitalists and their representatives in the labour movement, pay next to no attention to our differences, now. And when it matters, like the differences among Bolsheviks after the February revolution of whether the proletariat should support the provisional government or go for a socialist revolution, then the differences were public. Lenin began his campaign to change the position of the party by writing letters to Pravda (some of which Stalin, who was editor at the time, cut or didn't publish at all), and continued by reading out his famous April Theses at two meetings of the All-Russia Conference of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, before taking it to a party congress.

 

The only ones to take an interest in our differences at the moment are various ‘rival’ piddling little left groups, and of course the sectarian “trainspotters” have a heyday.  It is not worth our while to kick up a big fuss and waste time trying to trace leaks for their sake.

 

There is a price to be paid for keeping it all within the family. The closed in atmosphere acts like a tropical greenhouse. Exaggerations are legion. Personal irritations multiply. There is no need to use a language which can be understood. Small things become large things. A state of siege mentality develops. Inevitably things leak out anyway. The search for the traitor begins. The political level of discussions sink to the level of gossip and paranoia.

 

Almost all the major political conflicts within the Bolsheviks were public, regardless of whether the Bolsheviks were a small group, a faction, a faction within a faction, a small party, or a large party.

 

We need to understand that most workers, rightly, find it beyond belief that there exists an organisation without any differences. In the past it was accepted, due to the dominance of Stalinism and reformism, that these differences were ‘sorted out’ behind closed doors. Today that is no longer the case. Allowing some of the most important political debates, such as the China one, to be public would give us credibility as a lively, democratic organisation in which discussion on important theoretical issues can be held at high level and in a civilised manner. We would become a pole of attraction for thinking workers and young people.

 

From bureaucratic rules to a bureaucracy and splits

 

In the final analysis, all the above eight rules are bureaucratic methods that make it impossible to establish a cadre organisation. The more they are used, the more there will be a tendency for a bureaucracy to crystallize within the organisation.

 

A bureaucracy is a caste that raises itself above others, extracts privileges for itself, and has to spend a lot of time keeping those that are not part of the bureaucracy from questioning their rights.

 

Ted used to say you can have a bureaucracy in a knitting circle. What does that mean? It is hardly a bureaucracy based on material privileges. But that is not the only basis of a bureaucracy. There are other privileges which can be just as important. We live in a society where the majority of the population spend most of their waking hours slaving away doing things over which they have no influence over at all. What is more, their work is hidden. Not only in a deeper analytical sense (the fact that labour creates all value is generally denied, and workers are alienated from the commodities they create), but also in a very practical sense. Like servants at the parties of the rich most people work under conditions in which they are just supposed to do the tasks which have been assigned to them and not be noticed, not exist as human beings. Any group, however small and insignificant, can provide a platform for individuals to be seen and to have, at least, the power to decide over what others knit.

 

If forced to stop working for the organisation, most full-timers will have to return to a life of somebody else deciding over what they should do, when they should get up, when they have to start work. And also their personal pride gets a severe dent – all their hopes and aspirations of being leaders of big historic events are dashed.

 

Although it is true that a bureaucracy in a revolutionary organisation is not based on having material privileges that are greater than those that most workers have, there is nonetheless also a material incentive for a bureaucracy to maintain its position. Many full-timers have never or only very briefly had a job outside the organisation. After many years as full-timers it is difficult for them to get another job. They have become unemployable. In some cases they are also worried about their future pensions. They have become economically dependant on the organisation.

 

Comrades who become bureaucratized do not have bad intentions. They were not always bureaucratic. It is undoubtedly true that individuals play an important role in creating bureaucracy and splits, but in and by itself such an explanation is superficial. It implies that individuals are static, and that it is inevitable that some will fail and some will succeed in a given situation. As Marxists we should understand that it is social being which is the prime determinant of consciousness. The general situation in society is a factor, but the immediate environment that professional revolutionaries, the full-timers, surround themselves with, is above all the internal life (“the basic rules of democratic centralism”!) of the organization. It is that which primarily will determine their consciousness and behaviour.

 

The Bolsheviks also suffered from bureaucratisation – the so called “committee men”, the full-timers. They were, and are needed, but at each turn of events they were always left far behind. But that did not matter such a lot. Lenin never bothered about “the basic rules of democratic centralism”. That is why he could always overcome this obstacle.

 

It is not an insignificant question if the regime has gone from being a regime that uses bureaucratic rules to being a bureaucracy. The answer to that question decides whether or not the regime can be reformed or not. But it is difficult to assess how far down the road a regime has travelled. Only when the regime consistently uses administrative means to quieten oppositional minorities can one be sure that that is solidified into a bureaucracy. In any case, to decide this is not decisive for understanding the split, even two regimes that are not bureaucracies, but merely suffer from bureaucratic tendencies can cause a split.

 

In an organisation with bureaucratic tendencies, an organisation of leaders and led, there is always a problem of how to decide who belongs to what category – who are the leaders and who are the led?  The led are not to be trusted to decide that (except formally). They are merely there to be led. So there will be a tendency for a fight to emerge between those that are “the leaders” and those that think they should be. As both sides think they have to be the leaders, and one group has to dominate over the other, no co-existence is possible. There will be a split.

 

Bourgeois vs. working class leadership

 

Our organisation often emphasizes that the working class needs a leadership. This emphasize on leadership we very much have in common with the bourgeoisie. Read any bourgeois magazine or business book and they will stress the enormous importance of leadership. As Marxist we ought to understand that there is a class content to every concept. That what the bourgeoisie means by leadership is very different in form and content to the leadership that the working class needs. This derives out of the different positions in which the classes find themselves.

 

Essentially bourgeois leadership means the ability to dominate over others in order to get through what one wants. To lay down the line and one way or another get everybody to follow it. The bourgeois lives within a hierarchy and in constant competition with each other. If one is not climbing, one is being pushed down. A whole bag of tricks have been developed as how to play this game.

 

One’s prestige, how one is perceived by others, is crucial. Is somebody perceived as being on top of one, then one better make sure that one adapts to that person and vice-versa. The fantasy wages which the bosses pay themselves have in fact, generally speaking, only partly to do with greed. Nor are they in any real way connected to consumption. Above all they are connected with prestige. The point is to show the world “I am the top dog, you better watch out for me!”. Maintaining prestige is a full-time occupation. All weaknesses must be carefully concealed. Image is all. Behind that there is a life and death struggle based upon manoeuvring and tricks.

 

Those climbers who do not bother to conceal their ambition are frowned upon. This is not only a question of the ‘style’ of old money against new, it is above all the defence of the upper classes against the exploited. The more experienced bourgeois understand that there is a revolutionary potential below which can unleashed if the cesspool behind the façade is revealed.

 

In the poor material world of revolutionary politics this leadership by prestige is reflected in among other things in who does the important lead-offs and who writes the important documents.

 

The working class needs an entirely different type of leadership. The strength of the working class is not based upon individuals acquiring positions, defending them and climbing on. The only thing that workers can rely on is the strength of their collective organized strength. A collective strength that allows all individuals to grow into leaders.

 

The truth is that all the “the basic rules of democratic centralism” - “the leadership must lead”, “channels”, “confidentiality, “keeping differences within the organization” and so on - are really bourgeois methods which can be found in many management handbooks, albeit with a slightly different language. They are also the rules of the bureaucracy, both reformist and Stalinist, of the labour movement. For them these rules are also “traditional”. They never appear in the statutes, but are far more important than the statutes, statutes which are supposed to be the supreme organisational rules of these parties. They are the stick which the bureaucracy has always used to beat us with. We have adopted the methods of our enemies. These methods have fostered bureaucratic regimes in our midst, not once, but twice in the last decades.

 

These were not the methods of the Bolsheviks. Not that what the Bolsheviks did or did not do is decisive. Truth is always concrete. What worked then, need not work now. However, putting things in a historical context can help us to understand why we use the rules that we do.

 

The degeneration of the Russian Revolution combined with the strengthening of reformism during the post-war boom meant that, although small groups of Trotskyists could defend the basic political ideas of Marxism, they were not immune to the organisational pressure of the bourgeoisie and Moscow as transmitted by the bureaucracy in the Labour Movement.

 

Working in the mass parties with our organisation semi-concealed, the ‘rules’ had at least a semblance of rationality. It was natural to limit the spread of information and entrust the leadership with more and more. But today the authority of the bureaucracy (Stalinist and reformist) is feebler. There are a few exceptions, the Greek Communist Party for example. But we have finally drawn the correct conclusion that it is meaningless to work there. In most countries where we are active today the fight is on for our right to be able to be an open organisation. Anything else is living in the past.

 

The alternative to bureaucratisation

 

We must go back to the basic principle of democratic centralism as Lenin formulated it – “Freedom of discussion, unity of action.” (Lenin: Report of the Unity Congress, Part VIII, 1906). The freedom of discussion should only be limited by security reasons (the threat of imprisonment, persecution, expulsions from the mass organisations, and the risk of a struggle being defeated). Obviously giving away the date for an uprising or the details of how a strike will be organised helps our enemies. We should not be afraid to deceive our enemies, but the biggest risk is that we deceive our members and supporters by not giving the full picture.

 

If somebody has an opinion they should express it. The leadership should help somebody with an opposing view to find the best way to make himself as clear as possible. Not by stamping down on new or different opinions, but by encouraging them. The leadership should learn from these opinions, but it should not compromise on one single thing that it considers right. It should persistently argue its case and use every opportunity to bring the discussion to the members. This is how the members will really become educated, by the continuous breaking of ideas against each other. That is how members will become strong and be able to self-confidently argue our case in public. That is how we develop real cadres. And a real leadership. A leadership that relies on convincing, learning and development. We need a leadership that uncompromisingly, proudly, and calmly argues their case in front of the members.

 

Stalinism abducted the expression ‘democratic centralism’ and distorted it. The 'democratic' part used to refer to discussions, and the 'centralism' to activity. In short, free democratic discussion should be combined with centralised activity. But from centralisation of activity, Stalinists have slid the definition into centralisation of discussion. This is a falsification. That is the opposite of freedom of discussion.

 

Activity must be centralised. Activity must be disciplined. Activity needs leadership and clear responsibilities. Activity needs majority decisions that are kept to. We are not anarchists, who think that activity should just spread spontaneously, that anybody should be allowed to do whatever they feel like. But the kind of discipline centralised activity that the working class needs, cannot be achieved with the methods of the bourgeoisie – domination and orders. The working class needs its own methods - free discussion and majority decisions. Only then will the working class get the really strong leadership it needs.

 

Our discussions will not have a sectarian character. We have the pre-condition for resolving problems and thereby ending the discussion fruitfully.  We have a sound basis in Marxist theory and a clear orientation to the Labour Movement and the class struggle. Without that you are lost no matter what. A good form for discussions can never substitute for a good content in the discussion.

 

We can resolve one problem only to go on to the next question, discuss it, and then resolve it… An endless cycle of discussions that gives us the confidence and mass participation of the working class before and after revolutionary change in society. Just like the Bolsheviks.

 

From the split to a Bolshevik organisation

 

The situation is more favourable for Marxists than at any time in the last 85 years. After the defeat of the German Revolution in 1924, socialism in one country became the dominating idea of the Communist Parties throughout the world and Stalin consolidated his power. The Communist Parties became a force for counter-revolution. But today, Stalinism has ceased to be a major force, except in a few countries; the authority of the reformist bureaucracy has been weakened by decades of counter-reforms; capitalism has shown itself to be extremely unstable. It is time for the Tendency to come of age.

 

Youth and workers who are looking for an alternative are not looking for an organisation with the same methods of leadership as in the trade unions, the mass parties, the work places, the wider political scene. Opinion poll after opinion poll shows that distrust, contempt and even hatred of authorities permeates society, more than ever.  They are not only looking for an organisation where they can become involved in activities, but also for a lively place where they are encouraged and challenged to develop politically. They want to join an organisation that does not pretend, but an authentic organisation where their energy and talents will be appreciated and galvanized for a common purpose.

 

The internal regime is not a secondary question. The present split shows that the only way to build a united International is to base it on a genuinely democratic centralist regime.

 

We can do much better than we have done so far. We must do better. We can do so by retying the historic knot to the methods of the Bolsheviks. Then, and only then, is it possible for us to become the mass organisation that can lead a revolution.

 

The above analysis of the present crisis is essentially shared by us. If the IS and IEC do not agree with our analysis and do not implement in practice our general suggestions, we will organise a faction, develop concrete demands for reforming the IMT, and fight for these demands at every level of the organisation.

 

Signed by the Iranian EC, Polish EC and Swedish EC

 

 

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