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Published monthly by independent revolutionary socialists

Editors—Harry Turner, David Fender, EddiTullio
P. O. Box 67, Peck Slip Station, New York, N. Y. 10038' »z

Vol. E, No, 2 Price 10/ ($1.00 per year) Labor donated

O si
r— f


Contents: War and Revolution in Indochina .......... .


War and the Socialist Workers Party
—The Struggle Against Imperialist War
—Proletarian Military Policy .......... .

The Stalinist-Gangster Tactics of
the Workers League
—CRFC Letters

—Youth and the Labor Movement ............

The Spartaclst League; Adaptation to the

Radical Petty-Bourgeolsle - Part II ....

Labor Party or Workers Party? .............


The shoddy pretense that the Nixon Administration Is "winding down"

the Indochinese war has been exploded by the US resumption of massive
bombing In North Vietnam, its increased, also massive, bombing "support"
to its South Vietnamese puppets and its precipitate dispatch of aircraft
carriers to the Gulf of Tonkin and of additional fighter and B-52 bombing
squadrons to its bases in Thailand and elsewhere in Indochina.

As a result , the April 22nd demon­ years ago that a satisfactory deal
strations against the war which had could be worked out withworld
been' organized earlier by the Nation­ Stalinism to enable American and
al Peace Action Coalition (NPAC)in world capitalism to retain their
New York City and Los Angeles will remaining imperialist preserves,
probably see a larger turnout of i.e., their "right" to continue to
anti-war marchers. exploit and oppress the masses in
Once again, the NPAC, oriented Southeast Asia and the rest of the
around the Socialist Workers Party world,
(SWP) will use a large turnout, with US imperialism’new escalation
perhaps a sizeable labor contingent, of its .prefatory war against the
to Justify the liberal-pacifist pro­ Indochinese peoples demonstrates
grammatic basis on which it and the the complete validity of our Judge­
demonstrations have been organized. ment in the July/August 1971 issue
The Communist Party' s (CP) People's of VANGUARD NEWSLETTER that:.
Coalition for Peace and Justice
(PCPJ), organized on a similar basis, "Despite the split in the ruling
has decided dot to support the NPAC class...—which had encouraged
demonstrations on April 22nd. the marches.and demonstrations in
The liberal wing of the American the first- place--the dominant
ruling class came to the conclusion section which controls the execu-
-; *

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however,does not have a revolution­ to genuine peace In Indochina and

ary purpose. It is directed solely throughout the world. It is
toward forcing the representatives necessary to end capitalism to
of US Imperialism to resume the end Imperialism and war. The peren­
"peace" negotiations in Paris which nial "peace" parades organized by
they had broken off and to pry the liberal and social reformists
"more generous terras" from them,as to put pressure on the Nixon Admin­
the April 9th "NY Times" put It. istration serve only to disarm and
As we stated In our July/August demoralize the anti-war forces. It
Issue, the "fundamental betrayal" Is necessary to win the American
of the Indochinese revolution had working class to the revolutionary
been codified In; defeatist position of Lenin and
Trotsky. It Is necessary for revo­
"...the 10 point NLP program,ori­ lutionary Marxists to work In the
ginated In I960 and reaffirmed by trade unions to build the Committee
the PEG /Provisional Revolutionary for Rank and File Caucuses (CRFC)
Government of South Vietnam/-..In and to win the working class for
1969... The earlier NLP and PEG the comprehensive and consistently
programs guaranteed the mainten­ revolutlonaiyanti-war program which
ance of a capitalist and neutral­ VANGUARD NEWSLETTER alone upholds.
ist South Vietnam under a govern­ The maturing crisis of American and
ment of 'national concord.'" world capitalism causes the ruling
class in every country to attack
We also stated at that time that: the living standards of Its working
class. It thereby prepares the way
"The program of the NLP and North to unite the anti-war struggle to
Vietnam, the deal with American and as an Inseparable part of the
Imperialism, blessed not only by class struggle at home.
the Soviet Stalinists but also by It Is In the process of struggle
their Chinese counterparts, pre­ for the perspectives and program of
pares greater misery, death and VANGUARD NEWSLETTER that an American
destruction for the masses In section of the International van­
Indochina and Southeast Asia." guard party of Lenin and Trotsky
will be built.
Only the revolutionary road leads


/'Fhe following are two more sec­ Fender, the CT delegate at the SWP
tions of the counter-resolution of convention (see Vol.4, No.l, of VNL
the Communist Tendency (CT) In the for Cde. Fender’s speeches) had,
Socialist Workers Party (SWP), at the two previous conventions of
"Historical Roots of the Degenera­ the SWP In 196? and 1969» carried
tion of the Fourth International on the polemic against the SWP's
and the Centrism of the SWP—For a reformist approach In the struggle
Return to the Proletarian Road of against war. (VNL plans to publish
Trotskyism." (Photocopies of all these documents at a future date.)
the CT’s documents are still avail­ /Except for a few added details,
able from VANGUARD NEWSLETTER for Cde. Fender's documents were the
$U50„ ) basis for the CT’s positions out­
/These sections concern themselves lined below. However, one of the
with the obligations of a vanguard added details deserves some com­
party of the proletariat in the ment and correction. The first
struggle against war. They do not section below maintains that the
represent the first salvos against SWP used the "single-Issue" ques­
the SWP's class-collaborationist tion as "a cordon sanltalre to ex­
and essentially pacifist politics clude alien class Influence" of■ the
in the antiwar movement, its main bourareolsle, but that the gimmick
area of activity since 1965. Cde, failed and the "single-issue" busi-

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ness was finally dropped. Actually free abortion on demand was con­
the opposite Is true. The ••single- sidered too risky and, therefore,
issue" approach Is only the other dropped In favor of a campaign
side of the same coin of nonex­ against abortion laws—much more
clusion Under which the SWP Justi­ palatable In bourgeois circles.
fies the Inclusion in the antiwar /The SWP like the CP of yesterday
movement of a section of the liberal and today thinks that people can be
Imperialist bourgeosie and their fooled or tricked Into playing a
representatives. While the SWP's "progressive" or even "revolution­
nonexclusion Is designed to allure ary" role and that the capitalists
and protect the petty-bourgeois can be maneuvered into involun­
pacifists and liberals, "slngle- tarily forfeiting their "rights"
Issuism" Is designed to repel and to the "people," or more correctly,
muzzle any tendency who might raise to "the vanguard mass movements."
political Issues that would drive This objectlvlst approach permeates
thesfe same pacifists and liberals the whole of the political activity
away. The SWP had no trouble of the SWP and Is tied In method­
conveniently forgetting about ology to the guerrilla war and ter­
"slngle-lssulsm" when the liberals rorist approach so prevalent today.
or the pacifists raised Issues All think that due to the "new"
such as anti-draft campaigns, when reality,the methods of class strug­
during the lulls—and the liberals gle and the building of a vanguard
were not around—the SWP needed an party,modeled after the Bolshevik
extracurricular activity to tide party, can be discarded without
them over to the next peace parade compunction. While the guerrilla
or when, In response to a current advocates substitute for the party
vogue, it was more opportune to do a small group which is supposed to
so as with women’s liberation. arouse the masses to revolutionary
/ITot only does "single issulsm" activity with their daring exploits
provide a cover under which the and super-revolutionary calls to
SWP leadership can avoid any poli­ action, the SWP substitutes action
tical struggle that might frighten and action alone by the greatest
Its bourgeois allies, but It also number possible and,therefore,or­
provides a convenient excuse to ganized strictly on the lowest—l.e.,
hide the SWP* s own lack of political on a purely reformist—basis. The
struggle. SWP sees Its role as a mere coordin­
^The SWP's chase after this wlll- ator of all the "mass vanguard move­
o'-the-wlsp of respectability Is ments" and as a centralized informa­
nothing new. To Ingratiate them- tion clearing house for these move­
selvea-with those Influenced by the ments. Both approaches are united
Cuban revolution as well as with In methodology In that they see
Castro and Co., the SWP leaders their role as merely a technical
have continually apologized for the one. The revolution Is left to the
petty-bourgeois Cuban leadership spontaneity of the masses or perhaps
and kept any political criticism to some divine inspiration. In
they might have had, strictly to reality, the revolution Is abandoned.
themselves for fear of scaring off /In the antiwar movement—as well
all the spontaneously developing as In every other movement—the SWP
"unconscious Trotskyists" such as maintains that It Is not necessary
Pldel himself. The telegram of to struggle for a conscious appre­
condolences to Mrs, Kennedy was ciation of capitalism or imperial­
only one more of many similar step- ism on the part of the masses. The
pingstones touched by the SWP on antiwar movement Is objectively
its way to today's outright blatant ant1-Imperial1st, as the women's
opportunistic moves to gain favor­ liberation movement Is objectively
able acceptance in the petty-bour- antlcapltallst, merely because It
geols and even bourgeois milieus, is. The Stalinist NLP and the
such as the women's "liberation" Stalinist regime in Hanoi are no
movement, where even the fight for longer considered to be Stalinist,

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but objectively as revolutionary revolution through the rise of
merely because they actively defend Hitler and the smashing of the
themselves against Imperialist Spanish proletariat to today, with
aggression. And those like Hartke, the massacre of the Indonesian
who Identify with the antiwar move­ masses and the sellout of the
ment, are unconsciously betraying French revolution of May-June 1968,
their own class and objectively In so doing,the SWP as well as all
helping to advance the world revo­ Its political bed-fellows have sac­
lution. From the early days of rificed their own capability of lead­
Fidel and the Cuban revolution,the ing a revolution. They satisfy them­
"unconscious Trotskyists" have mul­ selves Instead with the shabbiest
tiplied In geometric progression. organizational maneuvering,the old
/In sacrificing the conscious political shell games and preten­
element,1.e., the Bolshevik party, tious diplomatic wheeling and deal­
in the revolutionary process, the ing. But for this, all that Is
StfP has turned Its back on the required Is money, technocrats,
last half-century of history, from cannon fodder and, above all,-
the defeat of the 1925-27 Chinese respectablllty.7

The Struggle Against Imperialist War

The struggle against imperialist war has always been the great test of
a revolutionary party, and some of the most Important writings of the
great Marxists have outlined the correct strategy for this task.

The SWP,despite Its smug feeling reformism. Due to its total inablll-
of self-congratulation, has failed Ity to project and carry out a revo­
the test* lutionary program, the SWP needed a
Prom the beginning the party's cordon sanltalre to exclude alien
position was Inadequate. Despite class Influence. With the Influx
this,due to the totally wrong cha­ of petty-bourgeols elements Into
racter of all other alternatives, the party, the srlmmlck was bound to
the leadership has been able to con­ fall. Soon the antiwar movement
vince Its members and the best of took positions on everything from
the radical youth that the party has the draft to the Black movement and
been wholly right. The party has been union struggles. But Instead of
advancing the Idea of immediate with­ taking these positions on a class
drawal—correct In Itself,, but not basis, the party merely went along
enough—as the basis for the "object­ with a totally reformist outlook,
ively anti-Imperialist" character of and objectively, by abandoning the
Its"single-issue united-front-type program of Marxism, subordinated
coalition." These propositions this movement to that "soft" wing
deserve a little Investigation. of the exploiters, which wanted out
The "single-issue" character of of the Vietnam misadventure.
the coalition has been the backbone Several other points are connected
of the leadership's argument that with this evaluation of the nature
the movement was not an evasion of of our participation in this move­
revolutionary duty. If the program ment. The movement obviously is not
of the bloc was limited to the de­ a "type" of united front, by defin­
mand of immediate withdrawal, then ition, since this involves only the
everything was perfectly legitimate participation of working-class or­
—no reformist demands were being ganizations, but neither is it for­
smuggled in. What the "single-issue" mally a "Popular Front" as it is of­
business really was, only became ten called. This phrase poses the
gradually clear as the other "mass question too narrowly and too specif­
movements" began to develop. It ically. The most exact description
was an artificial barrier which a of the essence of this formation is
centrist party erected to keep it best given in Trotsky1s words. "The
from falling Into the swamp of open matter at issue in all cases concerns

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the political subordination of the would be the organizing base for

proletariat to the left wine: of the such a program, as well as for the
exploiters, regardless of whether political mobilization of the class
this practice bears the name of co­ in opposition to the capitalist
alition or left bloc (as in Prance) class and its war. Such must be
or "People's Front" in the language our perspective,and not the futile
of the Comintern." (our emphasis— pacifist actions we are now engaging
"China and the Russian Revolution") in—like the April 24th "Youth Fes­
Closely connected with this is the tival -cum- Rites of Spring."
question of nonexclusion. Origin­
ally this policy was used,correctly, Proletarian Military Policy
to fight against red-baiting against
us and as a Justification for bloc- Along with the abandonment of the
ing with anyone who would agree on rest of our program on the struggle
a common action. It has gone far against the war has gone the Prole­
beyond this now and is used as a tarian Military Policy (PMP),which
principle to demand the inclusion was a concrete expression, under
of liberal bourgeois speakers and American conditions,of the Leninist
representatives, at all times, as policy on military training and
spokesmen for peace. This only le­ conscription.
gitimizes the deceit of the ruling This policy was counterposed to
class and furthers the illusions the pacifist program of ending the
they perpetrate. Nonexclusion has war by ending the draft,and to the
become the means by which the lead­ control of conscription by the Impe­
ership has cemented an alliance with rialist government by demanding that
the liberal imperialists. As a con- the government finance training in
cequence the party is unable to cor­ the military arts in camps which
rectly handle the union bureaucrats would be under the control of the
who have followed their capitalist trade unions. The idea was to try
masters into the antiwar movement. to make a bridge between the level
Instead of utilizing the opportunity of the masses who saw the need, for
to reach workers and destroy the fak­ learning how to wage war in an epoch
ers, as in a real united front, the of violent upheaval,and the future
tactic has been to build them up possibility of turning the army
and actually strengthen their hand. against the imperialist government.
Just as all the so-called "radi­ It was designed,as well, to ensure
cal" programs to end the war are that no repetition of the dlsaster-
in reality based on students,etc., ous policy of draft resistance,which
and thus are Just so much hogwash, Isolated the radicals of WWI,would
so must a real program for revolu­ occur,and had the additional bene­
tionaries look to the proletariat. fit of increasing the prestige and
The Transitional Program shows the strength of the trade unions as or­
way. The party, rooting itself in ganizations of the working class.
the proletariat, in the factories The present party leadership,
and the armed forces,must struggle which would very much like to forget
to win the proletariat to a "subject­ that there ever was such a policy,
ively" anti-imperialist conscious­ has concocted several stories to
ness. Only revolution can end war Justify its rejection of prole­
for good, and if this war is ended tarian methods for pacifist ones.
on the terms desired by the liberals These stories can be summarized as
then the next war is already near. follows: 1) WWII was basically an
A program for struggle would Include, "inter-imperial1st war," and con­
in addition to immediate withdrawal: sequently that tactics of Marxists
workers' control of war Industries, in the period of counterrevolu­
confiscation of war profits and the tionary colonial wars must be dif­
expropriation of war profiteers, ferent; 2) the party made an adapt­
public works to employ war workers, ; ation to the backwardness of the
open diplomacy and other appropriate ; workers; 3) there was no movement
slogans. Factory antiwar committees against conscription, so we simply

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adjusted our tactics—today things . his thoughts on the question during

are different. There Is a certain | his last year. (cf. Writings of Leon
division of labor on points 2 and 3. | Trotsky; 1939-^0). The party leader-
The slicker advocates of the present | ship,of course, not being formal-
line combine them In a sort of | Ists, are not at all troubled by
"tlmes-have changed" routine,while their departures from Trotsky.
the more vulgar peace-nlk elements The Proletarian Military Policy,
simply claim that the stupid workers nonetheless, was not Just dreamed
led us astray. All these arguments up by Trotsky In 19^0. It was the
and all their variants are false to continuation of the line laid down
the core.. The first Is simply the by Lenin In his polemics against
grossest kind of petty-bourgeois the centrists and reformists of the
moralistic breast-beating. Even Zlmmerwald movement. Prior to WWI
when we exclude the question of the Social-Democracy had proposed
Russia In WWII, we are faced with the establishment of a people's
the Interesting case of It being militia as a means whereby militar­
alright for American workers to ism and war could be prevented.
fight German and Japanese workers This fantasy of peaceful substltu-
and peasants, and not alright to tlonallsm was destroyed by the shock
fight Vietnamese workers and peas­ of the war. During the discussions
ants. Maybe we fought WWII to "de­ among the alter­
fend Democracy?" The reality of the native was proposed to this now
situation, of course. Is that the discredited theory. This alterna­
party*s abstentlonlst policy of tive was—"disarmament!" Lenin re-
having comrades at Columbia rather reacted violently to this form of
than Khe Sanh,has left the sponta­ pacifist hogwash and In two arti­
neous GI revolts largely leaderless, cles—"On the 'Disarmament' Slogan"
and has hindered the defeat of US and "The Military Program of the
Imperialism, Proletarian Revolution"—demolished
What was the reality of the situ­ these Idealistic conceptions of the
ation on conscription In 19^0? The nature of war and society. He
party did not In its propaganda op­ pointed out that imperialism, not
pose the Introduction of conscrip­ weapons, was the cause of war, and
tion before its adoption, despite that the only way to end war was to
significant opposition to a peace­ end the system that produced It.
time draft from the "Amerlca-Plrst- Consequently proletarian militarism
ers," the radical movement In gen­ had to be opposed to bourgeois mili­
eral, John L. Lewis and his section tarism. As concrete steps to this
of the bureaucracy and many plain end he proposed the drafting of
citizens. The draft law of 19^0 women, the election of officers,
passed by one vote. The OHIO (over and, especially, the setting up of
the hill In October)movonent, which military training under the control
encouraged mass desertions, spread of workers' organizations, as well
rapidly at first. The party, how­ as full civil and economic rights
ever, stood firm against all those for soldiers. He fiercely fought
who wanted to go along with the against draft-dodging, whether In­
crowd, despite the ravings of the dividual or "mass." This Is the
Shachtmanltes who called our policy root of the 19^0 adoption of the PMP.
"social-patriotic." The party based There Is no great gap between
Its stand on the clear and Irrecon­ 1915 and 19^0, This outlook was
cilable position of Trotsky,who was continued In the theses on "War and
largely responsible for the Inspi­ the International" In 193^. It was
ration of our position. Trotsky clearly stated as a transitional
said, "We can't oppose compulsory demand In the Transitional Program
military training by the bourgeois of 1938, which says nothing about
state Just as we can't oppose com­ "abolishing the draft," "capital­
pulsory education by the bourgeois ist" or otherwise. What the
state." This is not an Isolated Transitional Program does say Is
quotation but is a good example of crystal clear; "... we must tear

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- 44 -

from the hands of the greedy and mingos! And with a relatively small,
merciless Imperialist clique... cheap, elite, cadre-type army they
the disposition of the people's can have them. This Is the slgnlfi-i
fate. In accordance with this we cance of the experimental TRICAP
demand: ...military training and (triple capability) divisions which
arming of workers and farmers combine armor, airmobile Infantry
under the direct control of workers' ; and helicopters Into Juggernauts
and farmers' committees.,l In 1940, which are not designed for use
In the "Manifesto on the Imperialist i against students. The ruling class
War and the Proletarian Revolution,"; says "volunteer army." We say
this position was further enunci­ "abolish the draft." The Juxta­
ated. Nor was the PMP abandoned position makes It clear that our
after the war, to which it was present policy objectively supports
supposedly a subjective reaction. the bourgeoisie In Its desires. The
In a 1946 polemic against the situation now, as well as all our
Workers Party (International Infor- i traditional analysis, demands the
matlonal Bulletin.Vol. VIII,no. 10,i adoption and Implementation of the
August 19^6) It was described as Proletarian Military Policy.
a major difference between the SWP : All the party’s documents state
and the Shachtraanltes, Even In that members will enter the armed
.1948 when conscription was reintro- . forces if drafted. What actually
duced, we advocated the PMP al­ happens Is something else. A com­
though In a rather abstract way. rade about to be drafted sends a
It was not until 1953 that we aban-| letter to his draft board Informing
doned this policy,but we would not It of his political beliefs and
vote on this question until 1969. affiliations,supposedly to provide
(It seems that this puts an Inter­ future legal cover. If this does
esting light on the question of not have the desired effect, then
"adaptationlsra," When was the It Is followed by a press conference,
working class more social-patri­ and then by a demonstration. After
otic—In 1940 when we adopted the all this, If a comrade 3ls Inducted,
PMP, or in 1953 when we abandoned he enters the army as a marked man.
it? When was the party more suscep-; Everything Is done, short of any
tlble to petty-bourgeois pressure— ; Illegality,for SWP’ers and YSA’ers
on the eveofWWII, or In the period ; to avoid their revolutionary duty.
of "McCarthylte-Fasclsm?") Trotsky once said, "If the leaders
The question of a correct policy I seek to preserve themselves,that is
on conscription Is no longer a what they become—dried preserves."
question of great urgency for our This practice of the SWP shows its
movement. The bourgeoisie liter­ total unwillingness to leave behind
ally hungers and thirsts for a a comfortable milieu and to pene­
voluntary army. They must demobi­ trate Into an arena where the pro­
lize the present army which every letariat Is to be found. The hard
day threatens them more and more. and difficult work is avoided,Just
The Gates Commission has shown the as with the unions. It Is another
ruling class that It can be done. manifestation,more hypocritical and
When they say they want "no more despicable, of the party's wish to
Vletnams," they are not lylnsr. They turn Its back on the working class.
do not; they want more Santo Do­


/We publish below the "Open Letter whose distribution precipitated the
to Workers’ Organizations" of.the gangster-1Ike behavior of the WL
Committee for Rank and File Caucuses toward CRFC members.
(CRFC), its letter to the National /The growing rise of political and
Secretary of the Workers Leavue physical gangsterism by tendencies
(WL), Tim Wohlforth, and the leaf­ within the broad American revolu­
let, "Youth and the Labor Movement" tionary movement, against their

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