The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party—Part 6

The Socialist Equality Party (US) today continues publication of The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party. The document was discussed extensively and adopted unanimously at the Founding Congress of the SEP, held August 3-9, 2008. (See “Socialist Equality Party holds founding Congress”) The WSWS will serialize the publication over two weeks. (Click here for parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11)

The WSWS has published the Socialist Equality Party Statement of Principles, which was also adopted at the Founding Congress. Click here to download a PDF version of the Statement of Principles.

To find out more about how to join the SEP, contact us here.

The Origins of Pabloite Revisionism

110. The overall restabilization of capitalist development lent the postwar social struggles their contradictory character. The end of the war brought with it an upsurge of the class struggle in the advanced countries and the anti-imperialist movement in the colonies. However, the economic stabilization vastly expanded the field of operation for bourgeois nationalist movements, Stalinists, trade union bureaucrats and various petty bourgeois tendencies that came to the head of these struggles. The objective function of these movements and organizations was, in one form or another, to provide a base of support within broader sections of the working class and oppressed masses for the maintenance of the global capitalist system. They encouraged the illusion that permanent gains could be realized through the policies of national reform that had been given a new lease on life following the war.

111. The complexities of the postwar period found expression in the form of a revisionist tendency within the Trotskyist movement that adapted to the bourgeois and petty bourgeois organizations. The revisionists came to see the Stalinist and Social-Democratic tendencies, as well as petty-bourgeois nationalist and radical movements, not as political obstacles to the independent mobilization of the working class, but, rather, as alternative instruments for realizing socialism. It was not, therefore, a matter of opposing to these organizations the independent perspective of the Fourth International, but rather of transforming the Fourth International into a pressure group on the existing leadership of the working class and national movements. The revisionists endowed the Stalinists and bourgeois nationalists with an historically progressive role, rejecting Trotsky's insistence on their counter-revolutionary character. This revision of the perspective upon which the founding of the Fourth International had been based was advanced initially by two leading figures in the post-war Trotskyist movement in Europe, Michel Pablo and Ernest Mandel.

112. Pablo's revisions were an impressionistic response to the political changes in Eastern Europe. The initial reaction of the Fourth International to the establishment of the Stalinist-dominated regimes was based on Trotsky's conceptions. Notwithstanding the political "successes" of the Stalinists, the Fourth International insisted on their essentially counter-revolutionary role. It stated in 1946:

The unspeakable treacheries, their stamping out of mass uprising, their counterrevolutionary terror, their depredations and plunderings — these are discrediting in the eyes of the toilers the very word, the very idea of communism. How weighty are the East European nationalizations on the scales as against Stalin's crimes against the working class? The Stalinist counterrevolutionary adventures in Eastern Europe, rather than endowing it with the aura of a progressive mission in history, have made more urgent the necessity of crushing this bloody fiend, and preventing it from doing any more damage than it has already done to the world working class and its struggle for emancipation.

The blindness of Stalinism, its unutterably reactionary character, its historical bankruptcy is exposed glaringly above all in Eastern Europe. For the sake of paltry loot, for the sake of the small change of reparations — completely meaningless so far as solving the USSR's economic needs — the Kremlin has raised against itself a wall of hatred throughout Eastern Europe and the world. For the sake of military control over the poverty-stricken, bankrupt Balkans, the Kremlin has helped the Anglo-American imperialists crush the revolution and prop up decaying capitalism.[69]

113. In April 1949, the IEC of the Fourth International wrote:

An evaluation of Stalinism cannot be made on the basis of localized results of its policy but must proceed from the entirety of its actions on a world scale. When we consider the state of decay which capitalism presents even today, four years after the end of the war, and when we consider the concrete situation of 1943-45, there can be no doubt that Stalinism, on a world scale, appeared as the decisive factor in preventing a sudden and simultaneous crash of the capitalist order in Europe and in Asia. In this sense, the ‘successes' achieved by the bureaucracy in the buffer zone constitute, at most, the price which imperialism paid for services rendered on the world arena — a price which is moreover constantly called into question at the following stage.

From the world point of view, the reforms realized by the Soviet bureaucracy in the sense of an assimilation of the buffer zone to the USSR weigh incomparably less in the balance than the blows dealt by the Soviet bureaucracy, especially through its actions in the buffer zone, against the consciousness of the world proletariat, which it demoralizes, disorients and paralyzes by all its politics and thus renders it susceptible to some extent to the imperialist campaign of war preparations. Even from the point of view of the USSR itself, the defeats and the demoralization of the world proletariat caused by Stalinism constitute an incomparably greater danger than the consolidation of the buffer zone constitutes a reinforcement.[70]

Pablo's Repudiation of Trotskyism

114. But in the course of 1949 there were signs that Pablo was shifting his position. He began to write of the transition from capitalism to socialism taking place through "centuries" of "deformed workers' states" along the Stalinist model. In 1951, the International Executive Committee of the Fourth International passed a resolution supporting the theory of "war-revolution." This theory held that the eruption of war between the United States and the Soviet Union would assume the form of a global civil war, in which the Soviet bureaucracy would be compelled to serve as midwife for social revolutions. The same year, Pablo published a document arguing, "For our movement objective social reality consists essentially of the capitalist regime and the Stalinist world."[71]

115. Pablo's analysis wrote off the class conflict, the independent interests of the working class, and, therefore, the historical necessity of the Fourth International. For him, the task of the Fourth International was to function as a pressure group within the existing Stalinist organizations. Pabloism extended the false claims made on behalf of the Stalinist bureaucracy to the bourgeois nationalist movements in the semi-colonial and underdeveloped countries. In place of a class analysis, Pablo spoke of "integration into the real mass movement." In a report delivered to the Third World Congress of the FI in August-September 1951, he drew the conclusions of this perspective by declaring, "There is not now a single Trotskyist organization, which, either as a whole or in part, does not seriously, profoundly, concretely understand the necessity of subordinating all organizational considerations, of formal independence or otherwise, to real integration into the mass movement wherever it expresses itself in each country, or to integration in an important current of this movement which can be influenced."[72]

116. The theoretical foundation of Pabloism was an objectivist method that repudiated the emphasis placed by the Marxist movement on the role of the party in the development of the world revolution. As was later explained:

The standpoint of objectivism is contemplation rather than revolutionary practical activity, of observation rather than struggle; it justifies what is happening rather than explains what must be done. This method provided the theoretical underpinnings for a perspective in which Trotskyism was no longer seen as the doctrine guiding the practical activity of a party determined to conquer power and change the course of history, but rather as a general interpretation of a historical process in which socialism would ultimately be realized under the leadership of nonproletarian forces hostile to the Fourth International. Insofar as Trotskyism was to be credited with any direct role in the course of events, it was merely as a sort of subliminal mental process unconsciously guiding the activities of Stalinists, neo-Stalinists, semi-Stalinists, and, of course, petty-bourgeois nationalists of one type or another.

Pabloism, in this sense, went way beyond a set of incorrect assessments, false prognoses and programmatic revisions. It attacked the whole foundation of scientific socialism and repudiated the central lessons abstracted by Marxists from the development of the class struggle over an entire century. The greatest conquest of Marxist theory in the twentieth century — the Leninist conception of the party — was undermined as Pablo called into question the necessity of the conscious element in the struggle of the proletariat and the historic realization of the proletarian dictatorship. For Pablo and his followers, there was no need to theoretically educate the working class and make it conscious of its historical tasks. It was not necessary to wage a struggle for Marxism against the domination of bourgeois ideology over the spontaneous movement of the working class...

The adaptation to Stalinism was a central feature of the new Pabloite outlook, but it would be mistaken to see this as its essential characteristic. Pabloism was (and is) liquidationism all down the line: that is, the repudiation of the hegemony of the proletariat in the socialist revolution and the genuinely independent existence of the Fourth International as the conscious articulation of the historical role of the working class...

The practical activity of the Trotskyist movement was no longer to be centrally directed toward educating the proletariat, making it conscious of its historic tasks, and establishing its unconditional programmatic and organizational independence from all other class forces. Nor was this activity to be based upon a scientific analysis of social relations of production and class forces, grounded in a historically-based confidence in the unique revolutionary role of the proletariat. Instead, work was to be reduced to the small change of tactical expediency, in which principled positions established over decades of struggle were to be surrendered in the vain hope of influencing the leaders of the existing Stalinist, Social-Democratic and bourgeois nationalist organizations and pushing them to the left.[73]

117. Acting on this perspective, Pablo, with the support of Mandel, sought to exploit his position as International Secretary of the Fourth International to compel entire national sections to liquidate themselves as independent organizations and enter the ranks of the Stalinist parties, a tactic they called entryism sui generis. The revisionists concluded that the concentration that had been placed on the building of sections of the Fourth International in every country had been mistaken. This position became the hallmark of a disastrous perspective that would be repeated many times, including by innumerable opportunist tendencies today. It is not possible to build revolutionary parties, they conclude, so one must look toward some other force that happens, at any given time, to be leading mass organizations, regardless of its history, program, and class basis.

118. The Pabloite tendency in the United States was led by Bert Cochran. It found support principally among a section of trade unionists inside the SWP, which reflected the pressures of anticommunism on the working class and the growth of a more conservative layer of workers that was benefiting from a rise in its standard of living. The Cochranites wanted to abandon any discussion of the split between Trotskyism and Stalinism, a position expressed in their infamous slogan, "Junk the Old Trotskyism." Opposing the basic principle that socialist consciousness is historical consciousness, Cochran wrote in 1951, "while Trotsky was, in the immediate and most direct sense, the teacher and the leader of our movement, it does not at all follow from these two propositions that we will have much success in rallying workers to our banner by trying to straighten them out on the rights and wrongs of the Stalin-Trotsky fight, which has now receded into history..."[74] This call to forget about history meant, in fact, rejecting the perspective and principles represented in that history. Most of the Cochranites would eventually take their liquidationist perspective to its logical conclusion by making their way into the trade union bureaucracy and the Democratic Party.

The "Open Letter" and the Formation of the International Committee

119. The factional struggle that developed in the Fourth International culminated in November 1953 with the issuing of an Open Letter, written by Cannon, to Trotskyists throughout the world. This letter formed the programmatic basis for the formation of the International Committee of the Fourth International. Supported by the Trotskyist organizations in France and Britain, Cannon's action was wholly justified by the circumstances that confronted the world movement. At stake was the defense of the essential political principles upon which the founding of the Fourth International had been based, and its survival as an independent revolutionary organization. Cannon's letter, in explaining why there could be no compromise with Pabloism, summarized these principles:

1. The death agony of the capitalist system threatens the destruction of civilization through worsening depressions, world wars and barbaric manifestations like fascism. The development of atomic weapons today underlines the danger in the gravest possible way.

2. The descent into the abyss can be avoided only by replacing capitalism with the planned economy of socialism on a world scale and thus resuming the spiral of progress opened up by capitalism in its early days.

3. This can be accomplished only under the leadership of the working class in society. But the working class itself faces a crisis in leadership although the world relationship of social forces was never so favorable as today for the workers to take the road to power.

4. To organize itself for carrying out this world-historic aim, the working class in each country must construct a revolutionary socialist party in the pattern developed by Lenin; that is, a combat party capable of dialectically combining democracy and centralism — democracy in arriving at decisions, centralism in carrying them out; a leadership controlled by the ranks, ranks able to carry forward under fire in disciplined fashion.

5. The main obstacle to this is Stalinism, which attracts workers through exploiting the prestige of the October 1917 Revolution in Russia, only later, as it betrays their confidence, to hurl them either into the arms of the Social Democracy, into apathy, or back into illusions in capitalism. The penalty for these betrayals is paid by the working people in the form of consolidation of fascist or monarchist forces, and new outbreaks of war fostered and prepared by capitalism. From its inception, the Fourth International set as one of its major tasks the revolutionary overthrow of Stalinism inside and outside the USSR.

6. The need for flexible tactics facing many sections of the Fourth International, and parties or groups sympathetic to its program, makes it all the more imperative that they know how to fight imperialism and all its petty-bourgeois agencies (such as nationalist formations or trade union bureaucracies) without capitulation to Stalinism; and, conversely, know how to fight Stalinism (which in the final analysis is a petty-bourgeois agency of imperialism) without capitulating to imperialism.[75]

120. The Open Letter pointed out that all these principles had been rejected by Pablo:

...In place of emphasizing the danger of a new barbarism, he sees the drive toward socialism as "irreversible"; yet he does not see socialism coming within our generation or some generations to come. Instead he has advanced the concept of an "engulfing" wave of revolutions that give birth to nothing but "deformed," that is, Stalin-type workers' states which are to last for "centuries."

This reveals the utmost pessimism about the capacities of the working class, which is wholly in keeping with the ridicule he has lately voiced of the struggle to build independent revolutionary socialist parties. In place of holding to the main course of building independent revolutionary socialist parties by all tactical means, he looks to the Stalinist bureaucracy, or a decisive section of it, to so change itself under mass pressure as to accept the "ideas" and "program" of Trotskyism.[76]

121. Cannon's letter ended with a warning and a call to action:

To sum up: The lines of cleavage between Pablo's revisionism and orthodox Trotskyism are so deep that no compromise is possible either politically or organizationally. The Pablo faction has demonstrated that it will not permit democratic decisions truly reflecting majority opinion to be reached. They demand complete submission to their criminal policy. They are determined to drive all orthodox Trotskyists out of the Fourth International or to muzzle and handcuff them. ...

If we may offer advice to the sections of the Fourth International from our enforced position outside the ranks,[77] we think the time has come to act and act decisively. The time has come for the orthodox Trotskyist majority of the Fourth International to assert their will against Pablo's usurpation of authority.[78]

The Lenin-Trotsky Theory of the Party

122. In the aftermath of the split, Cannon elaborated on the essential issues of principle that had emerged. He stressed the irreconcilable opposition of Marxism to the spontaneist conceptions of Pablo and Mandel:

...We alone are unconditional adherents of the Lenin-Trotsky theory of the party of the conscious vanguard and its role as leader of the revolutionary struggle. This theory acquires burning actuality and dominates all others in the present epoch.

The problem of leadership now is not limited to spontaneous manifestations of the class struggle in a long drawn-out process, nor even to the conquest of power in this or that country where capitalism is especially weak. It is a question of the development of the international revolution and the socialist transformation of society. To admit that this can happen automatically is, in effect, to abandon Marxism altogether. No, it can only be a conscious operation, and it imperatively requires the leadership of the Marxist party which represents the conscious element in the historic process. No other party will do. No other tendency in the labor movement can be recognized as a satisfactory substitute. For that reason, our attitude towards all other parties and tendencies is irreconcilably hostile.

If the relation of forces requires the adaptation of the cadres of the vanguard to organizations dominated at the moment by such hostile tendencies — Stalinist, Social-Democratic, centrist — then such adaptation must be regarded at all times as a tactical adaptation, to facilitate the struggle against them; never to effect a reconciliation with them; never to ascribe to them the decisive historical role, with the Marxists assigned to the minor chore of giving friendly advice and "loyal" criticism...[79]

Stalinism in Crisis

123. The struggle within the Fourth International both reflected and anticipated changes in the world situation. Even as the split was unfolding, the Kremlin regime was gripped by crisis. The bloody purge trials in Eastern Europe and the infamous arrests of Jewish physicians in the Soviet Union made it all too clear, even within Stalin's entourage, that the dictator's raging paranoia was blocking any coherent policy response to the crisis of post-war Soviet society. Stalin's sudden death in March 1953, under murky circumstances, created an opportunity for a shift in policy. After a brief factional battle within the Politburo, Lavrenti Beria, the head of Stalin's secret police, was ousted from power and executed. With this act, the bureaucracy, which owed its power to Stalin's destruction of the revolutionary cadre of the Bolshevik Party, expressed its desire to enjoy its privileges without the ever-present danger of purges, arrests and executions. But the bureaucracy's hold on its privileges faced a greater challenge from the growing discontent of the working class within the Soviet Union and in Eastern Europe. In June 1953, workers in East Germany rose up against the Stalinist bureaucracy and were suppressed by Soviet military forces. In February 1956, Nikita Khrushchev delivered his "secret speech" to the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party, in which he denounced some of Stalin's crimes, but deliberately excluded from his list of victims the leaders of the Trotskyist Left Opposition and those condemned to death at the Moscow Trials. As the leader of the Stalinist bureaucracy, Khrushchev could not give an account of the origins of Stalin's crimes and resorted to a facile apology: Stalin's henchmen in the bureaucracy and the entire Soviet population had been in thrall of a "cult of personality." That same year, the Hungarian working class revolted, setting up workers' councils that were the embryonic form of a political revolution. The uprising was brutally suppressed as Khrushchev sent Soviet tanks into Budapest. This action revealed once more the thoroughly counter-revolutionary character of Stalinism. The unrelenting opposition of Stalinism to any revolutionary movement of the working class had not been altered by the death of Stalin himself.

124. The crisis of Stalinism provided a real possibility for the clarification of central political questions. The British Trotskyists, under the leadership of Gerry Healy, stressed the importance of clarifying the great political issues that underlay Trotsky's struggle against Stalinism. This entailed deepening the struggle against the Pabloites, who interpreted every Stalinist political maneuver as an example of progressive bureaucratic "self-reform." It was precisely at this point, however, that the SWP leadership began to retreat from the irreconcilable opposition to Pabloism that Cannon had advocated so forcefully in 1953-54. By 1957, Cannon was expressing interest in the possibility of a reunification with the Pabloites, on the false grounds that differences between the ICFI and the Pabloite Secretariat had diminished over the years. This shift in the attitude of the SWP toward the Pabloites reflected a definite rightward drift in its general political line. In the late 1950s, the SWP indicated interest in participating in a "regroupment" of various radical tendencies. The turn to the Pabloites expressed a shift in the class axis of the SWP, away from its traditional "proletarian orientation" and toward alliances with political representatives of the radical sections of the petty bourgeoisie.

Castroism and the SWP's Return to Pablo

125. The accession of Castro to power in Cuba in January 1959 became a vehicle for the growing opportunist faction within the SWP to reorient the party back toward the petty-bourgeois milieu of American radicalism. The Castro government had come to power with a bourgeois nationalist program through guerrilla warfare based on the peasantry. The nationalist character of the movement, and its initial efforts to implement social reforms, brought it into conflict with American imperialism. Castro, in response to US threats, sought support from the Soviet Union. Only at this point did the regime declare itself to be "Communist."

126. Though it had initially defined the Castro regime as bourgeois nationalist, the SWP, now led by Joseph Hansen, shifted its position in the course of 1960. A key role in the implementation of this change was the SWP's intense and politically unexplained involvement with the dubious "Fair Play for Cuba Committee." By December 1960, the SWP was declaring that Cuba had become a workers' state. Hansen defended this position on the crudely empiricist basis that nationalized property had been established, apparently unaware that land nationalization — as Lenin had frequently noted in his voluminous writings on the agrarian question in Russia — is, in essence, a bourgeois democratic measure. Nor did Hansen reference the analysis of Cuban developments to the historical and theoretical problems — including the class basis of the regime and the absence of independent organizations of working class power — that had preoccupied the SWP in the discussions over Eastern Europe and China. Moreover, the developments in Cuba were treated in isolation from the international situation and all questions of global perspective. The "fact" that Castro had carried out nationalizations was proof, the SWP argued, that a revolution could be accomplished with a "blunted instrument" led by "unconscious Marxists," who would implement socialism due to the pressure of objective necessity and without the active participation of the working class itself.

127. The SWP's position, which closely paralleled the argument of the Pabloites, repudiated the principles outlined by Cannon in his Open Letter. If workers' states could be established through the actions of petty-bourgeois guerrilla leaders based on the peasantry, and under conditions in which there existed no identifiable organs of working class rule, then what was the purpose of the Fourth International? What need was there to organize the working class politically on the basis of a socialist program? The SWP's adulation of Castroism and guerrilla warfare in Latin America was a rejection of a revolutionary perspective for the American and international working class. Its position on Cuba went hand in hand with the party's increasing adaptation to middle class protest politics in the US.

The SLL's Defense of Trotskyism

128. These developments intensified the political conflict within the International Committee. In a letter dated January 2, 1961, the Socialist Labour League, the British section of the ICFI, wrote to the SWP leadership:

The greatest danger confronting the revolutionary movement is liquidationism, flowing from a capitulation either to the strength of imperialism or of the bureaucratic apparatuses in the Labour movement, or both. Pabloism represents, even more clearly now than in 1953, this liquidationist tendency in the international Marxist movement...

Any retreat from the strategy of political independence of the working class and the construction of revolutionary parties will take on the significance of a world-historical blunder on the part of the Trotskyist movement...

It is because of the magnitude of the opportunities opening up before Trotskyism, and therefore the necessity for political and theoretical clarity, that we urgently require a drawing of the lines against revisionism in all its forms. It is time to draw to a close the period in which Pabloite revisionism was regarded as a trend within Trotskyism. Unless this is done we cannot prepare for the revolutionary struggles now beginning.[80]

129. In May 1961 the SLL expanded its critique of the SWP's retreat from Trotskyism and its ever-more pronounced adaptation to the myriad bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalist tendencies that dominated the anti-colonial and anti-imperialist movements. The line of the SWP, as the SLL documents established, represented a repudiation of the conceptions elaborated by Trotsky in his Theory of Permanent Revolution:

An essential of revolutionary Marxism in this epoch is the theory that the national bourgeoisie in under-developed countries is incapable of defeating imperialism and establishing an independent national state. This class has ties with imperialism and it is of course incapable of an independent capitalist development, for it is part of the capitalist world market and cannot compete with the products of the advanced countries...

While it is true that the stage of ‘independence' reached by countries like Ghana, and the national independence movements led by men like Mboya of Kenya, acts as a stimulant to national liberation movements in other countries, the fact remains that Nkrumah, Mboya, Nasser, Kassem, Nehru, Soekarno, and their like, represent the national bourgeoisie of their own countries. The dominant imperialist policy-makers both in the USA and Britain recognize full well that only by handing over political ‘independence' to leaders of this kind, or accepting their victory over feudal elements like Farouk and Nuries-Said, can the stakes of international capital and the strategic alliances be preserved in Asia, Africa, and Latin America...

It is not the job of Trotskyists to boost the role of such nationalist leaders. They can command the support of the masses only because of the betrayal of leadership by Social-Democracy and particularly Stalinism, and in this way they become buffers between imperialism and the mass of workers and peasants. The possibility of economic aid from the Soviet Union often enables them to strike a harder bargain with the imperialists, even enables more radical elements among the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaders to attack imperialist holdings and gain further support from the masses. But, for us, in every case the vital question is one of the working class in these countries gaining political independence through a Marxist party, leading the poor peasantry to the building of Soviets, and recognizing the necessary connections with the international socialist revolution. In no case, in our opinion, should Trotskyists substitute for that the hope that the nationalist leadership should become socialists. The emancipation of the working class is the task of the workers themselves.[81]

130. On the question of Cuba, the SLL added:

Much of the current discussion on Cuba, it seems, proceeds in this way: The Cuban masses support Castro; Castro began as a petty-bourgeois but has become a socialist; the public pressure of imperialist attack and of popular struggle may turn him into a Marxist, and already the tasks confronting him in defending the gains of the revolution have brought him ‘naturally' to positions indistinguishable from Trotskyism. In this approach, the fundamentals of Marxism are trampled upon...[W]e have to evaluate political tendencies on a class basis, on the way they develop in struggle in relation to the movement of classes over long periods. A proletarian party, let alone a proletarian revolution, will not be born in any backward country by the conversion of petty-bourgeois nationalists who stumble ‘naturally' and ‘accidentally' upon the importance of workers and peasants.[82]

The Pabloite Reunification and the Betrayal in Ceylon

131. In June 1963, the SWP and the European Pabloites held a Unification Congress and formed a new "United Secretariat." What imparted to this congress its unprincipled and reactionary character, was its determined refusal to examine the issues that had led to the split of 1953. The repeated claim that the differences had receded into the past, that they were no longer relevant in the context of a "new world reality," concealed the very real and dangerous implications of Pabloite politics. The refusal of the British Trotskyists to participate in the reactionary charade of a "Reunification" Congress, in which life-and-death questions were being excluded from discussion, was an act of great political courage.

132. Just what was at stake became clear within just one year. In June 1964, a leading section of the Pabloite International, the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP), accepted an invitation from Ceylonese Prime Minister Madam Sirimavo Bandaranaike to join her new bourgeois coalition government. This was the first time in the history of the Fourth International that a Trotskyist party had participated in such a crass betrayal of socialist principles. This betrayal had been prepared over many years of political backsliding by the LSSP, but the Pabloites blocked discussion of its political degeneration. Now, just one year after reunification, the Pabloite International (with the critical assistance of the SWP) was serving as the midwife of a betrayal that led to a civil war that has ravaged Sri Lankan society and cost nearly 100,000 lives. The condemnation issued by the International Committee of the role played by Pabloism in the Ceylonese catastrophe has stood the test of time: "The entry of the LSSP members into the Bandaranaike coalition marks the end of a whole epoch of the evolution of the Fourth International. It is in direct service to imperialism, in the preparation of a defeat for the working class that revision in the world Trotskyist movement has found its expression."[83]

To be continued


69. Fourth International, November 1946, p. 345.

70. David North, The Heritage We Defend, pp. 158-9.

71. Cited in Ibid., p. 185.

72. Cited in Ibid., p 193.

73. Ibid., pp. 188-91.

74. Cited in Ibid., p. 204.

75. "The Open Letter of the Socialist Workers Party, November 16, 1953," in: Trotskyism Versus Revisionism, Volume One (London: New Park, 1974) p. 299-300.

76. Ibid., p. 301.

77. The American Trotskyists since the 1940s have not been able to affiliate formally with the Fourth International due to the provisions of the reactionary Voorhis Act.

78. Ibid., pp. 312-13.

79. Letter from Cannon to George Breitman, March 1, 1954, in Trotskyism Versus Revisionism, Volume Two (London: New Park, 1974) p. 65.

80. Letter of the National Committee of the SLL to the National Committee of the SWP January 2, 1961, in Trotskyism Versus Revisionism Volume Three (London: New Park, 1974) pp. 48-49.

81. The Heritage We Defend, op. cit., pp. 377-9.

82. Ibid., p. 379.

83. The Heritage We Defend, op. cit., p. 402.