International Committee of the Fourth International
Fourth International (1987): Documents of the Third Plenum of the ICFI

Second Letter to Cliff Slaughter from Alan Gelfand

Dear Comrade Slaughter:

More than two months have passed since the publication of my open letter challenging your repudiation of Security and the Fourth International and the Gelfand case. I wrote the letter in response to public statements made by you and others in the WRP leadership. In the letter, I set forth in detail the facts at the core of my case which prove beyond any legitimate doubt that the leadership of the Socialist Workers Party is dominated by government agents. I have not yet received a reply.

Your silence, Comrade Slaughter, is further proof, if any were needed, that the basic conclusions of Security and the Fourth International and the Gelfand case are irrefutable.

Since the expulsion of Healy, the WRP has boasted of a new openness to discussion of conflicting viewpoints. I cannot help but notice that the pages of the Workers Press have been made available to people with all sorts of political perspectives, many of which are openly hostile to Trotskyism. Yet your newspaper refuses to print my open letter, and no one in the WRP will take political responsibility to answer it.

What are you afraid of, Comrade Slaughter? I see in the April 11, 1987, issue of Workers Press that the WRP passed a resolution denouncing the Pabloites for having “kept deliberately silent about Stalinist murders of Trotskyists.” That very silence, as you are well aware, was a central aspect of the first charges made against the SWP by Security and the Fourth International—criminal negligence in regards to GPU penetration of the Trotskyist movement. Subsequent evidence led to the charge that SWP leaders were accomplices of the GPU. The truth of that charge was confirmed in the Gelfand case when the SWP collaborated openly with Sylvia Franklin and Mark Zborowski—Stalinist murderers of Trotskyists—to protect their activities from exposure.

Shortly after my open letter, the SWP filed a second punitive motion in Federal Court, seeking an immediate sanction of $100,000 against my attorneys and me. The motion is set for hearing on June 1, 1987. In support of their application, the SWP is arguing explicitly that it should be rewarded for vindicating the authority of the capitalist court. The SWP has filed with the court a copy of the book, The Gelfand Case: a Legal History of the Exposure of US Government Agents in the Leadership of the Socialist Workers Party, and used it as the basis of an openly anticommunist diatribe to appeal to the judge’s most fundamental class interests. Interestingly, the price tags on the books used by the SWP are in British pounds. This means that the WRP turned over the books to the SWP. I find it hard to believe that the membership of the WRP is aware of and would countenance such despicable collusion between their party and the agent-dominated SWP. At this time I feel compelled to ask: In what other ways have you provided behind-the-scenes assistance to the SWP?

I wrote you last February because I expected a reply. Now, with the SWP’s latest motion to be heard in less than one month’s time, the Gelfand case may soon end with my lawyers and me facing draconian penalties for our efforts on behalf of the international working class—efforts you and your party enthusiastically supported until 1985. Under these circumstances, I demand a reply.

Alan Gelfand