ICL: ‘Save Our Boys’ Socialists
The Fire Last Time…
Appendix No. 1
The following statement was published by the IBT as an appendix to “Where is the ICL Going?” and reprinted in 1917 No. 24, 2002.
One of the reasons that the 1983 call to save the Marines presents such a problem for the SL is that it flatly contradicted both the historical tradition it claims to stand on, and the image it likes to cultivate as a fearlessly revolutionary organization. In 1982, during the Falklands/Malvinas conflict, WV ran an article sneeringly entitled “’Save Our Boys’ Socialists” which excoriated Sean Matgamna’s Socialist Organiser for running a sympathetic interview with Reg Race, a Labour Party “left”:
Even after WV revealed that “sparing the precious blood” of the U.S. Marines had somehow suddenly become an important Leninist tactic the same criterion was not applied in Britain. The December 1983/January 1984 issue of Spartacist Britain published an auto-critique by A. Gilchrist, a senior cadre of the SL’s British group, in which he confessed:
In the 9 November issue of WV, the SL attempts to get out from under its “Marines Alive” position by claiming that, “to this day it is still not clear who blew up the Marine barracks.” The truth is that it is pretty clear to everyone except the SL (and, presumably, the IG). For example, in the Spring 1993 issue of Foreign Policy, the editor, Charles W. Maynes, wrote the following:
Every serious observer of the Middle East agrees that the suicide truck-bombing of the Marine barracks, carried out by a group calling itself “Islamic Jihad,” was a response to U.S. military intervention on the side of the Christian Phalange. The New York Times blames Hezbollah, the Lebanese “Party of God,” for the attack:
If another truck bomb were to go off this week outside the Marine encampment near Kandahar, would the SL try to hide behind the pretence that the precise identity of the perpetrators was unknown? We rather doubt it.