Marxist Bulletin No. 4
Expulsion from the Socialist Workers Party
Statement on Suspension of Robertson-Tendency Members
By Clara Kaye; Dick [Fraser] supports this statement
November 15, 1963
1. The Seattle Branch representative to the Nominating Commission at the July Convention questioned the procedure of the Commission on 2 counts: penalizing two Wohlforth tendency National Committee members by throwing them off the Committee in response to charges made against them in the Convention and refusing to place Robertson on the Committee for similar reasons. The Nominating Commission thus transformed itself into a virtual Control Commission and exacted punishment — without any hearing or trial on the charges. This procedure was unprecedented. The Convention was presented with a fait accompli — an execution before a trial.
2. The current suspension, accordingly, was well prepared psychologically. But that does not make it politically or legally supportable in terms of democratic centralism and the SWP Constitution. The latter nowhere enjoins comrades of any tendency from engaging in private, personal and normal debate over disputed questions or any other questions; to cite the Constitution as evidence against the suspended members is meaningless.
3. The Control Commission was represented by only one regular member. In a case of this seriousness, surely the entire Commission should have been involved.
4. The Control Commission evidently never held a hearing nor solicited the reactions of the minority to the charges. The party has not heard the other side; the minority had no chance whatsoever for self-defense. The Control Commission therefore acted not as an impartial body serving the party as a whole, but exclusively as an agent of the Political Committee, which is not its proper role.
5. Not actions or official group policy are being punished here, but the ideas of two individual minority members. And 5 people are suspended. Both possible intent and guilt by association with individual ideas are the crime here. Yet it would appear that the charge is more dangerous than the crime.
6. How did personal minority documents come to be in the hands of the Control Commission? Have minorities no longer the right to internal private discussion amongst themselves?
7. The “double recruitment” charge is puzzling. A minority often recruits a person to the party and not to itself at the same time. This may or may not materialize later. But a minority may recruit a person to both, simultaneously, or almost so. The charge of disloyalty would only make sense if someone were recruited only to the faction and not to the party, or out of the party and into the faction. This is exactly what the Goldman-Morrow faction did, as well as some other factions in the past. But this is not the charge in this case.
8. The one Robertson tendency member in Seattle (recruited in New York) is an active and reliable branch member and youth organizer. His behavior would belie the almost wholesale charge of Robertson-tendency disloyalty. Is there concrete evidence in other branches of disloyal behavior, selective activity, contempt for the party, etc.? In lieu of this type of real evidence, the Control Commission has given us only an indignant expose of two unutterably ignorant and pretentious documents by two minority members; but since when has individual stupidity, privately or publicly expressed, been grounds for suspension? This is, indeed, an impossible precedent.
9. Such primitive fervor against a generally young and sincerely revolutionary tendency, their own factionalism notwithstanding, is unnecessary and ultimately degrading. The present explanation of the suspension is entirely unconvincing.