Marxist Bulletin No. 4
Expulsion from the Socialist Workers Party
To the National Committee Plenum of December 27-29, 1963
By Arne Swabeck
The suspension of Comrades Robertson, White, et al. by the Political Committee is, in my opinion, a violation of our principle of democratic centralism as we have hitherto conceived it, and as is necessary if the party is to remain on a revolutionary course. I therefore protest this action to the National Committee Plenum and urge its reversal.
I have no sympathy whatever with the outrageous statements made by some of these comrades in their own internal tendency documents; nor do I view kindly what seems to be their group objectives. But reprehensible as this may be, the far more important question for the revolutionary integrity and healthy growth of the party is the right of comrades of a minority group, or any other comrade to hold and express views, be they ever so critical.
To members of the leading party body, the National Committee, it should not be necessary to emphasize the importance of maintaining that right. Only the most complete freedom of expression of contrary views, even mistaken ones, without, of course, interfering in any way with the pursuance of regular party activities and duties — only such practice of internal democracy can give reasonable assurance of arriving at correct policies. A good deal has been said about demands for internal party democracy elsewhere — in China for instance. Let us make sure that we ourselves set a good example. It will be helpful also in the very serious task of maintaining clear revolutionary perspectives.
The suspended comrades are charged with disloyalty to the party; the charge is based merely on opinions expressed in internal tendency documents. No acts have been cited to justify the charge. In any event, loyalty to the party and to the principles for which it stands can be tested only over a period of time and under varying conditions. In no case can the mere engaging in, or refraining from, sharp criticism be considered a measure of loyalty.
I submit this protest in all earnestness to the National Committee, hoping for favorable action. In connection with the Milwaukee case my protest was rebuffed by the PC, and in the type of rude terms that should not be practiced among comrades. I was accused of mistaking the party majority as “nothing more than a rival faction.” No, Comrades, I am not making that mistake. I know the majority is the party leadership. I respect that as an established fact. This does not mean that I consider the leadership to be free from factionalism. Quite the contrary. In the case of these suspensions political differences are settled by organizational means — by means of a purge — which can have no other motivation than that of factionalism. Therein lies the great danger to the party. Unless this is changed, it can lead straight to the monolithism we abhor.
December 5, 1963