Marxist Bulletin No. 3 – Part I
1962 Split in the SWP Revolutionary Tendency
Statement Presented by Albert Philips to the NYC Tendency, Nov. 3, 1962
[NOTE: Portions in parenthesis (-) were later omitted in the document as presented to the SWP National Committee]
1. The tendency expresses its general political agreement with the tendency of the International Committee which has agreement around the 1961 international perspectives presented by the Socialist Labour League. It must therefore begin from the standpoint of its responsibilities towards the political struggle of this tendency in relation to the construction of the revolutionary party in the United States.
The tendency recognizes that the building of the SWP as a revolutionary party depends on and derives from its adherence to the revolutionary international perspective and approach.
(All discussion and disagreement within the tendency is part of the discussion within the international tendency. Patience will have to be exercised so that while time is allowed for such differences to be adequately discussed internationally, the political aims and functioning of the tendency remain unimpaired.)
(For this purpose, there will be facilities available for all members of the tendency to express their opinions in a special international tendency bulletin to be published by the Socialist Labour League. This bulletin will have a limited circulation amongst leaders of the international sections who will be invited to comment and participate in the discussion inside the tendency. All written discussion must be carried out within this bulletin.)
2. The tendency must pay particular attention to the development of a perspective for work in the United States in relation to the trade union and the Negro movement. The main political work of the tendency within the party will be to patiently explain the nature of the Pabloite revisionism and liquidationism as a method, and its relation to the problem of developing a concrete revolutionary perspective for work in the trade union and Negro movements. (Such a policy must be carefully presented, not in an artificial factional way, but in a way that will make sense to the activists in the party. The elaboration of the policy is therefore a matter that can only be carried out by most careful preparation.)
(The more careful and thoughtful the preparation, the easier it will be to convince people in practice. If the preparation is carried out in a factional and subjective way, then artificial barriers can be raised between the tendency and the rank and file which will slow down the rate of clarification.)
(The main political fight of the tendency must be directed against the right wing elements in the party, the Weiss group and the Swabeck tendency. This does not in any way mean that we make the slightest concession to the center element in the party who up to now have been trying to have the best of both worlds, but who have gradually shifted this position, for the time being at least, in a leftward direction. Because this shift to the left on pacifism is carried out empirically, it can easily become a shift to the right under different conditions. What it does is to open a favorable opportunity for a real struggle against the right wing elements.)
(An analysis of the Weiss position on pacifism and the position adopted by the Pabloites, especially the French Pabloites, on Cuba will show a very clear difference between them and the majority of the SWP.)
(Our strategy should be to establish a political cohesion of our tendency in a way that can effect a united front where possible with the center elements in the SUP against the right.)
3. The tendency must recognize that the SWP is the main instrument for the realization of socialism in the United States. There is no other organization outside that movement which can decisively aid the struggle for socialism at the present time. Our comrades must therefore work as loyal party members; contribute to all aspects of the work, literary and practical, taking part in all its electoral activity and sub drives and accepting the administrative decisions of the leadership even though we might be very much against them.
Members of the tendency must recognize that the SWP is their party, and they must speak as people who are responsible for their party. The difficulties of the party must not be exploited in a factional way. This must be seen as the overhead price for lack of political clarification. Since the responsibility for this clarification now rests squarely on the shoulders of the tendency, to make factional capital out of the party’s difficulties would be nothing more than shelving that task which is the main purpose for the existence of the tendency.
The tendency must not make premature characterizations of the leadership of the SWP except of those groups such as Weiss and Swabeck who have clearly revealed their Pabloism in theory and practice.
The center group which is, of course, the majority can not be described as a finished centrist tendency in the same way as the Pabloites. To be sure there are elements of centrism in its thinking and activity, but these do not predominate. To characterize the SWP majority tendency as a finished centrist tendency is to give up the political battle before it has begun.
We must believe that by common work and political discussion it will be possible to win a majority of the party to adopt a correct line on Pabloism and for the building of the revolutionary party in the United States.
4. The present tendency shall dissolve and shall re-establish itself on the basis of the preceding point.
5. Only those comrades who accept these conditions can be members of the tendency.