Marxist Bulletin No. 3 – Part I
1962 Split in the SWP Revolutionary Tendency
Letter of Behalf of the Majority of the NY section of the RT of the SWP
4 November 1962
To the Revolutionary Tendency of the International Committee
Last night comrade Albert Philips submitted a document to the New York Section in your name. The following motion was thereupon voted by the New York Section:
The New York Section of the Revolutionary Tendency in the SWP regards the document presented to us by comrade Philips as a contribution to the discussion now under way in the tendency. The Section states that, in accordance with the principles of democratic centralism, it will accept in disciplined fashion the decisions of the international conference at which it will be represented. The tendency reaffirms in general and in detail its adherence to the basic statement of principle In Defense of a Revolutionary Perspective.
The vote on the above motion was as follows:
|Members of the
New York Section:
Although the comrades of the American Tendency financed comrade Philips’ trip abroad, this in no way constituted comrade Albert Philips as our representative. This was made absolutely clear by the motion presented in the New York Section on 1 October 1962 which carried unanimously:
Motion by comrade Robertson:
At the suggestion of comrade Wohlforth the tendency financially help comrade Albert to consult. It is understood that giving this aid constitutes no special endorsement of views which may be controversial within the tendency.
Comrades of the Revolutionary Tendency, there is a right way for Bolsheviks to act! We reaffirm in the strongest possible fashion our determination to act in a disciplined fashion and abide by all decisions of regularly constituted international bodies at which we are represented.
We are determined to go to any length short of renouncing our political views to avoid a split. The document which it is demanded that we sign closes with two sections which constitute our ultimatistic expulsion from the Revolutionary Tendency since it demands that we renounce our views on the political nature of the SWP.
WE HAVE THEREFORE THE FOLLOWING MOST URGENT REQUEST TO MAKE. WILL YOU, COMRADES OF THE REVOLUTIONARY TENDENCY OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE, HOLD IN ABEYANCE THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DOCUMENT PRESENTED BY COMRADE PHILIPS — THAT IS, THE LAST TWO SECTIONS — FOR A PERIOD OF SEVERAL WEEKS IN ORDER THAT A REPRESENTATIVE OF OUR WING, A PROBABLE MAJORITY, OF THE AMERICAN TENDENCY BE ALLOWED TO REPRESENT US AT A MEETING OF THE REVOLUTIONARY TENDENCY OF THE INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE? OR IS THERE ANY OTHER MEASURE WHICH YOU WILL CONSIDER WHICH MIGHT EVEN CONCEIVABLY AVOID A RUPTURE?
To repeat, Comrades, WE WILL GO TO ANY LENGTH SHORT OF RENOUNCING OUR POLITICAL VIEWS TO AVOID A RUPTURE!
Comrades of the Revolutionary Tendency, if your decision to act without permitting representation by the American Tendency is irrevocable, we must register our most profound sorrow and anger at this treatment and once again REAFFIRM OUR UNCHANGEABLE DETERMINATION TO REMAIN A VITAL PART OF THE REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT! If you remain convinced, without so much as a hearing from our side, that our group is composed of Burnhamite and Shachtmanite elements pre-eminently hostile to the working class, then let this document serve as the mark by which our deeds and your arbitrary action may be judged in the coming years.
COMRADES, WE ARE GOING TO REMAIN IN THE SWP AND CONTINUE OUR STRUGGLE AGAINST REVISIONISM REGARDLESS OF YOUR ACTION. IF YOU PERSIST IN OUR EXPULSION LET OUR ACTIONS CONFOUND YOUR ERROR!
With Bolshevik Greetings,
ON BEHALF OF A MAJORITY OF THE NEW YORK SECTION OF THE REVOLUTIONARY TENDENCY OF THE SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY.