Marxist Bulletin No. 4
Expulsion from the Socialist Workers Party
Resolution on Robertson Group by the United Secretariat
(plus cover letter by Pierre Frank)
April l7, 1964
Dear Comrade Robertson,
At its last meeting, the United Secretariat took up your letter soliciting our opinion about your group and its relations with the Socialist Workers party. The material which you sent us, plus additional evidence which was brought to our attention, was considered.
As a result, a resolution was adopted stating our views on this question. A copy of this resolution is attached for your information.
for the United Secretariat
cc: Farrell Dobbs
Resolution on Robertson Group
The Robertson group is marked by (1) an ultraleft sectarian political line, especially evident in relation to the colonial revolution as a whole and the Cuban Revolution in particular; (2) bitter opposition to the reunification of the world Trotskyist movement, in which it views the role of the Socialist Workers Party as one of “betrayal” because it supported unity; (3) judgment of the Socialist Workers Party as a “centrist” formation in which the discipline of the Robertson faction takes precedence over party discipline in line with the perspective of eventual split when conditions become most favorable.
The Robertson group considers the sectarian political positions and course of the Socialist Labour League, above all its opposition to reunification of the world Trotskyist movement, to be generally correct. While the exact relations of this group with the leadership of the Socialist Labour League remain obscure, two differences do appear to exist. On the one hand, the leaders of the Robertson group seem to hold that it was an error on the part of Healy not to participate in the reunification of the world Trotskyist movement–he should have “entered” in order to blow up the reunification from within. On the other hand, the leadership of the Socialist Labour League seem to have correctly judged, or been informed about, the split orientation of the Robertson group in relation to the Socialist Workers Party and to have taken the initiative to break with the group for that reason.
The letter addressed by the leaders of the Robertson group to the United Secretariat, asking for a “moral” opinion on the expulsions of its leaders from the Socialist Workers Party is not a serious step in the context of an appeal but is a move aimed at striking a blow against the reunification. Otherwise they would not have first taken their case to the general public, as they have, featuring their tendentious version of the expulsions in a newly launched public faction organ. Similarly they would not have taken their minority political views to the public in this same faction organ. Both moves are in flagrant violation of the principles and practices of democratic centralism which require a minority in a revolutionary socialist party to abide by majority decision. The correct procedure–as is well known by the leaders of the Robertson group–would have been to appeal any measures considered incorrect or unjust to the next convention, while meanwhile doing their utmost to demonstrate their basic loyalty–if they have any–to the Socialist Workers Party.
In view of these considerations, the United Secretariat (1) holds that the so-called “appeal” by leaders of the Robertson group is a mere publicity move that seeks to advance hostile factional aims; (2) condemns the course taken by the Robertson group, particularly its unrestrained public attacks against the Socialist Workers Party, as injurious to the interests of the world Trotskyist movement.