Former Spartacist cadre comments on BT statement re: IG-SL debate

A long-time former Spartacist League cadre made the following observation on our 28 January commentary “On the recent IG-SL debate.”

Very powerful. If people were rational and fair-minded and willing to say, “I was wrong” … you’d win hands-down.

I think one thing could be added, but it would take some work: why did Robertson go the way he did?  With someone like Healy, you can understand it: his personal character was flawed to begin with: his leadership was based entirely on other-than-political considerations. He couldn’t match the Pabloite leaders in political knowledge and acumen and had to use other means to build an organization. But Robertson really was a master of Marxism. So why did he need to purge anyone who was also pretty good (which is what I think these purges were about), and turn a very talented dedicated bunch of cadres into hand-raisers?  I suppose one aspect is the belief that the nucleus of the revolutionary party cannot afford even one tiny mistake—the scratch that can become gangrene—whereas a real party, one with genuine roots in the masses, like the Bolsheviks, if it’s led by a Lenin, can still function as a revolutionary organization with Bukharins and Kamenevs in it. So agreement on 99 out of 100 things is not enough…and the cadres have to be hardened, to treat the deviant as an enemy, even a conscious tool of the police (“garbage doesn’t walk by itself”), not just someone who is wrong on one issue.

There’s a maxim for real militaries: you should always be training your replacement (for obvious reasons). And the weakness of the always-correct Supreme Leader who destroys any potential competition for his job is that he is not immortal, and if the cadres have been conditioned not to think for themselves but just to obey the Supreme Leader—who then dies—they’re wide open to be taken over by an ambitious, plausible new Supreme Leader, with alien politics, which is what seems to have happened to the SL. There’s an analogy here with over-protective parents who never let their children play outdoors and get dirty and scratched, thus never building up a healthy immune system. Okay, until they finally have to go outdoors.