The Third International after Lenin

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Workers World Party and the wages of campist opportunism

The International Socialist Organization here in the United States has posted an article about the lack of an anti-war movement here in the US since Obama was elected.

The gibberish produced by this group as it fronts for liberals and the so-called left intelligentsia and the trade union mis-leadership is a particularly revolting sight.

Historically this tendency was never a defender of the conquests of October. All their talk about "Soviet imperialism" is testament to this. They fear the dictatorship of the proletariat. It is a topic they are loath to mention in polite company

They do make some valid and interesting points though about the stance of Workers World Party opposing national and worker struggles today in Syria, Iran, China, and Ukraine.



.... If there were ever a moment for radicals to provide an alternative to liberalism, now would be that moment. But many on the left have put forward a faux version of anti-imperialism that is actually an obstacle to building the left and galvanizing broader antiwar opposition.

The first problem is that the forces on the left are scattered and divided. Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), which at one point posed itself as an anti-imperialist alternative to UFPJ, has suffered a decline during Obama's presidency, like all antiwar formations. ANSWER also suffered from a split in the Workers World Party, the small group that maintained control over ANSWER. ANSWER is now dominated by one wing of that split, the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)

PSL and Workers World are both Stalinist groups. During the Cold War, Workers World sided with the Russian empire against the U.S., even going so far as to call the state capitalist dictatorships of the ex-USSR and the countries of the Eastern bloc socialist. It also supported various tyrants in the poor and developing world, like Saddam Hussein, because they were supposedly standing up to U.S. imperialism.

This position led Workers World to support atrocities against workers and peasants in the name of anti-imperialism, from Russia's brutal repression of Hungarian Revolution in 1956 and the Czechoslovakian Revolution in 1968 to the crushing of the Tiananmen Square Uprising in 1989 by the Chinese state capitalist dictatorship.

Even after the end of the Cold War, these groups have preserved the methodology of "campism": Supporting whichever "camp" opposes the U.S., even when it has no pretensions to socialism. For this reason, PSL and Workers World continue to consider U.S. rivals like China and Russia and various Third World dictatorships like North Korea to be "anti-imperialist." By siding with these oppressive states, they fail to side with the oppressed people who live under them.

This is actually imperialist politics disguised as anti-imperialism. Genuine anti-imperialism does not choose between rival states in the capitalist system, but supports national liberation struggles against all imperialisms as part of the international workers' movement to get rid of capitalism and its system of states. That means standing with mass democratic revolts, regardless of whether the regime is an ally or opponent of the U.S.

This faux anti-imperialism of Workers World and PSL poisoned their reaction to the Arab Spring. They didn't support the uprisings across the board, but only when they challenged allies of the U.S. state. Thus, they cheered the Egyptian revolution against U.S.-backed dictator Hosni Mubarak, but not the Syrian revolution against Bashar al-Assad, because his conflicts with the U.S.--though the Assad regime has managed to collaborate with the U.S. in numerous cases throughout the last few decades--supposedly made him an anti-imperialist.

Workers World and PSL backed Assad's brutal repression of the Arab Spring protests and his subsequent murderous war on Syria's people. Workers World went so far as to send "election observers" to provide celebrate Assad's "re-election" earlier this year.

Just like the liberals, the campist left tries to deal with the crisis by looking for solutions from above. Workers World and PSL back Russia, China, Syria and Iran against the U.S. and its allies. In reality, no solution will come from either the American camp or the Russian/Chinese camp, because both have predatory aims in the region.

Two disastrous consequences flow from left campism. One is that it isolates the left from the only force that could provide a solution to the crisis--the workers, peasants and oppressed peoples of the Middle East. From Syria to Bahrain to Iran to Palestine, they are fighting for liberation from states that U.S. imperialism supports, as well as those that Russia and China support. The left ought to stand with those struggling for revolution from below against the existing states no matter which camp they are in.

The second effect is that these politics alienate the newly radicalizing students and workers who are the potential base of the antiwar movement. Many are still influenced by liberal ideas, but they can be won to an anti-imperialist movement that meets their desire to see justice and democracy. They won't be won to one that champions tyrants like Assad in the name of anti-imperialism....


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