British SWP Says: Join “Stop the War”or We’ll Shoot You!

Reprinted from Workers Vanguard No. 799, 14 March 2003.

The following leaflet was issued on March 1 by the Spartacist League/Britain, section of the International Communist League.

The “Revolution 2003” teach-in at LSE [London School of Economics] organised by the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) this weekend featured self-appointed SWP thought police dispatching goon squads to harass the Spartacist League and Spartacus Youth Group and to impede the public from access to our revolutionary Marxist views. Inside the teach-in, the threats escalated after floor interventions by two young women supporters of the Spartacist League, who argued that opposition to the Iraq war and its domestic repercussions in the anti-Muslim witchhunt requires opposition to the Labour government, and exposed the SWP’s support to Islamic fundamentalism, as well as its earlier support to the dispatch of British troops to Northern Ireland under a Labour government. In response, SWP honcho Chris Bambery fumed that anyone who doesn’t politically support the Stop the War Coalition “deserves a bullet in the head.” This is the real face of the SWP’s “give peace a chance” coalition-building: you’ve got to silence the reds to get workers and youth to lie down like lambs with the wolves of the Labour Party whilst they wage war on Iraq and against working people at home!

Physical exclusion, political censorship and threats of violence are the despicable acts of political cowards who disdain to debate their views, preferring to substitute the fist for the brain. Today it’s the Spartacist League, but who’s next on the SWP’s hit list? We call on all leftists, trade unionists and anti-war activists to condemn and protest this flagrant incitement to violence against revolutionary socialists!

What’s got Bambery’s knickers in a twist? The SWP must be undergoing uncomfortable contortions to present themselves as socialists while maintaining loyalty to Blair’s Labour Party (whose election sent the SWP “over the moon”). In our interventions and in discussions with young militants before the meeting our comrades also warned that by promoting politicians like George Galloway and Jeremy Corbyn—who are actively campaigning for antiwar activists to join the Labour Party—the SWP and the Stop the War Coalition are helping channel the growing anger against Blair’s government and its war back into the reformist confines of the Labour Party. As Lenin wrote in Socialism and War, “unity with the opportunists actually means subordinating the working class to their ‘own’ national means splitting the revolutionary proletariat of all countries.” We Spartacists fly under our own banners and argue that what working people, youth and minorities in Britain today need is not a swivel chair “regime change” of Gordon Brown for Tony Blair, but the construction of a multiethnic revolutionary workers party to sweep away the capitalist system which breeds racism, war and unemployment. Anything less, anything other, is nothing but a reformist balm on the raw rubs of the capitalist order.

Political debate is vital to clarify what programme and leadership the working class needs to fight for its interests. This is not the first time that the SWP has resorted to political exclusionism or thuggery against the Spartacist League or other tendencies in the workers movement. In July 1980 they went berserk and assaulted SL supporters shortly after the Soviet Red Army went into Afghanistan because we exposed the SWP for attacking Margaret Thatcher from the right for selling British beef to Soviet troops in Kabul. We said, “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!” and later denounced Gorbachev’s treacherous withdrawal from that country. Had the Soviets stayed and won, there wouldn’t be a Gulf War today!

We say that workers and minorities in Britain and the toiling masses of neocolonial Iraq have a common enemy in the war-crazed gangs running the White House and 10 Downing Street and a common interest in defending Iraq against U.S./British attack without giving one iota of political support to Saddam Hussein’s anti-worker capitalist regime. Imperialist wars such as the threatened slaughter of thousands of Iraqis are inherent to the system of capitalism, and to put an end to them what is needed is an international succession of socialist revolutions. For that purpose we say workers in this country need not a “reclaimed” Labour Party, but a multiethnic revolutionary workers party modelled on the Russian Bolshevik Party. It was the Bolshevik Party that, by successfully tearing the working class away from the pro-capitalist Corbyns, Galloways and Bamberys of the time, led the working class to power and took Russia out of the massacre of World War I through the 1917 October Revolution.

Like the Bolsheviks, we seek to win the working class and the oppressed to the revolutionary socialist programme through the open clash of opposing political programmes; be it at mobilisations such as the massive demonstration held in London on 15 February, in the trade unions, through electoral campaigns, through united-front actions in defence of the interests of workers and the oppressed, or at political meetings such as today’s “Revolution 2003” teach-in. Protest SWP political exclusionism and threats of violence! For open political debate!

ICL Home Page