The ICFI Defends Trotskyism

Dissolve the International Committee

March, 1986

1. The Workers Revolutionary Party appeals to Trotskyists throughout the world to support its struggle against Healyism and for the building of the Fourth International.

We declare our determination to construct an international revolutionary leadership based on the first four congresses of the Communist International, the Permanent Revolution, the struggle of the International Left Opposition, the Transitional Program and the other founding documents of the Fourth International.

We will engage in a full discussion with all of those internationally who stand on these programmatic foundations. This discussion will range over all of the theoretical, historical and political problems which confront Trotskyists the world over.

We firmly believe that the essential pre-condition for the building of the Fourth International is a thorough reexamination of its history. The WRP will work for an international pre-conference on these lines before the end of 1986.

2. The Workers Revolutionary Party declares that the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) is not the continuation of the Fourth International founded by Leon Trotsky in 1938.

The ICFI continues the politics of Healyism and is an obstacle to the task of building the Fourth International.

The WRP rejects the traditions of the ICFI as anti-communist and considers its claim to be the World Party of the Socialist Revolution as having no basis in reality.

The character of the ICFI is revealed in the three main aspects of its international work.

Firstly, Healy’s so-called “cadre-training” which was in reality a systematic attack on the ideological foundations of Marxism. In practice it was the moral, political, theoretical, personal and physical destruction of the movement’s cadres in Britain and internationally.

Secondly, opportunist relations with national bourgeois regimes in the Middle East which were an abandonment of the Permanent Revolution in practice.

This led to support for the Saddam Hussein regime’s murder of 21 communists in Iraq, the characterization of the Libyan regime as socialist, and the Iranian revolution as the greatest blow to world imperialism since the Russian revolution of 1917.

Thirdly, the frameup of the late Joseph Hansen and George Novack of the US Socialist Workers Party as GPU-FBI agents in the bogus investigation of Healy, Mitchell and North entitled Security and the Fourth International.

This is continued in the US courts through the Gelfand case, which calls for the capitalist courts to determine the membership of the SWP, a working-class political organization.

The refusal of the WRP to subordinate itself to the ICFI is not a rejection of democratic centralism, but is based on our rejection of the ICFI as reactionary and anti-Trotskyist and we call for its immediate dissolution.

The discipline of the ICFI has nothing in common with the democratic centralism of Lenin and Trotsky but is a means of maintaining Healy’s ICFI without Healy.

The membership of the WRP will no more subordinate itself to Healy’s ICFI than it would to Healy’s Political Committee. We hereby sever all organizational links with the ICFI and its national sections.

3. In October 1985 there was a consciously led explosion in the WRP which resulted in the expulsion of T.G. Healy, a leader of the Trotskyist movement for more than 40 years and of the ICFI since its formation in 1953.

Healy was expelled for the sexual and physical abuse of party members and slandering Workers League National Secretary Dave North as a CIA agent. This led to a split with the Healy-Torrance group in the WRP, and the Greek and Spanish sections of the ICFI, on the question of revolutionary morality.

This group rejected revolutionary morality and the need for communist relations in the Trotskyist movement. They defended Healy’s corruption rather than face up to the moral, political, theoretical and organizational bankruptcy of the WRP and its leadership.

Behind this split were deep going ideological differences. Their defense of the rapist Healy revealed a deep seated anti-communism which was a manifestation of the degenerate ideology of the bourgeoisie.

The WRP was an organization that was not revolutionary. Our program involved opportunist adaptation to sections of the reformist labor and trade bureaucracy in Britain and the national bourgeois regimes in the Middle East. This opportunism was covered up with ultra-left phrases.

The WRP’s theoretical work ignored political economy and historical materialism, concentrating on Healy’s subjective idealist philosophy. Contrary to Healy’s assertions it was not a party based on revolutionary theory, but in practice on an ingrained anti-theoretical outlook.

Relations within the WRP were anti-communist and corrupt. The Healy regime attacked and destroyed the party’s cadres. Relations with the working class were devoid of revolutionary morality. Our organization was based on a reactionary anti-theoretical activism and was financially crippled.

4. The expulsion of Healy and the split with the Healy-Torrance group ousted the old party leadership, with one section rejecting Healy and helping to defeat his clique. This brought out into the open the extent of the crisis in the party.

With Healy’s apparatus broken, the conditions emerged for a serious reevaluation of the history and character of the WRP and the ICFI. The leaders of the ICFI tried to use the crisis of leadership in the WRP to stifle this discussion and keep it under their control.

The leaders of the ICFI rejected revolutionary morality as a diversion and tried to introduce “internationalism” as the main question. They defined as “internationalists” those who were for the ICFI.

Anyone who was opposed to the ICFI they branded as national chauvinist. This has nothing to do with the revolutionary internationalism of the proletariat.

These leaders could not face the re-evaluation of the movement’s history and tried to stifle any serious discussion of it. The questioning of the nature of the ICFI led to the challenging of the bogus investigation conducted by Healy, Mitchell and North on behalf of the WRP and ICFI, fraudulently called Security and the Fourth International.

Rather than face the real political bankruptcy of this, and the ICFI as a whole, the leaders of the ICFI framed the present leadership of the WRP for Healy’s crimes.

They suspended the WRP, without written charges to answer, on the basis of the Interim Report of an unconstitutional International Committee Commission.

This fraudulent report was only produced in writing after the suspension had been voted upon. The report was a coverup of the role of the leaders of the ICFI and a preparation to bureaucratically remove the anti-Healy leadership of the WRP.

The WRP Central Committee rejected the report and suspension, taking up the fight for an international discussion on the nature of the ICFI and all of its sections, including the WRP.

The WRP Central Committee went on to call for an internal re-evaluation of Security and the Fourth International and reject the re-registration of the membership of the WRP on the basis of subordination to the ICFI as unconstitutional and an attack on the rights of party members. The leaders of the ICFI responded by organizing a split in the WRP.

5. The Hyland-Short group formed a faction in the WRP on the basis that revolutionary morality was a diversion. They acted as the agents of the ICFI within the WRP and called anyone who opposed them liquidationists.

They campaigned for the continuation of the daily News Line and against facing the real situation of the party. This revealed their failure to break from the reactionary activism of Healy and Torrance.

This group defended the ICFI, and claimed that Security and the Fourth International was a great gain for Trotskyism. They continued the anti-theoretical outlook of Healyism, launching a witchhunt of intellectuals in the party.

The real character of this group was revealed in their anti-communist behavior. They disrupted party meetings, verbally abusing and physically threatening party members who disagreed with them.

They rejected revolutionary morality and communist relations in practice, as well as in words. They stole party funds and conspired to steal party vehicles and premises.

For four months the anti-Healy WRP fought a battle against attacks on three fronts, all of which were aimed to destroy the WRP and the fight to re-evaluate its history and character.

While the Healy-Torrance group was trying to destroy the WRP’s fight against Healyism through the courts, the leaders of the ICFI tried to keep the discussion within the confines of their political straitjacket. The Hyland-Short group played the role of disrupting the discussion with their anti-communist behavior inside the WRP.

6. The WRP rejects the characterization by the ICFI that the splits in our ranks are over the question of internationalism. The split with the ICFI developed out of the expulsion of Healy and is over the question of revolutionary morality.

The depth of the ideological differences between the WRP and the ICFI is revealed by the fact that the leaders of the ICFI reject revolutionary morality as a diversion from the real issues. Revolutionary morality is the central question.

The WRP believes that these ideological differences are fundamental. We contend that the establishment of socialism requires the critical assimilation of all the cultural conquests of bourgeois society, both material and ideological, by the working class.

The development of the world capitalist economy has long ago created the economic pre-conditions for socialism. The establishment of socialism requires the expropriation of the capitalist class and social ownership of the means of production.

This can only be achieved through the socialist revolution, in which the working class overthrows the capitalist class and its state, and establishes itself as the ruling class of society.

The ideological pre-condition of the socialist revolution is the development of Marxism as the ideology of the working class, and this can only be achieved through the construction of a revolutionary party at the head of the working class.

Marxism arose out of, and is continually developed through, the critical assimilation of all the positive developments of the bourgeoisie ideologically.

We therefore believe that a real development of political economy, historical materialism and dialectical materialism, as the theoretical foundations of Marxism, is vital to the building of a world revolutionary leadership.

It is only from the standpoint of the world scientific outlook of Marxism that it is possible to develop the program, perspectives, strategy and tactics of the revolutionary party of the working class.

7. The WRP rejects the January 27 resolution of the Workers League Central Committee. Reference to the membership of the WRP as “disoriented petty-bourgeois,” “a pack of stampeding petty-bourgeois” and the party’s 8th Congress as “a bogus conference packed with anti-Trotskyists” reveal their contempt for the membership of the WRP.

Having failed to win a majority in the WRP for continuation of the ICFI they have split in order to try and defend the Gelfand case.

The WRP undertakes to conduct a full investigation into the circumstances of the so-called Security and the Fourth International.

This was initiated by the WRP, in particular, Healy and Mitchell, with the assistance of North in the Workers League of America. The slander campaign against the late Joseph Hansen, George Novack and the present leadership of the SWP in the US, led to the Gelfand case.

This case is an attempt by Gelfand to get the US courts to determine his eligibility as a member of the SWP. At the center of this case is the assertion that the entire leadership of the SWP are FBI agents. This campaign is a diversion from the discussion of political differences with the SWP.

While the WRP does not in any way endorse the political line of the SWP, we are opposed to the use of capitalist courts against working-class political organizations. The Gelfand case sets a dangerous precedent, and we support the SWP’s right to determine its own membership.

The WRP calls on the Workers League to withdraw from the Gelfand case and make an out of court settlement with the SWP on the court costs. The WRP will make every effort to assist in this.