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WSWS in PDX Thursday

Kate Randall, a writer for the World Socialist Web Site, will speak in Portland Thursday evening about the war in Iraq and the mounting political crisis in the United States. The lecture is free and open to all.
The lecture will be held at Portland State University on Thursday, April 28 from 7-9 p.m. in Room 290 of the Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW Broadway in downtown Portland.

Randall is a long-time member of the Socialist Equality Party as well as its forerunner, the Workers League.

The World Socialist Web Site (www.wsws.org), which has an international editorial board, is published six days a week by the Socialist Equality Party and features news and commentary on political, economic, cultural and historical issues.

The SEP believes that popular anti-war sentiment in the United States and the deep and entirely legitimate resentment toward the reactionary policies of the Bush administration find no expression in the Democrat or Green parties, or in the trade union movement.

Through its publication of the WSWS and grassroots political work, the party seeks to raise the political consciousness of the working class by mobilizing workers, professionals, young people and students into a mass socialist party.

Please spread the word about this event!

homepage: homepage: http://www.wsws.org

cool! 23.Apr.2005 13:24

wsws fan

it'd be cool if someone could tape the audio of this and post it to this site. i can't go that night, and probably other people have conflicts, too. :(

If you can't attend ... 23.Apr.2005 13:44

Noah Page

Please contact me at the email address above. We have fliers that you could post in your area, school and/or workplace. Perhaps an arrangement can be made. Publicity is important.

Leadership the SEP way... 24.Apr.2005 15:22

World Socialist

However this short history of the leadership the SEP has given the working class gives more than a good example of why World Socialism?s view of leadership doesn?t just make sense, they?re absolutely necessary.

SEP was birthed from the Gerry Healy faction of Trotskyism, the ICFI, whose sections were, until the mid-1980s, the Workers? League in the US and CA, Workers? Revolutionary Party in UK, etc. At that time the ?International? imploded in a series of splits involving political back stabbing for leadership and sordid scandal. To make a long story short, the leader-for-life of the ICFI, Gerry Healy, was corrupt and womanizing. He was also old. Two younger members of the International Board, David North- who founded the Socialist Equality Party- and Mike Banda, attempted what was described as a ?palace coup?.5

The internal life of the ICFI declined to a degree that the London Times reported on October 30, 1985 that ??Mr. Banda?s supporters... were yesterday said to be guilty of precipitating a financial crisis in the party by fabricating the accounts.?? Banda is alleged to have charged that Healy kept a 20,000 pound slush fund and to have purchased a 15,000 pound BMW for himself out of WRP money.? 5 When a number of longtime members brought charges that Healy coerced their daughters to have sex with them, the WRP and the ICFI eventually splintered into perhaps 10 different parties and groups.

In its articles on its genesis, the SEP nowhere discusses these scandals, only presenting itself as a principled political opponent to Healy from 1982 on. That means they agree with the following fund raising activity by the ICFI:
Solidarity (UK) magazine reports in its Spring 1986 issue that Newsline (the WRP newspaper) photographers delivered pictures of Iraqi Communist Party members to the Iraqi Embassy, and when a motion came before the WRP Central Committee to approve the execution in March 1979 of Iraqi dissidents, including one (Talib Sowailh) who had been a ?fraternal delegate? to a WRP front organisation five months earlier, only one member dissented. 5

The widely held assumption on the left has always been that the WRP/ICFI sold the names and photos of Iraqi dissidents to Saddan Hussein?s regime. While the SEP will no doubt deny this allegation, their former partner, Banda as admitted the WRP worked for a number of Arab dictatorships.5

Of course other leftists- especially Leninists, will just excuse this as an example of corruption not applicable to all cases. But there are plenty of articles out on the internet discussing the corruption and patronage in various Leninist groups. Party leaders bought homes and cars, the womanizers, etc. etc.

Does this sound like the kind of democracy you want in a new society? Or the leadership to lead you there?

harmless wackos 24.Apr.2005 18:00

...

Neo-Bolshevik delusions about leading The Revolution are amusing, but this group has a pretty good web site. I don't think we're in any danger that they'll actually take power.

Yes, and ... ? 24.Apr.2005 22:02

Noah Page

The generally incomprehensible, poorly punctuated gibberish above refers to individuals and events that precipitated a split in a political movement during the 1980s.

Whatever else it may have involved, the split was bound up with serious ideological issues.
The Socialist Equality Party is not the WRP. For those who are interested in the history of the party, the World Socialist Web Site has published a large volume of material. It may be found and read by anyone at www.wsws.org.

That the WSWS is a "pretty good web site" isn't an accident or fluke. Nor is it incidental to whatever it is about its history that some may find "amusing."

The quality, clarity and intellectual honesty one finds at the WSWS is very much a product of men and women around the world who have consciously assimilated the political lessons of historical experience -- not only the history of the SEP, but of history, period.

For those who are not interested in a serious, objective consideration of the SEP and its political program, you are welcome to hang out here at Portland Indymedia for the next four years, or ten years, or whatever, and bitch about the world.

Reply to Noah 25.Apr.2005 09:47

World Socialist

Noah,

Like the rest of your wsws.org/SEP/Workers League buddies, you are the one avoiding honesty. If you were honest Noah, you would say "I'm not sure what the point is", "This piece was poorly writen but this is our response to what we think you are saying." Instead you play Wizard of Oz- "Pay no attention to that man..." or like the infantile communist just walk away with your toys- "For those who are not interested in a serious, objective consideration of the SEP and its political program, you are welcome to hang out here at Portland Indymedia for the next four years, or ten years, or whatever, and bitch about the world. "

The items raised are relivant because the SEP- then the Workers League- kowtowed to the WRP line. The SEP "leadership" David North, etc. followed like sheep behind Gerry Healy until he was down and out, then fought to get the rights to the organization, not necessarily out of political principal- even if it was couched in those terms.

It is interesting that the SEP/wsws.org never mentions the thuggery and corruption which was endemic to their Ineternational Committee for the Fourth International. I guess that's not a political difference with Healy that matters. Or do you truely believe that Workers League founder Tim Wolforth was a CIA agent?

As for the wsws.org being a good read, sure, but so are the Guardian and New York Times. Besides the SEP is about as socialist as those institutions.

Response 25.Apr.2005 13:13

Noah Page

Perhaps you are right ... I'm not sure I do understand what your point is.

Clearly, you and others have a conception of the Socialist Equality Party and what it stands for. Whether or not this conception is rooted in a thorough study of all available facts, what sources you may have used, and what criteria was used to evaluate this information, I have no way of knowing.

In any event, I dare say that your conception is spectacularly off base if you genuinely believe that the SEP "is about as socialist as" the New York Times. Such a statement cannot be taken seriously.

I also cannot take seriously the suggestion that evasion is at work here, the "Pay no attention to the man ... " remark.

Obviously, the SEP is VERY interested in people learning about its history. Why is this obvious? Because reams of material are published at the WSWS about the party's history. As a supporter of the party, I am using this forum to encourage people to read it, and telling them where they may find it. For those who are interested in going beyond what's available online, the SEP's publishing arm, Mehring Books, has much more material.

The point of this thread in the first place, after all, is to alert Portlanders that a staff member from the SEP will be in town Thursday evening at a free, public event, where questions about the party obviously may be posed following the lecture.

Finally, I return to the issue of praise for the web site's content, which has twice been coupled now with suggestions and implications that the people behind it are "amusing" and "wacko," etc. Once again: the content published at the World Socialist Web Site does not materialize out of nowhere; it is produced by people who have some very specific and thoroughly thought-out conceptions of the current political situation, and what should be done about it.

One of those people will be in Portland Thursday evening. For those who would like to learn more about the SEP, its principles and political program, I think it will be a valuable presentation.

For those who have already rejected the party, for whatever reason, that's obviously your right, and I doubt the lecture will be of use or interest.

web sites 25.Apr.2005 16:31

and political parties

The SEP has a good web site in the same sense that the RCP and MIM put out good newspapers. Effective media production and political credibility are not the same thing.

Leadership the SEP way 25.Apr.2005 22:09

Hector Cordon

The response by "World Socialist" to a posting of a meeting being held by the Socialist Equality Party raises a variety of issues without, unfortunately, making clear the policies of the SEP—nor that of the responder. In fact quite the opposite methods, that of amalgam, slander and confusion, are used.

The effort to somehow connect the ICFI and the SEP to the nationalist degeneration of the WRP is not new. In the midst of the 1985 struggle Cliff Slaughter, a leading member of the British Workers Revolutionary Party, charged that all the sections of the ICFI were guilty of "equal degeneration". Slaughter made this totally untrue accusation in an effort to absolve the unprincipled Banda/Slaughter clique of any responsibility for the political crimes of the WRP.

This type of slander has a history in the socialist movement. It is the stock-in-trade slander of the anti-communist—"World Socialist" can be included in this category— which links the crimes of the Stalinist bureaucracy to the policies followed by Lenin and Trotsky. Another is that Trotsky's opposition to the Stalinist dictatorship, had nothing to do with a principled defense of socialist democracy and internationalism, but was simply a petty squabble over the "spoils."

Needless to say any serious analysis of history is patently absent from these accusations. A defect shared by "World Socialist"s posting.

The collapse of the WRP and the crimes of its leadership were the result of a protacted turn away from the building of an international party of the working class. Abandoning the difficult task of assembling and training a cadre, under the pressure of the oldest imperialist country in the world, the WRP sold itself and the ICFI's Trotskyist prestige to the radical-nationalist Arab bourgeoisie.

All this was exhaustively investigated and published in How the Workers Revolutionary Party Betrayed Trotskyism, The ICFI Defends Trotskyism and The Heritage We Defend. Documents, memos and correspondence of both sides in this conflict form an unassailable record of the politically principled positions fought for by the ICFI.

The inability, or more accurately, refusal of "World Socialist", to understand the political and historical issues at the heart of the struggle against the WRP has a modern-day equivalent. We saw it in the bland assertion by Republican right wingers that the effort to destabilize and impeach Bill Clinton 'had nothing to do with politics', only Clinton's moral turpitude was at issue.

"World Socialist" states the "SEP was birthed by the Gerry Healy faction of Trotskyism, the ICFI, whose sections were, until the mid-1980s, the Workers? League in the US and CA, Workers Revolutionary Party in UK, etc." The SEP was founded in 1996, Gerry Healy had been dead seven years at this time and the split with the WRP was eleven years past. If the writer is attempting to imply a political continuity between the SEP and the WRP, why doesn't he/she clearly state so and explain his/her reasoning? The obvious answer is because there is no continuity.

"World Socialist" asserts that "when a motion came before the WRP Central Committee to approve the execution in March 1979 of Iraqi dissidents, including one (Talib Sowailh) who had been a ?fraternal Delegate? to a WRP front organisation five months earlier, only one member dissented." I seriously doubt that "World Socialist" wishes to accuse the WRP of directly overseeing the execution of Iraqi dissidents. But, it is a measure of the sloppiness, as well as political dishonesty, that pervades this contribution.

Again "World Socialist", Two younger members of the International board, David North—who founded the Socialist Equality Party—and Mike Banda, attempted what was described as a ?palace coup?" Described as a "palace coup" by what political organisation or reporters? What action by North and Banda prompted that description? Does "World Socialist" have an opinion on this description or is he/she simply collecting all the old allegations and slanders and repackaging them?

It is not the two-decade old struggle against the WRP's opportunism that excites "World Socialist"s hostility, but the present day successes of the ICFI. Since the break with the WRP the ICFI has successfully deepened its economic and political understanding of the development of the capitalist crisis: the implications of globalization, its militarist response, the growing domestic repression as a part of this crisis. The clarity of this analysis, as well as high quality of reportage on the World Socialist Web Site, has attracted a growing support among an international readership. None of this is an accident, it flows inextricably from the ICFI's successful defense of Trotskyist internationalism against the WRP.

Hector Cordon,
Socialist Equality Party