|Socialist League of Finland seals its sectarianism:
Marxist Opposition walks out of national spring meetingThe Socialist League’s (SL) national spring meeting was held in Porvoo on 22 April 2000. The decisions made at the meeting lead the comrades of Marxist Opposition (MO) to feel that it is impossible to resurrect revolutionary Marxism any more in this “organisation,” which has deformed into a Cliffite left social democratic sect. At the end of the meeting the comrades of MO marched as a group out from meeting place — and from the “organisation.”
The purpose of the meeting was just to seal the aspirations of bureaucratic leadership of the “organisation” to have the SL join the so-called “IS Tendency.” This was very clear, for example, from the agenda of the meeting: the comrades of MO proposed nine out of 12 proposals made at the meeting. One proposal of MO was completely left out from the agenda, a detailed proposal of why SL should not join the “IS Tendency.”
The first sign of SL’s inability to act democratically was that the proposal to allow the MO to address the meeting was rejected by voice vote, nine to four (by the way, the total number of participants in the “meeting” was only 14). This way all criticism before deciding on joining the “IS Tendency” was effectively silenced.
International “alliance” in a shadow of ignorance
When the question of joining the ” IS Tendency” was being handled, the chairman of SL, Juhani Lohikoski, began discussion by making a 15-minute speech, which actually introduced next to nothing new about the “IS Tendency,” and was overall very contradictory. Especially the role of vanguards in revolution was expressed this way, saying “Our task is to tell the class how to fight,” and then, “the working class must free itself by itself.”
Later on, when MO raised the point that the SL should have published for its members the statements of “IS Tendency” about world political situations — like the crises of Yugoslavia, East Timor and Chechnya — Lohikoski said, “there is no need for introducing statements for world political situations.” It also appeared that the “IS Tendency” doesn’t have any organisational structure, and actually it doesn’t exist, except as a loose theoretical coalition. It can’t be assumed that organisational democracy exists in an “organisation” that doesn’t have any commonly elected decision-making organs.
In its entirety, the participants who rallied for joining the “IS Tendency” also showed their own ignorance about where they were taking their own “organisation.” The SL’s spring meeting voted for joining the “IS Tendency” with voices, 11-3.
But this is was what the SL should not have done. According to the “analysis” of “IS Tendency,” the Soviet Union, the Eastern Europe countries, China, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam were or still are state capitalist, that is, countries where the state owns the means of production, but which are controlled by a capitalist ruling class, and this is why the economy of state capitalist countries is working with the principles of capitalism, which is, to maximise the profit. According to the “IS Tendency” this profit is mainly used for military competition, because no other form of competition is possible in state capitalist countries.
However the comrades of MO reject this kind of reactionary theories and state that these countries were not state capitalist. The Soviet Union was bureaucratically degenerated workers’ state, and the others were bureaucratically deformed workers’ states. As an evidence of that the economy of these countries was not capitalist, let us mention for example that the living standard of the workers in these countries collapsed after the capitalist counterrevolution (for example in the Soviet Union in 1991). If the economy had been capitalist before counterrevolution, and there had just happened a transition from one form of capitalism to another, there wouldn’t have been such a radical change in the living standard of the workers.
The Stalinist bureaucracy was not a class, but a contradictory caste. For example, in Hungary in 1956 and in Czechoslovakia in 1968, the cadre of the Communist Party and the army mostly joined in the upsurge, which was headed against the bureaucracy. The Stalinist bureaucracy wouldn’t have done this if they were a class, and the meaning of these upsurges was not to overthrow the socialist economy. If these states had been state capitalist, would the ruling regimes of these countries have resisted the social upheaval that began in East Germany in 1989? But they didn’t. The Stalinist bureaucracy didn’t just become the ruling class of these countries after that when they had turned into private capitalism, so they should have resisted. Most obviously there didn’t happen a transition from one form of capitalism to another, but a capitalist counterrevolution took place.
The “theories” of the “IS Tendency” are not based on dialectical materialism, and they don’t have a Marxist nature. There is no place in these “theories” for analysing social eve nts, and thus forming the theories from observations. The “IS Tendency” uses its “theory” of state capitalism that already exists, and tries to interpret all social events by using that “theory,” and, when needed, by perverting the facts so they could fit the “theory.”
The “IS tendency,” as we already mentioned, does not have any kind of organisational structure, and it acts around the Socialist Workers’ Party of Britain, and under the despotism of it. Lack of international co-operation committees guarant ee that no kind of elemental organisational democracy can exist on the international level. A lack of international meetings lead to what we just said, that everything is interpreted with a present theory: new theories can never be developed.
Also, the “IS Tendency” is internationally known about using physical violence every time its “organisations” are feeling themselves “threatened” by left criticism. The Socialist League has never made any statements about this kind of undemocratic acts against the working class, and has not condemned it, but one of the Cliffites actually mentioned, that “using physical violence towards reactionaries is acceptable,” however not specifying who are the “reactionaries.” So far there has been only mental violence in the SL.
Political spinelessness and sectarianism all down the “line”
There are local elections in Finland in October 2000, and (voting 9-2) the SL decided to not put up candidates, but to participate in the elections with “other methods.” Candidates will be put up, if the SL finds enough “comrades” to found its own list. This means that SL won’t try to build co-operation with other workers’ organisations and parties. The neo-Bukharinite SKP (Finnish Communist Party) and Stalinist KTP (Communist Workers’ Party) was specifically mentioned as unacceptable to the SL for co-operation. One reason given for this was that co-operation will mostly benefit other parties and not the SL. The MO condemns this kind of ultra-anti-Stalinism, paranoia and sectarianism. Through electoral co-operation, it could be possible to affect the SKP’s and KTP’s local work, but SL rather stands inside its own sandbox and does not even try to develop co-operation. On the contrary, the people who are supporting co-operation for example with mentioned SKP and KTP are forced out from the “organisation.”
The Marxist Opposition proposed to the Socialist League’s spring meeting that factions are allowed in rules of SL. The proposal brought strong opposition from the bureaucratic leadership of SL, which emphatically condemned accepting any kind of action which is “against organisational democracy,” like factions. According to the MO, factions actually are a central point to maintaining organisational democracy, because they give minority opinions a possibility to bring up and for voting their views on the political line of an organisation. Finally there was a voting about factions, and they were not allowed by voice vote, 11-2.
About other reactionary decisions made in the meeting, let us mention that the chairman of the “organisation” was not changed to coordinator (by voice vote, 11-2), as the Marxist Opposition had proposed. The main reason for this was that the chairman wants to have the possibility to make statements alone and to represent the organisation in the media alone.
The spring meeting of the Socialist League didn’t even give economic support for the International Workers’ Committee (IWC) for counterdemonstrations that are planned to take place in June in Windsor, where there is a conference developing free trade. This was also proposed by the MO, and proposal was rejected by voice vote, 10-2. With same voting was rejected the possibility to give any solidarity, like a message, to the IWC. The main reasons for rejecting this proposal were th at the organisation is not economically strong and there are such big political disagreements between the SL and the IWC that any support or solidarity cannot be given. Anyway, it should be noted that, regardless of political disagreements, the enemy of both organisations in Windsor and in the whole world should be the same, international imperialism.
From now on Marxist Opposition won’t work inside the Socialist League any more, but dissociated from the SL’s reactionary, degenerating political “line.” This is why the comrades of the MO have called for the founding conference of Marxist Workers’ League (Marxilainen Työväenliitto, MTL). The MTL tries to co-operate with all workers’ organisations that have capacity to develop and to co-operate. Our goal is not to break down, but to build a united communist movement, which doesn’t scatter in different directions because of the effects of petty-bourgeois, degenerating forces, to fight against imperialism and capitalism and for the international proletarian socialist revolution and world communism.
The founding conference of Marxist Workers’ League will be held in Oulu, Finland, on 10 June 2000.
Tel. +358 40 7439 180
Tel. +358 19 668 373
We ask for all organisations aboard to send your greetings to our founding conference.
23 April 2000