Relationship of LAWV with the IBRP

Given the fact that until recently the IBRP has considered the group in Los Angeles, formerly know as Los Angeles Workers’ Voice, as an organisation politically sympathetic and working towards closer relations and eventual integration with the Bureau as a whole, it is important to clarify that this is no longer the situation. The IBRP no longer endorses the Los Angeles group as being able to genuinely represent our political positions, aims or method of work.

In April 2000, at a meeting with North American sympathisers of the IBRP in Montreal, the LAWV delegates agreed that all US comrades would work together towards transforming Internationalist Notes [then published by a single comrade in Wisconsin) into a regular publication for distribution through the whole of the United States. In practice this decision was fought against by LAWV who revealed they had no intention of breaking with their previous localism, a localism which is accompanied by a resistance to having their own work move on to a politically coherent and clearly-defined organisational level. Thus, although LAWV formally agreed to work in tandem with the Bureau the differences between us were growing rather than diminishing. Rather than tackle these differences politically as they emerged, LAWV preferred to pretend they did not exist and instead produced a smokescreen of diversions and virulent attacks on the IBRP comrade elsewhere in the USA, including demanding his expulsion from the Bureau.

This we declined to do but still hoped to bring the comrades to a wider view of their work. In some ways this appeared to succeed in that they agreed to take on the work of publishing Internationalist Notes Volume 3. When it finally came out, however, this was labelled “US Workers Voice magazine” and all reference to the existence of other IBRP supporters in the US was omitted, including acknowledgement of the articles contributed. All this was no accident. To the criticism that there should be a collective discussion of all US comrades on the contents of the publication, LA replied that from now on “the majority” (i.e. themselves) would decide. This is their idea of resisting “authoritarian” practice! Theoretically there was little to distinguish this effort as a publication of the communist left.

Now post hoc (since it was never part of the discussion) in the form of a leaflet advertising their new publication (the New Internationalist) LA now find that the Bureau is “non-working class”, not to mention favouring Bolshevik methods of “top-down elitism and commandism”. We publish our last letter to them alongside this statement to show that our attitude to them was fraternal even if we recognised we had to part company. But this was before we read these latest lies. LA are now resorting to slanders, which pre-empt all further discussion. What they object to is not a Bolshevik model of organisation but any organisation which goes beyond their little group. As it is, United States Workers' Voice (as LA now calls itself) remains a loose grouping of individuals which does not consistently hold a clear set of positions but consistently show themselves unable to work with anyone outside their immediate circle.

Currently LA are now in a state of political confusion. They have now moved from holding a straight copy of the basic positions of the CWO, to a mishmash which says that the Russian revolution was proletarian in November 1917 but over by 1918 (before the world revolution it initiated had begun!).

The Bureau has given the internationalist response to such confusions throughout its history. A forthcoming text will add further to the positions developed in the Internationalist Communist 20 "1921 - Beginning of the Counter-Revolution?".

Internationalists Notes now reverts to a title for the Bureau and will be published in both the USA and Canada.

To the comrades of LAWV

Dear Comrades

It is clear that the development of the North American situation has not been as we had anticipated a the end of the Montreal meeting in April 2000. It is clear not only from all the correspondence between the IBRP, AS and LAWV that LAWV have not really understood what the Bureau is all about.

The attempts of AS to get you to accept a regular publication seem to have irritated you. Ironically you are now producing the very publication we asked for, at least in formal terms even if the publication itself is not a true reflection of our politics.

After the visit of comrade S and his report to the AGM of the CWO last weekend we have decided to try to formalise our relations on a new basis. Whilst AS is absolutely clear about what the Bureau stands for (reflected in all his correspondence with you) you reject the Bureau as excessively centralised. This itself is absurd. As we wrote after Montreal:

The Bureau... exists to provide a focus for all those elements internationally that are coming together to fight capitalism. This is not a matter of creating clones of existing organisations nor simply of formal adherence to a political platform. We aim to foster the development of proletarian organisations rooted in the life of the class wherever they are found and to provide a political framework and platform under which they can begin the process of centralising internationally. To new forces which will inevitably emerge in the class struggle we offer the inheritance of the communist left in terms of programmatic understanding and revolutionary Marxist method. We do not artificially close the process of development of the international party and proclaim ourselves the one true party as do the Bordigists but remain open to the different situations which will arise in the future.

However self-proclaimed rival tendencies attack us as being afraid to confront political differences and not recognising the need for a centralised world party of the proletariat of the future. If we succumbed to your arguments they would be justified in their criticisms. You have rejected us as too centralised because we insist that the Bureau may not be the party but it has to have both organisational coherence and at least a basic political agreement. You now argue in Internationalist Notes #3 that there is no need for the growth of a real political organisation centralised on an international level. From our observation you are Los Angeles localists who want the comfortable umbrella of formally belonging to an international organisation which you can ignore. In fact we do not even think you are homogenous as a group in LA.

For the BIPR, Sheffield / Milano, (signatures), December 2001