A Personal Historical Analysis & Critique
The following is minus the photographs which appear to be unsupported in this format. These are found in the PDF format.
For a revolutionary political movement that is to be objective, scientific, Marxist and Trotskyist in approach, they have behaved in a bureaucratic and subjective handling of our numerous attempts to join the movement. Is this not akin to Stalinism? Indeed, they appear to demand blind obedience from their membership rather than those who can think on their feet. Time and time again from before the collapse of the USSR and after right up to the present we have been barred and censored. We have to ask, “If this is how you behave prior to the revolution, how will you behave after the historic overturning of world capitalism?” Since private letters have been ignored and postings of letters to the editor also ignored, we now are forced to bring these issues into the open for a public review.
The history of the Canadian chapter of the Spartacist, a.k.a. ICL and/or TL has triggered this delayed response, only because of the hope that some day they would come around and correct their approach and act more like the friendly approach of their US comrades who come up to Vancouver to visit and make spoken presentations. We have always been treated coldly and with disdain by the Canadian chapter We find in comparison, that US members have treated us well and visiting members have always treated us with respect. The Canadian group, and in particular, the Vancouver chapter have engaged in censorship by ignoring our letters, offers of assistance and a lot more, including theft of working class money by not honouring subscriptions to their various newspapers, in particular “Afro-American history, the Canadian publication, Sparticist Canada. When approached on this issue, we are told that they will look into it and that is usually last we ever hear of it. This has happened at least three times. They have been given both our e-mail and telephone number so we can be reached for various reasons, but have seldom contacted us in the sum of the history of our decades long support. We have attended their meetings, gone on their demonstrations with them, contributed to the PDC and subscribed to the Workers' Vanguard, Worker's Hammer and Canadian Sparticist as well as purchasing bound volumes and pamphlets. If it were not for the Workers' Vanguard, we would never know of meetings that they have held at UBC and at the Roundhouse community center in Vancouver. We often learn only after the fact.
During the 1980's the Canadian chapter was headed by Oliver and Miriam. At one meeting, Oliver told us that there was no inside organizational body when we asked to join the organization. So we enquired, “Then who decides the organization of meetings, demonstrations and the like if there is no inside organization?” Oliver was unresponsive and bureaucratically cold. This is a patent and Stalinist type of falsification as every organization has to meet to hash out and vote on every action that is to be conducted in the public arena. This is what a party meeting is all about. We can expect such from petite bourgeois anarchists who like to function on the fly without much organization, but not from a sophisticated Marxist organizations known for detailed analysis and planning. Oliver and Miriam still head the TL and are located in Toronto and from their actions, still behave as they did during a Feb. 7Th, 1989 meeting. They have not matured after all these years and are still withholding issues of the Canadian Spartacist. We were later told at a meeting of Maoists, Stalinists and other left overs of the 1960s that we could not become members and Oliver read off from a document of membership that mystic lifestylist were not welcome in the movement. Was this an attempt at public humiliation? Do we not deserve the right of private communications on this type of issue as long time supporters of the movement? This occurred during another major turning point in history during the final days of the Soviet Union. There were also other witnesses to these various unprovoked attacks and yet he was the leadership of the movement. We demand his expulsion as a Stalinist!
One of the worst examples practised by a working class movement is the taking of money for subscriptions that never were received in the manner that was ordered. Lenin said “Don't lie to the working class”, but here we have seen those who not only lie, but steal from the working class and unemployed. This act places them on the level of a banker who steal the working classes' pay by charging interest and service fees. In effect we have been paying service fees to Stalinist liars (Oliver's roots is Stalinism and no wonder he's good at it) who do not deliver the product they claim the money is for. Many times we have had to re-purchase an issue where available in a meeting as we never got the copy in the mail. In one case where they wrote an article on people in wheelchairs, which did not come in the mail, we could not obtain that issue even in the context of a meeting. As Will is in a wheelchair, we would still like to read that issue. We only learned about that issue via a letter to the editor in a following issue stating how good the article is. In addition, despite our limited income, some of which as indicated, was stolen by the banks, we still made contributions to the Partisan Defence Committee in support of class warriors wrongfully imprisoned.
We have been to so many demonstrations for one minority cause or workers support or other rights that we have long since lost count. We have found that the Vancouver Sparticists noticeably absent from many of them. During the spring of 2011, there was an anti-rascist rally in support of immigrant workers and defending them against employer abuse, near the waterfront rich hotel district, where they were noticeably absent. We filmed the demo, which was subsequently uploaded to our Youtube channel that has numerous subscribers. There was another demo that was organized at the Denny's restaurant chain that was against the abuses of that employer to the immigrant employees of that business where the TL did not show. There was heavy union participation and support pickets on that one. This too was filmed and uploaded to Youtube. We have even uncovered fascist demos and marches and rallied against them. When we did find them at demonstrations, we were treated with a total lack of communication and open disdain, often receiving hostile stares.
The Spatacists (TL) called for support of Mumia Abu Jamal, who is on death row for a cop killing he never commuted, which has subsequently been proven as done by another person. This demonstration was the last contact they made with us. We attended alone in downtown Vancouver and they were noticeably absent. In the photo at left, W. F. Raymond and W. J. Prest at the Robson St. Side of the Art Gallery who are noticeably alone with copies of the Workers' Vanguard and a Mumia Abu Jamal and Workers' Vanguard display. In fact, the photo is a composite as there were only two of us and we each had to take a picture of the other. The two demonstrators are seen together due to photographic manipulation after the pictures were taken and combined using Photoshop.
W. F. Raymond is an accomplished and prolific artist and a master of many styles. He produces paintings in the gay, social, political and mythic themes. The art was featured in a website until it was struck off the internet in a move of censorship. It was then placed on another website in a forum of our own making called “Revolutionary Liberation Gospel”; a fusion of all our previous efforts and has a gathering and growing membership. We had an opportunity to set up an exhibit at the Melriche's Cafe and we decided that we needed assistance to set up the exhibit of Will's art. We asked the Sparticist about this and that any sales would be contributed to the PDC and the 4th International. We received no response. Their refusal to accept the art donations to support the movement and the PDC and never responded in any manner. An example of the art is depicted at left and is entitled “Fallen Comrades”, which depicts three great revolutionaries of history; Lenin, Trotsky and Luxemburg. Most paintings are homoerotic subject matter. The Cafe is a gay establishment.
The organization is good at giving lip service to gay rights, but members must stay in the closet. Despite many commendable articles in defence of gay rights and against bashing and legal prosecution, the fact is that they do not want the discomfort of having openly gay people out of the closet in their organization. They are perhaps fearful of workers' low level on consciousness on this issue responding to this and bowing to that low level of consciousness. Capitalistic propaganda against same sex relationships and love has been drummed into the working class' heads with unceasing propaganda, legislation against gay people and immobility on the part of elected politicians, some of whom are proven gay betrayers. To them, gay rights is an issue to deal with after the revolution. But Lenin did not see it this way as he promptly struck down all anti-gay legislation in the USSR in the early days of the fledgeling Communist government in 1917. It took Stalin to reintroduce anti-gay laws into the USSR after Lenin and Trotsky were removed from the picture.
They present dull, dry as dust and uninspired speeches in meetings compared to the fiery and lively approach of workers actually engaged in class struggles such as the strike of the US longshoremen during the Oct. 1St, 2011 Vancouver meeting. In addition, they were completely uniformed of the “Occupy Wall St.” massive demonstration that was ongoing at dozens of cities in the US and UK. Admittedly, the main stream media has all but totally censored the action of the occupation and police atrocities, but there are many alternative media covering it, which has brought it into public focus. It took the question period participants to bring it up and discuss is as well as to mention the Vancouver action planned for 7 AM, Oct. 15Th, 2011 at the Art Gallery and that the Spartacists should attend. All too often, the lectures are delivered in a low monotone where people at the back of a small room have to strain to hear what is being heard over the HVAC. After the speech, they select who is going to ask questions and deliver statements in an “open floor”.
Their paper comes to the defence of religious minorities claiming that they have the right and freedom of religion, such as in the case of David Koresh who was killed along with more than 80 followers in a state manufactured fiery holocaust. But to us we are excluded because of “lifestyle mysticism”. We have a personal religion,which is astrology, yoga and vegetarianism. We are opposed to organized religion as all Marxist should be, because they are a tool of reaction of the ruling class and they deceive people into passivity instead of armed class struggle against capitalism. We are not a member of any church or group as our approach during the upswing of the reactionary fundamentalist - evangelical movement was to use their own weapon, the Bible against them and in support of the working class and the poor. We can prove this with our Liberation Theology and the Security Union articles. We can prove all of this in documentation. In addition, as one of us was forced by capitalist economics to take a security position, we have been told in essence that we are not allowed to enter the movement and under their breath, implied that we are to be smashed along with the state and its apparatus during the revolution and they do this by quoting Lenin out of context. At the same time, they carry on a defence of minority and immigrant rights and many of these are forced into security roles. There is a double contradiction here that they have yet to address in an objective manner. They have in fact declared the we are enemies of the revolution before the fact, even though we can substantially prove that we are of virtually the same mindset and have demonstrated this in numerous actions and articles that we were forced to do this outside of the Spartacist alleged Vanguard Party. They should welcome all colours and all stripes of the working class if they are authentic vanguard party material, that is if they are class struggle conscious workers and we are surely that. No more bureaucratic delays, we have a revolution to win comrades!
The reason we are bringing this up at this time is due to the rapid unfolding events. Since we cannot clean up problems inside the movement, we have to do the “house cleaning” from the outside. Because of the treatment we received from the leaders of the Canadian chapter, namely Oliver and Miriam, we insist that Oliver and company be removed from their posts because they are crude, opportunistic and are not good examples to the working class, therefore not principled Leninist. We charge them with Stalinist like tactics. That suggests ultra-leftism and sectarianism, which confirms criticism that we often hear made against the Spartacists. A principled Troskyist must fight against this tendency.