Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Irish elections and mistakes of the self styled revolutionary left

First country to support gay marriage by referendum
Comrades and readers of this blog, I am posting this commentary in response to some of the comments and responses I have had with regards to my previous piece on the Irish elections. It has stirred up a lot of interest and some discussion on various forums including the Irish Indymedia. I wish to thank those who responded, especially Paddy Hacket and Johnny Flaherty. At first I was reluctant to post again as it was too narrow as I am also from and familiar with Irish events. But, on reflection this is not the case. It is important from an international class perspective and also with regard to the views myself and others associated with this blog have developed with regard to capitalism and the nature of the so-called revolutionary organizations and how a workers international capable of overthrowing capitalism can be built.

Sean O’Torain (John Throne)

In relation to the self styled revolutionary left and their undemocratic, sectarian corrupt internal lives I would like to ask the Comrades to read a piece I wrote a while back titled, "The internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations." This gives some idea of how far I have evolved in my position from my early days. And my position is still evolving.

Yes it is correct that I was "joined at the hip" with the Militant the forerunner of the SP. as Paddy Hacket says.  I was its first member in Southern Ireland. I was its first full timer in Ireland as a whole. But as Paddy says it is as if I never existed. I was also the first full timer for the Committee For a Workers International, the international body to which the Socialist Alternative in the US is affiliated, and there too it is as if I never existed. Not only myself, but four others were also expelled from the US section of the CWI and the early history of that organization has been blacked out.  Read the websites of these organizations or Wikipedia under Socialist Alternative. Myself and others have been written out of history. There are many others who have suffered the same fate in other countries and over decades. This is the method of Stalinism without the violence.

If I am ever mentioned it is to be lied about by the leadership of these organizations. They even say that I stole money from them. I, who sold a house I lived in in Crumlin in Dublin to get money for printing equipment for the then Militant. I was expelled from the Militant/CWI in 1996. Contrary to what they claim in their constitution that if you are expelled you have the right to appeal against your expulsion, I tried to attend many conferences of sections of this organization, one in the North Star Hotel in Dublin But was not allowed in to appeal against my expulsion. I went to see Joe Higgins whom I had recruited to socialism and to the Militant when he was at UCD and asked him to support my right to appeal. We met in the Buswells Hotel. He sat clutching a bunch of CWI documents to his chest and said: "I will not support your right to appeal. You got yourself into this mess yourself and you can get out of it yourself." Then he got up and ran from the hotel.

The only person in Ireland who took a principled stand against my expulsion was the late Bill Webster. He came to the US to see if what was being said about me was correct. He concluded it was lies and went back to Derry and resigned from the SP and the CWI in protest at the way I was treated. To add insult to injury Joe Higgins went to Bill's funeral and claimed him for the SP and the CWI. I can think of no depths to which the leadership of the SP will not sink to hold on to their positions and cover their tracks. 

But to the essence of my expulsion. The Militant, the CWI and myself had argued for decades that capitalism would not go back to the former Soviet Union. That instead there would be a political revolution and this society would move on to democratic socialism. We also argued that a new economic collapse similar to that of 1929 was coming in the 1970's or 1980's and out of this and the political revolution in the former Soviet Union would come a new democratic socialist world. Talk about a mistaken perspective. I was part of developing and arguing for this wrong perspective.

We also did not see the advent of new technology and its affects. These were major mistakes, mistakes of historic proportions. We expected the world to take a further step forward and eradicate capitalism and establish democratic socialism, instead the world took a step back and re-established capitalism in the former Soviet Union and China now also looks to be heading in that direction. I repeat this was no small mistake. I wanted to discuss this mistake in the CWI, first to acknowledge it and then discuss it. Why had we made such a huge mistake? Was there a mistake in our method?

But this was not the approach of the rest of the majority of the leadership of the CWI. I was part of the 6-person leadership body at that time. The majority of the rest of that leadership refused to face up to the major mistakes we had made. They denied they had made them, blaming others, blaming this and that, saying they had seen it coming, all lies. Their whole emphasis was to keep themselves in the leadership and to keep themselves with the image of the all-seeing all-knowing never making a mistake leadership. I refused to go along with this. I openly admitted my own part in these mistakes and demanded the organization and the rest of the leadership do the same. The majority of the rest of the leadership refused. So I had to be silenced. I had to be written out of the history. This is what happened, this is why I do not appear anywhere in the history of the CWI/SP. But the leadership for the CWI/SP made some other mistakes. They did not see the advent of the Internet. I communicate regularly with hundreds of members and ex-members of the CWI/SP. I help run a Blog which has had over 900,000 page views. The leadership of the CWI/SP have not been able to write me out of history. 

I have a couple of issues I would like to discuss with the Comrades who have responded to my article on the Irish Elections. I still believe that capitalism has to be overthrown. I still believe, in fact more than ever, that unless it is overthrown life on earth as we know it will be wiped out. And not in the next centuries, but in the next decades. And I also believe that for capitalism to be overthrown we need a mass revolutionary organization of tens and hundreds of millions. I believe there is no alternative. I go into how I see such an organization being built in the piece I wrote on the internal life of left organizations,.

It is my opinion that we who believe that capitalism has to be overthrown and that the self styled revolutionary left organizations are incapable of building a mass international of tens and hundreds of millions have to face up to these realities and put our shoulders to the wheel and try to build something healthy, to build revolutionary organizations with a healthy internal life, a new and healthy culture. Not the culture that now exists which is based on the years when Bolshevism was being crushed by Stalinism and new and rotten and dictatorial organizations were being built in the name of revolutionary workers organizations. 

I would be interested in communicating with the Comrades who still wish to end capitalism and who wish to draw conclusions from the false methods of the self styled revolutionary left. Our blog would like to meet and work with any comrades who agree with this. My former Comrades in the CWI/SP are very reluctant to discuss with me as if they do so they will be driven out of their own existing organizations, or slandered as myself and other have been. This goes to ridiculous lengths. I recently wrote a book called The Donegal Woman. It was number two in the best sellers list in Northern Ireland. It was based on the life of my grandmother, a peasant woman from Donegal who had been in the hiring out system and physically and sexually abused. The sectarianism of my former organization was and is so great that with two or three exceptions they boycotted its Dublin launch and denounced it as a "flop. I am presently at my last but one final editing of a book of my own life from a small farmer background in Donegal, where my family were leaders of the Orange Order, to an international revolutionary socialist via the Bogside uprising. This will also go into my experience with organizing with the CWI/SP and also my general revolutionary and life experiences. I am still looking for a name for it. John (Sean) Throne.

No comments: