[OPE-L:1472] Re: Re: Mandel, Mattick, etc.

Jurriaan Bendien (djjb99@worldonline.nl)
Thu, 14 Oct 1999 18:02:36 +0100

Hi Andrew

>I agree to some extent with your comments about British Trotskyism. There
>has been a tendency to teach young recruits to stick to the party line,
>which does not provide a good foundation for intellectual free thought. If
>this is not the case in your Netherlands group then this is something to be

No, this is not the case in our group, we have very strong democratic
principles and there is full freedom for discussion. If anything, we tend
to err (in my own opinion) on the other side, i.e. insufficient development
of our own party profile, because we are so busy being involved with all
sorts of other groups and alliances on the left. But this deficiency is
also a function of our small size and the fact that most of us work for a
living. Really we are only a very modest group undertaking modest tasks, we
don't see ourselves as "the vanguard" or something. But for a small group
we do have a lot of connections and are involved in a lot of activities,
nationally and internationally. We don't always have correct or complete
views on everything, but we can correct or develop our standpoints through
discussion because of the way we operate.

However, the argument can also be made that in the U.K. the
>Trotskyism, as represented by the SWP here, is much better organised on the
>continent. Le Pen gained power in French cities but couldn't even speak in
>London due to direct opposition from the (SWP run) Anti Nazi League. There
>is not even one fascist local councillor in the U.K., which I think is due
>largely to the SWP.

Well of course if you have a party of 10,000 or so then you can do a lot
more than if you have a party of 100 or 500 or 5,000. I think also in
France the LCR and Lutte Ouvriere are very active in anti-fascist activity.
An interesting question is, how could Le Pen gain support in France ? I
don't know the full answer, but in my own experience fascist-type ideas
have a real credibility among a certain section of the peasants, workers
and middle classes in France, and they don't have that in Britain to
anywhere the same extent. In Holland the fascist argument has no real
credibility either (in fact the state has legislated against them here).
Naturally I am a hundred percent against fascism; relatives of mine died in
Buchenwald and Bergen Belsen, and my parents carry the scars of Nazi
occupation. However I wonder what is so wrong in allowing Le Pen just to
speak in Britain ? Don't the British Left have any arguments or ideas to
counter the fascist case ? Is their argument that you stop fascism by
stopping fascists from speaking ?

In solidarity


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