Revolutionary Regroupment statement on split with
Pedro Abreu, Rodolfo Kaleb and Marcio Torres
by Sam Trachtenberg
Part 1 - 11/19/15
In lieu of a larger description to be posted shortly, we would like to alert our readers on our permanent break with our former co-thinkers in Rio, Pedro Abreu, Rodolfo Kaleb and Marcio Torres for sytematic bureaucratism, systematic dishonesty and manipulation, gross factional abuse and attempt at exploitation of a severly ill comrade (myself Sam Trachtenberg) who was driven into a deep depression while the non-stop abuse continued all while I was screaming "what the fuck is wrong with all of you, I'm not well," (which was of no avail). Rather than behaving as young communists they behaved as stereotypical jock/fraternity type bullies.
The disagreement initially was over issues of editorial procedure which could have been democratically settled if that is all that was at stake. As I was severly ill I asked the comrades simply to wait for me to recover so we could discuss the issue, I noted that they should outvote me rather than cut me out of the loop. The response was to have a vote in a Rio meeting before any discussion was possible and where the 4th newer comrade was (and has been throughout) systemmatically lied to and manipulated due to her newness to the group and difficulty following the discussion due to language difficulties (the discussion was in English), where I could neither participate immediately, or through a discussion that precedded it. Such bureaucraticly manipulated "votes" are not new in the history of the Communist movemenet (see “Four Days that Shook the Waterfront” (1937) by James P. Cannon.)
When instead of quitely accepting such abuse and proceedure, I protested, I was met with a larger torrent of abuse, with shrill demands that our tiny group of 5 people who were not leading any struggles or pursuing any immediate opportunities "cannot wait" for me to recover so we can have a proper discussion on all the developments with threats to “expel" me (those who have so throughly engaged in wrongdoing and would be expelled in a normal sized group have no right to "expel" anyone). Considering the comrade's severe illness which included a deep depression induced by all this abuse, his severe family situation with an extremely at risk parent at that moment, the behavior was cruel, inhumane, and simply shocking coming from an ordinary human being much less supposed "communist."
Our former comardes in Rio (who we of course do not recognize as Revolutionary Regroupment) have also posted their statements on their seperate blog and facebook page, which they have had since the begining.
The statement is throughly dishonest and we will respond to all points and give further details in our upcoming statement, including many lengthy quotes etc. to verify our assertions. Since the comardes enjoy playing the "who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes" game alot, we expect more denials in the face of direct evidence. If so we are very happy to have en independent comminssion of inquiry by the left look into the matter and more broadly scandalize them for their actions.
Part 2 - 11/20/15
Since I am still recovering from health issues, and still have my family member in a hospital, it is not completely clear when I’ll be able to write the fuller treatment I previously promised. Yet there are many requests for more clarification, so I will therefore write the treatment in parts. If the writing has a somewhat rushed in between moments of time quality rather than a typical carefully prepared article, it is due to that context. At the end I will provide footnotes with quotes to provide fuller context and evidence.
After leaving the IBT due to it’s bureaucratic degeneration into a group similar to the Spartacist League, it’s parent group and setting up the Revolutionary Regroupment web site (see "Road out of Rileyville" (2008) and "The International Bolshevik Tendency “Explains” It’s Demise" (2012)) I was able to recruit two young comrades, (Rodolfo Kaleb and Marcio Torres) from the Coletivo Lenin, a young Trotskyist collective in Rio that spent years being maneuvered and dangled by the IBT. The Coletivo Lenin had previously established fraternal relations with Revolutionary Regroupment on the basis of sharing a similar apreciation of the history of the Trotskyist movement, including a positive evaluation of the role played by the International Bolshevik Tendency and it’s predecessor, the Spartacist League before their respective degenerations and an evaluation of the role played by Pabloism in the destruction of the Fourth International, with further discussion needed to clarify issues of differnce before a fusion occured (see "Coletivo Lenin/Brazil breaks relations with the International Bolshevik Tendency" 2010))
The realization that they had been systematicly lied to and conned by the IBT for years had done much to demoralize the group, with some resigning in demoralization at having wasted several years pursuing a group they discovered to be a throughly dishonest sect. This left a small core, with the original leader of the group concluding in a major document of his (and in contradiction to the signed statement of fraternal relations), that
"In the following chapters we will demonstrate that it is impossible to formulate a correct strategy for world revolution without a correct analysis of the decay of capitalism, and that this strategy is quite different from the strategies of small Trotskyist-Leninist groups which seek to struggle against the reformist misleaders by mobilizing the masses around transitional demands leading to the conequest of state power. We will also show why the Fourth International was not destroyed by Pabloite revisionism, but by its inability to overcome the Leninist legacy of basing ones strategy on imminent world revolution.”
"The Theory of Decay and the Crisis of the Third and Fourth International" (2011)
The CL leader's conscious and deliberate lies, maneuvers and manipulations in the course of the fight, especially after the experience with the IBT, angered the two young comrades almost as much as his non-revolutionary formal conclusions. But we recognized that at a qualitative level he was no different than the IBT, which despite being closer to genuine Trotskyism on a purely formal paper level, it’s real world practice revealed it’s deeply anti-revolutionary character. Trotskyist ideology had become transformed into a mechanism for giving a rationale for the existence of what in reality had become a sect whose true purpose was not socialist revolution but it’s own existence as an end in itself, and more specifically the rule of some smalltime tinpot bureaucrtic dictator (in the Spartacist League’s case, James Robertson, for the International Bolshevik Tendency, Tom Riley, or for the Revolutionar Communist Party, Bob Avakian, or for the now defunct Workers Revolutionary Party, Gerry Healy).
When they spit after an unsuccesful fight to change the CL’s course they formed a Revolutionary Regroupment group in Rio. The need for a healthy internal life as a necessity not an option was recognized by all at the time. One of our key principles in light of our experience was the recognition that if in Lenin’s day, it was necessary to fight for the seperation of the revolutionaries from the reformists into separate parties, today it was also crucial to separate the sincere and subjectivley revolutionary from the throroughly insincere and anti-revolutionary hacks and bureaucrats who people so much of the contemporary left. This is even more not less true in tiny groups where they can play an even more cancerous role, whereas in larger groups, where an experienced, conscious and alert rank and file (we are discussing a hypothetical healthy larger group of course) can exert pressure to silence them or keep them at bay. One can exclude the bureaucrats and hacks to some extent by reviewing their political history (we were against letting bygones be bygones, a person’s history reveals who they are and should indeed be held against them) and one should make every effort to do so, but inevitably they will join. For us that hack was Pedro Abreu who joined in 2013.
We also reasserted the importance of splits based on the issue of bureaucratism. The prejudice had developed within ostensible Trotskyism, based on exxagerated formulations by James P. Cannon in the SWP’s split with the Shachtmanites, that splitting over organizational questions was unprincipled. But in reality, Lenin’s split with the Mensheviks in 1903 was over the organizational question, the political differences came after, Trotsky initially fought Stalin on the issue of party democracy, the differences on Socialism in One Country, the Popular Front and other questions came years after, the Spartacist League initial split with the Healy lead International Committee was also at first over organizational questions, with the more decisive formal programmatic differneces appearing after, lastly the International Bolshevik Tendency split with the Spartacist in essentially a similar manner as the Spartacists split with Healy. James P. Cannon in a split with Michel Pablo supporters in the Fourth International that dealt with significantly broader questions than just organizational ones, also reversed himself (and in other places also), especially this indirect correction to his earlier exxagerated formulations in his famous 1953 "Open Letter",
“This procedure is out of the foul tradition of the Comintern as It underwent degeneration under the influence of Stalinism. If there were no other issue than this, it would be necessary to fight Pabloism to a finish to save the Fourth International from internal corruption.”
"A Letter to Trotskyists Throughout the World" (1953)
To be continued