Socialist Equality Party is a Lie

Written by RedNickD and the Maoist Rebel

One of the larger socialist parties out there is the Socialist Equality Party. But before you go thinking this is a great sounding name, it’s just another Trotskyist organization. However there are some serious flaws with this organization that must be taken to task.

Writing about the anti-war rally on March 20th, 2010 in Washington, DC the Socialist Equality Party said:

“As for the speakers, one had the strange feeling that you could have heard the exact same speeches at the rallies held two years ago when George W. Bush was still president. One had to wonder if Obama’s name was censored from their remarks. However, it is more likely that the silence on Obama was self-imposed…” (Protest group covers for Obama and the Democrats, March 24, 2010)

These speakers and groups included Cindy Sheehan, representatives of Black is Back, InfoWars, and many others. People from other groups, including those that spoke, had their marching contingents chant anti-Obama messages such as “Hey Obama, we say no, the occupation has got to go!” It seems that the WSWS is just lying in order to make itself look like the only legitimate anti-war group around.

Furthermore, speaking out against the US government and its corporate masters as a whole is a lot better than simply speaking out against Obama (who is only a temporary representative of the elites).

The SEP Statement of Principles says, as Trotskyists often do, said this:

The Fourth International, with which the SEP is aligned, emerged out of the implacable struggle waged by Marxist internationalists, led by Leon Trotsky, against… the betrayal of the program of world socialist revolution by the dictatorial regime headed by Stalin and his henchmen.

We all know that Stalin didn’t do as much as he should to bring forth the international revolution, but he didn’t outright betray internationalism. It was Stalin who eventually sent economic aid to the Chinese after their revolution. It was Stalin who aided the revolution in North Korea (which one could say has taken a turn for the worst). It was Stalin who, during the WWII era, backed guerrillas in Latin America (according to author Jon Lee Anderson). As a matter of fact, it was Stalin who paved the way for the establishment of socialism in Eastern Europe after WWII. Besides all Trotsky even managed to do was mess around with other people’s wives.

The SEP Statement of Principles also stands against identity politics, which it claims to be counter-revolutionary. In many ways identity politics can be reactionary, but it seems they have forgotten for oppressed nations the struggle for national liberation becomes inseparably bound up with the class struggle. Here are some quotes to back this up.

“…emphasis must necessarily be laid on their advocating freedom for the oppressed countries to secede and their fighting for it. Without this there can be no internationalism.” -V. I. Lenin, “The Discussion on Self-Determination Summed Up”

“Hence it is the task of the International everywhere to put the conflict between England and Ireland in the foreground, and everywhere to side openly with Ireland [the oppressed nation]” -Karl Marx, “Ireland and the Irish Question”

Often the Socialist Equality Party is more interested in bashing Stalin than criticizing capitalism. Every time present day China is mentioned, they refer to it as “Stalinist”. Everything that China is doing that is violating human rights, they claim is “Stalinism”. This claim is an outright lie. China ceased to be a communist nation around 1987 with a return to a market based economy. The SEP is taking the crimes of capitalism and placing them on Stalin. The Socialist Equality Party would rather make another Marxist look bad than actually point out the crimes of the system they claim to be against. This makes them completely reactionary and damaging to the Marxist tradition.

While at one of the ISSE events, RedNickD learned that the SEP is against “protest politics” and doesn’t take part in activism because of this. No really, this is actually what the ISSE members said. RedNickD searched the WSWS and SEP web pages, but hasn’t yet found one clear definition of “protest politics.” It remains unclear to me whether these people see protesting as a useful tool to gain support and grow in number, or if they actually plan on replacing protests with ISSE study groups.

Many claims have been made against SEP leader David North. Among them are claims that Mr. North is a CEO of a publishing company affiliated with the WSWS. This would not only explain North’s anti-union politics, but it would also explain why a supposedly “socialist” website like WSWS has a copyright seal and claim at the bottom of its page. As a matter of fact, even dedicated Trotskyists who dislike North hold to the claim that North is a member of the bourgeoisie.

Finally, one thing that is truly disturbing about the politics of the SEP: is their support of Roman Polanski. The SEP claims that the move to have Polanski extradited to the US in order to face trial for raping a 13 year old girl is imperialism. This is disgusting on their part, the support for a child rapist made into an international political issue.

Like I said, the Socialist Equality Party has some serious flaws.

“Where were you David North?”

“The SEP is a Crock”

“With capitalism like this, who needs socialism?”

“The WSWS Resorts to a smear campaign”

2 thoughts on “Socialist Equality Party is a Lie

  1. Hi there, I”m not a member of the SEP and I agree that their dislike of other leftist groups or approaches can get in the way of, or distort, their reporting. But as they sometimes ‘go too far’, it seems that your critique also does. As a criticism, you state that David North may own a printing company and therefore be ‘bourgeois’. So what? Engels managed a factory for most of his adult life and used part of the money to keep Marx alive. The question, from my perspective, is not whether he ‘owns a factory’ but what he is doing for the planetary working class. The World socialist websites claim that it is the most visited progressive website on earth is correct according to internet analytics. Much of their reporting and analysis of world events exceeds in quality and depth and timliness anything found on any other left website, and while their dislike for other groups leads them to biased reporting on occasion, their general critique of many of those groups as ‘pseudo-left’ usually has merit (ie., groups that support or equivocate on whether to support Imperialist wars and destabilization campaigns of sovergn nations; groups that still stand by the idea of working through the now obviously reactionary and frighteningly imperialist U.S. two parties which both serve the same masters – finance capital and industrial miitary capital; etc.) As for the supposed anti-protest politics stance of the website, I haven’t noticed it so cannot comment. Finally, your claim or that of others that North owning a factory explains his ‘dislike of unions’ is, to me, probably a slander., as you don’t mention that the position of the ICFI position on U.S. unions, as expressed on the site, is that the *existing union bureaucracies* represent a highly privlaged and coopted sector of the working class which has betrayed workers for the past 30 years one time after another (absolutely correct!) , ***and that workers must break from **those unins* and form new organizations of their own making such as workers councils or the original workers soviets of 1917′, This is not the position of someone who wants to disempower the working class.

    • “David North may own a printing company and therefore be ‘bourgeois’. So what?”

      The problem is not that he owns a printing company, but that his top Party members are the CEOs. Its also disturbing when placed in the context of their anti-union position. Why does the bourgeois leader refuse unions?

      “your claim or that of others that North owning a factory explains his ‘dislike of unions’ is, to me, probably a slander.”

      No I think it’s a logical line to draw. To me it does make sense. Why is there no union in HIS printing company? What he should be advocating is the seizing of the union from the labour aristocrats, not abolishing them. I’ve seen no argument they’ve made for creating new unions or taking over existing ones. Perhaps one may exist, I have not seen it. It is not slander to voice an opinion. It is in this case libel, to speak as though it is true, with nothing to make an argument for it, which I have made.

      I’d also like to mention their disgusting support for Roman Polanski.

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