What’s wrong with Workers’ Power?

Workers’ Power (WP), British section of the League for the Fifth International (L5I), has recently chosen to adopt an odd position for an ostensibly revolutionary organisation: it has decided to side with the forces of imperialism in the conflict in Libya.

In a piece titled ‘Should socialists support the Libyan revolution?’ WP informs us that there are four choices open to the “international left” regarding the civil war:

1) Uncritically support the Qaddafi regime as some Stalinists (and “minor fragments of Trotskyism”) do.

2) Openly support imperialism like the Alliance for Worker’s Liberty (AWL).

3) Remain neutral.

4) Support the “revolution” like WP despite the fact that it is now subordinated to the interests of imperialism.

WP are forgetting a fifth option: opposition to Qaddafi and imperialism. However, such a principled position has to take into account the fact that the rebel forces who participated in the overthrow of Qaddafi in Tripoli were not, for the most part, acting independently of imperialism; they had agreed to institute “regime change” on imperialism’s terms. Under these conditions, to defend Libya’s independence from imperialism, revolutionary socialists surely had to stand for the defense of what remains of the Libyan state on a military, but not political, basis against NATO and the rebels. WP’s attempts to understate the level of involvement by NATO are bordering on the ridiculous.

Their dishonest misrepresentation of Leon Trotsky’s comments regarding a hypothetical scenario where Italian fascism might have provided material assistance to Algerian resistance to French colonial rule is shameful to say the least. “Learn to Think” indeed.



Filed under League for the Fifth International, Libyan Civil War

98 responses to “What’s wrong with Workers’ Power?

  1. Gerry Downing

    Well as deformed and degenerate workers states only differ in origin that seems to mean that Trotsky did not understand the USSR and Cliff, not Shachtman or Landy, was right. In Revolution Betrayed Trotsky went to great trouble to explain neither capitalism nor socialism in political and material terms. New phenomenon requiring applycation of Marxism. His greatest contribution to Marxism.

    • Comrade Gerry,

      That difference “in origin” is pretty important. We’re not sure how you conclude from the above post that we think Cliff’s so-called theory of state capitalism is “right”. Like Shachtman’s and Pablo’s, Cliff’s theory also ultimately describes a third-system.

      • Alan Davis

        The LRP have written some very good critiques of the Cliffites “state capitalism” – they clearly don’t think it is correct in any way.

        That being said, at this point only having just started Walter’s book so perhaps I will be convinced otherwise, the LRP’s own version of reality also seems to describe a third-system of a “capitalism” without capital…

  2. Ella

    I’ve an idea of what’s wrong with workers power after going to their Anti-capitalism talks yesterday. Part of it must be the sneering, gaufforing of top members when anyone said something they didn’t agree with regarding Lybia, like some unholy snob in the commons.
    I was also told that the ‘revolution’ would help the 1 million black Lybians and migrant workers, which seems odd, since they were being executed on mass… And then i successfully argued that the situation would be getting dramatically worse for the majority of poeple in Lybia, only to be told that this would serve to increase revolutionary consciousness and activity there. Jesus christ, the man was arguing for the violent oppression of the poeple at this point!
    Also got shrilly denounced for arguing against their position by a top member who used his height and proximity to me to literally talk down to me. Wanker.
    This is all anicdotal, and not political in a strict sense, but it says something of of the culture there and their inability/unwillingness to listen to reason.