ALLIANCE 46: 
July 2002
REFLECTIONS ON CURRENT SECTARIAN FORAYS IN THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENT.

    Comrades who follow the line of "Alliance" and "International Struggle Marxist-Leninist" (ISML) - will now be familiar with the recent and attacks launched upon Alliance by Vijay Singh, the editor of "Revolutionary Democracy". "Alliance" and "Communist League" (UK), have over the years, repeatedly attempted to establish a meaningful dialogue with Singh. Most recently, for instance, in the polemics between "Revolutionary Democracy" & "Proletarian Path" - Alliance called for a principled debate (See Alliance 28).
    Despite the lack of response, Alliance held back from drawing any final conclusions regarding the enmity of Revolutionary Democracy. However, Singh's renewed and repetitive attacks lead us to conclude that the time is ripe for for a full and frank reply.
    To remain silent upon long unresolved matters now, is now intolerable and would lead to a situation which:     It is for these reasons, that we are compelled to examine some items of  past history. We expressly point out - that this is an entirely distasteful task, especially so, given the many important questions for the Marxist-Leninist movement to deal with. However, under the guise of an honest broker - Singh strews around sectarian mischief with gay abandon.  Alliance perceives this behaviour as being, in certain measure, a threat to a non-sectarian agenda. Singh is perpetuating and exacerbating the divisions among Marxist-Leninists. We are left no choice but to wade through the history of relations with Singh.

    We believe that underlying many of the differences between Singh and ourselves - is that Singh is intent on a sectarian and dogmatic approach to the Marxist-Leninist movement. To show this is a pattern of behaviour, we trace his approach back to his early political alliance with the sectarian of the two wings of the Marxist-Leninist Organisation of Britain.
    While this may be considered an arcane piece of "leftist train-spotting" - we believe that without a knowledge of that background Singh's current attitudes are not explicable.

    We must remind the reader of Lenin's attacks on sectarianism of any sort, tracing his own views back to Marx & Engels:

   Lenin  closely linked sectarianism to dogmatism:      Lenin advised that the best means of exposing sectarianism was "More Light"! i.e. public debate and exposure:
    In a series of open attacks, placed in the e-pages of the ISML e-list [and who knows where else?] - Singh charges as follows:     From here, we rebut these various charges. Documentation is provided via links, both to 3 appendices of recent correspondence, and others to older documents. 
    Singh bravely declaims against the "tyrannical Kumar" - defending apparently - 'freedom of speech" - thus:     Yet we fear that these such postures, are in reality, an obfuscation. In fact, it is a case of calling "Day" - "Night". For Kumar and the ISML Editorial board had both invited Singh onto the list, and tolerated him using it for his own sectarian ends. We did - it is true - simply point out to him, that if he did not accept the viewpoints and non-sectarian aims of ISML - he could if he choose to - simply leave. However  even most recently, Alliance has made the pages of ISML and Alliance available for Singh: Appendix One: e-list ISML: Dimitrov Debate; & Alliance's call open principled debate.

    Yet Singh's inversion of day and night - is aimed at achieving these ends:
    It confuses who it is that covers up debate; and
    It confuses  who it is that refuses principled replies.

    In reality, Singh's own conduct for years has for many years been evasive while "discreetly" placing himself at the sectarian centre of the dis-organisation of a principled unity and debate amongst Marxist-Leninists. We will show this citing some key documents over the last 30 years.
    Let us first examine his conduct of the debate upon the role of Georgii Dimitrov. In reality, who has refused debate? We charge that is Singh.
    It is well known that the Communist League and Alliance have published a series of documents that consider the history of Dimitrov (See Dimitrov Page at the Alliance site:  Dimitrov Page).
    For a long time - for approximately 30 years - both Communist League & the Alliance organisation have asked, the movement at large and Singh  -  for a scientific consideration &/or a refutation - not simple invectives or dogmatic Holy Chants to the Dead.
    Here for example is W.B. Bland, in a letter to Singh written in 1995:

    Invariably, Singh's response has been thus far, to "prove" his case regarding Dimitrov - by a reliance on the INCOMPLETE historical record.
    In other words, unless there is a document where Stalin is recorded as explicitly stating that Dimitrov is a revisionist, then .... Dimitrov must be a Marxist-Leninist.
    But this ignores the fact that the historical minutes and records are in the hands of the international capitalists and their hired academics.
    Singh's attitude is further based upon a blind refusal to examine the facts themselves. As Bland pointed out to Singh:       Singh suggests to the unwary reader  that the following equation may be applied to the solving of difficult problems:
    "he/she who rejects the assessment of a great Marxist-Leninist on any question" - irrespective of new facts - MUST be a revisionist and worse - a conscious traitor to the class.
    Bland in the past had anticipated and replied to Singh's solecism as follows:     The bottom line is that over numerous times, Singh over the past 30 odd years has 'declined' to place himself on record with a considered and full scientific rebuttal of the analysis of Bland and the Communist League to which he takes such great exception.

    Yet it should not be forgotten (by him or anyone else), that  he first introduced some younger comrades to the writings and analysis of Bland. Perhaps, however, this was because of his mistaken belief at the time that they were in fact written not by Bland but by one Mike Baker.  It is quite conceiveable that Singh's attitude to the Dimitrov question is at least a reflection of his tutelage to Baker. The personal history of Mike Baker has some relevance to the current discussion.

    Who was Mike Baker, and what might be his relevance to this current discussion?
    The break between Baker and Bland took place because Baker refused to accept democratic centralism and collective decision-making in the MLOB, as these stood in the way of his attempts to lead the organisation into sectarian policies. This is discussed in detail in the memorandum sent to the "Indian Comrades" by the Communist League in 1976 - to be found at the following web-page: Debate Within the MLOB.  [This is discussed in detail in the memorandum sent to the "Indian Comrades" by the Communist League in 1976 - to be found at the following web-page: Debate Within the MLOB].

    Baker had already left the realms of Marxism-Leninism in 1976, but by 1990 he had degenerated even further, becoming an open adherent of the "Movement for Workers Councils" espousing the views of Jan Appel (alias Max Hempel). In the foreword to his translation of the magnum opus written by the anti-Bolshevik Council Communist Appel - "Fundamental Principles of Communist Production & Distribution", Baker writes:

    Yet incredibly, as late as 1995, Singh was still defending Baker as a "brilliant Marxist-Leninist".
    Bland writes:      We leave it to the Marxist-Leninist movement, to consider whether Baker or not - a self-proclaimed syndicalist by the year 1990 - was a "brilliant Marxist-Leninist".
[See Debate Within the MLOB], but some further remarks are pertinent.

    Baker and following him - Singh - denied that Albania under Hoxha was a socialist state:

    Correspondingly and inversely - after Singh finally and belatedly did adopt the position of support for the Peoples Socialist Republic of Albania - he remained reluctant to critique its degeneration  under Ramiz Alia. If anything, this was at least being consistent, as Bland pointed out:      Of course Marxist-Leninists are perfectly entitled to change their minds after due reflection and thought. However - we are mindful that a principled manner of doing this entails an open and honest self-criticism:     Is it not strange that this self-righteous Singh - has never made a public self-criticism of these positions? We are forced to ask, what distinguishes his behaviour from that of Hardial Bains in this regard? So much for the piety of Singh's pompous remarks on "self-criticism" in his exchange with Comrade Gazza (see: Appendix Two; e-list of ISML: ISML & [ICMLPO(h)]; & on "self-criticism").

    Conclusion:
    We are forcibly reminded of the assessment made by Comrade Bland some years before  his death, when in an interview he characterised  Singh as an "un-principled opportunist". We have not before published this fact, preferring to avoid even the semblance of a personal attack, and it will be readily seen that the web and print published version of that interview does not cite Singh's name (Bland Memorial Interview with Communist League). However, Singh has taught us that this is not the time to disguise unpleasant truths. Perhaps we should not be surprised that for one who was for so long an acolyte of  Baker, Singh continues to espouse an essentially dogmatic and sectarian approach to the problems of Marxist-Leninist unity.
In Summary - the  Charge (i) That Alliance attempts to stifle debates of importance is false. In reality Singh has persistently refused to engage in any meaningful debate on serious questions. 



SINGH'S CHARGE (ii): "ISML Was Founded as a Diversion to the ICMLPO"
 
      Disingenuously, Singh makes  the following remark to a member of the ISML e-list:      From this, it can be seen that Singh pretends to be unaware of the background of the formation of the ISML and the reasons for this. Of course, in reality he is  fully aware of all this history. This can be said with absolute certainty for the following reasons:       It is necessary to focus  a little more on that document, for here it was pointed out that very few individuals and groups had in reality seen through Maoism, at an early juncture. Of these, three were later to find themselves in the ISML:    The formation of the ICMLOP(H) - which we termed the Quito grouping was noted in Alliance 19. Moreover Singh himself refers to, an article by the Communist League, which publicised the founding of the Quito group and was re-printed in Alliance 19:     Drawing from multiple sources  he knows that the attitude of member organisations of the ISML has been far from hostile to the ICMLOP(H). However, since Singh apparently listened to but did not hear the face to face discussions in which he participated, nor read the materials generously provided, we will take the liberty at this juncture of a long quotation that is  a direct reprint of materials from Alliance 19, as follows:     It should be apparent then why it is that the ISML was formed - it was formed, in part, because key pro-Hoxha-ite parties were EXCLUDED from the Quito grouping.

    We still do not know why this was, but we do know the facts of the matter.
    MOREOVER: the groups that came together at the ISML foundation in Ischia, Italy - genuinely believed, and STILL DO - that even now - the debate between Maoists and Hoxha-ites still needs to proceed within one principled forum. We in Alliance, and those faithful to the dictates of the Principles of ISML - believe that there are still potentially honest but confused comrades who do not support Hoxha.
    Let us pre-empt Singh at this point and again, state that we of Alliance are openly pro-Hoxha . No honest person familiar with our work and publications could state otherwise without blushing for shame. BUT - we cannot think it right at this time  to refuse meaningful dialogue in a principled manner with Maoists.   As the Founding Principles of ISML state at the web-site of ISML:

    So the goal of ISML has been made quite unequivocally clear:     Furthermore ISMLS states that the following is necessary:     But we recognise that several groupings will find themselves in agreement with that formulation. It is a non-sectarian formulation allowing a United Front. It is precisely for that reason that ISML recognises that there are likely to be MORE than one grouping in any one country - that considers itself as a Marxist-Leninist grouping. Again, it is necessary to ask: Why exclude such groups? As ISML points out:     And why is this? Because a FULL discussion is needed:     In this spirit, despite being spurned by the ICMLOP(H) affiliated groups, repeated attempts were made to engender fraternal discussions and joint meetings. Singh himself is very well aware of this - since he himself in 1999 urged Bland to attempt even further overtures to the ICMLOP(H) via the German section - KPD Roter Morgen!
    ISML did so, however the KPD (Roter Morgen) simply rejected this overture. It is quite ironic that Wolfgang Eggers of the Communist Party Germany (ML) (originally a member of ISML) spurns ISML on the grounds that ISML had the temerity to re-approach the KPD (Roter Morgen) - affiliated to Quito. Now, the CPG(ML) makes sweet talk to Singh - whose mantra is "only one 'holy-ordained' organisation per country..... but not that of Eggers' CPG(ML) for Germany.
    Meanwhile, Singh portrays himself as 'fighting for the rights of free speech' for the CPG (ML) [See message 14 Appendix Three]. Singh pretends to be un-aware that  the CPG(ML) abuses ISML because ISML refused the CPG(ML) insistence to cut off broad front discussions. Yet where was Singh when "free principled discussion" was abruptly curtailed by arbitrary expulsions from the Marxist-Leninist List over legitimate differences of opinion on Milosevic and Kosova? [See "Marxist-Leninist List"]. Perhaps he or his very close allies vociferously objected to this stark sectarian "stifling of debate"?
    But - No - Singh and his clsoe allies was, and has remained - silent on this! Singh is moved to voice an opinion only when he sees a narrow sectarian potential gain for himself.
SINGH'S CHARGE (iii):"The raison d'etre of ISML and Alliance is to conduct an anti-Hoxha line."         Once more Singh is being deliberately and consciously "naive" for the sake of effect.
    Firstly: He knows very well that thus far - as far as we know - there are only two organisations that are harbour grave misgivings about the Comintern from 1928 onwards - the Communist League and Alliance.
    Secondly he well knows that there is no article in the ISML journal that supports his allegation of being "anti-Lenin, Stalin, Comintern, or Hoxha". For sectarian purpose - he is anxious to "smear" the ISML - with Alliance and CL blood. In reality however this attempt is doomed to failure as the link between organizations is in reality the Founding Statements and Principles of the ISML as set out above.

 SINGH'S CHARGE (iv): "the ISML has hidden the history of the Italian section of ISML".
     The reader wishing to make sense of the rebuttal to Charge (iv) should review the full correspondences between Kumar, ISML, Italian leaders of the ISML section Lenin Committee [Cmdes K and A], and Singh AT:  See appendix 3. We believe that the chain of events described therein vindicates the general approach of ISML and Kumar.
    Singh alleges that ISML is so worried about "unplatable truths" that it hides from reality:      Singh alleges that the rationale for this hiding from 'airing', lies in the fact that 'sections of ISML assail the views of Stalin", and that Hari Kumar is "discreet" upon this:     Alliance thanks Singh for praising the discretion of Kumar - although Alliance members have often and bitterly complained about his famous indiscretions. Hopefully, he has learnt his lessons.

    The truth is that Singh is simply attempting to smear ISML by equating ISML with the views of Alliance and of the Communist League.

    We have dealt in part with this in part -  under "Charge (ii) above. The clearest refutation of Singh's attempt at equating the views of Alliance and those of ISML - come from the Founding Principles & the Founding Statement of ISML - and from the fact that ISML has carried on articles on Dimitrov. So what are these accusations regarding the Italian section of the ISML, all about?
 We again recognise Singh's wish to undermine ISML.

    The Facts of the Italian imbroglio
     The events in temporal sequence were as follows:

    In circumstances of serious illness and bereavement, contacts with the Lenin Committee became tenuous about the end of 2000. By January 2001, the ISML executive was simply informed that the Lenin Committee was dissolving. ISML obtained only the volunteered reasons of "illness" and of "limited resources" coupled to a renewed attention on "party-building" in Italy. What contact remained, was apparently fraternal evidenced by a message of condolence received by Communist League on Bill Bland's death.
    Here Alliance must censure Kumar for one matter. He did not push the Italian members of the Lenin Committee hard enough, for fuller details regarding the dissolution. It should be remembered however, that Kumar had attempted to meet &/or communicate with the comrades several times - both in Italy and in the UK. The leading comrades had been immersed in serious illness, and in bereavements. Kumar simply and naively trusted the comrades of the Lenin Committee to behave in a principled and open manner.

    By April 2002, Singh's contacts with Scintilla (Italy) [Being the larger remnant from the notoriously sectarian "La Nostra Lotta" - the Italian section of "Unity & Struggle" led by Ubaldo Buttafava] - led him to obtain an inkling that there may have been some political content to the dissolution. Singh rushed to paint the ISML as a a 'tool' or a 'cover' for the heretical views of Alliance and Communist League. Singh did not give his sources until being challenged.
    Kumar then applied further pressure to the ex-leading comrades of the Lenin Committee. We believe that one of these - comrade K has behaved impeccably. We believe that he is still severely affected by an illness that retards his fuller involvement. We cannot however, be quite so sanguine about comrade A.
    This is the letter finally obtained in response to repeated requests of Cmde A - now working with  with Scintilla (Italy). It appears to confirm Singh's view of the reasons for the dissolution of the Lenin Committee and its leaving of ISML.
    The message is with all the correspondence at Appendix 3, but is quoted here in full - it is after all rather brief!:

    Our response to these statements by A of Scintila formerly of Lenin Committe:      To summarise:
    The conduct of the leading members of the Lenin Committee has been very shabby indeed.  Even now, it is unclear to us, to what extent the desire for unity in the Italian movement has inspired the ex-members of the Lenin Committee. Have the comrades in their zeal to seal unity with Scintilla, re-written their history? We do not know. However, such overall conduct leaves doubts for their own future.
    Reverting to Singh: Singh was correct to point out the underlying tensions in the Lenin Committee. But this was not a disinterested correction of the record. He was intent on using this shabby behaviour of the Lenin Committee for a continuing attack upon the ISML.
    Singh again ignores the call made by Kumar:      Instead he asserts as he has done for 30 years:

OVERALL CONCLUSION:
    From several exchanges over the years, we believe that we can honestly charge Singh with rank sectarianism. The movement at large must make its own mind up. As to his refusal to provide a scientific rebuttal to the challenges raised on Dimitrov - we repeat that we urge him to perform this long-over due task. If the analyses were to be at the high theoretical level he is capable of - irrespective of what the conclusion is - they would aid the entire movement.

    Finally, we repeat to the ICMLPO) - that both the  ISML and the ICMLPO) have a lot to gain from joint discussions-meetings.
Alliance July 1, 2002. 




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