In his report of the last aggregate of CPGB members, Peter Manson quotes himself (‘Broad versus mass’, June 11). This is what he said concerning the Labour Left Alliance: “In my view, we must avoid taking up such senior posts within broad groupings.” The idea being that comrades who take leading positions are obliged to tamely echo the views of the majority - that or they would be removed. He also spoke about the inadvisability of initiating such projects.

All this is clearly wrong.

When it comes to tactics, we communists do not consider ourselves bound by such timeless formulas. Tactics serve strategy - specifically in our circumstances to the key question of forming a genuine, mass Communist Party. Without that nothing serious can happen in terms of the struggle for socialism and human liberation.

In our present period of disorganisation, confusion and retreat, our main task is the struggle for political clarity and unity around a definite programme. Our main weapon is therefore literary - specifically the educational effect of polemics and propaganda.

Tactics should be based on a concrete assessment of a concrete situation. They are designed to take advantage of particular opportunities or guard against particular dangers. To fight this or that battle all manner of campaigns, actions and forms of organisation can be considered.

Tactics change with the ebb and flow of the movement. At certain times it is vital to build defensive organisations - Labour Against the Witchhunt being a good contemporary example. The main thing at any one moment is to locate the most suitable tactics to take forward the struggle for a Communist Party.

Decrees to the effect that we cannot initiate, or countenance comrades taking a lead in, establishing an organisation where we would be in a minority, where the majority would almost certainly pursue opportunist, broad-frontist politics are utterly alien to our approach.

We likewise reject the bureaucratic notion that members of ours who have been elected to leading positions in trade unions, leftwing fronts, the Labour Party, etc, are obliged to silence themselves and merely implement the positions of the majority.

We expect our members to fight for the strategy and tactics of the CPGB. How exactly that is done depends entirely on circumstances, commonly agreed tactics and commitment to and understanding of communist discipline.

Jack Conrad

Time warp

The debate between Ben Lewis and Gil Schaeffer takes place in a strange time warp, where history seems to have stopped on August 4 1914. Kautsky, apparently, was going great guns up to then (with a few minor, unfortunate deviations in 1909 and 1911) and then he inexplicably collapsed, along with the entire German Social Democratic Party (SPD), and became a ‘renegade’ against his former revolutionary self and organisation.

Of course, this is nonsense: August 4 1914 revealed the corrupt essence of the SPD, which had developed over decades to this point of absolute betrayal. The unity of the party hid the interpenetration of opposites and the vote for the kaiser’s war credits was the transformation of opposites: the counterrevolution was triumphant.

Lenin was dumbstruck when told of that vote; he refused to believe it initially, thinking it lying propaganda. Rosa Luxemburg was not dumbstruck and had seen it all coming. Lenin’s letter to AG Shliapnikov in October 1914 acknowledged this: “I hate and despise Kautsky now more than anyone, with his vile, dirty, self-satisfied hypocrisy. Nothing has happened, so he says, principles have not been abandoned, everyone was entitled to defend his fatherland. It is internationalism, if you please, for the workers of all countries to shoot one another ‘in order to defend their fatherland’.

He continued: “Rosa Luxemburg was right when she wrote, long ago [1898? - GD], that Kautsky has the ‘subservience of a theoretician’ - servility, in plainer language: servility to the majority of the party, to opportunism. Just now there is nothing in the world more harmful and dangerous for the ideological independence of the proletariat than this rotten self-satisfaction and disgusting hypocrisy of Kautsky, who wants to smother and cover up everything, to tranquillise the awakened conscience of the workers by sophistries and pseudo-scientific chatter. If Kautsky succeeds in this, he will become the main representative of bourgeois corruption in the working class movement.”

In State and revolution Lenin is clearly ideologically constructing a party of a new type, a party that we have argued he began to construct after he learned the lessons of the defeat of the 1905 revolution: We would assert that what Lenin and the Bolsheviks learned from 1905 was:

1. The need for the united front and transitional politics. In seeking to develop these, the realisation developed that this was the application of the dialectic and a new approach to the united front was needed.

2. The need to study and develop the dialectic itself to defend and develop dialectical and historical materialism against Mach and Bogdanov. Lenin began this work as early as 1906.

His aspiration in 1902 was to recruit the entire vanguard and his schema equated the revolutionary leadership with the vanguard and denied the existence of other forces and the necessity to relate to them in struggle - Kautsky’s ‘party of the whole class’ approach. The Bolsheviks were devastated by the fact that Trotsky and the Mensheviks had led much of the failed revolution of 1905 and they were relatively marginalised. They had to reassess their attitude to the masses, and other groups claiming to be revolutionary, and to rearm themselves theoretically for 1917.

On point 2 Lenin in State and revolution is scathing on the “toy rattle” Plekhanov and Kautsky made of the dialectic:

“For Marx, however, revolutionary dialectics was never the empty fashionable phrase - the toy rattle - which Plekhanov, Kautsky and others have made of it. Marx knew how to break with anarchism ruthlessly for its inability to make use even of the ‘pigsty’ of bourgeois parliamentarism, especially when the situation was obviously not revolutionary; but at the same time, he knew how to subject parliamentarism to genuinely revolutionary, proletarian criticism.”

So much for Ben Lewis’s contempt for Lenin’s study of Hegel and the whole history of philosophy, which we can read about in volume 38 of his collected works. The period of intense study in Zurich enabled Lenin to write Imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, State and revolution and the April theses against those leading Bolsheviks like Stalin, Zinoviev and Kamenev. Without this sharp struggle, in which he was victorious, the February revolution would have led to a horrendous massacre and the October revolution would have drowned in blood.

The task now is to correctly estimate the real evidence of this revolutionary tradition, and Ben Lewis and Jack Conrad seek to correct comrade Schaeffer’s deviations in the direction of consistent Leninism, which Schaeffer now robustly denies in his latest letter (June 11). Take the following passage from comrade Schaeffer:

“I definitely do think that Engels’ criticism and Plekhanov’s and Lenin’s inclusion of the demand for a democratic republic in the Russian programme embody the full orthodox Marxist position; but then so do Kautsky’s writings on republicanism and the road to power, which were more consistent with an orthodox Marxist position than the Erfurt programme itself.”

Here the full folly of the wall of separation between the minimum and maximum programme, with which the comrade never “expressed any reservations”, is clear. Whilst it is true that, as part of a transitional programme, the demand for a democratic republic is legitimate, but, as part of a minimum programme, is not linked to the overthrow of capitalism at all, it is a simple, reformist demand, as is “the replacement of the standing army by a people’s militia”. In fact, demanding the replacement of the standing army by a people’s militia now is an ultimatistic, ultra-left demand to hide its reformist essence, not at all applicable as an agitational demand now (or the basis for unity in the Labour Left Alliance, for example) in this time of reduced class conflict, though still necessary as propaganda.

The rejection of the transitional method, as applied by the Bolsheviks in the duma and spelled out in the tactic of the united front, of the ‘Theses on the world situation’, adopted by the 3rd Congress of Comintern in 1921 and of Trotsky’s Transitional programme in 1938 has dire consequences. The International Left Communists (sinistra.net) speak of the “terrible failure of the political united front”, as if this was not the methodology of communism itself that made the Russian Revolution.

If we defend this wall of separation, then we must view the socialist revolution as an objective process only, which will come knocking on our doors, and we will be able to lead it if we train our cadre well, build a mass party and win our 51%, and abandon minimalism for maximalism at the correct moment, as all sects believe. Gerry Healy’s Workers Revolutionary Party was a sect in which I participated for over a decade, though there it was a maximalism that substituted for transnationalism - the ever-present revolutionary situation. This objectivism rejects the Marxist dialectical understanding of the relationship between subject and object.

Of course, a revolutionary party cannot call forth the forces of revolution at will. The masses must learn from their defeats and victories, but not as an amorphous mass. Within the ranks of the working class there are always the advanced layers. Many will join self-professed radical and revolutionary groups, and many will be miseducated in the programme for socialist revolution there. However, many of the vanguard will not join a group, but will listen and learn. So there is spontaneity and spontaneity. Every outburst of struggle; strikes, occupations, etc will have been prepared and urged forward by these vanguard forces over long periods.

That is what we are seeing now in the advancing class-consciousness from the Black Lives Matters anti-racist protests: pulling down the statues of slave merchants; anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism against Cecil Rhodes; opposition to protecting the statue of that modern imperialist brute, Winston Churchill, the popular front wartime comrade of the CPGB, from the rising anger of the masses. Paul Demarty’s ‘Their fables and ours’ (May 14) has a serious go at critiquing the Morning Star’s recent defence of those popular front times, but who were “the principled socialists” who understood that “the only real alternative … was social revolution”? The Independent Labour Party (hardly!) or those dreaded Trotskyists?

In pre-revolutionary and revolutionary situations, the presence of a revolutionary party will develop class consciousness to revolutionary levels. Even centrist and anarchist groups do this. Certainly, in Spain between 1936 and 1939 there were far more subjective revolutionary socialists from these layers than in Russia in 1917. But they lacked a Bolshevik-type leadership, whose subjective guidance becomes the crucial objective factor in making the socialist revolution.

This long Lewis-Schaeffer-Conrad-Macnair polemic is fought out within the realms of Kautsky’s social democracy - a ‘democratic’ republic is a bourgeois republic, we must point out, no matter how ‘extreme’ this ‘democracy’ is - and ignores the lessons of the Russian Revolution itself. It rejects the great theoretical and political advances Lenin made, precisely by rejecting all crucial aspects of Kautskyism to make the October revolution.

On the debate between Lenin, Trotsky and Kautsky, Jack Conrad spelled out his defence of Hal Draper way back in 2002, where he defended Draper’s dismissal of “the crude counterposition of soviets to parliament as ‘petrified dogmatism’ - whether it comes from the right or the left” (‘Dictatorship of the proletariat: Bolshevism versus Kautskyism’ Weekly Worker October 23 2002). This is a classic third-camp position.

Third-campist Hal Draper advocates Kautskyism, critically, in his The ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ from Marx to Lenin. In chapter 4 of this diatribe against revolution, he proclaims that Lenin made “a remarkable blunder” in interpreting Marx: he was selling out (in 1918!), because he was “no longer using ‘dictatorship of the proletariat’ to denote a workers’ state that was subject to the democratic rule of the working class”. And all these mistakes by the dunderhead Lenin, without Hal Roach there to guide him, had facilitated the counterrevolution represented by Stalin. This is standard imperialist propaganda, gelling with Stalinist ‘continuity’ lies, against Leninism and Bolshevism, with the obvious implication that October 1917 was a monumental error.

Gerry Downing
Socialist Fight

Workers’ power

The question of whether the left should be defending the lockdown so vigorously and uncritically is an interesting one, but not dealt with entirely fairly, I think, by Mike Macnair, at least in regard to the demands around schools (‘Behind the aircraft’, June 4).

Unusually it took me over a week to read the article due to my workload as a teacher trade unionist during this period; believe me it is very hard to argue that the National Education Union has not been reflecting the views of its members in fighting hard against government plans for wider reopening of schools with no ‘personal protective equipment, no proper testing in place and (thanks to Michael Gove’s changes to 2014 regulations) ever smaller classrooms, in which to contain potentially super-spreading children. An increase in membership of 20,000 nationally and 2,000 new workplace reps suggest the NEU is doing something right; the fact that, for example, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers has done very little to protect its own members during the crisis is hardly a reason for the NEU to level down in response.

Many of us on the left will have had years of patiently explaining to some members of the class that it is perfectly reasonable for a tube driver to earn £50k+ - and good on the Rail, Maritime and Transport union for winning it. No doubt there will be many workers annoyed by the seeming absurdity of theme parks opening before schools fully do, but it is incumbent upon us to defend school workers for what are clearly reasonable safety demands - and the number of parents refusing to send eligible children back actually implies that the union’s assessment of the danger in school hasn’t been significantly different to most of the public’s. The fact that only 52% of primary schools accepted more pupils in the week the government demanded, and that they have now abandoned any further plans to reopen to more year groups endorses the view of Rob Owen, quoted in Mike’s article, that this has been a “convincing, but not complete victory” for the union. Dire predictions of a miners’ strike-style defeat seem hyperbolic and wide of the mark.

We can see where attempting to stay ahead of the aircraft has led the Labour Party - in bizarre knots. They have gone from a pale-pink version of the rest of the left’s pro-lockdown line (succeeding in annoying their many supporters in the teaching profession by remaining largely silent on the schools issue) to suddenly swinging to a position which seems to imply lockdown should end sooner (sending out videos of rightwing attack dog Rachel Reeves castigating the government for failing to open schools faster, completely undermining the pro-union position of their own shadow education secretary, Rebecca Long Bailey).

There are questions for the rest of the left about their enthusiasm for the lockdown - for example, it has left us in an awkward position, now that spontaneous non-socially distanced protests have broken out that we support - and it is true that the pre-eminence of the schools issue in the left press may be down to their undoubted overrepresentation in the industry. But we have been right to back - and amplify - the most effective union campaign of the crisis. Asserting workers’ power and control to any extent in any industry can help build the class struggle everywhere.

Sean Carter
South London

Collective right

Arthur Bough has posted a series of questions about property, the first being: “In other words, it is up to Marxists to raise the question of why it is that shareholders and their representatives have been allowed to appropriate control over this socialised capital that does not belong to them” (Letters, June 11). Interesting. I presume this question is being directed toward the workers? But if you believe the dubiously stated proposition in this question then it basically answers all of Bough’s other questions!

But let us drop the dubious and historically fanciful proposition that ‘socialised’ capital belongs to the workers and get real for a minute. If we consider a multinational corporation akin to a workers’ cooperative, then who is the capitalist or, to put it a different way, and to quote Marx, who is the “necessary functionary of capitalist production ... who enforces the production of surplus value, thus first helping to create what is to be subtracted from the worker”?

And here is a problem with Arthur Bough’s depiction: it seems to leave capitalism free of the capitalist! And does this not answer Arthur Bough’s questions for him? The reason asset prices are inflated, the reason pockets are lined, etc can be found precisely in the nature of this ‘transitional socialised’ form of property existing within capitalism!

Arthur Bough needs to take a step back from his definitions of property types and understand that all forms of capital, whether they are ‘socialised’ or not, are created under capitalism for profit and not for need. If you imagine a transition where only property forms change, then all you have really imagined is the utopian idea of Catholicism without the pope.

Socialised capital is one thing, but a transitional form is quite another. There is no transitional form of company as such - only lessons from history. From successful businesses a number of organisational principles can be drawn, but a transition is more than principles. A transition is violence. I would hope that, for example, workers who have gained control of an arms manufacturer will be asked to find alternative employment! And those workers who take control of the fishing industry should be ordered that they can only fish sustainably.

And this is where we come to a crucial distinction which Bough does not see: if we say that under capitalism (and to quote him) “the shareholders use their political power to appropriate that control from the workers, depriving the ‘associated producers’ of their rightful control over that socialised capital”, then under capitalism this is on a corporation-by-corporation basis, but under a socialist system the control is at the level of society and not at the level of the organisation. So under capitalism the worker, as Marx points out in his notes on Wagner, has no right to anything, whereas under socialism the ‘associated producers’ have a collective right over the entire output, but not any individual output.

When Bough says, “but it does not take a lot for Marxists to make the further extension of that argument that it should be only the workers and managers in these companies that exercise democratic control over them”, I would be tempted to say that it does not take a lot to remove managers completely from this equation and simply say, ‘workers in these companies exercise democratic control over them - managers being appointed by the workers themselves from their own ranks’. Except, as mentioned above, under socialism workers will not exercise control of the company: society will!

Arthur Bough asks the question: “But, even if such a global trades union were created, what good would it be?” I could ask the same of his manager and workers individually controlling a company.

Maren Clarke

Labour rope

As a Marxist who made a personal decision to leave the Labour Party in 1992, I have recently visited certain articles on your website.

In ‘Maintaining principle’ (May 14), you wrote: “James Harvey, however, gave the example of an LPM [Labour Party Marxists] comrade who had recently spoken at an LLA [Labour Left Alliance] meeting and had noted the lack of understanding of some when the comrade had referred to the Labour Party as a ‘site for struggle’ and had opposed the automatic call for a Labour government. We should argue our case, he said: there was ‘room to work there’, even though there were not huge numbers likely to be influenced by us.”

I am sure that many of your members will be familiar with Lenin’s suggestion in Leftwing communism that communists should relate to the Labour Party as a “rope supports a hanging man”. I write as a communist who remains unconvinced by the thrust of that pamphlet, but would be interested to hear more about your current position, as reflected in the above quote.

I wonder if you would accept that the support offered by ‘official’ Leninists has invariably resembled an irreparably jammed trapdoor rather than a rope? Are you advocating a practice that differentiates from that historic experience?

Andy Lionel


As millions of people around the world have reacted to the sickening murder of George Floyd, the ruling class has been working overtime to get back control of the narrative. Donald Trump wants to crush this (or any) movement by force and has tried to use his role as ‘commander in chief’ to get the US military out there. But, even some of his commanders are a bit reluctant to join him: this may be, in part, because of his gathering together of a thousand West Point graduates during a pandemic to give him a photo-op.

It would appear that the US police have no such scruples, however: their own “violent extremists” have been wading in with gusto - and not much concern for any laws.

Johnson’s had his go as well. For instance, while condemning violent extremists (a common slur from the ruling class), he tweeted: “We cannot now try to edit or censor our past. We cannot pretend to have a different history. The statues in our cities and towns were put up by previous generations. They had different perspectives, different understandings of right and wrong. But those statues teach us about our past, with all its faults. To tear them down would be to lie about our history, and impoverish the education of generations to come.”

So we have violent and ahistorical extremists trying to hijack a movement that should perhaps pray rather than break social-distancing rules (Johnson wants everyone to stay at home). But, if the statues are to teach us about our past, there are one or two gaps. As far as I can tell online, there are no statues to ‘hanging judge’ Jeffreys in the West Country nor of the ‘butcher’ Duke of Cumberland in Scotland. Johnson would no doubt expect to find a few statues of Hitler on any visit to Germany.

Pulling down statues has a political and historical significance - just as putting them up in the first place has. The Colston statue in Bristol went up nearly 175 years after his death to celebrate the then Victorian fashion for ‘philanthropy’. (Of course, philanthropy is quite popular now - a darn sight cheaper than taxes.) Most of the statues in the US glorifying racists and slave-owners went up during the Jim Crow years and also during the years of the civil rights movement. Those putting them up may perhaps have had “different understandings of right and wrong”. Those pulling them down also have “different understandings of right and wrong”. I suppose it depends which side you’re on.

And then we have the ruling class reserves. Nancy Pelosi, along with some of her mates, ‘took the knee’ for the requisite 8 minutes and 46 seconds with, for some reason, a bit of cloth round her neck, which comes from Ghana (or more likely China). I suppose there are a lot of black people in Ghana, so a bit of their cloth would symbolise something or other. She and her colleagues meanwhile, including Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, want to give the police a bit more money, so they can communicate better with their communities. No ‘defunding’ for them!

It would be difficult to provide a more sickening spectacle than the ‘Democratic knee’, but Sir Keir Starmer had a go. His picture, with Angela Rayner, looks very posed - presumably because it was - and also looks like prime dartboard fodder. We’ll believe he’s not a racist when he stops being a Zionist.

And everybody wants to get in on the act. Major companies all around the world want to show their support for black lives and have launched their own ‘Our brand matters’ campaign to impress everyone. (Except for the people who work for them - no more compassion or money there.)

The worldwide explosion of feeling that was sparked by the tragic and criminal death of George Floyd is to be applauded. So also the many cries for organising to make sure that it doesn’t just splutter out. But it looks like demands are just on governments again and we know where they get us. Johnson’s setting up a ‘commission’ and it’s clearly just a wind-up, whoever’s on it.

Meanwhile, the coincidence of this police murder and the reaction to it, along with the assorted impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic, have put some class questions in stark clarity:

These questions are clear and have clear answers. What next? We’ll see.

Jim Cook

Fresh energy

The concept of ‘race’ was devised merely as reinforcement for systems of control by the state, along with its generalised myth-making. Absolutely correct. However, that leaves unexplained differences that actually do exist between us as human beings. They are differences in individual life experience, which in turn lead to different habits, behaviours or preferences - altogether, those beautifully contrasting elements within any modernist/multicultural social structure.

Maybe a perfect reflection of everything concerned is the consensus that no so-called white person should ever use the N-word, whereas new generations of black rap artists have adapted it to express the diametric opposite of either negativity or destructiveness: pride, dignity, a dynamic sense of identity, unique and independent styles of creativity, etc. So it is that the word ‘niggers’ is patently and abjectly offensive - but ‘niggaz’ becomes an inspired expression of liberationist ideas. What wonderful stuff we human beings are capable of - not as different races, but as those interwoven strands of our ‘one strong rope’. Also everything goes to show that choice of language is of no real significance: what matters is its intended purpose.

Conversely, how very amazing it is that the world has been jolted on its axis by police killings in the USA, where even the grander-scale politics of black nationhood/African diaspora self-determinism have become eclipsed by seemingly effective (but anyway extremely powerful) forces within many individual local communities. Not that Marxism/communism should get smug: being left behind by rapid developments in ‘street’ consciousness of working people - met by upgraded capitalist/imperialist methodologies, etc - will expose any tendencies on our part towards either stodgy or stale thinking. Woe betide those who place purist intellectualism above youthful passion - those who are blind to these spaces of fresh energy!

Bruno Kretzschmar


I for one would like to thank Black Lives Matter and especially those anti-racists who dumped the statue of slaver Edward Colston in Bristol harbour. Their action has opened up the possibility of more people than ever learning about the history of capitalism. Criticising statues that hardly anyone recognises, along with assumptions about British liberty and anti-fascism, aren’t a denial of history nor are they distractions from achieving a global socialism. They are an awakening.

Capitalism wasn’t a foreign import by a confident middle class, or just an extension of trade by a few gain-seeking merchants. It was an invention by the sort of superiority-assuming rulers that we have had since the first patriarchal state emerged on the River Nile. After the devastation of the bubonic plague in the 14th century, English lords became landlords and created markets in land and labour. This led to an imperative towards technical improvement to make the land more profitable. It was this real historical capitalism which later adopted plantation slavery - a practice promoted by the monarchs of Spain and Portugal, and sanctioned by the pope, based on the Bible’s injunction that you were allowed to enslave those not of your tribe (Leviticus 25).

The fall of slave-owners and imperialists then is a chance for more people to learn about the commercial basis of European wealth in slavery, which might prove useful for undermining the moral credibility of this mode of production, along with the ideologies of racism, nationalism and xenophobia, which still divide the working class. (There are people like my cousin, a carpenter, who declared to my face that he did not want someone non-white buying the house next to his.) Capitalism divides the working class in a material sense too, especially globally. A cab driver from Mali is hardly the equal of a US truck driver, though both face a hoarding ruling class and an increasing lack of international cooperation.

If we want to provide an alternative to identity politics, it’s not by ignoring the actual divisions and pernicious ideologies of racism, with their real effects, but by talking about the whole history: for example, where “the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of black skins signalled the rosy dawn of the eve of capitalist production.” This being from Capital (Vol 1, chapter 31) by that anti-racist, Karl Marx.

You never know: in the process we might attract some actual black and young readers.

Mike Belbin

Spare Churchill

Regarding the anti-racist protests, the front page of The Sun on June 15 was entirely correct: “It’s not black against white: it’s everyone versus racists’. The dream of American and British Nazis is to trigger a race war. We on the left must make sure the masses don’t fall for this ruse. However, anti-racist activists must not make the mistake of the young activists during the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76 in China.

We must be selective in what symbols we purge. Removing the images of individuals who made their wealth from the slave trade is entirely correct. Only backward elements will oppose this. However, there is no need to purge the statue of Winston Churchill. Although Churchill was an imperialist and no friend of the working class movement, ultimately, in a decisive period of British history, he led the nation to stand up to the high priest of racism, Adolf Hitler.

Also Churchill was able to temporarily put ideological differences aside to team up with Stalin’s Soviet Union to see off Hitler and his criminal, racist cohorts. By working with Stalin to defeat Hitler, Churchill objectively promoted anti-racism. So the negative side of Churchill was balanced by his positive side. For this reason, I call on anti-racist activist to spare the image of Churchill. He is Britain’s symbol of the anti-Nazi struggle.

Tony Clark
Labour supporter

WSWS role

Daniel Lazare makes a useful critique of the Black Lives Matter organisation (‘Race über alles’, June 11). In the process he draws on a December 2018 article from the World Socialist Web Site which he justly calls “a major contribution to socialist literature”.

Just when it might seem that an opening has been created to share common ground on a vital subject, he feels compelled to refer to what he calls the Socialist Equality Party’s “share of craziness”. Since there is no explanation of the remark, it has an almost obligatory character: as if to say that, as he is about to agree with the SEP on something, he had better say something to show he has kept his distance.

The SEP/WSWS since 2018 has written plenty on identity politics and BLM, on an almost daily basis. One aspect that deserves attention is the rewriting of US history to portray it in wholly racial terms. The 1619 Project, backed by The New York Times, promotes the idea that the arrival of the first slaves was a more significant event than 1777, and the civil war was a fight between two racist camps. Its lead presenter, Nikole Hanna-Jones, has claimed that racism is in the DNA of America, as if to say there can be no escape from racial politics. The Project has been heavily promoted in Democratic Party circles and brochures mass-mailed to schools.

The WSWS has led the campaign to expose the 1619 Project and its many errors of fact, and has enlisted the support of a number of reputable historians to challenge its distortions and agenda. I hope Daniel does not regard this as “craziness”.

Mike Martin