Alex Callinicos: kidding himself

SWP CC and theory: Self-serving dishonesty

Do the Socialist Workers Party’s ‘stability’ and ‘clear perspectives’ result from its ban on permanent factions? You must be joking, writes Mike Macnair

For over 40 years we have refused to follow other currents on the far left (for example the Fourth International) in allowing permanent factions. These inhibit the free-flowing debate through which comrades can develop the party’s perspectives and shift their positions towards a better understanding of the tasks ahead. Moreover, as the partial break-up of the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France has shown, a regime of permanent factions can lead to a situation in which members put their faction first rather than the organisation as a whole. This is why the constitution requires factions to dissolve after conference

(SWP central committee response to the Democratic Opposition, January 2013).1


Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce (Karl Marx).2


Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it (George Santayana).3


Leon Trotsky was a Nazi,

Oh, we knew it for a fact.

Pravda said it, we all read it

Before the Stalin-Hitler pact (Walter Gourlay).4


The last three of these quotations are appropriate responses to the first.

In the first place, the Socialist Workers Party leadership’s concept of ‘Leninism’ is now quite obviously, in the eyes of those outside the far left and of many within it, Stalinism repeated as farce. No doubt it does not feel like farce to comrades presently involved in the faction fight on either side, but, in spite of the brief episode of the 2002-04 anti-war movement, the SWP is in terms of British mass political dynamics as trivial as any of the smaller far-left groups - and the faction fight has itself revealed how much smaller the SWP’s actual active membership is than its claimed “registered membership”.

Secondly, the SWP’s ‘Leninism’ is now pretty widely understood to be not an imitation of the Bolshevism that led the revolution of October 1917, but a form of its negation.5 SWP cadres, from Alex Callinicos downwards, who cling to the idea that this version of ‘Leninism’ has a future, are only able to do so by abandoning the idea that it still has the cachet of Russian Bolshevism, and claiming instead that what dead Russians did then cannot determine our course of action now, and that their ‘Leninism’ shows itself to be useful in present-day practical politics. But to take this approach is precisely to refuse memory, and thereby to condemn yourselves to a sort of Groundhog day without the happy ending - of making the same mistakes over and over again.

Thirdly, both the story that the SWP’s ‘genuine democratic debate without permanent factionalism’ is unique, and the story that it is successful in practical politics, are fairy tales. They involve systematic ‘Stalin school’ falsification of the politics and history of the tendency to which the SWP has been since the late 1960s, and still remains, politically closest, the Mandelite Fourth International. The falsification is not as slanderous as the claim that ‘Leon Trotsky was a Nazi’, but it is quite as untrue.

The ban and the US SWP

The exact date of the IS-SWP’s adoption of a formal ban on “permanent factions” is not quite clear to an outsider. It must have been after the expulsion of Workers Fight in December 1971, since Alliance for Workers’ Liberty authors do not have an exact date for it. The January 2013 CC response to the Democratic Opposition, quoted above, dates it to before January 1973 (“for over 40 years”), albeit perhaps with poetic licence.6

By this date the argument which Cliff and his co-thinkers adopted had been around for 20 years. Cliff was a borrower of political ideas to a remarkable extent, though he rarely acknowledged their source.7 The ban on permanent factions pretty clearly came from the USFI’s US sympathising organisation, called the Socialist Workers Party long before the British SWP adopted the name.

It was first explicitly defended by James P Cannon in his speech to the November 1953 open plenum of the national committee of the US SWP, which announced a split with a minority, the Cochran-Clarke faction:

There is no greater abomination in the workers’ political movement than a permanent faction. There is nothing that can demoralise the internal life of a party more efficiently than a permanent faction. You may say, that is contradicted by the experience of Lenin. Didn’t he organise a faction in 1903, the Bolshevik faction, and didn’t that remain a hard-and-fast faction all the way up to the revolution? Not entirely. The faction of Lenin, which split with the Mensheviks in 1903, and subsequently had negotiations with them and at various times united with them in a single party, but nevertheless remained a faction, was a faction only in its outward form ... Lenin’s faction was in reality a party.8

This was a political judgment. It found constitutional expression in the US SWP in the resolution The organisational character of the Socialist Workers Party, which was adopted in 1965 after the SWP expelled the Robertson group (later the Spartacists), and was published as an SWP Education for socialists pamphlet in 1970. Some of the older leaders of the SWP had not fully assimilated what the new rule implied. Thus Cannon in speeches and letters later published as Don’t strangle the party! argued for the older political judgment approach. Farrell Dobbs’s 1970 lectures on ‘The structure and organisational principles of the party’ still formulate the issue in terms of political judgment rather than party rule, and in fact contain an explicit assessment that banning factions could not prevent splits.9 By the early 1970s, however, the US SWP was already moving rapidly towards organisational means to pre-empt any development of political discussion outside a very constrained pre-convention period.10

Its political orientation was also in serious trouble. The SWP correctly criticised the USFI majority’s adaptation to Guevarist guerrilla projects in Latin America, but it counterposed to this adaptation the idea that prolonged democratic openings were to be expected. This orientation was made implausible by the coups in Bolivia (1971), Chile (1973) and especially in Argentina (1976). In Argentina the SWP’s allies in the Partido Socialista de los Trabajadores (Socialist Workers Party) led by Nahuel Moreno organised substantial forces, but were completely unable to chart a political course independent of the bourgeois ‘democratic parties’ as the coup (perfectly visibly) approached.

The USFI majority’s line in the Portuguese revolution of 1974-76, which tailed the Communist Party and the Maoists, was a complete failure; but so was the US SWP’s line, which tailed the Portuguese Socialist Party.

In domestic politics, the SWP leadership had seen off and expelled tendencies which argued for a turn from the campuses to the trade unions in 1971 and 1974. The 1970s saw significant industrial struggles in the US, and other far-left groups were significantly involved in these. In 1978 the SWP leadership lost its nerve on this question and proposed a ‘wrenching turn’ to send party members into manual jobs in basic industry on a large scale - ironically, just as the 1970s wave of industrial struggles began to ebb.

In July 1979 the US SWP’s international policy was struck a mortal blow by the Nicaraguan revolution. One week before the revolution, SWP paper The Militant had been denouncing the inevitable failure of the Sandinista insurrection as an example of the uselessness of guerrillaism. Now the SWP abruptly reversed course, identifying Nicaragua as a new Cuba, and brutally severing its links with Latin American Trotskyists. By the early 1980s, under the leadership of Jack Barnes, the SWP openly broke with its Trotskyist past in the hope of getting a ‘Cuban-Nicaraguan franchise’ - and with this turn alienated a large section of its cadre. Since then repeated expulsions and haemorrhaging of membership have reduced it to a groupuscule which survives on the royalties of the Trotsky copyrights.

In short, the US SWP defended the rejection of permanent factions from the 1950s and wrote it into rules in 1965. From 1971 at the latest, the SWP began to implement the policy. By pre-emptive strikes against dissent before it could flower into factions, the leadership in practice deterred any form of disagreement. Hence it would only hear from branches, lay members of the NC and delegates to the party convention its own judgments echoed back.

As long as its political orientation seemed defensible, this was not immediately disastrous. But when this fell to the ground in the late 1970s the result was that there was no means by which an increasing unreality in its leadership’s perceptions of the world could be corrected by organised opposition, or even unorganised criticism, giving leaders the ability to get beyond group-think.

The actual formal ban on permanent factions is not, in fact, necessary to produce the effect. Gerry Healy’s Socialist Labour League/Workers Revolutionary Party never had such a formal ban. Pre-emptive disciplinary action against dissidents on factitious charges of indiscipline was enough to produce complete dominance of group-think, the cult of the great individual leader and descent into madness. The same is true of the Spartacists, and of other less notorious groups.

The British SWP is not yet completely detached from reality: Alex Callinicos is not yet Jack Barnes. But the SWP is now on the verge of descent into madness. The idea that it will be possible at the March 10 special conference to ‘draw the line’ under the present crisis and move on is very like the belief of Barnes and his co-thinkers that clearing out the Trotskyist oppositional groups in 1983 would allow the US SWP to move forward in unity.

Factionalism and the IMG

In 2009 John Molyneux wrote:

At the other end was the ‘ultra-democratic’ International Marxist Group (IMG), British section of the Unified Secretariat of the Fourth International, and followers of Ernest Mandel. The IMG went so far in the opposite direction that by the 1970s there were institutionalised permanent factions (at least three at any one time), none of which had a working majority. At this point ultra-democracy seems to have turned into its opposite, in that the majority of the members were unable to assert any kind of stable strategy or line ...11

The more recent SWP leadership claim (for example, in the passage quoted at the beginning of this article) that permanent factions caused the break-up of the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste is not only false, but obviously false. We will return to this claim later. The IMG is a different matter. There were factions, called ‘tendencies’, in operation at every IMG conference after 1973, and the IMG (by this stage called the Socialist League) broke up into three parts over 1986-88: Socialist Action, the Communist League and the International Socialist Group. So Molyneux’s claim has more plausibility. But it is still false.

The simple part of this falsity is the claim that “there were institutionalised permanent factions (at least three at any one time), none of which had a working majority”. This is just plain wrong. Between 1970 and 1979 there was continuously a (small) minority faction which supported the line of the US SWP, led by Alan and Connie Harris, under a variety of names. Beyond this, there were several oppositional factions (called ‘tendencies’) in pre-conference discussions, but mostly they did not lead to ‘no overall majority’ and dissolved after the conference. At the 1973 conference there were, indeed, multiple factions - the larger ones beyond the pro-SWP tendency, the Alan Jones (John Ross), Tony Whelan, ‘New Course’ (Pat Jordan, Peter Gowan, Tariq Ali and others) and Robin Blackburn tendencies - and no majority. The conference, as was USFI practice, gave the largest minority, the Jones tendency, a working majority on the national committee.

The ‘no majority at conference’ problem did not re-emerge in the IMG until the 1980s. It did so then because a majority leadership which had been united round the ‘turn to industry’ (copied from the US SWP under the directions of the USFI) fragmented, as the US SWP openly broke with Trotskyism. In addition, the ‘turn’ had been disastrous, leading to the loss of a third of the IMG’s membership and the destruction of its small but effective fractions in the public sector unions.

A large part of the former leadership decided to align with the former minority supporting the US SWP’s line, thus creating a large minority in the IMG/SL. The line of this minority included the break with the IMG’s self-identified Trotskyist political basis; the continuation and deepening of the ‘turn’; and also the imposition of the US SWP’s organisational norms (ban on permanent factions, and hence on unofficial communications between members, and so on).

A split was therefore inevitable, and would have been in any organisation, whatever its internal regime. It took the peculiar form it did for two reasons. The first was that the self-identified Trotskyist majority was divided into four tendencies on issues which appeared to be tactical. The second was that one of these tendencies, the group in the apparatus round John Ross and Redmond O’Neill, proposed at the last central committee before the 1986 conference, the expulsion of the pro-US SWP faction. They lost on this issue at the CC, the CC majority arguing that the expulsion should take place at the conference. But when the conference came, the Ross-O’Neill group entered into a bloc with the pro-US SWP faction to allow them to obtain a working majority on the leadership.

As became clear afterwards, this was a genuine if partial political convergence: the Ross group, today’s Socialist Action, is as much an ‘official’ communist sect as is the pro-SWP US Communist League. But the Trotskyist trends were wrong-footed at the conference, and flaked away from the IMG/SL in a series of splits in 1986-87, ending in the creation of the ISG. In the last act, in 1988 the Rossites used their CC majority to expel the pro-SWP US faction (which by then was the largest among the membership) a week before the conference due that year. The problem was that the self-identified Trotskyists were insufficiently factional in this struggle: they did not understand the fight as really being about the founding principles of the IMG until it was too late.

No stable line

Comrade Molyneux is quite correct to say that IMG “members were unable to assert any kind of stable strategy or line”. The most obvious symptom of this was the periodic rebranding of the IMG’s press: Red Mole from 1970 to 1973, Red Weekly from 1973 to 1977, Socialist Challenge from 1977 to 1982, Socialist Action from 1983.

There is a genuine, but curious, connection here with the phenomenon of factions (‘tendencies’) at conference. This is that the IMG from 1971 on was in substance led from opposition. What happened in practice was that the outgoing leadership majority would propose perspectives based on what it was already doing. Opponents would, in the pre-conference discussion, offer criticisms and alternative perspectives. The members would naturally vote, in their majority, for the outgoing leadership’s perspectives, since these validated what they were already doing, and hence return the existing leadership with a working majority, though the oppositions also got significant representation on the national committee (later central committee). Then, at the first or second meeting of the NC/CC after conference, the majority would announce that the situation had changed. Hence the perspectives needed to be ‘adjusted’. The ‘adjustment’ would amount to a substantial shift towards the perspectives proposed at conference by one of the oppositional groups.

What this in effect meant was that the core group in the apparatus was not willing to lay political turns and differences within this group before the membership, at conference; it would wait until its re-election was secure before announcing a new turn. This was, at the end of the day, functionally the same ‘not in front of the children’ behaviour as the SWP’s ban on permanent factions: differences at the top and changes of line were to be kept within the leadership, not referred to the members for decision: the apparatus had to present a united face to the membership, at least in circumstances where the leaders might lose their jobs.12

It did not help that Ross, who was central leader of the apparatus group between 1973 and 1976 and between 1980 and the split, shared Cliff’s conception of Lenin as a proto-Cliff - the ‘guy with the nose’ who by ‘bending the stick’ led the party on a series of ‘wrenching turns’ to where the political action was.13 Ross was also, like Cliff, very willing to borrow others’ ideas. Only it was to be Ross rather than Cliff who stood in for Lenin.

In reality, the IS/SWP under Cliff’s leadership also displayed very sharp turns in strategy and line between 1970 and 1985.14 The difference was partly that, because the IS/SWP was bigger and more financially secure to start with, it could afford to make its turns less obvious. For a single example among several that could be cited, the ‘rank and file’ strategy, which had been one of the most distinctive markers of the ‘IS tradition’, was in practice abandoned by the time of the expulsion of the ‘IS Opposition’ in December 1975;15 but the IS/SWP could afford to maintain ‘rank and file’ groups of one sort and another as fronts, and continued to do so.

The IMG’s problem was also partly, and importantly, a matter of its commitment to ‘broad frontism’. The Red Mole was a split from the broad-front Black Dwarf and continued to be an ‘IMG plus others’ paper. The Red Weekly was an open IMG paper. Socialist Challenge was an IMG project, but the name-change was intended to signal a return to a broad-front approach, which culminated in the Socialist Unity electoral project. Socialist Action was the product of the turn to Labour Party entry, and was intended to be broader than just an IMG/SL paper. Ross’s fantasy of the ‘Benn-Scargill-Livingstone current’ in the Labour Party promoted Campaign Group News.

The fact that, after the split, the ISG was never able to stabilise itself and its press did not result from factionalism: there was not much of it, and dissidents tended to walk out without making much attempt to persuade the membership: eg, Graham Bash or Dave Spencer. Rather, the choice between competing broad-front projects (Labour Briefing, Chesterfield conferences and Red Pepper, and so on) - fragmented the ISG’s membership and left the group itself with no real idea of what it was for, except that it was (privately) the British affiliate of the USFI.

Between 1969 and 1979 the IMG was marked by a series of factional battles, a good deal of political instability and a number of small splits. But it continued to grow and increase its political impact - as did the USFI of which it was part (and which was equally factionalised). In 1977-79 both the major factions in the USFI, the European-based International Majority Tendency and the US SWP-based Leninist-Trotskyist Faction, lost their political nerve, for slightly different reasons, which in both cases involved confrontation with the falsity of their prior strategic perspectives. The immediate results were the disastrous ‘turn to industry’ taken up by an overwhelming majority, and the US SWP’s adoption of the policy of the late 1920s ‘capitulators’.16 It was the loss of political perspective, rather than the existence of factions, which triggered the IMG’s collapse: as the ISG proved by continuing to collapse, gradually, after the split.


As I said earlier, the SWP leadership’s claim that factionalism caused the break-up of the French Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste is not only false, but also obviously false. For this reason it requires less space.

Let us suppose, purely for the sake of argument, that factionalism is a disease. It clearly has for the present analogy to be a chronic rather than an acute disease, since the Ligue Communiste Révolutionnaire survived with it for 40 years: say, for example, diabetes. If a diabetic, crossing the road without looking carefully, was knocked down by a car, we would normally say that the cause of death was a car crash due to the victim’s own carelessness; if anyone said that the cause of death was the diabetes, we would think they were at best suffering from a delusion.

Having said that, what was the car crash?

Though the LCR’s political roots are in the faction of the Parti Communiste Internationaliste led by Pierre Frank in the 1953 split in the Fourth International, the material basis of the group which became the LCR in 1974 was the Jeunesse Communiste Révolutionnaire, which had been created in 1966 by youth expelled from the French Communist Party’s youth organisation. The JCR’s front-line role in the May 68 events allowed rapid growth, and government bans in 1968 and 1973 served only to strengthen its revolutionary cachet among youth. There were, however, other substantial Trotskyist groups: the ‘Lambertists’ who developed from the other PCI faction, and Lutte Ouvrière.

The LCR was and remained, and the NPA remains, a ‘party of 68’: that is, one whose strategic conception of the overthrow of capitalism is that of a rerun of the large spontaneous struggles, calling into question the authority of the state, which marked 1968 in France and similar events elsewhere. That year was seen as a French equivalent of 1905 in Russia: a new period of ‘dual power’ in the next outbreak, with the emergence of workers’ councils, would allow a small left group to become a mass party.

This strategic line was effectively disproved in the Portuguese revolution of 1974-76: under real revolutionary crisis, the existing mass parties become bigger, and questions of government become of decisive political importance. The small far-left groups get larger, but do not ‘break through’ to mass scale.

Portugal caused the collapse of the international majority in the USFI and led to the ‘turn to industry’. But the LCR leadership pursued, until the 2000s, an approach which maintained the historical referent and conception of 68 as the image of the revolution and combined it with considerable tactical caution in practice. It paid lip-service to the ‘turn’, but - unlike the IMG - did not allow it to disrupt the LCR’s work. It experimented with a variety of broad-front projects and regroupment discussions, but stuck with the known brand of the LCR and its newspaper Rouge.

This involved a tension between, on the one hand, militants’ practice in trade union work, the ‘united front’, single-issue campaigns and ‘social movements’, and, on the other, its ‘68’ strategic perspective. Inevitably, the militants’ practice found theoreticians. By 2006, there had appeared a clear, theoretical right wing advocating stale, warmed-over Marxism Today ideas.17

A potential way out seemed to be offered by the relative success of Olivier Besançenot in the 2007 presidential elections. In 2002, Besançenot, together with Arlette Laguiller of Lutte Ouvrière, had obtained 10% of the vote between them, roundly beating Robert Hue of the Communist Party (PCF). In 2007, Besançenot’s campaign became a media sensation; he obtained 4.08% of the vote, Laguiller 1.33% and PCF candidate Marie-George Buffet 1.93%. To the LCR leadership, the way seemed open to cash in on this success by launching a new party of the far left and the social movements - the NPA was proposed in 2008 and launched in February 2009.

There was, however, an oncoming car ... The LCR leadership seem to have imagined that success with the NPA project would overcome the pressure from the LCR right to participate in Parti Socialiste-PCF governmental coalitions; and that the PS left and the other Trotskyist groups would stand idly by while the LCR built a new party.

In reality, in November 2008 ex-Lambertist18 and left PS leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon launched the Parti de Gauche on a platform significantly influenced by Lambertism. A large chunk of the old LCR right promptly departed the NPA to join up with Mélenchon, and further chunks broke off towards the PG, and the Front de Gauche founded by the PG and PCF for the 2009 European elections. By the time these elections took place it was clear that the PG-FG had defeated the NPA project.

The break-up of the NPA is thus partly the long-delayed result of the failure of the LCR’s strategic perspectives in the 1970s, together with its Mandelite broad-frontism - the same weakness which ‘did for’ the IMG 22 years earlier. The immediate cause, however, was the LCR leadership becoming dizzy with success after the 2007 Besançenot presidential campaign, and launching the NPA under conditions where it could rather obviously be undercut by operations of the LCR’s political opponents, as in the event happened. Just as the SWP itself also became dizzy with success after the 2003 anti-war mobilisations ...

The SWP leadership’s delusion about the cause of the NPA break-up is self-serving. If we look back only to 2006, the SWP leadership was urging the LCR to adopt, as an alternative to the launch of the NPA ,a broad-front alliance including reformists - like Respect.19 This view would have led to the PG: so surely they should celebrate the liberty of factions, which allowed a large part of the LCR to decide to go to the FG. But, in the meantime, the SWP has broken up Respect. All it is left with as a difference with the LCR-NPA is the question of permanent factions.


The point of a workers’ party is working class political action, with a view to the proletariat taking political power and creating a state subordinate to itself. The working class needs unity in diversity, not monolithic unity. The party thus needs a programme which specifies its general aims (workers’ power and socialism) and the minimum conditions under which it would form a government.

The reason for organising independently of the reformist and ‘official communist’ parties has two aspects. The first is that these parties are committed to willingness to govern in the interests of ‘national’ capital under capitalist constitutions, and subordinate the interests of the working class to this commitment. The second, which goes along with the first, is that they operate bureaucratic regimes (tied in to the capitalist states) which bar any actual overthrow of the class-collaborators.

The IMG, the LCR and the IS/SWP were all at the end of the day ‘children of 68’. In place of these reasons for a working class political party, and for organisation independent of the class-collaborators, they defined themselves as ‘revolutionary’ by commitment to events like May 68.

By the end of the 1970s, this concept of ‘revolution’ was plainly useless to concrete political perspectives. What it left behind was ‘initiatives to draw masses into action’. But such initiatives, if to be taken by small groups, logically implied political capitulation to the class-collaborators.

The IMG collapsed because the capitulators won. The NPA broke up because at the end of the day many LCR activists saw no sufficient reason not to capitulate. The IS/SWP has, since the Anti-Nazi League, combined external political capitulation in broad-front initiatives with a rigid, dictatorial internal regime as a supposed prophylactic against political collapse. This method is now itself on the verge of collapse: either towards opening up (the better option); or towards continual decline and shrinkage like the US SWP.



1. www.cpgb.org.uk/home/weekly-worker/online-only/swp-cc-counter-attack.

2. Opening of The 18th Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte: www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1852/18th-brumaire/ch01.htm.

3. Reason in common sense London 1906, p384.

4. ‘In old Moscow’ (written about 1940): www.folkarchive.de/moscow.html.

5. I have made the point elsewhere, most recently in my review of John Riddell’s edition of the proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Comintern in last week’s edition of this paper (February 21), that this is not to deny the responsibility of the central Bolshevik leaders for the fundamentals of this bureaucratic-centralist ‘Leninism’. Rather, this ‘Leninism’ was a response, and a mistaken one, to the experience of conditions after the October revolution.

6. Unclear in 1975: J Higgins More years for the locust (1997), chapter 13: www.marxists.org/archive/higgins/1997/locust/index.htm.

7. Lars T Lih has shown that Cliff plagiarised significant elements of his 1975 biography of Lenin (‘Lenin disputed’ Historical Materialism No18, 2010). It is true that plagiarism, a mortal sin in an academic, is at most a venial sin in a politician. But the point also illuminates Cliff’s political method.

8. www.marxists.org/archive/cannon/works/1953/facstrug.htm.

9. Cannon: www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/fit/dontstrangle.htm; Dobbs: www.marxists.org/history/etol/document/swp-us/dobbslectures.htm.

10. Eg, discussion in A Wald, ‘A winter’s tale told in memoirs’ Against the Current July-August 2011. The issue was debated as part of the factional struggle in the Fourth International in the middle 1970s, but in internal bulletins rather than in public.

11. ‘On party democracy’ International Socialism No124, autumn 2009: www.isj.org.uk/?id=586.

12. An interesting observation of what may have been going on in the private life of the SWP CC in the period of Respect and the split with Counterfire can be found at http://sovietgoonboy.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/the-uses-of-paranoia.

13. Lih (above, note 6) at pp141-45 has a very sharp criticism of this approach. That it was Cliff’s approach is confirmed by the narrative in I Birchall Tony Cliff: a Marxist for his time London 2011.

14. The point is made at several points in Birchall (note 13).

15. J Higgins More years for the locust (1997), chapters 12-13.

16. www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1929/05/capitulator.htm.

17. M Macnair Weekly Worker February 16 and 23 2006. In my book based on the series of articles of which these two were the first part, Revolutionary Strategy (2008), the detail on the LCR’s debate and Callinicos’s intervention was dropped.

18. Mélenchon’s membership of the Lambertiste OCI in 1972-75 is a matter of public record, as is his ‘negotiated departure’ to join the PS: http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Luc_M%C3%A9lenchon#Premiers_pas_en_politique. The relations between Lambertism and the PS are extremely murky.

19. Eg, A Callinicos Socialist Worker January 28 2006: www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=8164.