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Newsletter (in English)


The current struggles in REVOLUTION center around questions of our relationship to our “mother organization”, the LFI: Is it correct to call a communist youth organization “independent” when all its decisions are made by an external, adult organization? Is it right for the LFI to work as a faction within REVOLUTION, and are they open about their factional work? Are there historical examples for “party” factions in the youth movement? How does Revo function, anyway?

We have gotten many contradictory answers from LFI members about this question. – “we don’t have a faction”, “our faction is democratic”, etc. But they all seem to agree that the LFI does not control Revo and does not want to control it. Here we present some internal documents of the LFI which cement the accusations of many Revo independents, who call the LFI’s work “secretive”, “deceptive” or “bureaucratic”.

The LFI is a highly secretive organization. Their members are required to defend every decision of the LFI, whether they agree with it or not, and are only allowed to express criticism internally. All personal correspondence must be handed over to the leadership, if they demand it. LFI members are threatened with expulsion if they pass on discussions or documents from the LFI to their comrades in REVOLUTION. Thus it is safe to say that the documents we present here, which we received after the split in the LFI, are only the tip of the iceberg.

In August 2006 REVOLUTION held its second international conference. 72% of the delegates were from the LFI. They had, in the months previous, systematically denied that they received instructions from the LFI leadership and that the LFI made decisions beforehand for Revo. But one week before the conference the LFI’s top leadership passed a resolution and sent it to the LFI members in Revo:

The League for the Fifth International and the Revolution International Delegate Conference

Democratic Centralism in Revolution

The position of the League is that its members must continue to fight within Revolution for a democratic centralist form of organisation. This is because we believe that this is the only form of organisation appropriate to the perspective, strategy and tasks Revolution has set itself.

We have over the last period worked hard to establish Revolution as an international organisation united in struggle for its programme, The Road to Revolution with a perspective that orientates it to the mass resistance to neo-liberal globalisation. We have developed the youth international tactic as a response to the crisis of leadership in the anti-capitalist movement. This programme, orientation and perspective necessitates the development of an international leadership that can act with authority, enter discussions with other groups and fight to build new sections of Revolution based on the common programme.

Furthermore, democratic centralism is a form of organisation Marxists fight for across the working class and social movements (with all the necessary adaptations appropriate to different types of bodies) because by combining freedom in discussion with maximum unity in action it gives us the best opportunity for victories.

The position of the League and its members is therefore to continue to fight for democratic centralism within Revolution. Now is not the time to retreat, but rather advance. Of course, advancing will mean League members making a critical and balanced assessment of the work thus far, and discussing freely at the conference how the development of democratic centralism can be effectively concretised.

Relationship to the League for the 5th International

At the Vienna conference Revolution re-affirmed its position of fighting in political solidarity with the League. The League should naturally fight to retain this position alongside the fight for democratic centralism.

League members on the RIC will ask that a representative of the League from the IS will be able to give a speech to the opening of the conference to express support for Revolution1s work, continued desire to fight together, put forward our analysis of the tasks facing our organizations, and so on.

The Austrian Split

The League will shortly produce a public statement on the Austrian crisis, responding to the publication of the declaration of the former AST Opposition.

In terms of Revolution’s work the most serious accusation of the ASt Opposition was that Revolution1s success in Austria had been exaggerated for factional purposes.

The investigations of this accusation and the others, though still underway when the comrades resigned, was sufficiently thorough to reveal that they were simply not true. The ASt Opposition were never able to bring forward evidence for any of their accusations after three weeks of investigation. They then resigned from the section after refusing to carry out its work and publicised their false charges amongst the Austrian and international Left.

We expect this to be raised at the Prague Conference by S. and J.. The Austrian Revolution leadership has already rejected this clear attempt to disrupt its work. We are of course happy to discuss this at the conference but the League will naturally fight to defend the actions of its section, and against the slanders of the “ASt Opposition” as they continue to describe themselves.

The Austrian Revolution delegation will bring evidence of membership figures, following their upcoming conference that firmly disprove the allegation that the success of Austrian Revolution has been played up for factional purposes relating to the League.


No member of the League, whether they belong to either faction or none, is to carry the League’s factional disputes into Revolution.

Organisation of Intervention

The League will elect a chief steward to lead its intervention into the the Revolution International Conference.

Just a few friendly suggestions for LFI members, which they can use as they see fit? Hardly. One of the reasons given for the LFI’s expulsion of their International Faction was that an IF member was planning to participate in the REVOLUTION conference not under the discipline of the LFI, i.e. not following this resolution is grounds for expulsion!

Every member of this majority faction was obliged to support every point of the resolution, which meant all these “proposals” to the conferece would be accepted automatically.

Additionally, LFI members were prohibited from even mentioning analyses of the world economy, the European Social Forum or reformist parties which differed from the LFI leadership. This secretiveness is, apparently, for reasons of “security”. Precisely whose security would be endangered by such a discussion is not said.

An alternative explanation is “Leninism”. But we have not been given a single example of Lenin advocating such an organizational model. Quite the opposite. Lenin’s Leninism included this: “The principle of democratic centralism and autonomy for local party organisations implies universal and full freedom to criticise so long as this does not disturb the unity of a definite action; it rules out all criticism which disrupts or makes difficult the unity of action decided on by the party & criticism within the limits of the principles of the party programme must be quite free & not only at party meetings but also at public meetings.”

Noteworthy is the personalization of political conflicts. Rather than political arguments against the independence of Revo and for LFI control, we are presented with a list of troublemakers who need to be dealt with. This list, of course, has been getting longer as the independent activists in REVOLUTION have been getting stronger and getting more organized.

Now it may seem normal for a communist organization to prepare via caucus for a conference. But the absolute majority of the LFI at this conference meant that every point in the above resolution was already decided before the conference began. Additionally, Revo is not some counterrevolutionary organization in which communists have to work as a faction – the LFI is preparing its members to fight its own young sympathizers!

For this reason, a “party faction in the youth” (or “entryism in one’s own youth organization”) has been consistently rejected by the communist and Trotskyist movement.

Of course we read: this “will mean League members making a critical and balanced assessment of the work thus far, and discussing freely at the conference how the development of democratic centralism can be effectively concretised”.

“Discussing freely” sounds good! But what does this look like in practice?

We got the generous admission from the LFI faction that “mistakes were made”, which led to the “implementation of democratic centralism”, decided by the LFI for Revo more than a year previous, being a total failure. But we never hear what these mistakes were. The bureaucratic control of Revo by the LFI, as evidenced above, was certainly not a mistake.

Mi., an member of the LFI and REVOLUTION from Australia, was commissioned to write a balance sheet for the conference. But she fulfilled her task, “making a critical and balanced assessment of the work thus far”, a little too well. She dared to say that the “implementation of democratic centralism”, which the LFI leadership ordered at the first international conference of REVOLUTION, had essentially failed. The LFI could not tolerate this kind of criticism, since it would hurt their plan to “strenghten democratic centralism” and subjugate independent activists and groups in Revo. Because Michelle – admirably – refused to put her name on a document she didn’t support, the IS simply prohibited her from circulating her original draft.

Here her statement from within the LFI:

I’m presenting this document, the balance sheet I authored and did agree to have presented to the RIC, as this was a) not the document that ended up being presented to the RIC, and b) this document was discussed in IS 128, but regrettably was not appended to the minutes. I believe that there should be some discussion on the implications of both the procedure used to deal with the balance sheet I was commissioned by the RIC to write, and the tactics of the LFI in 2006 RIC conference documents.

I was originally requested to author a balance sheet in the RIC for the upcoming conference in Prague, and set about performing this task. Surprisingly, before I’d even submitted the draft to L. (which I considered to be common courtesy, rather than a necessary step, since no mention had been made of pre-approval beforehand), I received an email from L., politely questioning my ability to write a balance sheet that is in line with the LFI’s politics, given both my membership of the tendency, and the tendencys tasks document (which he aligned with J.’s hostile position to the League). I responded that I did not see this as a tendency issue, and I would of course, continue to write the document as planned – in line with the LFI’s politics.

The draft document I sent to L. was just that – a document in line with the LFI’s politics, a document that argued for the building of a DC leadership of Revolution. After much back and forth amending over the next several days between L. & I, the document was most definitely improved and mostly agreed upon, but there remained one key area in which we differed – L.’s amendments demanded a DC leadership to be set up immediately, at conference, and my document stated that we had a semi-federalist structure we could fall back on in the short term if we felt we needed to spend time building the material basis for full and effective DC in Revolution. We had reached an impasse, so to speak. I incorrectly thought that at this point, given it was a question of tactics, that my document (amended) could be presented to the RIC, and that L. could introduce his further amendments at conference.

Instead, the document was taken to the IS, amended beyond recognition, with the suggestion that it be submitted with both my & L.s names. The amendments themselves should possibly be questioned, as they go well beyond the original amendments put to me by L. during our email contact, and create an overly aggressive tone in the document – designed to force the hostile German & Czech comrades into a corner, or in fact out of the organisation, rather than my original documents tone which was one of quiet discussion, aimed at producing cooperative discussion with which we could reasonably attempt to win these comrades to our arguments, particularly in relation to DC. I see little point in addressing what is a small difference with these comrades by being organisationally aggressive and simply legislating our politics into place by force of numbers.

These latest amendments came as a surprise to me, to say the least, given L.s original sets of amendments – many of which were incorporated into the document I append, the document I was prepared to have presented to the RIC. They were sensible, remained gentle in approach, and worked with the overall tone & purpose of my original document. Why the sudden change when presented to the IS? And why, has [IS member] R. insinuated that this has become a factional issue, with his comments “No member of the League, whether they belong to either faction or none, is to carry the League’s factional disputes into Revolution.”? To my knowledge, this has not at all been done, and I resent the implication that any disagreement I may have within my work in the LFI can be simply shook off as a ‘factional dispute’. This is simply not the case – this is a question of tactics; a question of how to approach the political differences we face within our ranks in the RIC, and how best to consolidate Revolution into a DC revolutionary youth organisation.


Thus the balance sheet which was passed by the Revo conference was written by the IS – by five older men from London. No other document, not even any changes to this document were possible, since 72% of the delegates were obliged a priori to vote with the IS.

One could claim – as some LFI members have tried – that these were “special circumstances” because of the impending split of the LFI. However, the exact same practice had been used the year before to “suggest” a constitution to the Revo conference.

In summary, we can say that LFI members are free to say whatever they want in REVOLUTION, as long as they want to say what the LFI leadership wants them to say.

The question is what is the point of a conference of REVOLUTION if all decisions are made beforehand by the LFI. We have not yet gotten a credible answer. Some LFI members have espoused the theory that we “share a common democratic centralism with the LFI” – but in reality we are asked to follow their directives (centralism, yes) while we are excluded from their debates (democracy, no).

Given the publication of these documents, the LFI has stopped denying they work as a faction and make decisions for Revo beforehand. Rather, they are trying to avoid discussion about their work: “if Revo grows, the problem will solve itself.” Since they don’t seem to know themselves whether they should work as a faction or not, the next crisis if pre-programmed.

This is only a brief summary based on a few documents we’ve received. More can be obtained by writing the LFI. Surely, they have nothing to hide.

W. from REVO/DE, for iRevo, October 3, 2006

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