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International Socialist Notes

Irish Trotskyists for WP-SWP Unity

(11 February 1946)

From Labor Action, Vol. X No. 6, 11 February 1946, p. 3.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the ETOL.

The Revolutionary Socialist Party, the Irish section of the Fourth International, recently issued a statement advocating the immediate fusion of the Workers Party and the Socialist Workers Party of the United States.

A summary of their statement follows:

Though the WP and the SWP differ in their analysis of Russia, the two parties base themselves on the same programmatic fundamentals. Yet even though the membership of the WP does not believe that Russia is a degenerated workers’ state, they “objectively defend the nationalized property by virtue of the fight they wage for the victory of the international socialist revolution.”

“The re-entry of experienced comrades and the addition of the new cadres recruited by the WP would strengthen the SWP in its fight to halt intervention” by United States imperialism and Stalinist Russia – the two most powerful counter-revolutionary forces in the world today – in the unfolding of the revolutionary situation in Europe.

The support of the concept of fusion is not decisively based upon the recession in importance of the slogan of the defense of Russia and its replacement by the slogan of the defense of the European revolution from imperialism and the Stalinist state. Were this so, a turn in international events which would menace Russia would raise again the question of two separate parties.

Fundamental Agreement

“Irrespective of the military situation of the USSR, the basic revolutionary task of overthrowing imperialism still confronts the workers of the world and it is because there is agreement on this fundamental problem that we regard fusion as imperative.”

Will the danger be created, the statement continues, of internal controversy paralyzing the work of the party? That is possible, but it is part of the necessary overhead of a party based upon democratic centralism.

Would the WP members split the party again? To help guard against this it is proposed that “the WP leaders publicly, before their own supporters, admit their breach of Bolshevik discipline in 1940,” which would in some measure safeguard against this contingency.

“With regard to the dispute over the character of the USSR, we believe an international discussion should be begun on this question, published in the theoretical organs of the various sections. Even though it may be contemplated that no new conclusions of a fundamental character will be reached, it is still none the less necessary to review and evaluate the evolution of the USSR since In Defense of Marxism was written.”

The statement is signed by Robert Armstrong, secretary of the Revolutionary Socialist Party, Irish section of the Fourth international.


The Workers Party can only commend the general point of view of the Irish comrades. It is based upon a genuine concern for the welfare of the revolutionary socialist movement in the United States. As such it stands in healthy contrast to the majority leadership of the SWP, which only toys with the question.

In proposing immediate fusion the Revolutionary Socialist Party confirms what we have contended but what the bureaucratized majority leadership of the SWP finds it hard to swallow, namely, that our political differences are not such as to preclude our membership in the same party.

Guarantee of Unity

The best guarantee for the preservation of a united party, however, we find not in admitting to a non-existent “breach of Bolshevik discipline in 1940,” but in haying the simple right to publish our own internal bulletin within the single party.

On the proposal for a discussion within the International of the Russian question, we are in hearty accord. And not only the Russian question. There is a series of other problems, among them the national question, which are of extreme importance. Events have vindicated the position assumed by the Workers Party on these questions with exemplary completeness. It is time to draw the balance sheet and to begin the necessary theoretical rearming of the International.

The concept of Cannon that we were outside the current of the Fourth International existed only by virtue of bureaucratic fiat in any event. Our revolutionary policies are making their way.

The statement of the Irish comrades is ample proof of that. It is not the only one nor will it be the last one from within the ranks of the Fourth International.

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