Spart history (was Re: Butler on Spivak (was SZ))

Mr P.A. Van Heusden pvanheus at
Tue Nov 23 05:56:26 PST 1999

On Tue, 23 Nov 1999, Sam Pawlett wrote:

> Doug Henwood wrote:
> >
> >
> But they purged Norden for the sin of "Pabloism of
> > the second mobilization," whatever that is, and now the paper isn't
> > very good.
> Pabloism named after Michel Pablo the leader of the 4th international
> after WWII. He advocated trotskyist cooperation ['fraternal relations'
> in trot lingo] with Euro-communist parties to dethrone social democratic
> parties, causing a split in the 4th int'l. I don't know about 'the
> second mobilization'. I would guess the Sparts consider the 3rd
> international or Comintern the 1st mobilization and the 4th int'l the
> second.

Nope, you've got it wrong (in the details).

The original Pabloism was, as you say, Michel Pablo's gig after the 2nd WW, where he argued that the Trotskyists should work with the CPs, arguing that their entry into the CPs would force the CPs to take up a pro-working class line (there's a lot more to this, but I'll save non-Trot-followers the details).

The 'second mobilisation' that Norden sinned so grieviously about was the set of events around the fall of the Berlin Wall. Apparently Norden and his followers sided with the East German regime, following the argument that the preservation of the East German 'deformed workers state' was better than its destruction and resulting capitalism 'super-exploitation'. This was, according to James Robertson, leader of the Sparts (famous quote: "I should be the ruler of the world!") a re-hash of Pablo's position of the 1940s, and thus, amidst lots of nastiness, Norden was expelled.

When I last met the Sparts, in South Africa, in the middle of a strike, they told me they would not be supporting the strike because the important thing was political demands, not economic demands, or somesuch.

Anyway, if you want to get a flavour for how bizarre the internal life of the Sparts can be, read 'The Road to Jimstown' (, written by the 'External Tendency', a split from the Sparts which went on to form part of the International Bolshevik Tendency (, I think). If you want to dirt on the IBT, read 'Revolution and Truth', which is put out by one of their ex-members, and is on the WWW somewhere.

And if you want a truly wierd take on all of this, look up the Sparts' fellow travellers in the 'Generic Trotskyist League, 40% off'.

Peter -- Peter van Heusden : pvanheus at : PGP key available Criticism has torn up the imaginary flowers from the chain not so that man shall wear the unadorned, bleak chain but so that he will shake off the chain and pluck the living flower. - Karl Marx

NOTE: I do not speak for the HGMP or the MRC.

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