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The Exchanges with Revolutionary Regroupment from Dec 2018 to Sep 2020:

Imperialism, National Liberation and Permanent Revolution

Download: Collection of EA to RR.pdf

Bol to RR 4/4 (14 Sep 2020)

1. The repetition of straw man logic / 2. The real slogan of the iSt: (a) Down with Shah! No Support to Mullahs! vs (b) Down with Shah! Down with Mullahs! / 3. On the Brazilian question / 4. “Victory” / 5. The Theory of permanent revolution and stagism

Bol to RR 3/4 (1 Aug 2019)

Issue / The common ground between RR and Bol-EA / What’s different? / The case of Iran / The timeline of Iranian revolution and Workers Vanguard / The meaning of military support / Military support in 1979 Iran / Straw man fallacy / Flaw of Workers Vanguard / The true line of Workers Vanguard / Decision of International Executive Committee, February 10, 1979 / Back to the sectarian slogan / What position should have been raised? / Khomeini, Shah and the US imperialism / Permanent Revolution vs Stageism: 1917 Russia and 1979 Iran

Bol to RR 2/4 (15 Mar 2019)

1. On Libya and Syria / 2. On ‘Victory’ question about February in Russa, and Egypt in 2011 and Iran in 1979 / 3. On Iran from 1979 to 1983

Bol to RR 1/4 (7 Dec 2018)

Dear comrades of the Revolutionary Regroupment / Questions:

Also, for full contents of exchanges including RR’s - Please click here

Bol to RR 4/4 (14 Sep 2020)

Imperialism, National Liberation and Permanent Revolution

and also, a reply to the RR and BL


This article is an answer to RR (9 July 2020, “RR and BL to BEA”). At the same time, for us struggling to establish the international leadership of the working class, the most important condition for overcoming the human crisis, we hope this article will contribute to the establishment of the right revolutionary program.


1. The repetition of straw man logic

Since the beginning of mutual dialogue in 2018, RR has argued that our position in Iran 1979 is to seek and support the rule of Khomeini. It is groundless and stubborn slander.

The position on Iran in 1979 is a very important programmatic point. For that reason, we have made our position clear several times.

The followings are the representative articles.

Summary of Our Thought on “Islam Revolution” in 1979 in Iran

Contributed in 29th May 2018 for the internal debate: Iran, nationalism and imperialism

Defend Iran against imperialist colonial aggression!: Promote the victory of the anti-imperialist liberation struggle to the socialist revolution!

This position is in full accord with Lenin and Trotsky’s position on the struggle for national liberation in colony. We just applied the lesson to the 1979 Iran situation.

In the face of the Iran-U.S. conflict in 2019, RR, BT, IBT, ICL, and IG fought to defend Iran. In other words, it supported the position of military alliance with the current Islamic leadership of Iran in the conflict against U.S. imperialism. We judge that this indirectly sympathizes with the anti-Shah, the stooge of the U.S imperialism, military alliance line in January-February 1979.

In our two replies in March and August 2019, we pointed out the straw man fallacy and asked for its grounds.

This sentence of comrades [“To support the ascent of Khomeini to power would have been a strategical, political form of support which would only sown illusions and false expectations in the results of the Islamists’ rise to power.”(RR to Bol EA)] is the creation of a strawman. We have never insisted on “helping or supporting” Khomeini’s ascension to power. We have consistently been wary of “infusing illusions and false expectations on the Islamists’ rise to power.” Lenin’s April thesis in this regard is a key example of our tactics. I want you to point out which part did we insist on “helping or supporting” Khomeini’s grip on power, or the part that could be interpreted as such. Aug 2019, Bol EA to RR

But now, a year later, as if there was no document from August 2019, RR endlessly distort and slander our argument with the straw man logic without giving any grounds.

In our view, calling Khomeini’s rise to power a “partial victory” (or in your particular wording a “victory for the left-wing guerrillas and the working people”) seems to be implicit of a call to power, albeit critically. 3page, RR’s 9 July 2020

To call such a thing a partial victory amounts to critical support of Khomeini’s ascension to power, which would be by definition “critically” supporting Khomeini’s grip on power (albeit contradictorily for the purpose of positioning his overthrow). 3page

But this position has stagist implications. It certainly sounds like you are calling to side with Khomeini until his ascension to power. 4page, (every emphasis is of Bol EA)

RR only presents their sensory organs as the grounds.


To make an opponent prone to attack, use extreme expressions ridiculously frequently.

You have the claim that imperialist involvement in itself is the defining factor, so that Marxists should always just oppose imperialists on whatever side they choose as a question of just anti-imperialism. We agree taking this factor into consideration is crucial. But with such methodology you limit the issue to just imperialism. This methodology is very mechanical, imperialist presence helps us choose which side, but is not the sole determiner.Even in neo-colonies, this of course helps us build the picture, but cannot be the absolute factor in itself. 1page

This is a dishonest and obstinate attitude. With this dishonest and illogicality, Marxist science cannot be dealt with productively. 

2. The real slogan of the iSt: (a) Down with Shah! No Support to Mullahs! [It is an amendment of "Down with Shah! Break with Mullah!" which was written in our original letter. It was a mistake. Because what we had intended was "No support to Mullahs", which was dealt significantly on "Bol to RR 3/4 (1 August 2019)" and fully addressed as well. - Nov. 12] vs (b) Down with Shah! Down with Mullahs!


This issue was analyzed and explained in detail in the August 2019 reply that ‘(a) is right and (b) is problematic.’


But RR still reiterates the argument that at that time iSt was no problematic and ‘(a)=(b).’, while we are wrong. In other words, future opportunistic interpretations of the iSt families are only a problem, and iSt’s position at that time was ‘(a)=(b).’


We see our analysis in the last letter as correct, but we may be wrong. We do not perfectly understand the internal circumstances and history of iSt at that time.


Let us leave this matter to our readers, including the iSt tradition (ICL, IBT, BT, IG).


They might answer these two questions.


1) what is right?


a: Down with Shah! Down with Mullahs!


b: Down with Shah! No Support to Mullahs!


c: a=b


2) what is/was the real position of the iSt then and now 

Slogans on Iran iSt feb 1979.jpg


3. On the Brazilian question

We, in August 2019, said to confirm each other’s commonality.

“But you comrades have a similar position with us in tactics in Egypt, Turkey, Libya, Brazil and Syria, which have been the big issues between IBT and us.”

Then, RR sent this opinion in July 2020.

“Speaking of Brazil, we know for a fact the PT government was in excellent terms with the imperialist powers during its entire existence. The coup, which never got to a physical confrontation, was much more a result of internal questions than of imperialist meddling/intervention. This is because imperialist interests were never at stake.

RR is speaking of Brazil that “imperialist interests were never at stake [in the 2016 coup]”

* * *

We judge that Brazil is a neo-colony.

In other words, it was capitalized by the initiative of imperialist financial capital. The dominant capital, such as banks and key industries, was built for the super-profit of imperialist financial capital, and is directly and indirectly controlled by it. The national governance system, such as politics and military, was built around the interest of imperialist financial capital.

Exploitation is supported only by violence. Therefore, the army, the intelligence department, the police, etc. have a close relationship with imperialist financial capital. This is why there have been so many coups in the neo-colony, while there few in imperialist countries.

We think Brazil also shares these characteristics and history. And we need synchronic and diachronic studies on Brazilian capitalism.

RR says, “imperialist interests were never at stake. [on 2016 coup]”, but there are quite a few reasons not to say “never.”

“Michel Temer’s ties to the U.S. government, as revealed by WikiLeaks’ Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy, add to the growing body of evidence that the parliamentary impeachment of Brazil’s democratically-elected president, Dilma Rousseff, was supported by allies in Washington.”WikiLeaks: Brazil’s Acting President Michel Temer Is US Diplomatic Informant, May 13th, 2016

“Instead of strengthening regional institutions, Temer’s policy promotes free trade, seeks to privatize state owned companies, and prioritizes economic relations with the United States and European nations.”Council on Hemispheric Affairs, The Temer Administration and the Threat to the Southern Regional Integration Process, July 20, 2016

“We need class actions not vague “movements,” but concrete measures such as real, not symbolic, strikes and plant occupations to sink the budget cuts, the privatizations and the “reforms” ordered by big capital and imperialism, which is applying in Brazil the same program as in Greece.”IG, Brazil: No to Impeachment!, April 2016

“LEAKED CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN Brazilian officials reveal the inner workings of a secretive collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice on a sprawling anti-corruption effort known as Operation Car Wash. The chats, analyzed in partnership with the Brazilian investigative news outlet Agência Pública, show that the Brazilians were extremely accommodating to their U.S. partners, going out of their way to facilitate their involvement in ways that may have violated international legal treaties and Brazilian law.”The Intercept, 12 March 2020, “KEEP IT CONFIDENTIAL” The Secret History of U.S. Involvement in Brazil’s Scandal-Wracked Operation Car Wash

“after NSA documents leaked by Snowden revealed that the US electronic eavesdropping agency had monitored the Brazilian president's phone calls, as well as Brazilian embassies and spied on the state oil corporation, Petrobras.”Guardian, 24 Sep 2013, Brazilian president: US surveillance a 'breach of international law'

We are not fully aware of the specific situation of Brazilian history and social organizations. But at the very least, we know that the words “imperialist interests were never at stake.” is dangerous words that is very likely to be wrong.

Looking at the answers to this question like that, we got a glimpse of how naive and frivolously RR deals with the important question even in Brazil.


4. “Victory”

For RR, the key word in their last reply to us is ‘victory.’ The word ‘victory’ is repeated 37 times from beginning to end in a six-pages long document. And this word is evenly distributed throughout the text (3 times in 1page, 11 in 3page, 14 in 4page, 5 in 5page, 4 in 6page).

For RR, who never wants to lose, this question was perhaps the most embarrassing subject.

This ridiculous argument also began as soon as the conversation began. We explained that the resignation of Egypt’s Mubarak in 2011 and the fall of Iran’s Shah dynasty in 1979 were similar social phenomena to that of Russia’s Tsar in 1917. Then RR said:

“Their coming to power is never described as a “victory” or “partial victory” of any kind by Lenin or Trotsky, but as a maneuver of the bourgeoisie to fool the masses.”

We explained the ‘ambivalence of matters’ in two replies, in 7 Dec 2018 and 15 March 2019. And introduced the February Revolution to the references of Trotsky and Lenin, who call it “victory” and we expected that this ridiculous debate on whether we can call it partial victory or not, would finish.

* * *

However, this time again, RR mentioned only one side of its’ face, repeating, ‘We cannot call them victory.’

The RR presents the fate of the Bolsheviks after the provisional government took power and the Iranian communists after Khomeini, as the basis for the events not to be and should not be called victory.

You say “We do not agree to describe this conflict simply as a bourgeois internal struggle”, but the results of such a victory mass repression against communists, shows that it really was definitely (though not “simply”) a struggle between two factions of the bourgeoisie, with once taking power they can turn their guns against the masses that brought them into power.1page

The expropriation of certain American companies and other issues may have been partial victories, but the process that led them to jail cannot be considered a partial victory, which is why they were soon after reversed and also combined with very reactionary measures. 4page

In July 1917, under Kerensky’s interim government, Bolshevik was outlawed and threatened to death, and the leadership, including Trotsky, was imprisoned. Nevertheless, when Kornilov staged a coup in August, Bolsheviks went on a military alliance with the interim government of Kerensky.

In “On the Sino-Japanese War(1937)”, Trotsky insisted on an united front with the Kuomintang against Japanese imperialism. Chang Kai-shek of the Kuomintang was the one who crushed the Chinese Communist Party and massacred communists in 1927. Trotsky proposed to the Communists to form a military alliance with the Kuomintang of Chang Kai-shek. Perhaps RR never understood the meaning of the tactic if RR had not known that the writer of it was Trotsky.

In “Anti-Imperialist Struggle is Key to Liberation,” 23 September 1938, Trotsky argued that if Britain and Brazil clash militarily, even if the Brazilian regime is semi fascist, it should stand on Brazil’s side against democratic Britain. So, should the Brazilian Communists participating in the military alliance be promised in advance by the Brazilian fascist to guarantee the revolutionary activities of the Communist Party and legalization of the Communist Party?

* * *

The fate of communists, does not depend on the tolerance of the capitalists, domestic or foreign. But it depends on the scientific understanding on the mechanism of class struggle, and relationship of forces, leadership, and success or failure of class struggle.

If one does not understand the dialectical nature of the development of events, such as the two faces of things and the change and development, it is difficult to understand the revolutionary dynamics from February to October in 1917.

Not understanding it means not understanding the revolution. Rather than a revolutionary, then, it would be more of what Trotsky said in “Ultra lefts in General and Incurable Ultralefts in Particular.”

It doesn’t matter whether you call the events “victory” or not. What’s important is that the overthrow of Egypt’s Mubarak in 2011, the overthrow of Iran’s Pahlavi dynasty in 1979 and the collapse of Russia’s Tsar in February 1917 brought considerable results to the working class, while causing fatal losses to the ruling class. And it provided a springboard for the socialist revolution.

The fate of the working class and communists does not depend on the springboard or name of it, but on how to use it. Will it be used as a springboard for the revolution or as a springboard for the gallows?

We call “a large animal with four legs, a mane (= long thick hair on its neck) and a tail. being used for riding on, pulling carriages, etc.” a ‘horse’ in English and ‘cavalo’ in Portuguese. But it doesn’t matter whether you call it ‘horse/cavalo’ or not. Regardless of your naming of it, the horse will be running on the meadow.


5. The Theory of permanent revolution and stagism

RR also charges us as stagists. Of course, the evidence is only in their sensory organs as well.

You say: “From the beginning of the revolution on January 7, 19, until the collapse of the military on February 11, 1979, we struggle with Khomeinites to overthrow the regime. At the same time, we unconditionally protect the political and organizational independence and warn the working class of the reactionary nature of the Khomeinites. After the victory of Anti-Shah struggle, we struggle to build the workers’ power”.

But this position has stagist implications. It certainly sounds like you are calling to side with Khomeini until his ascension to power, and after this stage of overthrow, then we would struggle to build workers power. If that is the case, it contains within it a nucleus of a stagist position.

Our tactics, “sounds like” a stagist theory to you, are the application of Bolshevik’s during the Russian Revolution of April, August and October in 1917 and Trotsky’s teachings to Iran. But RR takes issue with it. It is slandered by saying that it is a stagist theory reminiscent of Menshevik or Stalinism.

We cannot win over the partner who are struggling against their own imagination. And there is no gain to win.

However, the iSt tradition of succumbing to imperialism has rationalized its opportunistic neutral position by using the theory of permanent revolution, and has distorted it in the process. Therefore, an explanation of this question is needed, in order to defend the theory of permanent revolution from opportunism. As such, the letter of August 2019 has already well explained it, but it will be supplemented again.


1) No Stages? Change has stages.

Everything, always, changes/moves. However, it maintains a form of movement such in a certain period of time. This form of movement has a continuity with them of before and after, but at the same time is distinguished. This is a stage.

Stages are observed in both water changes, human growth and social development. In the Russian Revolution, the periods of February, April, July, August and October were distinct from those of the previous ones, respectively. Lenin and Trotsky’s internal struggles were devoted to getting Bolshevik to understand the very difference in timing. Differences in the objective situation, differences in relationship of forces, status of the ruling class, and changes in the conscious and organizational readiness of the working class.


2) The Problem of Menshevism and Stalinism

The problem of Menshevik and Stalinist stagist thinking is not in recognizing the existence of stage. But it is in reducing the stages of historical development of mankind as the stages of a nation. Thus, it is a mechanistic thought that believes that every country must go through all stages of historical development of mankind. In other words, they think that capitalism should first go through in underdeveloped countries including such as Russia, China etc., where capitalism has not developed enough yet. So, they succumb to the capitalist class. Falling into the popular front, class-collaborationism, they are later exposed defenselessly to the counterattacks of the capitalist class (with imperialism).


3) The Value of the theory of Permanent Revolution

The value of theory of permanent revolution lies in looking at the development of a country as a dependent condition of global development. In other words, the theory of permanent revolution identifies the world as an organic system, not a simple collection of each country. In the organic system of the world, the law of uneven and combined development penetrates in each country. Therefore, a country does not necessarily have to take the stage of capitalist development. A country’s deficiency can be overcome through the world revolution.

The working-class revolution overthrowing the imperialist rulers in advanced capitalist countries and the struggle for the national liberation of colonies against imperialism are two forces that promote and complement each other in the course of the transformation of the organism of the world into socialism.

Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky understood this point, and explained it to us on several occasions. Here, we are quoting the representative sentences.

Marx and Engels:

“Now the question is: can the Russian obshchina, though greatly undermined, yet a form of primeval common ownership of land, pass directly to the higher form of Communist common ownership? Or, on the contrary, must it first pass through the same process of dissolution such as constitutes the historical evolution of the West?

The only answer to that possible today is this: If the Russian Revolution becomes the signal for a proletarian revolution in the West, so that both complement each other, the present Russian common ownership of land may serve as the starting point for a communist development.”The 1882 Russian Edition, Communist Manifesto


“Social-Democracymust utilize the struggle of the young colonial bourgeoisie against European imperialism in order to sharpen the revolutionary crisis in Europe.

“The dialectics of history are such that small nations, powerless as an independent factor in the struggle against imperialism, play a part as one of the ferments, one of the bacilli, which help the real anti-imperialist force, the socialist proletariat, to make its appearance on the scene.

“We would be very poor revolutionaries if, in the proletariat’s great war of Liberation for socialism, we did not know how to utilize every popular movement against every single disaster imperialism brings in order to intensify and extend the crisis.”The Discussion On Self-Determination Summed Up, July 1916

“Hence, the socialist revolution will not be solely, or chiefly, a struggle of the revolutionary proletarians in each country against their bourgeoisieno, it will be a struggle of all the imperialist-oppressed colonies and countries, of all dependent countries, against international imperialismWe said that the civil war of the working people against the imperialists and exploiters in all the advanced countries is beginning to be combined with national wars against international imperialism. That is confirmed by the course of the revolution, and will be more and more confirmed as time goes on. It will be the same in the East.

“It is self-evident that final victory can be won only by the proletariat of all the advanced countries of the world,But we see that they will not be victorious without the aid of the working people of all the oppressed colonial nations, first and foremost, of Eastern nations. We must realize that the transition to communism cannot be accomplished by the vanguard alone.”Lenin, Address To The Second All-Russia Congress Of Communist Organisations Of The Peoples Of The East, Nov 22, 1919


9. The conquest of power by the proletariat does not complete the revolution, but only opens it. Socialist construction is conceivable only on the foundation of the class struggle, on a national and international scale. This struggle, under the conditions of an overwhelming predominance of capitalist relationships on the world arena, must inevitably lead to explosions, that is, internally to civil wars and externally to revolutionary wars. Therein lies the permanent character of the socialist revolution as such, regardless of whether it is a backward country that is involved, which only yesterday accomplished its democratic revolution, or an old capitalist country which already has behind it a long epoch of democracy and parliamentarism.

10. The completion of the socialist revolution within national limits is unthinkable. One of the basic reasons for the crisis in bourgeois society is the fact that the productive forces created by it can no longer be reconciled with the framework of the national state. From this follows on the one hand, imperialist wars, on the other, the utopia of a bourgeois United States of Europe. The socialist revolution begins on the national arena, it unfolds on the international arena, and is completed on the world arena. Thus, the socialist revolution becomes a permanent revolution in a newer and broader sense of the word; it attains completion, only in the final victory of the new society on our entire planet.10. What is the Permanent Revolution? Basic Postulates

“In Brazil there now reigns a semi fascist regime that every revolutionary can only view with hatred. Let us assume, however, that on the morrow England enters into a military conflict with Brazil. I ask you on whose side of the conflict will the working class be? I will answer for myself personallyin this case I will be on the side of “fascist” Brazil against “democratic” Great Britain. Why? Because in the conflict between them it will not be a question of democracy or fascism. If England should be victorious, she will put another fascist in Rio de Janeiro and will place double chains on Brazil. If Brazil on the contrary should be victorious, it will give a mighty impulse to national and democratic consciousness of the country and will lead to the overthrow of the Vargas dictatorship. The defeat of England will at the same time deliver a blow to British imperialism and will give an impulse to the revolutionary movement of the British proletariat. Truly, one must have an empty head to reduce world antagonisms and military conflicts to the struggle between fascism and democracy. Under all masks one must know how to distinguish exploiters, slave-owners, and robbers!”Anti-Imperialist Struggle Is Key to Liberation, Sep 1938

As such, the specifically established the theory of permanent revolution through Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky looks at the imperialist world system as a single organism, and deploys a country’s revolution in international relations. On the other hand, the core of Menshevism and Stalinism, which we call stagism, is a one-national view of a country’s class relations by separating them from the world system and looking at them in isolation.

But from a one-national point of view, there is not just Stalinism, “socialism in one country.” The degenerated Trotskyists also shared the one-national point of view (“Capitalism in one country?”). Among the degenerated Trotskyists, there has been a tendency to remove imperialist and international factors from the class conflicts in a country or a region, especially in colony.

After Trotsky’s death, and after World War II, the Fourth International, whose main branches were mainly located in imperialist countries, began to be weighed down by imperialist pressure, and a programmatic degeneration occurred. Revolutionary continuity was inherited to some extent in the question of the degenerated/deformed workers’ states which was a hot point of struggle in Trotsky’s last years. It is undeniably significant contribution to Marxism. However, starting with the Israel-Arab war in 1948, a programmatic degeneration occurred in colonial-imperialist affairs.

The iSt camp was the most radical tendency within the increasingly regressive Fourth International. The iSt maintained a revolutionary line in the question of the degenerated/deformed workers’ states such as the Soviet Union, North Korea, China, Cuba and Vietnam. However, in the issue of imperialist-colonial conflict, the revolutionary attitude was not consistently maintained.

After taking a neutral stance in the Israel-Arab War in 1948, the tradition of looking at class struggles in certain regions or countries from a one-national perspective began without looking it internationally. It eroded a lot the so-called Trotskyist camp, including the iSt. In particular, it has frequently taken an inconsistent attitude toward the issue of imperialism especially in the Middle East. It took a frequent neutral stance, claiming that the struggle within the colonies was just a struggle between two bourgeois or two reactionary forces. Since then, such a neutral attitude has become chronic. Now, it takes a neutral stance on some complicated and difficult issues. Let’s check some remarkable examples. (We have been working on this long-term project.)

ICL: against Yeltsin in Aug 1991 in Russia

IBT: on Moscow coup in Oct 1993 in Russia

ICL, IBT, IG: Libya in Feb 2011, Syria in April 2011

ICL, (IBT), IG: Egypt in 2013

ICL, IBT, IG: Euromaidan in Ukraine in 2016

ICL, (IBT), IG: Turkey in 2016

ICL, (IBT): Brazil in 2016

* * *

Human society, which emerged at the end of the evolutionary process of things, is the highest level of complexity. The revolutionary movement is the act of scientifically understanding the highest level of complex objects and intervening in the process of their transformation. Marxism is the highest level of scientific analysis framework for society and its transformation. And it is possible to maintain Marxism only when you can withstand the pressures of this imperialist society.

However, there are those who want to understand society and revolution as black-and-white logic and the four arithmetical operations. They do not understand the basis of the dialectic of ‘unity and conflict of opposites’, relationship of matters and endless movement of things. To bring down and distort the essence of an object to their own level of understanding. It is also a kind of idealism.

Here’s the conclusion from the last two years of talks with RR. Further dialogue is unproductive, whether it is under pressure or because of a lack of intellectual sincerity to understand Marxism. But through that conversation, we have become more able to understand more specifically about one of the most important issues of this time. Hopefully this can contribute to the construction of an international revolutionary party in the future.


14 SEP 2020

Bolshevik EA

Bol to RR 3/4 (1 Aug 2019)


Today, imperialism, culminating in the U.S., has extremely tensed the globe since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, invading Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Yemen, and provoking Russia, China, North Korea and Iran. Imperialism is mobilizing all its apparatus and propaganda machines to demonize its enemies and praise the war of aggression. Thus, they were able to mislead their own working class and turn the self-proclaimed "Marxist" into their heralds by intimidating them before the pressures of war. In this regard, RR comrades’ position on Libya and Syria, supporting the victory of Libya and Syria, must be an important contribution to the global socialist movement.

As you comrades know, we have separated from the IBT, which used to take a treacherous neutral position on imperialism and colonial affairs. Their theoretical basis derived from the neutral line of the Spartacus League on the 1979 Iran Revolution. We define it as an unscientific line deviated from Leninist tradition. RR comrades, on the other hand, express support for the 1979 SL line on Iran.

The common ground between RR and Bol-EA

But you comrades have a similar position with us in tactics in Egypt, Turkey, Libya, Brazil and Syria, which have been the big issues between IBT and us. And the conclusion reached by comrades through similar examples and quote of Trotsky is very scientific and completely consistent with our position. This is a very important point to let us know that our discussion is hopeful.

“For us, such a cases are analogous to the bloc with Kerensky against Kornilov, siding with China against the Japanese in the 1930s and 1940s, and siding with the Spanish republic against Gen. Franco‘s upheaval. one “classic” case often forgotten is the possibility of siding with German Bonapartist government of Papen/Schleicher against a fascist coup in the 1930s.”RR, 12 June

“For Marxists, “militarily supporting one side against the other” takes the concrete meaning of defending the organization of an independent proletarian action, that is, with its own revolutionary perspective.”Ibid

What’s different?

But comrades are showing flaws in analyzing the nature of the conflict that has taken place in these countries.

“The question at hand is about the correct relation between revolutionary strategy, which is based on Permanent Revolution, and revolutionary tactics, especially when it comes to taking a military side in inter-bourgeois conflicts such as coups d’état, imperialist interventions and civil wars.” Ibid

Who are the subjects of the conflict here? Are they the bourgeois of imperialist motherland and colonies? Or colonial bourgeois sects? Comrades say it is the latter in the next sentence.

“The political events discussed in the case of the coup d’état in Egypt and Turkey, or the civil war and later imperialist invasion in Libya and Syria can all be traced out to the fact that a faction of the bourgeoisie was attempting to remove another from power to better repress and exploit the proletariat or an oppressed nation. In these situations, Marxists have a duty to oppose defeat those attacks because their victory would mean the establishment of harsher conditions for the working class to fight for its revolution.”Ibid

We do not agree to describe this conflict simply as a bourgeois internal struggle. In particular, all four countries are colonies. The political upheaval of these countries can be seen at some point (for example, from Libya until March 2011), on the surface, only through a struggle between the bourgeois sects. But the imperialism behind it is a much more decisive factor. Today, it has been revealed that the wars in Libya and Syria were long-term invasions of imperialism. Also, it is now clear who is responsible for the coup in the two countries, given Egypt, which has become more reactionary in the Arab world as an active tool of U.S. imperialism since the coup, and Turkey, which is in serious conflict with the U.S. after the failure of coup.

In fact, it was Riley's analysis that the events in these countries were bourgeois internal struggle. Riley's "Middle East Chaos" points out that Syrian "civil war" is actually a U.S.-led imperialist invasion, as shown in the table of contents such as "Syrian Jihad: CIA as Quartermaster," "Imperialists Engineer ‘Salafist Principality" and "Imperialists Propose Partitioning Syria."

But at the end, it concludes that the event taking place in Syria is a "civil war," or bourgeois internal struggle, and draws the political conclusion that we take neither side.

“In Syria’s civil war, revolutionaries do not support either the brutal Baathist dictatorship or its reactionary Islamist opponents.” Middle East Chaos

“The international workers’ movement has no interest in the victory of either Syria’s Baathist dictatorship or their reactionary Islamist opponents” Ibid

Riley certainly analyzed the Syrian situation scientifically in this article. However, he betrays the scientific analysis that imperialism is the cause of conflict, and brings to the wrong conclusion that we should be neutral because it is a bourgeois internal struggle.

On the other hand, RR comrades have different attitude. Comrades have come to the political conclusion that if the interests of the working class are at stake, we should not be neutral and fight with a sect of bourgeoisie against the other sect. This is the right conclusion to be faithful to the cause of the working class. But correct political conclusion should be based on scientific cause analysis.

The case of Iran

RR comrades criticize us on the question of revolutionary tactics in 1979 Iran:

“We do not think it was possible to give such movement an abstract “military support” in general or defend their rise to power. Neither do we call the Islamists ascension a partial victory” RR, 12 June

Furthermore, comrades criticize us by quoting Workers Vanguard 223 and 225 published on Jan. 19 and Feb. 16 that military support for Khomeini is to help him rise. And later, citing conflicts between women, ethnic minority groups and Khomeinites which were sharpened after March 1979, comrades say, 'We should not give military support’ to the latter.

On the other hand, however, the comrades also expressed the view that if anti-shah camp, including Khomeinites, engaged with shah and imperialism we would fight on the side of former (Military support).

“For instance, if the Shah tried to “solve” their existence through bloody military repression, we would see it necessary to call for their defense, or if the imperialists had invaded the country to maintain a regime which favored them, we would also defend a practical bloc with the Khomeinites to throw them out.” RR, 12 June

The reason why the positions are so inconsistent is that you have mixed up anti-shah struggle, began in January 1978 and ended in February 1979, with incidents that took place after the struggle. Therefore, we would like to summarize the events in Iran in a brief chronology from January 1978 to March 1979 so that there would be no mutual misunderstanding before refuting the main arguments.

The timeline of Iranian revolution and Workers Vanguard

[We added short explanations of SAVAK and Shapour Bakhtiar. Also, we referred slogans of Workers Vanguard in order to help readers to easily compare incidents of revolution and positions of iSt at a look. - Nov. 12] 


Issues & Slogans of Workers Vanguard


January 7 - Police launch a bloody crackdown on seminary students protesting shah's propaganda slander on Khomeini.

Issue#200 - April 7th 1978

“Down with the Shah! Smash SAVAK!”

“For full trade-union rights! For full legal equality for women!”

“For the right of self-determination for national minorities!”

“For constituent assembly based on universal suffrage!”

“For workers and peasants government!”

late January to early August Protests against regime's violent crackdowns take place over several months and gradually subside.

August 19 A big fire break out at the Rex theater in Abandan, 422 people fell a victim, SAVAK, the secret police agency of shah, is suspected of being behind. Popular animosity towards SAVAK widely spreads.

September 4 Troops fire at sit-ins at Jaleh square in Tehran, killing 64 people. (Black Friday) “Down with the shah” slogan becomes the main demand of struggle

Issue#214 - September 8th

September 9 Teheran oil workers go on strike in protest of the Black Friday incident, A wave of strikes spread to the other sectors

Issue#215 - September 22th

"Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs"

September to December A nationwide general strike and demonstration involving millions of people takes place.


January 4 - Shah appoints Shapour Bakhtiar, one of the opposition leaders, as a prime minister

Issue#223 - January 19th 1979

"Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs"

January 4 to 15 Widespread general strike and protest calling for the overthrow of shah and Bakhtiar takes place.

January 16 - Shah flees the country

January 17 to 31 Continuing mass protest and general strike calling for the overthrow of Bakhtiar. Khomeinites and liberals initiate negotiations, regarding the transition of power, with the military under control of general Robert Huyser

February 1 Return of Khomeini

Issue#224 - February 2nd

"Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs"

February 9 to 10 A revolt supporting struggle breaks out at Tehran's Doshan Tappeh Air Base, left-wing guerrillas join rebels to repel regular forces, rebels capture barracks, police stations, prisons and broadcasting stations.

Issue#225 - February 16th

No Slogans

February 11 Military surrenders, victory of anti-shah struggle

March 18 - Khomeinites assault on a rally advocating the rights of women

Issue#226 - March 2nd

"Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs" was adequate

March 18 to 21 Provisional government and Khomeinites launch military campaign against autonomy seeking Kurds

Issue#229 - April 13th

"Down with the shah Down with the mullahs" was adequate

The meaning of military support

In addition, we will make clear what 'military support' is. That's because comrades describe our military support as something "abstract."

“We do not it was possible to give such movement an abstract “military support” in general or defend their rise to power.”

“But we would not give Khomeini an abstract ‘military support'”

Military support is not "abstract." It is a very "concrete" tactic adopted in "concrete" situations. For example, who will comrades fight against on whose side "temporarily" when Rousseff and the rightists fight? Of course, both sides are enemies of the working class, and it would be perfectly good if we could overthrow both of them at the same time. But what will you do when you can't? Didn't the comrades take the line of striking the rightists and defending Rousseff "temporary"? Trotsky gives an excellent analogy to this problem.

“When one of my enemies sets before me small daily portions of poison and the second, on the other hand, is about to shoot straight at me, then I will first knock the revolver out of the hand of my second enemy, for this gives me an opportunity to get rid of my first enemy.” - For a Workers' United Front Against Fascism, December 1931

Military support in 1979 Iran

Let me now reveal our opinions one by one on the arguments of RR comrades. First of all, comrades criticize us as follows, quoting Workers Vanguard No. 223 (19 January 1997):

“To “militarily” support the Islamists ascension to power (Instead of entering practical blocs with them on specific occasions or contexts) amounts to political support.”

On January 19, 1979, when this article published, there were fierce protests and general strikes in the streets and factories of Iran to overthrow the shah's prime minister Bakhtiar. Three days ago, Shah fled, but the military loyal to him survived under the control of Robert Huyser, who was sent by the US government. Coincidentally, in 1953, Shah fled overseas after the failure of the first coup, but returned immediately thanks to the success of second coup directed by CIA. Although the situation was a bit different in 1979, due to this similarity, No. 223 treated the military coup as a serious threat.

The backbone of the Iranian colonial regime was not shah but the U.S.-led military. So, at the moment when the No. 223 was published, the military had not yet been overthrown. Therefore, the struggle to overthrow the shah regime at this point was not over yet.

Iran's working class played a major role in the struggle through a general strike, but failed to dispel the illusion of Khomeini due to the absence of the revolutionary vanguard party and the line of people’s front raised by self-proclaimed Marxist organizations, Tudeh party and Fedayeen. The working class has yet to be politically and organizationally prepared to wipe out the military and bourgeois opposition represented by Khomeini at the same time. Therefore, we had to fight ‘temporarily’ with the former against the latter in a battle between the opposition, including Khomeinites, liberals and leftist guerrillas, and the military at the time of the No. 223.

Workers’ vanguard 223 went further to warn that Khomeini and the military could establish Islamist military dictatorship like the Zia regime in Pakistan. But the class instinct of the working people in the streets regarded the military as an enemy. Revenge on SAVAK, introduced in No. 223, and widespread support for the military revolt that took place a month later prove this. Thus, negotiations between the Khomeinites and the military did not dismiss the struggle against the military, only giving the revolutionary vanguard a chance to expose their essence in front of the working people.

So, what had to be done to deal with Khomeinites? We would never have been silenced for anti-shah struggle like Tudeh party, Fedayeen and Mujahedeen. Instead, we would have criticized the negotiations with the military and raised "the overthrow of the military and the execution of the firing officers." And we would have helped the working class to defend their political and organizational independence against the Khomeinites trying to stop the general strike for negotiations. Finally, we would have criticized the Khomeinites’ mentions advocating the oppression on women and persecution on heterodox Bahais and warned the working class of their reactionary nature.

Such a policy would have promoted political armament of the working class and the oppressed people who will fight against Khomeinites in near future, while overthrowing the military, the worst enemy of Iranian working class.

Straw man fallacy

Next, comrades argue on the basis of Workers Vanguard 225.

“To support the ascent of Khomeini to power would have been a strategical, political form of support which would only sown illusions and false expectations in the results of the Islamists’ rise to power.”

This sentence of comrades is the creation of a strawman. We have never insisted on "helping or supporting" Khomeini's ascension to power. We have consistently been wary of "infusing illusions and false expectations on the Islamists’ rise to power." Lenin's April thesis in this regard is a key example of our tactics.

I want you to point out which part did we insist on "helping or supporting" Khomeini's grip on power, or the part that could be interpreted as such.

Flaw of Workers Vanguard

The situation analysis of No. 225 has serious flaws. First, the title begins with a huge headline "Mullahs win" at the front, and claims in the section cited by comrades that:

“This is not a victory of working masses. Today, Iran belongs to middle-class Islamic reaction in a bloody alliance with a section of the same officer corps……But his victory, assured by the capitulation of elements of the higher levels of the military.”

Workers Vanguard 225 describes the situation in Iran as if an alliance between Khomeini and the military had been forged, like the Zia regime of Pakistan exemplified in No. 223. But what about reality?

On Feb. 9, seven days before the No. 225 came out, a revolt erupted at an air base in Tehran supporting the struggle. Rebel forces defeated the regular army with military support from leftist guerrillas and enthusiastic support from the citizens of Tehran. The victorious rebels and left-wing guerrillas armed the Teheran people with seized weapons and captured barracks, police stations, prisons and radio stations. The regular army collapsed without a hitch because it had already been weakened by demoralization and agitation of soldiers.

Khomeinites and liberals were forced to stop negotiations with the military and support the revolt because of the unexpected revolutionary awakening of the working people. The embattled military gave up resistance and surrendered on Feb. 11. This ended the anti-shah struggle with the collapse of the colonial feudal dynasty-military dictatorship.

Khomeini established a provisional government under the premiership of liberal Bazargan to prevent the complete collapse of regular forces and state apparatus. But the provisional government was so weak that it had to share its power with local committees (Komitehs) which were guided by various clergymen, workers' strike committees-factory committees (Showra), and autonomous bodies of national minorities. In addition, Komiteh's Revolutionary Guard, Khomeini's militia Hezbollah, leftist guerrillas such as Fedayeen and Mujahedeen, and militias of national minorities all remained armed after the victory.

After the collapse of the shah regime, Iran's state apparatus was in a highly unstable situation, unable to monopolize armed force. In addition, the U.S. imperialism, which had supported Iran's capitalist system by force over the past decades, now lost its influence as Iran's military has been neutralized. Iran's capitalism faced a serious crisis after the anti-shah struggle, considering the point that private property without the protection of state power is meaningless.

The victory of the anti-shah struggle on February 11, 1979 was a victory for the Khomeinites. But at the same time, it was also a victory for the left-wing guerrillas and the working people, who went beyond Khomeini's control and toppled the military directly. As a result, the apparatus has been greatly weakened, creating a dynamic of forces in favor of the working class for some time. But from then until 1983, the left-wing and labor camps failed to defend and expand the achievements of victory. As a result, Khomeini, the savior of Iran's capitalist system, won the final victory.

But because of this the victory of anti-shah struggle should not be equated with the Khomeinite Islamists’ grip of power. Responsibility should be given to those who rejected the socialist revolution after the anti-shah struggle and really helped the Khomeinites’ rise to power.

The true line of Workers Vanguard

Next, comrades say that then-Workers Vanguard’s line was not "Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs" but "Down with the shah, No support to the mullahs" express in No. 225. And the slogan of No. 225 illustrates the line of SL well.

If SL’s line was the latter, it is perfectly in line with our position. But the central position of Worker Vanguard in 1978-79 was "Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs." The reason we criticize Workers Vanguard is that SL has almost consistently raised this slogan to Iran and the world's working class as a guideline for the struggle.

However, SL didn't call for "Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs" from the beginning. The line of SL expressed in the Worker Vanguard 200 on April 7, 1978, in the early days of the anti-shah struggle, were as follows.

“Down with the Shah! Smash SAVAK!”

“For full trade-union rights! For full legal equality for women!”

“For the right of self-determination for national minorities!”

“For constituent assembly based on universal suffrage!”

“For workers and peasants government!”

These demands have combined very well the strategies and tactics to advance into the socialist revolution, responding appropriately to the development of the anti-shah struggle. This line lasted until September 8, Workers Vanguard 214.

However, on September 22, 1978, Worker Vanguard 215 posted a "Down with the shah Down with the mullahs" in a banner headline. From that time on, SL adopted this slogan as a new line and consistently pushed it until No. 224, issued on February 2, 1979.

Decision of International Executive Committee, February 10, 1979

But the slogan was not found in No. 225. Of course, the same slogan could not have been raised because the shah regime was overthrown at this time, but there was no indication of "Down with the mullahs." But the slogan "Down with the mullahs" was raised again in the next issue. Why did this strange thing happen?

On Feb. 10, 1979, SL's German branch adopted "Down with the shah No support to the mullahs" as a revision, criticizing the slogan, "Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs." And it was unanimously approved by the International Executive Committee, which was attended by representatives from French and British branches. Proposals of the amendment explained the reasons why this slogan should be amended:

“There is a weakness to the slogan in that it expresses a historical perspective but lacks a tactical element; also, at the time that the slogan was first promulgated the shah was still in power and the slogan implied an equivalency between the shah and the mullahs. In the hands of revolutionary Marxists the slogan was used to express the correct program; in other hands it could be used to mask a sectarian program.”

And they proposed to adopt the slogan, "Down with the shah, No support to the mullahs!" Perhaps this is why the slogan of "Down with mullahs" has disappeared at the No. 225, published on February 16th. This "Down with the shah Down with the mullahs" was an ‘ultra-leftist’ and “sectarian(Feb. 10, 1979)” slogan which was controversial within SL.

Of course, revolutionary organizations can also make mistakes. The important thing is to correct it as soon as possible.

Back to the sectarian slogan

So, has SL succeeded in correcting its errors? No. In No. 226, published after the correction of No. 225, SL says:

“their position was spelled out in a banner headline in the American SWP’s Militant (23 February): “VICTORY IN IRAN.” A victory for whom? Not for the guerillas, not for the Kurds, not for the oil strikers or the women who will now be pressured or ordered to put back on the chador........... Meanwhile, Khomeini and his mullahs-the real victors-are preparing to strike down the “satanic” left “traitors”!”

If the victory of the Anti-Shah struggle was a victory only for Khomeini and his followers, not for the working class and the oppressed people, why on earth had SL adopted the slogan "Down with the shah, No support to the mullahs"? Eventually, SL returned to "Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs."

Furthermore, "Iran and the Left", printed on Worker Vanguard 229 (April 13, 1997), reaffirmed that the slogan "Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs" was correct.

“Workers Power argues that participation in the Khomeinite demonstrations amounted to “a de facto anti-imperialist military united front” (ibid.). But these demonstrations were not civil war, in which victory for shah’s army would mean obliteration of the popular forces, and thus a policy of revolutionary defensism on the side of the mullah-led forces would necessarily be posed. The demonstrations were essentially a pressure tactic for the Islamization of the existing state apparatus. The Khomeini leadership was clearly looking forward a coup against the shah by a Persian equivalent of Pakistan’s “soldier of Islam” General Zia. The demonstrations for an Islamic Republic were just that.”

In other words, the demonstrations that took place in 1978~79 were not "civil war" but merely "pressure tactics" of Khomeinites, so there was no need to defend them. I wonder if they could say so to the people who were shot to death by troops on the streets of Tehran during 1978~1979.

As such, SL did not correct its line and returned to the "Down with the shah, Down with the mullahs" line with enormous cynicism.

Now, are these inconsistences of SL normal to the comrades' eyes?

What position should have been raised?

Comrades point out the Khomeinites’ suppressions on women and minorities, calling on us to answer the following question.

“From a tactical standpoint, it is necessary to delimitate when and where we could have sided with Khomeini and Islamists.”

It's a very good point. We will therefore clearly state when, where and how we should have sided with Khomeinites: "From the beginning of the revolution on January 7, 1978, until the collapse of the military on February 11, 1979, we struggle with Khomeinites to overthrow the regime. At the same time, we unconditionally protect the political and organizational independence and warn the working class of the reactionary nature of the Khomeinites. After the victory of Anti-Shah struggle, we struggle to build the workers’ power. In this process, we fight uncompromisingly against the Khomeinites’ assaults on working class, women, and ethnic minorities. But when the military stages a coup or imperialist invasion takes place, we fight temporarily with the Khomeinites."

I think this has been enough to answer the question. Furthermore, I think it can be the answer to the question of bourgeois democracy. Because the reason why the Khomeinites were hostile to bourgeois democracy was not just because “The core Islamists were always openly in favor of a theocratic regime(RR).” Aside from their "subjective preference," Khomeinites had to repress democratic rights like fascists because of the "objective conditions", the fact that the Iranian capitalism was in danger after the Anti-Shah struggle. Therefore, we should have fought intransigently to defend the bourgeois democratic rights against the Khomeinites. Only through this path we could have defended the present dynamics of class and proceeded to socialist revolution.

Khomeini, Shah and the US imperialism

Finally, you comrades remind the United States of choosing the former while weighing Shah and Khomeini, and raise two reasons for that.

“(1)they preferred him to Khomeini and (2)they had nothing to lose by doing so”

We agree with RR comrades that Khomeini was never a true "anti-imperialist" champion and was ready to join hands with the United States. And later history proved it. But the reasons suggested by comrades are too simple and inconsistent with facts.

First, why did the US imperialism prefer Shah? In the aspect of class, there was no difference between the two. However, Shah unconditionally served to defend American interests, and Khomeini was based on a popular movement that violates the US interests apart from his subjective intentions. This difference was a serious issue to imperial financial capital. Because in short-term, oil rights, loans, arms contracts and joint ventures were at stake, moreover there was a possibility of national-liberation movements and communist revolutions spreading all across the region like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia etc.

Second, did they really have nothing to lose? By contrast, the US could have lost everything at the time and actually lost a lot. At the time, the Iranian communist revolution was a real threat to US. As a result, as the Islamic republic survived, US had partly lost what they could have lost all due to the communization. But the very fact that they lost something significant is undeniable. For example, they have lost oil rights and are constantly provoking Iran to reclaim them.

The 1979 Anti-Shah struggle, the so-called Iranian revolution, broke down the colonial regime. The people of Iran achieved the fruits of regaining its oil rights, which had been in the hands of Britain and US since 19th century, and driving the US forces out of Iranian territory. But the Iranian working class did not end the Iranian capitalist class, which hated them more than imperialists. As a result, a Turban wearing Bonaparte, called Khomeini, crushed the working class vanguard on the backs of the petty-bourgeoisie and the backward parts of working-class. As a result, the rights of the working class, women, and ethnic minorities have greatly degenerated, and a privileged group with turban appeared. At the same time, some of the excess profits that the imperialists used to pump up from Iranian oil wells were used to raise the average life expectancy and eradicate illiteracy after the revolution. This is why imperialists today abhor the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Permanent Revolution vs Stageism: 1917 Russia and 1979 Iran

Our position on Iran has been fully explained. What remains is whether the February Revolution or the 1979 Revolution can be called a "partial victory."

The revolution clearly goes through a series of stages. These steps conform to the political consciousness, the degree of readiness and class dynamics of the masses, not arbitrary regulations. These steps are by no means just skippable. The masses can only leap to the next stage in a contradiction of each stage in where victory and setback intersect.

The February Revolution was also a stage where victory and frustration were combined. The revolution won the victory of neutralizing the Czar-Bourgeois state and building the Soviet. Thanks to this, workers, farmers and national minorities were free to organize, instigate, arm themselves and occupy land and factories.

At the same time, the February Revolution experienced a setback in which the Compromisers handed power to the bourgeoisie. The settlement of urgent issues such as the eight-hour labor system, land, peace and national self-determination has been postponed indefinitely and royalists, Black-Hundreds and officers have begun to run wild under the condolence of the Compromisers. Thus, the February revolution was both a victory and a setback for the Russian working class. Lenin and Trotsky's Bolshevik Party could see through this contradiction and intervene in time to leap the February revolution into the October revolution.

The same was true of the Iranian revolution. The revolution won the victory of overthrowing the imperialist puppet regime and regaining oil rights. At the same time, the Iranian working class and the oppressed people had the opportunity to organize, instigate and arm themselves freely after 26 years since 1953.

But state power was passed on to Khomeinites and the Liberal Bourgeoisie, and an attack to restore capitalism 'order' began. The refusal of the nationalization of the means of production of the Shah and the large capitalists, the fascist violence of the Khomeini followers, the imposition of feudal lifestyle on women, and the bloodshed suppression of the ethnic minority came immediately after the revolution. This was a frustration of the Iranian revolution. Unfortunately, Iran did not have a Bolshevik party in 1979, so the contradiction of the revolution did not develop into a socialist path and eventually degenerated to the Islamic republic.

Finally, comrades hold the distinction between the February Revolution and the Iranian Revolution on the grounds that Khomeini was much more reactionary than Kerensky. But as we have seen, both Kerensky and Khomeini appeared at similar stages of revolution and mobilized all the reactionary means to stop the socialist revolution. Kerensky, however, had fewer means because of the correct guidance of the Bolshevik party. And decisively Kerensky was unable to show more of his reactionary nature because he was overthrown.

* * *

It is a pleasure for comrades to point out the reactionary nature of the Logan and Riley groups and to pursue a truly scientific path. But at the root of the groups' claims is the line of SL, represented by “Down with the shah Down with the mullahs”, which February 10 1979 International Executive Committee points out to be “Sectarian.” This line was behind the neutral line in various imperialist-colonial conflicts, including Brazil.

We fully endorse the International Executive Committee’s resolution on February 10, 1979. Almost every sentence and logic in the resolution was our argument in the IBT internal debate. If so, then there is no contradiction between us in this matter.

The vanguard of working class should never be inconsistent in the analysis and the line. It is because the destiny of hundreds of millions of working classes is on our way. In 1978-79, SL analyzed the situation in a non-scientific way and stuck to the ultra-left-wing line with internal zigzags. As can be seen in the history of the revolution, this inconsistency grows more and more errors over time.

1 Aug 2019

Bolshevik EA

Bol to RR 2/4 (15 Mar 2019)


Dear RR comrades

We have been happy to find one of the closest tendencies and to engage in political discussion with you.

In this letter we’d like to reply to your 26 Feb email, especially the preferential questions.


1. On Libya and Syria

We agree with your position on Syria.

“We definitely take “the other side of the barricades” when there are imperialist forces involved. Those forces have been active by means of financing, training and giving logistical military support to certain “rebels” fighting in the civil war.”


“What we are complaining about is the fact that the IBT did not seem to recognize this element of the civil war and declares to be “neutral” in conflicts between Assad’s army and rebel armies in general (even if those are financially and materially supported by U.S. imperialism).”

However, it still seems that you have slightly different view on Libya that only after the direct military involvement of imperialism (in March) you could side with the domestic force fighting against the imperialism or there had been no imperialist “financial, material or military support” from imperialism to the “rebel” force before March.

“We think that there was a very short period namely between February and March 2011 -- in which neither of the two contending factions of the bourgeoisie in Libya had yet been financially and militarily maintained or supported by imperialist powers (this would be the part we “agree with the IBT”).……However, it was not until March that major imperialist powers started preparations for an intervention to bring the opposition the opposition to power and that marked a qualitative change. When this happened, it was a duty of all socialists to take a general position of “fight on the other side of the barricades”, even if it was dominated by Pro-Qaddafi forces.”

You said that “between February and March 2011--in which neither of the two contending factions of the bourgeoisie in Libya had yet been financially and militarily maintained or supported by imperialist powers.” And you added that “this would be the part we “agree with the IBT”.” However, the IBT knew that from the beginning it was not a degenerated event, but was ‘imperialist regime change’ using domestic agents which was receiving financial, military and logistic support from imperialism.

“This is a fair summary of events in Libya“massive air power” destroyed the armed bodies loyal to Qaddafi and opened the door for local quislings to scramble to fill the vacuum.

“In both Libya and Afghanistan, the immediate result of “regime change” was the installation of new puppet leaders with strong American connections. Afghan President Hamid Karzaiwho was appointed leader at a conference in Bonn, Germany in December 2001had worked with the CIA as a fundraiser for the anti-Soviet mujahedin 20 years earlier. Libya’s new prime minister, Abdurraheem el-Keib, who holds American citizenship, attended school in the U.S. and taught at the University of Alabama before moving to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to chair the Electrical Engineering Department at the Petroleum Institute, where his research was partially funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

“The attack on Libya, like the earlier interventions in Serbia, Afghanistan and Iraq, was preceded by a barrage of liesin this case focused on claims of a wholesale slaughter of civilians by the Qaddafi regime following the 17 February 2011 “Day of Rage” protest.It is now clear that there was no more “genocide” in Libya than “weapons of mass destruction” in Iraq in 2003.

“After months of bitter conflict, the cumulative effect of the imperialist bombardment (supplemented by opposition militias aided by hundreds of foreign special forces) succeeded in decimating Qaddafi’s military.For the most part, however, the “rebels” were not a major factor, apart from their value in drawing fire from Qaddafi’s forces, who thereby made it easier for NATO airstrikes to target them.

“In fact, it was not “a loose network of young activists” but rather the imperialist-linked National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (NCLOsubsequently subsumed by the TNC) that initiated the 17 February demonstrations, as the SWP subsequently admitted.”Libya & the Left: NATO, Rebels & ‘Revolutionary’ Apologists

But the IBT concluded a hypocritical or at best illogical position.

“When NATO bombing commenced, the question of Libyan sovereignty was indeed clearly posed, and the nature of the conflict changed from being an intra-elite struggle to a fight between a neocolonial regime and a coalition of imperialists and their lackeys. The attitude of Marxists changed accordinglyfrom defeatism on both sides to military support for Qaddafi and his supporters against the imperialists and their TNC auxiliaries.”ibid

Do you agree with this analysis and conclusion of the IBT?


2. On ‘Victory’ question about February in Russa, and Egypt in 2011 and Iran in 1979

In the last December conversation, when we talked the “limited, contradictory and partial” victory and “two faces” of the results of the Egypt, Iran and February revolution, comrade Kaleb commented “Their coming to power is never described as a “victory” or “partial victory” of any kind by Lenin or Trotsky, but as a maneuver of the bourgeoisie to fool the masses.” And we replied to that question in 7 Dec.

It seems that you still have same approach.

“From the point of view of state power, February was no more of a victory than Iran 1979 or Egypt in 2011. From the point of view of self-organization of the working class, February was way superior to Iran or Egypt, since there was no creation of organs of dual power in the latter cases. Any gains achieved in those situations (in terms of democratic rights or opening for revolutionary ideas) should of course be defended.”26 Feb

You are adding “From the point of view of state power” and repeated the words several time. Does it mean the change of the class character of the state? And if there is no change of the class character of the state, it cannot be a victory?

And you talked and repeated that as if we argued that “the ascension of different bourgeois forces to state power (the Islamic fundamentalists in Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) is ‘victory’. No, that was not our argument and not what we call ‘victory’ and defend. We guess that you and we put different meaning in the term ‘victory’ or you make a straw man argument.

“As you know what we call victory is that Czar’s old regime was overthrown, the army changed their loyalty from Czar to Soviet, workers’ and soldier’s Soviet was built and it had real power, so dual power situation was risen, Bolshevik rapidly grown on the legal and mass base, and most of all it gave the subjective and objective situation to overthrow capitalist system as a whole.”Bolshevik EA, 7 Dec

Most of all, the historical events gave the subjective and objective situation to overthrow capitalist system as a whole to the working class. In Russia which had the revolutionary leadership, they achieved the final victory, while Egypt and Iran could not. We believe that they were significant chances for us which never could be dismissed.

Then, can we call ‘victory’ to the events Lenin and Trotsky explained below, if we follow your assumption of ‘victory’? In those event, was “state power” question involved or not?

“Every Socialist would sympathise with the victory of the oppressed, dependent, unequal states against the oppressing, slave owning, predatory ‘great’ powers.” Lenin, Socialism and War

“If Mussolini triumphs, it means the reinforcement of fascism, the strengthening of imperialism, and the discouragement of the colonial peoples in Africa and elsewhere. The victory of the Negus, however, would mean a mighty blow not only at Italian imperialism but at imperialism as a whole, and would lend a powerful impulsion to the rebellious forces of the oppressed peoples. One must really be completely blind not to see this.”Trotsky, On Dictators and the Heights of Oslo


3. On Iran from 1979 to 1983

It seems that you describe the Iranian event in the period too simply, “the ascension of the Mullahs.” Shah was an imperialist stooge regime which had been installed by the imperialist backed coup in 1953. In the anti-Shah protest, there were not only radical Islamists (there were also significant layer of pro-Shah Mullahs too), but also organized working class with other layers of working people. And in the struggle the Iranian working class were rapidly radicalized. Working class built their own alternative organization, ‘Shuras’, like workers’ Soviet in 1905 and 1917, directly controlling the key industries. They did not agree with ‘Islam republic.’ What the Iranian working class lacked at the time was the revolutionary leadership while there were Stalinist or guerrillaist political tendencies, Fedayeen, Mujahedin and Tudeh.

After the abdication of Shah and the collapse of the old regime, in Feb 1979, the state power was not a monopolized one. The collapse of the old regime raised the question: ‘which class rule the state?’ like Russia after Feb in 1917. There was competition for the state power in which Iranian working class engaged through various political organizations. Finally, about 1983, Khomeini, as the bonapartist leader of bourgeois class, won the game and became the final winner after serial crushes of secular left organizations one by one. Fedayeen in 1980, Mujahedin in 1981 and Tudeh in 1983.

* * *

We think that the question ‘who could take power?’ is strongly related with the question ‘which political formation working class support’? We do not think the political tendency which abstain the struggle against Czar, Shah and Mubarak could not get the strong support from working class.

15 Mar 2019

Bolshevik EA


Bol to RR 1/4 (7 Dec 2018)


Dear comrades of the Revolutionary Regroupment

We just started a political discussion with you by the active initiation of comrade Icaro Kaleb. Both organizations have similarity that we respect many parts of the iSt and the IBT’s politics. Therefore, we are seriously engaging in this meeting with you comrades with big hope.

However, both of us have grown in different culture, language and political situations. So those things might be source to obstruct our smooth conversation and to produce unnecessary misunderstandings. I think that we cannot avoid this rather natural process but only can overcome this by patient explanation and conversation.

Last Friday/Saturday I have talked with comrade Icaro about the history of both organizations and political viewpoints especially on Egypt, Turkey, Iran and Russia February revolution. After that, comrade Icaro added some more comments and I heard you comrades all know the conversation.

* * *

I’d like to ask some questions on the comments which are unclear to us and to explain different ideas on how to evaluate the results of Egypt, Iran and February revolution.




“We tended to agree with the IBT at the time as it became a civil war. But in terms of the coup in Benghasi, we did not support it.”

It is about Libya. Do you think when “it became a civil war” the character of the conflict was changed? And in the second sentence, we do not know what “the coup in Benghasi” and “it” in “we did not support it” means.


“In Syria, it is amazing that the IBT was still neutral after so much imperialist intervention.”

What do you mean “imperialist intervention”? Could you give some examples of it?


“Their coming to power is never described as a “victory” or “partial victory” of any kind by Lenin or Trotsky, but as a maneuver of the bourgeoisie to fool the masses.”

I talked “limited, contradictory and partial” victory and “two faces” of the results of the Egypt, Iran and February revolution. Then comrade Icaro commented above. I think it might be ‘all or nothing’ approach.

After the February revolution, Czar’s old regime was overthrown, the army changed their loyalty from Czar to Soviet, workers’ and soldier’s Soviet was built and it had real power, so dual power situation was risen, Bolshevik rapidly grown on the legal and mass base, and most of all it gave the subjective and objective situation to overthrow capitalist system as a whole. In Russia in which there was genuine revolutionary party armed with genuine Marxist program, working class could grip the chance and accomplished the final(?) ‘victory’, differently to other places.

Of course, the result of February revolution did not give us the final goal, socialism, but only the chance to achieve the goal. It was the reflection of the relationship of the forces at the time between the reactionary forces, ‘French and British imperialism, supporters of old regime and capitalism and Compromisers(Menshevik and Social revolutionary)’ and revolutionary forces, ‘working class supported by peasants and Bolshevik.’ That’s why it was limited and partial victory and had two contradict faces. And Trotsky described the February revolution using repeatedly the word “victory.” Everything has two faces. Everything is the unity and conflict of opposites.

I’d like to quote some comments that Trotsky described the February revolution with ‘victory’ from only one chapter “Chapter 9 The Paradox of the February Revolution” in the History of Russian Revolution

“The majority have already vanished. Such was the first reaction of the Duma, dissolved by the czar, to the victory of the insurrection.”

“However, even in those very first days of victory, when the new power of the revolution was forming itself with fabulous speed and inconquerable strength, those socialists who stood at the head of the Soviet were already looking around with alarm to see if they could find a real “boss.””

“But the situation changes the moment the victory is won and its political fortification begins. The elections to the organs and institutions of the victorious revolution attract and challenge infinitely broader masses than those who battled with arms in their hands.”

“This fact determined the political situation after the victory.”

7 Dec 2018

Bolshevik EA


21 Sep 2020

Bolshevik EA


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