Song of the Weekly Worker
I'm so small! But I'm poisonous too;
What I say is at best but half-true:
I spread gossip thin,
So they'll think I'm well in;
But I'm useful, torn up in the loo!
The lying cover of the fatuous gossip-sheet Weekly Worker [showing a nuclear-bomb mushroom-cloud, with the headline: "AWL's Sean Matgamna: excusing a nuclear attack on Iran"!] is only the tip of a small iceberg of hysterical lying about Sean Matgamna, a writer for Solidarity, that they have set afloat over the last two weeks.
Craziest is the lie that he "excuses" an Israeli nuclear attack on Iran. Lying about the AWL is a staple activity of the CPGB – but its coverage is now reminiscent of ‘third period’ Stalinism and the Healyite WRP at its lowest, and craziest, point.
An article by Fischer/Turley ends with the ludicrous warning: Sean's position "should – and will, if we have anything to do with it, have political implications for the AWL's position as part of the workers' movement". It is sub-headed: "there should be no place for Sean Matgamna in any principled Marxist organisation".
A young WW parrot writes that "Matgamna's filthy apologia should have no place in the workers' movement".
Sean Matgamna watch out? No, the loony tunes who run Weekly Worker are seriously — indeed, only our eternal devotion to restraint stops us saying paranoiacally — deluded about their own power and influence. (They had twenty people at the opening day of their summer school, which with typical grandiosity, they call "the Communist University"!)
In the real world their threats are ludicrous, but there is no mistaking their wishes, and the deep-rooted Stalinist fantasies that drive them in politics. The old-style Stalinist smear, and fantasies about the bureaucratic power they don't have — that's the Weekly Worker group.
But the deeper explanation for their hysteria is in Fischer/Turley's comment on Matgamna's "bilious Stalinophobia" over Afghanistan. They supported the USSR invasion at the time and the 9-year Russian war of colonial conquest in which, of an estimated 18 million Afghans, six million were driven over the borders as refugees, and at least one and a half million died. They have not reassessed since. They claim to have rejected Stalinism — their behaviour shows they are still Stalinists to the core, albeit fantasy Stalinists..
They are a feeble-witted parody of the third period Stalinists, complete with the same kind of idiot anti-imperialism, the same kind of sectarianism towards the existing labour movement and the same attitude towards the genuine, third camp left.
They utter threats of dire revenge. It is not the first time they have warned Sean Matgamna that he will suffer dire reprisal for his politics. In their undisguisedly Stalinist heyday, under the name of Ian Mahoney in an article in the Leninist, they championed the Afghan Stalinists against their Trotskyist critics.
"So Afghan revolutionaries, according to both the patronising Socialist Worker and Socialist Organiser [forerunner of AWL], should politely refrain from the opportunity to make their revolution..... until the likes of SO or the SWP make the revolution in Britain....
"They would wait forever. ...
"That is why we say that the blood of Afghan's progressives is not only on the hands of the bestial Mujahedin, the imperialists and the traitor Gorbachev… It is on the hands of all those who refused to defend the Afghan Revolution! You are all guilty and we shall make sure that the working class never forgets your crime".
Mahoney had not yet moved away from fantasies of a future British Stalinist revolution that would put people like himself in charge of a British equivalent of the Afghan Stalinist secret police, the Aqsa.
He finishes: "Let us add.... that they never forget, and that they make you pay". That was 19 years ago! (The Leninist, 17 February 1989).
Now the fantasies of one day holding police-state power have gone; the threats are a little less blood-thirsty than when they were unreflecting and unashamed tankie Stalinists.
But now they have no tanks. The body of the Cheshire cat of Stalinism has faded, leaving them with only... not the smile, but the snarl, the shriek, the style of exhortation. Yuck.