A CONVERSATION WITH FRANK FITZMAURICE
We reproduce excerpts from the first conversation between comrade Humberto Rodrigues (FCT-Brasil) and Frank Fitzmaurice (SF-Great Britain) on 02/09/2017. Frank passed away on April 7, 2020. In the expression above, which headlines this piece, Frank summarizes the turn that affected the International Workers League, an international current of which the PSTU is the Brazilian section. The conversation also addresses the WRP, ISL, Nahuel Moreno, “democratic revolutions” in Libya and Syria, …
This is also published in Portuguese by our Brazilian comrades here
Humberto Rodrigues: Hi Comrade.
Frank Fitzmaurice: Hello Humberto.
Humberto Rodrigues: For a long time, I want to talk to you, we need to strengthen our bonds of friendship. Forgive me for my confused use of the English language.
Frank Fitzmaurice: Your English is fine. How are you? A lot better than my Portuguese, which is non-existent.
Humberto Rodrigues: No problem. What is your political origin?
Frank Fitzmaurice: I was in the WRP with Gerry [Downing, head of Socialist Fight]. After we expelled Healy, our group started talks with the LIT [International Workers League] and joined that organization in 1988 and became the English section, the ISL [International Socialist League, in Portuguese]. [After 2011] Some of us left after disagreements over the policy on Libya.
Humberto Rodrigues: Very progressive the rupture of you. It is truly a dialectical rupture. While the LIT followed a path, you went the opposite way.
Frank Fitzmaurice: It was more the way the debate was handled in our branch. Would have stayed in but could not debate properly
Humberto Rodrigues: Why?
Frank Fitzmaurice: Think the LIT has regressed really badly. Don’t think they got over the death of Moreno
Our branch was suffering because our leader, Bill Hunter was getting very old, in his nineties, and his faculties were declining, so differences came out.
Humberto Rodrigues: Libya, Syria, Ukraine, Brazil, … in all these countries, the LIT supported the policy of imperialism. In all the LIT supported the coup against the bourgeois ruler who was pro-BRICS.
Frank Fitzmaurice: they have fallen off a cliff.
Humberto Rodrigues: In my view, I believe that support for the “democratic counterrevolution” against the “Stalinist dictatorships” in the USSR and Eastern Europe had already pointed out the morenismo in favor of a pro-imperialist policy, but what happened after the crisis of 2008 was amazing. Stalinophobia of the 1980s and 1990s became “dictatorophobia” that followed the democratic public opinion of imperialism.
Frank Fitzmaurice: Yes, Bill [Hunter] wrote some good stuff against this view of “democratic revolutions”. We joined because we thought that their split with Unified Secretariat was based on principles and we liked Moreno’s anti- guerillaist platform. Above all, we agreed that we should join organizations in struggle and not be afraid to be in a minority.
Humberto Rodrigues: Undoubtedly, in the 1980s, Morenism was more progressive than Mandelism (and the USFI’s capitulations to foquismo, social democracy and, finally, Perestroika). But, from 1989 to 1991, Morenism evolved to increasingly pro-imperialist positions. Like supporting UN blue helmets in the Balkans.
Frank Fitzmaurice: Yes “an ultra-left pro-imperialist twist” sums them up. We gradually came to realise that the discussion had become one way. They sent some very good comrades over in the early days.
Humberto Rodrigues: Good. But, in any case, I consider it a non-materialistic stupidity to believe that the blame for any degeneration after Nahuel Moreno is to be attributed to NM and to his legacy. There was, without doubt, a leap in quality in the LIT program, particularly from Libya.
Frank Fitzmaurice: If Moreno had lived things may have turned out differently. We put into practice going into movements and we learned a lot and it certainly developed us.
Humberto Rodrigues: To assert that LIT’s current policy is NM’s fault is a spirited conception, of Allan Kardec and not of Karl Marx.
Frank Fitzmaurice: Yes there was a further degeneration, could not be blamed on Moreno
Will try to send some of Bill Hunters stuff to you, think you will like it.
Humberto Rodrigues: Okay … In Brazil, the PSTU lost more than half of its militants for supporting the coup against the PT.
Frank Fitzmaurice: That is a qualitative degeneration. The developement of the capitalist crisis, especially since the crash of 2008 has thrown all the left into turmoil. The LIT are by no means alone in giving in to the humanitarian interventionalism, in fact the majority have.
Humberto Rodrigues: Yes. I agree.
Frank Fitzmaurice: Off to bed now. Will write something for you tomorrow on that. Goodnight
Humberto Rodrigues: Good night, comrade.