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A DEVESTATING CRITIQUE

  Organization: Workers' International League (WIL). Often referred to by the name of its non-existent "youth organization" - Youth for International Socialism (YFIS).
   
  Created: The Workers International League itself was officially launched in the latter months of 2001 by the "core members" of Youth for International Socialism, which was "founded" a few years earlier.
   
  Members: The WIL has 20-30 members who pay monthly dues ranging anywhere from $5 to $20. As for the numbers of the YFIS, it is difficult to say as it is not a real organization - more of an online recruiting pool for the WIL. Sometimes WIL members may claim that those who join the YFIS online are members and that they have some 200 individuals in their youth league. However, this is not true, as the overwhelming number of people who join online never intend to be active members or pay dues.
   
  International: The Committee for a Marxist International (CMI). Commonly called the Socialist Appeal Tendency.
 
  About the WIL:
  Perhaps we are doing the Workers International League a service by even mentioning them as a real Trotskyite sect. In truth, however, they are no more than a website with little or no activities in the real world besides the occassional discussion circle. They are extremely low in resources, small in numbers, lack a dedicated membership (besides a half dozen hardliners who actually think the WIL has potential), and, perhaps most importantly of all, lack practical experience. The members tend to be relatively young - on average 16-19 years old, and the two eldest members are only around 28 years old. This makes any formal meetings to be extremely difficult when combined with the geographical distance between the cadres. So, most of the interaction between the members is done over the internet in chat rooms or on mailing lists. In fact, practically all new recruits to the WIL are found on the internet by picking out some of the more "promising" posters to the YFIS e-mail list. It is governed by a "National Committee" that is proposed by the previous NC and then elected by the few members who can actually attend the conferences and qualify as delegates. Two of us at the ATO were on the original NC of the WIL, which had 8 members while we were involved, but then and probably today only a few members of the NC actively participated in decision making. Formal rules for making proposals, conducting self-criticism, and debate are entirely lacking, and democratic centralism is thrown around in name but not practiced. Criticism of the official line is met with scolding, apathy, inaction, or ignoring the new proposals altogether - unless they are made by members of the NC - all in the name of "democratic centralism" and their "perspectives."
   
 

The ideology of the WIL is equally pathetic to its tactics and organization. The WIL denounces affirmative action and reparations to blacks just as readily as the Young Republicans - calling such demands "petit-bourgeois" because they cannot "solve the problem." Hypocritically, they have no qualms with making piecemeal economic demands that, likewise, will not ultimately solve the problem of capitalism. In attempting to seem more "working class" (although a WIL member of truly working class background is a rarity) it goes further to alienate itself from activists, black radicals, feminists, and other progressive tendencies by labelling them all "petit-bourgeois" and even "hopeless." Instead of taking the demands of these activists and linking them to the struggle for socialism, the WIL, instead, ignores all demands for justice to anything less than the working class as a whole - even though it is obvious that women, for instance, may not only be exploited as workers, but also as women. Truly, the WIL sees itself as communicating with a working class that no longer exists; thus, they rely heavily on economic slogans that have little appeal to so many workers in the commercial and service sectors. They do not compensate for this with more contemporary political demands, and so the WIL is left with an economistic flavor to it. Following in the footsteps of the Committee for a Marxist International, the WIL opposes Palestinian statehood and believes that true hope for the region lies not within the revolutionary Palestinian masses but with the Israeli working class. In fact, in all issues pertaining to self-determination, the WIL opposes secession by oppressed minorities and say that, if they were given the chance to vote on, say, the formation of an independent Palestine, they would vote against it. Along with these stances, the WIL is your typical Orthodox Trotskyist sect.

   
  Besides social-imperialism, economism, and fighting against affirmative action, the WIL is also guilty of catastrophism. The CMI, before it even was called the CMI, had been annually predicting the impending economic downfall of capitalism. This, they believe, will be the one big blow that will radicalize the working classes of Europe and the United States. They have maintained this for decades. The WIL now espouses the same catastrophism despite numerous analytical errors in the past. Oddly, no one seems to notice.
   
  All in all, the WIL is nothing to be taken seriously. However, it is representative of a growing trend of anything from small political sects to even religious cults being born (and hopefully dying) on the internet. This is their real achilles heal, as not only is it difficult finding people who will dedicate themselves to a website in the first place, there is little face to face interaction between members. Our first-hand experience with the WIL left us quite disillusioned with Trotskyism as a whole - probably for the better.  To be sure, its members are good-natured and relatively intelligent with potential that would be better cultivated elsewhere. Here is our advice to all of you young Trots: stay away from the WIL, it takes away from valuable online time that would be better spent playing a Half-Life multiplayer.