Our criticisms of the WSWS's sectarian politics in the Greek crisis have provoked some negative responses from what one might call the 'internet revolutionaries' whose political existence tends to consist of composing fawning posts on the WSWS comments section.
In some cases, where substantive issues have been raised, we responded in detail. (See my July 13 exchange with a WSWS supporter, Sectarianism and the Greek working class [http://forum.permanent-revolution.org/2015/07/sectarianism-and-greek-working-class.html].) Other letters have been full of empty rhetoric and personal invective, and so it served no purpose to respond. (Some of these firebrands of 'virtual revolution' hide behind an Anonymous label when posting, like other internet trolls.)
One letter we got I do want to say something about, not because of any substance - there isn't much - but rather because of what it reveals about the political mindset of WSWS supporters.
The writer, who this time does come with a name (Adam Cortright), seems upset about our criticism of the cult-like way the SEP operates as a party, specifically its long-established practice of passing EVERY resolution at EVERY party conference UNANIMOUSLY. I made the obvious point in my July 13 post that this kind of blanket unanimity was only possible through the SUPPRESSION OF DISSENT inside the party. Here is Cortright's response:
"In the face of the overwhelming correctness of the WSWS's analysis and political line, the two of you disgruntled former members of the WL try desperately to come up with something--anything--to discredit the only organization that is trying to build a revolutionary working class party composed of the working class itself and based on a revolutionary program consistent with Trotskyist principles. One of the conditions of membership is agreeing with the Statement of Principles and the Party's program. If people are going to go to meetings and advocate tacit support for a petty-bourgeois party like Syriza, as this pathetic blog does, then you deserve to be shouted down. The fate of the working class depends on it."
Most of this is the overheated rhetoric of a true - and uncritical - believer. But it's the last couple of sentences that bear attention. Notice the phrase, "you deserve to be shouted down." This is the mindset of a STALINIST SHOW TRIAL.
"Shouted down" - why? Are we backing capitalism? Engaging in strikebreaking? Collaborating with the CIA? No, our only sin is advocating "tacit support" for Syriza. This is of course Cortright's OPINION of our position. We would have a very different OPINION. In fact we would argue that Cortright's opinion is A TOTAL MISREPRESENTATION OF OUR POSITION. But we would never get a chance to make that argument because in Cortright's kind of a party we would be "shouted down" by true believers like himself.
Let me say this directly: this is an APPALLING TRAVESTY OF TROTSKYISM. And to the WSWS readers who don't like to dwell on negatives like this, you are being willfully blind. Support for an organization that breeds this kind of mindset DOES NOTHING TO ADVANCE THE CAUSE OF SOCIALISM.
I say breeds this kind of mindset because this is not a personality quirk of a particular individual. "Shouting down" dissenters is very much the MO of the internal regime of the SEP. Cortright's fervid avowal that the "fate of the working class" depends on "shouting down" dissent is nothing short of Orwellian.