You’re right to say [IC25 p. 13] that I couldn’t be expected to know the long history of ‘confrontation’ (?) between you and the SPGB – I wasn’t even born until 1963. But, as an ex-party member, you must once have understood the socialist case. And this only makes your deliberate misunderstanding of it now all the more irritating… Finally, I’m about to shock you (and myself) by saying something positive about IC. As a mathematics graduate, I found Ellis Hillman’s article absolutely fascinating. If we could have a few more articles by him and less of your asinine remarks about the SPGB, IC might even be worth reading one day.
Yours, ‘in loyal opposition,’ Shane Roberts.
(We do not print the rest of Shane Roberts’ letter because for the most part it treads again ground covered in a IC25). If socialist understanding can be lost once acquired (‘you must once have understood… ‘) then the Party cannot count upon retaining even its present tiny membership; they declare themselves to be at war with all other parties, but unlike their predecessors this Six Hundred cannot be relied upon to carry the charge into the mouths of the guns. That remark about ‘deliberate misunderstanding’ we add to the list of unsupported accusations brought against us by Party members. Their persistent failure to recognise the need of giving evidence for what they say makes it difficult to understand how they can continue to describe themselves as ‘scientific’ socialists. On the other hand, it makes it easier to understand how they can continue to promote ‘socialism’ in the absence of any direct, experimental or empirical evidence in its favour.
Ellis Hillman did send in another article, but it contained more and more complex math than the one printed and we had to return it, saying regretfully that it was beyond us and our equipment to reproduce. We have asked if he can get it into camera-ready form and welcome this opportunity of putting pressure on him to do so.
from Ideological Commentary 26, March 1987.