An Anonymous Author
The Disunity of Theory and Practice
The Trotskyist Movement in Great Britain Since 1945
This remarkable document was passed on to us by Ken Weller, to whom we convey our thanks. It is an anonymous 83-page quarto typescript written just before the split of the Keep Left Young Socialists from the Labour Party in April 1964 by someone with considerable experience of the Trotskyist movement in Britain. He appears to have been sympathetic both to the International Socialists and to Solidarity, but extensive enquiries have so far failed to identify him. We would welcome any help from our readers to solve this mystery. We have edited the document to the extent of amending obvious errors in quotations, grammar and punctuation, spelling out the initials of people and organisations in full, and adding subheadings and explanatory references, and as many source references as we could find.
We have decided to print it here because its highly critical analysis differs considerably from those already published. The main academic treatments of this period are by Robert J Alexander, ‘British Trotskyism Since World War II: The RCP and the Healyites’, in International Trotskyism 1929-1985: A Documented Analysis of the Movement, Durham and London, 1991, pp465-76, and by John Callaghan, ‘The Ascendancy of Healyite Orthodoxy’, in British Trotskyism: Theory and Practice, Oxford, 1984, pp67-81. Accounts written by supporters of ‘the Club’ and the Socialist Labour League at the time can be found in Peter Fryer, The Battle for Socialism, London, 1959; P Sirockin, The Story of Labour Youth, Keep Left pamphlet, London, 1960; Mickey Shaw, Robert Shaw: Fighter for Trotskyism, London, 1983, pp75-138; Tom Kemp, ‘Healy and the Bevanites’, The News Line, 3 December 1985; David North, Gerry Healy and His Place in the History of the Fourth International, Detroit, 1991, pp17ff; Corinna Lotz and Paul Feldman, Gerry Healy: A Revolutionary Life, London, 1994, pp212-36; William Hunter, They Knew Why They Fought, London, 1994; Harry Ratner, Reluctant Revolutionary: Memoirs of a Trotskyist, 1936-1960, London, 1994, pp117-245, and Ray Athow, ‘Gerry Healy: Fifty Years a Fighter for Trotskyism’, parts 3-5, The News Line, 21-23 August 1986.
The most extensive oppositional accounts of this time are those of Bob Pitt, ‘The Rise and Fall of Gerry Healy’, parts 4-14, Workers News, July 1990-February 1992; Jack Cleary and Neil Cobbett, ‘Labour’s Misspent Youth’, supplement to Workers Action, 28 July 1979; Jack Cleary, ‘Trotskyism and Labour’s Youth’, ‘The Seedbed of Today’s Left’, and ‘“New Leadership” and Irrelevance’, Socialist Organiser, 17 and 24 October and 29 November 1991; Mark Hoskisson and Dave Stocking, ‘The Rise and Fall of the SLL’, Workers Power Theoretical Supplement, February 1986; Keith Hassell and Dave Stocking, ‘The Collapse of British Trotskyism After the War’, and ‘Bevan’s Trotskyist Cheerleaders’ in Crisis in the WRP, Workers Power pamphlet, nd; Tony Whelan, The Credibility Gap: The Politics of the SLL, IMG pamphlet, 1970; Alan Jones, ‘The Rise of Gerry Healy’, Battle of Ideas, no 1, monthly supplement to Red Weekly, October 1976; Julian Atkinson, ‘Labour’s Youth Movements’, International, Volume 7, no 3, May-June 1982, pp30-4; Will Fancy and John Phillips, ‘The Young Socialists’, International Socialism, no 10, Autumn 1962, pp3-14; Duncan Hallas, ‘Building the Leadership’, International Socialism, no 40, October-November 1969, pp25-32; Jim Higgins, ‘Ten Years for the Locust’, International Socialism, Autumn 1963, pp26-31; and Mike Coggins, The Young Socialists, Young Guard pamphlet, 1965.
I: The Theoretical Premise of Trotskyism
IN THE following work I should like to discuss the reasons for the continued existence since 1945 of the Trotskyist movement in Great Britain, and the reasons why it has been unable to hold permanently the gains it has made at various times. In doing so I would like to draw out how the theoretical concepts and organisational methods have separately and in interaction affected the movement’s continued existence, and an attempt will be made to draw some conclusions on the continued viability in present-day society of this theory and organisation.
To ask the question ‘Why has the Trotskyist movement continued to exist in Great Britain?’ does not follow from some vague premise that the 20 year period of full employment and rising living standards has made a Marxist critique of capitalism antiquated and unpopular — such a premise is doubtful in the extreme. Increased affluence in France and Italy may have weakened, but has not destroyed the French and Italian Communist Parties’ mass support. The British Communist Party, apart from 1956, has not suffered a sizeable drop in membership.1 The question is based on the very precise premise that the war period and its immediate aftermath destroyed the whole of the raison d’être of the Fourth International (that is the Trotskyist World Party of Socialist Revolution of which the British movement was in 1945 a section). The international Trotskyist movement before the war (firstly the International Left Opposition, then the International Communist League, and then in 1938 the Fourth International) was not some loose grouping of revolutionary Socialists disillusioned with the Communist Party but still having some faith in Marxism. It was a group which supported Trotsky’s extensive analysis of the Soviet Union, the reasons for its degeneration, and the very precise particular policy flowing from this. This was a group which saw a vital rôle for itself in world history. As Max Shachtman points out in Survey again and again, Trotsky broke with those of his followers who questioned some of his conclusions.2
This world historical analysis can be found in its most concise form in The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International, the programme adopted at the founding conference of the Fourth International in 1938. The whole of Trotsky’s political thinking is based upon his interpretation of Marx’s diagnosis of the contradictions of capitalism. This is a question on which Marxist commentators have been by no means united (to take but one example, Paul Sweezy’s attempts to construct an under-consumption theory out of Marx).3 But Trotsky had no doubts. For him the vital contradiction in capitalism is the inevitable lack of planning springing from the private ownership of property. Trotsky’s economic thought can be summarised in three major contentions. Firstly, capitalism is no longer developing the productive forces; secondly, planning on a national and international level could develop the productive forces, but; thirdly, capitalism is unable to plan. Planning is only possible on the basis of complete nationalisation.
In the 1930s Trotsky held that in spite of temporary upsurges capitalism could not stabilise itself for any length of time. Only a planned nationalised world could lead to rising living standards. Trotsky was contemptuous of capitalist or Social Democratic planning attempts: ‘Left wing bourgeois ideologists dream of a planned capitalist economy, but capitalism has had time to demonstrate, as regards plans, it is capable only of draining the productive forces for the sake of war.’ Social Democratic planning attempts to ‘drain the ocean of anarchy with spoonfuls of bureaucratic planning... In their cowardly experiments in regulation democratic governments run on into the invincible sabotage of big capital’, and so only the overthrow of capitalism and the dictatorship of the proletariat could institute planning.4
From this springs his analysis of the nature of Russia. In 1917 the working class led by the Bolshevik party had overthrown capitalism, but (as Trotsky easily proved by quotation when Stalin disputed the question) the Bolshevik party knew that a Socialist society is dependent upon a sharp increase in the productive forces. This could not take place in a backward society alone, and therefore the seizure of power was justified only because it might be the spark which would lead the proletariat of the advanced capitalist countries to take power, leading to an international Socialist society in which Russia would benefit from the aid of advanced countries. The revolutions, however, did not occur, or they were crushed. Russia was isolated. In such conditions, said Trotsky, it was inevitable that a bureaucracy regulating and taking a privileged position in the process of distribution of scarce goods should arise, and would be able to expropriate the masses politically due to their apathy which sprang from the Civil War and the defeats of the revolution internationally. In spite of this, Russia remained a workers’ state, that is to say, a dictatorship of the proletariat continued to exist.5 Trotsky maintains that although in Russia the working class had lost its political rule, because industry remained nationalised and planning continued, the working class maintained its social rule. Thus Russia was a workers’ state, though bureaucratically degenerated. Russia was more progressive than the West because the re-establishment of capitalism in Russia would lead to a decline in the productive forces. Russia should be defended in war irrespective of the causes. However, there will grow up a divergence of interests between the bureaucracy and the working class. The bureaucracy will wish to safeguard its position and the rights of inheritance of its descendants by restoring private capitalism, while, as the economy develops, ‘the more the economy runs into the problems of quality... under a nationalised economy quality demands a democracy of producers and consumers’.6
Until 1933 Trotsky held that the bureaucracy could be reformed out of existence by working through the Communist Party. After Hitler came to power in 1933 he changed his mind, believing that, as Hitler’s coming to power was a direct result of Stalin’s Social Fascism policy and that this had occasioned no dissension in the CPSU, it showed there was no hope of opposition working through the party, and he decided that a political revolution was necessary. Political revolution he characterised as one like that in France in 1830, where political rule but not social rule is changed. Thus in the West the advance of the productive forces demanded social revolutions, in the East a political revolution.
Who was to carry out these tasks? Trotsky had no time for ideas about revolutions being spontaneous or due to some mystic mass consciousness. His bureaucratic attitude towards Socialism to the exclusion of the human factor was matched by and sprang from his extremely elitist ideas on the relationship between the class, the party and the leadership. Trotsky regarded the political consciousness of the working class as being very low (probably because of the backwardness of the Russian working class). Further, he tended to mix up political consciousness and altruism, arguing correctly that to demand a high standard of altruism led to no revolution in practice, and to the disappearance of much of the theoretical justification for revolution. All that was necessary for the average worker was that he should know ‘from experience that his simplest requirements and natural desires can be satisfied only on the ruins of a capitalist system’. The difficult question of how the working class achieves the necessary consciousness after the revolution to reach a higher stage of Communism is overcome for Trotsky by his old standby, full nationalisation and planning, which creates a material abundance in which situation this consciousness would automatically arise, that is, an abundance of goods leaves nothing to be selfish about. Thus one essential need is that there should be a revolutionary party which realises the vital necessity of taking state power and introducing planning and nationalisation. It is unnecessary that the working class should understand the cause of their discontent or their solution as long as they are prepared to act under the leadership of the revolutionary party.
Does this leadership exist in the capitalist countries? Social Democratic parties by definition cannot fulfil this rôle, for Trotsky accepted Lenin’s analysis that Social Democrats are labour lieutenants of capitalism bought by imperialist superprofits. What of the Communist parties? The Communist parties formed before Russia’s degeneration initially had the potential to carry out the revolution. However, when Stalin became ascendant he imposed upon them bureaucracies similar to that in Russia. The Russian bureaucracy is capable of progressive acts, but the bureaucracies of foreign Communist parties are entirely reactionary. This, says Trotsky, is because the bureaucracy reflects the social relations of production in which it is rooted. All bureaucracies arise to smooth over antagonism between classes. The Russian bureaucracy balances between the world capitalist class and the Russian working class. Actions which weaken Russia endanger their possibility of playing this rôle, and therefore they may play a progressive rôle defending the Russian workers’ state. However, foreign Communist parties are rooted in capitalist soil, and balance between the working class and the capitalists. In the last analysis they will defend the capitalists in any situation which threatens their overthrow, that is to say, they will be social patriotic in wartime. This coincides with the interests of the Russian bureaucracy that the spread of the revolution to the Western countries would provide the objective conditions for their overthrow, making their function as distributors of scarce goods unnecessary, and the subjective conditions, bringing about revolution in the West would rid the Russian working class of their apathy caused by defeats of the revolution, and lead them to overthrow the bureaucracy. This prognosis seemed to be borne out in 1936 in Spain, where the Spanish Communist Party united with bourgeois parties to smash Anarchist attempts to seize the land and run the factories, and take over control of the factories.
It is this objective need for revolution together with Social Democratic and Communist betrayal which provides the raison d’être for the Fourth International. The first sentence of the Transitional Programme declares:
‘The world political situation as a whole is chiefly characterised by an historical crisis of the leadership of the proletariat... The historical crisis of mankind is reduced to the crisis of the revolutionary leadership. ... the chief obstacle in the path of transforming the pre-revolutionary into a revolutionary state [of society] is the opportunist character of proletarian leadership. The crisis of the proletariat having become the crisis of mankind culture can be resolved only by the Fourth International.’7
When the Fourth International was founded in 1938, the Trotskyists admitted that all of the groups represented at the founding congress were small sects, none of which were leading the working class in their own country. But Trotsky believed a new world war was inevitable, and that this would give the Trotskyists the chance they needed. In the capitalist world the Socialist parties and the Communist parties would support the bourgeoisie, and, just as in Germany and in Russia in the First World War, with increasing war weariness the masses would give up their allegiance to their old parties, and support the Trotskyists. As far as Russia was concerned: ‘Whatever the groupings of states may be at the beginning of the war, the imperialists will in the course of the war know how to come to an understanding and to a regrouping amongst themselves always at the expense of the USSR. The USSR would be able to emerge from a war without defeat only under one condition and that is only if it is assisted by a revolution in the west or in the east.’8 Trotsky believed the bureaucracy would be too incompetent to conduct a war and that it would split, one section becoming openly Fascist, the other linking up with the Trotskyists, whose heroic defence of the Soviet Union abroad would have wiped away the lies about them. Trotsky quite precisely staked all on the outcome of the war: ‘It is absolutely self-evident that if the international proletariat as a result of the experience of our entire epoch and the current war proves incapable of becoming masters of society this would signify the foundering of all hopes for a Socialist revolution, for it is impossible to expect any more favourable conditions for it. In any case nobody foresees them now or is able to characterise them.’9 In an address to the New York membership of the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party in 1938, he declared: ‘Permit me to finish with a prediction. During the next 10 years the programme of the Fourth International will become the guide of millions, and these revolutionary millions will know how to storm earth and heaven.’10
During and after the war all these predictions were exploded. The Soviet bureaucracy turned out to have sufficient strength to defend the Soviet Union after all. Thus in a somewhat contradictory fashion the Trotskyists attributed Russia’s early setbacks to the incompetence of the bureaucracy, but Russia’s later victories to nationalised property foundations in spite of the bureaucracy. In 1944 Italian partisan activity seemed to be the beginning of the European revolution, but it was not to be. Capitalism was restored in all Western European countries. Far from gaining mass support during the war, the Trotskyists had been physically wiped out in the occupied countries, and their international apparatus had all but ceased to exist. The USA and Britain had not re-allied with Germany against the Soviet Union. Russia had emerged from the war immensely strengthened by the occupation of Eastern Europe, and, in spite of what Trotsky had said about the Russian bureaucracy being counter-revolutionary abroad, the bourgeoisie was expropriated, and nationalisation and planning instituted. These measures were only supposed to be possible as a result of a proletarian revolution led by a Marxist party, and not as a result of a Bonapartist bureaucracy’s imperial ambitions.
Not only internationally, but in Britain too, the Trotskyists’ perspective was falsified. They envisaged a return to slump conditions immediately following the war (for example, ‘Mass Unemployment Beginning’, headline in Socialist Appeal, November 1944). The Labour Party would come to power, but, as in 1929, would not carry out its pledges: ‘The next step forward is to put the Labour leaders in power and expose them before the masses as the Kerenskyists were exposed by the Bolsheviks.’11 ‘A split in the Labour Party is inevitable. The thoroughly rotten and decayed elements of the extreme right wing will step over into the camp of the ruling class as did McDonald.’ (Preparing for Power,1942)12 None of these predictions came true. The Labour Party did carry out its programme of nationalisation. A slump did not occur, and to the extent that the working class grew disillusioned with the Labour, they turned to the right and not the left.
II: The Course of Trotskyism in Britain
To give an extended narrative account of the Trotskyist movement in Great Britain since 1945 is beyond the scope of 10 000 words. But so that the points I will attempt to demonstrate may be seen in their proper context, I will attempt to give a brief chronological account of the Trotskyist movement since 1945.
During the war the Trotskyists, acting as an open party, despite their small numbers (1939: 110, by 1945: 500 plus) had been able to play a rôle corresponding in some degree to that which Trotsky’s theories mapped out for them. Both the Labour Party and the Communist Party supported the war and opposed strikes. The Trotskyists, although not in any way controlling wartime strikes, were the only ones to defend them in their fortnightly Socialist Appeal (its circulation went up to 20 000). In 1944 four of their leaders were jailed for supporting an apprentices’ strike. It seemed as if at least the ruling class took them seriously as a potential revolutionary leadership. However, after the war the Communist Party again supported strikes,13 and with their bigger apparatus stole the Trotskyists’ thunder.
In 1949 the Revolutionary Communist Party was dissolved, and most of its leadership dropped into inactivity. Its size was probably about 200. Its members were supposed to join Gerry Healy’s group who had entered the Labour Party with about 100 supporters in 1947. Healy came to an agreement with certain left trade union officials and Labour MPs to start a monthly, subsequently a weekly, paper called Socialist Outlook, controlled by a cooperative printing press. They also encouraged a left MP, Ellis Smith, to set up the Socialist Fellowship as a sort of front organisation. However, their support for North Korea in the Korean war led them to lose most of their left Labour support, and the Socialist Fellowship was proscribed in 1951. From this time until 1957 they maintained a spasmodic and uneasy contact with the Bevanites. They claimed some of the credit for getting a Bevanite majority on the constituency section of the National Executive Committee [of the Labour Party — ed] in 1952, claiming 80 delegates (the figure may be exaggerated, but the fact that soon after the conference Gaitskell and others denounced ‘the crypto-Communists’14 demonstrates some basis in fact). The Trotskyists believed they were leading the Bevanites, but the situation was the reverse, and thus Bevan backed out of their campaign for road haulage renationalisation as a result of TGWU pressure.
Meanwhile in 1953 a split occurred in the Fourth International. The 1950 World Congress accepted a perspective which said that a coming world war was inevitable. This would be an international civil war between classes, and would lead to centuries of deformed workers’ states. Tactically it was necessary to enter Communist parties and Social Democratic parties by deep entry, ‘sui generis’, and attempting to build a broad left. The masses, instead of turning to any new organisations, would turn to the left within the existing organisations, which would be led by the Trotskyists. This was at first accepted by the American section, the largest, but an intrigue between the Secretary of the Fourth International, Michel Pablo, and an American faction, the Cochranites,15 led the American section to form an international committee in 1953 to rid the International of Pabloism, which was designated organisationally as bureaucratic clique politics, and politically as an adaptation to Stalinism. After wavering, Healy decided to support the Americans. The second most important man in the group, John Lawrence, editor of Socialist Outlook, supported Pablo, and there then ensued a fight for control of the paper. Lawrence was supported by the left Labourites, but Healy just got a majority at the shareholders’ meeting. Lawrence split from Healy, taking about half of Healy’s supporters, including most of the youth. He was designated the official section by Pablo.
Meanwhile a writ for libel had been brought against Socialist Outlook which Lawrence refused to fight, and the printing press became bankrupt. These activities gave the NEC of the Labour Party the excuse to proscribe Socialist Outlook. The Healy group’s position was grim. However, firstly Lawrence’s supporters in 1954 dissolved their section, and he later entered the Communist Party. Secondly, the Bevanites had erupted again over German rearmament, and the Healy group concentrated on the Bevanites, selling Tribune, and hoping to swing them leftwards. Bevan had started to swing right again by the 1955 election, but nevertheless the Healy group stayed with Tribune until the end of 1956, meanwhile collecting sufficient money for a new printing press. At this period they were also active in the docks when, in 1955, dockers in the northern docks decided to leave the TGWU and join the NASD under the influence of the Trotskyist-dominated Birkenhead Port Workers’ Rank and File Committee. The Trotskyists hoped eventually to get the union affiliated to the Labour Party to strengthen the left wing.
With the Twentieth Congress speech16 and the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, Trotskyist attention switched to the Communist Party, and within a matter of weeks they had gained about 200 new members. With Peter Fryer, once the Daily Worker correspondent in Hungary, they started a weekly journal, the Newsletter, in 1957. This was not openly Trotskyist, but was billed as a platform for all those rethinking. At first it contained mostly news about the Communist Party’s crisis both nationally and internationally, and events in Eastern Europe. With supporters who remained in the Communist Party, they hoped to be able to cause some splits at the Communist Party Congress in 1957. They were not particularly successful. Their major spokesman at the congress was Brian Behan, who, after being expelled, became the group’s industrial organiser. The group won some support among London busmen, dockers and Covent Garden porters and railwaymen at the time of the respective strikes in these industries,17 by putting out Newsletter strike sheets partially written by local strike leaders. Through Brian Behan, who was a building worker, contact was made with a militant shop stewards committee on McAlpine’s Shell Site.18 A strike over trade union rights quickly came under the control and direction of the group. The picket line was mainly manned by group members, and the strike failed. A Newsletter rank and file conference was called in November 1958. Out of the 600 who attended about 200 were genuine rank and file trade unionists. The conference led to a series of scare stories about the group in various newspapers.
As this was election year, the NEC of the Labour Party became embarrassed, and there were various signs, such as the expulsion of some Birmingham Trotskyists, that they were going to take some action. In reply the group formed the Socialist Labour League, a Marxist organisation, and applied for affiliation to the Labour Party on the same basis as the Fabian Society. The NEC replied by proscribing both it and the Newsletter, and expelling known supporters.
There then commenced a series of internal fights within the SLL. Ellis Hillman, a National Committee member, was expelled for opposing the formation of the League, and Tony Young also left on this issue, while Peter Fryer resigned as editor. The Nottingham branch, including the editor of the theoretical organ, John Daniels, were expelled for, among other things, criticising the group’s attitude to Pabloism. Peter Cadogan was expelled after a whole series of criticisms commencing with his rather peculiar foreign policy. A little later in the year Brian Behan announced the formation of a faction to fight for an open party and certain organisational reforms. He and his few supporters, including a leading intellectual, Alasdair McIntyre, were expelled at the Whitsuntide Conference 1960; shortly after two more National Committee members were expelled — Martin Grainger and Bob Pennington.
By late 1959 they had lost nearly all their Communist Party recruits, and turned once again to the Labour Party left, again attempting to get Tribunite left support for a Clause Four Campaign Committee. After the 1960 unilateralist victory, they urged support for the united left campaign spearheaded by Victory For Socialism.19 At the VFS conference in January, Trotskyists were prominent in getting a motion passed. Left Labour MPs began a counter-campaign to weed out the Trotskyists. By March it had become clear that unilateralism was lost, and the SLL did a left turn denouncing the ‘fake left’ round Victory For Socialism and Tribune, and demanding the building up of a Marxist left.
From this moment to the present day their activities have increasingly concentrated on the Young Socialists, which were formed in February 1960. They quickly gained broad support on the basis of their youth paper Keep Left, and the editor of the official Transport House youth paper joined them. At the 1962 Conference a motion was passed deploring the alleged acts of violence by Keep Left supporters, and the NEC proscribed the paper, and expelled two of its supporters on the Young Socialists’ National Committee. In spite of this, at the 1963 Conference Trotskyists won the majority of places on the National Committee, and are currently concentrating on an unemployment demonstration that they have persuaded Transport House to support.
Though youth work and later an analysis of youth unemployment have been their main activity since 1960, there have been other sporadic campaigns — anti-Fascist committees in 1962, a renewed attempt to get Communist Party members at the time of the Twenty-Second Congress,20 and sporadic industrial activity based mainly on the ETU and on miners in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Much of their time has been taken up by a factional fight with the [US] SWP, which has reunited with the Pabloites.
III: Working in the Labour Party
With this chronology in mind it is evident that the most important reason for the Trotskyists’ continued existence is that they have remained within the Labour Party for more than 15 years. (Whether Trotsky would have approved is hard to say, for when certain of his French comrades wished to remain within the French Socialist Party for more than a year he roundly condemned them.)21
Of the several reasons for finding the Labour Party a haven, perhaps the most important is that it is an escape from reality. As an open party of a few hundred members, it is difficult to maintain morale in a period of political apathy when few members are being gained, and probably more lost. It is difficult to believe that one has any chance of becoming an alternative leadership to the Labour Party, or even to the Communist Party. However, if the Labour Party is entered then the main enemy becomes a much more manageable size. It is no longer the ruling class, but simply the Labour Party right wing (based on some theory that the coming class struggles will lead to a split within the Labour Party, the right wing will be defeated, and the Trotskyist left will take over the leadership). Secondly, encouragement can be drawn from partial victories, for, in a period of prosperity, the only victories won against capitalism are industrial ones which the Trotskyists do not lead. The Trotskyists and the left generally never, of course, come anywhere unseating the right wing, but they may get as far in beating the local right wing in getting a left wing motion sent to conference, or a left wing delegate, or they may even get a left wing candidate adopted. While the vast majority of the working class is apathetic, quite fierce battles may rage in the Labour Party in which the Trotskyists can participate, such as over German rearmament. So small and apathetic is the Labour Party in many places that anyone at all active can soon attain a position of power. In industry such a position would take much longer to attain.
British Trotskyists are much better off than their foreign counterparts who attempt to infiltrate Communist parties. The Labour Party tolerates, which the Communist Party would not, the motions of people whom it must know are Trotskyists. This is not because the Labour Party is a great lover of democracy. When the Trotskyists have embarrassed the Labour Party to any degree, as in 1954 and 1959, they have been thrown out, but, apart from this, the leadership presumably assumes it is more trouble than it is worth to expel them. To join the local Labour Party gives a feeling of power. For a Trotskyist branch of four in, say, Liverpool to pass a motion against colonialism seems pretty ludicrous. For the same four people to push this motion through their local Labour Party gives the impression that they are speaking for all Labour Party voters, or at least all Labour Party subscribers.
Another advantage for Trotskyists in being active in the Labour Party left wing is that they have little competition. During some periods the Communist Party has been active in the left of the Labour Party and in the Youth Sections, as, for instance, during the Popular Front period when the Trotskyists were unsuccessful in opposing them. But since 1945 the Communist Party has not been interested in infiltrating the Labour Party left wing, but simply in winning recruits away from it (for example, the Daily Worker conference at the time of the unilateralist dispute).22
The left wing in the Labour Party is often referred to as ‘Tribunite’ or formerly ‘Bevanite’, and it may be thought that the Trotskyists face some competition from this source. In a way this is true. All constituency lefts have heard of Bevan, but few have heard of Gerry Healy. Tribune has a circulation of 15 000 to 20 000. The Newsletter at its height only claimed 7000, and probably only sold half as many. However, at the national level two things may be said. As has been pointed out, the Trotskyists have cooperated with Tribune for long periods. Secondly, Bevanism was very spasmodic, and thus Bevan only assumed leadership of the left in 1951-52 and 1954-55. At other times he has supported the right, and Tribune has glossed over this. The same is occurring today when Tribune can hardly be described as leading any sort of opposition to Wilson. The Tribunites have seldom attempted any sort of organisation at local level. Left MPs have not desired this, possibly believing such an organisation would reduce their room to manoeuvre. Thus in the first Bevanite period ideas were spread by means of brains trusts. In 1958 various left MPs did revive Victory For Socialism, and hoped to establish a branch organisation, but they quickly desisted when warnings came from Transport House. It is important to realise that, especially since the exodus from the party in 1954,23 the story of a Tribunite constituency left is a little mythical (for example, Political Quarterly has pointed out that there was a majority against unilateralism in both 1960 and 1961). Tribune’s circulation manager himself claims that most of his readers do not attend political meetings. Those that do, because they usually regard their differences with the right as simply one of the speed with which Socialism must be introduced, are not sufficiently anti-right wing to wish to join a conspiratorial group (Gaitskell’s attempt to remove Clause Four temporarily broke this myth, but Wilson’s affirmation of Clause Four on his assumption of the leadership has recreated it). Though in a sense this absence or apathy on the part of the Tribunites favours the Trotskyists, it also means they gain few actual recruits from the Labour left. A Labour left would defend Trotskyists against expulsion, but would not consider joining them. Actual recruits to the Trotskyist movement come mainly from Labour Party youth.
Work in the Labour Party youth possesses all the advantages of adult left work in a greater degree plus some others. There is, of course, the fairly obvious reason that youth is usually more prepared to accept an extremist and activist philosophy. As well as this, the Young Socialists provide an enemy to fight who is both more terrible and yet apparently weaker than in the adult party. The adult Labour left on the whole regards the party structure as democratic, and its main job is to persuade more people and get a majority at conference.24 At adult level local party members who wish to be active can find a worthwhile form of activity locally, and they are often either councillors, candidates for that position, or occupy some responsible post in the Labour Party such as Ward Secretary, Treasurer, etc. Further, as McKenzie points out,25 at constituency level most interest is shown in local affairs. Young Socialists do not occupy local positions, on the whole they are not interested in local rates or schools, they have more time for meetings, and thus more naturally find a sphere of activity in a national grouping, particularly the writing, editing and selling of a national paper. In the adult party there is little interest in or attempt at political education. In the Young Socialists with a weekly social meeting, political education plays quite a big part. Trotsky’s ideas can be easily introduced, particularly as there is always a shortage of speakers. Tribune and Labour left MPs show almost no interest in the Young Socialist movement. It is from the Young Socialists that the Trotskyists have recruited most of their members. Thus the reason why they did not collapse with the demise of the RCP is that their entry into the Labour Party coincided with a period of expansion of the Labour League of Youth (whose democratic demands were prominently featured in Socialist Outlook).
Together with the Lawrence-Healy split, a large part of the reason why 1954-56 were perhaps the worst years for the Trotskyists since the war (to quote a supporter in an internal bulletin, ‘The movement went right down to a handful of people scrabbling about in the Labour Party selling Tribune’,26 and Healy himself referred to a situation when there were 22 people in London), is that this was a period of decline for the youth movement; the Labour League of Youth was disbanded in 1955, and no organisation above constituency level was allowed. One of the main reasons why the group recovered so well from the 1959-60 series of expulsions and proscriptions is that the period is associated with the rapid growth of the Young Socialists.
As will also be clear from the above, the second source that has sustained the Trotskyists is the recruitment in certain industries, although this has been much less fruitful. A thread can be seen running through all the Trotskyists’ industrial activities. For one reason or another, the workers or a section of them are lacking an organisation, either against the boss, the union or right wing officials. Take the case of the docks (cf ‘The Docks’, International Socialism, no 2, by Bob Pennington, an ex-Trotskyist organiser on the docks, and for the Trotskyist point of view, Bill Hunter, ‘Democracy is in the Docks’, Labour Review, Volume 3, no 1).27 There, the trade union officials are particularly divorced from their members for several reasons. They sit on the Dock Board which disciplines men, and they therefore refuse to contest its decisions, strikes interrupt their friendly relations with employers’ representatives on the board, places for ‘suitable men’ are often available as welfare officers, etc. TGWU officials are not elected but appointed, and therefore depend on the union hierarchy and not the union members. Thus the strikes are usually unofficial, and therefore the dockers particularly welcome all outside support. However, the Communist Party does not support these strikes, as it hopes by its ‘responsible’ attitude to get the ‘black circular’ forbidding Communists to hold positions in the TGWU lifted.28 This opens the way for the Trotskyists, who publish the dockers’ grievances in their press. In fact many of the Trotskyists’ industrial activities are in sections where the Communist Party has proved unable or unwilling to support unofficial activity. Thus they have a small faction in the ETU which has been gained largely from the Communist Party members disillusioned at the Communist Party’s inability to maintain control of the union. Similarly, their miners’ paper attacks the Communists in the NUM for alleged unofficial deals with the right wing, or the inability of Communist Party-controlled sections to fight pit closures properly, for example, in Scotland.29
The other field where the Trotskyists like to intervene is in disputes for trade union rights in unorganised factories. Being unused to industrial disputes, the workers are particularly grateful for any support, and are particularly susceptible to arguments that trade union officials are selling them out. Strikes such as this that they have particularly supported are of clothing workers in Liverpool and Leeds, and West Indian workers in London.
Obviously, the third source of recruitment has been the Communist Party, but, apart from the period after 1956, which will be reviewed later, this cannot be considered a steady and significant field of recruitment, but ones and twos are picked up, especially after what appears to have been a Communist Party industrial defeat, for example, the 1963 Ford’s shop stewards dispute,30 or alternatively from Communist Youth and Students. Although the advent of Communist Party members after 1956 certainly came at an opportune time for the Trotskyists, it was probably not a matter of life or death for them. Sufficient would have remained to recommence recruitment with the advent of the Young Socialists in 1960.
IV: Limits to Trotskyist Growth
Having to some degree answered the question why the Trotskyist movement has continued to exist, I should like to attempt to answer the opposite question — why is it not bigger than it is? In a period of increasing affluence it would indeed be strange if the membership grew by hundreds of thousands, but if it had merely kept all those members it had gained in one way or another over the last 15 years there would have been 2000 or 3000 members, not 500. There seems no iron law of economics or sociology that would have prevented the Trotskyists being 3000 or 4000 strong. In answering this question I would like to argue that in a very real way Trotsky’s theory has prevented the growth of the group, and this in three main ways. Firstly, that since Trotsky’s theory so blatantly and consistently does not fit political reality, it leads to constant disillusionment. Secondly, that Trotsky’s theory has contributed to a growth-preventing organisation of the group. Thirdly, that the theory contributed to a psychological state of heresy-hunting and antagonism to other left groups.
In order to demonstrate these propositions, I wish to discuss in some detail the Communist Party period of 1956-60, and the turn to youth since 1960. In attempting to get recruits in 1956, the Healy group had two main factors in their favour. Organisationally they were the only small Marxist group with a printing press, which quickly printed several topical pamphlets and several of Trotsky’s works. No other group could offer Peter Fryer facilities to publish a weekly paper, plus a bi-monthly theoretical journal. Secondly, its political theory seemed to fit the facts. It was not too anti-Russian for recent Communist Party members to follow, and the Hungarian Revolution seemed the first of the political revolutions that Trotsky had forecast. Nonetheless, it must be admitted that at least initially the group used its natural advantages skilfully. There was a movement amongst the ex-Communist Party members to form discussion circles and conferences to decide where to go from there. This was called the Forum Movement.31 The Healy group participated in these conferences, and took a very soft line for, instead of demanding instant adherence to Trotskyism, they simply suggested re-reading the books, some of which they happened to have on hand. Other left groups fishing for members either put their points too crudely, or, assuming that the Forum Movement was permanent, attempted to get positions in it. Healy, realising that discussion could not continue for ever, simply tried to win individuals from it, and, in fact, by a skilful series of amendments, ensured that the movement remained loose enough to collapse quickly, as it did. Secondly, they conscientiously visited every CPer writing critical remarks in Communist publications, thus gaining half a dozen Communist Party intellectuals. Having gained this support, several events in the next two years should have provided a firm basis for the group to grow. Thus from 1956, due to the post-Suez financial crisis, and commencing with the Norton strike, industrial disputes seemed to be becoming sharper and wage increases more difficult to win. So in 1958 there were several large disputes, including the buses, docks and Covent Garden porters, while large disputes threatened in the railways and mines. It looked as if the small number of industrial workers gained from the Communist Party might grow.
A large proportion of the Communists who left in 1956 were middle class intelligentsia. The growth of the peace movement provided an outlet for their energies. This was a period of growing disquiet at the rise in the level of Strontium 90. The way the H-bomb question occurred at this time was particularly favourable to the Trotskyists. It arose directly as a political question, that is, that the British should follow the Russian lead, suspend tests and unilaterally renounce the British H-bomb. It was not, as later, mixed up with the anti-political, anti-Labour Party anarchistic attitude of non-violent direct action. It was not too anti-Russian for ex-CPers to stomach (for example, there was as yet no need to protest against Russian tests). Thirdly, the movement at the time was so small that the Trotskyists could play a prominent rôle in it. Thus on day one of the first Aldermaston March, the march was so small the Trotskyists were in the majority. This was helped by the fact that the Communist Party did not support CND until May 1960. Fourthly, the slogan that the Newsletter was putting forward of ‘Black the Bases’ appeared to have a fair degree of relevance in the light of blacking of work by Scottish plumbers, an anti-H-bomb strike by Tokyo dockers, and a one hour’s strike in Stevenage, plus increasing support for unilateralism at union conferences. Moreover, it appeared that the battle could be won within the Labour Party. Great emphasis was laid on the fact that the first unilateralist motion at a Labour Party Conference (in 1957) was moved by the Trotskyist-influenced Lambeth and Norwood parties. Moreover, peace activity provided a sphere of activity for those CPers still unwilling to join the Labour Party.
Why then, with all these factors in their favour, had the group lost all but a few dozen of its Communist Party recruits by 1960? Although the series of expulsions certainly disillusioned some, this is not the main reason, for many of those expelled (especially Grainger and Pennington) were prompted to raise fundamental questions by the previous drifting away of the membership.
The answer, firstly, is, as has been mentioned in the introduction, an integral part of Trotsky’s analysis in the fact that a period of capitalist expansion is impossible. So on the first page of The Death Agony of Capitalism we read:
‘The economic prerequisites for the proletarian revolution have already in general achieved the highest point of fruition which can be reached under capitalism, mankind’s productive forces stagnate. Already new inventions and improvements fail to raise the level of material wealth. Conjunctural crises under the conditions of the social crisis of the whole capitalist system inflict ever heavier deprivations upon the masses.’
And that consequently:
‘In general there can be no discussion of systematic social reforms and the raising of the masses’ living standards; when every serious demand of the proletariat and even every serious demand of the petit-bourgeoisie inevitably reaches beyond the limits of capitalist property relations and of the bourgeois state.’32
Thus every year with monotonous regularity the Healy group at their conference adopt an economic perspectives document which declares that there is a temporary stabilisation of capitalism, but that class struggles greater than those of 1926 will take place in the year ahead. Thus the draft resolution of the 1957 conference of the group declared:
‘The present political and industrial situation in Britain is characterised by the preparations of the ruling class for an all-out offensive on working class living standards and organisation... its desperate position in this struggle [for markets]... drives British capitalism with increasing compulsion towards a showdown with the working class... clearly today the employers are continuing a systematic combing out of weaknesses in the class front as a preparation for a full-scale offensive.’
Just under a year later, the Labour Review of January-February 1958 in its editorial declared: ‘The basic incontrovertible fact from which our analysis must flow is that the employers have made a decision to fight Labour... even the most dim-witted Tory MPs... must realise that the stage is now set for a full-scale conflict with the working class.’ Wage increases are ‘out of the question in 1958’, and in the same issue Joseph Redman (Brian Pearce), welcoming a book on the General Strike, defines this as a period when ‘great clashes between capital and Labour are in prospect’. The analysis is again repeated in The Battle for Socialism, July 1959, by Peter Fryer: ‘So the capitalist class is thrown back on the ultimate remedy: to reduce the wages of the British workers... What must be burned into the consciousness of every active worker is that the battles we have experienced in the last two years are only a prelude to struggles on a scale quite unprecedented in Britain, which will transform the whole political and industrial scene. Capitalism faces desperate problems and is willing to try desperate remedies... And again the workers will have to fight, as they did in the General Strike and the hunger marches...’33
This perspective has remained impervious to reality. Thus Keep Left (February 1962) expected ‘the greatest wave of strike action since the 1926 General Strike’. In a political letter to the membership in late autumn 1963, Healy writes: ‘We must base ourselves on the perspective that no matter which party wins the election British monopoly capital is being forced into a conflict with the working class which cannot be avoided...’ This analysis was beginning to look a little weak even at the end of 1958, when, instead of a capitalist offensive, all the major wage claims were settled without a strike, apart from the busmen. By the time the Conservative government had won a general election in 1959 on the slogan of ‘You’ve Never Had It So Good’, beating a Labour Party which was more concerned with higher pensions than ‘the employers’ offensive’, it looked positively ludicrous.
Not that this prevented an internal bulletin of 1960 declaring that the prospect was that ‘the working class are about to engage in great struggles’. Tony Young, writing in April 1959 of his opposition to the SLL turn, says ‘the perspective of economic developments on which the turn is based I believe to be misjudged and the result of a desire to believe that the revolution is round the corner. It is one thing to say that unemployment will not return to 1945-50 levels — another to say that strikes have generated a marked politicisation of the working class.’ He ridicules the idea that a series of strikes that have lasted over five years can be called an employers’ offensive. In rebutting the idea of growing working class militancy, he points to the fact that at the South Bank dispute 1200 crossed the picket line, and at the British Motor Corporation only 40 workers struck in sympathy with the electricians.
The disaffiliated Notts branch stated:
‘JD [John Daniels] also remarked that the recent struggles of the workers, especially that of the printers, far from being a battle against an employers’ offensive, seemed to be classic examples of workers’ offensives during boom conditions. He drew few political conclusions from these remarks, since he was concerned with trying simply to establish a true picture of things as they were. But his remarks were evidently passed on to various quarters, for he subsequently received letters from different parts of the country expressing alarm at the fact that he had developed “grave difference with the League on the question of economic prospects”.’34
Peter Fryer in his statement says: ‘The slump has not developed in the way we expected. Ought we not therefore to bring our analysis up to date? The open organisation was predicated on the continuing growth of unemployment. To this I would add that failure to make a frank assessment of our earlier forecasts is all of a piece with the General Secretary’s braggadocio.’35 The crazy perspective had an even more disastrous effect on worker members. A false confidence was built up as to the number of workers that could be won. Thus Jim Higgins, an expelled member, writes of the South Bank strike:
‘During the strike many of the stewards were won, to be made much of by the largely non-proletariat membership. These, however, were not to stay long. The frenzied over-confidence of the leadership built false hopes that could never be realised. In one of his oratorical flourishes at the time Healy spoke of bringing McAlpine to his knees. At the strike’s end the only people on their knees were the weary group members on the picket line.’36
Tony Young protested against an overstatement of the ‘group’s influence in the movement’: ‘We know that of all the major strikes of the last 12 months only in one, South Bank, were our comrades in leadership... We cannot deceive workers as to our strength... yet there is a danger of deceiving ourselves and even developing megalomania about our position. In vital industries covered by the AEU, ETU, NUM, we have virtually nobody.’ Peter Cadogan, still believing that ‘militant rank and file activity will bring forward hundreds and eventually thousands of new leaders whose relations with their members are sealed in struggle’, expressed concern that ‘we are not building anything like fast enough and our line is not always clear’.37
The high spot of the group’s industrial activity was the rank and file conference, but increasing disillusionment was shown with the inability to build from there; a year later a National Assembly of Labour was called which had a much smaller rank and file content, and was taken up to some extent with factional quarrels between Cadogan and the platform.
It was to a large extent this false economic perspective which led to the launching of the SLL. It was a step that the leadership had been hinting at since early 1958. Thus Labour Review of January-February 1958 said:
‘Since the day to day experiences of the working class are continually vindicating Marxism, enough Marxists active inside the Labour Party and the unions would be able to gain powerful support from the rank and file of the party, this in turn would make it extremely difficult for the right wing to expel people. There is no reason why in the course of the struggle with the right wing a new Marxist society could not be legalised within the Labour Party in just the same way as the Fabian Society.’
They seized upon the increase in unemployment figures as justification for launching the League, and as Tony Young points out, ‘the witch-hunting press campaign seems to have gone to the comrades’ heads’, and they began to get the idea that capital really was worried about their potential influence.
Linked to this is the other reason for the formation of the SLL — Brian Behan’s pressure for more open work, which in turn was due to his disillusion with the lack of industrial workers gained, as Ellis Hillman points out:
‘It is an attempt to solve some of the problems arising from the group’s expansion (for example, the non-functioning of key trade union factions, the poor Labour Party work, the failure to recruit industrial workers on a permanent basis, the lack of proletarian composition of the London leadership, the theoretical primitivism and cliché mongering that is coming a substitute for serious Marxist analysis) by the “short cut” to the powerful mass party that is our common objective... It is not inaccurate, however, to say that what is pulling them [open work supporters] is the proletarian base of the Communist Party. Many critical Communist Party industrial workers will work together with us but will not accept our Labour Party orientation as an alternative to the Communist Party, in fact it can be said that the majority of the best militants still remain attached to the Communist Party industrial machine.’38
The extent to which a new membership pushed the old leadership into an increasingly untenable position because of their general acceptance of the Trotskyists’ perspective can be seen by comparing the group’s 1957 acceptance of Bevanism: ‘However, the Bevanites and Tribune as a tendency have not reached the limits of their movement to the left’, and justified their integration in the Bevanite movement: ‘Let us repeat the old phrase [that] integration in a centrist movement does not mean looking like centrists.’ Two years later in 1959 Brian Behan could be quoted as saying: ‘Although we are not yet in a position to contest elections under our own banner we will support anti-Labour Party candidates in selected constituencies, for example, Lawrence Daly.’ Jim Higgins, commenting on this period, says: ‘A prime example of left wing infantilism infected the newly-formed League.’39 Editorials appeared in the Newsletter which spoke of lighting a bonfire under Morgan Phillips’ backside.40 London County Council councillors in the group were instructed to declare publicly their adherence to the group. Norwood and Streatham CLPs were deregistered in ‘trying to defend the indefensible’. The group lost one of its most important industrial militants by ordering him to get himself expelled from his local Labour Party.41
V: Trotskyism and Bureaucracy
The third reason for disillusionment is the bureaucratic nature of the SLL. Before trying to give an explanation for this and the link that it has with Trotsky’s theory, an extended quotation from Peter Fryer’s document will give some idea of the regime we are attempting to analyse:
‘The outstanding feature of the present regime in the SLL is that it is the rule of a clique, the General Secretary’s personal clique, which will not allow the members to practice the democratic rights accorded to them on paper, and which persuades sectarian claims with scant regard to the real possibilities of a real world. The ordinary members of the SLL should know how this clique operates and how the General Secretary maintains his control of it. His domination is secured by a series of unprincipled blocs with various leading members against various other leading members who happen to disagree with him on any given point at any given time. There is scarcely a single leading member of the League whom the General Secretary has not attacked in private conversation with me at some time or other in terms such as these: “I have enough on Pennington to get him sent down for seven years.”, “I don’t know what game Pennington is playing. Pennington could be a police agent.”, “There will have to be a showdown with Behan, he is trying to take over. I come back to find he is appointing his own full-timers.”, “Behan is a primitive Irish peasant.”, “‘A’ is quite mad — he beats his wife.”
‘There is no principle whatever in the General Secretary’s attitude to his comrades. That the ruling clique is an instrument of the General Secretary is shown by the way it is elected. How many comrades know that the panel presented by the Panel Commission at the inaugural conference was first presented in toto by the General Secretary to a meeting of the Executive Committee as if that was the most natural thing, and then presented by the EC to the outgoing NC and then presented by the NC to the Panel Commission? Mike Banda’s job on the Panel Commission and at the conference was to make sure that the General Secretary’s list was accepted. This accounts for the General Secretary’s anger when Banda muffed the job and when it was suggested that to comply with the constitution that the conference had only just passed, a ballot vote should be taken... All the fine talk we heard for two and a half years about the rights of minorities turns out to be so much eyewash when anyone who ventures to open his mouth is told he is bowing to class pressures; what a travesty of Marxism... lack of democracy in the organisation provides the soil in which panic methods of political leadership can take root and flourish. The members are educated, not through the clash of ideas, but through alarms, emergencies and crises... We have been operating without continuity, without proper planning, without thought, without Marxist analysis of the actual state of affairs, and without honest examination of how far predictions and perspective have in fact been borne out by events.’42
The necessary preparation for a characterisation of the SLL’s regime is a consideration of the reasons why the situation does not arise in other political organisations. This is not due to the existence of pure democracy in other organisations. In all organisations there is a tendency for the leadership to be able to act contrary to the rank and file’s will, or in their ignorance. This tendency is checked by two main factors. Firstly, the main objective of the leadership and the rank and file is the same, though they may differ in detail and strategy (thus, for all the difference between left and right in the Labour Party, all but a Marxist minority believe the main objective of the Labour Party is to win parliamentary elections). Thus in the case of a disagreement within the leadership, they are prepared to countenance an appeal to the rank and file, because, having the same object in view, the rank and file will not reject the leadership as such, but accept the view of one side or the other. Secondly, the leadership must be frightened to some degree that if it persistently goes against rank and file opinion on important questions it will endanger its position.
Neither of the above two conditions exist in the SLL. Firstly, on the question of object. That which would unite the rank and file and the leadership is the common Trotskyist assumption that capitalism is in its death agony, a slump is round the corner, and the main necessity for revolution is the construction of a new leadership. This is what the rank and file believes, however imperfectly. The leadership dare not act on this assumption because the action appropriate to such a belief endangers the continued viability of the group. This is particularly evident in the relation of the group’s attitude to the Labour Party. For instance, there was a lot of logic behind Behan’s demand for an open party from Trotsky’s point of view. If a slump is just round the corner and thousands of workers will become interested in politics, and if the revolution depends on the masses following the right leadership, then there is a lot to be said for ensuring that the masses are able to see this new leadership, and that it shouldn’t be hidden away inside the Labour Party. What does it matter if all Trotskyists are thrown out of the Labour Party? For the onset of this crisis will soon discredit the Labour Party. The venom with which Healy fought this idea is not related to its deviation from Trotskyism, but because it threatened to end the flow of recruits for the group from the Labour left. The differing degree of openness with which they have spread Trotskyist ideas in the Labour Party has not been related to changes in their economic perspective or to some Trotskyist principle, but to the need to avoid expulsion. Thus in 1955, after having Socialist Outlook proscribed, they argued it was too dangerous even to produce a theoretical journal; in 1957 they refused to reunify with Pablo because his new British section, the Revolutionary Socialist League, believed in a certain amount of open work — that is, producing an openly Marxist paper, recruiting by public meeting, etc.43 In 1959 the formation of the SLL was such an extreme form of open work that the RSL did not support it, and the SLL now condemned their attitude as a capitulation to the Labour bureaucracy. It has always been a point of Trotskyist honour that Trotskyists defend CPers from right wing witch-hunts, even though the CPers do not reciprocate. However, in 1953 in order to aid their position in the Labour Party, it was a Trotskyist who moved the expulsion from the Labour Party of a woman for attending the Communist-sponsored Vienna Peace Congress.44 The 1959 SLL conference decided that the building of rank and file committees in industry was necessary for the coming struggle. After the proscription and under the threat of the whole group being expelled from the Labour Party, all talk of rank and file committees was dropped. A nice safe campaign on Clause Four was initiated behind the cover of a specially constructed front organisation in which even the words ‘workers’ control’ were removed as being too dangerous.
Nor does the second safeguard against clique control exist in practice, namely the ability of the rank and file to remove a leadership with which it disagrees. In theory the group is organised on the basis of democratic centralism. This question is dealt with very shortly in the Transitional Programme. All Trotsky says is: ‘Without inner democracy — no revolutionary education. Without discipline — no revolutionary action. The inner structure of the Fourth International is based on the principle of democratic centralism; full freedom in discussion, complete unity in action.’45 This formula is vague in content, and could describe the rules of most political groups. Certainly the constitution of the SLL cannot be described as undemocratic. A section is devoted to discipline, and the branch and higher bodies have the right to expel members, but these members have the right to know the charges against them, and the material regarding their appeal must be circulated throughout the League, etc. While carrying out the will of the majority, the minority has a right to express dissenting opinions, distribute material to the membership through the National Committee, and any minority in a branch shall be represented at the branch. We have already quoted Peter Fryer on how the method of electing the National Committee aids bureaucracy. Further outright contraventions of the rules occur. Thus Exeter Branch points out that in the case of Bob Pennington, in spite of his right to appeal to the conference in person against his expulsion: ‘He was refused admittance to the conference and attacked from the platform in his absence with no right of reply.’ They point out: ‘Our amendment to the constitution was prevented from being published to the membership as a whole for pre-conference discussion.’ As important are the various tactical manoeuvres on Healy’s part, whereby he attempts to push dissidents outside the rules and provide some sort of case for their expulsion. Thus he asks dissidents for assurances that they will keep the League’s discipline. Any qualified reply is taken as a refusal. Another method, also used with Behan, is to transfer some breach of discipline to one of the League’s committees (for a group of its size there are a fantastic number of committees). This serves the double purpose of allowing Healy to transfer the case to the committee where his most subservient supporters are, and also, if the member questions the competence of the committee, this is another case of indiscipline. Healy will raise various difficulties and hope that the dissident will become tired and resign, as did Martin Grainger after Healy insisted that Grainger’s wife should type his document, and not the party centre. Healy ensures that the presentation of the arguments is always biased in his favour. Thus Behan was only allowed to speak to branches that specifically requested to hear him, whereas Healy by coincidence decided to go on a speaking tour of all branches at the same time, on the subject ‘Twenty Years of British Trotskyism’. Alasdair MacIntyre says: ‘The Leeds executive committee decided to solicit support individually for the majority viewpoint among branch members before they had seen Behan’s document.’46 Once having got dissidents expelled, they have the right to appeal before conference. Healy appears to be less concerned about this, presumably because the conferences themselves are packed.
Nonetheless this cannot be the complete explanation for the lack of democracy in the League. Certainly, Healy masterminds the bureaucratic activities, but an explanation that is based on the shortcomings of one individual is obviously insufficient. If there were an alert membership and dissidents were used to constitutional in-fighting, then certainly the present leadership could at the least be given a severe fright. The answer to the question as to why there is not an active membership, etc, is a social and environmental one. It is because the period of the last 15 years has been so unfavourable to revolutionary movements. If the period had been less favourable to it, it would have attracted large numbers of serious and politically mature individuals who would not have allowed such arbitrary methods. The membership is small, and thus the leadership’s position vis-à-vis it is stronger, while they know almost everybody by sight. Secondly, the people it attracts, being mainly youth, are not adept at political in-fighting, and easily accept explanations of secrecy on the grounds of security. Probably the most important reason is that the group’s turnover is so high (the average membership being about one year) that they are thus probably only just learning that there are such things as conferences and factional rights by the time they are about to leave. This lack of constitutional expertise does not apply of course to the ex-Communist Party members, but another explanation does, namely that just because the group is so small, there seems no point in fighting in it at all. It is much better to join another small group, or even form your own (as did Brian Behan and Martin Grainger).47 The time when the leadership freed itself from the membership’s control can probably be put back to the time that the RCP was dissolved, but this was not a once and for all event. Each loss of control encouraged others, so as time goes on the leadership became more adept at manipulating the membership. An example of this is the change of policy on the printshop. To maintain leadership of the group, control of the printshop is essential. As we have seen, in 1955 Healy only just maintained control when the press was democratically run. The new press bought in 1956 was partially from money from two Ceylonese students,48 but partially from money raised from the membership. In spite of this, control was vested in only four people, Healy and his wife and two students. One of the reasons for Behan’s expulsion was that he demanded that control of the printing press be vested in the group. Some of the ex-members have constructed a whole explanation of the SLL from this one fact. Peter Cadogan writes: ‘Healy’s heart, by the way, is not in Socialism at all but in his printshop which he loves as a peasant lusts for land.’49 The bureaucracy in the SLL, aided by the fantastic emphasis placed on the need for full-time organisers, is far exceeding efficient use for a group of its size. Peter Cadogan points out for the Labour Party to have a similar membership-official ratio it would have over 10 000 officials. This aids Healy in several ways. It gives him a group of men who depend on him directly for their income (there is no such thing as a financial committee in the League — another Behan reform which was rejected). Persons are frequently appointed as organisers for short periods, and then removed again. Thus Connie Kirby comments: ‘One of the most disturbing things about the immense power comrade Healy has in the running of the printshop is this right to hire and fire comrades... and leads to non-political relationships.’50 Full-time organisers can be used to put the leadership’s point of view in any factional fight.
A clique leadership imposes certain special relationships within the leadership itself. Several factors tend towards one dictator and a group of yes-men. Brian Behan comments: ‘The biggest condemnation of Comrade Healy as a Communist is that he has surrounded himself with a crowd of petit-bourgeois yes-men who, when they hear any criticism of him, spread their hands and say: “Yes, but who but comrade Healy could lead the movement?”’51 The deluding of the rank and file by the leadership, because it is admitted among the leadership itself, and for most of them is only semi-consciously realised, means that how to delude the membership cannot be rationally discussed. The leadership must, de facto, cede to one man the right of policy making. While the leadership itself desires a supreme leader, at the same time the leader desires yes-men grouped around him, because the person who assumes the leadership will be well versed in organisational manoeuvres, but will probably not be a good theoretician, and therefore will find it difficult to answer theoretical opposition from another member of the leadership. It is characteristic of this type of organisation that any individual in the leadership clique dare not appeal to the rank and file. The possible advantages he may gain is all the time outweighed by the fact that the membership might realise that the leadership as a whole is living a lie. Thus tensions within the leadership lead not to political discussion, but to personal quarrels, threats of violence, etc. To quote Martin Grainger: ‘The crisis will deepen, the inevitable ideological ferment will be bottled up, or will erupt in a periodical manner. Intimidation will continue; cases of assault within the organisation will either be denied or reported to control commissions (themselves carefully controlled).’52 Similarly, new entrants to leadership must be involved in a collective guilt. Thus when the leadership visited a dissident comrade’s house late at night in an incident which led to one of them receiving a punch on the nose, Healy insisted on bringing Cliff Slaughter, a new ‘leader’, because ‘it is important to commit people like Slaughter’.53 This is because the leadership cannot be changed by any usual method, only by some sort of printshop coup d’état by the rest of the leadership. The present General Secretary must squash anybody who seems to be gaining as great a reputation as himself (thus the break with Lawrence, who gained fame as editor of the Socialist Outlook, and Bob Pennington, who was the London organiser responsible for many of the demonstrations, etc). Similarly ex-members allege that Healy does not really want his members to get positions in outside organisations, because this would give them a position of power outside the organisation. This type of leadership leads to excessive inefficiency. Thus Behan goes into great details on the organisation of the printshop, which he compares to a not very efficient capitalist concern. As nobody has any real responsibility except Healy, there was ‘no coordination — there were constant misunderstandings, mess-ups, buck-passing, and violent rows between comrade Healy and other people in the printshop’. It leads to ‘the ready expenditure of party funds for long journeys to straighten out comrades diverting even a few degrees from the prevailing orthodoxy’.54 It leads to excessive distrust of any new thinking whatsoever. To quote Martin Grainger: ‘The obsessive fear of even mildly unorthodox views or of simple questions for which readily prepared answers are not available... all real intellectual life within the organisation is reduced to the level of the religious service.’55 In order to prevent any possibility of the rank and file ganging up against the leadership, Healy constantly works to prevent any group spirit emerging. To quote Celia Behan:
‘I believe that comrade Healy sets out quite deliberately to knock the confidence and independence out of comrades, especially the young ones... The very worst practice used by comrade Healy is that of personalities where he flatters the listener by making in confidence, quite serious criticisms (usually of a personal nature) of another comrade. The implied flattery of such confidences causes comrades to forget their scruples against tittle-tattle and join in... being aware that they themselves are also victims, they lose confidence in themselves and are afraid to cross swords with Healy because they know that in the midst of all this personal tittle-tattle he is the only one exempted... all this serves to weaken the independence of certain comrades and strengthens comrade Healy’s one-man leadership.’56
The greater becomes the bureaucracy in the League, the greater become the twists and turns of policy, and thus the greater the need for suppression of discussion. Thus Grainger raised the point that until six months before Messali Hadj became a supporter of De Gaulle, the Newsletter was describing him as a great proletarian leader and his party as the proletarian wing of the Algerian rebels.57 Above all the peculiar structure of the SLL prevents its growth, because the bigger the group becomes the greater the potential danger that control will slip out of the hands of the clique. Ex-members assert that this is the reason why no permanent continuing body emerged from the Rank and File Conference.
Two main characteristics of the group prevent the tensions in the leadership, and between the leaders and the rank and file, splitting the group asunder. They are its activism, and its romanticism. Activism refers to the fact that all members are constantly kept working hard on one project or another, and on activities which move from one section of the movement to another, for example, from CND work to Young Socialist work, without maintaining anything permanent from any of the campaigns. Thus one year the stress is on Clause Four Committees, the next on Youth Unemployment Committees. Perhaps the most ludicrous example of this activism is the SLL’s Profumo Campaign. When the scandal broke the SLL announced the launching of a campaign to bring down the government. How any organisation of 500 members can bring down a government it is difficult to see. Principally, it seemed the method was to be by the SLL holding a series of public meetings, and producing for four weeks special campaign double size issues of the Newsletter. The special issues contained remarkably little about Profumo, but a fantastic number of statements, articles and declarations about the sins of Pabloism. However, it served its purpose in making its members rush around getting an audience for the meetings, selling the special issues, and collecting for the fund to pay for it, etc. Not only this, but ceaseless activity provides an illusion of importance for the leadership itself. Thus on various occasions the same group member claimed to be a Yorkshire miner, a Paddington tenant, and a rank and file seaman.58 It tends to rivet leaders to the group who shy away from admitting that their great efforts have been mistaken, and those who finally do become very bitter towards the group. The activism of the group contributes towards the short duration of group membership. However, this is no bad thing for the leadership, as it prevents the membership maturing, while activism ensures about an equal number of new members join.
The romanticism of the group is described by Peter Cadogan: ‘In the Socialist Labour League the members used to talk (and perhaps still do) somewhat reverently about “the organisation”, its needs, its purposes and its devotion.’59 This attitude is characteristic of a largely intelligentsia-based group who are looking for some purpose in life, for example, Cliff Slaughter, a lecturer: ‘I feel the need for the kind of relationship with other comrades and find that its helps me to subordinate all my subjective reactions to the revolutionary movement.’60 Great emphasis is placed on security. Speakers at the last conference announced themselves not by names, but by numbers. Fantastic claims are made about the organisation’s power. When Peter Fryer was rumoured to be leaving the country, Healy claimed to have men watching all the ports and docks. A romantic picture of the future is painted. Since 1950 Healy has been promising to produce a daily paper within five years.
VI: The Rôle of the Leadership
Although the bureaucratisation of the group has a social cause, this being the isolation of the revolutionary movement and the period of capitalist expansion, Trotsky’s theory has to some extent aided this process. Firstly, the tremendous rôle given to the Trotskyist leadership, for on them depends whether the world rises to Socialism or descends to barbarism. It means, therefore, that the preservation of the leadership is vitally important, and thus a stress on discipline to prevent enemy infiltration, etc. If the party as a leadership is important, how much more important is the leadership of the party itself? This emphasis on discipline springs also from a particularly military conception of the rôle of the party common to both Leninists and Trotskyists, and is particularly well illustrated by Cliff Slaughter’s article in Labour Review: ‘The actual organisation in the revolutionary crisis, the rapid changes of tactics necessary, the planning of insurrection, and of military operations, all this quite clearly needs centralised authority and discipline of the highest order... the great task of the party, the disciplined training units... is not to be overrun by the irregular troops of the revolution.’61 Thirdly, democratic centralism can be interpreted, as is done in the introduction of The Struggle for a Proletarian Party by James P Cannon, the US Trotskyist leader, as subordinating both democracy and centralism to a military concept of the function of the party, and thus, to quote, ‘the end of maintaining the party as the vanguard of the working class’ is the function of democratic centralism: ‘This means above all: i. safeguard the party’s character as a combat organisation by preserving unity in action; ii. safeguard at all times and under all conditions its firmness of line; iii. maintain its principles unadulterated.’ Thus all three points stress the disciplinary aspects.
This sort of conception of the revolution, it may be suggested, springs from Trotsky’s low estimation of the consciousness of the masses. The less the masses are conceived of as being able to determine their own destiny, the more they become an inert pliable mass, and the direction in which this mass is to be moved becomes a battle between two small elites, the capitalist class and the revolutionary vanguard. The advantages of the capitalist elite are the advantages of all elites, centralisation, secrecy, occupation of important positions, easily maintained discipline, etc. If the revolution is carried out by a highly conscious mass force, then the elite’s advantages are counterbalanced by the masses’ sheer numbers, initiative, improvisation, etc. But if this struggle is between two small elites, then the revolutionary elite must attempt to gain for itself the same sort of advantages as the capitalist elite, and, to quote Cliff Slaughter: ‘All the concentration and centralisation of bourgeois power, its ideological weapons and its control of leading political elements in the labour movement, all of those make more vital the need for centralised and authoritative revolutionary leadership.’62
The history of Trotskyist factional struggles aids mystification by the leadership. Use is often made of the argument put forward by Trotsky at the time of the 1940 SWP struggle that criticisms of party democracy are mere covers for opposition to policy decisions (see Cannon’s The Struggle for a Proletarian Party, p263), whereby it can be argued that a dissident’s dislike of the party regime really boils down to a dislike of the policy. If, as with Behan, criticism of policy is linked with criticism of organisation, then utilising Trotsky’s method of opposing Stalin, which, to quote Cliff Slaughter, was ‘not to nag at Stalin’s political inefficiencies or even the cult of the individual but to keep discussion of the USSR in the context of... the world revolution against capitalism’, and also Trotsky’s argument of 1940 that a correct organisation follows from a correct policy,63 arguments are put forward of the kind that because Behan desires an open party and also workers’ control of the printshop, then those who oppose the open party must also oppose workers’ control of the printshop.
Marxism encourages a link between political views and class background, which Trotsky was particularly fond of utilising as when he viewed the struggle of the Left Opposition against Stalin as a struggle of the proletariat against bureaucrats and kulaks, and he similarly characterised opposition in 1940 in the SWP as petit-bourgeois. Thus he confused all political disputes by an involved demonstration that the increasing pressure of the class struggle had pushed petit-bourgeois dissidents out of the party. Thus in Labour Review, one university lecturer writing about another university lecturer who has left the group, describes his writings as ‘the yelping of the bourgeoisie’s philosophical poodle’.64
The very fact that, to quote James P Cannon, Trotsky left a finished programme, inhibits consideration of fundamental questions which might lead to dissent, and thus the main task allotted to ex-Communist Party intellectuals is to expand and paraphrase Trotsky’s existing analysis.
VII: Youth Work and the H-Bomb
In seeking to show that many of the same characteristics which appeared in the Communist Party period reappeared in the youth work since 1960, the topic will be dealt with much more briefly due to the fact that the period is not yet finished.
Again at the commencement of the Young Socialists, the Healy group was at an advantage over other left groups in being able to produce a regular, well laid out, nationally-distributed newspaper. Basing their analysis on ‘hard times ahead, growing unemployment, low wages and conditions... signs that these boom days are drawing to a close’ (Keep Left, July 1962), two main tactics can be seen; firstly, the social turn which merged into the unemployment turn, ‘mass movement became the cliché of the day, to build this one had to run rock dances and record hops... this policy... had inherent difficulties... working class youth, though accepting to some extent the facilities offered, is just as contemptuous of YS paternalism as of the vicar’s, and these dance clubs could only be successful in places like Wigan where they are run for workers by workers. But the majority of Young Socialists are not working class in the sense of belonging to the local team, and this, irrespective of their job, their outlook, sets them up as something apart. The strain of this social work with its disillusionment, added to the intense political activity, makes for a large turnover of people as supporters, and this trend showed the real weakness of the mass turn for, when the activists left the large social branches, that left nothing behind.’65 In Wigan the Trotskyist show branch with a membership of 500 is now non-existent.
Sometime in 1962, with an increase in youth unemployment, emphasis was placed on winning youth from the dole queues in places like Merseyside and the North-East. Youth Unemployment Committees were set up to fight victimisation at the exchanges. An internal bulletin of late 1963 seems to suggest they had the same disillusioning effects: ‘In at least one district those concerned were not sufficiently clear that the struggle against youth unemployment is an integral part of the fight against monopoly capitalism. Instead they concentrated almost exclusively on adult workers between the middle 20s and the 30s, overlooking the fact that they may get temporary work as many have done.’
In order to justify the youth work the group has introduced a new theory that the revolutionary party will be built from unemployed youth. This has led to increasing disillusionment, as, to quote one National Committee member who resigned on this question: ‘The only question unemployed youth are prepared to fight for is better recreational facilities.’
The whole question of the organisational set-up of the League has been constantly in the limelight in view of allegations made just before the first conference that Keep Left supporters had threatened to beat up other Young Socialists, while letters from Young Socialists claiming to be ex-members of the League in the official youth paper have been matched by Keep Left’s allegations of private parties at Lord Walston’s flat.66 Neither Transport House nor the Trotskyists have gained from this argument, with the majority of Young Socialists becoming bored and cynical.
As in other spheres of activity, Trotsky’s theory has held the group back just as decisively in the Young Socialists. The topic in question is that of the workers’ bomb. Trotskyists argue that the West possesses the H-bomb in order at some time to invade the Soviet Union to gain a new area for capital export, whereas Russia only possesses the bomb in order to defend itself against this prospect. Being non-capitalist, it can have no imperial ambitions, and thus the Trotskyists did not oppose Russia’s commencement of H-tests in 1961, only suggesting it might have been better if Khrushchev had explained his reasons to the world labour movement first. Thus they opposed Young Socialist demonstrations outside the Russian embassy. This question has been the main target for attack by other left and right groups. When a motion which seemed to give implied support to the workers’ bomb concept was moved by a small Trotskyist group at the last conference, Healy group supporters were told not to speak in order not to endanger votes for group members for the National Committee.
VIII: Social Composition
We have dealt with the political source from which the group has drawn its support, and though the link between the theory and the class composition of the group has been alluded to in passing, we have not dealt with it directly.
It has been pointed out already that the composition of the League is overwhelmingly non-proletarian. Thus Brian Behan in his document claims that only one of the nine members of the London leadership was a worker, the others were ‘pimps and prostitutes living off the movement’. At Liverpool he said: ‘We in the minority are not professional intellectuals with nothing else to do but read books and write long documents, you should excuse imperfections and not be so ready to attack the work of honest proletarians with less time and training... I know that workers are not supposed to have theoretical ideas and to stay in their box.’67 Typical of the group is that though 17 London busmen were gained at the time of the 1958 strike, six months later not one remained.
We have referred to one factor in disillusionment as the slump and mass militancy theory which does not fit in with reality, but as important in alienating proletarian support is the Trotskyist conception of leadership. The Trotskyists regard themselves as ‘intervening’ in struggles that have begun in order to give them the proper leadership. However, with the present strong union organisation, most workers are able to fight their own battles without this sort of outside leadership, which they could regard with suspicion. The latest example of their interventions is their decision to hold a public meeting in Port Talbot on the dispute while having no members in South Wales. Thus, as reported in the Newsletter, a Communist Party speaker hit them on a vulnerable spot when he said: ‘I have never yet met a militant steward who is a Trotskyist. These people merely come along to strikers who are fighting a good battle and with a sour face tell them they are not fighting militantly enough. All they do is push out a few leaflets.’68
This interventionist attitude leads them to such stunts as that which had a Trotskyist causing such a commotion at the last ETU conference that he was suspended. From the way they have been unable to take advantage of a favourable situation one cannot do better than quote their own internal bulletin of late 1963: ‘Having painted some of the background to the situation in the ETU, the still undefeated rank and file, the difficulties of the right wing, the crisis in the Communist Party, the high level of understanding of the ETU membership, we have to ask why the London SLL electricians’ branch has won no recruits, but that on the contrary has been unable to hold some of its own members, and in fact faces a crisis where the issue is posed of either advancing or dissolving the branch...’
With what class or section of a class, then, does Trotsky’s theory have some connection with reality? The overwhelming majority of group members are déclassé, being either clerical workers, students, or teachers.69 Psychologically they fit into no class, education setting them apart from both the working class and the lower middle class, while financially they find themselves in a none-too-affluent position, especially if newly married. Thus they are prepared to accept theories of worsening conditions under capitalism, while having no link with the factory floor they do not question theories of mass militancy.
Appendix: The So-Called Struggle Against Pabloite Revisionism
I do not wish to give a narrative account of this struggle, however, a brief reference to it is perhaps necessary because, as the argument is apparently over questions of theory, it would seem to suggest that far from Trotskyist theory being a mummified relic of a past age, energetic efforts are being made to keep it up to date.
However, I wish to suggest that this is not so, and that the struggle is organisational, while the theory is merely an appendage. This is demonstrated, I think, by the rather inconsistent record of respect for theory shown by both sides. Thus the SWP and the Healy group split from the Pabloites in 1953 ostensibly on the grounds that Pablo had revised Trotskyism by postulating a coming world war, and by capitulating to Stalinism. Yet as the International Secretariat pointed out in 1959 they accepted this theory when it was first promulgated in 1950. As late as 1952 the Healy group’s Labour Review carried an article supporting this view called the ‘Coming World Showdown’. Similarly, the Healy group commenced discussion with the SWP in January 1961 on Pabloism, claiming that Pabloite approaches to the SWP had worried them, yet later in the argument they suggested that the SWP had become Pabloite after the Hungarian Revolution in order to attract ex-CPers, and even later in the argument they said the SWP ended the fight against Pabloism in 1954, only months after it had started, having discovered that leading party intellectuals were Pabloite influenced. Why then did the Healy group not raise these points in 1954 or 1956? Similarly in his report to the last convention of the SWP, Joe Hansen, in justifying reunification with the Pabloites, pointed to the Healy group’s undemocratic expulsions.70 Yet why were these questions not raised at the time?
A not-too-wildly inaccurate attempt to piece together the split from the organisational standpoint would, I suggest, be the following. The SWP split from the International in 1953 because they said Michel Pablo was trying to get the leadership of the party through his faction, the Cochranites. Healy joined the Americans because they were the strongest side financially, and he therefore thought that they must win, but, due to the large Ceylonese section adhering to the Pabloites, a sort of stalemate occurred. The SWP have now decided to reunite with the International Secretariat, partly due to agreement with it on Cuba, but also because their old enemy Pablo is now in a minority within the International Secretariat. Healy’s reason for not rejoining the International is probably that he does not wish to share the leadership of the British section with any international body, and that if he were to reunify with the British Pabloites awkward questions might be raised about the printing press.
The theoretical cloak of these manoeuvres are the allegations which seem to have enough truth in them to stick. Thus to argue, as the Healyites do, that the SWP has abandoned hopes of winning working class support, and is making theoretical concessions to Stalinism in order to win ex-Communist Party support, quite probably has a high degree of truth in it, as does the SWP’s reply that, to quote James P Cannon, by proclaiming the SLL the group started on a ‘sectarian binge’, and that its position that Cuba is a Bonapartist state resting on capitalist foundations is untenable.71
Perhaps the most conclusive proof of the lack of interest in theoretical discussion is that in the debate between the two sides on the nature of Cuba. Neither has brought up what Trotsky had to say about capitalist expropriation by non-Marxist governments with references to Mexico in 1937 and the Russian invasion of Finland in 1939. They have preferred to argue on the safe academic question of to what extent starting from the facts is an empirical or dialectical method. In short, Trotsky’s theory to the Trotskyist movement has become an ‘ideology’ in the Marxist sense of the term.
We may also note the effect of theory and organisation on those who leave the group. The overwhelming majority of ex-members drop into complete political inactivity (of the 30 who left with Grainger no more than five are still active politically, and Bob Pennington, for example, is a bookmaker). Having become convinced that revolution is not round the corner, they see no further point in the hard grind of attendance at meetings and paper selling, etc. Those who remain in politics are characterised by a desire to find an alternative raison d’être to Trotsky’s political theory, and sometimes an alternative to the Healy group’s organisational methods. Those who have made fewest adaptations are those who have joined the Pabloites. They continue to adhere to Trotskyism, and thus to a ‘slump around the corner’ theory, though in a rather less crude form. They maintain their consistent policy of working in broad left movements, but without Healy’s left turns. Adhering to Trotsky’s theory of a decaying capitalism, they assume centrist groupings must emerge. (Centrists are persons who were left Social Democrats, but, under conditions of capitalist crisis, consider taking a revolutionary position in a confused manner, for example, the Independent Labour Party in the 1930s.) In actual fact they work with left Social Democrats who are not centrists in any way. To do this they make various theoretical sacrifices (thus they allow their papers to support the United Nations, though really believing it to be a ‘thieves’ kitchen’). In spite of this they remain completely at the Social Democrats’ mercy. So a recent campaign of theirs to force the Labour Party to adopt a housing target which they believed would lead a Labour government into a severe financial crisis and so open the way for a left turn, collapsed simply because the left Social Democrat who was running it grew tired of it. Secondly, there are no genuine rank and file centrists in existence, and thus they have to do the whole work of selling the paper themselves. This lack of activism and the feeling of getting nowhere means that this group, too, has been particularly susceptible to splits. So great has been the desire to find what looks like a leadership in some manner or form that its members have even joined a macabre South American Trotskyist split, the Posadas tendency, who believe that nuclear war is inevitable, that Russia should start it with a pre-emptive strike, and that the Trotskyists will assume leadership in the ruins. They bring Trotskyism closer to reality by admitting that in Cuba a non-Marxist non-working class leadership has been able to introduce nationalisation and planning, but in doing so further remove the justification for their existence. Organisationally they stick to democratic centralism and claim that Healy’s organisational methods are a travesty of Trotskyism, but the fact that with less than 100 members they are split up into three warring groups seems to show that their interpretation of democratic centralism is little better.72
Of those who have broken completely with Trotskyism, some have decided that Social Democracy is viable after all, and have joined the right wing, for example, the present Secretary of the Labour Party, AL Williams who was a Trotskyist in the 1930s, as was the present leader of the Labour group on Newcastle City Council.73 Those who have joined the left or right of the Labour Party probably constitute the majority of those who have stayed in politics. A few have decided that Stalinism works after all, for example, John Lawrence and Hilda Lane, leader of the Trotskyist Opposition in the RSL in 1944.74 More recently the odd one or two have joined the Solidarity group. They reject Trotsky’s slump perspective, arguing that capitalism has found a permanent answer to slumps; however, they still maintain many Trotskyist features in a perverted manner. Though the slump may not be round the corner, the revolution may be, and this is based, relying on Marx’s ideas about alienation, on a new analysis of capitalism which says its fundamental feature is its bureaucratic organisational methods. Due to its inefficiency this bureaucracy leads to unforeseen political crises which can cause revolution. The model they hold up is that of the Hungarian Revolution. Like Trotsky, they argue that all existing Labour and Socialist organisation are brakes on the revolutionary potential of the working class, due to their bureaucratic organisational methods, which mirror that of capitalism. Their answer to this crisis of leadership is no leadership at all, but a reliance on working class spontaneity. However, this contains a hidden elitist outlook in that only they know what the working class is going to do. Springing from their rejection of all Socialist organisations as bureaucratic, they do not work in the Labour Party. However, because they unconsciously maintain Trotskyist concepts, they suffer from many of the same drawbacks as the Trotskyist movement. Their membership turnover is high, members become disillusioned when political crises come and go (recent ones according to them have been the Cuba crisis and the Profumo scandal), and the working class remains apathetic as it refuses to revolt spontaneously. The second reason for disillusionment is that while rejecting the Labour Party they find it difficult to recruit from other quarters, and so they have turned to the Anarchists, ILP, etc, but tend to lose their own supporters to these groups.
Perhaps the most satisfactory way to overcome Trotsky’s theoretical shortcomings is that of the International Socialism group. They argue that capitalism has established itself on the basis of arms expenditure, but that this stabilisation will become increasingly less viable in the 1970s when Russia becomes increasingly powerful as a competitor with the US on the world market, and that this will lead to the danger of nuclear war which can only be averted by workers’ control of industry and the state. This solution is based on a re-examination of Marx’s economic analysis which says that Trotsky was wrong to say that private ownership is the fundamental characteristic of capitalism, whereas they claim it is the unplanned accumulation of capital. As long as competition between capitalist units continues, it is no contradiction to say that whole states may constitute one unit, that is, they consider Russia to be state capitalist. Capitalist units are to be replaced by worker-controlled units participating in the planned accumulation of capital. They thus replace Trotsky’s stress on nationalisation as a means to material abundance by stress on workers’ control as a means to human freedom. By arguing that there are crises of working class consciousness and not of its leadership, they are able to accept the reality of mass apathy. Working in the Labour Party on the model of Rosa Luxemburg’s Spartacus Group, they are resigned to remaining a minute minority group for a considerable period. It has been argued that Trotskyism’s theoretical lack of reality has led to an unstable organisation, but the converse of this appears to be the International Socialism group, whose theory has enough links with reality to allow it to grow slowly but without any quick turnover or dramatic splits from 20 in 1950 to about 250 today.
We have shown how the interaction of theory, organisation and environment has produced the Trotskyist movement of today. What may be said of its future? On a purely organisational level one may indulge in endless speculation on what will be the biggest split from whom, and what will happen if Healy dies, but this is not particularly fruitful. Speaking in broad terms of membership and spheres of activity, a dramatic rise is dependent on some economic downturn which seems to demonstrate that Trotsky was correct. A dramatic decline is dependent upon another dramatic series of expulsions, but because Healy is now almost reduced to his old guard pre-1956 leadership plus a vast majority of immature youth, this is unlikely. The group will probably maintain its present membership if and until the Young Socialists are again closed down, in which case they will probably switch to adult left activity, feeding on mutual recrimination if Labour does not win the next election, or alternatively if it does win, whatever disillusionment there is with the government that emerges.
In this way, assuming continued affluence, the group will go round in a circle composed of industry, the adult left, the Communist Party and the Young Socialists. However, getting round the circle becomes a little more difficult each time; firstly, because of the unfortunate reputation which the group always leaves behind, so it can never take up again in the same place. Thus it is unlikely that it will be able to link up with left MPs or Tribune for a very long time. Before 1956 few CPers had heard of the Trotskyists, but now the series of 1959-60 expulsions means that a fresh Communist Party split would not link up with the Trotskyists (this may be the reason for the savage attacks on the pro-Chinese McCreary group in the Newsletter).75 Theoretically its attitude to the Labour Party will oscillate from extreme opportunism to extreme sectarianism. (A typical example of its extreme opportunism was with Frank Cousins in 1960, when the man they had attacked for betraying the London busmen in 1958 and were soon to attack again, temporarily became a good-natured but rather muddled-headed left winger who didn’t quite realise that to fight the right wing on defence he would have to stop curbing shop stewards and raise the ‘black circular’.)76 Typical of this is the phrase by Gerry Healy, at Scarborough in 1960, in Labour Review: ‘Whatever may be the limitations of Frank Cousins (and we are sure that he himself doesn’t claim to be the greatest Socialist of all time)...’77 The second fact which makes life increasingly difficult for the group is that it gives birth to its own opposition. Thus the IS group is now half the size of the Healy group, and many of its leading figures are ex-SLLers. The founder of the group is Tony Cliff, who was in the RCP. Having produced a theory that Russia was state capitalist, he would have been quite happy to remain in the Healy group as a minority, but Healy denied him any representation whatsoever at the conference,78 and expelled his supporters for disagreeing on the Korean War. As has been pointed out, the Solidarity group is 50 per cent ex-SLL. Healy’s break with the International Secretariat in 1953 has led it to attempt to set up a group of its own. One faction of this group is led by a man Healy expelled in 1950, and the other is to a large extent composed of the disaffiliated Nottingham branch.79
Though in a way this provides another escape from reality for the group. Instead of fighting the Labour right wing bureaucracy, other groups are fought. One of the good things about this sort of fight is that it is difficult to say who has won. Healy in his last battle changed defeat into victory by simply changing the rules, as it were. He hoped to prevent the two main groups in the Fourth International reuniting, but when they did so he simply denied they were Trotskyist, and set up his own Fourth International.
To conclude, let me expand the point noted in the discussion of the IS group, and suggest that Trotskyism is an anachronism in a more fundamental way than its chronic addiction to the slump. The two crucial conceptions of Trotskyism are, firstly, that capitalism is in inevitable decay, and, secondly, that leadership is crucial, though this latter can be traced back to its roots in Russian soil (the elitist concept of Russian intellectuals arousing the peasantry, for example, the Narodniks), and in Marxist theory, and perhaps even further back. The general left wing view of the period — that society is gradually getting worse and worse, tending to a permanent slump, that more and more countries are going Fascist, but at the same time the working class is rendered apathetic and subservient by slump — gave rise to the idea of a revolutionary elite as the answer, which would jerk the working class out of its apathy.
But today the left is much more optimistic and the world scene is getting better and better, so that we have colonial independence, test ban treaties, etc. The left is made active by rising hope, and so CND emerged when the Cold War had passed its coldest period. Its main task was seen to be pressurising governments to speed up the tendency to international détente. (It is interesting to note that a minority of the left who possess a view similar to Trotskyism in its pessimism, that is, the Committee of 100, also possess the same organisational characteristics, a quick turnover of membership and a hectic jumping from project to project.) Secondly, the working class is more self-confident, and its apathy is only political and not industrial. Trotskyism cannot fit into this new left mood.
The trouble with Trotsky is that the keynote of all his criticisms is inefficiency, whereas the keynote of the left’s criticism today is lack of democracy. Thus his criticism of the Social Democrats is not that they want nationalisation and planning, but that they are too timid to go sufficiently far, that is, they are inefficient at the job. His criticism of the Communist Party is not their professed desire to take state power, but that their methods, the Popular Front, Social Fascism, are inefficient. His criticism of the Soviet bureaucracy is the inefficient way it develops the productive forces. Insofar as questions of democracy are treated by Trotsky, they are treated as questions of inefficiency. Thus more democracy is needed in Russia to make planning more efficient, but in the last analysis it must be subordinated to efficiency. Similarly, in a revolutionary party, democracy is viewed as an aid to efficiency, to quote Cliff Slaughter’s ‘What is Revolutionary Leadership?’: ‘To the Marxist, democracy is a weapon in the struggle against capitalism. Discussion is necessary to arrive at decisions upon which the activity of the party can be based.’80 For Trotsky the question of efficiency was more important than that of democracy because for him the justification for Socialism was that it provided material abundance, and, springing from this, a mass appreciation for culture. For the left today it is much less easy to provide a critique of the status quo East or West based either on demand for mass culture (which seems to have thought control implications), or on material abundance. For one thing, both Western capitalism and the Russian bureaucracy seem able to provide this abundance either potentially or concretely. The underdeveloped countries do not possess this abundance, but Trotsky says that neither capitalism nor Stalinism can help, but the underdeveloped countries want a bit of both, both internally, with a nationalised and a private sector, and externally, by appealing to both power blocs for aid.
Trotsky distinguishes between different sorts of planning on a basis of efficiency, not on the basis of how the planning is done. (He tends to assume there is no such thing as totalitarian planning, thus he claims the Russian bureaucracy has an independent rôle in distribution, but not in production.) Trotsky assumes the left and the working class are not interested in democracy as such. History has proved him incorrect. In a period of prosperity an increasing number of strikes are over questions of control. The biggest political issues of the last 20 years have been questions of control — democracy. The Hungarian Revolution did not spring from lack of abundance, but from Russian control. The question of the H-bomb is not one of material abundance, but is due to dislike of the fact that a small number of people, because of their power to push the button, have control of human destiny.
1. The membership of the Communist Party of Great Britain stood at 33 095 in February 1956, fell to 24 670 in February 1958, and rose to 34 281 in 1964, after which it went into an almost constant decline.
2. M Shachtman, ‘1939: Whither Russia?’, Survey, no 41, April 1962, pp96-108.
3. See PM Sweezy, The Theory of Capitalist Development, New York, 1942.
4. LD Trotsky, ‘The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International’, The Transitional Programme for Socialist Revolution, New York, 1973, p80.
5. By dictatorship Marxists do not refer to the existence of phenomena such as concentration camps, secret police, or lack of parliamentary or legal rights, but to the fact that particular relations of production exist; thus Marxists would call a capitalist parliamentary republic the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie. They further distinguish between political rule and social rule. Thus under Fascism, because capitalism is not abolished, the middle class maintains its social rule, but not its political rule. [Author’s note]
6. LD Trotsky, The Revolution Betrayed, London, 1973, p276.
7. LD Trotsky, ‘The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International’, op cit, pp72-3, author’s interpolation.
8. LD Trotsky, ‘The Fourth International and the Soviet Union’, Writings of Leon Trotsky 1935-36, New York, 1977, p360.
9. LD Trotsky, ‘The USSR in War’, In Defence of Marxism, London, 1966, p18.
10. LD Trotsky, ‘The Founding of the Fourth International’, Writings of Leon Trotsky 1938-39, New York, 1974, p87.
11. H Atkinson, ‘Reform or Revolution?’, Workers International News, Volume 5, no 9, July-August 1945.
12. ‘Preparing for Power’, Workers International News, Volume 5, no 6, September 1942.
13. The official Communist movement moved to the left in the latter half of 1947, and started to support working class militancy again.
14. This was a term used by the right wing in the Labour Party to describe those in the party who sided to some degree or another with the official Communist movement, of whom some were Stalinists in all but name.
15. Bert Cochran (1917-1984) was a leader of a faction loyal to the International Secretariat of the Fourth International. He was expelled from the US SWP in 1954, and set up the American Socialist Union along with George Clarke and Mike Bartell.
16. A reference to Khrushchev’s speech denouncing Stalin at the Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1956.
17. The second half of the 1950s saw a marked increase in working class militancy over the first half of the decade.
18. This was a big office development by the Thames in London, adjacent to Waterloo Station.
19. Victory for Socialism was first set up as a left wing current in the Labour Party in the late 1940s, and involved the left Labour MP Konni Zilliacus. It was reactivated in the mid-1950s, and was intended to act as a focus for the left wing in the Labour Party, in order for the party to adopt radical policies. It intended to establish a branch structure involving thousands of party members, but it met with official obstruction.
20. The Twenty-Second Congress of the CPSU continued the de-Stalinisation process started at the Twentieth Congress in 1956.
21. See LD Trotsky, The Crisis of the French Section (1935-36), New York, 1977, pp177-9.
22. There nevertheless remained a strong symbiotic link between the Communist Party and the Labour left after 1945, which came under strain during the former’s turn to the left in the late 1940s, but was overcome in the early 1950s. There were also many left Labourites, especially trade union officials, who were Stalinists in all but name. Until 1960 the Communist Party opposed the demand for unilateral nuclear disarmament, and repeated the Soviet line for multilateral disarmament.
23. After peaking at just over one million in 1952 and 1953, individual Labour Party membership fell to just over 840 000 in 1954 and 1955. The number of Labour League of Youth branches peaked at 806 in 1951, and fell to 237 in 1955.
24. The mythical nature of this belief is only rarely revealed, as in 1960, whereas the Young Socialists have for long stretches of their history not been allowed regional link-ups, national conferences, a national committee, or control over their national paper. Thus there are always a series of democratic demands for the Trotskyists to fight on, for example, Trotskyists inspired the national status movement in 1950. Further, this lack of control is likely to be seen at local level also, for example, intervention of local officials to stop demonstrations for non-official policies, or to prevent political discussion in federations. However, at the same time it is much easier to win resolutions and places at the Young Socialists’ National Conference because there is no union block vote (that these victories have usually no effect is not immediately grasped). Thus last year’s national conference had a long and thinly disguised discussion on Trotsky’s definition of Russia, a question which would hardly get a showing at the adult conference. [Author’s note]
25. R McKenzie, British Political Parties, London, 1963.
26. ‘Draft Programme of the Minority Faction’, Internal Bulletin (SLL), no 5, June 1960.
27. To call Bob Pennington an ‘ex-Trotskyist’ was inaccurate, for he was later a member of the International Marxist Group. Hunter’s article was actually called ‘The Dockers and Trade Union Democracy’.
28. The TGWU conference in 1949 voted to prohibit members of the Communist Party from being full-time officials, and in 1950 nine officials were sacked, including Bert Papworth, who lost his seat on the TUC General Council. The ‘Black Circular’ was the popular name for two documents issued by the TUC in 1934 which ordered trades councils to ban delegates who were Communists, and asked unions to follow likewise.
29. The ETU came under Communist Party control during the Second World War. After 1956 a bloc of ex-Communists and right wingers challenged the Stalinists, who were accused of all manner of ballot-rigging and falsifying of votes. The union was expelled from the TUC in 1961, and was only readmitted once the Stalinists had been voted out of the union’s leadership. The Scottish and Welsh regions of the NUM were under Stalinist control throughout the postwar period, and even after the left turn in 1947 the Stalinists worked in close conjunction with the right wing leaders in the other regions, ensuring that there were no official strikes in the mines until the 1970s.
30. Tensions between the workforce and management at Ford’s Dagenham site had been rising since the mid-1950s. A new management team wanted to root out the militant shop stewards, and a dispute between October 1962 and April 1963 led to the dismissal of 17 leading engineering union stewards, several of whom were blacklisted. The union’s national leaders did very little to help their victimised members.
31. The Socialist Forum was set up by those who left the Communist Party, but did not join the Trotskyists, and was the basis of the later New Left. It was a broad discussion movement that held its first conference at Wortley Hall in 1957, at which Healy and other Trotskyists intervened.
32. LD Trotsky, ‘The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International’, op cit, pp72-3, 75.
33. P Fryer, The Battle for Socialism, London, 1959, pp2, 27.
34. ‘Statement by the Disaffiliated Nottingham Branch’, Internal Bulletin of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, no 7, December 1959, p16.
35. P Fryer, ‘An Open Letter to the Members of the SLL’, Internal Bulletin of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, no 7, December 1959, p12.
36. J Higgins, ‘Illusion and Reality: the Sad Case of the Fourth International’, Internal Bulletin (International Socialists), nd .
37. P Cadogan, ‘The 1959 Situation in the Socialist Labour League’, Internal Bulletin of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, no 7, December 1959, p5
38. E Hillman, ‘A Comment on the NC [National Committee] Decision to Form a Socialist League’, 11 January 1959, Forum, February 1959.
39. J Higgins, ‘Illusion and Reality: the Sad Case of the Fourth International’, op cit.
40 . Morgan Phillips was the General Secretary of the Labour Party.
41. This was Harry Ratner. See the account in his Reluctant Revolutionary, London, 1994, pp239-40.
42. P Fryer, ‘An Open Letter to the Members of the SLL’, Internal Bulletin of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International, no 7, December 1959, pp11-12.
43. The RSL, the second Trotskyist group in Britain with this name, was formed in 1957 from a fusion of the old International Socialist and Fourth International groups of Ted Grant, Jimmy Deane and Sam Bornstein. It published Workers International Review and Fourth International as open journals.
44. Tom Mercer, a leading member of Healy’s Club, moved the expulsion of a Mrs Duckett from the Labour Party for her attendance at the Vienna Peace Congress (see ‘Draft Programme of the Minority Faction’, Internal Bulletin (SLL), no 5, June 1960; Expelled for Socialist Opinions!, 1954). Healy said that the expulsion of delegates to that Congress was primarily a manoeuvre on the part of the Labour Party leadership to lay a trap for the Trotskyists, that if the latter opposed the expulsions, they themselves would be expelled (see ‘Burns’ [G Healy], The Struggle Against Revisionism, October 1953). Pablo strongly disapproved of the Healyites’ actions.
45. LD Trotsky, ‘The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International’, op cit, p111.
46. A MacIntyre to G Healy, 10 May 1960, Internal Bulletin (SLL), no 4, June 1960.
47. Martin Grainger helped to form the Solidarity Group. Behan’s Workers Party was stillborn.
48. These were the van der Poorten brothers from a wealthy Ceylonese family, Mike and Tony Banda.
49. P Cadogan, ‘Has the Socialist Labour League a Future?’, Socialist Leader, 23 January 1960.
50. C Behan, ‘Appeal Against Suspension From the Socialist Labour League’, Internal Bulletin (SLL), no 5, June 1960. This was in fact written by Celia Behan, not Connie Kirby (later Harris), although she also supported Behan.
51. Op cit. This, too, was written by Celia Behan.
52. M Grainger, By Their Words Ye Shall Know Them, Solidarity Pamphlet no 4, 1960.
53. B Behan, ‘Appeal Against Expulsion’, Internal Bulletin (SLL), no 5, June 1960.
54. M Grainger, By Their Words Ye Shall Know Them, op cit.
55. Op cit.
56. C Behan, ‘Appeal Against Suspension From the Socialist Labour League’, op cit.
57. The MNA led by Messali Hadj ended up supporting the French colonial authorities against the FLN during the Algerian War of Independence.
58. This is a reference to Alan Courtney. He was actually an electrician.
59. P Cadogan, ‘Has the Socialist Labour League a Future?’, op cit.
60. C Slaughter to A MacIntyre, 30 April 1960, Internal Bulletin (SLL), no 4, June 1960.
61. C Slaughter, ‘What is Revolutionary Leadership?’, Labour Review, Volume 5, no 3, October-November 1960.
62. C Slaughter, ‘What is Revolutionary Leadership?’, op cit.
63. LD Trotsky, In Defence of Marxism, op cit.
64. ‘James Baker’ [Frank Girling] ‘The Case of Alasdair MacIntyre’, Labour Review, Volume 7, no 2, Summer 1962.
65. W Fancy and J Phillips, ‘The Young Socialists’, International Socialism, no 10, August 1962.
66. Lord Walston (1912- ) stood for Labour in the general elections of 1945, 1951, 1955 and 1959, and joined the Social Democratic Party in 1981. A life peer, he held various official agricultural posts, and one of his interests is shooting.
67. C Slaughter, ‘Notes on the Progress of Comrade Behan’s Programme’, Internal Bulletin (SLL), no 4, June 1960. These remarks are what Behan was reported to have said at the Woolwich branch meeting on 4 May 1960 and at the North-West District Aggregate in Liverpool on 8 May 1960.
68. This was a strike over compulsory retirements, holiday entitlements, wages and redundancies at the Steel Company of Wales in 1964.
69. This seems a bit workerist, even in 1964. Clerical workers are the majority of workers now.
70. J Hansen, ‘International Report at the Twentieth Convention of the Socialist Workers Party’, International Information Bulletin, August 1963, p17.
71. JP Cannon to F Dobbs, 12 May 1961, in ‘Relations Between the Socialist Workers Party (USA) and the Socialist Labour League (Britain)’, January 1961-March 1962, Internal Bulletin (SLL), p24.
72. The RSL fell apart into three groups in 1964 — the Posadists, Ted Grant’s Militant Group, and the International Group, which later became the International Marxist Group.
73. A reference to AL (Len) Williams, who had been a Trotskyist in the 1930s, and later became a witch-hunting National Agent of the Labour Party, and then General Secretary of the party 1962-68, and T Dan Smith, who had been recruited to the Workers International League in the Second World War.
74. The author is referring to the original Revolutionary Socialist League, which became part of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1944. The Trotskyist Opposition was the faction which was closest to the positions of the Fourth International, especially in respect of the Proletarian Military Policy.
75. Michael McCreary split from the CPGB to form the Committee to Defeat Revisionism for Communist Unity in November 1963.
76. Frank Cousins took over as General Secretary of the TGWU in 1956, thus breaking a long tradition of right wingers heading the union. Under his leadership, the TGWU adopted a more radical stance on some issues, most notably on nuclear disarmament.
77. G Healy, ‘Scarborough 1960’, Labour Review, Volume 5, no 3, October-November 1960.
78. S Bornstein and A Richardson, War and the International, London, 1986, p281.
79. A reference to Ted Grant and Ken Coates.
80. C Slaughter, ‘What is Revolutionary Leadership?’, op cit.