After Trotsky

As with all Trotskyists, we trace our roots back to Trotsky himself. We in Britain, however, came from the Workers International League (WIL), set up in 1937, and the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP), formed in 1944. We believe that the analysis of this party and its leaders, like Ted Grant, Jock Haston and others, was more accurate than the perspectives of others. They anticipated the development of deformed workers’ states in Eastern Europe and China, in particular. The leadership of the “Fourth International”, Ernest Mandel, Michael Raptis (Pablo), Pierre Frank and others, believed that this phenomenon – the creation of deformed workers’ states – was an impossibility. Faced with reality, however, they did a somersault. Then they went to the other extreme and Tito, in Yugoslavia, became an “unconscious Trotskyist” as did Mao Zedong.

Of course, the leaders of the RCP made mistakes. There is no such a thing as an infallible leadership. Ted Grant, for instance, originally characterised the regimes in Eastern Europe, such as Poland or Czechoslovakia, as “state capitalist”. But he checked himself, re-examined the works of the great teachers, such as Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky, and came out with a correct evaluation of the situation of these states. Tony Cliff, on the other hand, maintained, and still maintains, the doctrine of state capitalism.

The leaders of the RCP also made the mistake, in our opinion, of entering the Labour Party in 1949-50. The majority, led by Grant and Haston, correctly argued that the conditions were not there for successful entry into the Labour Party. The Labour government of 1945 was actually carrying out reforms, the creation of the welfare state, etc, and there were the beginnings of the world economic upswing. It would have been more correct to remain as an independent party with the majority of the efforts of the Trotskyists, at that stage, directed towards industry. But the capitulation of Jock Haston led to the disintegration of the majority and, in effect, the capitulation of Ted Grant to the wrong policy of Gerry Healy for entry into the Labour Party. However, because of the beginning of the post war boom, even a powerful Marxist organization would have been undermined. The objective situation in this period and for the foreseeable future, was favorable both for reformism and Stalinism.