Marxist Writers: Duncan Hallas

Marxists’ Internet Archive

Duncan Hallas

1925 – 2002

“When all is said, the struggle carried on by Trotsky and his followers (with all the weaknesses) did preserve an authentic communist current ... The Fourth International, as a serious proposition, was still-born, but a degree of continuity from the revolutionary period of the Comintern was maintained in the teeth of near-insurmountable difficulties. We are part of that continuity today; the tradition Trotsky fought for is our tradition.” – Trotskyism reassessed

Duncan Hallas in action


Born into a working class family in Manchester, Duncan Hallas joined the Trotskyist Workers International League while still a young worker during World War II. Conscripted into the army in 1943 he was involved in the great mutiny in Egypt after the end of the War.

Back in Britain he was one of the small number of comrades who rallied around Tony Cliff’s critique of “orthodox” Trotskyism and was a founder member of the Socialist Review Group, the forerunner of today’s British Socialist Workers Party and the International Socialist Tendency.

During the long boom of the 1950s and early 1960s he lost contact with the group although he remained politically active in the teachers’ union and elsewhere. During the great upheaval of 1968 he rejoined the International Socialists, as the organisation was then called. From that time he was a leading member of the organisation, a great populariser of Marxism and an inspired speaker, until ill health forced him out of active politics in 1995.

You can listen to a small selection of talks in the Duncan Hallas Audio Archive.


Jan. 1951

Problems of Rearmament

May 1951

The Significance of Nationalisation

July 1951

The Stalinist Parties

June 1952

The Permanent Crisis

Apr./May 1969


Aug. 1969

Britain’s Oldest Colony

Oct./Nov. 1969

Building the Leadership

Nov. 1969

Pay Revolt Hits Schools

Feb./Mar. 1970

Paying the Piper (book review)

Jul./Aug. 1970

Western Capitalism: the Latest Phase (extended book review)

Aug. 1970

Trotsky (pamphlet)


Introduction to Origins of the IS


Towards a Revolutionary Socialist Party

Feb./Mar. 1971

Stalinism in Britain (book review)

March 1971

The Meaning of Marxism (pamphlet)

Apr./May 1971

Gramsci (book review)

Apr./May 1971

Lukacs’ Lenin (book review) (written as Fred Hall)

Sept. 1971

A Slanderous Attack On IS

Oct. 1971

IS and the ‘Trotskyist Tendency’

February 1972

Theory and Practice

March 1972

Hints on Chairmanship

March 1972

Less Than Candid

March 1972

Marxism and Terrorism (with Jim Higgins)

Apr./June 1972

The thought of Karl Marx (review) (written as Fred Hall)

July/Sept. 1972

Guides to Action (review) (written as Fred Hall)

Oct./Dec. 1972

Against the Stream

Oct./Dec. 1972

The Decline of Reformism

Oct./Dec. 1972

Revolutions (review) (written as Fred Hall)

Oct./Dec. 1972

Socialist Economics (book review)

Jan. 1973

Do we support reformist demands?

Jan. 1973

Seedtime and Harvest (book review)

Mar. 1973

The election bogey

Mar. 1973

War of Intervention (review) (written as Fred Hall)

Mar. 1973

What is ‘economism’?

May 1973

Reforming the Labour Party? (book review)

June 1973

Introduction to International Socialism 61

July 1973

Fourth International in Decline

Dec. 1973

The First Shop Stewards’ Movement (extended book review)

Dec. 1973

Revolutionaries (book review)

Feb. 1974

Founding of the Communist International

April 1974

The Comintern – Mass Parties and the International

May 1974

The Comintern – Workers and Peasants

May 1974

Socialism Now (book review)

May 1974

The Socialist Register 1973 (book review)

Oct. 1974

White Collar Workers

Dec. 1974

The Class Struggle in Eastern Europe (book review)

Dec. 1974

Economic prospects

Jan. 1975

The Communist International and the United Front

Feb. 1975

Centrist Currents (review articles)

Feb. 1975

A note of qualification (editorial comment)

Mar. 1975

Letter to Readers (editorial comment)

June 1975

Building the Revolutionary Party (extended book review)

July 1975

Letter to Readers (editorial comment)

Jan. 1976

On the United Front Tactic: Some Preliminary Notes

Feb. 1976

In Chou’s Lifetime – Some Dates

March 1976

Communism and Stalinism: On John Gollan’s Socialist Democracy Some Problems

May 1976

The Communist Party and the General Strike

June 1976

All Power to the Soviets 1 (extended book review)

July 1976

All Power to the Soviets 2 (extended book review)

July 1976

Karl Marx: Man and Fighter (book review)

Sept. 1976

On Trotskyism (book review)

Sept. 1976

The Soviet Union: State Capitalist or Socialist? (with Peter Binns)


How can we move on?

Jan. 1977

Some Prospects for 1977

February 1977

The CP, the SWP and the Rank and File Movement

May 1977

Electoral Slates and Joint Slates

May 1977

The Stalin Phenomenon (book review)

July 1977

Trotskyism Reassessed

July 1978

The Arms Race – The numbers game (as Fred Hall)

Sept. 1978

Natural laws rule, OK (letter)

Nov. 1978

Clearer View of 1979


Trotsky’s Marxism (book)

Feb. 1979

The Making of a Myth (book review)

Aug. 1979

Labour Left v. Right – Again

Spring 1980

Trade Unionists and revolution – A response to Richard Hyman

April 1980

Where do we go from here? (interview)

Summer 1980

Eastern European class societies (letter)

Dec. 1980

The Return of the Workers’ Bomb

Jan. 1981

A focus for anger? (interview)

Feb. 1981/Sept. 1985

The Labour Party: Myth and Reality (pamphlet)

Feb. 1982

The relevance of a revolutionary (book review)

Spring 1982

Revolutionaries and the Labour Party

May 1982

Socialism and War

Nov. 1982

Is the class contracting?

Dec. 1982

E.H. Carr – Tell it as it is (obituary)

Feb. 1983

Essentially amorphous (book review)

March 1983

The Legacy of Karl Marx

June 1983

Marx, Engels and the Vote

Dec 1983

Class struggle, but no party! (book review)

Jan. 1984

The Federation (book review)

Jan. 1984

Ideas Without Action (book review)

Feb. 1984

In the beginning ...

Sept. 1984

Agitation and Propaganda

Sept. 1984

Confusion Reigns (book review)

Oct. 1984

A Serious Study (letter)


The Comintern (book)

Mar. 1985

Fighting anti-communism (review)

Mar. 1985

Zero rating (review)

April 1985


Sept. 1985

Armed without an army (book review)

Oct. 1985

Down the line (book review)

Nov. 1985

Marx’s Road to Marxism

Dec. 1985

Cult Comes a Cropper

Jan 1986

Marx and Politics

March 1986

Pioneers of the Tradition (book review)

April 1986

Reality, Not the Myth (book review)

June 1986

The American Working Class

Sept. 1986

Mad dog days (letter)

Oct. 1986

The sad fate of British Trotskyism (book review)

Nov. 1986

Saving the system (book review)

Dec. 1986

The Ruskin Debate: Their college or ours?

March 1987

Wars within wars (book review)

May 1987

The proud tradition (book review)

July 1987

Absent Friends (book review)

July 1987

Introduction to Trotsky’s The Lessons of October

July 1987

October 1917

Winter 1987

Comments on Base and Superstructure (letter)

Jan. 1988

The Bourgeois Revolution

Mar. 1988

Unworthy Opponents (book review)

Autumn 1988

Trotsky’s Heritage: On the 50th anniversary of the foundation of the Fourth International

Oct. 1988

The Decisive Settlement

June 1989

First stirrings

Oct. 1989

Selected Memories (book review)

January 1990

Partial vision (book review)

April 1990

Night class struggle (book review)

June 1990

Hard Labour

July 1990

The flame of internationalism

Sept. 1992

The Road to Ruin (book review)

Feb. 1993

Schooled in the Struggle (book review)

April 1993

My favourite books

June 1993

Introduction to Lenin’s “Left Wing” Communism

Sept. 1993

The Shyster Lawyer (book review)

Oct. 1993

The making of a working class historian (obituary)

Feb. 1994

Running a temperature (book review)

June 1994

The Fight for Revolution

June 1994

Rum, Sodomy and the Lash (book review)

May 1995

A Soldier’s Story (interview)

24 May 1996

How our rulers keep their grip

May 2000

Tony Cliff (obituary)

Feb. 2001

Swimming Against the Tide (interview)

Last updated on 25.11.2013