Jim Higgins

Ten Years for the Locust
British Trotskyism 1938–1948

(Autumn 1963)

First published in International Socialism (1st series), No.14, Autumn 1963.
Transcribed by Mike Pearn.
Marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

1. The Founding of the Fourth International

September 1938 saw the culmination of five years’ work on the part of Leon Trotsky and at least some of his followers, in the founding congress of the Fourth International. The congress (attended by delegates from the USA, Great Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Italy, Poland, Belgium, Holland, Greece and Latin America) instituted a new revolutionary international, based not upon a loose organisation of national sections but upon a world party of Bolshevism. The forces were small but the tasks they set themselves were no less than the World Socialist Revolution. [1]

The International was predicated upon the complete bankruptcy of both Stalinism and social democracy, in a world situation where capitalism was entering its death agony. The alternative was either socialist revolution or barbarism. If the mistakes and betrayals of the Comintern were to be avoided then the international vanguard must be organised to lead along the path of international proletarian revolution.

In Britain the Trotskyists had a history which went back to the left opposition groups in the Communist Party, the most famous of these being the “Balham Group” (c.1931). The Communist Party had, as always, a short way with dissenters and they were almost entirely expelled. For a time the Trotskyists worked as a left opposition attempting to secure readmittance to the party and to reform it from within. This of course was in line with Trotsky’s thesis of reforming the Comintern from inside. [2]

By 1933 it became clear to Trotsky and his followers that the possibilities of reform within the Comintern were nil. The grotesque antics of the Communist Party in the face of the rise of fascism in Germany made this plain. If the Comintern was bankrupt then a new milieu was essential. The British Trotskyists were not long in finding a home. Two groups, divided it would seem more on the grounds of personal antipathy than anything else, entered the Labour Party – one, led by Reg Groves, publishing a paper called Red Flag, the other, led by Harber, publishing The Militant. Alongside this a group existed in the Independent Labour Party publishing Controversy. This last group received considerable assistance from the accession to their group of C.L.R. James, a West Indian cricketer and journalist on The Manchester Guardian. [3]

In 1936 a group was formed in Paddington, independently of the existing groups and centred around an ex-member of the Communist Party, Jock Haston. This last group worked in the Labour Party, largely in the Labour League of Youth. For a short period this Paddington group joined up with Harber’s Militant group. But in a very short space of time differences arose over allegations of misconduct during a strike in South Africa organised by comrades of Haston. The allegations were farcical and the quarrel degenerated to such levels of abuse that a split was inevitable, a split which made it impossible to found the Fourth International with a united British section.

In 1938, as a prelude to the founding congress, a high-powered delegation led by James P. Cannon (General Secretary of the Socialist Workers Party, the American Trotskyist party) arrived in Britain to effect a fusion of the various groups. Unity was in fact achieved between the ILP group, the Militant group and a small group of Socialist Labour Party members in Scotland. This new organisation was named the Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL) and at the founding congress was designated the British section of the Fourth International.

The Haston Group had opposed the fusion and maintained a separate existence, publishing two papers, Youth For Socialism and Workers International News. For this heretical behaviour they were dismissed as “a nationalist grouping in essence reactionary” by the founding congress. [4]

The RSL did not maintain its new-found unity for long, and within months of the foundation of the Fourth International the official British section was reduced effectively to Harber’s Militant group.

From this period Trotskyism in Britain was represented by two tendencies, the Workers International League (Haston’s group) and the RSL. The WIL was certainly the more active of the two, based upon the organising ability of Haston and the dedication of its small membership. [5] The RSL, although an older group and at this stage with a larger membership, was superior to the WIL only in its ability to give birth to factional disputes, and in respect of organising ability was decidedly inferior.

Both these groups were pursuing an entrist tactic in the Labour Party although the emphasis of the WIL was more on the Labour League of Youth, where they met with modest successes, despite the fact that the League of Youth was very much under the influence of the Communist Party.


2. The War Period

At the outbreak of the war the line of the two groups differed widely. A section of the WIL leadership were directed to Ireland to prepare a parallel section to publish the papers and maintain the organisation against expected attempts to smash the “revolutionary vanguard”. This revolutionary romanticism, which does more credit to the comrades’ fervour and willingness to sacrifice than to their good sense, proved unnecessary and after experiencing some considerable privation they returned to England intent upon turning the war into civil war.

The RSL remained safely ensconced in the Labour Party and with the electoral truce which followed the formation of the Churchill-Attlee coalition government, they vegetated with the moribund Labour Party electoral machine.

Haston and his followers now began to move out into the open [6] and from this time onward the story of British Trotskyism is the story of the activity of the WIL and the inactivity of the RSL. Nearly all the recruits to Trotskyism were taken into the WIL, while the RSL stagnated and declined.

In their paper Youth For Socialism the WIL told the workers: “The main enemy is at home ... Down with the war ... Defend the Soviet Union.” [7] They denounced the Russo-Finnish war and in an article by Gerry Healy called upon the workers to stand firm in defence of conditions and hours. [8] The call was made for the breaking of the electoral truce and for the Labour Party to take power the better to expose themselves. [9]

With splendidly impartial favour they castigated the Labour, Independent Labour and Communist Parties thus: “The role of the Second International has been even more openly chauvinist and traitorous than in the last war ... The workers cannot fail to observe the unprincipled nature of the twists and turns of the leadership of the Communist Party ... The policy of the ILP is covering the downright betrayal of the ‘defenders of democracy’ and the Stalinist International, and fails to place before the workers the revolutionary alternative to transform the war into civil war.” [10]

With the fall of France they called for the arming of the workers, and with the Nazi attack on Russia for “defence of the Soviet Union”, while denouncing the social patriotism of the Dutts and Pollitts.

By June 1941 the need was felt for a paper with a wider appeal than Youth For Socialism, and Socialist Appeal was launched. The paper was distinctly agitational in tone, and the politics, contrary to the revolutionary defeatism of the more orthodox Trotskyists, were what can best be called revolutionary defensist. The programme in the first issue of the Appeal was:

“Labour to Power on the following programme:
1. Arming and organising the workers under their own control to resist any danger from invasion or Petainism at home.
2. Election of Officers by Soldiers.
3. Establishment of special Officer Training camps financed by the Government and controlled by the Trade Unions, to train workers to become officers.
4. Expropriation of the arms industry, the mines, banks, land and heavy industry.
5. Workers’ control of production.
6. Freedom for India and the colonies.
7. A socialist appeal to workers in Germany and Europe for socialist struggle against Hitler.” [11]

Apart from the direct appeal of the Socialist Appeal programme, much of the WIL propaganda was directed to the Communist Party and against its pathetic capitulation to the Churchill government after Russia’s entry into the war. The Communist Party was designated “His Majesty’s Communist Party” in the pages of the Appeal. Their strike-breaking activities were denounced and a policy of industrial militancy advocated in opposition to the Stalinist line of class collaboration in the interests of the “Anti-fascist war”. [12]

The Communist Party were not long in reacting. A pamphlet, Clear Out Hitler’s Agents by William Wainwright [13], appeared in August 1942. This pamphlet, a prime example of what Trotsky called “The Stalin School of Falsification”, is a piece of ignorant viciousness compounded of straightforward lies and the more tortuous variety of the Moscow Trials. “Trotskyists”, it said, “oppose and hate the leaders of Russia. They want to see Russia defeated and Hitler victorious ... Hidden behind their slogan ‘Workers’ control for Britain’ is the Trotskyist aim to smash workers’ control in Russia.” In an attempt to build up a lynch mentality the pamphlet concludes, “Expose every Trotskyist you come into contact with. Show other people where his ideas are leading. Treat him as you would an open Nazi.” This rubbish was followed by even more grotesque nonsense in the Sunday Dispatch, which suggested that “Directives from Germany were transmitted to the British Trotskyists via a Workers’ Challenge Station”.

The WIL were undeterred by this smear campaign, which served to confirm them in their already inflated view of their own importance. Their outlook was one of extreme optimism. In the material for their conference in August 1942 [14] they saw Britain entering a pre-revolutionary situation. In their perspective the Labour Party was heading for a split, with the left possibly joining up with the “centrist” ILP which would for a short time attract workers in large numbers. The need to enter the Labour Party and assist in this supposed differentiation was scorned. The entrist tactic “was to enter a reformist or centrist party which is in a state of flux, where political life is at a high pitch and where the members are steadily moving left. It is essentially a short-term perspective of work in a milieu where favourable prospects exist in a short space of time ... such work must be subordinated to the general strategy of building the Fourth International party”. [15]

With the benefit of hindsight we can see that this perspective was almost laughable in its arrogant wrong-headedness. But, despite its crudities and lack of economic analysis, it represented the spirit if not the letter of Trotsky’s perspective. The revolutionary upsurge was to be expected in a short space of time. In his recorded speech to the Socialist Workers Party (American section of the Fourth International), Trotsky said:

“Ten years were necessary for the Kremlin clique in order to strangle the Bolshevik Party and to transform the first workers’ state into a sinister caricature. Ten years were necessary for the Third International in order to stamp into the mire their own programme and transform themselves into a stinking cadaver. Ten years, and ten years. Permit me to finish with a prediction. During the next ten years the programme of the Fourth International will become the guide of millions and these revolutionary millions will know how to storm earth heaven.” [16]

For Trotsky, there was no other way. The Russian bureaucracy were a parasitic caste, consciously counter-revolutionary, incapable of defending Russia against world capitalism. Social democracy could no longer exist on the crumbs from the table of failing imperialism. The workers would be forced to take up a revolutionary stand under the leadership of the Fourth International.

In Britain the WIL were frantically waving this same banner under the noses of the proletariat. Tremendous efforts were made in selling Socialist Appeal and by 1943 the sale of the paper had been forced up to between 18,000 and 20,000 per issue and the organisation had grown to some 250 members. What made this circulation possible, aside from fantastically hard work, was the growth of militancy in industry, which had been repressed by three years of war production. Conditions of work and safety were deteriorating and Socialist Appeal supported all attempts by workers to defend their conditions. Besides industrial reporting the paper carried news from members and readers in the forces exposing conditions in the detention centres as well as in the army itself, this in a period when the Communists were opposing strikes, blacklegging, and allowing safety requirements to fall below the minimum.

During all this period the RSL remained stagnant and could report no advances comparable to those of the WIL. The Fourth International was in similar straits. Its European sections were smashed or ineffective and contact with other sections was practically nil. The International Secretariat was in Canada, afflicted by personal difficulties between members. The “World Party of Bolshevism” was, in fact, moribund.


3. The Revolutionary Communist Party

The disproportion between the successes of the British organisations gave rise to pressure for fusion between the two leagues. For 12 months, from 1943 to 1944, meetings were held and the form of the new organisation hammered out. The WIL needed the fact of official recognition by the Fourth International and the RSL needed the WIL’s energy. But, as is invariably the case in such matters, there were difficulties. The RSL was, despite its small numbers, split into three factions: the majority around Harber and The Militant; a “Trotskyist opposition” led by Hilda Lane [17]; and a “left fraction” violently opposed to the fusion with the WIL, whom with unfortunate consistency they still characterised in the same terms that the founding congress had used in 1938. The “Trotskyist opposition” were sympathetic to the WIL and approved of their open activity, while the Militant group were in the hands of the International Secretariat. The trouble was that the WIL, on the basis of limited successes and a crazy perspective, favoured the formation of an open party while the RSL (at least as far as Harber and the “left fraction” were concerned) was firmly wedded to the Labour Party tactic. It was here that the International Secretariat took a hand. They made it clear that no British section, apart from the fused organisation, would be recognised by the International.

The fusion conference was held on 11 and 12 March 1944. 69 delegates attended, 17 from the RSL and 52 from the WIL. [18] The resulting party was the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). It was agreed that the position of the RSL elements would remain the same as before, with The Militant as the party’s paper in the Labour Party, while Socialist Appeal and Workers International News would be the organs of the RCP. Hasten was elected the General Secretary and the air was full of optimism. (During the conference a strike of 100,000 miners was taking place.) The party was launched on the expectation of rising industrial militancy and war-weariness leading on to revolutionary victory.

In mid-1944 contact was established with a group of Tyne engineering apprentices who were opposed to the Bevin ballot scheme which was being used to conscript young workers into the mines. Socialist Appeal came out strongly in support of the apprentices and assistance was given in the preparation of leaflets calling for nationalisation of the mines under workers’ control and for a strike against the conscription of apprentices. The police became interested in the agitation and the apprentices were questioned at length. The result was a prosecution under the Trades Disputes Act of 1927. Those arrested were Heaton Lee, Roy Tearse, Ann Keen and Jock Haston. Tearse and Lee received sentences of 12 months, Haston of 6 months and Ann Keen 13 days. All the defendants took their stand on revolutionary principle but were somewhat handicapped by the fact that their barrister, Curtis Bennett QC, was not prepared to bring out the revolutionary lessons of the trial. The verdict was hailed in Socialist Appeal as an attempt to gag the vanguard leadership of the Fourth International party. [19]

Defence committees were set up [20], protest meetings held, and the support of MPs canvassed. Prominent among those supporting the imprisoned Trotskyists were Aneurin Bevan and Jimmy Maxton. In September 1944 the convictions were quashed by the Court of Appeal. But the trial and conviction further embittered the RCP towards the Labour Party. (Bevin was the instigator of the prosecution under the Trades Disputes Act, a piece of Tory legislation resulting from the 1926 General Strike.)

The construction that the RCP put on the trial has some measure of truth. The industrial scene in 1944 was one of rising militancy. Some 3 million days were lost in strikes and the government were concerned at this serious threat to war production. Egged on by the Communist Party, they spoke darkly of agitators and subversives. The truth, of course, was that the RCP were only important in so far as they gave assistance after the accomplished fact of a strike. They were never in any continuous sense in contact with large numbers of workers.

By 1945 it was clear that the war had not long to run. But the promise of European revolution was not materialising. In 1944 the partisan activity in Italy had been hailed as the beginning of Europe’s revolution. It was not to be; the partisan movement which set up Soviets in some of the northern Italian towns swiftly came under Stalinist control and the continuity of Italian capitalism was assured. This was no surprise to the Trotskyists. Even if they overestimated the revolutionary possibilities of the European proletariat, they certainly did not underestimate the counter-revolutionary behaviour of the Stalinists. As a party competing for the leadership of the class they directed much of their effort to the CP-oriented militant and polemicised against the attitude of the Communist Party.

The call of the Communist Party for a continuation of the coalition government after the war was denounced in round terms. [21] Their answer to the twin reformism of both Stalinism and social democracy was the revolutionary programme of the Fourth International and the RCP, which regarded the Labour Government as a necessary stage through which the workers would have to pass before they realised the correctness of the revolutionary programme. [22]

At a by-election in Neath in early 1945 Jock Haston stood as the RCP candidate. All the stops were pulled out and the workers of Neath were given the opportunity to respond to the voice of revolutionary Socialism. In Socialist Appeal, February 1945, the Neath workers were reminded that “A vote for Labour is a vote for Churchill and the Tories”.

The campaign resulted in a regurgitation of all the Stalinist filth and slanders against the Trotskyists. The Labour candidate, D.J. Williams [23] was not averse to this form of electioneering. He was reported as saying “Haston is a Fascist” and “Haston is subsidised by the same people who subsidised Lord Haw Haw”. [24] The Communist Party went even further. In a debate with Haston before an audience of some 1500 Alun Thomas, secretary of the West Wales Communist Party, stated, “If I had my way all those on this platform would be shot” [25] (presumably he excluded himself from this blanket condemnation). Despite the smear campaign and a press blackout on the RCP campaign, some 3,000 copies of each issue of the paper were sold in Neath together with considerable quantities of Trotskyist literature. In his report to the Central Committee of the RCP on the by-election, John Lawrence (South Wales organiser of the RCP) reported that half the Independent Labour Party branch in Neath had joined the RCP. (The Neath ILP had 4 members.)

The vote however was disappointing:

D.J. Williams (Labour)


W. Samuels (Nationalist)


J. Haston (RCP)


The headline in Socialist Appeal, “1,781 Vote Revolutionary Communist”, could not conceal the fact that reformism had deeper roots in Neath than the RCP had thought possible.

The RSL-WIL fusion, as has been suggested earlier, was not unaccompanied by difficulties. The “left fraction” of the RSL (comprising about 20 people) had been violently opposed to unity with the WIL and had only joined after an ultimatum from the Fourth International. [26] Further difficulty of a more serious nature arose from opposition led by G. Healy on the old vexed question of Labour Party entry. Healy and a minority of the membership were for entry, while the majority were for maintaining a small group in the Labour Party, but concentrating the main work in the open party and building the RCP.

As is usual in faction fights, accusations were bandied back and forth of empiricism, eclecticism, menshevism (both right and left varieties), left wing infantilism and, of course, the party regime was likened to Stalin’s.

The perspective of the minority was one of deepening capitalist crisis with masses of workers turning to social democracy, which would be unable to solve the crisis. At this juncture a differentiation would take place with the defeat of the right wing rump and, if the correct tactic were pursued, with the Trotskyists in a position to lead the left to victory. The minority’s view that there was not time to build a revolutionary party and that the field of work should be in the Labour Party was the only sensible part of their analysis. The majority denied the short-term catastrophe analysis of Healy (a view of capitalism to which Healy remains attached) although they were of course firmly wedded to it in the rather longer term. They suggested, with some justification, that post-war reconstruction together with the fag-end of Lend-Lease would ease the situation for British capitalism. The need to build the RCP was the primary task: entry into the Labour Party was still a tactic to be used only at the height of a left wing in social democracy and then only as a short-term visit, more in the way of a raid, and this only necessary if the revolutionary party was weak and unable to compete openly.

The arguments were all laid out in a succession of interminable internal bulletins. Conferences of the RCP were each year taken up with wrangles on the question of entrism. The minority received considerable support from the IEC whose perspective for the European revolution was closely followed by Healy. [27] It is possible to look back now and to see that the minority were correct in their demand for entrism, although their theoretical basis for entry was nonsense. The majority’s views were less nonsensical but led them to the false position of the open party.

With the coming of Marshall Aid (a possibility excluded by all the Trotskyist factions and tendencies) the situation altered radically. Reformism and capitalist expansion got a new lease of life and the arms economy later secured their continuity. Stalinism was not dead and had in fact extended its empire into Eastern Europe. The possibility of short-term spectacular gains inside or outside the Labour Party became a dream. In 1948 Healy and about 50 of his followers were designated the official Labour Party group by the Fourth International, answerable only to the International and not to the RCP, and with their own organisation. Although no formal split occurred, the effect was the same. The Haston majority maintained the RCP for a few months with diminishing results and a growing tiredness on the part of the leadership, and in 1949 the party and the press were dissolved. Some of the members joined Healy in Labour Party work, some the Communist Party, while others disappeared into the political wilderness and apathy.


4. Conclusions

The period up to the dissolution was one where an attempt was made to explain the current world reality in terms of Trotskyist orthodoxy. The class nature of the Eastern satellites was in this respect rather baffling. Trotsky had defined Russia as a “workers’ state” (albeit degenerated) on basis of its state property, planning and the monopoly of foreign trade, together with its alleged continuity with the October Revolution. At the same time he made it clear that the bureaucracy were consciously restorationist and counter-revolutionary, incapable of defending state property except under pressure from the masses. In one respect therefore (state property etc) the eastern satellites were “workers’ states” but the class as an active force had not intervened in the installation of the Stalinist regimes. Indeed they had largely been installed at the points of the Red Army’s bayonets, at the instigation of the “restorationist, counter-revolutionary bureaucracy”. The RCP in the person of Jock Haston and the party’s theoretician, Grant, toyed for a while with the theory of state capitalism, only to reject this in favour of a form of abridged Stalinism which designated the Eastern satellites as workers’ states requiring unconditional defence.

At the second world congress of the Fourth International, in 1948, this RCP thesis was rejected at the instigation of the IEC. The congress characterised the “People’s Democracies” as capitalist countries with Bonapartist police regimes. This analysis did not outlast the Stalin-Tito rift when, with rare opportunism, the Fourth International jumped smartly on to Tito’s band-wagon. Yugoslavia was welcomed into the fold of workers’ states and so, by the same token, were the other less independent satellites who must have been pleased to learn (if they ever knew about it) that they were deformed workers’ states just like Mother Russia. The situation became theoretically impossible and laid the basis for subsequent splits in the Fourth International. The RCP went full circle and became once again a left critic of Stalinism, cheered by Stalin’s victories, but unable to affect their course; likewise without influence or effect on British politics. It died of lack of success, false perspectives, and wrong tactics – a sad and chastening experience.

The demise of British Trotskyism (and it died some time before the corpse was formally interred) cannot be blamed only on its tactical inadequacies. Although it is true that with a more realistic appraisal of the world they could have continued for much longer. But like Trotsky, they founded their attitude on an erroneous analysis of reformism and imperialism with a fundamental misappraisal of Stalinism. [28] The characterisation of Russia as a counter-revolutionary abortion hid the fact of the profoundly capitalist nature of Russian economy, its dynamism and ability to survive. Far from being a shallow-rooted caste, the bureaucracy was, and is, an integral part of the Russian body politic.

Similarly with reformism. To assume in face of all the evidence to the contrary that reformism affected only a thin layer or crust of workers, with a revolutionary mass seething below, was to deny the facts of working-class life, the tendency for differentials to narrow and for larger and larger layers to become permeated with reformism. Capitalism and imperialism changed and the old simplistic ideas were not enough. The RCP foundered on its irrelevance and inability to accept reality. The chances for revolutionary change did not exist in Britain, and on the continent they were murdered by Stalinism.

In The Death Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International Trotsky had suggested that the proletariat were crushed between the upper and nether millstones of reformism and Stalinism. The Fourth International in this scheme were to lead this same proletariat and smash both millstones. It did not happen, and as the story unfolded, it was clear that the Fourth International itself was being crushed by the self-same millstones, veering on occasions to Stalinism and on others to social democracy.

The sterility and iconography of the present-day Trotskyists is a chastening sight to behold. The ossification of the living thought of Leon Trotsky is a crime to the memory of a man who was always ready to jettison outmoded ideas. His whole political career is an example of the application of the marxist method to real situations. His epigones in doing honour to his every jot and tittle have obscured much that remains valid in his thought and turned what should be a continuous road of revolutionary consciousness into an obscure blind alley.

The history of Trotskyism in Britain is a history of failure but it is also a history of struggle and high endeavour ensuring that Trotsky’s revolutionary message was heard, if only in a distorted form. It is on this that we can build.



1. Statutes of the FI.

2. “... the proletariat of the USSR has not forfeited the possibility of submitting the bureaucracy to it, of reviving the party again and of mending the regime of the dictatorship – without a new revolution, with the methods and on the road to reform.” Problems of the Development of the USSR, Thesis of the International Left Opposition, New York 1936, p.36.

3. Author of World Revolution 1917-1938 and Black Jacobins, both published by Secker and Warburg.

4. The Death Agony of Capitalism and the tasks of the Fourth International (available, with foreword by C. Slaughter, from the Socialist Labour League, price 1s.).

5. In 1939 the membership of WIL was 30; the RSL 80. Despite this clear turn to open work the members of the WIL did not relinquish their Labour Party membership. This was the case even in the period of the RCP – neither the WIL nor the RCP was proscribed, an indication of the state of the LP machine at the time, which seems incredible today. From this period onward, however, the main activity and propaganda was away from Labour Party work.

6. Despite this clear turn to open work the members of the WIL did not relinquish their Labour Party membership. This was the case even in the period of the RCP – neither the WIL nor the RCP was proscribed, and indication of the state of the LP machine, which seems incredible today. From this period onward, however, the main activity and propaganda was away from Labour Party work.

7. Youth For Socialism, September 1939.

8. Trade Unionists Stand Firm, Youth For Socialism, February 1940.

9. Expose The Labour Leaders, Force Them to Take Power, Youth For Socialism, June 1940.

10. A Year Of Imperialist War, Its Lessons For the Workers, Youth For Socialism, September 1940.

11. Socialist Appeal, June 1941.

12. In August 1941 Pollitt sent a letter to all CP branches in which he said, “... In supporting the Churchill government, we do it wholeheartedly and without reservation”.

13. At present assistant editor of the Daily Worker.

14. Preparing For Power, WIL, September 1942.

15. Ibid.

16. Recorded address to SWP conference 1938, reproduced in Socialist Appeal, June 1942.

17. Subsequently St Pancras Labour Councillor, and then a member of the CP: recently deceased.

18. At the rate of one delegate per five members, the RSL had 75 members and the WIL 760. The RSL was however split into three delegations, seven from the Militant group, six from the Trotskyist Opposition, four from the Left Fraction. Information from the Fusion Conference minutes.

19. Socialist Appeal, July 1944.

20. The Anti-Labour Laws Defence Committee. Chairman Jimmy Maxton.

21. The London District Committee of the CP issued a pamphlet in April 1945 which said: “... provided we get a new House of Commons with a strong majority of Labour, Communist and Liberal MPs. I believe the Labour Party should then form a new National Government and invite others, including Tories like Churchill and Eden to participate.”

22. Where Is The Communist Party Going?, D. James, Workers International News, November 1945.

23. D.J. Williams, a “Labour Left” who in his earlier days as an NCLC tutor had been sympathetic to Trotskyism.

24. Socialist Appeal, mid-May 1945.

25. Ibid.

26. The Left Fraction was eventually expelled for refusing to accept the authority of the leading committees of the RCP.

27. The IS had a theory that Anglo-American Imperialism would set up Franco-type dictatorships in liberated countries, similar to De Gaulle in France and Bonomi in Italy. America would not aid the European countries and the subsequent miseries would lead to revolutionary action. See First Phase of the Coming European Revolution, RCP Internal Bulletin, December 1946.

28. For a full treatment of this question see: The Roots Of Reformism, T. Cliff, Socialist Review; Imperialism, Highest Stage But One, M. Kidron, International Socialism, 9, Summer 1962; Stalinist Russia, A Marxist Analysis, T. Cliff, London 1955.


Last updated on 24.4.2007