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Behind the Smokescreen

An analysis of the sectarian politics of the Workers Revolutionary Party

A collection of articles first printed in Socialist Press

Written: 1975 / 76.
First Published: June 1976.
Source: Published by Folrose Ltd. for the Workers Socialist League.
Transcription/HTML Markup: Sean Robertson for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

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Behind the Smokescreen


The WRP School of Falsification
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 2, Feb 20th 1975).

Healy Revises Marxist Philosophy
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 4, March 20th 1975).

Marxism on the Rack
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 8, May 15th 1975).

Vietnam: WRP on the Road Back to Pabloism
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 19, October 15th 1975).

Behind the Smokescreen: WRP Opposes Marxist Method
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 17, Sept 17th 1975).

Lessons of our History
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 18, October 1st 1975).

News Line – The Rot Goes On
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 36, June 16th 1976).

Review of ‘The Battle For Trotskyism’
(reprinted from Socialist Press No 30, March 24th 1976).


The articles in this booklet aim to bring together in a more comprehensive way many of the strands of critique and analysis of the sectarian method of the Workers Revolutionary Party which we put forward over the last 16 months in the pages of Socialist Press.

This is important for two reasons. The first is obviously that the questions of method and programme discussed in these articles, together with many of the questions relating to the history of our movement – so subjectively distorted by the WRP leadership for factional reasons are central to bringing the lessons of the past into our fight today to build a revolutionary leadership with a firm base in the workers’ movement.

The second reason is to pierce any illusions that may have been created on the character of the present leadership of the WRP. It may appear to some observers that the replacement of Gerry Healy by Mike Banda as General Secretary reflects some change or an upheaval in the Party leadership.

Yet the complete continuity of policy and orientation, together with Banda’s history of complete subservience to Healy (even to the lengths of defending Healy’s most absurd philosophical revisions) indicate this is not the case. Indeed the launching of the WRP’s opportunist daily News Line (under Healy’s leadership) can be seen as entirely consistent with the equally opportunist moves towards an uncritical relationship with the PLO leadership. And with the help of the analysis put forward in these articles, the link between these opportunist moves and the left-sectarian face of the WRP in Britain (dropping completely even the verbal pretence of fighting for transitional demands in line with Trotsky’s Transitional Programme) can be understood.

We do not regard these as small issues. The group of comrades who first formed the Workers Socialist League were expelled from the WRP in December 1974 for their political opposition to Healy’s sectarian method and their fight to reorientate the WRP along the lines of the Transitional Programme. From the very beginnings of the WSL’s paper, Socialist Press we have given space to searching analysis of every major revision and opportunist move by the Healy leadership – recognising that only the WSL was equipped to fight Healy from the standpoint of a principled fight in the working class. And while sectarianism and opportunism take different forms different groups, the political sickness they represent is certainly not confined to the WRP and its leaders.

By illuminating all these questions this booklet aims to assist the reader to work towards a political understanding of the method of sectarianism, how it must be fought to the roots in the building of Trotskyist parties.

June 24th, 1976.

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