Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History


McShane and MacLean

Dear Comrades,

I am enjoying the hard look at Trotskyist history because of its frankness about its inherent divisiveness. On the Stalinist front, I have to thank Ray Challinor for exposing Harry McShane for what he was in the Communist Party, and chide him for forgetting that a leopard does not easily lose its spots.

There is not the space here to detail the terrible things that the man did in and out of the CP. But one thing is indisputable: he was responsible for the (legal) sabotage of my biography of John MacLean (1879-1921). And it was significant that when the great man’s daughter’s book came out two years later (1973), it was by a Trotskyist publisher, Pluto Press, rivals to my then publisher, the CP’s Lawrence and Wishart, London. What a waste of honest work!

Stalinism did a lot of harm to our labour movement. Trotskyism caused a lot of lost causes to surface and die off. Perhaps it’s time to take one step back to go two steps forward; to get back to the drawing board and look at capitalism anew. We should welcome what is going on in Russia, and demand justice for Trotsky the person.

Yours aye
Peter Kearney

Updated by ETOL: 5.7.2003