Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History, Vol. 10 No. 2


Where is Ted Grant?

Dear Comrades

I read the review by Paul Flewers of Marcel van der Linden’s book Western Marxism and the Soviet Union in Revolutionary History, volume 10 no. 1. In this review Paul stated that it was ‘a comprehensive survey of Marxists analysis that has appeared in the West up until 1991’, yet I found no mention of the extensive analysis made by Ted Grant. When I looked through the book itself, which the reviewer kindly loaned me, I found not one mention of Ted Grant in the book or the index or even a footnote. No wonder Paul omitted to mention Ted’s contribution!

Ted wrote numerous articles which analysed and predicted the developments in Eastern Europe and the strengthening of Stalinism as it emerged from WWII, wrote a withering criticism of ‘State Capitalism’, predicted the outcome of the Chinese Revolution, explained the term Proletarian Bonapartism, and demolished the theory of Pierre Frank which maintained Europe would be under Bonapartist regimes.

Whilst Paul has recognised he didn’t spot the omission of Ted’s writings I had a different response from the Professor.

Naturally, I am aware of Ted Grant and his political theories. But his contributions on the class nature of the Soviet Union did not strike me as particularly original. The criterion for inclusion in the book was: ‘Marxist analyses which in some way significantly deviated from or added to the older contributions’.

In response I wrote

Ted did foresee the developments in Eastern Europe, and explained what happened in Eastern Europe; that there would be a raising of production in Europe after the war; explained Proletarian Bonapartism, the Chinese Revolution.

Ted did deviate significantly from the Fourth International theorists because most of the theories the ‘Fourth’ leaders put forward did not stand the test of history whereas Ted’s writings have. For example just a few examples of their mistakes:

  • A resolution drafted by the ISFI for the World Conference of 1946 even declared that ‘diplomatic pressure alone’ could ‘restore capitalism in the Soviet Union’! When the Stalinism had emerged from the War strengthened.
  • Cannon maintained that WWII hadn’t finished
  • Pablo’s theory of War-Revolution
  • Frank’s theory of Bonapartism, subsequently the Strong State
  • The Fourth International‘s delusions about Tito
  • The failure of the leaders to apply the method of Trotsky was woefully apparent when Sam Gordon, explained, ‘Ah, yes, it’s only 1947 now, there is still a year to go of Trotsky’s prognosis.’ The whole events of the war and the post-war period had been lost on him and his fellow thinkers of the ISFI.

It should come as no surprise that in the interviews that Professor Marcus van der Linden had with Cliff and Frank, that neither of them mentioned Ted because wrote withering criticisms of their theories, respectively of State Capitalism and Bonapartism.

Russia from Revolution to Counter Revolution by Ted Grant traces all the developments in Russia from 1917 to 1997.

The following links sent to the Professor, may be of interest those who have little knowledge of the writings of Ted Grant

Alun Morgan

Updated by ETOL: 3.11.2011