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Ian Birchall

Letter to the editor

(Winter 1981)

From International Socialism 2 : 11, Winter 1981, p. 72.
Transcribed by Christian Høgsbjerg, with thanks to the Lipman-Miliband Trust.
Marked up by Einde O’ Callaghan for the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL).

Dear Comrade,

I have no complaint to make of the cuts made in my article The Autonomy of Theory (IS 2 : 10), since I invited such cuts by grossly failing to write to the required length. One cut, however, did weaken the argument I wished to present.

On page 71, after the discussion of NLR’s critique of Chinese foreign policy, there should have been a mention of the resignation from the Editorial Committee of Ben Brewster. In resigning Brewster commended Chinese policy and invoked with approval the theory of ‘socialism in one country’ (NLR 70/110). The significance of this is twofold. Firstly, an overt Stalinist like Brewster had coexisted with the rest of the NLR team for several years, and had been a leading spokesperson on philosophical and military matters. Secondly, fear of further resignations seems to have been a factor in discouraging NLR from pursuing political clarification in the years after 1971.


Yours fraternally,
Ian Birchall

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Last updated: 27.8.2013