Roots of Radicalism

Does the Militant Tendency know too much?


A RECENT policy document written by veteran Trotskyite Ted Grant throws some interesting light on the Militant Tendency, the group which is becoming the victim of a purge within the Labour Party.

Ted Grant, is the Tendency's leader and his latest offering, Britain in Crisis - A Marxist Analysis, shows a perception of the real world which is unusual for a Marxist. For instance, he openly admits that Blacks were “brought to Britain as a weapon of cheap labour to split the proletariat and to hold down wages”. However, this rare example of a communist ideologue perceiving something which corresponds with reality is soon overshadowed by the fantasising one has come to expect from the mouthpieces of Marxism. He goes on to state that last year's Black riots were not race riots, a deduction which is totally devoid of any factual basis. He does perceive though that the Blacks can be used as the cannon-fodder for the Red Revolution, a perception not completely unique to comrade Grant considering that the same thing was being said by leading communists such as Israel Cohen at the turn of the century.

But it is Grant's analysis of the role of Racial Nationalist groups which is bound to prove controversial and will upset most of his colleagues on the left. He totally dispels the orthodox Trotskyite line that groups like the NF are 'capitalism's boot-boys'. He states: "Contrary to the ideas of the sects (the SWP etc.) the bourgeois have not used the fascists as an important weapon of capitalism". He goes on to explain that previous national revolutionary movements “politically expropriated” the capitalist elements who sought to use them, and so the reactionaries burned their fingers when they attempted to use Nationalists as a heavy mob. So the standard Trotskyite approach to the role of Racial Nationalist groups is shown to be false by one of the very people who should be supporting such an approach ― one of Britain's leading Trotskyites!

The next premise of Trotskyism to bite the dust in the wake of Grant's writing is the claim that capitalism is racialist. Grant insists that capitalists will not risk losing their markets in Africa, Asia and Latin America by implementing any racialist policies. And that's the reason, comrade Grant concludes, that the Tory Government reversed their 1979 election policy and handed Rhodesia over to Black Marxist terrorists.


But if the credibility of these Trotskyite ideas are smashed by one of their very own leading lights, even more hammer blows are struck by Grant as he seems to be waking up to reality. He even predicts that "the bourgeois will crack down" and use police action and large prison sentences to crush British Nationalists in the future. So Militant's leader and guru has come out and admitted what we'd been saying all along!

Nor could we better by much Militant's critique of rival Marxist organisations. The Communist Party is a “decrepit” and “dying” organisation, devoid of revolutionary potential and “linked with the odium and smear” of the Soviet Empire. It had( been taken over by a “petit-bourgeois and middle-class layer”. The other Trotskyite sects are described as “overwhelmingly middle class ... in outlook, policy and composition”. The WRP is “a permanent little sect outside reality”; the IMG is a “dwindling force, overwhelmingly middle class in composition and membership”; the SWP is “now in the doldrums” and “mainly composed of students and ex-students”. Some SWP “opportunists” like Paul Foot will, Ted Grant not unreasonably predicts, end up as Tribunite Labour MPs. Labour's Tribune Group are dismissed as “middle class trendies”, though its leader Lord 'Tony Benn' Stansgate might better be described as an upper class trendy!

Neither does Ted Grant's attack on the left end there. He urges women to reject “the alien, hysterical ideas of the so-called Women's Liberation Movement”. Indeed, it is only in his timid avoidance of analysing the nature of racial minority involvement in the propagation of such “alien ideas” that Grant falls down, perhaps because that would set him on a slippery slope leading to his facing the 'alien' nature of the Marxism he espouses.


The Militant analysis also includes an incisive, well argued and thoroughly researched exposure of the depth and terminal nature of the present crisis of the capitalist system. Nevertheless, though its analysis of what is wrong with capitalism is reasonable enough, Grant and his Militants only have the same old Marxist solution to offer in its place. Even though Grant rightly perceives that under such a system “there is no direct control by the working class over society” and “workers realise that a bureaucratic system of this sort cannot move in the direction of socialism” he still has nothing to offer but the same old brand of State Capitalism. He still owes his ideological allegiance to Karl Marx, a 19th century Jewish crank, and this forces him to demand nationalisation as the answer to all the ills of society. He still demands state control as opposed to the workers' control advocated by the National Front.

Militant remain blinded to the fact that the crisis of capitalism is not so much a crisis caused by too much private ownership but of too little. And it cannot be solved ― as surely Russia has shown ― by abolishing private ownership altogether in favour of a bureaucratic tyranny of half-a-dozen Party bosses.

Ted Grant of the Militant Tendency: Seeing some of the truth but still offering the same old Marxist solutions.

As this booklet shows, the Militant Tendency has come a long way. It has diagnosed the sickness of Britain's ruling system as accurately as any Marxist group can be expected to. It has broken free of infantile Trotskyite conceptions of Racial Nationalism as some sort of goon squad for ultra-Toryism. Furthermore, Militant has woken up to the fact that the Tories, or any other 'Right-Wing' defenders of capitalism, will never and can never implement any thoroughgoing racialist or nationalist policies because capitalism is and must be an international and consequently an internationalist system.


The Tendency has seen through the petit-bourgeois trendy poseurs who make up the rest of the Marxist Left, and broken free from its ultra-liberal irrelevancies, such as Women's Lib, Gay Lib etc., which have nothing to do with British workers.

It is quite clear from this latest booklet that the Militant Tendency have chucked overboard much of the sterile alien dogma which has infested the Labour Movement since its hi-jacking by bourgeois aliens in the first decades of this century. Alone amongst Britain's Marxists, Militant members are beginning to see through the Red fog into the bright light of reality. Some of them have already realised that the Blacks were brought here to undercut and divide the White working class. Perhaps they will also realise fairly soon that the yawning inbred gulf of Race makes class unity between Black and White workers completely impossible.

Perhaps also they will finally see that the Labour Party is now finished as a medium for the triumph of British workers. Long ago it was sold out to the system, and today those who are not system hacks are Tribunite trendies, and both have nothing to offer the White worker. Is it so surprising then that these same system hacks are now conducting a witch-hunt against the Militant Tendency?