Ted Grant

A general strike erupted in Belgium in the winter of 1960-61 against the austerity measures of the government. The movement lasted six weeks exposing the impotence of the ruling class. Ted Grant drew the lessons of this epic struggle and polemicised with those leftists who had written off the revolutionary potential of the European working class because of “high standards of living in the welfare state”.

 

In April 1960 savage repression of student led protests against rigged elections sparked off revolution in South Korea. The students were joined by the workers and within 10 days the semi-dictatorial rule of US-backed president Rhee was overthrown. Ted Grant pointed out that US imperialism had no alternative other than to grant substantial concessions to the masses in order to stem the tide of revolt.

In May 1961 Ted Grant replied to an article in the Tribune by Michael Foot who alleged that the Second World War could have been avoided, had the British ruling class understood that Hitler was “bluffing”.

Ideological debate around the issue of “inevitability of war under capitalism” turned into a major row between China and the USSR and escalated in 1960 with the sudden withdrawal of Russian specialised instructors from China. Ted Grant explained the real significance of this clash and denounced the nationalist conflicting interests of the Chinese and Russian bureaucracies.

In 1956, Khrushchev’s report on the crimes of Stalin at the 20th congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union together with the Hungarian revolution shook the Stalinist parties throughout the world. Ted Grant exposed the contradictory and reductionist analysis proposed by the Stalinist leaders in preparation of the British CP congress and pointed out that “the complete shake up within the Communist Party in Britain is an indication that it will not be possible to muffle the doubts and questioning among the sincere Communist rank and file by hysterical shrieks and threats on the part of the leadership as in the past. The hypnosis of Stalinism has been broken.”

In 1956 the Khrushchev report and the Hungarian Revolution opened up a crisis inside the British Communist Party, with many rank and file members beginning to question Stalinism. The group around Ted Grant oriented its activity towards the CP and tried to build links with militants who were in opposition within the party, with the aim of winning them to the Marxist tendency.

Professor Wolfgang Harich, member of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany was arrested in 1956 in East Germany accused of conspiring against the state and condemned with other dissidents to long jail sentences. Ted Grant pointed out that an opposition to Stalinism was developing within the party and that the bureaucracy’s harsh reaction was an indication of weakness, not of strength.

One year ago today the Marxist theoretician Ted Grant died after more than seventy years of political activity. His death marked the end of an era, but not the end of the struggle for the ideas he always defended.

Last year, after the death of Ted Grant, we launched an appeal for donations to finance the publication of his works. The plan is to produce the first volume, covering the War Years, this year. The work of scanning and proofreading the original texts is going ahead and we have started publishing them on line at www.tedgrant.org. As this is an ongoing project, which will need a lot of financial backing (so far about £5000 has been raised), we are relaunching last year's financial appeal.

We are appealing to all our readers and supporters to help raise the necessary resources for the publication of the collected works of Ted Grant, the only Marxist theoretician who genuinely developed and built on the ideas of Leon Trotsky after the Second World War.

Sunday August 20th is the 66th anniversary of Trotsky's assassination by a Stalinist agent. On this occasion we republish Ted Grant's text Trotsky's Relevance Today, written in 1990.

More messages have been pouring in from all over the world written by people expressing their condolences after the death of Ted Grant. We have ordered all messages by country.

Today, The Times published a lengthy obituary on Ted Grant in which they recognise the fundamental role he played in developing Trotskyism in Britain, in particular the Militant Tendency. Here we provide a link to the text.

We reproduce here the brief biography of Ted Grant written by Rob Sewell in May 2002. This text was taken from the Tedgrant.org site.

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