“Quantitative easing”, i.e. literally the printing of money to increase the money supply and thereby to reflate the economy, seems the only policy left to the bourgeois in these times of severe economic crisis. Tax the rich, fight tax evasion, etc., is also popular among the reformist left today. But there is nothing new in all this. It has been tried before and it has failed. In 1978 Ted Grant answered the then left reformist wing of the Labour Party gathered around the journal Tribune, showing how none of these measures addressed the root cause of the problem.

The “Six-Day War” was fought June 5 to 10, 1967, between Israel and its neighbouring states of Egypt Jordan, and Syria. Israel won, occupying the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Here in a Militant EC statement, Ted Grant outlined the various conflicting class and national interests at play in the region.

In 1974 the fascist EOKA-B staged a coup in Cyprus, backed by the military Junta in Greece. The Turkish army responded by invading the North of the island. The Cypriot workers’ powerful organisations, above all the AKEL (Communist Party), were caught by surprise by these developments and proved incapable of putting up serious resistance, constantly appealing to the UN to stop the invasion instead. Ted Grant pointed out the futility of such an approach and drew the lessons for the international working class and showed that the roots of this crushing defeat were to be found in the false policies of AKEL’s leadership who advocated passivity of the masses and support for Liberal president Makarios.

Gorbachev being appointed as general secretary of the CPSU in March 1985 opened up a period of turmoil in the USSR. In an attempt to prevent economic collapse he introduced “democratic” reforms trying to lean on the masses in order to curb the excesses of the bureaucracy. But as Ted Grant warned, there could not be half workers’ control and “the bureaucracy will do anything for the working class except get off their backs.”

In March 1981 The Sunday Times revealed that there were tentative preparations for a military coup d’état in Britain in 1968 at the time of the Wilson Labour government. All threads of the conspiracy led to the high echelons of the armed forces and figures near to the royal family. Ted Grant commented that this plot was an indication of how far the ruling class would go to defend its vested interests in times of crisis and explained what lessons should be drawn for the labour movement.

In November 1967 the devaluation of the pound underlined the fact that the undergoing crisis of British capitalism had not been solved. The crisis highlighted the beginning of a polarisation between the left and right wing within the Labour Party. Recognising that this was the result of conflicting class pressures on the LP leadership, Ted Grant debunked the arguments of the “lefts” and outlined the strategy of the Marxist wing within the labour movement in an epoch of sharp class conflict that was impending, a strategy that was later to crystallise in the growth of the Militant Tendency in the 1970s.

Labour’s defeat in the 1987 election came as a bitter blow to the hopes of British workers to see the end of Tory rule after 8 years of Thatcherism. Ted Grant pointed out the objective and subjective reasons for Labour’s defeat, denouncing the failure of Labour’s right wing leaders to pose an alternative to the Tories. However, considering the perspectives for British capitalism and tensions arising in British society, Ted Grant explained, the picture was not one of a strengthened Tory rule, but quite the contrary.

In June 1946 the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth marked a victory for the right-wing leaders. Ted Grant recognised this fact in an article in the Socialist Appeal. This was subsequently criticised by DO, a member of the RCP Minority, who claimed that the whole Labour Party was moving to the left. This was Ted’s reply.

In 1972 Britain was in a stormy period of class struggle. The Tory government’s attacks had radicalised the working class and the youth. This was reflected in the election of left leaders in the T&GWU, AUEW and other unions. It was also reflected in the Labour Party (LP) conference where the Tribune lefts gained a resounding victory. The growth of the Marxists within the LP and Labour Party Young Socialists was also a vindication of the patient work within the mass organisations of the working class undertaken by the Militant tendency. This document, although written 37 years ago, contains many valuable lessons for the Marxists of today.

The world communist conference of June 1969 marked an acceleration of the nationalist and reformist degeneration of the Stalinist parties worldwide. Open discussion on the differences between so-called “socialist” states was turned into diplomatic silence. Ted Grant provided a Marxist explanation for these developments.

This 1968 perspectives document was a fundamental document that prepared the British Marxists for the stormy period that lay ahead. “The Labour government has faithfully, if clumsily and stupidly, carried out the dictates of the capitalist class—much more effectively than a Conservative government could have done under the same conditions”, commented Ted Grant, but the victory of the Tories in the imminent election would unleash the anger and frustration of the workers and youth and push the trade unions decisively to the left.

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