Part One

Fighting Against the Stream - The Origins and Early Years

[Section 3]

The Marxist Group

Sid Frost and myself arrived in London at the end of 1934 and got a place to stay in Kings Cross. At this time, a number of other people in London and elsewhere were also won to the banner of Trotskyism. We had been in correspondence with the British comrades and had received copies of their earlier paper Red Flag. We joined the group straight away, ending up in the Holborn branch of the ILP. I immediately set about speaking for the group at ILP meetings about the "Labour Movement in South Africa", mainly drawing on the lessons of the recent laundry workers' strike in Johannesburg.

By this time, within the ILP the supporters of the Revolutionary Policy Committee had built up a significant left wing opposition to the leadership. They attempted to pull the ILP in the direction of Stalinism. While this group had some criticisms of the "third period" ultra-leftism, they leaned towards the position of Bukharin and the Communist Right Opposition. Their leading lights, Dr. CK Cullen and Jack Gaster, worked hard to influence the ILP towards a fusion with the Communist Party. These days, the Right Opposition of the Communist International, the supporters of Buharkin-Brandler-Lovestone, are totally unknown to most people even on the left. They have disappeared completely as a political current not only in Britain but internationally. However, at this time, they had quite big forces in the Soviet Union, Sweden and Germany. At one stage, they even had the majority of the Communist movement in America. Yet, as Trotsky had predicted, because they were not based on fundamental principles and a clear programme, they were doomed to disintegrate and disappear. The Right Opposition was only prepared to challenge the Stalinists on their ultra-left zigzag course in the Comintern, but tended to excuse Stalin's bureaucratic policies and regime within the USSR. Hand in hand with the Stalinists, they participated in the attacks on Trotskyism, and were our main opponents in the ILP, apart from the leadership, of course.

In contrast to the Right Opposition, Leon Trotsky, ever since his expulsion from the Soviet Union in 1929, had worked strenuously to build up a Leninist faction internationally. The Trotskyists saw their prime task as the reform of the Comintern, with the idea of bringing it back onto the road of Leninism as well as the reintroduction of workers' democracy in the Soviet Union. Trotsky right up until 1933 and the victory of Hitler defended this perspective. The victory of Hitler constituted an historic turning point for Trotsky. The utter failure of the German debacle, which was caused primarily by the ultra-left policies of the Stalinists, to stir up any opposition or criticism within the ranks of the Communist International, meant that the Comintern was dead. Incredibly, the leadership of the Comintern declared their policies absolutely correct. "After Hitler", they said, "our turn!" The actions of the Stalinists were comparable to the betrayal of the social democrats in 1914. Trotsky drew the conclusion that reform of the Comintern was no longer tenable, and that new revolutionary parties would have to be built and a new international prepared. "After the shameful capitulation of the Communist International in Germany", stated Trotsky, "the Bolshevik-Leninists, without hesitating a moment, proclaimed: the Third International is dead!"[23]

At this time, the ILP leadership, true to its centrist position, wanted to maintain its "independent" affiliation to the so-called London Bureau, an international body of centrist organisations. The ILP leaders, who had initially moved closer to the Communist Party, now pulled back in order to maintain their "independence", by which they meant the right of the ILP leadership to have control over their own internal affairs, which they wanted to conduct without any outside interference - including from Moscow. By the time of its Easter conference in 1934, the ILP had severed its links with the Comintern. This constituted a major blow to the Stalinists but it opened a window of opportunity for the Trotskyists to forcefully raise the question of support for a Fourth International.

However, the ILP was determined to maintain their customary centrist stance of a so-called middle road between two "extremes" - that is, to sink ever deeper into the centrist swamp. In the words of Brockway, "The ILP experimented in many directions, at one time approaching the Communist International, at another moving towards the Trotskyist position." For more than two years Trotsky had conducted a vigorous correspondence with the leaders of the ILP, hoping to break the best of them away from centrism and open the way for the development of a genuine revolutionary party. However, the ILP leadership chose to ignore Trotsky's arguments and led the ILP into a political and organisational blind alley.

Throughout this period, the inexperienced forces of Trotskyism tried their best to influence the ranks of the ILP. However, their lack of authority, as well as their lack of understanding of how to work, made it difficult for these young comrades to make significant headway. Nevertheless, over a period, the organisation managed to get a toehold within the ILP. It was a beginning, but the opportunities within the ILP were disappearing fast.

Bankruptcy of the ILP

The events in Germany fell like a thunderbolt in Britain. The entire labour and trade union movement was in a state of ferment. In the meeting of the TUC that was held after the victory of Hitler, there was uproar. The German labour movement had been one of the most powerful in the world, yet Hitler had been allowed to come to power virtually without a fight. The German unions had not even succeeded in organising a general strike. How could this be explained? Walter Citrine, replying from the platform, said: "If our German comrades would have fought, it would have meant civil war." He tried to frighten the delegates with the spectre of civil war, the streets running with blood and so on.

In reality, it would have been far better for the German workers to have fought - even if they were defeated, which is not at all certain - than to surrender without a fight, which is what happened. In such cases, the effect is total demoralisation. It explains why Germany was the only country on the European Continent where there was no organised Resistance movement against the Nazis. The workers were shattered and demoralised by the surrender of the leaders. Nor did this crime of the Stalinists and Social Democrats avoid bloodshed, as Citrine and the others hypocritically maintained. On the contrary, the victory of Hitler led to the most terrible bloodshed. Millions of communists, socialists, trade unionists and Jews ended up in the concentration camps and within a few years the world was plunged into a war where 55 million people lost their lives. So much for the "realistic" policies of reformism!

In 1934, 1935 and 1936, the British Union of Fascists, led by Sir Oswald Mosley, went onto the offensive, lavishly supplied with money from big business and buoyed up by the victories of fascism in Italy, Germany and Austria. Mosley's Blackshirt thugs marched into working class and Jewish areas, provoking and beating up the people with no intervention by the police. At Olympia in June 1934 and the Albert Hall in March 1936, they violently assaulted opponents and even peaceful hecklers. Instead of dealing with the fascist bullies, the police instead attacked the anti-fascist demonstrators with baton charges.

Roused by the victory of Hitler, the British workers prepared to fight to defend their organisations. We waged an energetic campaign for a workers' united front against fascism. Together with workers from the Communist Party, Labour Party, ILP and trade unions, the Trotskyists, including myself, participated in the famous battle of Cable Street, where Mosley's Blackshirts were confronted by the organised might of the Labour movement and completely smashed. One hundred thousand people built barricades in the street to stop a march by 7,000 fascists. There was s real battle, with lorries upturned and the streets strewn with broken glass to prevent charges by mounted police. Finally, the Blackshirts were physically prevented from marching into the East End of London. It was a tremendous victory for the united front tactic, which Trotsky had advocated from the very beginning.

In October 1935 Mussolini's fascist troops marched into Abyssinia, provoking war between the two countries. The question of the attitude towards this war immediately assumed a great importance. Without hesitation, Trotsky gave critical support to the Abyssinian people in their colonial struggle against fascist Italy and imperialism. A defeat for Mussolini, noted Trotsky, would also constitute a massive blow against Mussolini and help undermine the Italian fascist regime. At first, the position taken by the ILP was generally positive, which was, in effect, to support workers' sanctions against Italy instead of the economic sanctions imposed by the League of Nations. However, Trotsky attacked the woolly position of the ILP parliamentary leaders, like McGovern, who wanted to cover up their bankruptcy under the fig leaf of pacifism. In the end the ILP, trailing after their parliamentary wing, took a neutral position, saying in effect that it was a conflict "between rival dictators".

In the run up to the general election of 1935 a dispute broke out within the Marxist Group over which Labour Party candidates to support. There wasn't exactly a split, but a massive argument over this issue that tended to paralyse the work of intervening in the election. A group of comrades adopted the position of the ILP leadership who only wanted to back those candidates who were against League of Nations' sanctions. They dressed this up by saying economic sanctions would lead to military sanctions and then to war. In effect, the ILP leadership portrayed these anti-sanctions candidates as the left-wing candidates. "How can we support candidates who support economic sanctions that could lead to imperialist war?" they said. So they ended up abandoning a class position and supporting the muddled position of the ILP leaders.

Trotsky intervened in the discussions to oppose this position. For Trotsky, whether one was for or against sanctions was not of fundamental importance. In seats where the ILP was not contesting, he insisted, the ILP must give support to the Labour Party candidates, whether they supported sanctions or not. It was a class question of supporting a workers' party against a bourgeois party. "Moreover", stated Trotsky, "the London Division's policy of giving critical support only to anti-sanctionists would imply a fundamental distinction between the social-patriots like Morrison and Ponsonby or - with your permission - even Cripps. Actually, their differences are merely propagandistic. Cripps is actually only a second class supporter of the bourgeoisie."[24]

The Marxists wanted Labour to win the election in order to put the Labour leaders in power, so that their reformist policies could be put to the test. Here we can see the way in which Trotsky posed matters, very clearly, very soberly, very cautiously, but at the same time, posing a bold theoretical perspective for the movement.

By 1935, the Labour Party had recovered from the crushing blow of the 1931 defeat. The ILP on the other hand, as a result of its centrist politics, began to disintegrate and lose its active membership. Centrism is the most fatal position for a would-be revolutionary tendency. It was a halfway house that sought a middle path between Stalinism and Trotskyism, reformism and revolution. In the beginning, the ILP hankered after the Communist Party, which gave it a revolutionary aura. In doing so, it failed to turn its attention towards the mass organisations - the Labour Party and the trade unions. Trotsky said that the ILP, even with a hundred thousand members, was a very small organisation compared to the Labour Party.

Trotsky advised the ILP firstly to clarify their ideas and adopt a Marxist programme, secondly to face towards the workers in the reformist mass organisations - the unions and the Labour Party, and thirdly, to join the movement for a new Fourth International. He urged them to turn their back decisively on the Communist Party, which had dropped the old "third period" ultra-leftism, but was now leaning towards opportunism, as expressed in the theory of the Popular Front. This represented a serious danger to the leftward-moving workers. Instead, he recommended them to turn towards the Labour Party. The Labour Party, he argued, was based on the trade unions, and the trade unions were composed of millions of workers. He considered that the ILP leaders had split from the Labour Party prematurely - at the wrong time and on the wrong issue:

"The ILP split from the Labour Party chiefly for the sake of its parliamentary fraction", wrote Trotsky. "We do not intend here to discuss whether the split was correct at that given moment, and whether the ILP gleaned from it the expected advantages. We don't think so. But it remains a fact that for every revolutionary organisation in England its attitude to the masses and to the class is almost coincident with its attitude towards the Labour Party."[25]

Trotsky sharply criticised the ILP leaders for their confused policies, their pacifism and their failure to face towards the Labour Party. Trotsky wrote many letters to the ILP explaining these issues and urging them to reconsider their position. But this advice fell on deaf ears. The ILP leaders simply ignored Trotsky's advice. "What does Trotsky know of the real position in Britain being so far away in Norway - on the heights of Oslo?" they jibbed. They appreciated his views against Stalinism - which they used to great effect - but completely ignored his revolutionary criticisms of centrism.

Although at the time of the split the ILP may have had the support of around 100,000 workers, they were soon reduced to impotence. The mass of workers could not see any fundamental difference between the confused centrist ideas of the ILP and the left reformist policies being advocated by Lansbury and Attlee, who, under the pressure of the working class, began to talk very "left". Where there are two reformist parties with no fundamental difference in programme and policy, the workers will always tend to support the bigger of the two.

The false policies and orientation of the ILP leaders eventually resulted in a sharp decline in their membership and support. From a large organisation - with the potential of becoming a mass movement - instead, the ILP became a rump. Thousands and thousands of members of the ILP simply drifted into inactivity, and moved out of the movement altogether. All that was left of the ILP in the end was an empty shell - and the enormous property the ILP had built up. They possessed a big apparatus. In every part of the country, in every district, there were ILP rooms and buildings. But that was all. The ILP, which started with so much potential for developing a mass revolutionary party, due to its false policies and sectarian approach, squandered everything. The hopes of hundreds of thousands of revolutionary-minded workers were dashed. Within a measurable space of time the Labour Party recovered and began to move to the left.

As early as April 1935, there were growing doubts about our work in the ILP and also about the functioning of the Marxist Group. Having worked closely with the British comrades for a number of months, we became increasingly dissatisfied with the leadership and the way in which the group was functioning. In April 1935, a joint letter, addressed directly to Leon Sedov, was sent to the International Secretariat (IS) in Paris, signed by myself, Stuart Kirby, Denzil Harber, Sid Frost and a few others complaining bitterly about the situation within the Group:

"Since the 1934 Annual Conference the decline in the membership and influence of the ILP has continued steadily", the letter explained. "A year ago the then secret Bolshevik-Leninist fraction in the ILP had a little under thirty members, almost all active. All these were in London, where some ten branches supported our line at the 1934 Winter Divisional Conference (which, by the way, was held in January, before most of the comrades of the Minority of the old Communist League had entered the party and before the fraction had been organised). At the 1934 Annual Conference held at Easter of last year, 20 branches voted for the Fourth International." A year later, "the vote for the Fourth International was so insignificant that no count was taken."

Regarding the real gains that were made in the ILP, the letter states: "Since the entry of the Minority of the old Communist League into the ILP not one member of the party has been won over to our position in the London Division, all our support having come from either new members (whom, in most cases, we had converted to Bolshevik-Leninism before they joined the ILP), or from old ILPers who had, to a greater or lesser extent, adopted our position before we had entered - in most cases owing to the propaganda carried out by the old Communist League." (Emphasis in original).

The letter then turned to the internal situation within the Marxist Group. "With regard to the internal position of the group of Bolshevik-Leninists, the position is far worse today than it was a year ago." We observed a dangerous growth of centrist tendencies within the group itself. There was a "fetish of doing ILP work and of 'loyalty' to the ILP leadership and constitution." As an example of this, it says "recently two South African comrades said in a private discussion with comrade [Margaret] Johns, a member of the committee of the Marxist Group, that they thought that under certain circumstances, the Labour League of Youth (youth organisation of the Labour Party) might be found to be a better field for our work than the ILP. At the next meeting of the Holborn Branch of the ILP (of which both comrade Johns and the South African comrades are members), comrade Johns, in the absence of the South African comrades, accused them of disloyalty to the ILP, in as much as they thought the Labour League of Youth a better organisation than the ILP, and on these grounds moved their expulsion from the branch and from the party [sic!]. Certain of our comrades managed to get this matter postponed for a time so that the comrades in question should have an opportunity for defending themselves."

The two South Africans referred to were Sid Frost and myself. We had been in Britain for less than six months before running into the crass opportunism of the leadership of the Marxist Group, who had adapted themselves to the ILP bureaucracy. The letter went on to accuse the leadership of the group of creating "a small clique of perhaps half a dozen, which designs to guide the policy of the Marxist Group and maintain relations with the IS." It informed the IS that the situation within the ILP was so bad, that Kirby and Harber had left the ILP and entered the Labour Party where they have established a Bolshevik-Leninist Group. "They left the ILP individually, since they felt that they could work there no longer, and are now working for Bolshevik-Leninist principles in a new environment." They now considered such individual resignations a "tactical error".

This letter must have influenced the views of the International Secretariat about the situation in Britain, and in particular the exaggerations of the group's leadership. There can be no doubt such correspondence would have been passed on to Trotsky, who at that time was closely following the situation within the ILP. The letter would surely have influenced his evaluation of the ILP and the question of a turn towards the Labour Party. In fact, towards the end of 1935, Trotsky drew the same conclusions about the ILP and called for a new orientation towards the Labour Party.

Trotsky and the Labour Party

In analysing the movement in Britain, Trotsky showed not only a profound understanding, but also a sensitivity to the mass movement and how it would develop. Above all, he was keen to educate the young forces of Trotskyism against sectarianism and ultra-leftism. Trotsky came to the conclusion that the experience of the ILP must be drawn to a close. There was nothing more to be gained by work in the rump that remained within the ILP. There were clearly more favourable opportunities opening up within the Labour Party, especially the Labour League of Youth. "Since the ILP youth seem to be few and scattered, while the Labour Youth is the mass youth organisation, I would say: 'Do not only build fractions - seek to enter'," advised Trotsky. "The British section will recruit its first cadres from the thirty thousand young workers in the Labour League of Youth."[26] This was the first time in the history of our movement that entry was posed, not into a centrist organisation, but into a reformist organisation.

Trotsky wrote to our comrades in the ILP urging them to make the necessary turn towards the Labour Party. He told them they should prepare the ground by campaigning for the ILP to affiliate to the Labour Party. If the ILP refused to re-affiliate to the Labour Party, or even consider the question seriously, we should call on all revolutionaries to leave with us and join the struggle within the Labour Party. In the process, we would need to explain that the ILP was doomed as a revolutionary force, and we needed to draw all the necessary conclusions. The ILP could not now play the role that they had once hoped it would play, and it was necessary now to take all revolutionary forces into the Labour Party. Above all, in Trotsky's view, it was from the Labour Youth that the future major forces of British Trotskyism would emerge.

At each historical turn in events, there tends to be a split in the movement. What happened in 1933 would be repeated again in 1936. Trotsky raised this question of entry into the Labour Party, but the majority of the ILP comrades, including the leadership, were opposed and not prepared to follow his advice. They had, in effect, adapted themselves to life within the ILP. They were again determined to cling to the corpse, maintaining that black was white and the ILP offered the only way forward. For them work in the ILP was a "principled question", when in reality it was a question of tactics, as the Old Man pointed out:

"It is not enough for a revolutionist to have correct ideas", wrote Trotsky. "Let us not forget that correct ideas have already been set down in Capital and in The Communist Manifesto. But that has not prevented false ideas from being broadcast. It is the task of the revolutionary party to weld together the correct ideas with the mass labour movement. Only in this manner can an idea become a driving force…

"To conclude: the Koran says that the mountain came to the prophet. Marxism counsels the prophet to go to the mountain."[27]

Denzil Harber, as we have already pointed out, had entered the Labour Party in early 1935 to set up the Bolshevik-Leninist Group. I had joined the Labour Party myself, following the line of Trotsky at that time. CLR James, Arthur Cooper and other comrades who were the leadership of the ILP faction completely rejected entry into what they regarded as a reformist swamp. As I was in touch with both groupings, I had discussions with James, but he had developed other ideas. James and Cooper had illusions that they could influence Brockway and build a big movement inside the ILP. They failed to recognise that years of centrism had produced a certain ossification within the party. For the centrist ILP leaders, it had become an organic way of life. To a certain extent, this outlook had even affected the ILP rank and file. So the best way to influence the ranks of the ILP, as Trotsky explained, was to go into the Labour Party and build a revolutionary tendency there. They had to show by deeds what could be done and the way in which such a movement would develop. "I deem it absolutely necessary", wrote Trotsky in the summer of 1936, "for our comrades to break openly with the ILP and transfer to the Labour Party where, as is shown especially by the experience in the youth, much more can be accomplished."[28] Again, "the most important thing is to get in", urged Trotsky impatiently.[29]

Trotsky's arguments produced a massive crisis within the Marxist Group. There was a split and over a period a growing minority drifted into the Labour Party and began the task of building the "Bolshevik-Leninist Group". Unfortunately, once again valuable time had been lost. Trotsky was very critical of this time-wasting. "In Spain, where our section is carrying out a miserable political line, the youth, who were just becoming interested in the Fourth International, were handed over to the Stalinists", he said. "In England, where our people were too slow to get involved, the Stalinists have become the most important force among the Labour Party youth and we are in second place."[30] The failure of Nin and the Spanish Trotskyists, in the name of "independence", to enter the Socialist Youth was to contribute directly to the defeat of the Spanish Revolution. "The lads who called themselves Bolshevik-Leninists", wrote Trotsky, "and who permitted this, or better yet, who caused this, have to be stigmatised forever as criminals against the revolution."[31]

In Britain, the new group inside the Labour Party began the publication of a monthly journal called Youth Militant, aimed at members of the Labour League of Youth. Already operating in the Labour Party was the Marxist League of Wicks and Dewar. They had entered on an opportunist basis. Ironically, this seems to be a social law. Those individuals who take an ultra-left attitude tend to swing from one extreme to the other. Because they do not possess a balanced attitude and a Marxist understanding of the processes that take place within the mass organisations, they burn their fingers at every stage, jumping from ultra-leftism to opportunism and back again.

The question of how revolutionaries should work within the mass organisations was dealt with many times by Trotsky, and not only in relation to Britain. Just as Dewar had entered the Labour Party on an opportunist basis, so had Naville in France entered the Socialist Party, having previously opposed the idea as "capitulation" when Trotsky had first suggested it. Both started out bitterly against entrism in "principle", then somersaulted to the other extreme. Trotsky commented bitterly:

"He [Naville] called the entry 'capitulation' because basically he was frightened by the prospect of a ferocious battle against a powerful apparatus", states Trotsky. "It is much easier to defend 'intransigent' principles in a sealed jar…. Since then Naville has entered the Socialist Party. But he abandoned the banner of the organisation, the programme. He does not wish to be more than the left wing of the SP. He has already presented motions in common with the left wing, confused opportunist motions, full of the verbiage of so-called centrism."[32]

CLR James, who was a key leader of the Marxist Group, and had been expelled from the ILP for publishing Fight, suddenly, without any real preparation, discovered the "principle" of the independent party. Like so many others before and since, he became hooked on this so-called principle. So, James, together with Arthur Cooper, organised his supporters into an independent Marxist Group, which continued to publish the Fight as its paper. James moved closer to Wicks, who assisted him in the writing of his well-known book World Revolution. In early 1938 they fused the two disintegrating groups to produce the Revolutionary Socialist League. Naturally, this fusion was predictably to prove completely barren.

When Trotsky later reviewed James' World Revolution he commented on it in a generally favourable way, but then pointed out that its main failing was the lack of a dialectical method, an arbitrary and formalistic approach to history. The same undialectical formalism can be seen in the attitude towards tactics and party building, not only on the part of CLR James but also of all the others who rejected Trotsky's advice on the Labour Party. They all had the same defect - formalism instead of Marxist dialectics.

In late 1937, the Militant Labour League was set up by the Bolshevik-Leninist Group, as a front organisation for its work inside the Labour Party. The Bolshevik-Leninists had by this time become known as the Militant Group, after the name of their paper. The Militant Labour League was supposed to be a left-wing organisation, not completely Trotskyist, aimed at organising the left inside the Labour Party. But it proved to be a dead letter. Our position in the Labour Party was confused with the contradictory position of an outer organisation and an inner organisation. This was bound to lead to friction as all members of the Militant Labour League, the open organisation, realised that the inner group was taking all the decisions. It also meant a duplication of apparatus, because nine-tenths of the members of the Militant Labour League were also members of the Militant Group. There was only a tiny periphery in the Militant Labour League who was not already members. The whole thing proved to be an extra burden with no results.

Therefore, this Militant Labour League was stillborn and destined to play no practical role. It had one or two centrists, and one or two left reformists looking for a platform, but it had no real importance. On the other hand, the Militant Group had won over a considerable portion of the Marxist Group. They had managed to grow inside the Labour Party, and had won over a layer of supporters in London, Leeds, Liverpool, and Glasgow. This also included Starkey Jackson and Jock Haston. Jackson, a very able man, had joined the Labour League of Youth at the age of 14. He lost his job as a result of his activities during the General Strike, and in the same year was elected to the first Youth Delegation to the USSR. He then joined the YCL, but was soon disillusioned with Stalinism and joined the Trotskyists. He soon became a leader and secretary of the organisation. He lost his life at sea during the war. Jock Haston was an ex-seaman and he had been looking around for a revolutionary tendency. He was a disillusioned member of the Communist Party and he ended up joining our Militant Group with a group of others who were won from our activities in Hyde Park. Excellent recruits were also made in Liverpool, such as Gertie and Jimmy Deane.

The Deane family had a long and proud revolutionary history. Gertie's father had been a member of the old Social Democratic Federation, the original British Marxist organisation, and was Labour's first councillor in Liverpool. The Irish revolutionary trade union leader, Jim Larkin, a good friend of the family, made frequent visits to the Deane household. Gertie also knew James Connolly, Hyndman and Harry Quelch. She was an active suffragette, and later become a Marxist. Through her son Jimmy, she was won over to Trotskyism, and remained a committed revolutionary until the end of her life. Her other sons, Arthur and Brian also became members of the Workers International League and the Revolutionary Communist Party. Jimmy, an exceptionally talented man who was a model of a proletarian revolutionary, is now unfortunately in very poor health, but he remains a committed Marxist to this very day. He has always had a great feel for workers, especially the youth, and is a source of inspiration to all those who have ever known and worked with him.

In relation to work in the Labour Party, Trotsky rejected entry into the left reformist Socialist League, which was a remnant of the ILP that had remained in the Labour Party under the leadership of Stafford Cripps. Trotsky regarded it as a grouping composed of mainly middle class elements. He argued that we should turn our back on the Socialist League and concentrate the bulk of our work on other possibilities in the Labour Party and especially in the Labour League of Youth. In the course of this discussion, Trotsky made a remarkable prediction that Stafford Cripps, the leading left reformist, who at that time was demagogically talking about revolution, the abolition of the monarchy, and so on, would inevitably betray the movement and end up on the right wing. This was the case. Sir Stafford Cripps, as he later became known, was one of the most rabid right wing ministers in the post-war Labour government.

This is no accident. Inherent in reformism, explained Trotsky, is betrayal. As a consequence, it would be a profound mistake to put any faith in the "left" leaders of the Labour Party, any more than the right wing leaders. In fact, said Trotsky, the real danger to the movement is more often from the left than from the right, because they will sow even greater illusions. However, it is not a question of the bad faith or lack of sincerity of this or that individual. It is a political question. Both the right and the left wing of reformism accept capitalism. The difference is that the Lefts want a kinder, more humane capitalism with reforms and class peace. They do not understand that, if you accept capitalism, then you must also accept the laws of capitalism. In the end that must mean attacking the wages, jobs and conditions of the working class. As the Bible says: you cannot serve two masters; you cannot serve God and Mammon.

Needless to say, while maintaining complete independence from the left reformists, our arguments with them are never posed in the lunatic way of the sectarians who imagine that hysteria and abuse are a good substitute for argument. Our criticism of the reformist leaders is aimed at convincing the honest reformist workers, and is always put forward in a friendly fashion. We do not make concessions to reformism on principled questions. We always put forward a sharp and penetrating criticism of their policies based upon facts, figures and sound arguments.

On this question too, we follow the advice of the Old Man: "The greatest patience, a calm, friendly tone, are indispensable", said Trotsky.[33] Only in this way can you get the ear of the reformist workers and win them to a consistent revolutionary position.

The Paddington Group

In July 1937, Ralph Lee and his wife Millie, Heaton Lee (no relation to Ralph) and Dick Frieslich, who were members of the Trotskyist movement in South Africa, emigrated to Britain. Ralph was a very talented writer, a very talented speaker and a very talented organiser. He had been, together with Millie, the driving force in the Johannesburg group. He was the comrade, as we have seen, who won me over to Marxism in South Africa. He was certainly widely read, but not perhaps as theoretically developed as he could have been. But he had a great capacity in all other regards. He had been the general secretary of the Workers Party of South Africa, the united party of South African Trotskyism before leaving for Britain. I had been in correspondence with him and Millie while they were in South Africa and we had discussed in depth all the key questions of the movement. Ralph was a great personal friend of mine and he and Millie looked us up as soon as they arrived. I had left my digs at Kings Cross and was now sharing accommodation with Haston in Paddington, and so introduced him to the new arrivals.

Ralph wanted to see at first hand the different Trotskyist groups that existed in Britain. Of course, I urged him to join our group in the Labour Party, but Ralph hesitated and wanted to see things for himself. He didn't just take as read what I told him, or Jock Haston for that matter, who also went to discuss with him and Millie. First of all, Ralph wanted to discuss with James and all the people in his group. He even had discussions with Reg Groves. Apparently, Groves told him, "Don't publish any more material. There's too much material being published already... all you seem to want to do is use the duplicator, you know, turn the handle. You should stick to the material that was already turned out".

This was the typical sort of over-weaning remark of Groves, who had always had a reluctance to publish Trotsky's material. Groves' organisation had disappeared and he had lost the little rank and file he once had. At the time, Groves, Wicks and James were considered "the three little generals without an army". Their sectarian and opportunist attitudes and their inflexible approach, could have no attraction for these South African comrades who had worked hard to connect with the black working class back home in Johannesburg. So Ralph and Millie, and the other comrades who came from South Africa soon joined the Militant Group, and our political work became concentrated in the Paddington area of London.

Popular frontism

The Stalinists had by now abandoned the old discredited policy of "social fascism". Nevertheless, their policy of "fighting fascism" was thoroughly opportunist, although the ordinary CP workers were obviously sincere in their desire to fight fascism. At first the Stalinists raised the slogan of the united front, which they had so cavalierly rejected when Trotsky urged them to implement it in Germany. However, their version of the "united front" had nothing in common with Lenin's united front policy. In the struggle against fascism, the CP insisted in including all and sundry: pacifists, vicars, bishops, Liberals and even "progressive Tories". They attempted to put on a respectable and "patriotic" image. On demonstrations they carried the Union Jack flag. On several occasions we had the ludicrous spectacle of Mosley's fascists and the Stalinists confronting each other in rival demonstrations, both waving the Union Jack - and both sides singing "God Save the King"! In other words, the CP had entirely abandoned a class position and became the most fervent advocates of a class collaborationist policy.

This fitted in with Stalin's policy, which after about 1935 consisted in appeasing the "Western democracies" - particularly Britain and France - allegedly as a means of defending the Soviet Union against Hitler. At one stage, they even included Mussolini's Italy in this putative anti-Hitler coalition. Apparently, it was a case of "good" Italian fascism against "bad" German fascism. When the Stalinists were pushing for a "Popular front", they used to sing a song (I think it was called the "United Front Song") which went:

Then left, two, three,
Then left, two, three,
To the work that we must do.
March on to the workers' united front,
For you are a worker too.

To which we used to answer:

Then zig-zag-zig,
Then zig-zag-zig.
There's a place, duchess, for you!
March on to the bourgeois united front.
For we are bourgeois, too!

However, their opportunism did not get them very far. The attempts of the Stalinists to unite with the Labour Party - having previously denounced the Labour Party as "fascists" - obviously met with a dusty answer. Herbert Morrison, who had been the target of the attacks in their ultra left period, subjected them to merciless mockery and carried the Labour conference easily. The Labour Party conference in effect threw out the Communist Party's proposal for a "united front" by 2,116,000 votes to 331,000.

Their opportunist policy was too much even for the ILP, which up till then had been flirting with Stalinism. As GDH Cole recalls: "Following the new Moscow policy of close alliances with all nominally democratic parties, and of throwing aside programmes which might antagonise them, the Communists were more eager to collaborate with Liberals than ILPers."[34] The antagonisms between the two became especially bitter at the time of the Spanish Civil War, when Stalin's GPU were murdering members of the POUM - the ILP's sister party in Spain. At this time the Stalinists even started calling the poor old centrists of the ILP "Trotskyists".

From 1935, Stalin had been preparing to move against all potential opposition within the party. With the murder of Kirov (by Stalin), a key Stalinist bureaucrat in Moscow, wheels were set in motion that would lead to the murder of all the Old Bolsheviks in notorious Purge trials extending over more than three years. These Old Bolsheviks faced horrendous charges of aiding the counterrevolution and even the attempted murder of Lenin! All this was supposedly organised by a terrorist centre abroad, led by Trotsky and his son Leon Sedov. Not only the leaders of the Party, but millions of suspected Trotskyists were tortured and murdered in the prisons and labour camps of Stalin's GPU. By means of these monstrous trials, the Stalinist bureaucracy consolidated its position over the corpses of Lenin's Party.

In 1936 Stalin began his purge of the Old Bolsheviks with the trial of Kamenev and Zinoviev. During the show trial, the defendants "confessed" to plotting the murder of Kirov and of conspiring with Trotsky and Hitler to overthrow Stalin and carry out a capitalist counter-revolution in the Soviet Union. Vishinsky, the State Prosecutor - and a former Menshevik opponent of Bolshevism - demanded the death penalty for two men who had been Lenin's close colleagues for many years. In the official court record we could Vishinsky's ravings: "contemptible, base, vile, despicable murderous scoundrels, not tigers or lions but merely mad Fascist police dogs, humanity's dregs, the scum of the underworld, traitors and bandits." He ended with the cry: "Shoot these mad curs, every one of them."

The Daily Worker followed the same theme under the editorial The Malice of a Renegade.

"The revelations of the terrorist plot to assassinate the Soviet leaders, a plot instigated by Trotsky and engineered in all its details by Zinoviev and Kamenev will fill all decent citizens with loathing and hatred.

"These people long ago abandoned every socialist principle, they worked energetically to retard, hinder and destroy socialist culture, they conspired to murder George Kirov, a Bolshevik leader beloved of the whole country, they accepted political responsibility for the murder, abjured their own view and deeds at their trial only in order to cover up the actual machinery of their murder organisation.

"Crowning infamy of all this is the evidence showing how they were linked up with the Nazi Secret Police which provided false passports for their agents. So they stand revealed as tools of a world fascist attack." (Daily Worker, 17 August 1936)

Having been framed and forced to confess, the defendants were then shot. The Stalinists immediately applauded this monstrous frame-up internationally. Taking its cue from Moscow, the Daily Worker carried a heading in big letters: "Shoot the reptiles!" They described the accused in the vilest terms: "They are 'a festering, cankering sore' and we echo fervently the workers' verdict: Shoot the reptiles!" (Daily Worker, 24 August 1936)

Prominent British Stalinists like Campbell and Pritt wrote whole books, attempting to show that the Moscow trials were completely legal and fair. In fact, the victims were convicted purely on the basis of confessions which were beaten out of them by Stalin's GPU. They were not allowed any defence lawyers. And all the accusations made against them were proven to be false by the Dewey Commission. (See the two volumes The Case of Leon Trotsky and Not Guilty.)

The Purge Trials were a kind of one-sided civil war that Stalin and the bureaucracy waged against the Bolshevik Party. Stalinism and Bolshevism are completely incompatible, and Stalin could only consolidate his bureaucratic regime over the dead body of Lenin's Party. One crime led to another. The Trial of the Sixteen was followed the next year by the Trial of the Seventeen, including Radek, Sokolnikov and Piatakov. Later Stalin arrested the hero of the Red Army Tukhachevsky and other prominent Soviet generals, who were all executed. Pravda exulted: "The reptile of Fascist espionage has many heads but we will cut off every head and paralyse and sever every tentacle." In reality, by destroying the finest cadres of the Red Army, Stalin encouraged Hitler to attack the USSR and gravely weakened its defences - a fact that became all too clear in 1941.

The Spanish Revolution

One of the reasons for the murder of the Old Bolsheviks was the revolution that had broken out in Spain in July 1936. The uprising of Franco had created a revolutionary wave throughout Spain, and in Catalonia in particular. There, power was in the hands of the workers and the Republican government was suspended in mid-air. Stalin feared that a successful revolution in Spain would re-enthuse the masses in the USSR, and any of the Old Bolshevik leaders could become a pole of attraction under these circumstances. This could lead to the death-knell of the Stalin regime and the rebirth of workers' democracy in Russia. As a result, Stalin pursued a counter-revolutionary policy in Spain designed to betray the revolution and divert it into simply a military struggle with Franco. He supplied arms to the Republicans - at a price - and forced a policy upon the government to eliminate the revolutionary elements within their ranks. The Spanish CP became an open tool of counter-revolution under the slogan "First Win the War!"

The policy of the Stalinists - reflecting the Moscow Line - was openly pro-bourgeois and anti-revolutionary. In Spain, this led to the defeat of the revolution, although, as Trotsky pointed out, the Spanish workers could have made not one revolution but ten. They were betrayed by the leadership - not only the Stalinists but also the Socialists, the Anarchists and the centrists of the POUM - all of which played a fatal role. The supporters of Trotsky led by Andres Nin, broke from the Trotskyist movement in 1935 to enter an alliance with Catalan left nationalists around Maurin. This alliance produced the POUM, a centrist organisation, which veered between reformism and revolution. Despite breaking with Trotskyism and entering the Catalan government, they were regarded by the Stalinists as "Trotskyist". They became their main targets for elimination. After the May 1937 events, the POUM was declared illegal and its leaders arrested and murdered. This defeat in Spain laid the basis for the victory of Franco and prepared the way for the Second World War.

The Spanish events greatly intensified the antagonism between the ILP and the Stalinists. In May of that year the Spanish Stalinists staged a provocation in Barcelona where they seized the telephone exchange that had been captured from the fascists in 1936 by the CNT and the POUM. The Stalinists resorted to armed force to crush the revolution in Catalonia, where they kidnapped and murdered Andres Nin and other leaders of the POUM. Yet Pollitt had the brazen cheek to describe the actions of the POUMists in Barcelona as a "fascist counter-revolution". In his speech to the 1937 congress of the CPGB, Harry Pollitt was practically foaming at the mouth:

"In opposition to the People's Front in France and Spain, its refusal to appreciate the difference between certain democratic states and open fascist states, its foul slanders against the Soviet Union, its support of the POUM which daily stabs the Spanish people in the back - all this forms clear evidence that certain elements inside the ILP have, while disclaiming the name of Trotsky, fully developed the whole stock-in-trade of the Trotskyists.

"The support of the fascist rising in Barcelona by the New Leader, carried out under the flag of the POUM to whom the drunken fascist general de Lano wirelessed a message of support and sympathy, is a shameful episode.

"[…] The Trotskyist criminals in Barcelona acted as the tools of the fascists, carried out the rebellion that the fascists wanted, and only by the steadfastness of the Catalan people [sic!] was this rebellion defeated.

"It was this foul policy which received the support of a section of the ILP leaders."[35]

The British Trotskyists not only rallied to the support of the Spanish Revolution, but also denounced the counter-revolutionary role of the Stalinists. In particular, we waged a campaign to expose the Moscow Trials as the biggest frame-up in history. The ILP leaders played a scandalous role in refusing to support our initiative of an international committee of inquiry into the Moscow Trials. In May 1937, Fenner Brockway, in the name of the London Bureau, rejected the invitation to endorse the American Inquiry, because, he said, it was set up by a "partisan" Committee for the Defence of Trotsky. This hypocritical stance was even more scandalous since the London Bureau supported the centrist POUM in Spain, which was now being exterminated by the Stalinists. Wherever possible we raised this issue within the labour movement, and countered the lies of the Stalinists about "Trotsky-fascists".

The Paddington group

In the Paddington branch of the Militant Group, we had nine members. One of the new recruits at this time was Gerry Healy, who ended up a complete gangster. One amusing episode was the way in which Haston recruited Gerry Healy. Healy was a member of the Communist Party at that time, and he came across Trotskyism when he met Haston selling the Militant paper at Hyde Park. Gerry Healy introduced himself to Haston by saying "you bastard Trotskyist", and punched Haston on the jaw. Haston got hold of him, and, since he was twice the size of Healy, could have given him a really rough time, but instead of this he calmed him down. "Look, come and have a cup of tea and we'll discuss the question", said Haston. Sad to say, he managed to convince Healy to accept Trotskyism and he also became a member of the Paddington Group.

Although there were only nine of us in Paddington, out of a national membership of about fifty or so, we were by far the most active members of the organisation. Out of the 800 copies of the paper that were sold, 500 of them were sold by our group in Paddington. It may sound amazing but it is an actual fact. We sold at Speakers Corner and in Hyde Park. We sold in the local working class areas and around the housing estates every Sunday morning. We went out assiduously selling the paper on the doorstep. Sometimes we went out with a loudhailer, the whole lots of us, selling the paper and trying to win people. We succeeded in building up a regular sale in the working class areas around Paddington. So this one small group of comrades, with an abundance of energy and enthusiasm, was selling more papers than the rest of the organisation put together.

As a result of our energetic work and the extraordinary ability of Ralph Lee, it soon became obvious that the Paddington tendency, as you might call it, was playing the leading role in the organisation. Recognising this, Lee was co-opted onto the Executive Committee of the group. Haston was also elected to the EC. Given his leading role in South Africa, Ralph had in fact been proposed as secretary of the group. However, in the winter of 1937, when the elections for the leadership of the group were being held, we discovered by accident that there had been an intrigue by the existing leadership against him. An incredible fairy-tale had been spread around the organisation that Ralph had come from South Africa because he had allegedly stolen the funds of the Laundry Workers Union. This slander was all the more disgusting because, in fact, the exact opposite was true. Ralph and Millie had subsidised the union out of their own pockets as far as they were able, at considerable cost to themselves. Not a word of this allegation came out into the open. The story was simply spread behind our backs, which was a real scandal in a so-called Marxist organisation.

It was later established that the rumour had originated from the South African Stalinists. It had been picked up by Hermann Van Gelderen, a member of the Trotskyist group in Cape Town, and relayed by him to his brother, Charlie Van Gelderen, in London. He in turn stupidly passed the allegations on to the leadership who used them for its own purposes to discredit Lee. You must remember that this was late 1937, at the height of the Frame-up Trials in Moscow. There was a tremendous hate campaign being conducted by the Stalinists world-wide against us, using all kinds of disgusting slanders - "Trotsky-fascists" and such like. The Trotskyists were vigorously campaigning against the frame-ups and slanders at this very time. Ralph Lee had been a target for the South African Stalinists for a long time. They accused him of "counter-revolution" and all manner of things. Unscrupulous elements could easily acquire some of this dirt manufactured against Lee by our enemies.

Of course, as soon as we discovered this scandal we went through the roof. We demanded that the matter be raised openly at the next aggregate. So at the following aggregate in December, the allegations were brought out into the open and Lee raised charges of "irresponsibility" against the officers of the group. This, as expected, caused a terrible row. Lee demanded that there should be an inquiry into what had taken place. Immediately Harber and Jackson, who felt their positions threatened, launched a vicious attack on us, saying we were splitting, undermining and disorganising the movement by raising this question. In reality, they were responsible for the mess. In sheer disgust Haston walked out of the meeting in protest, and as a gesture of solidarity we all walked out. That is all we intended to do. There was no question of a split. We were absolutely disgusted, and that was all. But as soon as we had walked out the door, Harber moved that we should be expelled and in our absence this was passed! The very people, who accused us of being splitters, themselves split the organisation by immediately expelling us. This completely poisoned our relations with the old group.

Some time later, the truth came out. The secretary of the Workers' Party of South Africa condemned Van Gelderen as "an irresponsible person". The Johannesburg group's secretary, Max Sapire, wrote to exonerate Ralph, "Comrade RL had many enemies in this country - as have all genuine revolutionaries in all countries. It is only to be expected. And that these enemies should seize every opportunity to besmirch the past record of a revolutionary by lies, deceit and falsifications innumerable should also occasion no surprise. The disastrous blunder committed by your organisation by allowing itself to be tricked and side tracked by falsehood and intrigue is utterly indefensible.

"The negligent manner in which this whole matter has been handled by responsible members of your group is thoroughly unbecoming a revolutionary organisation and we trust that you will give this communication the widest publicity in an endeavour to clear comrade RL's name of the slanders cast upon him. We also hope that you yourself will regard this communication in a very serious and sober light and will thereby avoid repetition of such catastrophic errors in the future."[36]

A letter was also received from RTR. Molefe, member of the Committee for the African Metal Trades Union, and signed by ten former strikers which outlined Lee's tremendous role in helping the union. "During the strike comrade RL and comrade Sapire worked their duties satisfactorily. Our secretary RL shall never be forgotten in our minds. Even today our members wished him back. Comrade RL left for England in June when the strike was three months over. Now comrades only lies you have been told there."

Even the IS condemned Harber and Van Gelderen. But while this cleared Lee's name, the whole atmosphere within the group had been thoroughly poisoned by the affair. How could we have any trust in such leaders in the future? The damage had been done.

The Workers International League

The question was immediately raised of what to do. We discussed this continually for three or four nights that week, and the discussions lasted for a full week or more. We knew that if we waged a struggle for re-entry into the organisation that we would be allowed back. But we asked ourselves, what would that accomplish. We came to the conclusion that the organisation at that stage represented only the embryonic stage of the Trotskyist movement. We needed to break out of that type of immature politics. We also knew that every great revolutionary movement in the beginning tends to attract mainly middle class types. The social composition of the Militant Group was pretty bad. It was composed to a large degree of bohemians and people of that sort. There were people who wore cloaks and sandals, and grew beards, which, at that time, was a sort of exotic fashion in certain "intellectual" circles. You can just imagine the type of individuals. They were your typical Bloomsbury bohemians.

We came to the conclusion that it would be pointless to return to the old group. Certainly, comradely and personal relations had become impossible and there was a huge amount of distrust as a result of the intrigue. If we re-entered this group, we would have a long and perhaps fruitless struggle to transform the internal life. So after considerable deliberations, we finally came round to the view expressed by Old Engels, that sometimes a split, even on an apparent organisational question, can reflect certain underlying major differences and tendencies. For example, the Bolshevik split from the Mensheviks in 1903 initially had nothing to do with political questions. There were no fundamental political differences at that stage. But the split revealed a difference in outlook, a difference in approach, and attitude. It was only later that fundamental political differences emerged between Mensheviks and Bolsheviks. Therefore, we concluded that a split from a dead organisation could give an impulse to the movement.

Trotsky also thought on similar lines. In dealing with the French Trotskyists five years earlier he favoured separating out the healthy elements from those who held the organisation back.

"A revolutionary organisation cannot develop without purging itself, especially under conditions of legal work, when not infrequently chance, alien and degenerate elements gather under the banner of revolution. Since, in addition, the Left Opposition formed itself in the struggle with monstrous bureaucratism, many quasi-oppositionists have concluded that inside the Opposition ‘everything is permitted’. In the French League and on its periphery prevail practises that have nothing in common with a revolutionary proletarian organisation. Separate groups and individuals easily change their political position or in general are not concerned about it, devoting their time and effort to the discrediting of the Left Opposition, to personal squabbles, insinuations and organisational sabotage…

"To be able to cope with the new tasks, it is necessary to burn out with a red-hot iron the anarchist and Menshevik methods from the organisations of the Bolshevik-Leninists.

"We are making an important revolutionary turn. At such moments inner crises or splits are absolutely inevitable. To fear them is to substitute petty-bourgeois sentimentalism and personal scheming for revolutionary policy… Under these circumstances, a splitting off of a part of the League will be a great step forward. It will reject all that is unhealthy, crippled and incapacitated; it will give a lesson to the vacillating and irresolute elements; it will harden the better sections of the youth; it will improve the inner atmosphere; it will open up before the League new, great possibilities. What will be lost - partly only temporarily - will be regained a hundredfold already at the next stage."

There was only one thing to do. It was impossible for us to return to the poisoned atmosphere of the Marxist Group. We weren't going to abandon the movement, so we had no alternative but to organise a group of our own. And this we did - all nine of us. We gave the new group the name of Workers International League. Perhaps at a later stage even the question of unity between the two groups might arise. We did not discount it. But for the time being, we branched out on our own, determined to develop a healthy Trotskyist movement in Britain. Some have attacked us for our stand. We have even been called "unprincipled" for the split. It has been said that there was no political basis for it. The "Lee affair", as it became known, has been presented as a purely personal schism. This became Van Gelderen's position. But these critics could not see, or refused to see, the real situation. And events - which are decisive - were to prove who was correct.[37]

As an interesting aside, one of those to walk out of the meeting and protest against the actions of the leadership of the Militant Group was a young musician by the name of Michael Tippet. He had joined the Militant Group after leaving the Communist Party before the war. He later joined the WIL, but developed pacifist leanings, for which he was expelled in 1940. I know we were still in touch with him up until his imprisonment for refusing to go into the army in 1943. Tippet later became a world famous composer. He was knighted and become the Master of the Queen's Music. He died a few years ago, and very few people suspected that Sir Michael Tippet was a one-time Trotskyist! Looking back on it, we may have been a bit hard on him.

At the time, Tippet protested energetically against the shenanigans of the leadership around Harber. "Why are GMM minutes to be declared correct or incorrect by an EC? And then by an EC which declared itself unconstitutional? What a further muddle and confusion! Is this going to be cleared up?" He went on, "They (the EC) deferred the original issue for a month, and proceeded to initiate censure and expulsion against the original sufferer of the provocation and his associates. The commencement of the proceedings to elect an EC were eminently revealing, and not being able to contain my disgust, I left."[38]

The International Secretariat had condemned the Militant Group's leadership for the mess they had created, but also attacked our split and called on us to return. The WIL replied that we had not split, but were expelled and rejected the advice of the IS. We wrote back to them:

"If the comrades of our group accepted the expulsion and did not appeal to the 'national membership', it was because:

1) The national membership is fictitious

2) Because the actions of the leadership after our expulsion reinforced the conclusion we formed before the expulsion that both leadership and membership were irresponsible…"[39]

In late December 1937 the Workers International League came into being. At the start there were myself, Ralph and Millie, Jock Haston, Betty Hamilton, Heaton Lee, Jessie Strachan, Dick Freislich and Gerry Healy. We were confident of the ideas and the responsibility that rested on our shoulders. With the world war looming, we engaged in an energetic campaign to build up our forces. The old methods had proved ineffective. It was time to cut a new path.

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[23] Trotsky, Whither France, London, 1974, p.85.

[24] Trotsky, Writings on Britain, vol. 3, p.119.

[25] Ibid., p.107.

[26] Writings of Leon Trotsky 1935-36, p.203.

[27] Ibid., 1934-35, pp.33 and 38.

[28] Ibid., 1935-36, p.366.

[29] Ibid., p.379.

[30] Ibid., p.322.

[31] Ibid., p.368.

[32] Ibid., supplement 1934-40, p. 553.

[33] Ibid., 1935-36, p.268.

[34] GDH. Cole, The Common People, p. 605.

[35] It Can be Done, Report of the Fourteenth Congress of the CPGB, p. 61.

[36] From the archives of Revolutionary History.

[37] Trotsky, op. cit. 1933-34, pp. 90-91.

[38] Quoted in Revolutionary History, vol.7, no.1, pp. 185-6.

[39] Quoted by John Archer in his unpublished Ph.D. thesis on Trotskyism in Britain 1931-37, chapter 6, p.242, dated September 1979.