Ted Grant

The events in Yugoslavia represent a political earthquake. In the space of 24 hours the entire situation has been transformed. The decisive element in the equation has been the sudden eruption of the masses on the scene. The scenes of an avalanche of humanity descending on Belgrade, the strikes, the confrontations with the police, the storming of the Parliament, have captured the imagination of the world. What is the meaning of the events in Yugoslavia? What is the nature of this movement? And what attitude should Marxists take towards it?

A 4 part document by Alan Woods and Ted Grant. The question of nationalities has always occupied a central position in Marxist theory. In particular, the writings of Lenin deal with this important issue in great detail. It is true to say that, without a correct appraisal of the national question, the Bolsheviks would never have succeeded in coming to power in 1917. This document reviews the rich Marxist literature on this issue and applies it to today's conditions.

"At the dawn of the New Millennium, the possibility of a new vista of human advancement or the most horrific of calamities lay before us. The potential for mankind, which the new technologies open up, could allow us to establish a classless society built on co-operation, harmony and superabundance, a true paradise on earth. However the capitalist system based upon private ownership and the nation state still stands in our way. If allowed to continue, it will mean economic depression, chaos and terrible "local" wars."

In this new, 25,000 word document, Alan Woods and Ted Grant analyse the world relations that have emerged after the collapse of Stalinism in the East. It looks at the effects of NATO's bombing campaign over Yugoslavia and Russia's war in Chechnya. It also looks at how the balance of forces between the major power blocs have been affected. The document analyses this new world (dis)order in which the US have emerged as the dominant imperialist power among growing tensions and instability, and draws the lessons for Marxists today.

This document was written by Ted Grant together with Roger Silverman in 1967 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Russian revolution. The article explains how Stalinism arose and clearly shows how even at that time the Stalinist bureaucracy was facing a serious crisis and confidently predicted its inevitable downfall at some stage.

"Something must be done" is the understandable feeling of workers watching the harrowing scenes on our TV screens every evening. The sight of thousands of people herded into giant camps, the pictures of the displaced, the dispossessed and the dead, the screaming children, the helpless pensioners, the hungry and the diseased cannot but stir our emotions.

It is nearly seven years since George Bush, the then president of the US, made his famous "New World Order" speech. This was in 1991. In the build-up to the Gulf War the main imperialist power on earth promised a world without wars, without dictatorships and, of course, a world firmly under the control of a single all-powerful world policeman--the US. After the fall of Stalinism, US imperialism really thought that the world would be firmly under their command and they would be able to dictate the destiny of each and every country. Now all these dreams have been reduced to rubble. In this document Ted Grant and Alan Woods make an in-depth analysis of the history of the imperialist

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Ted Grant has been the foremost figure of Trotskyism in Britain and internationally. In the post-war period, the effects of world boom, the policies of right wing Labour Party reformism and the degeneracy of Stalinism combined to make a massive onslaught against the ideas of Marxism. While Grant's contemporaries now stand on the right of the movement, in dusty academic circles or have sunk into obscurity, the articles in this collection show the clarity of Grant's understanding and his ability to deepen and expand the ideas of Leon Trotsky.

Just before the collapse of the Berlin Wall and later the Soviet Union, Ted Grant delivered this speech on the crisis in the USSR. To deflect any blame, Gorbachev and co. heaped blame on Stalin and Brezhnev, even going so far as to rehabilitate some of the victims of the purge trials – including those accused of “Trotskyism”. But Trotsky was not rehabilitated: he was still hated by the bureaucracy because they feared the ideas he represented.

50 years ago on this day, after four years of revolutionary struggle against British colonialism, what was later known as the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen was born. This event, which is consciously hidden by the bourgeoisie today, marked one of the peaks in the revolutionary wave that swept through the Middle East in the post-war period.

The arms race between the USA and the USSR escalated in the 1980s because of Reagan’s “Star wars” programme. Ted Grant outlined the real reasons for the antagonism and the factors that ruled out an open war between US capitalism and the USSR, and explained that only the conscious mobilisation of the working class could put an end to this criminal “Cannons instead of butter” policy.

The coup in Algiers by General Massu paved the way in France for the rise of General de Gaulle to power without shooting a bullet. Ted Grant exposed the role of the Socialist and Communist leaders who appealed to the capitalist state to take action against the insurgents instead of mobilising and arming the workers, and tail-ended Pfimlin to "defend the democratic institutions", thus politically disarming the French workers in the face of the shameful capitulation of Pfimlin to the Generals.

Today marks 40 years since the hated regime of the Shah was overthrown by a workers' revolution in Iran in 1979. This article was written by Ted Grant in that same year. We are republishing it because we believe it is essential reading for any active worker or youth who wishes to understand both how the Shah was toppled by the masses and how, unfortunately, the revolution was hijacked by the fundamentalist mullahs.

In 1978, a radical faction of the Afghan Communist Party seized power in a military coup. The 'Saur Revolution' carried out a whole series of progressive measures. The government passed decrees abolishing the selling of brides and giving equality to women. It announced a land reform and the cancellation of farmers’ debts. These measures met with the ferocious opposition of the powerful land owners and moneylenders. This article by Ted Grant, published in 1978, contains an analysis of the revolution, as well as the phenomena of colonial revolutions and proletarian bonapartism more generally.

In this internal discussion document Ted Grant analysed the process of the Syrian revolution in the 1960s and outlined the causes of its peculiar development, which gave rise to a regime of proletarian Bonapartism, where capitalism was abolished and the vast bulk of the economy was nationalised. The Syrian working class, however, needed to go through a political revolution in order to establish a genuine workers' democracy.

Originally published in 1974 in a period when there was a discussion on the question of workers’ control and what it meant. The right-wing leaders in the British labour movement (and internationally) interpreted it as “workers’ participation”, which meant the workers would be consulted on minor questions, but real control remained in the hands of the bosses. Today, thirty years later, this article maintains all its validity, in explaining the real Marxist approach to this question.

In 1973, as the situation in Spain moved towards revolution and final overthrow of the hated Franco regime, Ted Grant wrote this document drawing all the lessons from those tumultuous events.

Class polarisation and radicalisation of the Spanish workers, youth and middle class showed at the end of 1972 that the days of the Franco regime were numbered. Ted Grant examined the paramount importance of the coming revolution in Spain for the international working class and criticised the Spanish CP leaders who appeared to have learnt nothing from the defeat in the Civil War.

In 1972 Ted Grant highlighted the fact that the war in Vietnam was unwinnable by US imperialism. The US army was demoralised and could not fight a people struggling for national and social liberation. While Marxists supported the Vietnamese people, the regime that would come to power would be modelled on Stalinist Russia and China and therefore would require political revolution for the masses to move towards genuine socialism.

In 1972 Nixon, the US president, visited China for talks, the contents of which were kept secret. Ted Grant exposed the shameless behaviour of Stalinist China and Russia who engaged in power politics with imperialism and at the same time launching bitter attacks against each other. What a change in comparison to the approach to diplomacy defended by Lenin and Trotsky.

War between Pakistan and India was eventually to be sparked off by the Pakistani air attack of December 3, 1971, after escalating tension and India's interference in the West Pakistani suppression of East Bengal (now Bangladesh). On the verge of war, Ted Grant analysed the class interests of the different parties involved in this article in the Militant.

In 1971 in Britain the Tory government's the Industrial Relations Bill brought the country close to a general strike with many militants calling for concrete action. The Communist Party first called for such a strike and then light-mindedly dropped it without any explanation. Ted Grant pointed out that in the conditions of the time the call for a general strike had to go hand in hand with systematic preparation for power; otherwise it would be a frivolous and dangerous approach.

In 1971, the economy was growing sluggishly and was rife with inflationary problems. Ted Grant disproves the bourgeois myth that an increase in the wages of the working class causes price increases and examines the real causes of inflation.

In this short article Ted Grant looked at the events unfolding in the Dutch Labour Party during the first months of 1970 and drew some conclusions for the British Marxists.

In August 1968 Ted Grant drew a balance sheet of the revolutionary crisis ignited in France with the May events. In this important article he carefully analysed the main problems facing the revolution, exposing the treacherous policies of the Stalinist CP leaders, who gave De Gaulle the possibility to recover from his earlier paralysis, and the sectarian mistakes of the leaders of the "revolutionary left".

In 1966 an economic crisis forced Yugoslav leader Tito to announce a plan of reforms in order to decentralise power. Bureaucratic corruption and mismanagement were exposed for the first time in the Yugoslav press. Ted Grant explained how self-reform on part of the bureaucracy would not solve the problem and why workers' democracy and internationalism would be the only way forward.

At the peak of the economic growth of the USSR, in 1965, cracks appeared in the planned economy revealing that the burden of the privileged caste and bureaucratic mismanagement was becoming more and more unbearable. Ted Grant explained the reasons for this crisis and the futility of the attempts to solve it without restoring workers’ democracy.

In 1965 tensions rose between Pakistan and India around the issue of Kashmir. A provocation by Pakistani dictator Ayub Khan led to open conflict and a victory for the Indian bourgeoisie. In this article, published in October 1965, Ted Grant showed how the war was reactionary on both sides.

A few weeks into the first Wilson government Ted Grant pointed out that, "Labour must either introduce drastic measures against the insurance giants, the big banks and the monopoly concerns that dominate the British economy, or the Labour leaders will become tools in their hands." He warned that if they chose the latter, this would lead to defeat of Labour, which eventually came in 1970.

A key historical document that analyses the important question of "proletarian bonapartism", i.e. Stalinism, in the former colonial countries. Previously it was available in an edited version. Here we reproduce the full text. It explains the roots of the Chinese revolution and why the Maoist regime came into conflict with the Soviet Union, and also the nature of several similar regimes that came into being in that period. It was also the basis for the expulsion of Ted Grant and his followers from Mandel's so-called Unified Secretariat of the Fourth International.

In 1963 there were indications that a crisis was brewing in the USSR. Ted Grant showed how the twists and turns of Kruschev's policies were empirical attempts on the part of the Russian bureaucracy to reform the system in order to avoid the possibility of a political revolution developing along the lines of Hungary 1956.

In 1962 Krushchev announced the introduction of a new Constitution in the Soviet Union. Ted Grant explained the real significance of this change and why the attempt to put a check on the corruption of the bureaucratic caste without restoring real workers' democracy was doomed to failure.

In 1962 the inability of French imperialism to repress the movement of the Algerian people and the rising militancy of French workers forced de Gaulle to propose a cease-fire to the FLN and attempt to present himself as the guarantor of “peace”. Ted Grant pointed out that the crisis of the Gaullist regime foreshadowed revolutionary developments, something which was confirmed six years later!

At the beginning of 1962 the wave of black terror unleashed by the OAS in France and Algeria marked the crisis of French imperialist rule. Ted Grant explained that every reactionary attempt would inevitably be met by the revolutionary struggle of the French workers and exposed the opportunist role played by the Stalinist leaders of the French CP.

After de Gaulle's coup in 1958 frustration in the high command of the French army in Algeria led in 1961 to a second reactionary coup attempt on the part of General Challe. Ted Grant analysed how the coup was smashed by a decisive movement of the French working class and the rebellion of the army ranks against the coup plotters. The scope and strength of the movement revealed the potential for revolutionary struggle in France.

The right-wing clique around Labour Party leader Gaitskell launched an ideological offensive at the beginning of 1960, after the LP had been defeated in the 1959 election. They argued that Labour had to abandon references to Socialism and links to the Trade Unions, and undergo a process of so-called modernisation, needed to face a new epoch of "good and plenty". Ted Grant answered their arguments and appealed to the labour ranks to defeat this manoeuvre of the right wing.

At the end of 1959 there were Fascist and Nazi provocations in Germany and internationally, raising concerns within the labour movement. Ted Grant answered the anti-German racist poison that the Stalinist leaders were spreading and provided a class analysis of the forces behind Fascism and how to fight it. "From a capitalist class point of view this is perfectly logical," Ted pointed out, "The capitalists used the Nazis in the interests of their profits. If they do not support the Nazis now it is because these criminal maniacs are not necessary, at the present time, to hold down the working class in subjection, and destroy their organisations."

On the eve of the 1959 general elections, Ted Grant explained the reasons why workers needed to get rid of the Tories. Only the bosses had gained anything after eight years of Tory rule.

In 1959, the Transport and General Workers’ Union (T&GWU) and the General and Municipal Workers’ Union (G&MWU) gave voice to the growing mass opposition within the labour movement to atomic and nuclear arms. Labour Party leader Gaitskell declared that the pro-Nuclear party policy would not be changed. Ted Grant expressed the Marxists’ critical support for the trade unions’ stand and exposed the right-wing policy of the Labour leaders.

Rising unemployment provoked a parliamentary debate in March 1959. Ted Grant explained the reasons for the growing unemployment and the need to reject bourgeois policies. Unfortunately, Labour leaders were tail-ending the policies of the Tory government, which also explained why the Labour Party was finding it difficult to defeat the Tories, something which was confirmed later that year in the general election.

The advancing colonial revolution in central Africa at the end of the 1950s threatened British, French and Belgian rule. In this short article Ted Grant exposed the manoeuvres of the colonial ruling elites and imperialism and their hypocritical talk about “Co-partnership” of the races which is “the partnership of the horse and its rider”.

At the beginning of 1959 the National Coal Board decided to close 36 pits and throw 13,000 miners out of work in Wales and Scotland. Despite the wave of unrest amongst the miners, the reaction of the leaders of the Miners' Union was to "co-operate in minimising hardship caused by the closures". Ted Grant argued that the NUM should strike back and mobilise around the lines set out by the Miners' Charter and enforce workers' control on the Coal Board.

In the run-up to the 1959 General Election Ted Grant criticised the programme of the Labour Party highlighting that promises of reforms were just words, especially in the context of the economic slump, if the bosses' pockets had not to be touched. Unless the big 600 were taken over and production rationally organised according to a democratic plan, with the full participation of the workers and technicians themselves - Grant argued - the programme of reforms was unrealistic.

A few months before the 1959 General Election, after 7 years of Tory rule, their policies in favour of the rich had alienated the mass of the workers. Cracks appeared in Tory rule but the Labour Party under Gaitskell had no real alternative to offer to British workers. Unless a sharp change to the left in policies and leadership was forced by the Labour ranks, Labour would head for disaster, argued Ted Grant.

In 1958, after 7 years in power, Tory rule was shaken by recession. The class character of Tory policies was clear for all to see. At the same time the right-wing orientation of Labour under Gaitskell was frustrating the ranks of the labour movement. Growing criticism was revealed by a Gallup Poll. Ted Grant explained that workers were prepared to fight the Tories but the Labour leaders were not willing to give a lead. The most class-conscious elements should therefore organise in opposition to Gaitskell's policies.

Political and social unrest against Lebanese President Chamoun's pro-Western policy and his support for imperialist intervention in the 1956 Suez war against Egypt triggered civil war in Lebanon and forced US direct intervention in the country in July 1958 to save Chamoun. Ted Grant based his analysis on the class interests at stake in this war while even greater convulsions were being prepared in the Middle East.

In this important pamphlet of May 1958 that we publish now in its entirety, Ted Grant analysed the Bonapartist character of De Gaulle's regime in the light of previous historical events. De Gaulle's bid for power was successful not because of his strength, but because of the treacherous policies of the Communist and Socialist Party leaders. De Gaulle's victory was an expression of the crisis of French capitalism and would inevitably open up revolutionary events and an explosion of the class struggle. While most of the Stalinist, reformist and sectarian left had written off the French workers as a revolutionary class before May 1968, Ted Grant's prediction confirmed the correctness of

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In 1958 the economic recession in Britain undermined the stability of the then Tory government. The combination of rising unemployment and inflation and the Tory government's policies provoked a massive swing against them. Ted Grant urged that all forces of the trade union and labour movement be mobilised to force the Tories out.

In 1958 there were fears of a slump spreading from the US economy. British CP leader Campbell started a campaign in consonance with Russian foreign policy to put the blame for the slump on the "Americans" and protested against the bankers' behaviour and the shortsighted British government's attempt to "create a slump" in the UK. Ted Grant argued against this nonsense that it is not the "obsessions" of the bankers nor the "stupidity" of the capitalists and their representatives which cause them to act in a certain way, but the economic laws of the capitalist system.

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