Alan Woods recalls the role of Ted Grant, discussions he had with him and also provides excerpts from some of Ted’s speeches in the 1990s, that reveal a sharp mind still following world events and applying the Marxist method to explain them.
Four years ago today (July 20) we heard the sad news of the death of comrade Ted Grant, the man to whom we owed so much. Today Ted is no longer with us, but his ideas live on, and are a source of inspiration for the new generation, to which he was so attached.
We are celebrating his life in a way he would have approved of: by issuing the first volume of his collected writings, which deal mainly with the War Years. Here you will find a wealth of important ideas. Ted and his comrades in the Workers’ International League (WIL), later the RCP, developed Trotsky’s Proletarian Military Revolutionary Policy and applied it brilliantly to the concrete situation in Britain.
I will not attempt to reproduce these ideas here, both for reasons of space, but also because it would be a redundant task. Those who are interested in finding out about Ted’s ideas now have the ideal solution: read the book!
But on the anniversary of Ted’s passing, I would like to share one or two memories I have of things he said to me concerning that period in his life. These remarks have a mainly anecdotal character, and Ted, who had an irrepressible sense of humour, did not spare his opponents in private conversation. However, at bottom, even his jokes and little comments had a political basis.
During the War, the WIL was recognised as the official British section of the Fourth. The reason for this was that the “official” section, the RSL, proved to be completely incapable of building. Like so many groups that claimed the mantle of Trotsky, they had an entirely abstract conception of Trotsky’s ideas and were unable to put them into practice or to find a road to the workers.
One of the most decisive questions for revolutionaries is the attitude to war. The RSL had a completely ultra-left position on the War. Masquerading under the banner of Lenin’s revolutionary defeatism, they advanced the idea that “the victory of Hitler is the lesser evil.” Ted said: “they were very rrrrevolutionary – in the bedroom!” Of course, they would never have dared to say things like that in the factories or union branches. One of them did raise this nonsense in his Labour Party branch – and was surprised when he was expelled!
Ted recognised that the RSL had been badly treated by Cannon and the leaders of the Fourth, but he said they were a completely sectarian and petty bourgeois outfit. “They were real Bohemians,” he said, unable to suppress his laugher. “Some of them even went around dressed in cloaks and sandals. That was really something in those days!”
These observations closely correspond to one’s experience of many of those who claim to be Trotskyists nowadays. There are some who are undoubtedly sincere, if misguided. But there are others who are just petty bourgeois misfits of the Bohemian type.
Trotsky was well aware of this problem. Before the War, when the French Left Young Socialist Fred Zeller reproached Trotsky with the bad conduct of his followers in France, he did not attempt to defend them, but said only: “sometimes you have to work with the material you have got.” In fact, there is little doubt that Trotsky insisted that the French Trotskyists must work in the Socialist Party (“the French turn”) as an antidote to the bad social composition of the French group.
This was no accident. In general, many of those “revolutionaries” who object in principle to work in the Labour Movement are only expressing the inability of the petty bourgeois sectarians to approach the proletariat and its organizations. Like Lenin, Trotsky had a very clear and realistic attitude to the mass organizations of the class, and knew how to creatively develop transitional slogans that really corresponded to the concrete conditions. By contrast, the sectarians regard slogans and tactics as a kind of Categorical Imperative, abstractions outside of space and time.
The Proletarian Military Policy
The outbreak of war posed new problems for the Trotskyist movement. The confusion of the leaders of the Fourth was evident from the conduct of Pierre Frank, who was in exile in Britain at the start of the war. In 1940 he was calling on the British workers to occupy the factories. At that time, with Hitler’s troops poised to invade, the workers were working long hours in the factories to produce arms. This detail showed just how out of touch these “leaders” were from the real world of the working class.
Before he was murdered in August 1940, Trotsky had worked out a transitional programme for the new situation that arose from the war. It had nothing in common with the abstract schemes of the ultra-lefts who presented a caricature of Lenin’s policy of revolutionary defeatism. Ted told me: “When we first read about Trotsky’s Proletarian Military Revolutionary Policy we were very pleased, because we had worked out the same position as the Old Man independently.”
Marxists do not have one policy for peace and another, totally different, policy for war. Long ago old Clausewitz explained that war is only the continuation of politics by other means. Instead of adopting the impotent attitudes of pacifism, the Marxists must develop a revolutionary proletarian policy in war, which is a continuation of the revolutionary class politics we pursue in “normal” times.
While denouncing the imperialist character of the war, and demanding that the Labour leaders break with the bourgeoisie, it was necessary to explain our programme in language the workers could understand and accept. Instead of opposing conscription, it was necessary to propose transitional demands to the effect that the workers should exercise control over military training, which should be closely linked to the factories and the trade unions, the election of officers, full rights for soldiers, etc.
In his reply to the RSL, Ted wrote the following:
"War is part of the life of society at the present time and our programme of the conquest of power has to be based, not on peace, but on the conditions of universal militarism and war. We may commiserate with the comrades of the RSL on this unfortunate deviation of history. But alas we were too weak to overthrow imperialism and must now pay the price. It was necessary (and, of course, it is still necessary) to educate the cadres of the Fourth International of the nature and meaning of social patriotism and Stalino-chauvinism and its relation towards the war. Who in Britain in the left wing has done this as vigorously as WIL? But we must go further. The Transitional Programme, if it has any meaning at all, is a bridge not only from the consciousness of the masses today to the road of the socialist revolution, but also for the isolated revolutionaries to the masses.
"The RSL convinces itself of the superiority of its position over that of Stalinism and reformism. It comforts itself that it maintains the position of Lenin in the last war. This would be very good...if the RSL had understood the position of Lenin. However, for Trotsky and the inheritors of Bolshevism, we start (even if the RSL correctly interpreted Lenin, which it does not) where the RSL leadership finishes! We approach the problem of war from the angle of the imminence of the next period of the social revolution in Britain as well as other countries. The workers in Britain, as in America ‘do not want to be conquered by Hitler, and to those who say, ‘let us have a peace programme’ the workers will reply: ‘but Hitler does not want a peace programme.’ Therefore we say, we will defend the United States [or Britain] with a workers’ army with workers’ officers, and with a workers’ government, etc.’ (Trotsky, ibid)
"Those words of the Old Man are saturated through and through with the spirit of revolutionary Marxism, which, while uncompromisingly preserving its opposition towards the bourgeoisie, shows sympathy and understanding for the attitude of the rank and file worker and the problems which are running through his mind. No longer do we stop at the necessity to educate the vanguard as to the nature of the war and the refusal to defend the capitalist fatherland, but we go forward to win the working class for the conquest of power and the defence of the proletarian fatherland."
These words convey very well the essence of Trotsky’s proletarian military policy.
Work in the armed forces
Following Trotsky’s advice, the WIL and the RCP did outstanding work in the armed forces. Frank Ward, who I used to know in Swansea when I was in the Young Socialists, succeeded in winning over his whole group when he was in the air force and was subsequently “honourably discharged” from the RAF and spent the rest of the War trying to get back in.
The comrades attracted the attention of MI5, who attempted to infiltrate the Party. Ted remembers there was one (I think he was called Davies), who applied for membership. He says: “We were suspicious of him from the start: we though he must be a cop because of the size of his feet.” So they played several tricks on him. They gave him a hard probationary period involving paying a lot of money “to prove he was serious.” With this money they were able to print the Transitional Programme.
As a member Davies showed an unusual interest in acquiring a copy of each and every paper, document and leaflet the Party produced. So as a joke they deliberately jumped an issue of the paper, printing the wrong number. The poor man nearly went mad asking everyone where he could get the “missing number”. Probably he thought it contained the plans for the insurrection!
Later, the Party headquarters was raided by the police. Ted says they had some arms hidden but the police never found them, which was just as well. When I asked him where they were hidden, he replied: “Up the chimney!” When the comrades were pulled in for questioning, they recognised this same Inspector Davies at the police station, and he (rather naively) asked them to keep quiet about his identity. When they were asked where they got the money from to publish the Transitional Programme they said: “Ask Inspector Davies!”
The comrades at one stage were preparing to be made illegal and sent Jock Haston to Ireland to investigate the setting up of a radio station to broadcast to Britain. The mission was not very successful, but while he was in Dublin Jock entered into contact with members of the IRA and the Irish Labour Party. He won over several members of the IRA to Trotskyism, a fact that did not endear him to the leadership, which was pro-German with right-wing and fascist leanings. They sentenced him to death, whereupon he hastily returned to London.
The seriousness with which the authorities took the work of the organization is shown from the MI5 report, which was made public a few year ago.
Conflicts with the Stalinists – and the Fourth
Ted commented: “The Stalinists thought they understood everything. In reality they understood nothing.” Today, over half a century later, history has punished the Stalinists for their crimes. In Britain they have been virtually liquidated as a political force. The remnants of the Stalinists have become indistinguishable from the right-wing trade union bureaucracy. But at that time they were still a force to be reckoned with in the British Labour Movement.
At the start of the War, blindly following the Moscow Line after the Hitler-Stalin Pact, the British CP was pursuing an ultra-left policy, calling in effect for “peace on Hitler’s terms.” They were fomenting strikes continually. But when Hitler invaded the USSR in the summer of 1941, the CP leaders performed a 180 degree somersault, opposing strikes and supporting the wartime coalition. They had convened an industrial conference to discuss the development of the strike movement, which they hastily transformed into a conference to discuss how to increase productivity. Naturally, this sudden change of line provoked sharp differences in their ranks.
At a time when the Stalinists were acting as the worst strike breakers, the RCP led some important strikes – notably the Tyneside apprentices strike. The Stalinists were hysterical. They published a leaflet called Hitler’s Secret Agents. The comrades did not have the money to publish a proper reply, so they did a small leaflet with the words “Reward - £10” printed on the top, offering that amount of money to anyone who could point to a single line that did not contain at least one blatant lie. The workers, with their characteristic sense of humour, besieged the Stalinists, challenging them to collect the £10!
Ted was always in conflict with the so-called leaders of the Fourth International. His colossal admiration for the Old Man was equalled by his poor opinion of the latter, whom he saw as the epigones of Trotsky. He recalled Marx’s words to the effect that he had sown dragons and reaped fleas. Once he said to me: “We thought that at least these people would be manure for the future, but they were not even that.”
This opinion of Ted was clearly shared by Trotsky. When his son Leon Sedov was assassinated by the GPU he confessed to his wife: “I feel alone. I have nobody to talk with.” These words expressed a personal tragedy, but were also a devastating comment on the leaders of the Fourth.
Even Cannon, probably the best of them, was not a theoretician and had a shallow understanding of Marxism. Trotsky’s reservations about him were clear during the struggle with Shachtman and co. Ted said: “Trotsky never approved of Cannon’s organizational methods,” and when I asked him how he knew this, he answered: “Everybody knew about it at that time.”
It is no exaggeration to say that the real heritage of Trotsky was preserved by the persistent and uncompromising work of comrade Ted. Today the IMT is proud to continue this work, fighting for the genuine ideas, programme and methods of Leon Trotsky. The publication of the first volume of Ted’s writings represents a most important contribution to this work.
London, 20th July, 2010
Buy a copy of volume 1 of Ted Grant's Writings on Wellred Online Bookshop.
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Postscript –Notes from Ted’s speeches, 1994-2000
As a postscript, I reproduce some notes that I made of Ted’s comments on a number of important issues (Indonesia, South Africa, Russia and the Colonial Revolution) in the last decade of his life. Although he was over eighty and increasingly affected by health problems, these brief extracts, despite their telegraphic nature, show that his mind and political acumen were as sharp as ever.
The colonial revolution (speech, September 21, 1994)
It is impossible to understand the developments on a world scale unless we look at them in relation to the advanced capitalist countries. The colonial countries are exploited by imperialism. They are the only ones that have lost out from the GATT [the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a forerunner of the World Trade Organization].
The former colonial countries have partially succeeded in getting rid of direct military-bureaucratic rule. But now the imperialist countries have an even greater control through the mechanism of world trade. They bleed them even more than before.
In most of these countries living standards will fall, not rise. For special reasons some countries in S.E. Asia have had important economic growth, in contrast to the USA and Russia. But this will not last. Once imperialism is in difficulties it will put up trade barriers. In fact, the way the USA behaves, the GATT might just as well not have been signed.
The value of the exports of these countries (raw materials and agricultural produce) constantly falls behind that of manufactured goods they import from the advanced countries. The imperialists talk a lot of sentimental nonsense about the “poor countries” that owed $700 billion ten years ago and paid back every cent, and now owe $1,200 billion. This will never be paid! There is no solution to this problem. This means big explosions in the next period in Latin America, Asia and Africa.
In the past the impasse of the former colonial countries led to the establishment of regimes of proletarian Bonapartism (China, Cuba, Syria, Burma, Ethiopia). The permanent revolution was carried out in a caricature form. This permitted a certain advance, but China shows the limitations of this road. China is now moving towards capitalism more quickly and successfully than Russia.
The Ethiopian regime ruined itself by failing to solve the national question. Mozambique and Angola were destroyed by South Africa, which, acting on behalf of world imperialism, armed the bandits and counterrevolutionaries to destroy them militarily. The same was true of Afghanistan, where they did not even succeed in establishing a stable state.
This shows the limitations of socialism in one country. Cuba is also in serious difficulties, now that the subsidies [from Russia] have been withdrawn. But nothing fundamental will change as long as Fidel Castro is still alive. If the Latin American Revolution were to unfold on a genuine Marxist basis, which would be entirely possible if there were a Marxist leadership, the situation would, of course, be transformed.
In such a case, the colonial revolution would give a powerful stimulus to the socialist revolution in the advanced capitalist countries. But on a deformed, proletarian Bonapartist basis, they do not attract, but repel the workers of the USA and Europe. In El Salvador and Nicaragua the revolution could have assumed a healthy form, but was hijacked by the guerrillas.
But even on a healthy basis, they could not solve their problems in isolation. The Central American Revolution must be linked at least to the perspective of the Latin American Revolution. The two stages theory has failed everywhere.
I am not sure they can restore capitalism in Russia or China. But even if they do it will be a very unstable regime. The collapse of Stalinism means that the Communist Parties have become even more rotten. They have the bourgeoisie as their master instead of Moscow.
In India the CPI was always a tool of Congress. This led to the split of the CPI(M). But now they are basically the same. There is the rise of guerrillaism in parts of India. But the Indian proletariat is immensely strong, as it is in Pakistan, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina. It is possible the workers can come to power, and it will not be so easy for the Communist Parties to betray. [In that case,] there will be massive splits in the Communist Parties.
In Sri Lanka there were big possibilities but the LSSP joined a popular front. As a result they were decimated. This was a consequence of the policies of Mandel and co. They thought the permanent revolution was merely abstract. But it is very concrete. The NSSP split and joined us but had incorrect policies. Now they also have been wiped out. Bahu [Vickramabahu Karunaratne] played a very bad role. He is incapable of recognizing mistakes.
In South Africa a nightmare scenario opens up on the basis of capitalism. The only thing in their favour is the mineral wealth, which is exploited for the benefit of the imperialists. This is very unpopular. The blacks will be so embittered that they will murder whites just for being white. It will not be a very nice place to be in. Most of the technological elite will emigrate, leading to a further downward spiral.
The leadership of the ANC is doing the dirty work of the bourgeoisie; there are five million unemployed and only a small number of blacks have become rich and joined the elite. The masses have big illusions in the ANC. But at a certain point there can be an uprising which the ANC will have to put down. There can be rivers of blood.
The working class will pay a heavy price for the fact that the ANC is carrying out capitalist policies. The leadership of the SACP is playing a very bad role. Slovo and Ramaphosa pushed the ANC to the right. But in its ranks there are many dedicated and sincere fighters, who are demanding socialist policies.
There is a constant threat of barbarism. What happened in Rwanda was a terrible warning. Similar events can be repeated elsewhere. The most striking fact is the inability of the imperialists to intervene once the masses move into action. We see the impotence of imperialism in Somalia. They are haunted by the memory of Vietnam. That alerted them to the effect that the colonial revolution can have on the masses at home.
The impasse of capitalism will give rise to guerrillaism again in countries like Mexico and India. If the Communist Parties do not give a lead then a layer of the petty bourgeois youth, in despair, can resort to “armed struggle”. This is the tactic par excellence of the peasantry, although where the working class gets involved it can change the nature of the struggle. Marx referred to a “peasant war in the rear”.
The futility of guerrillaism is shown by the PLO. Israel retreated not because of the so-called “armed struggle” of the PLO but because of the Intifada of the masses. Likewise the IRA fought for 25 years and achieved nothing, except for an abysm between Catholics and Protestants, which can only be bridged by the united action of the working class.
The idea of nationalization has been discredited not only in the West but in many colonial nations where it is associated in the minds of the masses with corruption, which is inevitable without the control of the working class. But it develops the economy. In colonial countries the bourgeoisie needs the state. Marx explained the role of nationalization under capitalism as a means of developing industry (“the hothouse of the state”).
Even in advanced capitalist countries the bourgeois needs the state. In Russia the wholesale privatization of industry was crazy. It led to a massive collapse, unprecedented in peacetime. At least with nationalization the workers had jobs, homes and stability. This will create an explosion later on. The workers have not yet said their last word
We welcome the development of the productive forces in China and S.E. Asia because it will prepare a movement of the working class. The fall of Stalinism was an historic defeat, but the workers of Russia will not just roll over and play dead. In the next period the workers will no longer look to Moscow or Beijing. The road will be open for the building of a genuine Marxist tendency!
Discussion on Indonesia (June 24, 1998)
The Indonesian revolution has begun and it will be remorseless. But the outcome is difficult to predict in advance. The revolution is not a one-act drama. There will be many ups and downs, ebbs and flows, like Spain in 1931-7. There can be defeats and even periods of reaction, but every time the masses will come back stronger. The contradictions have been piling up for decades. There is no solution for the crisis in Indonesia, and this can last for ten years or more.
A big responsibility lies on the shoulders of the PRD. The PRD leaders say: “They will not let us participate in elections!” But they can be forced to do so. The problem is the leadership. The PRD in practice has adopted the old Stalinist two-stage theory, encouraged by their “advisers”, the ex-Mandelite Australian DSP. They do not talk about socialism.
But it is a concrete question. The masses cannot live like this any longer. The population is mainly young, fresh people. The old spell of Stalinism has been broken. The proletariat is far stronger than in Russia in 1917 – 8 million in manufacturing, 20 million in total. That is a very strong base!
In the 1980s there was a second wave of investment that has strengthened the proletariat. There are now 20 million workers. They could take power and transform all Asia – especially if they have an internationalist policy. Only in Jakarta there are at least a million workers in light industry – mainly poor people from the villages.
The development of industry will educate the people. The old conservative mentality is disappearing. Lenin said the masses are a thousand times more revolutionary than us. That is certainly the case in Indonesia.
We must explain to the people: if the workers fail to take power, a catastrophe threatens (as Lenin warned in 1917). One must never play with revolution. Another 1965 is possible. It is a serious matter, many lives are at stake. The ruling class cannot go back to dictatorship now – although they would like to! They are biding their time, but at a certain stage they will attempt a coup. In that case, there can be a reaction in the form of guerrillaism.
As for Megawatti, let her take power! Only we must not take any political responsibility for her. The PRD must not enter the government. Nor must they act like the French CP, who stayed out of the government but supported it from outside. We must make an implacable but flexible criticism of Megawatti. We must take care of our tone, or people won’t listen. We must say what Megawatti ought to do: expropriate the property of Suharto and Wiranto and all the other cronies as well as the property of imperialism.
Megawatti will come to power at some stage. But she is very conservative – unlike her father, who had a better feel for the masses. The PRD should give critical support to a Megawatti government. They should advance a slogan like: “For a Megawatti government with jobs and rice!” But at the same time, the PRD must have an independent policy from the start. The slogan of action committees must be advanced. “All power to the committees!” That will get support from the workers – and later from the peasants.
We must educate all our comrades on the basis of Trotsky’s writings – which the so-called “Trotskyists” of the DSP never did. We must not lecture, but LISTEN. We must not just talk about action committees but organize them at every level.
Discussion on South Africa (November 3, 2000)
To launch a revolutionary party with a small group is absurd. We should work in the Communist Party. COSATU with 1.8 million members is a formidable force (4.5 million participated in a general strike). In 1936 in France there were a million in unions and 4 million struck. In 1968 there were 4 million and 10 million struck. It is the same in South Africa.
We must work with the organized (and unorganized) workers. We must work in the CP, but also in the ANC and the unions. The SACP has a long tradition. It puts forward a vague “socialist” programme. We must raise the question of socialism concretely. The working class must take power, drawing in the semi-proletarian layers and the petty bourgeoisie.
The ANC came to power and did not do much. Mandela then left the dirty work to Mbeki. This is logical. If you do not take power, then big business and the capitalists will decide everything. Even so, the ANC will win the next election. The ANC came out with a capitalist policy and that led to disillusionment. But what is the alternative? The masses will still vote for the ANC, although the vote may go down (with an increase in abstentions).
The ANC in the past had a vaguely socialist policy. Now its leaders have capitulated to capitalism. That means they will be under the pressure of capitalism – just as everywhere else. We should advocate a break with capitalism. We should still put forward the slogan of transforming the ANC and COSATU. The unions will be compelled to act to represent the interests of the industrial proletariat. They will come into opposition to the ANC leaders, and we will support this.
The Cliff group are entirely empirical. They stumbled on the SACP, without understanding our perspective. That will not last long. At a certain stage the CP will enter into crisis. A section of the members will demand real socialist policies. That goes for the youth in particular, and also the workers and COSATU activists, who will be discontented with the pro-capitalist policies of the ANC leaders.
The only way forward for South Africa – and for all Africa - is the permanent revolution. The South African revolution is the key to the entire continent. The socialist revolution is the only alternative.
On the class nature of Russia (August 20, 2000)
We cannot just invent a new class. It must be given a role in production. Where is it? It does not exist: it is just the old bureaucracy grafted onto a workers’ state.
One must be careful before inventing a new theory. FIRST we must try to explain things on the basis of the old theory. Trotsky’s theories have stood the test of time. He explained what would happen when the bureaucracy entered Poland and the Baltic States.
Trotsky’s perspective was vindicated by events in Eastern Europe after the defeat of Hitler’s armies. After 1944-5, the bourgeois fled from Eastern Europe. The Stalinists entered and occupied these countries with the Red Army.
The Stalinists nationalized the economy. Indirectly, they based themselves on the proletariat. They leaned on the workers to expropriate Capital. Despite the Bonapartist manner of carrying it out, this was a big step forward.
The Stalinists had no intention of allowing the workers to run society. They constructed a new state after the image of Moscow – not the Moscow of 1917 but the Moscow of Stalin, a monstrous totalitarian bureaucratic dictatorship. This had no attraction for the workers of Western Europe and the USA.
There can be all kinds of aberrations in history: the bourgeois state can be democratic, fascist or Bonapartist. But the essence of capitalism remains the same: the central contradiction of wage labour and capital stays the same (wage slavery). It is the same with a workers’ state, which can exist in all manner of peculiar forms under certain conditions.
Shachtman argued that the working class must be the owners of the state in the transitional period, but that is not the case here. “It is not the same working class as under capitalism.” That would be true for socialism. The workers would have a different consciousness (of social ownership). The workers would look upon state property as “our property”. Even now that is the case to some extent.
In China we predicted that Mao would come to power and set up a deformed workers’ state (proletarian Bonapartism). Bruno, Rizi, Shachtman etc. were shown to be wrong by history, which shows that Trotsky was right.
If there is a new class, certain things flow from this. If there is a new ruling class that never existed before, what is its role historically? Marx referred to slavery, feudalism and capitalism. If there is a new ruling class, there must be a new working class also. There cannot be one without the other. As we explained to Shachtman, his theories would mean that there must be a new slave class in Russia. But if there is a new slave class, as Shachtman argued, then all of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky are wrong.
The problem is that, owing to the peculiar situation that arose from the victory of Stalinism in the Second World War, this monstrous regime could last for decades, something that neither Trotsky nor we anticipated. This had certain effects. We thought that something would remain of the old Leninist tradition. But it has been completely eradicated by decades of totalitarian rule.
It was the development of the world market that eventually spelled doom for the Russian bureaucracy. But it is wrong to say that proletarian Bonapartism is a thing of the past. There can be movements in this direction even now (e.g. Columbia, Peru)*. There can be hideously deformed regimes, which are nonetheless progressive in relation to capitalism.
After 1945, out of fear of revolution, the bourgeois allowed the nationalization of big parts of the economy (in Britain, Italy etc.). Now they cannot see further than the end of their noses, and are privatizing everything. But in the next slump, faced with an insoluble crisis, they will be forced to resort to nationalization again.
Certain things flow from this. Should the Stalinists resort to nationalization in Russia and China, we would have to support them (critically) – unlike the Chinese “Trotskyists” after 1949 who made a complete mess of things.
(*At this stage we had not yet understood the significance of events in Venezuela.)