“The government has proclaimed a crisis, exhorted the workers to greater exertions and sacrifices, only for them to be faced with the same situation in the next 2 years.” Back in 1961 Ted Grant analysed how the British ruling class constantly attempted to throw the weight of British capitalism’s decline onto the shoulders of the working class.

In 1961, the sixth economic crisis in Britain since the end of the Second World War was used once again by the Tory government to justify a policy of cutting taxes for the rich and introducing indirect taxation which affected the standards of living of ordinary people. Ted Grant exposed the ruthless class nature of these policies and invited the trade union and Labour leaders to action.

In this 1971 article (produced as a special pamphlet) Ted Grant exposed the capitalist character of the Common Market and explained that the EEC was nothing more than a “glorified customs union” to protect the interests of the European capitalists against the USA and Japan. This Europe would not carry out policies in favour of the workers of any country. While taking sides clearly against the EEC, Ted Grant also exposed the nationalist character of the arguments put forward by the Labour “lefts” of the Tribune.


“The arguments of the anti-marketeers in the labour movement have had no more substance than those of the pro-marketeers themselves. They have adopted a narrow nationalistic outlook, appealing against the loss of British ‘sovereignty’… Neither nationalism nor pseudo-Europeanism is a solution in the interests of the working class… The solution to the problem lies in the unity of the workers of Europe and the world against the capitalists of Europe and the world. A socialist Britain, in a socialist united states of Europe.”

In 1966 the Labour leaders after opposing entry into the EEC (the old name of the EU) on a nationalist basis did an about turn seeking entry on a capitalist basis. The Marxists opposed entry into the EEC on a socialist, internationalist position, as Ted wrote, "for the working class neither entry nor non-entry would solve their problems or lead to an increased standard of living...There is no road to the union of Europe except on a socialist basis, with full national autonomy, the abolition of tariffs, national armies and government state machines."

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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