As the Workers Revolutionary Party split in two, each of the warring factions, at first, sought to publish their own version of the daily Newsline. So it was that we had the pantomime spectacle of rival papers under the same masthead- one proclaiming “Gerry Healy expelled” and the other replying “Oh no he’s not!”
However, within a couple of months, towards the end of December 1985, the anti-Healy grouping around Cliff Slaughter, Tony Banda and others abandoned the Newsline in favour of a re-launched weekly paper Workers Press. Thereafter the two groupings claiming the name Workers Revolutionary Party were known respectively as the WRP(Newsline) and WRP (Workers Press)
We present here the first 160 issues of Workers Press from December 1985 up to April 1989.
The paper is interesting for a number of reasons. Firstly, the early issues document the unfolding split within the WRP and give a commentary on the rival Newsline group as the Torrance leadership moved from defending Healy to sidelining him leading to the Healy-Redgrave split and formation of the Marxist Party.
Similarly, we find coverage of the ongoing decomposition of the WRP (Workers Press) itself as various groups, tendencies and prominent individuals split away. So, we see the split of Michael Banda, the group around David Hyland, aligned with David North’s Workers League in the US which was to become first the International Communist Party and later the Socialist Equality Party and the International Socialist League which aligned itself with the Latin America based Morenoist International Workers League.
Alongside polemic with their erstwhile comrades, Workers Press opened its pages to a wide range of British and international Trotskyist groupings and, in its pages we find debates, polemics, articles and letters from and to Workers Power, supporters of the United Secretariat and its British section, adherents of the Lambertist tendency and many others including the Workers International League which had itself decamped from the Newsline side of the split…
Having been cut loose from the International Committee- both the North and Healy claimants to that mantle- the WRP (Workers Press) sought to develop its own international contacts, a process which led to the formation of the Preparatory Committee for an International Conference of Trotskyists– an attempt to re-found the Fourth International.
Copies of Tasks of the Fourth International– journal of the Preparatory Committee can be found here, along with its successor The International.
Many thanks to Barry for loaning his holdings of Workers Press and to Keith S for scanning part of his own collection.
The remaining issues of Workers Press- some 340 issues taking us to June 1996- will be scanned eventually.