The Socialist Current journal began publication in 1956 and was subtitled “Incorporating the International Socialist” which was the journal of the Revolutionary Socialist League of Ted Grant at the time. The link with the Grantites did not last long and by the following year a Socialist Current Group was established, it leading members being Frank Rowe, Morry Solloff and Sam Levy.
So, here is a little mystery. We have four documents from a group calling itself the Revolutionary Marxist Tendency and dating from around 1982.
Initially we thought they may be an incarnation of the British franchise of Pablo’s (International) Revolutionary Marxist Tendency. However, certain internal political clues lead me, at least, to have some doubts about this provenance.
Firstly, in the first of the documents (Pamphlet 5 on the Economy of the Soviet Union) it is clear that the RMT identifies with Trotskyism but there is no mention of the Fourth International or even any international affiliations. Furthermore, the advert for earlier RMT pamphlets lists Pamphlet 1 “The Poverty of the Left- the need for a Marxist propaganda group” as being the founding document of the Tendency. Other pamphlets set out the groups priorities as being opposition to the Labour Party and full support for the Irish liberation struggle.
Pamphlet 6, on the Malvinas, makes a fundamentalist Marxist analysis of imperialism and critiques Militant’s position on the Malvinas / Falklands War.
Then there are the leaflets. Capitalist Crisis Explained, A3 double sided, is concerned with Marxist economics and an explanation of the crisis.
Workers Rights For Women is more interesting and sets out the RMTs central political idea of overcoming ‘divisions’ in the working class by counterposing an abstract ‘socialism’ or ‘workers control’ to sectional or reformist demands (such as equal pay for women).
So, all in all, whilst the name fits with the Pabloites, I really don’t think the politics do and there is no reference whatsoever to an international affiliation or to the Pabloite press- International Marxist Review etc.
So, my best guess / stab in the dark would be that this is a short-lived micro-split from the Revolutionary Communist Tendency, RCG or RCP. This is based on the following reasoning- the style of some of the documents is very Yaffeite / RCGish, the key political positions and concerns- Ireland, Labour, Malvinas are very RCP and the Workers Rights leaflet explicitly polemicises against the RCP, rather than any other tendency, which tends to lead me to the conclusion that it is a continuation of a formerly internal debate…
Hopefully someone can prove me right, or wrong- perhaps by producing copies of other pamphlets by the Revolutionary Marxist Tendency. Over to you…
Details of the launch meeting, in Liverpool, for the book are on the flyer and we will post information about how to obtain the book in due course.
Following his departure from the International Marxist Group, Al Richardson (Richard Stephenson) was to become one of the founders of the Revolutionary Communist League which later became primarily identified with Socialist Charter and known as the Chartist Tendency. A brief sketch of the origins and direction of this group can be found here.
Our Archive contains a number of pamphlets and bulletins but is light on copies of the Chartist newspaper (a situation we would like to rectify)
Amongst the many pamphlets you will find nos 1 and 2 of a series on the Fourth International, copies of the Socialist Charter and also the Soldiers Charter which attempted to agitate amongst members of the armed forces. There is also a shorter leaflet version of the Soldiers Charter produced by Leeds University Labour Students.
Other gems include Chris Knight’s pamphlet The First Revolution on the origins of human culture. A fascinating read but, sadly, our copy is missing the last page. And, from the same author comes the legendary pamphlet “My Sex Life” in conjunction with the Women and Labour Collective and the Chartist Minority Tendency.
Also of interest will be the joint discussion bulletin of the Socialist Charter and the IC-L
For the best part of 50 years the Workers Power group has been a small but stable component of the British far left.
Following a short lived fusion with Sean Matgamna’s Workers Fight group it reconstituted itself and resumed publishing Workers Power, first as a magazine and then as a newspaper which continued through until 2015.
The core of our WORKERS POWER ARCHIVE is some 90 issues of the newspaper which originally appeared on the Workers Power website (now discontinued). We are grateful to a comrade for downloading these and making them available to us.
We also have copies of Trotskyist Bulletin and Trotskyist International– publications of Workers Power’s international body the Movement (later League) for a Revolutionary Communist International and also the WP theoretical journal Permanent Revolution.
We are currently still adding issues of Trotskyist International and Permanent Revolution to the archive.
Readers will note a substantial gap in our collections- copies of the paper for the 1990s and early 2000’s. If anyone can help with these, please get in touch.
Following the major schism in the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) in 1985, both sides of the split continued to unravel and give rise to new groups for a number of years.
The ‘continuity’ WRP, which still exists as the Torrance led Newsline group, at first took the side of Gerry Healy but in 1987 broke with him, and his supporters- notably the Redgraves. This group then formed the Marxist Party which styled itself the British section of the International Committee of the Fourth International (one of at least three competing ICFIs in existence at the time!).
A year after Healy’s death in 1989, the Marxist Party expelled a group of members centered on Healy’s personal assistant Corinna Lotz, and Paul Feldman, who then went on to form the Communist League.
The issues around the split are far from clear. A Communist League pamphlet The Split In The Marxist Party And The Struggle For Marxism covers some of the events in detail and includes contemporary correspondence but does not shed much light on the political differences at stake.
From March 1992 the CL published a magazine Socialist Future / Socialist Future Review of which we have 36 copies in our COMMUNIST LEAGUE- SOCIALIST FUTURE ARCHIVE
The Communist League later renamed itself the Socialist Future Group and the Movement for a Socialist Future before becoming part of a broader formation A World To Win which is still active and which continues to sell Lotz and Feldman’s uncritical biography of Gerry Healy.
The ISL is the British affiliate of the International Workers League (FI) better known by its Spanish language initials the LIT (CI)- the international tendency associated with the Argentinian Trotskyist Nahuel Moreno.
The origin of the ISL lies in the break up of the Workers’ Revolutionary Party (WRP) in the 1980s. It was founded as the Bolshevik Faction of the WRP (Workers Press) group in August 1987.
In February 1988 the future Bolshevik Faction, led by veteran Trotskyist Bill Hunter and Martin Ralph, split from the WRP. Its membership was concentrated mainly in the north of England in the Manchester and Liverpool areas.
The November 2011 special issue of Socialist Voice gives a brief history of the IWL(FI)
Our ISL ARCHIVE contains some 70 issues of the magazine Socialist Voice together with various ISL pamphlets, leaflets and supplements.
We also have a small number of English language IWL publications such as the journal International Courier.
As ever, if any readers can supply us with additional materials to scan, particularly those of the international current, please get in touch.