philistine economism and activism) has been almost total. There was only one future RILmember on a leading body of the fused WSL, cde. Sue E, and none from the pre-fusion WSLand only two members of the National Committee of the WIL, nor a single member of theinitial WSL break from Healy’s Workers Revolutionary Party in 1974.The struggle to develop the original perspectives of TILC and build a section of the ITC inBritain had to be taken up by a dispersed group of rank-and-file and, to a large extent, activistmembers, in a situation of widespread retreat, major attacks on the working class, and withthe enormous weight of the Labourite tradition and its associated economist trade unionism inBritain. The problems makes the theoretical development and rearming of our movementdesperately important. The alternative is to use our problems as a source of apologies andcomplaints: if we take that road, all we can do is try to preserve the memory of the old WSLuntil “something turns up”. That road leads only to political oblivion. An objective analysis of the WSL (its origins, its relationship to the crisis of the Fourth International, its development,degeneration, and fusion with the International Communist League and also of the struggle of the Internationalist Tendency/Internationalist Faction (IT/IF) and the failure of the WIL toovercome the IT/IF’s contradictions) is essential to the future of Trotskyism
2. The origins and Development of the International Committee Section in Britain
The Workers Socialist League was formed in 1974 as a result of the expulsion by theWorkers Revolutionary Party (WRP) of the Oxford based opposition led by Alan T., Tony R.,and John L.. While there has been considerable discussion in TILC and in the ITC andelsewhere on the history of the Socialist Labour League/ Workers Revolutionary Party in thecontext of the crisis of the Fourth International, a summary of the main points pertinent to thedevelopment of the Workers Socialist League is necessary.
The formation of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1944 reflected (to a certainextent) a sectarian response to the Labour Party class collaboration (the coalition government,etc.) and to the lack of any real Labour Party activity during the war. The problems thiscreated became marked with the end of the war and the revival of Labour Party political lifein 1945 and thereafter. Subsequently, Healy led an opposition calling for entry into theLabour Party, but it was essentially an opportunist response to the strength of socialdemocracy and the weakness of Trotskyist forces. These developments took place in a verydifficult period for the Fourth International. The Stalinist purges, the assassination of Trotsky, the war, and the Nazi occupation of much of Europe had severely depleted its forcesand disrupted its functioning internationally. It had, nevertheless, come through the war and into the post war world as a revolutionaryinternational. However, the strength, politically, of Stalinism and the expansion of theStalinist bureaucracy’s area of control, the beginnings of the restabilisation of capitalismunder US hegemony, and the Cold War posed enormous problems for Trotskyists, led in somecases to physical liquidation and generally to their isolation from the masses. Healy’s splitfrom the RCP on the basis of Labour Party entry and the consequent collapse of the RCP wasthe application in British conditions of the liquidationist course taken by the FourthInternational under its International Secretary, Michel Pablo, as it sought short cuts out of itsisolation and looked to larger forces that could in some way be substituted for buildingTrotskyist parties.
practised a liquidationist form of entrism in the period 1948to 1956 and to some extent down to 1958. It was an early example of Trotskyites attempting