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WRP Explosion By Gerry Downing

WRP Explosion By Gerry Downing

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Published by Gerald J Downing
Preface
This publication was originally produced in 1991 when I was a member of the RIL, British section of the ITC. Whilst I would formulate some questions differently now (there never was any proof that photographs of oppositionists were sold to the Iraqi regime which resulted in executions), nonetheless I defend all the main political conclusions and characterisations of the WRP and all other political groups made in the work. The WRP Control Commission report by Norman Harding and Larry Kavanagh on Healy’s sexual and physical abuses is now included as an appendix at the end of Chapter 1.
It still needs some sub-editing
Preface
This publication was originally produced in 1991 when I was a member of the RIL, British section of the ITC. Whilst I would formulate some questions differently now (there never was any proof that photographs of oppositionists were sold to the Iraqi regime which resulted in executions), nonetheless I defend all the main political conclusions and characterisations of the WRP and all other political groups made in the work. The WRP Control Commission report by Norman Harding and Larry Kavanagh on Healy’s sexual and physical abuses is now included as an appendix at the end of Chapter 1.
It still needs some sub-editing

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Published by: Gerald J Downing on Apr 07, 2012
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Their Master’s Voice: Leaders of the WRP and the ICFI together for one of the last
big rallies, the 4,000 strong Karl Maxx Memorial Rally at the Alexander Pavilion inMarch 1983. The five leaders split five ways after Healy's expulsion in October 1985;Gerry Healy, The Marxist party, Mike Banda, Communist Forum; Cliff Slaughter,WRP, (Workers Press); David North, Workers League (US) and effective leader of thepost split ICFI, of which the WL is a sympathising section, Rodney Atkinson, then a YSNational Committee member, now inactive; Claire Dixon, WRP (News Line).
 
Published byThe Socialist Fight GroupPO Box 59188, London, NW2 9LJ,Socialist_Fight@yahoo.co.ukISBN-13: 978-1468117073(CreateSpace-Assigned)ISBN-10: 1468117076© Gerald Joseph Downing .
Contents
Preface……………………………..…………...………………………………...Page 3
 
Introduction………………………………………………...…………………...Page 4
 Chapter 1: The Break-
up ……………………...………..……………………...Page 9
 
Chapter 2: The Implosion Continues ………………….…………………...Page 20
 Chapter 3: Interregnum & Glasnost 1986
………………………...……………...
Page 32
Chapter 4: Problems of Philosophy………………..……………………… Page 50
 
Chapter 5: Chauvinism on the Irish Question
…………………….……………
Page 63
Chapter 6: Break with the Irish Workers League………………………… Page 73
 
Chapter 7: Social Relations of the WRP ……………………………………Page 85
 
Chapter 8: The debate on Stalinism …….……………....…………………Page 92
 
Chapter 9: The relationship with the LIT …………………………..……Page 115
 
Chapter 10: Strange Bedfellows……………………………………..…… page 125
 
Chapter 11: Wasted Journeys ………………………………………………Page 139
 
Chapter 12: No Question of Principle …………………………………… Page 155
 Chapter 13: End Game for the LIT and the WRP
……………..…………
Page 169Chronology 1984-90
……………..……………………………………….……
Page 182
Glossary of publications and organisations….………………..…………Page 184
 
This episode
not simply the developments in the WRP itself, but the way inwhich other tendencies identifying with Trotskyism related to this process
con-tains important lessons for all who are serious about resolving the crisis of the Fourth International. TheRIL is therefore publishing this first draft of comrade Downing's balance sheet, and we invite commentsand discussion on this document.
Tony Gard for the RIL December 1991
From page opposite
 
  WRP Explosion 3
Preface
This publication was originally produced in 1991 when I was a member of the RIL, British section of theITC. Whilst I would formulate some questions differently now (there never was any proof that photo-graphs of oppositionists were sold to the Iraqi regime which resulted in executions), nonetheless I de-fend all the main political conclusions and characterisations of the WRP and all other political groupsmade in the work. The WRP Control Commission report by Norman Harding and Larry Kavanagh on
Healy’s sexual and physical abuses is now included as an appendix at the end of Chapter 1.
 This work correctly identified the main gains made by the party in the period of its resurgence, the Inter-
regnum and Glasnost of 1986 as told in Chapter 3. These were on Ireland, youth perspectives, women’s
oppression and the Labour party. All these issues involved the crucial question of how to relate to theworking class. These developments were repudiating the corrupt relationship with both the trade unionbureaucracy in Britain and the Arab bourgeoisie in the Middle East and North Africa, the capitulation tothe British state on the question of Ireland, the issues of the history of the Fourth International, and thespecial oppression of women, gays and lesbians.This progressive struggle was brought to an end after December 1986 by a desperate and beleagueredleadership when they opened relationships with Moreno's LIT and installed Leon Perez in the WRP HQ asa LIT plenipotentiary with access to all documents and meetings. The capitulation of most of the leadingleftist oppositions to this situation in the January 1987 CC began the process of removing the leftist ele-ments who had provided the epoch of Glasnost with its leadership; Chris Bailey was removed as leaderof international affairs, Dave Bruce of Editor of Workers Press and this author as Secretary of the IrishCommission. The crucial desertion was that of Simon Pirani at that January CC, he moved from the lead-ership of the left wing of the party to the leadership of the right wing in just six months. He therebyrevealed himself as the man of no principles that some had charged him with all along. The effort hemade in 1986 was abandoned as soon as it ran into real difficulties and he was forced either to take astand on his declared principles or abandon them. After a brief hesitation he forsook them all.Now it was back to unprincipled manoeuvres which demoralised the best elements and saw the terminaldegeneration of the WRP back to worse positions on almost all issues than it had before the 1985 split.The WRP (News Line) has a better (though still as wrong as in 1985) position on Libya than almost all theWRP splinters. It can only be hoped that the republication of this book makes possible for some of thosecomrades from that time to re-engage in the struggle for Trotskyism.
Gerry Downing December 2011
Original Preface
Gerry Downing joined the Workers' Revolutionary party in 1976. He was one of the very few Irish workermilitants in the party, and became one of its leading activists in west London - a well-known militant in
the building workers’ union UCATT, a member of Brent Trades Council, a WRP candidate in the 1979
general election and the council elections. In the 1985 split in the WRP Gerry Downing supported themajority (WRP Workers Press) which backed the expulsion of its former general secretary, Gerry Healy.He was elected to its Central Committee in March 1986, which appointed him the first ever Secretary of the Irish Commission. He became a key figure in the fight to assert principled Trotskyist politics in theWRP and later in the Internationalist Faction. He conducted a prolonged struggle against the influence of British chauvinism on the question of Ireland, and in the early months of 1987 he produced the onlydocuments examining and criticising the record of the Morenoite international organisation (WorkersInternational League - LIT), with which the WRP leaders were developing a close relationship.In the Summer of the same year he played a leading role in forming the International Faction in the WRP,which left the party after its February 1988 Congress. The International Trotskyist Committee and itsBritish section, the Revolutionary Internationalist League, responded positively to proposals from theWRP for an international conference of Trotskyists. We saw the debates and struggles opened up by theexplosion in the WRP as an important opportunity to engage in a significant fight for Trotskyism. Wetherefore supported all l serious attempts to fight for principled politics and reassert the Trotskyist pro-gramme within the WRP.
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This work correctly identified the main gains made by the party in the period of its resurgence, the Interregnum and Glasnost of 1986 as told in Chapter 3. These were on Ireland, youth perspectives, women’s oppression and the Labour party. All these issues involved the crucial question of how to relate to the working class.
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