Question on Ireland (to Mine)

Russell Grinker grinker at
Sun Nov 5 01:59:19 MST 2000

Just a couple of points on the reasons for the (patriotic) failures of
British Trotskyism.

While spending most of their time burrowing away inside it, all the
Trotskyist groups failed to develop a critique of the programme of the
Labour Party. As CLR James wrote at the time (CLR James to Trotsky, Writings
1938-39), "we have had difficulty in England with advocating a Labour
government with the necessary reservations".

The interpretation that the original British Trotskyists put on entrism left
a damaging imprint on
later left groups. While initially the real failure of early British
Trotskyism was in its inability to develop a coherent alternative to either
radical reformism (the ILP) or left reformism (Socialist League),  post-war
Trotskyists never examined the contribution that the entry tactic made to
building a revolutionary organisation. They merely posed the pragmatic
question of whether or not it would win new recruits.  Entrism eventually
became an end in itself, so that even when sections of the left quit Labour
in the '60s, they did so merely to enter new organisations like CND and the
student and women's movements.  Entrism ceased to be a mere tactic and
became the whole strategy. The blurred boundary between entrists and entered
found its reflection in the political diffuseness of the former.  Thus the
entrists simply ended up as the radical contingent of the Labour left,
carrying with them all Labour's patriotic prejudices. One need look no
further for the origins of the majority of the left's pro-British position
in the war in Ireland.


-----Original Message-----
From: Gary MacLennan <g.maclennan at>
To: marxism at <marxism at>
Date: 04 November 2000 08:24
Subject: Re: Question on Ireland (to Mine)

>Pardon myself butting in. There are two questions involved here.  One is
>the failure of British Revolutionary Marxism (Trotskyism) and the role of
>the Communist Parties.
>Actually the hardest to explain is the role of British Communism
>(Stalinism). Trotskyism as a political current was and is the original
>chimera.  It appeared to offer an alternative to Stalinism but because of
>its stance on organisational matters this was to he the ultimate

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