[Marxism] Ted Grant: 1913-2006
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jul 20 11:20:07 MDT 2006
Ted Grant: 1913-2006
By Alan Woods
Thursday, 20 July 2006
This morning we heard the tragic news of the death of comrade Ted Grant,
just a few days after his 93rd birthday. The news was a great shock to all
of us. Despite his age and the obvious deterioration of his condition in
the last period, we had grown used to the idea that he would always be
there, a permanent fixture amidst all the turbulence and change.
Ted himself seemed to be convinced that he would never grow old, never mind
die. That explains his well-known aversion to birthdays. When I went to
visit him on his birthday, he was completely indifferent to the decorations
on the door of his room. He wanted only to hear of politics, the
revolutionary struggle and the work of the International Marxist Tendency.
He was a man who only lived for the cause of the working class and the
socialist revolution. That was true right to the end.
Although he lived most of his life in Britain, Ted Grant was South African
by birth, and never quite lost his native accent. He was born in 1913 in
Germiston, just outside Johannesburg. He told me that he was first aroused
to political life by the treatment of the black workers. From a very early
age, he was interested in Marxism. He told me he had started to read
Capital when he was 14. It was the beginning of a lifelong passion for
Inspired by the Russian Revolution, he was won over to Trotskyism by Ralph
Lee, a member of the South African Communist Party, expelled for supporting
the Left Opposition. Because of the very difficult conditions in South
Africa, the comrades decided to move to Britain, where they saw greater
prospects for building the movement. In 1934, Ted moved to London, where he
lived ever since.
Shortly before the War, he spearheaded the formation of the Workers
International League (WIL), which is the original group from which we are
descended. Later, the WIL fused with other Trotskyists to form the
Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP). Ted was always very proud of the work
done by the WIL and the RCP. The publications of this period, including the
Socialist Appeal, contain a wealth of valuable political material that is
well worth reading today. Some of it can be found in The Unbroken Thread,
an important anthology of Ted's writings, and we aim to re-issue most of it
on our web page Tedgrant.org.
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