Friday, July 21, 2006

Ted Grant passes away

Well thats a cheery title for my first post. Ted Grant, also know as Isaac Blank, passed away yesterday morning aged 93. He was a leader of the International Marxist Tendency aka Committee for a Marxist International aka Socialist Appeal, or more appropriately, the Grantites. So what do I, as a Socialist Party member (Taaffeite) think about it all?

Well just a bit of background, very briefly. Ted was a pioneer of the British Trotskyist movement, a leading member of the Workers International League, then Revolutionary Communist Party, Socialist Fight and then the Militant (RSL). The Militant grew to become a serious force on the Left, Liverpool, expulsions from Labour, Poll tax etc etc. It then underwent a serious split in Britain and in the Committee for a Workers International (the international org that it was affiliated to). This was mainly over the Labour Party, Stalinism, economic perspectives etc etc. A minority left (actually expelled as they had set up their own organisation), with Ted Grant as its leading spokesman, to set up Socialist Appeal and the CMI.

I never met Ted, having joined the 'tendency' in 1999 i was way too late, but have heard some very funny stories about him. Apparently he was tee total, though i have heard things to the contrary. His books and writings were very interesting, although slightly inpenetrable to mere 'Taaffeite activists' like myself, his demolition of the Cliffite theory of state capitalism being particularly amusing (if you like that sort of thing).

I have also heard stories that Ted supplemented his meagre income (and trust me it is meagre - i know from a previous life) as a Millie full timer by being a door to door vacuum cleaner salesman, and i have every reason to believe that this is true.

Of course relations soured between the CWI and the CMI with the quite frankly disgusting articles written by Alan Woods and Rob Sewell regarding the history of Militant. They believe that only Ted was responsible for the growth of Militant - of course Ted played a massive and important role, as did Alan and Rob, but also no more than comrades like Peter Taaffe, Keith Dickinson, Clare Doyle, Tony Saunois and countless others. They have falsified history to further their interests. But despite all that, Ted should be remembered as a self sacrificing Marxist who dedicated his life to the Marxist movement.

Right all thats far too serious, time to get back to the split in Workers Power, I need some light relief.

3 Comments:

Blogger Darren said...

A blog with a Taaffite, an ex-Millie, an AWLer and a, erm, what are you this month, Voltaire?

Could this be the ecumenical left blog out there doing the rounds? Or is it just a Midlands thing?

I would be really impressed if you extended the blogging invitation to Royston Bull. I understand that he was last spotted in your neck of the woods.

7:09 PM  
Blogger voltaires_priest said...

Sorry, but I draw the line at homophobic Stalinists ;)

12:55 AM  
Anonymous Brynley said...

The story about Ted Grant working as a door to door vacuum cleaner sales rep sounds like something out of Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene, but, true or false, it stands for the determination of Ted Grant to work for his living and not simply doss around being a professional revolutionary.

I know he worked as a night telephonist at one stage.

I remember finding myself in the queue behind him at dinner time. Oblivious to all those waiting, he cross examined the woman behind the counter on the freshness or otherwise of the pork pies.

Ahead of his time on the food question, was Ted Grant.

4:03 AM  

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