Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

“Convulsive Crisis” in Committee for a Workers’ International. Breaking News.

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The authentic ideas, traditions and policies of the Militant Tendency.

Everything that exists is material and is derived from matter; that matter is in a process and constant change; and that all matter is interconnected and interdependent.

Dialectical Materialism and Science  (SOCIALIST APPEAL)

Like a cloud burst this letter has just broken in the international socialist and workers’ movement:

Open letter to the members and former members of the CWI

The Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) has been plunged into a convulsive crisis, which is most likely going to end in a split. At the centre of the crisis are developments in their Irish section. From the material available to us from their internal discussions it appears that the Irish section is being accused of adapting to identity politics, concentrating on women’s and LGBTQ+ issues to the detriment of work in the trade unions, bending towards reformism and at the same time adopting a sectarian stance. This emerges both from the criticisms of the International Secretariat (IS) majority faction and of one of their MPs, Paul Murphy..

The heavily ‘Labour Party orientated’ Socialist Appeal group – just a newspaper and sympathisers, and the odd abandoned telephone box,  – in the shape of the International Marxist Tendency traces the roots of the convulsions in the Socialist Party’s practice over the last decades:

Unfortunately, a bureaucratic clique, led by Peter Taaffe, slowly emerged within the tendency over a number of years.

Militant, as it was known, had its own split.

this led to the quest for shortcuts, which pushed the Tendency in an ultra-left and sectarian direction, breaking with all the traditions and methods that had led to the outstanding successes of the previous period.


Ted Grant, together with Alan Woods, Rob Sewell and other comrades, attempted to resist this turn to adventurism, but it proved to be too late and they were met not with genuine discussion, not with any attempt at reaching agreement through democratic debate, but with bureaucratic methods and outright hooliganism that were completely alien to our democratic traditions. The opposition, inside the Militant in Britain and around the world, was expelled in the most arbitrary manner in early 1992. As Taaffe put it, the Opposition had “placed itself outside the organisation”.

This marked a decisive break with the genuine traditions of Trotskyism and eventually led to the destruction of everything we had achieved over a period of 40 years of patient revolutionary work. Under the leadership of Peter Taaffe, the gains we had made in the labour movement were gradually lost.

Lacking the load-stone of Marxism they were adrift, and look what befell them….

Not good stuff, not at all.

This is precisely what has happened to the leadership of the CWI under Taaffe. It made a big mistake in abandoning the Labour Party perspective and has not had the honesty and courage to admit so.


Taaffe accuses his opponents in Ireland and elsewhere of all kinds of heinous political sins (liquidationism, opportunism, Mandelism, etc.). But if there is opportunism and liquidationism in the ranks of the CWI, these tendencies have not arisen overnight. The leadership is fully responsible for this chasing after short cuts, which is the basis for opportunism. It has been visible to all for quite some time.

The must-read of the day ends on this poignant note.

Comrades! The authentic ideas, traditions and policies of the Militant Tendency have been consistently preserved and defended by the IMT.


If you agree, we appeal to you to join the International Marxist Tendency, the true heir of the best traditions of the Militant, and its fight for a new International, and help us build the forces of Marxism with the healthy methods of Ted Grant.

March, 2019.

Further Reading: Socialist Appeal conference 2019: building the Marxist voice of Labour and youth



Written by Andrew Coates

March 25, 2019 at 6:35 pm

3 Responses

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  1. The thuggishness, sexism and homophobia of the old Militant tendency should never be forgotten. Those of us who witnessed their behaviour within the LPYS (and especially at LPYS summer camp) in the 1970s and 80s should, perhaps, consider putting what we saw and/or experienced down on paper. Socialist Appeal are clearly attempting to hark back to that backward tradition.

    Jim Denham

    March 26, 2019 at 10:09 am

  2. Also, when I wrote the post on the Alternative Economic Strategy, it was noticeable just how far Militant’s then economic theorist, Andrew Glyn, took over lock stock and barrel the dead words of bureaucratic socialism, still going strong in the Communist Parties of the time.

    Socialism was about taking ownership of the means of production, and when that happened, ““As Marx pointed out in Capital, the same people who extol the organisational excellence of capitalist factories and businesses and the sophistication of the planning techniques available to the individual capitalist enterprise, also deny the possibility that the same techniques can be applied to the co-ordination of production between the different giant enterprises which dominate the economy.” Glyn continued, “why could not a workers’ government in Britain apply the same systems to planning the British economy?https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/tag/alternative-economic-strategy/

    Andrew Coates

    March 26, 2019 at 12:14 pm

  3. “This is precisely what has happened to the leadership of the CWI under Taaffe. It made a big mistake in abandoning the Labour Party perspective and has not had the honesty and courage to admit so.”

    This is a bit cheeky from Socialist Appeal. They’ve wiped it from their website but at one point after IndyRef they told their members in Scotland to leave Labour and join the Scottish Socialist Party. Luckily, that page can still be found on the Wayback Machine-

    Socialist Appeal (27 Oct 2014) –

    “We believe the Labour Party has been largely discredited in the eyes of most youth and workers. As Marxists, we are not going to stand on the sidelines in the present political realignment in Scotland.

    We believe that the best way forward is the building of those forces on the left in Scotland, on a revolutionary and internationalist basis, beginning with the Scottish Socialist Party.”


    John Rogan

    March 27, 2019 at 7:25 pm

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