Thursday 31 January 2013

The Break-Up of the WRP

Absolutely shocking:
One of my abiding memories of 1985 is of a members’ meeting in Scotland, where I lived, held in the week when Healy’s supporters comprised a faction, i.e. after the charges had been tabled but before they had been heard. The meeting was addressed by the late Corin Redgrave (brother of Vanessa), for the CC minority, and myself for the CC majority. Redgrave opposed charging Healy, on the grounds that it would damage the revolutionary leadership. In discussion, a veteran member of the Scottish organisation asked Redgrave whether he could “look me in the eye and tell me, honestly, that these charges are to your knowledge utterly without foundation”, i.e. should not be brought because they were false. Redgrave replied by citing the WRP’s achievements (publication of a daily Trotskyist newspaper, building of a big youth movement, influence in trade unions, etc) and concluded: “If this is the work of a rapist, let’s recruit more rapists.” (In other words, he knew the charges had substance, but thought they should be dropped because Healy’s “party building” achievements rendered them irrelevant.) This statement deeply shocked those present, and we only managed with some difficulty to continue the meeting in good order.
Read the rest of this post here.

Of course, nothing like that could happen on today's far left, could it?


Gary Elsby said...

It makes me wonder if any members were identified as MI5 operatives.

It all sounds a bit like the NUM, to me.

Phil said...

I'm sure MI5 had better things to do in 1985 than destabilise a cult that posed as much of a threat to the British state as my sock drawer.

Gary Elsby said...

MI5 have atrack record of infiltrating political parties and trade unions.

You need to get up to speed at what actually goes on around you Phil and you'll then be more sceptical of what is going on.

Read Joe Gormley and Mandy.
Two knowns.

Phil said...

As someone who was on the far left for 15 years and retains a spotterly interest, I suspect I know a great deal more about the WRP than you do Gary. This cranky cult's heyday was in the 50s and 60s when it had some real industrial muscle in a number of workplaces. By the 80s it was a spent force very much on the margins of the labour movement.

Just because an organisation professing the revolutionary overthrow of the state exists doesn't automatically make it a target for secret service subversion. And in the case of the WRP there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever. All the claims that there were originated from Healy's clique of chums and supporters.

Anonymous said...

The most intriguing issue raised by the SWP crisis is why so many decent revolutionaries end up in cults that reproduce all the worst aspects of capitalist society. There are no easy answers to this question but the following writings help make some sense of the situation:

Janja Lalich, ‘Bounded Choice: True Believers and Charismatic Cults’ -

Martha Grace Duncan, ‘Only the Marlboro Man: A Psychological Study of a Political Agitator’, Political Psychology, Vol. 8, No. 2 (1987) -

Daniel Shaw, ‘Traumatic Abuse in Cults: A Psychoanalytic Perspective’ -

Simon Pirani, ‘The break-up of the WRP – from the horse’s mouth’ -

Maurice Brinton, ‘Suicide for socialism?’ –

Andy Wilson, ‘Imputed consciousness and left organisations’ -

Dennis Tourish, Tim Wohlforth, ‘On the Edge: Political Cults Right and Left’ -

John Sullivan, ‘As Soon As This Pub Closes’ -

Gary Elsby said...

You are obviously blind to it all Phil.
Eveyone knows that secret service agents, who infliltrate all organisations,are the one's wearing badges saying 'MI5'.

You didn't spot them?
Should have gone to specsavers.
So should the NUM and any other animal welfare group.

Jim Jepps said...

While I tend to agree with Phil's instincts and I certainly believe the WRP's problems were of their own making I'd be very surprised if the state didn't monitor them.

The fact is they had specific connections to the Libyan government for one thing. I don't for a second believe they cared about the group as a threat to society - they weren't - but they were giving over details of Iraqi dissidents to Saddam's regime and doing all sorts of things that almost certainly got people killed and meddled in foreign affairs.

That deserved a little team at least, even in the 80's.

Anonymous said...

Rape is very much a problem in revolutionary circles. The best collectives address it, and how to overcome it. Philly Stands UP! publishes a great zine called "A Stand Up Start-Up." The zine can be downloaded on the right-hand side of this page here:

Gary Elsby said...

Let's not let Labour off Phil's hook and let's promote the comedy known as Mandy.
A communist party member recruited by MI5 and now sits in the House of Lords.
It gets better when him and Gidoen go boating with Saif Gaddafi and wanting a cut in any hotel and rail build along the tripoli coastline.
Who sat on the sofa, Phil when your beloved Iraq war was signed off?
Now considering every single member of Labour wants rid of Trident, how come every single member can't actually do it?

Gary Elsby said...

By the way it wasn't Mandy who sat on the sofa (although it wouldn't surprise me).
It was the guy with the MI5 badge (later under oath to uphold freemasonary).
Phil, your having a laugh if you reckon MI5 aren't running Labour and Conservatives while keeping the Trots and Nazis in check with rapes, theft and general hand to hand combat.
Why do you think Mandy fails to lose a fight or jailed for 'accountancy irregularities'?
Ever heard of 'D' notices Phil?
Google it and have fun on your heart machine you'll be on for the next six months.

Phil said...

I prefer to deal with politics and facts than suppositions about imaginary conspiracies that exist in your head, Gary.

Gary Elsby said...

In my head?
two clicks of a mouse button will give you newspapers and journalists of credible national outlets who write this stuff.

You blame me for being imaginary?

Did you checkout the D notice (it exists).

By the way, it was MI6 who recruited Mandy, not MI5 (such trivialities).
and yes, he did holiday with Gideon and Saif (off Cyprus).

and yes, Gormley was an MI5 agent.

How many carer jobs is your Labour council creating due to St. Michaels being closed?
answer None(contrary to Hassel who feeds you numpties with bullshit)
How many St. Michaels carers have been successful in interviewing for new jobs wihin the council?
None. Not a single one.
Answers Gwen, please.

It takes a while to fathom out but they have been designed to fail on purpose.
More soon.

Gary Elsby said...

Ok this is what I've found out.
Day centre workers are unnaturally being more succesful that anyone else in gaining new employment.
I suspect that this is because they have definitely closed.

Care home workers are unnaturally failing (100%) because they are not closed.
That is the bent logic being observed by the Labour Group who run this City (they don't. It is an unelected Consevative (elected) Mayor with sole power).

Day centre workers (class 1)
Care workers (class 2)
(official rating of this Council).
Class 1 priority over class 2.
Second class citizens.

No care opportunities to date within the community to address a rolling 6 week, 30 strong vulnerable elderly group who require 24/7 care.

My figure which are perfectly accurate require 95 care workers, 4 seniors and 1 manager (or 2) to cover that requirement.(£2.5m)

Hassel feeds that 20 will do the job which is not enough to cover any sensible requirement.

Unknown said...

Unlike Gary Elsby for whom it is enough to say that the MI5 infiltrate and undermine organisations to attribute any crisis to them, I was a member of the WRP and before that the SLL from my youth. When I heard what Healy was accused of I kicked myself for not having realised it before. I was pretty well able to name the young women without being told, because they had been my comrades. I had always wonderd why this and that leading Young Socialist suddenly disappeared and no one explained why. I could also reconstruct the circumstances of one or two other hitherto unexplained events, such as the full-time worker, a popular figure, who had reputedly had a fight with Healy and then gone away. When I'd asked what happened to him some years before and why the Party was not investigating, I got no answer but comrades in the area to which I had just moved were warned against trusting me, and I became persona non grata for a bit without knowing why! As Phil says the time when we were really effective was in the late 1950s early 1960s, when we had leading militants in the docks and mines, as well as winning some serious youth. In those days the SLL was targeted by the press and the Economic League, and I dare say that M15 took an interest too, for instance during the unofficial seafarers' strike in 1960 and later when we won a majority in the Young Socialists. But whatever they learned about Healy's private life - and they probably knew more than most of us did - they did not put to use. Or maybe they did? It would have given them a lever to exercise pressure on the guy - whether he had to appease them by informing on other people, or breaking up campaigns that were going too well. There is a lot that has still to come out.
However if Gary Elsby expects us to believe they bided their time before inexplicably launching their plot and agents in 1985, when the WRP was already a bad joke, with fictitious branches, huge debts and little or no influence beyond covert arrangements with individuals, - then he must have a very high opinion of the agency's genius and the calibre of its agents. Two women who played a key part in bringing the great GH down had been full-time workers since their teens, one giving up a promising career in her union, the other the daughter of two full-time party organisers. Both made tremendous sacrifices in their work, welfare, family and personal lives over the years, we thought because they believed in the revolutionary cause of the working class, but if we are to believe the "MI5 plot" theory it must have been because they were dedicated agents waiting to make their move. So dedicated they even suffered violence at Healy's hands. then there were the young women who came in and out of the Party at various times, culminating in a few who were daughters of party workers and who took advice to tell their parents what went on. All this so cleverly orchestrated by M15, you have to give them credit! I may add that none of these people have gone running to to the right like renegades usually do, or retired in luxury on their MI5 pay,in fact one is so dedicated to her work as an agent she is more active and prominent now as a pensioner than she ever was. I am not going to name her but I am sure Gary Elsby knows so much that he can warn the movement about this dangerous spy. Then again people might think that far more damage is doe to the Left by fools finding excuses for any rotten and discredited leadership than could ever be achieved by MI5.