Ted Grant

The economics of the transitional period

The most significant thing about all those who sought to revise Trotsky's position on the Russian question is that they always deal with the problem in the abstract and never concretely explain the laws of the transitional society between capitalism and socialism and how such a society would operate. This is not accidental. A concrete consideration would impel them to the conclusion that the fundamental economy in Russia was the same as it was under Lenin and that it could not be otherwise. The germ of the capitalist mode of production, which began under feudalism through the development of commodity production, lies in the function of

...

At the end of June 1976 a conference of Western European Communist parties marked the disenfranchisement from Moscow of the Italian and French CPs, followed by other European CPs. The birth of what was later to be called “Euro-communism”, argued Ted Grant, was the logical consequence of the trajectory of these parties. True revolutionary internationalism had been long abandoned by the Communist parties in order to become agencies of the Kremlin bureaucracy's foreign policy. The decision of severing links with the USSR came after a long period of nationalist and reformist degeneration and adaptation to bourgeois “public opinion”.

At the end of June 1976 a conference of Western European Communist parties marked the disenfranchisement from Moscow of the Italian and French CPs, followed by other European CPs. The birth of what was later to be called “Euro-communism”, argued Ted Grant, was the logical consequence of the trajectory of these parties. True revolutionary internationalism had been long abandoned by the Communist parties in order to become agencies of the Kremlin bureaucracy's foreign policy. The decision of severing links with the USSR came after a long period of nationalist and reformist degeneration and adaptation to bourgeois “public opinion”.

In 1976 Spain was ripe for revolution, but the leadership of the workers’ movement had learnt nothing from the past experience. “The CP and SP leadership have strengthened illusions in the panacea of bourgeois democracy – that same ‘democracy’ which prepared the way for the rise of the fascist forces, the rebellion of the generals and the nightmare of civil war, and bestiality of fascist repression”, commented Ted Grant. Once again the problem of the coming Spanish revolution would have been one of the revolutionary leadership.

In 1989 new negotiations between the USSR and US imperialism (culminating in a Reagan-Gorbachev summit) were heralded as opening a phase of world peace. Ted Grant analysed the extremely fragile nature of these deals and warned that “the underlying reality is of two fundamentally opposed social systems which cannot tolerate indefinitely the existence of the other.”

“What has changed in the situation to cause Wilson and the other Labour leaders to adopt capitalist policies which have proved to be disastrous to the working class in the last twenty years, and have not even solved the problem from a capitalist point of view?” Asked Ted Grant in 1966 while analysing the about-face in policies by the Labour government, “Wilson and the other leaders of the Labour Party, have forgotten the elementary principles of socialism. They had the illusion that they could run the capitalist economy better than the representatives of capitalism.” A warning that could well fit for today's Labour leaders.

In analysing Churchill's speech of September 21, 1943 on the surrender of Italy, Ted Grant denounced the hypocritical attitude of the British ruling class. All propaganda about the "war for democracy and against fascism" was ruthlessly put aside by Churchill and a deal with the former supporters of fascism (the monarchy and the Badoglio dictatorship) was struck by the Allies. As Ted Grant correctly predicted, the same horse-deal was to be repeated in one country after another, including Germany, and explained that in order to stave off revolution, Allied imperialism was perfectly willing to reach a deal with the very same forces that had backed fascism, in order to defend their common

...

The overthrow of Italian fascism in July 1943 sent shockwaves throughout Europe and the world, demonstrating that war was preparing combustible material for revolution. In this article from August 1943 Ted Grant greeted enthusiastically the heroic struggle of the Italian workers against fascism, dealing with the perspectives for the Italian revolution which was threatened on one side by the intervention of the Allied imperialists and on the other side by the treacherous policies of the Stalinist and social-democratic leaders. The article is published online in full for the first time.

We are pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of the biografy of Ted Grant written by, his close collaborator for many years, Alan Woods. The date of the publication is going to be April 5th, but we are now opening for pre-orders with a special discounted price. Below we provide a brief introduction to the book for our readers.

 

Order the book here- (for U.S. orders here)

“Quantitative easing”, i.e. literally the printing of money to increase the money supply and thereby to reflate the economy, seems the only policy left to the bourgeois in these times of severe economic crisis. Tax the rich, fight tax evasion, etc., is also popular among the reformist left today. But there is nothing new in all this. It has been tried before and it has failed. In 1978 Ted Grant answered the then left reformist wing of the Labour Party gathered around the journal Tribune,showing how none of these measures addressed the root cause of the problem.

The “Six-Day War” was fought June 5 to 10, 1967, between Israel and its neighbouring states of Egypt Jordan, and Syria. Israel won, occupying the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. Here in a Militant EC statement, Ted Grant outlined the various conflicting class and national interests at play in the region.

In 1974 the fascist EOKA-B staged a coup in Cyprus, backed by the military Junta in Greece. The Turkish army responded by invading the North of the island. The Cypriot workers’ powerful organisations, above all the AKEL (Communist Party), were caught by surprise by these developments and proved incapable of putting up serious resistance, constantly appealing to the UN to stop the invasion instead. Ted Grant pointed out the futility of such an approach and drew the lessons for the international working class and showed that the roots of this crushing defeat were to be found in the false policies of AKEL’s leadership who advocated passivity of the masses and support for Liberal president

...

Gorbachev being appointed as general secretary of the CPSU in March 1985 opened up a period of turmoil in the USSR. In an attempt to prevent economic collapse he introduced “democratic” reforms trying to lean on the masses in order to curb the excesses of the bureaucracy. But as Ted Grant warned, there could not be half workers’ control and “the bureaucracy will do anything for the working class except get off their backs.”

In March 1981 The Sunday Times revealed that there were tentative preparations for a military coup d’état in Britain in 1968 at the time of the Wilson Labour government. All threads of the conspiracy led to the high echelons of the armed forces and figures near to the royal family. Ted Grant commented that this plot was an indication of how far the ruling class would go to defend its vested interests in times of crisis and explained what lessons should be drawn for the labour movement.

In November 1967 the devaluation of the pound underlined the fact that the undergoing crisis of British capitalism had not been solved. The crisis highlighted the beginning of a polarisation between the left and right wing within the Labour Party. Recognising that this was the result of conflicting class pressures on the LP leadership, Ted Grant debunked the arguments of the “lefts” and outlined the strategy of the Marxist wing within the labour movement in an epoch of sharp class conflict that was impending, a strategy that was later to crystallise in the growth of the Militant Tendency in the 1970s.

Labour’s defeat in the 1987 election came as a bitter blow to the hopes of British workers to see the end of Tory rule after 8 years of Thatcherism. Ted Grant pointed out the objective and subjective reasons for Labour’s defeat, denouncing the failure of Labour’s right wing leaders to pose an alternative to the Tories. However, considering the perspectives for British capitalism and tensions arising in British society, Ted Grant explained, the picture was not one of a strengthened Tory rule, but quite the contrary.

In June 1946 the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth marked a victory for the right-wing leaders. Ted Grant recognised this fact in an article in the Socialist Appeal. This was subsequently criticised by DO, a member of the RCP Minority, who claimed that the whole Labour Party was moving to the left. This was Ted’s reply.

The 1946 Labour Party conference saw the domination of the right-wing leadership and the disintegration of the former left. At this important turning point, Ted Grant explained the objective and subjective reasons for this and why the masses felt they had to “wait and see” what the Labour leaders would achieve in office.

In 1972 Britain was in a stormy period of class struggle. The Tory government’s attacks had radicalised the working class and the youth. This was reflected in the election of left leaders in the T&GWU, AUEW and other unions. It was also reflected in the Labour Party (LP) conference where the Tribune lefts gained a resounding victory. The growth of the Marxists within the LP and Labour Party Young Socialists was also a vindication of the patient work within the mass organisations of the working class undertaken by the Militant tendency. This document, although written 37 years ago, contains many valuable lessons for the Marxists of today.

The world communist conference of June 1969 marked an acceleration of the nationalist and reformist degeneration of the Stalinist parties worldwide. Open discussion on the differences between so-called “socialist” states was turned into diplomatic silence. Ted Grant provided a Marxist explanation for these developments.

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!