International Marxist Tendency

To find out more about the history of the IMT, visit the section on our history.

In 1946 the perspectives of the then leadership of the Fourth International were that through “the combined economic, political and diplomatic pressure and the military threats of American and British imperialism” the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union could collapse. The complete opposite was the truth. Ted Grant, together with the leadership of the RCP, attempted to correct this mistaken prognosis. Here we provide the historical 1946 documentation.

Over the weekend of December 11th and 12th the 2nd National Congress of the Revolutionary Marxist Current (CMR) took place in the premises of the Bolivarian University in Caracas. This congress was held a year after the Founding Congress of the CMR in December 2003 in Barquisimeto which saw the fusion between El Topo Obrero (The Workers’ Mole) and El Militante (The Militant) groups. The Congress demonstrated the qualitative advance of the organisation with a number of new local cells being established and an increase in both the membership and in the political level of the current in general.

In 1946 the leaders of the Fourth International were predicting imminent revolutonary upheavals, when in reality capitalism was entering the biggest boom in its history. The leadership of the British Trotskyists, in particular Ted Grant, tried to convince the International that their perspective was false. History has proven Ted to be right. No one can doubt it, and we are proud to continue the tradition that he laid down of serious, meticulous analysis of the real processes taking place in society.

A comrade who was actively involved in building the Militant in the 1970s and 1980s recounts his experience, how he became disillusioned by the changes in the internal regime, how the tendency he had joined was transformed into something else. He now sees in In Defence of Marxism the genuine traditions of the Militant at its best.

The resolution adopted by the International Pre-Conference of the Fourth International in April 1946, was permeated with the false perspective of the impending revolutionary crisis, the impossibility of a general economic recovery of capitalism and therefore it highlighted the excellent possibilities to develop the forces of the Fourth International. All this of course was false and eventually led to one crisis after another of the organization, and to its final collapse.

On the 40th anniversary of the publication of the first edition of the Militant (October 1964) Fred Weston interviewed Ted Grant, the key theoretician behind the whole project.

Forty years ago this month the Militant was launched. Its subsequent evolution has no parallel in the history of left groups in Britain or internationally. From a miniscule group with no resources, it became the most successful Trotskyist tendency in Britain since the founding of Trotsky’s Left Opposition. Unfortunately the majority of its leadership was to take an ultra-left turn that would eventually destroy it. Rob Sewell, who was part of the opposition to that turn, recounts what happened.

The conflict that opened up in the Militant in 1991 eventually led to breaking point. The “Majority”, no longer able to tolerate any form of internal debate, decided to expel the Opposition, starting with Ted Grant, the founder of the Tendency. This act put the final seal on the degeneration of the old Militant. From a healthy, vibrant Marxist Tendency, it had been transformed into a bureaucratic, sectarian and undemocratic outfit. The opposition started to draw a balance sheet of the whole experience and this document is part of that.

This is the resolution adopted by the majority of the Militant leadership in 1991 after the Walton by-election. In spite of having received far fewer votes than they had expected (in fact at one stage they even thought they could win), the resolution presents the campaign as a major success. It was supposed to avoid demoralisation of the left. Experience showed that it was the beginning of the decline of the influence of the Militant in Liverpool. (July, 1991)

The presence at our Conference of a leading member of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) was an event of historic significance. Although this was not the first time a Republican Socialist had attended an international gathering of the tendency, this was the first time the IRSP decided to send an observer in an official capacity.

In the first week of August 2004 a meeting of almost 300 Marxists from 26 countries, including Venezuela and Cuba, met in Spain to discuss the world situation and the tasks of the international revolutionary Marxist tendency. This was for many reasons an historic turning point that registered a qualitative advance of the forces of Marxism on a world scale.

On the 21, 22 and 23 of May, in the building of the Independent Union of Workers of the Autonomous Metropolitan University (Situam), the 10th National Congress of the Marxist Tendency El Militante was held. The numbers in attendance were the biggest of any congress we have held in the past, with more than 160 present over the three days.

This book by Ted Grant is a unique contribution to the history of British Trotskyism. It begins with the debate on Trotskyism in the British Communist Party in 1924 and ends with the break-up of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1949 and the beginning of more than thirty years of work within the Labour Party. Ted Grant was the founder and political leader of the “Militant Tendency”, which haunted the Labour leadership, and was eventually expelled along with the Militant editorial board in 1983. A postscript by Rob Sewell, who was the national organiser for the Militant throughout the 1980s, brings this unique history up to date.

We have just received an inspiring report of the congress of The Struggle which was the largest congress of any Marxist, communist, or left party ever held in Pakistan. Esteban Volkov (Trotsky's grandson) was present, who also attended the launching of the Urdu language edition of Trotsky's My Life. In addition there is a report on the March 20 antiwar demonstration in Lahore, and the commemoration of Bhagat Singh, a fighter for independence hanged by the British imperialists in 1924.

The In Defence of Marxism web site is not merely a site where you can find interesting Marxist material. The site is an expression of a political tendency active in many countries. Our aim is to develop a Marxist current within the labour movement of all countries, with the long-term objective of winning the whole of the labour movement and its organisations to the ideas of revolutionary socialism.