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.

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.

This 1968 perspectives document was a fundamental document that prepared the British Marxists for the stormy period that lay ahead. “The Labour government has faithfully, if clumsily and stupidly, carried out the dictates of the capitalist class—much more effectively than a Conservative government could have done under the same conditions”, commented Ted Grant, but the victory of the Tories in the imminent election would unleash the anger and frustration of the workers and youth and push the trade unions decisively to the left.

The first year of the Wilson Labour government was one of timid attempts to fulfil the electoral promises of reforms which, however were being wrecked by the sharp reaction of the capitalists. Wilson would soon abandon any further attempt to carry out reforms, buckling under the pressure of the capitalists, paving the way for the disastrous defeat of Labour in 1970. Ted Grant in this pamphlet destroyed the phoney justifications of the Labour leaders for their cowardly policies and reaffirmed the need for socialist policies. The content of this pamphlet is as relevant, if not more relevant, today than when it was first written.

In 1965 the capitalist class in Britain, happy with the largest increases in profits ever seen, voiced their concerns about the policies proposed by the Labour government through the reactionary outing of Sir Halford Reddish. Ted Grant exposed these criticisms, explaining that they were a way of justifying the theft of the surplus value produced by the workers and concluded: “Big business is moaning about ‘socialism’. Give them a real taste of socialist measures, so that they can have something genuine to moan about!”

In May 1979 the print workers at The Times forced management to pull back from introducing a plan to enforce a new type-setting system. Ted Grant highlighted the fact that this victory would not have been possible without the solidarity shown by the print workers internationally to their British brothers.

In this article published in Militant in February 1979, a few months before Margaret Thatcher’s victory in the General Election, Ted Grant highlighted the root causes of the decline of British capitalism and the need for British capitalists to strike a blow to the workers’ rights and conditions. He exposed the failure of the reformist policies of the right-wing Labour leaders who in the three years of the Social Contract gave the capitalists a bonanza of profits while not guaranteeing any improvement for the workers. The hysterical campaign by the capitalist media against the unionised workers was an indication of the big class battles to come.

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