The ICFI Defends Trotskyism

Letter from Cliff Slaughter to Sections of the ICFI

October 5, 1985

To Comrades of the German, Greek, Spanish, Australian, Sri Lankan and Peruvian sections of the International Committee of the Fourth International:


The International Committee has not met since the 17th of August. At that meeting, a report on the finances of the WRP was the basis for raising pledges of some £82,000 from the IC sections. Comrade North, who brings this letter to you, will report on the political and organizational matters underlying the calling of that IC meeting and the entirely false financial report which was made. I want to make it absolutely clear that Comrade North travels and speaks to the sections on these matters with my complete support and confidence, and that this support and confidence are shared by Comrade M. Banda.

At the center of the crisis in the WRP and the IC are the methods, practices and theoretical revisions of G. Healy. We in the WRP are engaged in a life-and-death struggle too put an end to those methods. The retirement of G. Healy is only the first step. The IC is directly involved in the same fight, and not simply as an “interested party” or merely by implication. Healy’s work has for many years constituted a systematic destructive attack on the whole cadre of the ICFI—organizationally, politically, theoretically, and also physically. Since June of this year, incontrovertible evidence has come forward to the Political Committee of the WRP of gross abuses of comrades, of practices entirely alien to the Trotskyist movement. These practices have sustained a “theoretical” line in which so-called “dialectical cognition” has been more and more substituted for any political analysis. In consequence, individualist imposition of arbitrary and capricious notions replaced the development of Marxist analysis, strategy and tactics. Among the deadly serious consequences has been an unprincipled relation—politically and financially—to bourgeois national movements. This has been paralleled in the advanced capitalist countries—particularly Britain—by a “left” shouting about revolutionary situations and even civil war situations and “dual power,” while at the same time giving uncritical support to and providing a mouthpiece for centrists and opportunists (Livingstone, etc.).

Behind this has been a clique method of leadership around Healy which produced a theoretical and political crisis in the IC. Its result has been the loss of any revolutionary perspective or any analysis of the world situation. The false theory was built up that some world-revolutionary “essence” now flowed into and determined uninterruptedly, without hindrance and without unevenness, the class relations in every country. This is, in fact, the only content of the 10th Congress Resolution. We must begin work immediately to reject and overcome it. We must put an end now to the old relations in the IC. Neither the WRP nor any other section is the “leading” section of the IC. The WRP has the same financial and political obligations to the IC as every other section. No section has any financial obligation to the WRP. That does not, of course, exclude financial assistance where necessary.

In Comrade North’s report, gross abuses of individual comrades by G. Healy will figure. I must stress that these are not matters of love affairs, infidelities, or casual incidents, lapses of individual conduct. What is involved in [sic] the abuse of political authority and abuse of political confidence to bully and to debase, even corrupt, young comrades. This affected every sphere of the political life of the WRP and the IC. Interwoven with every political struggle have been unspoken motives involving the subordination of political principles to the basest personal interests by Gerry Healy. What we have witnessed, and must now overcome, I repeat, is a long-term and systematic attempt to destroy all the gains of the struggle for revolutionary Marxism, embodied in the cadres of the IC sections.

We hope that you will subject what Comrade North has to say to a thorough and objective analysis, and then join us in summoning up every ounce of revolutionary energy and resource to face up to, negate, and go beyond the stage the IC has reached.

We have complete confidence that this will prove the most decisive and positive step in the history of the IC, and that together we can arm all our sections for a decisive turn to the working class and real gains in the building of the International Committee.


Cliff Slaughter

Secretary of the International Committee