The ICFI Defends Trotskyism

Statement of the National Committee of the Young Socialists (Britain)

February 21, 1986

The Young Socialist National Committee salutes the courageous struggle of the Trotskyist faction within our movement who have exposed and driven out the social-chauvinist, anti-Marxist Banda-Slaughter clique.

We applaud the International Committee of the Fourth International for their decisive role in this historic fight to defend and develop the principles of Trotskyism embodied in the Fourth International through its cadre.

The YS National Committee is proud to have fought alongside our comrades to build the independent revolutionary movement under the leadership of the ICFI, the world party of socialist revolution, against all counterrevolutionary elements within the workers’ movement.

The use of state forces by the Banda-Slaughter clique to prevent WRP members from attending their bogus Eighth Congress, is the clearest vindication of the minority Central Committee members (Comrades Dave Hyland, Colleen Smith and Julie Hyland) supported by the majority of WRP and YS members, to expose the split within the Party leadership of Healy, Banda and Slaughter as an organizational break between two right-wing factions.

Both the Healy group and the Banda-Slaughter clique are now openly revealed to be the greatest defenders of nationalism and anti-Trotskyism.

Whilst the Banda-Slaughter ex-leadership barred those Party members who were in the forefront of the fight against Healy, the doors were opened to revisionist organizations and their supporters in the anti-Trotskyist binge last weekend.

We support the decision of the ICFI to suspend the British section and membership on the basis of opportunist and unprincipled relations with various Arab bourgeois regimes. It has brought the forces of reaction and advocates of social-chauvinism out into the open.

Since July 1985, when Healy’s sexual abuse and corruption first came to the attention of a small number of Party members, the YSNC fought tirelessly alongside those comrades to bring these corrupt practices before the Party membership.

We fought to show that these vile abuses could only take place when the revolutionary role of the working class under a Trotskyist leadership had been abandoned. Only then could the Party membership be abused in such a way. These corrupt practices manifested a fundamental political degeneration in the leadership of our Party.

For at least two months of this struggle, from July to September, Healy enjoyed the support of not only Torrance and Redgrave, but of Mike Banda and the majority of the Central Committee.

Banda, along with Torrance and other Party leaders, joined forces to suppress the demands for a Control Commission from parents of youth involved, moved to bureaucratically force them out of the Party and lied to the ICFI about the real state of affairs within the WRP.

Even as late as October 1985, Banda voted along with the majority on the then Political Committee for charges against the YS National Secretary for raising Healy’s abuses in a London Youth Faction meeting.

In a further attempt to cover up the degeneration within the Party leadership, the majority of the ex-CC voted to accept a glowing tribute from M. Banda to G. Healy, to accept Healy’s retirement on the grounds of “ill health and old age,” and for the News Line Anniversary to pay tribute to Healy’s “great work,” despite knowledge of Healy’s abuses.

They further allowed Healy to attend the College of Marxist Education to “lecture” where he factionalized.

Only when the Banda-Slaughter clique realized that their own political lives were in danger due to their unprincipled support for Healy, did they move for his expulsion as quickly as possible so that their own role in the degeneration would not come out.

Recognizing their lack of political credibility within the Party, the Banda-Slaughter clique raised the banner of “revolutionary morality” devoid of any political content, and hid behind the political analysis of the IC, which Healy had shown complete contempt for.

The first special congress of the WRP after the split in October 1985, voted unanimously to subordinate the British section to the political authority of the ICFI and for this to be the basis for Party membership.

But, true to the nationalist traditions of the ex-Healy leadership, the Banda-Slaughter clique would also not accept the subordination of the British section to the ICFI and the interests of the international working class.

“Rally behind the flag” became more and more the chant of the Majority CC, whilst they maneuvered and lied to undermine the ICFI and the principles of Trotskyist internationalism.

From then on, the Majority CC renegades (the minority within the Party) took up where Healy left off—attacking the youth movement, covering up before the Party membership and vilifying the ICFI.

On Tuesday, February 4, they physically ejected some of the very comrades who had led the fight against Healy from the Party center and then banned these members from the premises.

Under feeble shouts of “fight the Healy rump,” the Banda-Slaughter clique suppressed any real analysis of the degeneration within the leadership and sought to prevent a real political struggle against this reactionary tendency.

The YSNC, determined to examine the continued political degeneration of the WRP leadership, opposed the nationalist line of the Majority CC, who were abandoning any pretense of Trotskyism and moving rapidly to the swamp of centrism.

All attempts to analyze and discuss the major events in the class struggle were outlawed, in particular the printworkers’ strike. While the Trotskyist faction insisted that Healy’s greatest crime had been the abandonment of the working class as the only revolutionary force in society and the betrayals of the international working class, the Banda-Slaughter clique counterposes to this the bourgeois conception of the “individual” and his “rights.”

In an open display of hostility towards the youth and its role in the struggle for Trotskyism and revolutionary politics, the CC renegades censored the letters page in our Young Socialist and moved to stop the paper altogether—an act that only Healy could benefit from and certainly was applauding.

By January they had achieved their objective when Runcorn printworkers firstly refused to dispatch and then pulped the Young Socialist because it fought to expose the Healy leadership’s unprincipled relations.

By continuing the national chauvinist line of Healy and continuing the abandonment of Trotskyism, the Banda-Slaughter renegades had also to defend these actions.

The logical result of this right-wing development culminated in two resolutions passed by the ex-CC which announced a split with the ICFI, a further turn into the camp of anti-Trotskyism and rescinding the agreement of the Party membership presented by the IC and endorsed by the first special Congress.

In doing so they aligned themselves with Healy and all an-ti-Trotskyists in their contempt for the international movement and working class, counterposing the “interests” of one national section.

In splitting with the ICFI and openly repudiating Trotskyism, this group has lost all claim to the WRP, British section of the ICFI, and we endorse the proposals to expel these renegades from our ranks.

The Young Socialists movement, conceived by Lenin and Trotsky and steeled in the uncompromising battle against Stalinism, revisionism and reformism will march forward in its revolutionary traditions.

Just as Stalinism and the agents of imperialism were unable to destroy the revolutionary politics of Trotskyism and smash the Fourth International, so Healy and his co-thinkers, Banda and Slaughter, have failed in their pathetic, reactionary attempt.

We pledge to wage an uncompromising fight to defeat these renegades and all enemies of Trotskyism, by building the WRP and YS as the British section of the ICFI, the only revolutionary movement worldwide.