Fourth International

Full run of IMG’s ‘The Red Mole’ is now online

The first issue of The Red Mole (March 1970)

The first issue of The Red Mole (March 1970)

This is just a quick post to note that the blog Red Mole Rising has been resurrected and is now uploading many new interesting documents relating to the International Marxist Group, the USFI and Socialist Action. As part of this, the blog has uploaded the entire run of the IMG newspaper The Red Mole, alongside most of the run of its predecessor The Black Dwarf. As we wrote in the introduction to our book on the British far left, the IMG had emerged out of an entrist group within the Labour Party in 1965, splitting with the Revolutionary Socialist League that would eventually become Militant. Moving from orthodox Trotskyism towards a left libertarianism (similar in area of the pre-1970s International Socialists), the IMG dived into the radical student movement and the counterculture of the late 1960s, with a particular eye on the ‘Third World’ and anti-imperialism (including heavy involvement in the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign). Aligned with those organised around New Left Review, the IMG helped produce an intra-party publication titled The Black Dwarf, which was a mixture of Trotskyism, Third Worldism and ‘soft Maoism’. But by 1970, tensions within the paper over its direction led to the IMG establishing The Red Mole as a dedicated party publication. The Red Mole probably coincided with the height of the IMG’s influence on the British left, with a much more youthful focus than many of its rival publications. It lasted until mid-1973 when the IMG replaced it with Red Weekly, which signalled a change in line for the party.

Flicking through the collection, the thing that struck me was the forthright internationalism present in The Red Mole and the support for national liberation and ‘terrorist’ groups across the globe. The IMG, an influential force in the Troops Out Movement, was particular notorious for its critical support of the IRA during the early 1970s, which is reflected in this paper.

This is now a valuable resource for historians of the British left and I hope that more material follows in the near future. As I have written in the past, we still haven’t seen a recent history of the International Marxist Group!

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New left history resource: SLL/WRP’s Labour Review & Fourth International

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This is just a quick post to let the usual left-wing trainspotters that the Encyclopedia for Trotskyism Online (ETOL) has now digitised the entire run of two journals belonging to the Healyite Socialist Labour League (after 1973 the Workers Revolutionary Party).

The first is Labour Review, which ran from 1952 to 1963. This was the journal of The Club, the group formed by Gerry Healy after the dissolution of the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1949 and coincided with The Club joining the anti-Pabloite Fourth International, led by the US Socialist Workers Party. Labour Review is particularly interesting in the mid-to-late 1950s for its commentary on the split in the Communist Party of Great Britain and the emergence of the new left. The journal includes articles written by several former CPGB members including Peter Fryer, Brian Pearce and Peter Cadogan.

The second is Fourth International. In 1963-64, the two wings of the Fourth International reunified, which was opposed by the SLL and the French International Communist Party. These two groups maintained the name of the International Committee of the Fourth International and published this journal. It was kept under SLL control until 1973, after which I’m not sure what happened, and re-appeared in 1978-79.

This journal is rather more expansive than Labour Review but is much more dense. It does carry some interesting material, such as the SLL’s position on Vietnam, Ireland and the invasion of Czechoslovakia. However readers of the WRP’s daily paper Newsline will be disappointed that the apocalyptic tones of the Healyites is not that apparent in the pages of this journal. But in the last issue (Autumn 1979), you see an article by Alex Mitchell celebrating 10 years of Colonel Gaddafi’s rule in Libya, an association which the WRP unfortunately fostered throughout the 1980s.

There is not a lot of SLL/WRP material on the internet, besides copies of The Newsletter from 1957-58 (see here), and this is a great resource for future research.