A “political assessment” from the twilight zone


The cut-and-paste so-called news service, World Socialist Web Site, has published a purported “political assessment” of Bob Gould.

The article is of little interest: a narrow-minded rant by one of a handful of people in the world who think the only Trotskyists are a few people who took the side of one Gerry Healy in an obscure dispute in the 1950s.

Trotskyists who did not side with Healy in this dispute are known in this sect by the exotic title of “Pabloites”. Very few other people in the world even know what this term means.

Gerry Healy was an ultraleft Stalinist who moved fairly seamlessly to the Trotskyist movement in the late 1930s, and whose career in the Trotskyist movement was littered with intrigues against his comrades that often resulted in expulsions, splits, erratic changes of political direction, thuggery against left-wing political opponents (most notably the brutal bashing in 1966 of Canadian Trotskyist Ernest Tate), accusations that his left-wing opponents were police agents, and eventually sexual abuse of female comrades. His biographer and former collaborator Bob Pitt sums up his career:

When Gerry Healy, the former leader of the Workers Revolutionary Party, died on 14 December 1989, his ambition to establish himself as a figure of world-historic significance lay in ruins. Despite his final efforts to curry favour with the Gorbachev wing of the Soviet bureaucracy, Healy ended his life in almost complete political isolation. His followers, who stuck with their infallible leader to the finish, numbered no more than a hundred or so internationally, and in Britain were reduced to a mere handful of acolytes – mainly from the theatrical profession – whose roots in, understanding of, and influence over the labour movement were approximately nil. (The Rise and Fall of Gerry Healy, Bob Pitt)

This is the man who the Socialist Labour League, predecessor of the Socialist Equality Party, which set up the WSWS, followed loyally until about 1985, when Healy was expelled after allegations of  sexual abuse and accepting funds from the dictatorships of Libya and Iraq.

Of course, Healy was a good organiser, and most socialist organisations attract people who honestly want to work for a better society. Similarly, the Australian SLL attracted many people who did not share the cynicism of Healy and his close supporters.

The WSWS has a certain reputation as news source, and it is reasonably good at aggregating news (in the days before the web it was called cutting and pasting) and adding a bit of opinion informed by a fairly primitive Marxist analysis, but the organisation that runs it remains a tiny, intolerant sect.

The strange exploits of this erratic sect have been well documented. Bob Gould commented on it a few times.

See also:

Health reconstructs the Fourth International

Reunification of the Fourth International

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