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Thomas Gerard "Gerry" Healy (3 December 1913 – 14 December 1989), was a political activist, a co-founder of the International Committee of the Fourth International and the leader of what was at times the largest current of the Trotskyist movement in Great Britain between 1950-85. His version of Trotskyism became known as "Healyism".
Early career 
Born in Ballybane, County Galway, Ireland, although some sources claim Liverpool, he emigrated to England and worked as a ship radio operator at the age of 14. He soon joined the Communist Party of Great Britain, but then left to join the Trotskyist Militant Group in 1937. He then left to become one of the founders of the Workers International League, led by Ted Grant, Jock Haston and Ralph Lee.
Healy's period in the WIL was difficult and he threatened to resign several times and was actually expelled and readmitted. He was in the group when it fused with the Revolutionary Socialist League to form the Revolutionary Communist Party but grew closer to the leadership of the Fourth International, effectively the leadership of the American Socialist Workers Party, and their representative in Britain, Sam Gordon. They encouraged Healy to form a faction and to take that group into the Labour Party. In 1950, he was rewarded as the RCP voted to dissolve itself into his faction which became known as The Club.
In 1953, Healy joined the split in the Fourth International instigated by James P. Cannon and was soon nominal leader of the International Committee of the Fourth International. The Club recruited a substantial number of former members of the Communist Party of Great Britain after they became disillusioned with Stalinism after the Twentieth Congress of the Soviet Communist Party in February 1956 which brought Khrushchev's revelations about Stalin and, later that year, the defeat of the Hungarian Revolution. This qualitatively changed the ability of Healy's group to carry out activity and they launched The Newsletter as a regular weekly paper in 1958. He reconstituted The Club as the Socialist Labour League in 1959, and then in 1973 as the Workers' Revolutionary Party.
Workers Revolutionary Party 
In 1974, some 200 members around Alan Thornett, then a leading militant in the automobile industry at Cowley, were expelled from the party. Part of this group would form the Workers Socialist League. From this point, the WRP lost members and became ever more isolated from the rest of the labour movement. However, they remained sizeable and wealthy enough to produce a daily newspaper. Much of the money for this printing enterprise coming from subsidies and printing contracts with various Middle Eastern regimes as internal reports later proved. They supplemented their income by printing newspapers for leading figures of the Labour Left such as George Galloway and the Labour Herald for Ted Knight, a former member of the SLL, and Ken Livingstone. Healy forged a friendship with Livingstone. The Herald also served as a vehicle for the WRP's limited entryist operation in this period. Healy's regime within The Club, SLL and WRP was marked by demands for a high level of activism. An exception to this requirement was made for participants in the cultural fronts the SLL set up to attract actors and writers, at least until they became full party members. This attracted prominent figures including Vanessa Redgrave.
Implosion of WRP 
By 1985, concern as to Healy's financial, political and intelligence links with the Libyan and Iraqi governments had risen within the WRP to the point at which the group imploded, the final straw being revelations from longtime associate Aileen Jennings concerning Healy's sexual abuse of female members of his party. Healy described the allegations as a smokescreen for those who had become disappointed with revolutionary politics, following the defeat of the miners' strike. The result was the WRP collapsed into many tiny, competing groups. Ken Livingstone, the Labour Party left-winger who later became Mayor of London, claimed in 1994 that the split was the work of MI5 agents. Years later, journalist Andrew Gilligan described Healy as a "serial rapist".
In 1985 Healy was expelled from the WRP which then split into several parts, one version of the group producing a version of their daily paper headlined "Healy Expelled", while Healy's WRP produced a totally different version. Healy's WRP continued until what he saw as unconstitutional manoeuvres by the Torrance leadership led him to form another new group. Formed in 1987, the Marxist Party had very few members, but did retain the allegiance of Vanessa and Corin Redgrave. One faction within the WRP supported the perspective advanced by the ICFI and Workers League National Secretary David North. They formed the WRP (Internationalist), later renamed the International Communist Party and, in 1996, the Socialist Equality Party.
In his old age Healy would claim that the disintegration of the WRP was due to the intervention of MI5. He also declared that Mikhail Gorbachev was leading the political revolution in the USSR. Healy died at the age of 76 from natural causes. He was depicted as "Frank Hood of the Hoodlums" in Tariq Ali's satire, Redemption (1990).
Healy has often been criticised for the WRP's internal regime which did not allow members to challenge his ideas or policies. He is also often reported to have used physical violence against 'outspoken members' and, whilst enjoying a financially comfortable life himself, allowed some of his most committed activists to live in poverty.
- North, David (1991). Gerry Healy and His Place in the History of the Fourth International. Detroit: Labor Publications, Inc. p. 1. ISBN 0-929087-58-5.
- Bailey, Chris (1992). "The Theoretical Foundations of Healyism". New Interventions 3 (1). Retrieved 5 September 2010.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Matgamna, Sean (1994). "Gerry Healy and the Failure of the Old British Trotskyist movement". Workers' Liberty. Retrieved 4 September 2010.
- Norman Harding, Staying Red, Index Books, 2005
- ibid, Chapter 16
- Lotz & Feldman, Gerry Healy, Lupus Books, 1994
- "Ken Livingstone book mentions Zionism more than TfL, mentions Nazis more than the NHS". The Daily Telegraph. 11 December 2011.
- North, David (1988). The Heritage We Defend: A Contribution to the History of the Fourth International. Detroit: Labor Publications, Inc. p. 498. ISBN 0-929087-00-3.
- Christophe Le Dréau, «Repères pour une histoire du trotskisme britannique, 1925-2005», Communisme, 2006, 87, numéro spécial «Regards sur le communisme britannique», pp. 149–60.
Further reading 
- Lotz, Corinna; Feldman, Paul. Gerry Healy: A Revolutionary Life  (1994; Lupus Books) ISBN 0-9523454-0-4 - A full political biography of Healy.
- Bob Pitt, The Rise and Fall of Gerry Healy - A critical political biography of Healy.