International Marxist Tendency

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Logo of the In Defence Of Marxism website.

The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) is an international Trotskyist Tendency founded by Ted Grant and his followers following their break with the Committee for a Workers International in the early 1990s. Their website, marxist.com, is edited by Alan Woods. The site is multilingual, and publishes international current affairs articles written from a Marxist perspective, as well as a large number of historical and theoretical articles.

The IMT is led by Woods, Rob Sewell and Lal Khan. It was founded as the Committee for a Marxist International,[1] but has referred to itself as the International Marxist Tendency since 2006.[2] The Tendency is active in over 30 countries worldwide.[3]

Origin

Main article: Militant tendency

Militant tendency was an entrist group within the British Labour Party based around the Militant newspaper that was founded in 1964. In 1974, Militant and its co-thinkers from Sweden, Ireland and elsewhere around the world formed the Committee for a Workers' International. The organisation acquired more members during the 1970s and early 1980s and dominated the Labour Party in Liverpool. In 1983, the five members of the 'Editorial Board' of the Militant newspaper were expelled for contravening the Labour Party constitution and expulsions of Militant members continued throughout the rest of the decade. Labour leader Neil Kinnock described Militant as "a maggot within the body of the Labour Party".[citation needed]

Ted Grant was a long time leader of the Militant tendency until it split in early 1992 over a number of issues, primarily whether to try to continue working in the Labour Party. The majority formed Militant Labour outside Labour, which subsequently became the Socialist Party of England and Wales. Grant argued that leaving Labour would amount to throwing away many decades of patient work and maintained that Marxists should remain within the party. However, he and his supporters were expelled from the tendency and together with Alan Woods they formed Socialist Appeal in Britain.[4][5][6]

The faction fight within the Militant tendency that led to the expulsion of Grant and Woods also played itself out within the CWI with supporters of the Grant minority leaving to form the Committee for a Marxist International in several countries, particularly Spain.

At its World Congress in 2006, the organisation was renamed the "International Marxist Tendency" (IMT).[7]

Woods is editor of the British section's journal Socialist Appeal and of the IMT website, In Defence of Marxism (Marxist.com).[8]

Theory and Tactics

The International Marxist Tendency adheres to orthodox Trotskyism, emphasising the education of cadres of workers and youth.[9]

The IMT manifesto makes demands such as "the end to privatisation and the abandonment of market economics", "the nationalisation of privatised companies without compensation" and "the reintroduction of the state monopoly of foreign trade".[10]

National sections

The IMT claims sections in many countries worldwide, including The Struggle in Pakistan, Esquerda Marxista in Brazil, FalceMartello in Italy, Vonk in the Netherlands and Socialist Appeal in Britain. Its section in France, La Riposte, practices entryism in the French Communist Party; in 2008, La Riposte supported an alternative platform at the PCF party conference which received the support of 15% of voters.[11][12] The IMT's Brazilian section, Esquerda Marxista (Marxist Left) is a recognized tendency within the ruling Workers' Party and has a majority in the Movimento Negro Socialista (Socialist Black Movement, MNS).[13][14] Two members of the Greek Section (Communist Platform of SYRIZA) were elected to the Central Committee of SYRIZA during its founding congress in July 2013.

Activity

Leading theoretician of the International Marxist Tendency Alan Woods, in a meeting with Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez.
The banner of the International Marxist Tendency

Just as the Committee for a Worker's International pursued a policy of entryism within traditional mass social democratic parties up until the early 1990s, IMT groups across the world pursue this method in their respective Labour Parties (where they exist), some Communist Parties such as those in France and Italy and, in some countries, mass populist parties such as the Pakistan Peoples Party. This work, however, is typically combined with independent work outside these parties and with a strong observance of not liquidating the organisation within them. The IMT's section in the United States does not pursue entyism, instead supporting a campaign for a trade union-backed Labour Party.

The IMT has spread to parts of Latin America, where it now has groups in Venezuela, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Brazil and El Salvador. At the end of 2002 it promoted the launching of the solidarity campaign at Hands Off Venezuela, which is now active in 30 countries and has had resolutions passed within the trade union movements in Britain, Canada, Italy and other countries. IMT activists also play an important role in FRETECO (Front of Factories Under Workers' Control) movement in Brazil and Venezuela.[15][16] They have been very active in Venezuela, where their section supports Hugo Chavez while promoting the ideas of Marx, Lenin, and Trotsky.[17] In 2010 Ramon Muchacho, leader of the main Venezuelan opposition party Primero Justicia, claimed that Alan Woods of the IMT was the "principal ideological adviser and personal friend" of Chávez, a claim played down by Alan Woods.[8]

Every year all the sections of tendency take part in a large event that is either a World Congress or a World School of Marxism. The function of the congress is to discuss the progress of IMT in the world, present reports and plan the future activities, whilst the World School is aimed mainly to deepen the knowledge of Marxist theory, history of workers' movement and the actual situation of the struggle for world socialism.[18]

In the first days of March 2009 the International Marxist Tendency organised a Marxist School in Mexico, where revolutionaries from all over North, South and Central America gathered in order to discuss the work done in each country, as well as Marxist ideas and perspectives for the movement.[19] Notably present at one of the Meetings was Esteban Volkov, grandson of Trotsky who described Alan Woods as one of Trotsky's best followers. Also in this event, a new theoretical magazine was launched, called America Socialista,currently published in Spanish, but which is intended to eventually also be published in Portuguese, English and French.[19]

In 2012 the IMT published an article denouncing the attempted assassination of Malala Yousafzai, claiming she is an IMT sympathizer and showing a picture of her speaking at an IMT school in Swat, Pakistan.[20] Woods's statement has been used to interpret Yousafzai's politics[21][22] and to speculate on whether she has a communist or anti-religious agenda.[23][24] Yousafzai sent greetings to the 9 March 2013 congress of the Pakistani section of the IMT.[25]

2009–2010 Splits

In late 2009 a dispute developed between the IMT leadership and the leaderships of its sections in Spain, Venezuela and Mexico. In January 2010, these organisations, together with the group in Colombia and part of the section in Mexico, broke with the IMT and established a new international body, the Corriente Marxista Revolucionaria, the same name as the former IMT section in Venezuela.[1][26] Minorities in Venezuela and Spain choose to remain with the IMT and set up new sections.[27][28] The new IMT Venezuelan section launched their newspaper, Lucha de Clases, in April 2010.[29]

A few months later, the IMT suffered a new split. The majority of the Swedish section, factions in Poland and Britain and individuals from several other sections left the IMT to form a new group called Towards a New International Tendency.[30] The Iranian section of the IMT also split away over the international's position on Venezuela's friendly relations with the Iranian regime and in 2011 launched Marxist Revival[31] with co-thinkers in Britain.

Publications

In addition to the international website, each national section has its own website in that country's respective language(s). There is also a quantity of audio and video material on the site. The IMT operates a publisher, Wellred Books which publishes a number of books by Trotsky, Alan Woods and other authors and sells them through its online bookstore and supplies IMT sections with material for their book stalls.

The IMT regularly publishes international theoretical periodicals, such as Marxist International Review and Asian Marxist Review.

The site's name, In Defence of Marxism, is derived from the title given to a collection of letters and articles by Trotsky.

The tendency has been criticised by some left groups for placing too much emphasis on 'abstract' theoretical topics such as Marxism and art, or the class struggles in the Roman Republic.[32]

References

  1. ^ a b "Oil-slick divisions". Weekly Worker (804) (CPGB PCC). 11 February 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2011. 
  2. ^ "A Brief History of the International Marxist Tendency". In Defence of Marxism. 12 August 2006. Retrieved 15 July 2012. 
  3. ^ "Trotskyist Parties and Organizations of the World". Broadleft.org. November 27, 2005. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  4. ^ Sewell, Rob (10 October 2004). "How the Militant was Built – and How it was Destroyed". In Defence of Marxism. 
  5. ^ Wade, Bob (27 July 2006). "Obituary: Ted Grant". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ "Ted Grant: Trotskyist who gave the Labour Party a scare through his leadership of Militant Tendency". The Times. 26 July 2006. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  7. ^ "Report on the 2006 World Congress of the International Marxist Tendency". In Defence of Marxism. 14 September 2006. 
  8. ^ a b Turner, Robin (7 December 2010). "The strange tale of Hugo Chavez and the Swansea Marxist". Western Mail. Retrieved 13 July 2012. 
  9. ^ "A Brief History of the International Marxist Tendency". In Defence of Marxism. 12 August 2006. 
  10. ^ Boyne, Ian (7 June 2009). "Socialism not the answer". The Gleaner (Jamaica). Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "And the winner is liquidationism". Weekly Worker. 18 December 2008. 
  12. ^ Oxley, Greg (3 November 2008). "France: Shift to the left and emergence of a Marxist wing in the PCF". In Defence of Marxism. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  13. ^ Cotas para negros nas universidades - debate entre Miranda do MNS e Gal do Musel Afro-Brasil, on YouTube
  14. ^ Intervenção de Miranda Audiência Pública STF 5 março 2010 - Parte 1, on YouTube
  15. ^ "::: Esquerda Marxista :::". Marxismo.org.br. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  16. ^ "Frente Bicentenario de Empresas bajo Control Obrero - Inicio". Controlobrero.org. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  17. ^ "Index". Venezuela.elmilitante.org. Retrieved 2012-06-05. [dead link]
  18. ^ "International schools and congresses". In Defence of Marxism. Retrieved 5 June 2012. 
  19. ^ a b "First Pan-American Marxist School of the IMT". In Defence of Marxism. 4 March 2009. "From February 27 to March 2, more than 100 revolutionaries from the American continent gathered in Mexico City to take part in the first Pan-American Marxist School of the International Marxist Tendency...to launch the first of issue of America Socialista, the magazine of the IMT on the American continent." 
  20. ^ Woods, Alan. "IMT sympathiser shot in Swat". In Defence of Marxism. Retrieved 11/7/2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  21. ^ O'Keefe, Derrick. "Sickening attack on 14-year-old Malala used to justify more war and western intervention". Stop the War Coalition. Retrieved 11/7/2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  22. ^ Naqvi, Jawed. "A flag and a battle plan". Dawn. 
  23. ^ Afzal, Afshain. "The truth behind attack on Malala Yousafzai". Kashmir Watch. 
  24. ^ Joshua, Anita. "It is business as usual in Pakistan". The Hindu. Retrieved 11/7/2012.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  25. ^ Anonymous. "Historic 32nd congress of Pakistani section of IMT – First Day". In Defense of Marxism. Retrieved 2013-03-19. 
  26. ^ [1][dead link]
  27. ^ "Corriente Marxista Internacional - Venezuela". Lucha de Clases. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  28. ^ "Lucha de Clases". Corrientemarxista.org. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  29. ^ "New Venezuelan IMT website and paper launched". In Defence of Marxism. 12 April 2010. 
  30. ^ "Towards A New International Tendency". Tanit.co. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  31. ^ Marxist Revival. "Committee for Marxist Revival". Marxist.cloudaccess.net. Retrieved 2012-06-05. 
  32. ^ Woods, Alan (15 October 2009). "In defence of theory — or Ignorance never yet helped anybody". In Defence of Marxism. 

External links