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Alan Woods (political theorist)

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Alan Woods
Woods in 2018
Born (1944-10-23) 23 October 1944 (age 79)
Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom
Alma materUniversity of Sussex
Sofia University
Moscow State University
Occupation(s)Political theorist, activist, writer
MovementRevolutionary Communist International

Alan Woods (born 23 October 1944)[1] is a British Trotskyist political theorist and author. He is one of the leading members of the Revolutionary Communist International (RCI) as well as of its British affiliate group, the Revolutionary Communist Party.[2] He is political editor of the RCI's In Defence of Marxism website. Woods was a leading supporter within the Militant tendency within the Labour Party and its parent group the Committee for a Workers' International until the early 1990s.[3] A series of disagreements on tactics and theory led to Woods and Ted Grant leaving the CWI, to found the Committee for a Marxist International (soon renamed International Marxist Tendency) in 1992. They continued with the policy of entryism into the Labour Party.[4] Woods has expressed particularly vocal support for the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, and repeatedly met with the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, leading to speculation that he was a close political adviser to the president.[5]

Early life[edit]

Woods was born into a working-class family in Swansea, South Wales and grew up in the Townhill and Penlan areas of the city.[2] At the age of 16 he joined the Young Socialists and became a Marxist, becoming a supporter of the Trotskyist Militant tendency within the Labour Party.[6] He studied Russian at Sussex University and later in Sofia (Bulgaria) and Moscow State University (MGU).[7] Woods's work in Brighton for the Militant tendency established an important base of support at the university and in the town.[8]

Split in Militant[edit]

In the early 1990s, Woods and his mentor, Ted Grant, left the Militant tendency and its parent organization, the Committee for a Workers' International, over what they considered to be the ultraleft turn of this organisation when it decided to split from the Labour Party.[citation needed] The minority group, led by Ted Grant, also argued that a decline in emphasis on political education, as well as the development of a bureaucratic clique around Peter Taaffe, was damaging Militant. Grant and Woods and their supporters internationally formed the Committee for a Marxist International in 1992, which was later to be known as the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) and remained active in the Labour Party.[9] The British section of the IMT was known as Socialist Appeal, which in 2024 became the Revolutionary Communist Party. The IMT became the Revolutionary Communist International in 2024 as well.

Political views[edit]

Woods and Hugo Chávez in a meeting

Woods was the editor for some years of the Marxist journal Socialist Appeal, published in London.[2]

Woods has had meetings with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez.[5] President Chávez publicly stated in a TV broadcast that he was reading Woods' book Reformism or Revolution "in great detail", which encouraged speculation that Woods was an advisor to the President.[5]

In 2010, Woods was subject to severe criticism, firstly by some Venezuelan newspapers then by international media outlets, for an article (Where is the Venezuelan revolution going?) he wrote on the IMT website.[10][11][12]

In November 2012, Woods went on a speaking tour in both the United States and Canada.[13]



  1. ^ "Ted Grant - The Permanent Revolutionary. Chapter Five: The Times That Try Men's Souls". 1 July 2014. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Turner, Robin (7 December 2010). "The strange tale of Hugo Chavez and the Swansea Marxist". Western Mail. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  3. ^ Crick, Michael (1986). The March of Militant. London: Faber & Faber. pp. 130. ISBN 9780571146437.
  4. ^ Taaffe, Peter (1995). The Rise of Militant. London: Militant Publications. p. 452.
  5. ^ a b c Yapp, Robin (5 December 2010). "Welsh Trotskyist in row over claims he is key adviser to Hugo Chavez". Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  6. ^ Grant, Ted (2002). History of British Trotskyism. London: Wellred. pp. (postscript by Rob Sewell) 208.
  7. ^ Woods, Alan (2008). Reformism or Revolution (PDF). London: Wellred. pp. i.
  8. ^ Crick, Michael (1986). The March of Militant. London: Faber & Faber. pp. 57. ISBN 9780571146437.
  9. ^ Sewell, Rob (18 July 2005). "How the Militant was Built – and How it was Destroyed" (10 October 2004). In Defence of Marxism. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  10. ^ "The Faces of Radicalism". El Universal (Caracas, Venezuela). 10 November 2010. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  11. ^ "Venezuela's economy: Towards state socialism". The Economist. 20 November 2010. Retrieved 13 July 2012.
  12. ^ (in Spanish) Yolanda Valery, "Alan Woods, the new ideologue of Hugo Chavez?", BBC Mundo, 3 December 2010.
  13. ^ "Alan Woods Tour: Successful Events in Minneapolis". Archived from the original on 26 August 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013.