Cliff Slaughter

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Cliff Slaughter (born 1928)[1] is a British socialist activist and writer. His best-known works are Coal is Our Life (written with Norman Dennis and Fernando Henriques) and Marxism, Ideology and Literature. Index Books published his Not Without a Storm: Towards a Communist Manifesto for the Age of Globalisation in 2006.

Early life[edit]

During the Second World War Slaughter worked in a coalmine as one of the Bevin Boys. He later became a lecturer and writer on sociology and Marxism.

As a lecturer at the Universities of Leeds and Bradford Slaughter joined the Communist Party of Great Britain. He left in 1956, following the Soviet invasion of Hungary, and joined Gerry Healy's group The Club.[2] Slaughter remained with the group for almost 30 years, during which it became known as the Socialist Labour League and then as the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP). He came to be regarded as one of the group's leading intellectuals,[3] and remained on its Central Committee throughout.

Split in the WRP in 1985[edit]

In 1985 Healy faced allegations of sexually harassing female members of the WRP, leading Cliff Slaughter and Michael Banda to oppose him. This broadened into a more general criticism of the party's direction. They were able to gain the support of a majority of the group, and forced Healy to retire. When Healy again tried to exert authority Slaughter and Banda led a call for "revolutionary morality" and expelled Healy and his supporters. This effectively split the organisation between their supporters and those of Healy and his ally Sheila Torrance.[4]

Slaughter and Banda's group at first called itself the Workers Revolutionary Party (Workers Press). However, Banda soon left the group and repudiated Trotskyism. The international supporters of the group decided to call themselves the Workers International to Rebuild the Fourth International (WIRFI), and published both the Workers Press and the International journal. In the 1990s the members of a sub-group within WIRFI influenced by Slaughter decided that the creation of an elite vanguard party was not the way to build towards socialism.

Over the past 20 years Slaughter has been increasingly influenced in his theoretical work by the writings of Istvan Meszaros. In 2006 Slaughter published Not Without a Storm: Towards a Communist Manifesto for the Age of Globalisation,[5] a book intended to open discussion of contemporary issues and the responsibility of socialists. Slaughter followed it with Bonfire of the Certainties: The Second Human Revolution, published by Lulu.com in 2013.[6]

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