View Full Version : 'The Open Turn' debates- when Militant left the Labour Party

19-11-2011, 10:51 AM
It is 20 years ago this year since the 'Open Turn' debate was held in Militant, the forerunner of the SP's British sister section, over whether to remain inside the Labour Party or not. It is worth remembering that Militant spent over 20 years inside the Labour Party, building support in a number of areas as the Militant Tendency. They were quite successful in a number of areas, particularly in Liverpool where Militant members and sympathisers controlled the city council and engaged in a protracted dogfight with Thatcher over social programmes and funding for them. In 1991, a debate was held over whether it was worth remaining in the Labour Party and continuing to build the organisation in the same way, or to leave and build independently as the Labour Party had lost its proletarian roots and been 'bourgeoisified'. In the end, 93% of the membership voted to leave and form an independent party, 7% remained and with Ted Grant, Militant's most famous theoretician and political thinker, sought to continue building in the Labour Party. The documents provide a fascinating insight into the history and tactics of Militant and their perspectives for future party building.

The Irish section of the CWI, the Socialist Party, has a similar history in terms of operating as a tendency within a mass reformist working class party, and at present are involved in the most ambitious project of the left in the last quarter of a century, the building of the ULA. At this time, a reflection on the political origins of the SP and its past involvement in organisation building, may be useful for those interested in the ULA, and building it into a new worker's party.

The debates can be found in their entirety here.

C. Flower
16-11-2013, 01:48 AM
An article by John Molyneux of the SWP that covers some of the same history, and crticises the political stance and method of the Militant Tendence/Socialist Party. Also a critique of the Transitional Programme and the foundation of the Fourth International.