The origins of the International Socialists

Whn Dv Ndl nd Chrs Gffny ssmbld smll grup f thr pltcl sscts tgthr n wrm summrs vnng n Dcmbr 1971, thy hd n pln t stblsh n ntrntnl Sclst tndncy n ustrl. ndd Ndl ws prbbly th nly prsn wh hd vn hrd f th S tndncy. nd frmlly, t lst, Ndls pltcs t ths stg wr nt ths f S. Bth h nd Gf

fny subscrbd t th vw f Russ bng wrkrs stt (thy dffrd vr th ntur f th thr sclst cuntrs Ndl sng thm s stt cptlst, Gffny sng thm s dfrmd wrkrs stts) Hwvr, t wuld b ncrrct t s prtculr nlyss f th Russn Qustn s th bss fr th frmtn f ths nw grup, th Mrxst Wrkrs Grup (MWG). Crtnly, th Russn Qustn hd bn mjr ssu f cntrvrsy nsd th Tcsn grup (t whch thy hd prvusly blngd). nd th ntrncn wrnglng wthn Tcsn hd crtnly bn mjr cntrbutry fctr n prcpttng ppl lk Ndl nd Gffny t lv tht grup. But th mptus whch cusd th frst gthrngs f th MWG ws nt wll-dfnd n ny prtculr ssu. n gnrl, ppl ttndd ths frst mtngs wth dsstsfctn wth th ltrntvs n th Lft n Mlburn t th tm.

Ths dsstsfctn dd, f curs, nclud sm mprtnt thms, f whch ppstn t Stlnsm nd burucrtc mthds f wgng struggls, nd rcgntn f th cntrlty f th wrkng clss n th sclst rvlutn wr th mst mprtnt. n ths bsc lvl, th rly MWG hd cmmn grund wth th S tndncy. But mst f ts prtcpnts hd nthr hrd f th S tndncy nr wr thy ncssrly fmlr r sympthtc wth ll rs f ts pltcs. ndd, th rly MWG culd nt vn b dscrbd s blngng t th Trtskyst trdtn. Ndl nd Gffny, th tw prtcpnts wh wr nstrumntl n gttng th grup tgthr, crtnly dd dntfy wth Trtskysm. But th grup ls nvlvd t lst tw ppl wh hd strng nrchst nclntns, nd thr ws nthr ndvdul wh hd bltnt rcst nd sxst ds, nd h hd hs wn lttl gthrng f frnds wh prtcptd n th rly mtngs wh hd smlr ds wth rgrd t blcks nd wmn.

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t th frst MWG mtng thr wr 10 ppl ncludng Ndl nd Gffny. Mny f th thr rgnl 10 sn drftd ut f th grup. n fct, fltng ppultn ws dstnctv ftur f th rly MWG. f numbr quckly drftd ut, mny thrs frnds nd cntcts f cntnung prtcpnts drftd n. n th rly mnths f 1972, ttndnc t M1VG mtngs numbrd but 20-30 ppl, wth cnsdrbl turnvr frm n mtng t th nxt. Ths ppl wr mstly studnts nd frmr studnts, nw wrkng s tchrs r clrks. Thr ws ls hndful f blu-cllr wrkrs, mst f whm hd nvr hd ny trtry ductn. rly n 1972, Ndls tw cmrds frm hs lttl Mnsh dscussn grup, Tss L ck nd Mrk Mtctt, bgn ttndng MWG mtngs. t ws n ths rly prd tht Phl Grffths, ltr t bcm ldng mmbr f S, bcm nvlvd.

n ts rly mnths f xstnc, th MWG ws vry ls grupng. Thr ws n such thng s frml mmbrshp. t ws purly dscussn grup, prtcpnts bng nybdy wh ttndd t ny tm. Thr ws rpd turnvr f prtcpnts, nd th grup ws dng nthng s grup thr thn hvng ts mtngs whr dscussn rngd vr ny ssus rlvnt t th Lft whch ny prtcpnt crd t rs. Th n trnd whch dvlpd ws th dvsn f pnn btwn th Ndl-Gffny Trtskyst tndncy nd th smllr nrchst grupng, th mst prmnnt f th lttr bng cupl by th nm f Jm nd Jntt Rb. But ths dvsn ds nt ppr t hv bn prtculrly dsruptv n th rly mnths f 1972. nd whl thr ws smll rcst-sxst lmnt, rstrctd t fw f th blu-cllr wrkrs, nthr ws ths surc f cntntn n th rly prd.

Qut sprt frm thr MWG prtcptn, Ndl, Tss L ck nd Mrk Mtctt hd bgun publctn f rdcl brdsht t Mnsh Unvrsty, whch thy clld Hrd Lns. t ws ssntlly nwssht, gvng rdcl-sclst ntrprttn f vnts, bth n nd ff cmpus. ts gnrl ln ws Trtskyst n, but ts tpcl prsnttn mnt tht t hd lttl n th wy f dtld thrtcl nlyss. Ths tpclty, cnstntly prsntd wth strng sns f humur, gv Hrd Lns dstnctv qulty, rrly fund n Trtskyst publctns, whch nrmlly tnd t b smwht std nd xcssvly thrtcl. By 1972, th studnt mvmnt hd dclnd cnsdrbly snc th lt 60s. Thr ws, hwvr, stll sm rdcl ctvty t Mnsh, nd ths rmnd dmntd by th Msts. thm quckly dvlpd n Hrd Lns ws, thrfr, strngnt crtcl pprsl f th Msts, prtculrly ttcks n thr rbd ntnlsm. Mtctt, bng tlntd rtst nd crtnst, ls ddd t th clur f th brdsht, by cntrbutng mny gd crcturs nd crtns. Frm ts frst numbr n Mrch 1972, Hrd Lns ws wkly publctn, whch md t th mst rgulr brdsht n cmpus. n fct, t prvd t b th mst rgulr brdsht t Mnsh fr th nxt 4 yrs.

Frm th pnt f vw f ts publshrs, Ndl nd hs Mnsh cmrds, Hrd Lns ws nt ntlly cnsdrd s n ctvty f th MWG. Ths vw ws pprntly shrd by thr MWG ldrs such s Gffny. Th d ws tht, lthugh n ctvst rnttn fr th MWG ws cnsdrd n vntul ncssty, n ths rly prd t ws nly dscussn grup whch hpfully wuld stblsh cmmn unty f thught, whch culd thn bcm th bss f n gttnl rl fr th grup. ny pltcl ctvty f prtculr mmbrs f th grup n ths prd ws, thrfr, thr wn rspnsblty rthr thn tht f th MWG. But ths dstnctn btwn th cllctv dscussn ctvty f th grup nd th ndvdul rspnsblty f th utsd pltcl gttn by MWG prtcpnts, ws nt ncssrly clr t th rnk nd fl. Hrd Lns ws, fr xmpl, rgulrly dscussd t MWG mtngs. Whn Phl Grffths bcm nvlvd n th grup, but Mrch r prl 1972, h mmdtly blvd Hrd Lns ws th grups cllctv rspnsblty. nd, n hs pnn, mny f th thr MWG rnk nd fl thught th sm thng. Ths cnflctng tttud vr cllctv/ndvdul rspnsblty btwn th Ndl/Gffny ldrshp nd th lss prmnnt rnk nd fl prtcpnts, s n xmpl f th mrphus Mtur f th MWG durng th frst 6 mnths f ts xstnc. Nt nly dd th grup cntn ptntlly dvrgnt pltcl dlgs such s nrchsm vrsus Trtskysm, nd ptntlly ncmptbl rcst-sxst mnrty, but ls thr wr dffrng vws but th ntur f th grups ngng ctvty, th lttr bng bscurd t th xtnt tht ths dffrnc wsnt vn clr t th prtcpnts. Th nly sgnfcnt blfs shrd by ll ths nvlvd n th rly MWG, wr ppstn t Stlnsm nd rcgntn f th cntrlty f th wrkng clss n th buldng f sclsm. nd t ws ths thm f nt-Stlnsm whch ws t prvd th frst turnng pnt n th grups dvlpmnt.

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