7 August 2004

SOLIDARITY WITH THE HEROES OF WARSAW

I wasn't going to post on the 60th anniversary of the Warsaw uprising until I read this tendentious defence of Stalin's betrayal of the Poles in the Guardian (click here). But that did it. Read Robert Taylor in Tribune here, get Norman Davies's excellent book, Rising '44, and check out the late Al Richardson's translation of Zygmunt Zaremba's La Commune de Varsovie (orginally put out by Editions Spartacus in 1947 in Paris), published as The Warsaw Commune, Betrayed by Stalin, Massacred by Hitler, as a Socialist Platform pamphlet in 1997 (click here). It's still available for just £3.

There is a simple message to the few veterans still alive from that heroic struggle: comrades, the decent left in Britain salutes your courage, your strength, your indefatigability.

5 August 2004

OBITUARY: PAUL PICCONE

I hear via the grapevine that Paul Piccone, the editor of the American journal Telos, died last month. I never met him and stopped reading Telos about 10 years ago, shortly after its 100th issue, by which time Piccone had embraced Alain de Benoist and the French new right. The reason I gave it up wasn't that I was disgusted or that I didn’t want to know what happened next in the Telos saga — though of course I was a little appalled, and the journal had lost a lot of its sparkle by then — but because it became impossible to buy it in Britain. It had never been very easy: I think the only place that stocked it was the late and much-lamented Compendium bookshop in Camden. I don’t even know if it’s still being published: I can’t find reference on the web to any issue after 1998.

But when I first came across Telos as a student in the 1970s, I became an instant addict. It was a left-wing academic journal wholly unlike the ones with which I was familiar – New Left Review, Capital and Class, Monthly Review and so on – in its refusal to entertain Leninist or structuralist Marxist bullshit and in its wholehearted commitment to translating contemporary left-wing thinkers from Europe and historical texts from the western Marxist tradition (properly so-called rather than the Leninoid confection put up by Perry Anderson and Robin Blackburn at NLR and Verso). OK, it also ran some excruciating stuff (particularly from its US contributors), and some of the translations were shonky. Over the years, Piccone managed to alienate rather a large number of editorial board members and contributors for no good reason. And from the mid-1980s some of its enthusiasms were distinctly weird. But from its foundation in 1968 until 1990, it did a lot more good than harm.

Every issue contained material that was unavailable elsewhere in English: it was through Telos, more than anything else, that I got to know Gyorgy Lukacs, Antonio Gramsci, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Andre Gorz, the post-Socialisme ou Barbarie work of Cornelius Castoriadis and Claude Lefort, Jean Baudrillard, Norberto Bobbio, the Italian workerists, Agnes Heller and the Budapest School, Victor Zaslavsky and a whole lot more besides. The journal also introduced me, directly or indirectly, to a whole string of American writers and thinkers – the New York intellectuals, Christopher Lasch, Russell Jacoby – that were off the radar at the time on the parochial British left.

As well as editing the journal, Piccone also wrote the best book on Gramsci in English, Italian Marxism. So, however unattractive his eventual destination, I think he deserves a modicum of respect.

WHERE TO VOTE LIB DEM NEXT ELECTION

Yes, it’s that time of the electoral cycle again. There’s probably nine months to go until the next general election, so we all need to work out how to vote.

As I’ve argued before in this column (most recently here), for more than a decade the differences between the Labour Party and the Liberal Democrats have been nugatory by comparison with the differences between either of them and the Tories. On some issues, Labour is more egalitarian, more liberal or more democratic than the Lib Dems; on others it’s the other way round. But both are parties of the democratic Centre-Left — and either is infinitely better than the Tories. So the priority at the next election, just as at the last one and the one before that, is to vote tactically for whichever candidate, Labour or Lib Dem, has the best chance of keeping the Tory out.

In most constituencies — those where Labour won at the last election or came second to a Tory — that means voting Labour. But in quite a few constituencies, the Liberal Democrat either won or came second to a Tory in 2001. In those constituencies, the best way to beat the Tory candidate next time round is to vote Lib Dem.

What follows is a list, in alphabetcial order, of: those constituencies in England and Wales where a Lib Dem came second to a Tory in 2001; and those in Scotland — where there have been boundary changes — where the Lib Dem would have won in 2001 if the new constituency boundaries had been in place. I have shamelessly pinched the latter from the excellent website Election Prediction (click here).

But on with the fun. Lib Dem and Labour supporters should vote Lib Dem in England and Wales where a Lib Dem won in 2001 and in:

Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine
Aldershot
Argyll and Bute
Arundel
Aylesbury
Berwickshire, Roxburghshire and Selkirk
Bexhill and Battle
Bournemouth East
Bridgwater
Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross
Cambridgeshire South
Cambridgeshire South East
Chesham and Amersham
Chichester
Christchurch
Cotswold
Devon East
Dorset North
Dorset West
Eastbourne
Edinburgh West
Fife North East
Folkestone and Hythe
Gordon
Haltemprice and Howden
Hampshire East
Hampshire North East
Harborough
Henley
Horsham
Huntingdon
Isle of Wight
Leominster
Maidenhead
Mid Sussex
Mole Valley
New Forest East
New Forest West
Norfolk South
Orkney and Shetland
Orpington
Penrith and The Border
Ribble Valley
Ross, Skye and Lochaber
Ryedale
Saffron Walden
Salisbury
Skipton and Ripon
Solihull
Stratford-on-Avon
Surrey East
Surrey Heath
Surrey South West
Taunton
Tiverton and Honiton
Totnes
Tunbridge Wells
Wealden
Wells
Westbury
Westmorland and Lonsdale
Wiltshire North
Windsor
Woking
Wokingham
Worcestershire West
Worthing West

Everywhere else, Lib Dem and Labour supporters should vote Labour.

Note that, just as when I did a similar column to this before the 2001 general election, I have carefully written it so that the Liberal Democrats can use it in election material to make it look as if Tribune, the Labour weekly, backs their candidate in each individual constituency. I have of course sent a copy to their headquarters in Cowley Street.

More seriously, there are a couple of things to note about my advice. The list doesn’t include Brentwood and Ongar, where Martin Bell stood as an independent against Eric Pickles in 2001 and came second, with the Lib Dem dropping to third from second in 1997: maybe it should. And, more importantly, I’m not sure what to recommend in seats held by Plaid Cymru and the Scottish National Party. The Tories are rank outsiders in all Plaid’s seats, so anti-Tory tactical voting is irrelevant in them. But in three constituencies the SNP would have won on the 2001 figures with the Tory second — Angus, Banff and Buchan, and Perth and North Perthshire. So maybe Labour and Lib Dem supporters there should vote tactically for the SNP.

28 July 2004

SADDAM’S BRITISH ADMIRERS – 6

As an example of how Vanessa Redgrave and the Workers Revolutionary Party repaid Saddam Hussein's generosity (see below), here is a piece from the WRP daily News Line in 1980, which was reproduced in a pamphlet. (I have a lot more of this rubbish but am republishing this just to give a taste.) Incidentally, just to show that I have no axe to grind, Ms Redgrave said in her letter to the Sunday Telegraph that "the WRP totally and publicly opposed Saddam Hussein's regime from September 1980". She might just be right. This fawning report dates from late August of the same year.

THE PRESIDENT – SADDAM HUSSEIN
Alan Bott, from Iraq: Under the Leadership of the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party, News Line special report 1980


The crucial importance of revolutionary leadership has been expressed in Iraq most strongly during the celebrations to mark the 12th anniversary of the July 1968 Revolution.

The occasion also marked the first anniversary of Saddam Hussein's assumption of national leadership.

Everywhere in Baghdad, his portrait was alongside that of his predecessor, Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr, and coinciding with the celebrations of the Revolution were special exhibitions - one of books by President Hussein and another documenting his life and political struggles, in contemporary photographs and documents.

It is a story which has been dramatised in a semi-fictional form, first in a two-volume novel The Long Days by Abdul Ameer Mu'alla, and a film of the same name, by the Egyptian director Tawfiq Saleh.

Both accounts present in an exciting and popular way the true story of Saddam Hussein's flight from Bagh dad into Syria after an unsuccessful attempt on the life of Abdul Kerim Qassim in 1959.

The photo-documentary exhibition of the President's life is in the attentive care of Hamid Matbei at the Baghdad Museum of Modern Art. He explains the story with genuine pride - as a part of his own past.

Saddam Hussein was born into a poor family in the spring of 1937, about 120 kilometres from Tikrit, in a village called Al Awja. His father died before ever seeing his son Saddam and the task of bringing up the future President fell to an uncle who was then an officer in the Iraqi army.

From the age of three he was looked after at the home of another uncle, Haj Ibrahim al-Hassan, who lived just south of Tikrit. The family moved when Saddam Hussein was only six and at his new home in the al-Hawaja area, he was to learn first-hand the struggle of farm life.

Another move in 1947 took the family to the Nineveh area and soon after Saddam Hussein began his formal education at schools in Tikrit and then Baghdad.

He developed political convictions which led to his taking part in the 1956 demonstrations over Allied aggression in Egypt. This was to be the turning point in his life, at the age of 19.

After the July revolution of 1958. Saddam Hussein and several of his comrades were briefly jailed along with other militants and on his release he continued both with his studies and with clandestine political work.

Abdul Kerim Qassim’s regime brought a new reign of terror in Iraq, after abandoning its original revolutionary line. Protest soon became confrontation with Qassim's government and police and it was at this point that the secret Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party Command aid plans for an attempt on
his life.

Saddam Hussein was one of seven party members selected for the mission - a daring attack on Qassim's car as it was driven along the old Rasheed Street in Baghdad city centre.

His task was to cover and protect those carrying out the attack. One comrade was killed and another badly wounded in the shooting.

It was while Saddam Hussein was carrying the wounded comrade that he was hit in the leg by a shot from a security policeman working undercover as a local greengrocer.

After making their escape from the scene, they hid for days, shattered by the news that Qassim had survived with only slight wounds.

Saddam Hussein's comrades, unable to obtain the services of a doctor, were forced to remove the bullet from his leg using a razor blade, sterilised in a flame.

His later escape from Baghdad, while police carried out continuous raids in the hunt for the attackers, is recorded in detail in the documentary exhibition and is the main subject matter of the film “The Long Days”.

On horseback, on foot, by motorcycle and donkey, he travelled the 1,000 kilometres into Syria, across the desert, in spite of his painful wound.

The photographs of those who helped him on his way are the rugged faces of Iraqi peasants, his brother in Tikrit, and other Ba'athist sympathisers.

After three months in relative safety with Ba'athists in Syria, he travelled to Nasser's Egypt, where he studied law at Cairo.

After the Ba'athist Revolution of 1963 in Iraq he returned to Baghdad, only to discover after six months of the new regime that the leadership had adopted policies to serve their own interests.

Soon he was back at work in secret, frequently disguised, using three names, in hiding and on the move from place to place to evade the police. The exhibition shows one of the best photographs of Saddam Hussein as a “Wanted” poster issued by the authorities.

Arrested, in spite of all his precautions and skill in clandestine operations, he spent two years in various Iraqi jails, before escaping to continue secret work.

Arrested again, he staged another daring escape while under armed escort in 1966, to play his part in rallying the forces for the July 17 Revolution two years later.

On the 11th anniversary of the Revolution, President Ahmad Hassan al-Bakr announced he was stepping down from office, in favour of his second in command. Saddam Hussein - a decision which carried the unanimous approval of the leadership of the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party.

He assumed three posts at once, secretary of the party's Regional Command, chairman of the Revolution Command Council and President of the Republic.

In his speech accepting the responsibilities of leadership, the new President said: “I would never hesiate or delay undertaking the responsibilities of the forward march of the leadership, dealing with patriotic and Pan-Arab tasks on the path of unity, liberty, and socialism, embodying the spirit of revolutionary, initiative required of an official.”

Since taking office and making that pledge to the party and the Iraqi people, he has achieved a reputation as a man of firm action in home affairs, insisting on the highest standards of dedication and integrity of government officials.

He has also become a leading international statesman both on a pan-Arab level and in the movement of non-aligned nations.

He played a leading role at the 10th Arab Summit in Tunis, in making opposition to imperialism and Zionism a central issue, along with policies for economic integration of Arab states.

At the Sixth conference of the Non-Aligned Movement last September in Havana, he stressed a fiercely independent line, again rejecting imperialism and Zionism and exposing fully the treachery of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat.

Saddam Hussein's drive for modern development in Iraq, the election of a National Assembly in June, the improving of living standards through wage rises and price controls, along with new social welfare provisions, have built up a momentum of achievement which the President and the Arab Ba'ath Socialist Party are determined to maintain.

President Hussein told Iraqis in a speech to mark July 17: “When we talk about the future - expressing the conscience and aspirations of the Iraqis - it is now based on increased capability. It is based on our confidence in the possibility of attaining our ambition in an accurate way, in the light of experiences we have gained, the achievements we have accomplished and the competence we have over the past 12 years.”

27 July 2004

SADDAM’S BRITISH ADMIRERS – 5

Oliver Kamm has poured scorn (click here) on Vanessa Redgrave's letter to the Sunday Telegraph yesterday in which she takes issue with Kevin Myers's assault on her brother Corin, published on July 4, which made this accurate point about him:

"For some 20 years, Redgrave's real day-job was as loyal, undeviating servant of a political movement that, had it been successful, would have turned Britain into a Marxist tyranny and an open-air lunatic asylum. Moreover, his powerful personality and his mastery of Trotskyite doggerel enabled him to become the ideological hatchet man within Equity for the party leader, the despicable and loathsome predator Gerry Healy."

Ms Redgrave's response:

"Mr Myers has every right to express his views, to wit, my brother and I are lunatics baying at the moon, that the WRP (which we left in 1986) was vile, evil, etc. He did not mention that Trotsky exposed to the world all the horrors of Stalin's regime before any writer in the west. I also observe that he does not mention my brother's political support for Gorbachev's Perestroika and Glasnost, which Gerry Healy and I shared.

"We three founded the Marxist Party in 1987 on the basis of this political perspective. Mr Myers repeats an allegation that Corin and I have refuted on many occasions, because it is untrue: that we supported terrorism. Specifically, that the WRP received financial backing from Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi. The WRP never received financial backing from Saddam Hussein. The WRP totally and publicly opposed Saddam Hussein's regime from September 1980, when he declared war on Iran. Corin and I were appalled by that war, and all the terrible things that followed. You will remember that the US and Israel supported that war. In the case of Libya, Colonel Gaddafi never financed the WRP."

Oh yeah? Below I reproduce two key features from the libertarian socialist journal Solidarity published way back in 1988 that take a rather different line.


THE REVOLUTION BETRAYED
Tom Burns, Solidarity, issue 16 (new series), spring 1988

Elsewhere in this issue, in a dramatic exclusive, we publish a damning extract from the secret report of an internal inquiry into corruption within the Workers Revolutionary Party. The full report, which has been leaked to us, chronicles an astonishing tale of abject perfidy by leading members of the group. In this article, Tom Burns gives the background and comments on the inquiry's extraordinary findings

We publish this document in the interests of political hygiene. It consists of about half of the con­fidential internal interim report on Gerry Healy's Workers Revolut­ionary Party prepared by a "commission" of the International Committee of the Fourth Inter­national (ICFI). Following his expulsion from the WRP on October 19 1985, Healy and his supporters were expelled from the ICFI in December 1985. This was as a result of allegations of sexual abuse, even rape, of women in the party, physical assault on other members, and the establishment of a "mercenary relationship" with a number of Arab despotisms (see Solidarity issue 11).

The text deals with the WRP's financial and other dealings with their foreign backers. It is large­ly self-explanatory, but a few background details may be helpful. The commission was set up at the insistance of David North, long­time chieftain of the Healyite Workers' League in the United States. North, together with the anti-Healy coalition inside the WRP headed by Michael Banda and Cliff Slaughter, was instrumental in the summer of 1985 in the ousting of Healy.

The ICFI inquiry had the reluctant support of the Banda-Slaughter WRP, who correctly fore­saw that an exposure of the facts could be a means of bringing pres­sure to bear to transfer control of the IC to North. (Indeed, the WRP was suspended by the ICFI on December 16, the day this report was submitted.)

The commission nevertheless had an interest in protecting the reputations of Healy's erstwhile supporters, since they had all been aware (to some extent) of what had been going on. One result of this was that the report as circulated to the WRP's leadership in late 1985 was censored. The names of those who had taken sides against Healy, together with those of Arab politicians and intelligence agents, were suppressed, and the copies of the documents from Healy's files which were attached to the original report as exhibits were removed.

The commission only had access to fragments of the documentary evid­ence. On October 9 1985, when the crisis in the WRP came to a head, Mike Banda and his anti-Healy supporters walked out of the party offices in Clapham. This left Healy's acolytes in control of the premises for about forty-eight hours, during which time they removed large quantities of the most sensitive documents. This report is therefore based on the few documents they overlooked, plus some material from other WRP files and accounts.

Healy of Arabia
Even these remnants disclose pay­ments of over a million pounds to the WRP from Arab regimes and the Palestine Liberation Organisation. The report clearly shows that for nearly a decade the WRP acted, quite literally, as the paid agent of brutal and oppressive foreign powers. This lasted from at least as early as 1975, when the first contact was made with the PLO, until 1983. During this period a series of agreements was concluded with the Libyan regime and the WRP's political perspectives were amended to suit their paymasters.

The document alleges that the WRP acted - through Gerry Healy, Alex Mitchell, Corin and Vanessa Redgrave, and a number of others -as a collector of information for Libyan Intelligence. This function had, as the report puts it, "strongly anti-semitic undertones". Put plainly, they were Jew-spotting in the media, politics and business. The Khomeini revolution and the Iran-Iraq war - in which the WRP's efforts to support both sides soon collapsed - put paid to their employment by the regime of Saddam Hussein. But before this disaster the WRP's connections with Iraq clearly generated more than the £19,697 identified in the report.

The Iraqi connection had sinister aspects. From 1979 on, the WRP provided the Iraqi embassy with intelligence on dissident Iraqis living in Britain. Since Saddam Hussein's dictatorship does not scruple to arrest the relatives of opponents, to use torture on a vast scale, or even to murder children, it seems likely that the WRP were accomplices to murder.

One example of the depths to which these corrupt practices drove the party occurred in March 1979, when with only one dissentient the central committee of the WRP voted to approve the execution (after pro­longed torture) of more than 20 opponents of the Iraqi government. One of the victims, Talib Suwailh, had only five months earlier brought fraternal greetings to the conference of the WRP's own front organisation, the All Trade Union Alliance (see the Slaughter group's News Line, 20 November 1985).

In addition to the £1,075,163 identified by the document as having come from the Middle East and Libya between 1977 and 1983, the report gives, in a section dealing with the WRP's internal finances which we do not print, breakdowns of a further £496,773 received between 1975 and 1985 from other sections of the International Committee, almost entirely from North America, Australia and Germany. This raises further questions about how additional Middle Eastern money may have been recycled to the WRP via other IC sections; it is known, for example, that the Australian section received at least one substantial payment from Libya.

The death agony of the WRP
The WRP's fission products included, at last count, six organisations plus a large number of dispersed and semi-detached individuals. On the anti-Healy side, in early 1986 Slaughter's WRP was expelled from North's International Committee; it in turn ejected North's British supporters, led by Dave and Judy Hyland, who then formed the 'International Communist Party1. Mike Banda was also expelled with a more politically disparate group who established a short-lived discussion circle, Communist Forum; Banda himself repudiated Trotskyism completely, and a number of his associates have joined the Communist Party.

In the summer of 1986 the WRP began negotiations with the LIT, Nahuel Moreno's Argentinian-based international apparat, (notable mainly for their enthusiastic support for the Argentine junta's invasion of the Falklands/Malvinas). These talks have, in turn, generated yet another inter­nal opposition (Chris Bailey, Gerry Downing, David Bruce, et al), who face expulsion if the marriage is consummated.

It is certain that the anti-Healy camp know far more about the dirt­ier aspects of the WRP's past than they have so far publically admit­ted. Indeed, their coyness about the past is one of the few things which unites the warring factions. Probably none of them know the full story, but virtually all of them know more than they have revealed so far. These include North, who has resolutely chosen not to make public even the skeletal inform­ation we publish; Cliff Slaughter, who for many years was secretary of the International Committee; and Dot Gibson, who was responsible for running - and falsifying - the accounts of the WRP and its com­panies. Silence denotes consent.

Healy and a number of his supporters are even better placed to be held accountable for the despicable practices which this report alleges. It states, for example, that Alex Mitchell and Corin Redgrave were as deeply involved as Healy himself in the dealings with Arab governments. So was Vanessa Redgrave, whose personal finances are alleged to have merged with the inflowing money.

One part of the document not published here states, "It was learned from cde [name suppressed] that one large IC donation of $140,000 to the party was never recorded. Under instructions from G Healy it was given to Vanessa Redgrave who had run into tax problems."

The pro-Healy WRP which emerged from the October 1985 schism has also had its problems. From the beginning Healy had an uneasy relationship with Sheila Torrance, who ran the organisation and the restarted daily News Line. In the summer of 1986, Mitchell suddenly quit, returning to Australia, and the association between Healy and his showbiz 11 on the one hand and Torrance on the other deterior­ated. The break came in December. Torrance kept a majority of the remaining membership and News Line, which by now had a circulation in the low hundreds.

Healy, the Redgraves, and a small rump, resurfaced in August 1987 as the Marxist Party, which has discovered a new messiah in Gorbachev, apparently due to lead a political revolution in the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, in early 1987 yet another faction, headed by Richard Price, broke away to refound trotskyist orthodoxy as the "Workers International League". Torrance, with what remains of her WRP, is currently embroiled in a tussle with yet another group led by Ray Athow over the party's remaining assets. Tedious, isn't it?

Their morals and ours
One important aspect of the corruption of the WRP not covered by the report is the mercenary relationship it established with certain local authorities. For example, the financially scandal-ridden Lambeth council was effect­ively dominated by a group of councillors who were covert members or supporters of the party (one, at least, received a party salary and car) with all that implies in terms of jobbery and corruption.

The Labour Herald, an important journal of the Labour "left" and formerly co-edited by Ken Livingstone and Ted Knight, was financed and controlled by the WRP. The party also had important influ­ence in, and access to, the highest levels of the GLC. We hope in future issues of Solidarity, with the help of our readers, to explore this further dimension of corruption. Incidentally, the WRP was far from being the sole beneficiary of such influence.

We apologise for what may appear to be an extended detour into political coprophilia. But the example of Healy's WRP raises questions which go far beyond that organisation alone.

What is relevant about this tale is not that the WRP was led by a monster (or monsters) - after all, there are plenty of those around - but that numbers of intelligent, self-sacrificing, and idealistic people (but what ideals?) accepted such a regime for decades. Psych­iatry as well as ideology is needed to explain such a phenomenon. Masochistic party or leader fetish­ism is only one facet of the problem. Another is the amoralism stemming from leninist ideology: the denial of any relationship between means and ends. For us repellent methods have only produced, and will only produce, repellent ends.

We cannot accept the attitude which says that if it is necessary to support, or keep silent about, the torture and execution of dissidents in order to augment party funds, so be it; or that ordinary people are simply there to be lied to, manipulated, exploited and sacrificed to the interest of the self-styled revolutionary elite; or that only the interests of the party - often embodied in its leader - are relevant. The symptoms presented by the WRP express in an extreme form the basic attitudes of a wide section of the authoritarian "left", and this is true both here and now and in the societies they have brought or might bring into existence.

THE CORRUPTION OF THE WORKERS REVOLUTIONARY PARTY
Extract from the Interim Report of the International Committee Commission, December 16 1985
From Solidarity, issue 16 (new series), spring 1988

Here, published for the first time, we extract four key pages of the 12-page report on corruption in the WRP, prepared by a special commission of the International Committee of the Fourth International

Relations with the colonial bourgeoisie
The Commission was able to secure a section of the correspondence relating to the Middle East from the files in G Healy's former office. The documents examined by the Commission are seven relating to Iraq, four relating to Kuwait and other Gulf states, 23 relating to the PLO and 28 relating to Libya. The following report bases itself mainly on these documents.

From internal evidence in the documents under our control, it is obvious that much more material must exist, which was either taken out of the center when the rump was in control or kept elsewhere. Therefore the actual amount of money received from these relations and the extent of these relations must be considerably bigger than what we are able to prove in this report. The documents at our disposal clearly prove that Healy established a mercenary relation­ship between the WRP and the Arab colonial bourgeoisie, through which the political principles of Trot­skyism and the interests of the working class were betrayed.

In late June 1976, the ICFI was informed for the first time that the WRP had establised official contacts with non-party forces in the Middle East. These contacts were with the PLO, a national liberation movement. However, in April 1976, two months earlier (and more than a year before a public alliance was announced between the WRP and Libya), a secret agreement with the Libyan government was signed by [name suppressed in original] and Corin Redgrave on behalf of the WRP (exhibit no 5). This was never reported to the ICFI. The Commission has not yet established who in the leadership of the WRP, beyond the signatories, knew of the agreement.

This agreement includes providing of intelligence information on the "activities, names and positions held in finance, politics, busi­ness, the communications media and elsewhere" by "Zionists". It has strongly anti-Semitic undertones, as no distinction is made between Jews and Zionists and the term Zionist could actually include every Jew in a leading position. This agreement was connected with a demand for money. The report given by the WRP delegation while staying in Libya included a demand for £50,000 to purchase a web offset press for the daily News Line, which was to be launched in May 1976. The Commission was not able to establish if any of this money was received.

In August 1977, G Healy went himself to Libya and presented a detailed plan for the expansion of News Line to six regional editions, requesting for it £100,000. G Healy also discussed the Euro-marches with the Libyan authorities and responded positively to a prop­osal to have the "Progressive Socialist Parties of the Mediterra­nean" participate in the marches. This would have included PASOK, a bourgeois party in Greece. These plans did not materialise. G Healy reported this in a letter to Al Fatah leader [name suppressed] (exhibit no 6).

This letter and a number of further letters to [name suppress­ed] (exhibit no 14) demonstrate that the relations with the PLO - which according to the claims made by the WRP before the ICFI were supposedly based on the principled resolutions of the Second Congress of the Communist International - were cynically used to make the PLO an instrument for obtaining money from the Arab bourgeoisie, thereby destroying any chance of building a section of the International Committee among the Palestinians.

The complete political opportun­ism of the relations to the Arab colonial bourgeoisie is most clearly revealed in a redraft of the WRP perspectives signed by G. Healy (exhibit no 7). This document was presented to the Libyan authorities during a visit in April 1980. It reconciles the WRP perspectives with the Green Book. Instead of the "working class" we find "the masses" and the Libyan Revolutionary Committees are identified with Soviets. The cri­terion of the class character of the state is completely abolished. Like almost every document found by the Commission relating to the Middle East, it ends with a request for money.

G Healy lined up publicly with the reactionary forces in the Middle East. During a visit to Kuwait, Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Dubai in March-April, 1979, G Healy, V Redgrave, and [name suppressed] met with the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Sa-ad, and some of the ruling bourgeois families. When they were invited however to have dinner "with a group of left oppositionists led by the Sultan family"," according to their own report "the delegation declined to accept this invitation as we did not wish to intervene in the polit­ical matters in Kuwait" (exhibit no 8). The sole purpose of this trip was to raise money for the film Occupied Palestine.

The trip ended finally by the delegation urging the feudal and bourgeois rulers to censure a journalist of the Gulf Times who had written an article on the real purpose of their visit. The delegation finally received £116,000. In October 1979, Vanessa Redgrave visited Libya and asked for £500,000 for Youth Training (exhibit no 9). As of February 1982 the WRP had received "just over 200,000 pounds" from Libya for Youth Training (exhibit no 10). In addition to this a £100,000 fund was raised in the British working class. While approximately £300,000 was raised for this project, the real cost for the purchase, legal and building expenses for seven Youth Training Centres as of May 21, 1982 was £152,539.

In April 1980 a WRP delegation led by G Healy visited Libya, presenting his redrafted WRP perspective and asking for more money. From March 8 to 17, 1981 G Healy made a further visit to Libya, putting forward demands totalling £800,000. The Commission found a report in Healy's hand­writing of this (exhibit no 11). This report contains the following statements: "In the evening we had a two hour audience with [name suppressed]. We suggested that we should work with Libyan Intellig­ence and this was agreed. ... March 13. The delegation was visited by [name suppressed] from the intelligence". This has a special significance, considering the fact that the Libyan Intelligence has excellent relations with the German Special Branch (BKA).

The Commiss­ion has not been able to establish to whom in the WRP leadership, if anyone, this written report was shown. The same applies to all other written reports and correspondence.
At that point G Healy had considerable difficulty getting all the money he was asking for. The report goes on: "March 15th. We were told that [name suppressed] had promised £100,000 which we said was welcome but inadequate. ...April 9th. Met [name suppressed] for the first time since he returned from Tripoli. He had no news but paid up £26,500 to pay for youth premises already decided. This brings the total to date paid from the promised £500,000 to £176,500. It looks as [if] our visit made no impact whatsoever".

In May 1981, G Healy's letters asking for the money became more and more desperate. On April 15th he writes a letter, marked "confidential", to [name suppress­ed] of the People's Committee in the Libyan People's Bureau (exhibit no 12) urging him to give the money. On May 17, 1981 a "private and confidential" letter is sent to "dear [name suppressed]" (exhibit
no 13) through Alex Mitchell.

On August 25th Alex Mitchell asks PLO representative [name suppress­ed] for an immediate meeting to discuss "the very grave questions which have arisen regarding our revolutionary solidarity work in the Middle East". He informs him that "with the full agreement of the Political Committee, our Party's proposed visit to Beirut and Tripoli has been cancelled".

In a Memo to G Healy, Alex Mitchell reports that [name suppressed] proposed to write a letter to Gaddafi and forward it through [name suppressed] of Libyan Intelligence. On August 28th, G Healy writes a letter to [name suppressed] in the name of the Central Committee of the Workers Revolutionary Party, complaining that he didn't get the money from Tripoli and blaming the Libyans for the price raise in the News Line (exhibit no 14). The same day G Healy writes another "private and confidential" letter to "Brother [name suppressed]" (exhibit no 15).

The last document in the hands of the Control Commission is a letter from G Healy to the secretary of the Libyan People's Bureau, dated February 10th, 1982, under the heading "Re: 1982 Budget" (exhibit no 10).

The Israeli invasion of Lebanon in June 1982 and the right-wing turn of the Arab bourgeoisie led to the drying up of the finances coming in from the Arab colonial bourgeoisie. Only a few documents could be found on the relations with the Iraqi bourgeoisie, although we know that many trips have been made there. The relations came to an abrupt end when the Iran-Iraq war started in 1980. The total amount obtained through these relations, according to the avail­able documents, is listed below.

The Commission has not yet been able to establish all the facts relating in the case of the photographs that were handed over to the Iraqi embassy. We do know the two WRP members were instruct­ed co take photos of demonstrations of opponents of Saddam Hussein. One of the members, Cde. [name suppressed], refused the order. A receipt for £1600 for 16 minutes of documentary footage of a demon­stration is in the possession of the Commission.

Money received from the Middle East
The following report on monies received from the Middle East was put together by the Commission from a careful analysis of many docu­ments and cash books. We were told repeatedly that Healy wanted no formal record kept of the money coming in. A full list and graph of what was found is in exhibit no16.

A list by year shows the following amounts coming in:

1977 £46,208
1978 £47,784
1979 £347,755
1980 £173,671
1981 £185,128
1982 £271,217
1983 £3,400
1984 0
1985 0

TOTAL £1,075,163

Analysed by country, where it is possible to distinguish, the amounts are:
Libya £542,267
Kuwait £156,500
Qatar £50,000
Abu Dhabi £25,000
PLO £19,997
Iraq £19,697
Unidentified or other sources £261,702

TOTAL £1,075,163
The Commission was told by both [name suppressed] and [name suppressed] that frequently cash was brought to the center which would not be immediately banked. Therefore, it was possible for large sums of cash to come and go without ever being recorded.