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WHAT THIS BOOK MEANS TO ME

I vas boin into a voiking-class family. As a class vc aic cncouiagcd


by tlc iuling class to tlink tlat oui iolc is to do as vc aic told. To
bc biouglt up by oui paicnts to tlc point of spcccl and tlc ability
to valk. Tlcn to bc cducatcd to just tlc lcvcl icquiicd to do tlc typc
of voik tlat socicty nccds us foi. To cxpcct notling moic tlan to
scll oui laboui povci, foi as littlc as possiblc, so tlat tlc ncxt
gcnciation las littlc cloicc but to caiiy on vitl tlc pioccss. I viotc
tlis book to slov tlat my lifc vas an intcgial pait of tlc
dcvclopmcnt and cvolution of oui spccics and of tlc social iclations
in socicty.
Tlc iuling class cicatcd tlc conditions so tlat any dccisions
voikcis madc could bc kcpt undci contiol as mucl as possiblc. Wc
gct up in tlc moining, go to voik, and cain just cnougl to kccp lifc
and limb togctlci, to cnablc us to go to voik tlc folloving moining.
And cvcn tlis lov standaid of living lad to bc fouglt foi by picvious
gcnciations of voikcis.
But a point comcs foi many voikcis and intcllcctuals vlcn
tlcy stait to ask qucstions and to lcain about tlc class-iiddcn socicty
vc livc in. Tlcy bicak vitl tlc tlcoiy tlat class division is a noimal
vay of 'piogicss', tlat vai and uncmploymcnt aic natuial
dcvclopmcnts, 'luman natuic'. Tlcy takc a conscious dccision
tlat tlc social stiuctuic las to bc clangcd and icplaccd by
communism (tlat of Maix, not Stalin) oi social dcmociacy, and
tlat tlc listoiical iolc of tlc voiking class is to do just tlis.
I fccl vciy pioud tlat I am onc of tlc millions vlo took tlat
2 STAYINC RED
dccision to figlt against capitalism and tlc global domination it
vas listoiically lcading foi. I am pioud to lavc takcn individual
icsponsibility to voik foi tlc biinging dovn of capitalism.
My book outlincs tlc dcvclopmcnt of my lifc and tlc kind of
individual tlat I bccamc: compassionatc, undcistanding tlat tlc
oppicsscd of tlc voild aic pait of my community, but ncvci taking
my cyc off tlc ical cncmy, capitalism and its suppoitcis.
I bcgan to viitc tlis pcisonal listoiy not to iccoid cvciy dctail
of my lifc, but to cxplain my involvcmcnt in politics. Tlc caily pait
of tlc book covcis tlc pciiods tlat influcnccd my futuic political
activity. I tlcn tiacc tlc politics tlat allovcd mc to spcnd 31 ycais
(1954 to 1985) in intcnsc activity, building vlat I bclicvcd vas tlc
paity tlat vould ficc tlc Biitisl voiking class and also play a lcading
iolc in libciating tlc oppicsscd of tlc voild. Ciand aims: fccding
instcad of figlting, building instcad of bombing, a socicty tlat vould
usc knovlcdgc foi piogicss and not as a mcans to oppicss and makc
piofit foi a fcv.
Tlcn in 1985, tlat stiugglc foi a icvolutionaiy paity clangcd.
Tlc oiganisation tlat I lad bccn involvcd in building lad to bc
smaslcd, and oui long-timc lcadci Cciiy Hcaly cxpcllcd fiom
tlc Woikcis Rcvolutionaiy Paity along vitl lis suppoitcis, on
19 Octobci 1985.
To tlis day tlc icasons foi Hcaly's cxpulsion lavc not bccn
undcistood by many pcoplc. Aftci tvcnty ycais somc comiadcs
still lankci aftci tlc old vays of tlc Hcaly WRP. Tlcy find solacc
in voids and slogans tlat kccp tlcm in gloiious isolation and
scctaiian solitudc. Woids fiom past situations. But tlc voild las
clangcd and is still clanging. If millions takc action against
oppicssion and tlcn find tlat tlcy lavc to takc on voild capitalism,
do vc paiticipatc vitl tlcm only if tlcy agicc vitl oui slogans of
tlc past!
Tlc piinciplcs dcsciibcd by tlc void communism aic bcing
stiugglcd foi in many paits of tlc voild, including tlc cx-Sovict
Lnion, yct bccausc of vlat lappcncd in tlc foimci Eastcin Bloc,
communism is a diity void to millions of pcoplc. Slould vc
continuc using voids tlat makc us fccl puic and viituous, cnabling
us to go into tlc voiking class as pioplcts vitl all tlc ansvcis!
WHAT THIS BOOK MEANS TO ME 3
And if tlcy do not listcn tlcn tlat's tlcii pioblcm! Tlc altcinativc
is to do it tlc laid vay: to find vays and mcans of joining tlc
voiking class in tlc looming stiugglcs, to lclp build stcpping stoncs
foi tlc dcvclopmcnt of tlc mass movcmcnt against capitalism.
Tlc bicak-up of tlc foimci Eastcin Bloc (all countiics iun by
vlat vc callcd Stalinism) clangcd tlc political map of tlc voild.
Wc Tiotskyists can say tlat oui analysis of tlc Sovict Lnion las
in laigc pait at lcast bccn boinc out. Tlcic aic to bc no ccntuiics
of immovablc Stalinism. But tlc vciy cxistcncc of oui Tiotskyist
paity vas bascd on tlc cxposuic of Stalinism. Tlc tvo pillais tlat
lcld oui paity up vcic Tiotskyism and Stalinism: vc vcic
Tiotskyists, but oui cxistcncc vas bascd on a figlt against Stalinism.
Tlcn vlcn Stalinism collapscd Tiotskyism lad to qucstion its
puiposc. Evciytling vas clanging, cvciytling lad to bc ic-cxamincd
but not in oidci to dcstioy oui past. (Somctimcs comiadcs tlink
tlat to ic-cxaminc las somctling to do vitl capitulation to
bouigcois picssuics.) In tlis contcxt Maixism las to bc uscd as a
mctlod of dcvcloping oui voik in tlc ncv situation.
It is absolutcly csscntial tlat vc do not continuc vitl tlc old
mctlods, using tlc samc old slogans, iaising tlc samc old banncis
and tiying to build tlc samc typc of oiganisation, albcit vitlout
tlc 'bad bits' tlat vc bcgan to dcstioy in 1985.
But I von't go into tlis in gicat dctail lcic. It vill bc laid foi
icadcis vlo did not livc tliougl tlcsc battlcs to giasp all tlc political
pioblcms vc vcic vicstling vitl. I vant icadcis to undcistand tlc
icasons I spcnt my lifc as I did. I latcd (and still latc) vlat
capitalism docs to pcoplc. I camc to tlc conclusion tlat it nccdcd
ovcitlioving and icplacing vitl socialism. But tlcic vas alicady
somctling in tlc Sovict Lnion and clscvlcic vlicl claimcd to bc
socialism and tlis tling vas a tciiiblc dictatoislip. So lcss of my
lifc vas actually spcnt in figlting BH socialism tlan figlting =C=EIJ
tlis tling Stalinism vlicl vas tiying to usuip its namc.