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Human Rights in Ireland
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The death of Ted Grant.

category international | history and heritage | opinion/analysis author Saturday July 29, 2006 20:48author by john throne - Labors Militant Voice Report this post to the editors

A life of struggling to defend marxism.

I am very sad to hear about Ted Grant. I met him first in the late 1960's and from him I came to understand the basics of marxism. He defended the method of marxism throughout the entire difficult period of the post war period. In particular he defended the orientation to the mass organizations of the working class and the struggle for the revolutionary program within the working class. This laid the basis for maintaining a working class orientation and analysis and program in Ireland where I lived over many of these difficult years. I have great memories of Ted explaining his ideas at meetings and conferences and in discussions.


I also have great memories of Ted in a more human manner. At conferences and summer schools he would ask me to wake him in the morning. This I would always do, go to his room in the morning and knock on the door. But Ted would always insist he was already awake. But at the same time he would still always insist I wake him. I would shake my head. I remember one summer school in Germany. It was at a youth hostel. The man who ran it was very hostile to revolutionary marxists to put it mildly. The gaulieter we called him. Ted and I were making jokes at his expense as we walked back to the dormatory one night and I remember Ted laughing so much and so hard that his glasses fell off and we had a a dificult time finding them in the bushes.

Then the major mistakes we all made. We did not see capitalism go back into the stalinist world and we underestimated the vitality of capitalism in the last decade and a half. I went to see Ted around 1996/97 to thank him for the role he had played in my life. He immediately said that he and the Comrades who had split from the CWI in the early 1990's were right on everything. I said Ted but we, none of us, saw capitalism going back to the stalinist world nor saw the boom of the past years. Ted ushered me out of his apartment right away saying I must not miss my flight. He had such difficulty confronting the major mistakes in perspectives we had all made.

But in spite of this Ted was the most important marxist of the post war period. It was just that the stability of the post war upswing and the correctness of his perspectives in that period led him to be too unconditional in perspectives and too confident in his perspectives. Then when the world changed so dramatically in a way we had not foreseen Ted was caught unawares and hung onto the old analysis for too long. We have to learn from this and be much more conditional and much more careful in our perspectives.

Thank you Ted for your contribution to the working class and to my own life. Sean.

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