Monday, November 16, 2009

Factionalism on the left: "Fuckers" versus "wankers"

Stalinism survives in Zimbabwe or North Korea---wherever a ruler follows its basic premisses---but Stalin splintered Trotskyism even more effectively than he did Trotsky’s skull. Despite Trotsky’s appeal as a proto-Che Guevara, and the influence of Trotskyists in trade-union branches from the London Ambulance Service to the British Library, faction has generated faction over questions of the socialist nature of the USSR, Cuba and so on. The nadir was probably signalled in 1985 by the great schism in the British Workers’ Revolutionary Party, when the scandal over the late Gerry Healy’s antics with new female members caused a split into two factions known to party members themselves as the “fuckers” and the “wankers."
(Donald Rayfield, Times Literary Supplement, Oct. 23, 2009)