Committee For A Workers' International - History

History

The CWI was founded in 1974 at a conference in London on 20 to 21 April by supporters of what was then called the Militant tendency in Britain, Sweden, Ireland and several other countries (the conference was attended by 46 people from 12 countries). At that time CWI sections generally pursued a policy of entryism into social democratic or labour parties.

This strategy ended in the early 1990s. The CWI developed an analysis that these parties had changed in nature and had become simply capitalist parties. This was strongly resisted by Ted Grant, one of Militant's founders. After a lengthy debate and special conference in 1991 confirmed overwhelmingly the position of the CWI in the England and Wales section, Grant and his supporters sought official faction status within the organization, which was granted for some time, but later was revoked by the leadership when Grant's followers refused to pay dues to the CWI and after documents leaked indicating that Grant's faction planned to engineer a split. The revocation of faction status thus expelled Ted Grant and his supporters, who later went on to form the International Marxist Tendency, active in the British Labour Party as Socialist Appeal.

Grant dismissed the leadership of the CWI, especially Peter Taaffe, as sectarians because they had deserted, in his view, the mass parties of the working class. Grant cited the success of the Militant in Britain, which as entryists had secured Dave Nellist, Terry Fields and Pat Wall as MPs. However this was countered with the argument that the clear determination of the Labour leadership under Neil Kinnock to destroy Trotskyist influence in the party, as well as Labour's move away from socialist policies, had changed the situation in the party. However, out of nearly 8,000 members only 200 were successfully expelled from the Labour Party. It was no longer possible, the CWI argued, for Militant to carry out activity in the way it had been done up to the late 1980s. In the UK, Kinnock had Terry Fields removed as a Labour MP in 1991, and Dave Nellist was suspended from the party around the same time. (Pat Wall had died.) Since the abandonment of entryism the CWI's influence and membership has dwindled for a number of reasons.

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