The Left

Peter Fryer

Jim Denham writes:

Peter Fryer has died exactly fifty years after his finest hour. He was the British Communist journalist who was dispatched by the British Communist Party (CPGB) with the brief, from the editor of the Daily Worker (forerunner of today’s Morning Star), to denounce the Hungarian workers’ revolution as a fascist coup. Fryer arrived in Budapest, and immediately saw that what was happening was a workers’ revolution against totalitarianism: any self-respecting socialist had to support it.

But the Stalinist hacks of the British CP , like Harry Pollitt (thug) and Raj Palme Dutt (intellectually corrupt”intellectual”), even after Kruschev’s speech about the crimes of Stalin, were not prepared for an honest man who would report what he saw in Hungary. Seeing a genuine workers’ revolution against an anti-working class, totalitarian regime, Fryer dispatched reports describing what he had seen. The CPGB was appalled (not about Russian brutality in Hungary, but by Fryer’s honesty) and the Daily Worker suppressed his reports.

Fryer was eventually expelled from the CPGB [] and joined Gerry Healy’s Trotskyist ‘Socialist Labour League’. About a quarter of the British CP’s 33, 000 membership either left or were expelled, as a result of Hungary

Fryer remained with what he regarded as the Trotskyist movement for the rest of his life, although he had to put up with a second round of political abuse- this time from the megalomaniac and rapist Gerry Healy: but Fryer stayed in the Healy movement, and survived its evil and corrupt founder. His book Hungarian Tragedy remains his great contribution to working class struggle.