History,  Trots

From the Vaults: Socialist Worker, April 27, 1974

The Socialist Workers Party (or the International Socialists, as the Party used to be called) is, to say the least, odd.  They are in fact deluded and the article that they published in 1974 and from which I extract below is evidence of this.  As can be seen, they thought it was entirely possible that Britain would have a military dictatorship where shop stewards and trade union officials would either be executed or sent to a concentration camp:

Yes, it could happen here

Michael Fenn

Socialist Worker, April 27, 1974, p.7.

…. The attitude of many workers is often ‘well it can’t happen here. Britain is a civilized country and is known as the most stable democracy in Europe.’ Well Chile was known as the England of South America, and the most stable democracy in that continent.

The spokesmen for the Chilean junta who went on television to justify the executions in Santiago stadium and the brutal murder of trade unionists had an English name and a perfect English upper-class accent. The influence of the British upper class in South America is important and widespread.

My former employer, Lord Vestey, owns vast cattle farms and meat factories which are a vital part of the economy of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. He has the appearance of a civilised gentleman. But I have no doubt that he would be glad to have had the dockers he came into conflict with at Midland Cold Storage executed….

The firms involved in South America are those we or our fellow trade unionists work for and battle with. In Chile ITT operates and intrigues. General Motors, Chrysler, British Leyland, Perkins Diesel and many others also have their hands deep in South America. All rely on the repression of trade unions and if necessary the imprisonment and execution of trade union leaders to maintain their profits.

Could this happen here? The events of the past four years show signs that it could….

The lessons the British army is learning in Ireland using plainclothes, undercover units, can easily be used in Britain….

If there was a military regime in Britain the likes of [Secretary of State for Defence] Roy Mason, [Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs] James Callaghan and the rest of the so-called socialists in the government might find refuge in Sweden or Denmark. I very much doubt if Mr Mason would even be required to even leave the country.

But the real leaders of the working class in Britain, the shop stewards, some trade union officials, leaders of the tenants would not be so fortunate. They would probably finish up either dead or in concentration camps like our brothers and sisters in Chile.

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