Ted Grant

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Edward "Ted" Grant , formerly Isaac Blank , (born July 9, 1913 in Germiston (South Africa), † July 20, 2006 in London ) was a Trotskyist politician and author.


Isaac Blank, who later became Ted Grant, was a native of South Africa. His mother was French and his father was Russian. The young Blank felt the treatment of black farm workers by their white bosses as inhuman, and they outraged and politicized him. The Russian Revolution inspired Blank. After his parents divorced, the mother took on lodgers, among whom was the communist Ralph Lee. Through him, 15-year-old Blank and his sister Zena came into contact with the International Left Opposition founded by Trotsky and joined this movement. Together with some of his companions, Blank moved to London at the end of 1934, where the circumstances seemed to him to be better for revolutionary work. Because he and his comrade Max Basch could only find places on the ship of a German shipping company for the passage, they changed their names to Edward Grant and Sid Frost, which they took over from members of the crew, for safety reasons.

After that, Grant always gave “Blank” (“blank”) as his previous surname instead of his maiden name. In the 1930s he wanted to protect his family from fascist persecution through this secrecy. His maiden name was known only to his family and selected friends throughout his life.

After the world situation from 1945 onwards turned out to be far more unfavorable from a revolutionary-Marxist perspective than Trotsky, who was murdered in 1940, and his supporters had expected it to be until then, Grant was one of the first Trotskyists to recognize, analyze and take practical account of these new realities carried. His writings dealt with contemporary theoretical challenges (Soviet occupation in Eastern Europe, guerrilla warfare, economic boom in western industrialized countries) and are testimony to political disputes that led to a series of divisions in the Trotskyist world movement. In 1983 he and four other members of the editorial board of Militant magazine were expelled from the Labor Party at the instigation of Chairman Michael Foot .

When Grant was expelled from the CWI in 1992 after internal conflicts (from his point of view) , he worked together with Alan Woods to rebuild the old CWI structure. This organization has referred to itself as the International Marxist Tendency or International Marxist Current since the summer of 2006 and achieved international fame in the Trotskyist spectrum primarily through its website In Defense of Marxism and the “Hands off Venezuela” campaign.

Political strategy

Ted Grant is seen as the founder of the strategy of “preparatory entry ”, ie the infiltration of or - to put it kindly - democratic participation in socialist parties and organization by Trotskyists - maliciously so called by many. The term "permanent trism" is also associated with Ted Grant, although he himself strictly rejected this term, as it implies a rigid fixation exclusively on entristic work. The starting points for the strategy of preparatory entryism were as follows: After the collapse of the Trotskyist Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) in Great Britain (founded in 1943, dissolution in 1949/50), of which Grant was the theoretical head, Grant's group was very alone in the political arena Landscape there. In the mid-1950s, the small group revived the old idea of ​​joining the Labor Party. In 1935, Grant belonged to a group of Trotskyists who advocated participation in the Labor Party as a (temporary) tactic and who practiced it until the RCP was founded. In addition, there was the growing disappointment of the "Grantists" about the development of the " Fourth International ", which split into two large factions in 1953, the International Secretariat around Ernest Mandel and Michel Pablo and the International Committee around James P. Cannon , and in 1963 partially reunited. The experience of working within Labor, on the one hand, and the experience of the Fourth International, on the other, led Grant to the conclusion that a revolutionary current was concentrating its resources on collaboration in Labor and the trade unions, rather than on building (which Ted Grant himself found increasingly pointless) the Fourth International should use. Based on these considerations, Grant suggested that his group publish the newspaper Militant from 1964 , a few months after the partial reunification of the Fourth International.

Sect term

Revolutionary groups that consciously moved and move outside of those “mass organizations” are supported by Grant and the “Grantists” i. d. Usually referred to as "sects".

Unlike in the left spectrum, the term sect is not primarily related to ideology and / or to the supposedly larger / smaller number of members of “competing” “revolutionary” groups, but to their relationship to the “mass organizations of the working class”. Grant has repeatedly given young Trotskyists the maxim "Turn your back on the sects!" Grant understood the concept of the political sect less as a polemical battle word, but rather as an objective term. However, its definition was controversial. In return, Grant's strategy is called "long-term trism" and has often been criticized as a hidden form of reformism and opportunism on the part of those revolutionary forces who consciously work outside such associations. Ted Grant was calm on such accusations and often answered: “Let history decide!” (“Let history decide!”). Grant proceeded from a “historical-political” point of view: Revolutionary Marxists - regardless of whether their organizations have a few dozen or a few thousand members - under given social conditions are in the situation of a marginal minority. These could only achieve the goal of revolutionizing society as a whole at some point in the future if they at least managed to influence the “right” mass workers' organizations in their favor. They could only gain the necessary political experience in direct confrontation with the political ideologies and representatives of the “class opponent”.

Development of Entrism

The entryism of the Fourth International (1930s and first half of the 1940s) was based on the assumption that with the end of the Second World War a revolutionary wave would also encompass Europe and the Soviet Union. The workers would then, due to the unwillingness and inability of social democratic and so-called “communist” parties to lead these revolutions to victory, look around relatively quickly for a new revolutionary leadership. Consequently, the supporters of the “4th” at the time wanted to aggressively build a new proletarian leadership for the imminent revolution and organize it independently as a regular party. Entryism in social-democratic, socialist and communist parties was always a short or medium-term tactical approach of individual sections or sub-groups of the Fourth International.

Grant, on the other hand, began to doubt in the course of 1944 whether the assumption of an imminent revolution would turn out to be correct. Along with Albert Goldman and Felix Morrow , Grant was one of the first Trotskyists to publicly defend these doubts within his own movement. Gradually, in view of the unexpected economic boom both in the Western world and the stabilization in the USSR during the 1950s and early 1960s , Grant came to believe that it was no longer a question of an imminent world revolution for himself and the workers rather, it is about bringing revolutionary Marxism back into the structures and the living memory of the workers' movement as a realpolitical option.

This was intended to bring revolutionary Marxism out of the small circles into the general public as particularly “revolutionary”, but groups that were isolated from the masses and thrown back on themselves. In constant, loyal and patient cooperation within the "mass organizations of the working class" Grant saw the only feasible way to pursue this goal in a realistic and promising way. Instead of attacking party leaderships criticized as "reformist" or "communist" and possibly leaving the parties in the event of minor "violations" of such party leaderships against their own Marxist worldview, the work of the "grantists" in those "mass organizations" is geared towards this, within them Structures of the membership and electoral base to present the Marxist ideas, analyzes and political concepts as superior through a friendly discussion of the ideas, analyzes and political concepts of the “party bureaucracies”.

In 1974, with the founding of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI), a new international organization of the Trotskyist movement was created, whose national sections initially consistently oriented themselves towards Grant's maxim of "long-term trism". Between 1973 and the end of 1991 (at the latest) there was the “ Voran ” group in the Federal Republic of Germany in the sense of a “grantistic” orientation. In 1991/92 there was a split in the CWI.

Today's “Grantists” are grouped around the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), which publishes magazines with the title Der Funke in Austria, Switzerland and Germany . Grant was very involved in setting up the IMT. He was also a regular author in the journal Socialist Appeal published by Alan Woods from 1992 .

Grant and his followers use the term “preparatory entry ” to characterize their own work instead of “long-term trism ”. With this they want to express that a new, independent revolutionary-Marxist mass party can only be built through systematic work within the established structures of the actually existing workers' movement. The work in the "traditional mass organizations of the working class" serves the organic preparation for the founding of a new revolutionary mass party. The direct founding of mass parties as voting platforms within the game of bourgeois party competition, however, was considered illusory, hasty and complacent and described them as sectarian. For Grant it was self-evident for the situation in Europe after 1950 that a revolutionary project had to be long-term.


  • The Unbroken Thread. The Development of Trotskyism over 40 Years (Selected Works), London 1989
  • Uprising of Reason (together with Alan Woods ), London 1995, German edition 2002
  • Russia: From Revolution to Counter-Revolution , Well Red Publications (English, 1997) ISBN 1-900007-02-9
  • History of British Trotskysm , London 2002


  • Ted Grant: History of British Trotskysm.
  • young world of July 22nd, 2006: pioneer of British Trotskyism. Ted Grant (1913-2006).

Web links


Individual evidence

  1. " He said this was to protect his family, understandable when entering revolutionary politics in the 1930s as the fascist tyrannies swept Europe, (...) ", obituary in The Guardian , July 27, 2006
  2. ^ Obituary , The Independent , Aug. 9, 2006
  3. The term "long-term trism" is used in the Grant and Marxism critical book by Jens Peter Steffen: Militant Tendency. Trotskyism in the Labor Party , dissertation 1994, Peter Lang Verlag, Frankfurt am Main