Callinicos and the International Socialists

Submitted by Matthew on 18 May, 2011 - 12:23

Martin Thomas is wrong when he says that Alex Callinicos joined IS/SWP in 1973 (“The Quinlan Terry of Marxism”, Workers’ Liberty 3/33). It was probably 1970 or before, or failing that 1971.

He was an active member of Oxford IS in 1972 when he returned to complete his degree after being sent down for a year for painting slogans somewhere in Balliol College to protest at a visit by a South African or Rhodesian government representative. He had been a member before this happened in mid-1971. He was thus not around in Oxford when the branch split 50-50 over whether to support the expulsion of Workers’ Fight [a forerunner of AWL] in December 1971 but did play a role on his return in 1972 when, as a result of the fall-out from that and the general bureaucratisation of the Cliff regime, there was a general factional battle in the branch which resulted in myself and nine others leaving in December 1972.

Callinicos, as one might imagine, was a slavish and unpleasant advocate of the Cliff line.

[• I gave 1973 because Callinicos appeared in the SWP press then. And he wasn’t visible in the upheavals of 1971-2 in IS. Now I know why... MT]

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