Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Healyites Got Blood Money (1991)

Workers Vanguard No. 517 (4 January 1991)

Healyites Got Blood Money

Incredibly, the anti-Communist repression in Iraq in the late 1970s was actually supported by one tendency which masquerades as Trotskyists, Gerry Healy’s International Committee (IC), represented in the U.S. by David North’s Workers League. They alibied the Ba’athist executioners, declaring: “This is a straight case of Moscow trying to set up cells in Iraqi armed forces for the purpose of undermining the regime. It must accept the consequences” (Bulletin, 16 March 1979). The Healyites’ “justification” for the massacres of CPers was that “the Arab Ba’ath Socialist Party of Iraq has played a hundredfold more progressive role in the Middle East than Stalinism.”

The Spartacist League had long described the Healy tendency with Lenin’s phrase, “political bandits.” In 1967 the Healyites became champions of a mythical “Arab Revolution,” a catch phrase to justify tailing after Arab nationalist despots. By the mid-’70s, they had become press agents for Libyan strongman Qaddafi, and then shameless apologists for anti-Communist terror in Iraq (see “Healyites: Kill a Commie for Qaddafi,” WV No. 230, 27 April 1979). The details of this sordid affair came out in 1985 following the spectacular implosion of international Healyism. Not only did Healy & Co. hail the extermination of Iraqi CPers, but they photographed protest demonstrations in Britain and turned over to the Iraqi embassy the pictures of Iraqi militants, fingering them for arrest, torture and possible death.

How was it possible for a group claiming to stand for “socialism” to support anti-working-class terror carried out by a capitalist government? The answer can be summed up in two words: blood money. A 16 December 1985 report by an IC Control Commission documented how their “founder leader” Healy and his cohorts like the actress Vanessa Red-grave had shuttled around Libya and various Near East countries — including both Iraq and Kuwait! — looking for and, receiving subsidies to pay for their expensive daily press in Britain. (It should be noted that the implosion of Healyism didn’t come about over taking the money, but only when the money ran out.) The Control Commission was only able to trace part of the money because no serious financial records were kept, but it published the amounts it was able to uncover, which were received from various countries over a seven-year period beginning in the mid-’70s:

Libya ........................£542,267
Kuwait ....................... 156,500
Qatar ...........................50,000
Abu Dhabi ....................25,000
PLO ..............................19,997
Iraq .............................19,697
or other sources ........261,702
Total ....................£1,075,163

(reprinted in Workers News, April 1988)

In exchange for this largesse to keep their showpiece press alive, Healy & Co. filled their pages with grotesque paeans to these very same Arab dictators. At the same time as they were alibiing the murder of Iraqi CPers, here is a sampling of what the Healyites had to say about Saddam Hussein’s treatment of the Kurds:
“The Iraqis are slandered with the tale that the Ba’athists ‘shot thousands’ and
denied Kurdish independence....
“In a statement in [the Healyite] News Line the party leadership critically appraised the efforts of the Ba’ath Party to solve the Kurdish question.
“At the same time the [Healyite] WRP defended the Iraqi government from the CIA-organized forces of General Barzani.”
- Bulletin, 20 April 1979
Today David North cynically pretends that he and others of Healy’s loyal henchmen and toadies didn’t know that the “IC” was on the take. Yet we and others had denounced Qaddafi’s patronage of Healy for years! Moreover, in the factional blowout which followed Healy’s overthrow, British WRP leader Cliff Slaughter wrote a letter (14 January 1986) revealing that Australian Healyite Nick Beams had obtained tens of thousands of dollars from Near East regimes and had passed on the information to David North, who agreed not to raise the matter within the IC (see “On Baghdad, and Bagmen,” Australasian Spartacist No. 138, September-October 1990). Beware of these provocateurs for hire.