Liam Daltun In Defence of Trotskyism 1968

Sean Matgamna (Workers Liberty) published a short excerpt from Liam Daltun summing up the world situation at the beginning of the year 1968, from Daltun’s contribution to a document of the Trotskyists in the Irish Workers Group called In Defence of Trotskyism, published in March 1968.

By Liam Daltun.

Liam Daltun

Liam Daltun

At the present time the whole of society is made increasingly aware of the real nature and inherent instability of capitalism. The barbarous and genocidal war of the American Imperialists on the Vietnamese people, the recent brutal and sadistic murder of African patriots by a handful of white colonialists [in Zimbabwe]who have been guaranteed by the racist government of Harold Wilson and by the trade and profit-hungry capitalists of the world, show what the ruling classes will do to defend their decrepit system. On the other hand, the financial crisis which besets the system and which threatens to bring the whole International commercial edifice crashing down into a resounding slump like that of 40 years ago, is an augury of the great period of confrontation and clash of the classes which lies ahead.

In the world of the Stalinist bureaucracies too, from China to Czechoslovakia and Poland, there Is tension, ferment and great dangers for the ruling cliques. Thus the whole world, both of the western Imperialists and of the Stalinist bureaucrats, is a patchwork of regimes of crisis. The imbalance, the strains and stresses both inside the various countries and between them become increasingly sharp and unmitigable. The threads holding the whole together are fast approaching snapping point. No-one can say where the weakest thread will turn out to be, which of the patched up regimes will succumb first.

In the chancelleries,cabinets, boardrooms, clubs, financial Journals and In the scores of thousands of newspapers across the world the owning parasites admit that “we’* stand on “the edge of the precipice”. They would have us, the workers, infer that we are all in the same boat, that it Is “our” crisis too; that we have no alternative save that of accompanying them over “the edge”.

The Stalinist bureaucracies in this situation have nothing to offer the workers of the world. In fact all they can offer in their respective national enclaves is repression of the working class and of the growing demand for right of of expression end democracy. Where, as in Czechoslovakia, they are forced to loosen up somewhat, the incompatibility of the bureaucracy with real democracy will force them once more to seek to tighten their grip. In turn they will provoke resistance from the workers, which may blow all the bureaucrats away.

Colossal struggles Impend. A fine cliche that – or such would more than likely have been the reaction until only recently of numerous citizens. Not so now. Not so now, comrades!

The simple statement of fact which seemed to many to have become a worn out cliche is suddenly and strikingly rejuvenated. The high-priests and astrologers of bourgeois economy are overnight discredited. The rising tide of crisis in their “crisis-proof” Keynesian world belies them more than any argument of the Marxists. As the London TIMES pointed out recently, if the rulers wanted to give a propaganda bonanza to the Marxists they could not have done better than to “allow” the present crisis to develop!

The heroic, the dogged and indomitable millions of Vietnamese have shown and daily demonstrate that the alleged invincibility of the slaughter machine of the richest and most powerful of the Imperialist predators is a great bluff, a pathetic bit of psychological poker. The Vietnamese are in the front line, unrelieved but victory-sure; thirteen-year-old boys and girls have become veteran soldiers inured to war, determined to vanquish, disdainful of danger and death.

The encrusted bureaucracies of the world working class movement have done their best to isolate Vietnam and its sturdy fighters. The privileged caste of the “socialist” states are more concerned with preserving their status and private swimming pools, their limousines and dachas, than with aiding the Vietnamese and administering the coup de grace to Imperialism. Need we speak at all of the Wilsons, Gunters, Woodcocks, Paynters, Corishes, Desmonds, Conroys, Palme Dutts, et al? Wilson trots between the wheels of Johnson’s battered war-chariot like an obedient and well-trained cur. The Dutts send a boatfull of bandages and
Iodine on a trip round the planet to the accompaniment of polite clapping from priests, parsons and pacifists. Instead of class struggle and militant
Internationalism they invoke the platitudes of U Thant and the prayerful “prises de position” of the Bishop of Rome.

They do their poor best, all of them, to obfuscate the reality. They wish to avoid the inevitable. They would have the workers believe that there can be a polite transition to socialism: “Excuse us, please, your excellencies, mon general, Messrs. Moneybags, may we pass over your prostrated forms to the Socialist future?”. Thus they disarm the working class with the idea that talk of peace will end war, when war is an integral part of capitalism and will end only when the system that generates conflict is smashed.

The Vietnamese are In the front line. Around the world other forces are mustering. In Ireland the radicalisation of the working class grows also, in response to this crisis of capitalism. The electoral ‘reform’ Is only the latest response of the ruling class to head off even a social democratic reflection of this radicalisatlon. For our part we must ensure that this growing awareness on the part of the working class is not corralled into a social democratic cul-de-sac, that it is not deflected and de-routed by the local stooges of its Russian or Chinese bureaucracies, that it is not led up the garden path once again by the bankrupt petit-bourgeols “defenders of the Nation.”**

*Harold Wilson was Labour Prime Minister of Britain; Ray Gunter was a right-wing Labour Minister; George Woodcock was general secretary of the TUC; Will Paynter was leader of the National Union of Miners, a Stalinist; Corish, Desmond and Conroy where leader of the Irish Labour Party; Rajani Palme Dutt was and for 50 years had been , the leading “ideologist” of the British Communist Party.

**The leaders of the Irish Republican movement.

On January 31 1972 Liam Daltun died in London. He was one of a small group of militants who had taken part in the 1956/62 I.R.A. campaign against British Imperialist domination of Ireland, and had thereafter become Trotskyists. In recent months he had worked to aid the fight for freedom in Northern Ireland, against British Army repression.

Liam was a fine comrade, cast in a mould larger than most us, and because of this he suffered grievously during the years of exile and small group emigre politics in London in the ’60s.

We publish here a short excerpt summing up the world situation at the beginning of the year 1968, from his contribution to a document of the Trotskyists in the Irish Workers Group called IN DEFENCE OF TROTSKYISM, published in March 1968, just after the Tet Offensive in Vietnam, a couple of months before the great French General Strike changed the political climate in Europe, 5 months before the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia

The sentiments expressed here say more about Liam Daltun than any-
thing we could write. We extend our deepest sympathy to his wife Nan
and his son Owen.

Sean Matgamna.

Thanks to Sean Matgamna Workers Liberty. Link here–



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