Socialist Equality Party (UK)
The Historical and International Foundations of the Socialist Equality Party (Britain)

The International Committee expels Gerry Healy

221. Having examined the charges against Healy, on October 25, 1985, the International Committee voted for his expulsion. Its resolution of the same date declared:

“In expelling Healy, the ICFI has no intention of denying the political contributions which he made in the past, particularly in the struggle against Pabloite revisionism in the 1950s and the 1960s. In fact, this expulsion is the end product of his rejection of the Trotskyist principles upon which these past struggles were based and his descent into the most vulgar forms of opportunism.

The political and personal degeneration of Healy can be clearly traced to his ever more explicit separation of the practical and organisational gains of the Trotskyist movement in Britain from the historically and internationally grounded struggles against Stalinism and revisionism from which these achievements arose.

In place of his past interest in the complex problems of developing the cadre of the international Trotskyist movement, Healy’s practice became almost entirely preoccupied with developing unprincipled relations with bourgeois nationalist leaders and with trade union and Labour Party reformists in Britain”.[1]

222. The IC’s objective approach to Healy’s historic role, and its rooting of his personal degeneration in the WRP’s abandonment of the struggle against Pabloite revisionism, cut across Slaughter’s claim that the issue at stake was restoring “revolutionary morality” through a struggle against “Healyism”. The use of this term was deliberate. It provided a gateway for making a direct appeal to other “anti-Healyite” forces—the Stalinists and the Pabloite groups.

223. The expulsion of Healy marked the definitive conclusion of his career as a professional revolutionary, which had spanned half a century. It was an ignominious end for someone who had played such a leading role in defending the Fourth International, its programme and cadre that he now found himself numbered amongst those seeking its destruction. But a revolutionary orientation is not a pathway set in stone that, once embarked upon, cannot be abandoned. It can only be maintained through a constant process of political struggle, conducted alongside fellow thinkers within an international movement. This alone provides the means for overcoming the immense pressures brought to bear by imperialism and its myriad political agencies. Healy’s tragedy was that he turned away from this perspective and sought a shortcut to his fiercely desired goal of social revolution. In doing so, he forgot his own oft-invoked warning that opportunist practices, undertaken for immediate practical gain, involved “mortgaging the future” of the socialist workers’ movement. As the International Committee resolution made clear, even while opposing Healy’s political betrayal, the cadre of the Fourth International was not minded to forget the historic contribution he had once made. Rather, it sought to learn from both his political achievements and the mistakes that led to his downfall.


Fourth International, Autumn 1986, Labor Publications, Volume 13, No.2, p.52.