Dave Hyland’s lasting political legacy is that in 1985-1986 he led the faction of the Workers Revolutionary Party that declared its support for the International Committee of the Fourth International and opposed the efforts of the party’s central leadership, Gerry Healy, Cliff Slaughter and Mike Banda, to liquidate the Trotskyist movement in Britain and internationally.
Comrade Dave Hyland, a leading figure in the British Trotskyist movement, died on December 8, 2013, at the age of 66. Hyland had taken up the fight, in solidarity with the International Committee, against the attempt of the central leadership of the Workers Revolutionary Party to liquidate the British and international movement in 1985-86. In the years following the split with the Healy-Banda-Slaughter leadership and the breakup and disintegration of the WRP, Hyland had been the national secretary of the International Communist Party and its successor organization, the Socialist Equality Party (UK), before retiring due to ill health.
Hyland’s decision in October 1985 to contact the Workers League in the United States, after finally having the opportunity to read the criticisms of the WRP leadership that had been made by its national secretary, David North, played a decisive role in maintaining the continuity of British Trotskyism in the face of the degeneration of the WRP central leadership.
As the obituary article in the WSWS noted, “Dave represented all that was best, indeed noble, in the British working class. He was a man of indomitable courage and deeply held principles, ready to give everything, while demanding nothing for himself in return, in the struggle for socialism. He will be remembered with pride and respect.”
We are posting here the tribute to Dave Hyland, former national secretary of the Socialist Equality Party of Britain, delivered by David North, national chairman of the SEP of the US and chairman of the International Editorial Board of the WSWS, to a memorial meeting held January 18 in honor of Comrade Hyland.
Dave Hyland joined the Socialist Labour League at a crucial juncture in not just British, but world history, and it was world events that ultimately shaped him.