The Old Kent Road. Nov 1972
Late at night after 11pm, after we went round the pubs on the Old Kent Rd, I was so exhausted. I was also fed up with the SLL. I gave all my donations to 'R" expecting to get a lift back . But instead, 'R' looked at me with distrust and said, ‘I am checking the money…. Sean, you are a bit of a bourgeois individualist, you know? So I need to check the details.’
'R' counted the money and said ‘ What’s is going on? Sean, you have taken some money! What’s going on?‘ I went through all of my pockets and there was no money.
“ Sean, you c*nt, you are lying!!’ 'R' reached round, and went through my pockets and then ferociously said ‘You are lying! You have dropped of the money before bringing it to me!’.
I protested and 'R' immediately said ‘Shut up!’ We spent about 2 hours in 'R's car, and then he felt around, and said ‘Oh shit...I have found the money!’ It was in his pocket. Finally he dropped me in New Cross at 1am. I had no money and had to walk back home. It was 3 or 4 miles and I had had it with the SLL.
I went into hiding from them. I stayed at my brothers Hugh’s place. My mother would say to the SLL members who came up to the front door “He is not here!” Eventually, Malcolm Tierney, the Actor, tracked me down in my school at Walbrook College . He came up to the 2 floor staircase .He grabbed me by the throat, and punched me, and angrily said “Sean! You pathetic wanker! You know what you? You are just a bourgeois individualist! You make me sick! You have got a deep hatred of the revolutionary power of the working class! You disgust me!”
I had heard it all before. For 10 minutes I waited while Malcolm continually ranted, and then 3 off my fellow students can along, and Malcolm finally left.
I was 15 years old. Malcolm was 34 years old.
The Socialist Labour League was fundamentally undemocratic. A SLL member said: ' Healy ruled with an iron fist. "Dialectical materialism”, was shoved down the throat of the recruits, and it was done at a frantic pace, 24 hours, until the students could not think. There was always a crisis at the annual camp. In Healy's mind, a camp without some sort of crisis was a failure. It was, of course, a trick with mirrors, an illusion created in the hothouse atmosphere of a camp under tent, and aided by the slight delirium that comes with lack of sleep. At the same time, also had an uncanny ability to make you personally feel that you were engaged in a tremendous struggle.
Healy once told someone privately that the purpose of these crises was to bring out the real contradictions within the camp. "If one doesn't develop naturally, then I create one," he said."
One comrade who dared in the Camp to differ from Healy wrote ‘ ‘The comrades ‘had been up since six am or earlier, were clearly bleary eyed, dazed and caught up in the isolated world of the camp with its tensions, guards and continuous discussion of the outside world in terms ever more stark and unreal. An atmosphere of complete hysteria dominated the meeting.... Healy, with his face getting ever redder and in an extreme emotional state, stood in the centre of the circle, facing me. Finally it was just too much for me. I stood up. “I ... I disagree with the entire proceedings”, I stammered. Healy rushed up to me and shook his fists within an inch of my face shouting “I will destroy you”.’
Worse than that, the world of Marx, Engels, Lenin, Trotsky, Stalin, and Mao - and now Gerry Healy - were now spreading “"dialectical materialism’. It is mumbo, jumbo, pure garbage.
Consider the laws of dialectical materialism:
'Unity & Struggle of Opposites (contradictions: one becomes two). Struggle is permanent, unity temporary. Internal motion is primary over external. Find the main contradiction and the primary side of that contradiction (which will prevail?). Quantity becomes Quality. Quantitative change adds up to a qualitative LEAP. Quantitative change has limits which, exceeded, transform into qualitative change. Reinventing of the New (Negation of the Negation). Change is irrevocable, not circular, but like a spiral. When things change, we witness something entirely new, yet carrying forward aspects of what it was.'
Imagine a party, going into a meeting, and repeating these ‘laws’.
That’s the Communist Party. All through the 20 century, and now in China. In Russia, China, Eastern Europe, Vietnam, Cambodia under Pol Pot, and Western Europe. Quite frankly there has not been a place that the Communist Party did not exist.
Dialectical materialism. Even the name sounds bogus. When you read it, it is bogus, clumsily written, and unquestionably wrong.
What about the Family? Love? Sharing? Helping your neighbor? Having a good time? Come to that, what about Science? The whole of the world is based on scientific thinking. Read down the list of Nobel prize winners. The USA and the UK, rank 12 TIMES what Russia and China in terms of numbers.
“Dialectical materialism’ has killed more people than the entire world war II. Think about it: WWII was responsible for the death of over 60 million people. But Stalin’s policies also killed 50 Million and Mao, killed 68 million people. Shot, raped etc.
These deaths all occurred under the guise of "dialectical materialism’. Together Stalin and Mao killed 110 million people. Think about it: more people than World War II.
I am deeply ashamed that I fell for the bullshit of “dialectical materialism.” At least I can say I was only 14 and I ‘got it’ by 16.
Eventually they threw me out of Walbrook College. I was screwed. I didn't have a job card. I went along to be unemployment office and I said ‘I'm from Ireland. I don't have my birth certificate.’ I was 16 years old but I tricked the Social Security clerk, that I was 18.
I am almost 60 years old now. Forty Six years ago, I was selling Keep Left on Lewisham High Street on saturday afternoon. A Russian man, properly 60 years old, came up to me. He pleaded with me about the appalling state of the Soviet Union. I laughed, and I said to my comrades that the Russian man is daft.
Yesterday, as I went to Whole Foods, as saw two young men campaigning enthusically on the street about 'Socialism'.
I wonder if the left wing youngsters, now think that I am stupid.