This morning Ted Grant, aged 93, died. I'll borrow some stuff about him from Wikipedia:
He formed a new, small tendency in the Labour Party, called the Revolutionary Socialist League which in 1957 was recognised at the official British section of the Fourth International and in 1964 founded the paper Militant. The group at first grew only very slowly, but by 1983, when it was known as the Militant Tendency, it was a significant force in British politics, and Grant was expelled from the Labour Party.
Throughout this time Grant and his colleagues denied that the Militant/RSL was any sort of political organisation, instead claiming it was merely a group of supporters of the newspaper (also called Militant). In the atmosphere of Labour's long shift to the left in the 1970s, all attempts to take action against the Militant/RSL were successfully resisted and even Michael Foot's action against Grant in 1982 (he was expelled along with the so-called "Editorial Board" - actually the Militant/RSL executive committee) was half-hearted.
But by 1985 the atmosphere had changed - Militant/RSL were effectively running Liverpool City Council as well as having 3 MPs. The grouping was aggressively advancing within the Labour Party but also faced a new leader, Neil Kinnock who was determined to smash the Militant/RSL as a force within the party.
The resulting confrontation saw many leading Militant/RSL members expelled from Labour and created a dynamic within the organisation that led many to question Grant's commitment to entryism. They argued that Militant/RSL was able to grow outside Labour and that the Labour Party's position on the poll tax revealed it to be out of touch with working class opinion. Despite the purges organised by the Labour bureaucracy, only a handful of leading Militant/RSL members were ever expelled, and most of the organisation's thousands of members and their three Labour-elected Members of Parliament could not be expelled.
Ted Grant obituary on Marxist.com.
In a defiant speech to the Labour Party conference in 1983, Ted said: "We'll be back!" He told them that there is no way Marxism can be separated from the labour movement. How right he was, now just a week before his death, socialism is stirring once more within Labour.
I'd like to think the splintered "socialist" sects on the left would learn the lesson, the most successful Marxist organisation in British history was not itself a party but was a part of the Labour Party, and an extremely powerful and influential part that could only be dealt with by extreme actions. The way forward in Britain is with the labour movement as a whole, and not with a sect of 20 members who are totally disconnected to the working masses.
Yes I'm talking about the SWP, SSP, BSP, SLP, CPB, etc and whatever fronts they throw together, the Socialist Alliance or Respect. They're all doomed to failure because they're disconnected from the mass. Learn the lesson from this comrade's life and experience.