Sunday 26 August 2018

Red Action Redaction

Red Action. The very name sounds like a pun. With his roots in the Communist Party, David Aaronovitch had airily never heard of it until this weekend. 

But it is now the latest stick with which to beat Jeremy Corbyn, who would be a pariah on the Left if he had in fact had any connection to it. And whatever else Corbyn may be, he is not a pariah on the Left.

Red Action was founded by people who had been expelled from the Socialist Workers Party for "squadism", direct physical action against the likes of the National Front. 

That was all far too working-class for the SWP. But it was rather effective over the years, not least against Combat 18. I am not condoning it. But I cannot condemn it absolutely, either. Corbyn probably would, though, I suspect.

Insofar as that did sometimes cross over with links to Irish paramilitary activity, and the alleged link to the Warrington bombings is wholly unproven, then that was because of the ties between the British Far Right and Ulster Loyalist paramilitarism.

Those ties are still in place, and the present Government would not thank anyone for bringing them up, since it depends for confidence and supply on 10 MPs with varying degrees of such connection, including one who owed her unexpected election last year directly to the support of those organisations.

Red Action has remained on certain terms with others who have also, at various times, parted company with the SWP because they was too working-class for it, and too critical of identity politics.

With the Revolutionary Communist Group, it organised the Independent Working Class Association that has had some success in electing its candidates to Oxford City Council.

And at the 1987 General Election, it organised the Red Front with the RCG and the Revolutionary Communist Party. Yes, that Revolutionary Communist Party. To bring all of this up again after all these years would be to enter quite the moral maze.


  1. Corbyn is finished after this.

    “”Mr Corbyn spoke at at least three Red Action meetings between 1985 and 1992 and the group sometimes met at his then-constituency office.

    Patrick Hayes, a Red Action leader, and another member, Jan Taylor, were convicted of an IRA bombing campaign in England and sentenced to 30 years in jail. A third member, Liam Heffernan, was convicted of stealing explosives for another republican terrorist organisation, the INLA, and sentenced to 23 years.””

    1. Except that that never really happened. "I read it in a comic that was sort of a newspaper decades ago" is neither here nor there. Not that Corbyn would be "finished" even if it were true. Who cares? 80-year-old retired colonels and Thomas Mair.