Ted Grant is dead
July 20th, 2006. In the afternoon I went to Genoa. Exactly five years have passed since the killing of Carlo Giuliani (a young anti-capitalist demonstrator) by the Italian bourgeois state during the protests against the G8 summit. The assassination of this young man was a turning point in the consciousness of a whole generation of Italian left-wing youth.
I and other comrades reached the square where the commemoration was to take place - the same square where Carlo was shot dead. There I met another comrade from the Genoa branch of the International Marxist Tendency, and he gave me the bad news. Comrade Ted Grant was dead.
Of course I expected it to happen sooner or later; the comrade was very old and I remembered how tired he looked the last time I saw him in Barcelona a few years ago. But it is still sad to have his books (Russia: From Revolution to Counter-revolution, The Unbroken Thread, History of British Trotskyism and so on) here, in my room, on the shelf where I keep contemporary Marxist literature. Now, it seems more fitting that they should go on the shelf with the Marxist classics - beside Capital, The Manifesto and State and Revolution.
Ted Grant will be very much remembered in the future. He is already remembered by the supporters and sympathizers of our International Marxist Tendency as one of the great Marxist authors and theoreticians. When Trotsky died, only a very small vanguard celebrated his name together with those of Marx, Engels and Lenin. The man who killed him was rewarded with a medal by the Stalin-led Soviet Union. Today, comrades, look at how, as each day passes, the remnants of the Stalinist tendency in the workers' movement are becoming more and more irrelevant. Ted Grant fought many times against the stream: against reaction and against Stalinism, against the reformists and against the sectarians, against unimaginable difficulties that our Tendency had to face in all these past decades. I'm sure his memory will swim against the stream with the same resoluteness and success in the future - and this is up to us and to the persistent strength of his writings and ideas.
I remember when Ted was in Milan. The imperialist war in Afghanistan had just begun. He spoke very well, and he showed the deepest disgust for that anachronistic parasite, the bourgeois class, and the bloody inferno it creates in a world that unfortunately hasn't yet got rid of its domination. He exhibited an even sharper repugnance against the infamous supporters of this parasite inside the workers' movement, such as the right wing of the British Labour Party. However, he did not display his aversion by the using hysterical insults when talking about them; on the contrary, he seemed to think that such petty madness would be soon remembered only by archaeologists. He seemed to have complete trust in the socialist future of mankind, and his resolve was clearly the result of his firm grasp of Marxism.
A sectarian idiot was present at this public meeting in Milan and attacked him in a most offensive and ridiculous way. Ted Grant replied like this: "This has been a very democratic debate. Everybody has been allowed to give his opinion. Even the man from Mars was here. I will not reply to his slanders. They're just lies." He then continued to speak to the 99% of the audience who laughed after the sentence about the man from Mars was translated. I think this says a lot about the man. He had the most revolutionary ideas, which in normal periods are completely understood only by a minority, but still he liked to appeal either to the widest possible amount of people or to the true militants, those class fighters tightly linked with the whole of the workers' movement and the best layers of the youth. Socialist Appeal, The Militant... not by chance were these the names of the papers of his tendency in Britain and elsewhere.
I only knew Ted in his last years. Many, many comrades knew him infinitely better than I did, but I would like to thank him for his invaluable work, which allowed people like me, 50 or 60 years after the death of Trotsky, from many different countries of the world, to find a way to the true ideas of revolution. Marxism changed my life, I decided, like many others, to devote my time and my hopes to this cause and I never regretted my choice. I never regretted being a "Grantist" - let me use just for once a word he would have never liked us to use.
In the city where Ted spent most of his life leading the Marxist Tendency, London, is St Paul's Cathedral. I don't think he went there very often, but I read somewhere that in St Paul's you can find the tomb of the architect who designed the building, Christopher Wren. On the tomb there's an inscription reading: "Si monumentum requiris, circumspice" - if you seek his monument, look around you. That is what we can say about Ted Grant during any meeting or demonstration of the International Marxist Tendency.