By Tony Cliff

My experiment, OCR'd

Introduction by way of Paul Foot The autobiogrphy of the founding father of the Socialist employees social gathering who many give some thought to the only so much influential socialist innovative to have emerged in post-war Britain. It charts Cliff's notable improvement from an impoverished Palestine within the Nineteen Thirties, the place he was once motivated via the writing of Trotsky, to a disappointed Blairite Britain, the place he was once instrumental within the development of a mass-based progressive celebration up till his demise in April 2000.

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A t the first, in Jerusalem, a very large crowd turned up, probably nearly 1,000. The attraction was the MPs and not our party, which had only a few dozen members in the town. A t the end of the meeting the audience stood up to sing the Zionist national anthem, Hatikvah. Our party always refused to rise for this anthem but this time the leaders of the organisation did stand up, probably to hide the fact that the majority of the audience were to the right of us. Everybody on the platform stood up except for me.

T he Hebrew side ended, ‘Elect a strike committee on the basis of parity between Jews and Arabs’. As hardly any Arab worker could read Hebrew and very few Jews could read Arabic, the Stalinists were confident they could get away with it. One of our comrades approached a leading Arab mili­ tant and translated into Arabic the Hebrew side of the leaflet. The railwayman was really shocked, and after confirming the translation with someone else, he broke from the Stalinists and joined our group. Alas, throughout the long months and years, in spite of really great efforts on our part, the group continued to be minuscule.

Before travelling to England Chanie and I decided to get married, as her good South African passport could subsume my rotten British Protectorate of Palestine one, and make travel for me easier. We were penniless and my total worldly possessions were a pair of short trousers, a pair of shoes, a shirt and books. We had to apply to the rabbis, as there was no civil marriage. The first hurdle of many was for me to get a divorce from the fictitious marriage I had entered into ten years earlier to save a Jewish woman from Hitler’s Germany.

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