Alan Thornett
Alan Thornett is a British Trotskyist
Trotskyism is the theory of Marxism as advocated by Leon Trotsky. Trotsky considered himself an orthodox Marxist and Bolshevik-Leninist, arguing for the establishment of a vanguard party of the working-class...

 leader, and one of the officers of the left-wing Respect
RESPECT The Unity Coalition
Respect is a socialist political party in England and Wales founded in 2004. Its name is a contrived acronym standing for Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community and Trade Unionism.-Policies:...


Alan Thornett began his career as a car worker in Cowley, Oxford
The city of Oxford is the county town of Oxfordshire, England. The city, made prominent by its medieval university, has a population of just under 165,000, with 153,900 living within the district boundary. It lies about 50 miles north-west of London. The rivers Cherwell and Thames run through...

 in 1959. He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain
Communist Party of Great Britain
The Communist Party of Great Britain was the largest communist party in Great Britain, although it never became a mass party like those in France and Italy. It existed from 1920 to 1991.-Formation:...

 there in 1960 before being recruited with other shop stewards to Gerry Healy
Gerry Healy
Thomas Gerard Healy, known as Gerry Healy , was a political activist, a co-founder of the International Committee of the Fourth International, and, according to former prominent U.S. supporter David North, the leader of the Trotskyist movement in Great Britain between 1950 – 1985...

's Socialist Labour League in 1966. However, in 1974 he and most of the Cowley group were expelled from the SLL with around 200 other members. Around a hundred of them went on to form the Workers Socialist League (WSL) of which Thornett was a leader. It participated in an international tendency known as the Trotskyist International Liaison Committee
Trotskyist International Liaison Committee
The Trotskyist International Liaison Committee was the international organisation established by the Workers Socialist League in Britain and its international co-thinkers in Italy, Denmark, the USA and Turkey...

 and fused with the International-Communist League in 1981. Political differences emerged in the new organisation with parts of the ex-WSL splitting off before those remaining were expelled in 1984.

Thornett and his comrades regrouped as the Socialist Group
Socialist Group
The Socialist Group is a primarily social-democratic political grouping in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. The group comprises of 180 members from 45 states of the Council of Europe. The Group is chaired by Andreas Gross of Switzerland....

 and then fused with the International Group
International Group
The International Group was the name taken by two groups of British supporters of the Fourth International.In both cases, the Group was formed as a public faction by members loyal to the International who felt that the then-current leadership of the British section of the Fourth International had...

 to form the International Socialist Group
International Socialist Group
The International Socialist Group was a Trotskyist organisation in Britain. It was the British section of the Fourth International until July 2009 when it dissolved into Socialist Resistance.- Origin :...

 (ISG) in 1987; the ISG dissolved into Socialist Resistance
Socialist Resistance
Socialist Resistance is a Trotskyist and ecosocialist organisation in Britain which publishes a Marxist periodical of the same name. In July 2009 the International Socialist Group merged into it, making SR the British Section of the Fourth International.-Origins:It was launched on 8 September...

 in 2009. Thornett is now a leader of the Fourth International.

Thornett successfully argued for the ISG to exit the Labour Party and join the Socialist Alliance
Socialist Alliance (England)
The Socialist Alliance was a left-wing electoral alliance in England between 1992 and 2005.In late 2005, a small group reformed with the name "Socialist Alliance", with a mutual affiliation with the larger Alliance for Green Socialism.-Origins:...

. Later, he supported the Alliance's dissolution in favour of the Respect Coalition
RESPECT The Unity Coalition
Respect is a socialist political party in England and Wales founded in 2004. Its name is a contrived acronym standing for Respect, Equality, Socialism, Peace, Environmentalism, Community and Trade Unionism.-Policies:...

. In the 2007 split in Respect, the ISG sided with the Respect Renewal faction around George Galloway
George Galloway
George Galloway is a British politician, author, journalist and broadcaster who was a Member of Parliament from 1987 to 2010. He was formerly an MP for the Labour Party, first for Glasgow Hillhead and later for Glasgow Kelvin, before his expulsion from the party in October 2003, the same year...

 against the SWP
Socialist Workers Party (Britain)
The Socialist Workers Party is a far left party in Britain founded by Tony Cliff. The SWP's student section has groups at a number of universities...

. Thornett sat on Respect's National Council until Socialist Resistance left Respect in 2010. He is the author of three volumes of autobiography: From Militancy to Marxism, Inside Cowley and Militant Years.

External links

  • "Debate on The European Radical Left A reply to Alex Callinicos
    Alex Callinicos
    Alexander Theodore Callinicos is a Trotskyist political theorist, a member of the Central Committee of the Socialist Workers Party and its International Secretary, and is Director of the Centre for European Studies at King's College London...

    ". Article by Alan Thornett contrasting the ISG's approach to Respect to the SWP's.

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