a Xhosa word meaning “rising star”, was a ikwezi 1 November 1975

Marxist-Leninist journal, published in England by “a group of South African and Southern African revolutionaries with long histories of devotion to the struggle for freedom in Southern Africa”.

It first appeared in 1975 and produced twenty-one issues before its hiatus in 1982.

Although described as “a journal of South African and Southern African political analysis”, and its editor best known as a member of the Pan Africanist Congress, the internationalist coverage and concerns of the journal reflected a politics influenced by the Chinese model of revolution and the writings of Mao Zedong. The last few issues of Ikwesi would carry articles critical of the post-Mao developments and changes in China. An example of the international material is this PAC report on the Kampuchea Experience

In a column carried in later issues, the politics of Ikwezi was described as thus:

“       Support IKWEZI: Build the Azanian Marxist-Leninist Party!

IKWEZI is a Marxist-Leninist Journal which bases itself on Marxism-Leninism-Mao-Zedong Thought, the highest revolutionary ideology of our time. Mao Zedong Thought  which synthesises the wisdom and profound  revolutionary experiences of the Chinese Revolution,  has made qualitative developments  to the body of Marxism-Leninism in the fields of political economy, culture,  military affairs, philosophy, etc. and is today an integral  part of the international  communist  movement and cannot  be ommitted.

“Without a revolutionary theory there can be no revolutionary movement.”  Marxism-Leninism-Mao Zedong Thought is the revolutionary theory of our epoch. It is the integration of this theory to the concrete conditions of the national/class struggle in Azania that can enable us to unite the Azanian Black masses and revolutionaries on the basis of a correct political line and to overthrow white settler colonialism and the two imperialist superpowers, the main contradictions in Azania. Social imperialism which is contending with U.S. Imperialism for world domination is knocking at our door to re-colonise us. To ignore social imperialism because we think it has no imperialist economic investments in our country would be foolhardy. Its way is to use its military muscle to install its puppets – like the ANC-CP – into power by flying the flag of “natural ally” of liberation movements and the anti-imperialist struggle.

The national struggle against white settler colonialism for the re-possession of the country and the land by the indigenous African people must also be a thorough-going anti-imperialist struggle. The national struggle must be the prelude to the social revolution to wipe out all capitalist and imperialist structures that suck the blood of our oppressed peoples. Without a thorough – going social revolution that puts an end to national oppression and class exploitation in the country there can be no meaningful liberation. For such a revolution to succeed there must be the leadership  of a skilled and courageous  Marxist-Leninist  Party consisting of the most advanced  cadres in the struggle, emerging from the mainstream  of the national  liberation  movements and groups  themselves, overcoming sectarianism, dogmatism  and a narrow-minded  approach to one another. Petit bourgeois radicals who play with Marxist phrases in order to con the international Marxist­ Leninist movement must not be confused with the genuine Marxist-Leninists who take the historical mission of the proletariat seriously, whose politics begin from the class struggle and who are genuine communists.

Such a Party must win the leadership in the national struggles and unite all who can be united; such a Party must combine theory with practice to the concrete conditions of the national/class struggle in Azania·.

Building a mature and skilled Marxist-Leninist Party that is thoroughly integrated with the masses, will be a long and painstaking task, and can only be done in the concrete and practical struggle. All sorts of mistakes and false starts will be made, but such a Party can only be built step by step. It must begin now, not tomorrow, as some opportunists would like us to believe, because now we are occupied with the national struggle and tomorrow after the national struggle is over the socialist revolution will begin. The more experience we have in Marxist-Leninist Party building and leadership and organisation in the struggle the greater can be our successes against the class enemy.

Such a Party must ‘be built in strict opposition to the ANC-CP mercenaries, agents of social imperialism in the country and its global ambitions to dominate the world. At the same time we must unite with those forces in the ANC-CP who are opposed to the machinations of their leadership – and they are a whole army. ”

The struggle was seen as both a national and a class struggle against colonial and imperial domination. Ikwezi took a firm position, siding with the Communist Party of China against Russian social-imperialism regarding it (for its influence and interference in South Africa) as being the greater danger compared to American imperialism.

ikwezi  11 March 1979ikwezi  12 June 1979ikwezi  7 December 1977ikwezi  Vol 2 No.4 December 1976ikwezi  16 March 1981ikwezi  18 october 1981

The Editor’s Story

Draws heavily upon this appreciation

Bennie Bunsee was the indomitable editor of the journal Ikwezi and regularly wrote articles for various South African journals and newspapers, including the Mail & Guardian.When Bennie returned to South Africa a less frequent Ikwezi was resurrected, as Jaki Seroke, Chairperson of the Pan Africanist Research Institute (PARI), recalled,

“His sterling work in producing the non-sectarian journal of political economy, Ikwezi, provided a platform for the Azanian Tendency to express itself openly without any form of censorship or distortion of its views. The PAC had been deliberately marginalised from the mainstream by the likes of the London-based Anti Apartheid Movement (AAM), who articulated the struggle narrative with a fixation on the Kliptown Charter. One of the ways the AAM worked was to suppress the PAC and ZANU’s views from gaining currency in southern Africa, and to block these organisations from forming solidarity with the people in European countries. Bunsee was not chaffed with this form of subliminal racism.

Bunsee used his own scanty resources, out of pocket, to gather information and encourage independent ideas from a variety of patriots to contribute a tapestry of views and spread the network of activities in the liberation struggle. Ikwezi is anchored on the belief that Azania (South Africa) is an African country. Contributors included Edwin Makoti, Samir Amin, Christine Qunta, and several other African revolutionary thinkers.”


Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania (PAC) member Bennie Bunsee (1935-2015) had been held in detention as a young man and was deported from Cape Province leaving South Africa in 1963 through Beira, Mozambique, into East Africa

His niece, Udit, noted in an obituary that he joined the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) in the early 1960s and was part of the first group that went to China for military training with other PAC stalwarts. Bunsee was influenced by the ideologies of Robert Sobukwe and, later, Steve Biko. He was an original thinker, a respecter of ideas and editor of the political journal Ikwezi, which he funded and produced single-handedly. The theoretical journal provided perspective and insights on African nationalism, socialism and Pan-Africanism.

In exile Bennie was a vociferous opponent of apartheid, he eventually ended up in London, where he continued his activism coming  to prominence in landmark struggles of national minority workers of the early 1970s supporting the Asian strikers at the Mansfield Hosiery Mills, Loughborough, in 1972, and Imperial Typewriters, Leicester, in 1974.

Interviewed on the Imperial Typewriters picket line by an ATV news reporter in May, 1974, Bennie said: “I got involved in the same way I got involved in the Mansfield strike, just as an advisor. These people, trade union officials, the trade union movement [are not] taking up the cause.”

He added: “There’s a peculiar situation that affects Black workers in this country, that when it comes to their grievances a large section of the white workers don’t support them; a large section of the union movement don’t support them.”

His involvement in the struggle against racism in Britain – not only as part of the race equality industry in the 1980s saw him involved supporting the attempt of Labour Party members get recognition for their own “Black section” in the late 1980s. Marc Wadsworth, one-time Chair of Labour Party Black Section fore-runner of today’s the Black Socialist Society, recalls,

“A passionate and incredibly erudite socialist – he was reputed to own more than 50,000 books – Bennie came to us with a magnificent race and class track record as a champion of Black workers, and by that I mean people of African and Asian descent.”

Bennie returned to South Africa after the first democratic elections in 1994 and subsequently served as a government advisor to then justice minister Dullah Omar. For a time he also worked for the PAC’s small parliamentary group before falling out with them. on his return to South Africa, Bennie decided to live in Cape Town – specifically Wynberg, where he became a member and leader of the Wynberg Residents’ and Ratepayers’ Association.

Bennie became increasingly disillusioned with the political landscape in South Africa, frustrated at the slow to no pace of change since he had left in 1963.  He was appalled by the ANC government’s corruption, which he saw as an outright betrayal of the anti-apartheid struggle.

Bennie judged that, nineteen years after the first democratic elections, writing in 2013

“The colonial and imperialist world has turned Mandela into an icon and there is now a preposterous cult of the man. Sobukwe, who spent almost eight years alone, separated from all the other political prisoners on Robben Island is given secondary importance. Why? Did Mandela really liberate this country? How can anybody liberate a country from a prison cell he was incarcerated in for 27 years?

I believe the ideologies of Pan-Africanism and Black Consciousness will win. If they don’t, black people will continue to be second-class citizens. But the colonialists are fighting back with all the resources at their disposal. We have a long way to go.”

Former journalist and now Department of Arts and Culture spokesperson Sandile Memela described Bennie as a “father figure”.

“He was too old to be my friend,” said Memela. “He was rigid, inflexible and uncompromising in his passion and commitment to Pan Africanism as an ideology, and we had an unending series of good discussions about its role and contributions to the liberation struggle.”

In an article from January 2014, Bennie reporting on the 8th Pan-Africanist Congress observed

“Pan-Africanism can be described as the universal and abiding doctrine of global African liberation. It was born in the diaspora in the wake of the Atlantic slavery of over 20-million Africans and reflected the hunger of the enslaved Africans to overcome their dispersal, dispossession and dehumanisation.

As a truly grassroots congress of ordinary organisations and representatives it sent a message to the corrupt leaders of African states that they cannot be trusted with the continent’s future destiny.

A new concept came out of the congress, that of the global African family. This particularly related to how the African diaspora describes itself as an integral part of its motherland with a right to return and ­settlement – something the congress vigorously called for.

The congress was confined to Africans and people of African descent – and included representatives from all five continents. Nobody can speak for African interests but Africans themselves.

The congress did not allow participation from Arab countries in North Africa. It also condemned Arab slavery and its accompanying racism towards African people. Arab slavery predated the European-driven Atlantic slave trade by centuries.

It was pointed out that Arabs came from Asia to inhabit North Africa and in all Arab countries where Africans were a minority they faced racist discrimination and Arabisation. Arab countries should compensate with due reparations for the damages inflicted on African people. The congress demanded that reparations from Western nations should be pursued vigorously and that there should be a day when black workers throughout the world should stay away from work to mark the need for reparations.”


A final appreciation from the next generation……

Bennie Bunsee: The man with 50 000 books

“I will honour your memory”

By Keabetswe Magano

Life-long activist and journalist Bennie Bunsee passed away at the weekend, two weeks before his 80th birthday. University of Free State student, Keabetswe Magano, pays tribute to a “walking library” who left a lasting impression on her.

Two years ago I had the opportunity to meet and witness the brilliance of Bennie Bunsee, the man with 50 000+ books in his home. At first I thought we were meeting him in a small community library but it was his home. There were book shelves filled from left to right, from the first shelf, a few centimetres from the celling right to the last one just a few centimetres from the ground. They stretched wall to wall from the sitting room right through to his bedroom and even some in the kitchen.

He collected these books over the years as he travelled to various countries when he served as an active member of the then-banned Pan African Congress (PAC). The books ranged from Ancient history to UFOs, literally everything one could think of. He might not have read all the books but he knew all the ‘main’ books in each category clearly labelled on the shelves. Not only was this man living in a library, he was also a “walking library”. And now he is gone. He died last week after unsuccessful heart surgery, two weeks before his 80th birthday.

The level of insight that he had on African history could surely constitute a whole course on African studies at any University. What I learnt that day was all new to my ears. I had never been exposed to African history through my schooling years, well except for the typical basic Apartheid history of 16 June, Freedom day (based on the public holidays that we celebrate today).

Born in Natal to a working class family in 1935, he was constantly dissatisfied with what he was taught. He knew what he wanted to be taught because he had read so many books. He looked for an academic institution that would be able to educate him further or bring clarity to what he had read. Yet his wish was never fulfilled, therefore he dropped out of higher learning both locally and abroad and went on his own quest to educate himself. This is something that not many students would do because mostly we are convinced that academic institutions provide us with the best possible knowledge. Mr Bunsee made me realise that when coming to education there was no specific place where one can learn, we learn every day and everywhere. We should not only seek the learning opportunities but also challenge what is presented to us.

I was stunned by his depth and insight into African history. He hungered to educate the world on our history getting emotional and caught up in his anger when he shared his rich knowledge. I understood why he seemed so angry; he made me feel like the world is living a lie, or is distorting history.

He reflected on the importance of reading and how it could open up the world for us. The history that he shared with us that day changed my perspective on the potential of the black individual forever. He gave me confidence, made me believe in myself much more. For African history revealed the potential that we have, we are often made to believe that African people do not have the potential to achieve what others (Americans, Asians, Europeans…) have achieved/can achieve, it feels as though we are undermined in everything that we do.

He told us (we were a group of students) a story of hope, one that erased all the negative and patronising content often presented about Africa – a story that needs to be heard, does not start in 1652 and will give Africans millions of reasons to take pride in who we are.

He made me realise “the dangers of a single story”, and it’s potential to distort, disfigure and destroy any other.

His appetite to share his unique knowledge led him to transform his home in Wynberg into a research centre for post-graduate students and researchers. Forever the journalist, he established the Diop/Du Bois Institute and produced a small newspaper, Ikwezi, distributed several times a year.

I had just over 15 books under my ownership, and I thought I was doing quite well for someone who aspires to have a small library in her home one day. After paying a visit to Mr Bunsee, I was embarrassed and slightly ashamed of my progress let alone the types of books that I was reading at the time. He sent me home with a whole new outlook on education, the material that I should be reading and ignited a flame of pride in my life which has been burning ever since that day.

Rest in peace Mr Bunsee. I will honour your memory.



Friendship Publishing

Foreign Language Press, Novosti Press Agency, 8 Nentori Publishing House, Foreign Language Publishing House Hanoi, and Progress Publishers were all , dare one suggest once familiar, state publishing imprints that provided alternative and contending information and interpretation.  They were presented as propaganda outlets by western media network, no less partisan and working to a status quo agenda than their ideological counter-parts.

In a print-screen digital age other sources of information are out there if one searches. The old enduring print on paper was reliant on sympathetic distribution networks ranging from direct subscription (and what was always assumed) subsidised commercial arrangements, the radical book scene and informal channels through friendship or political groups circulating material. Circulation of foreign-language material, competing in a well established domestic media market, was always going to be a difficult and fringe activity. These state publishing houses produced material to promote their country, state policies and views and establish a voice that promted documents of records as well as those of persuasion.

The mass market potential to register a questioning view point was/is a herculean task at the best of times, and even given the new internet platforms available, the question would remain how to attract a reading audience. To build a relationship of trust with one’s readership was an endeavour shared across all Medias, that desire to communicate; a common feature on all Progress books is their “request to readers,” which reads: “Progress Publishers would be glad to have your opinion of this book, its translation and design and any suggestions you may have for future publications. Please send all your comments to 21, Zubovsky Boulevard, Moscow, U.S.S.R.”

Progress Publishers was a Moscow-based publisher founded in 1931.Just in case you want to collect First editions published by Progress Publishers they have “First Edition (year)” printed on the copyright page with no additional printings listed. They were noted for its English-language editions of books on Marxism-Leninism such as the (now complete 50) hardbound volumes of Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

Progress Publishers took over the role of the Foreign Languages Publishing House  the state-run publisher of Russian literature, novels, propaganda, and books about the USSR in foreign languages in 1963 , occupying the premises  of the offices of the Foreign Languages Publishing House situated at the Zubovsky Boulevard. Their logo had the Sputnik satellite on one side, and on the other is the Russian letter ∏, for Progress.

The Co-Operative Publishing Society of Foreign Workers in the U.S.S.R., Moscow – whose large album on the History of the Civil War in the USSR was one-time ubiquitous upon leftist bookshelves – had shared the offices throughout the cold war era. The FLPH was created to centralize all works bound for non Soviet readers.  They published in all subjects, but specialized in politics and literature, the classic Russian authors alongside the contemporary output that faded from memory.

Progress Publishers  concentrated its activities inthe late 1970s/early 1980s by hiving off specialise publishing areas to other publishing houses.

  1.  publishing literature was given to a new imprint, Raduga.  Again   Raduga published many of the classics of Russian Literature, and few contemporary novels. There was also a large selection of  children’s books were published under the Raduga imprint.
  2. Mir Publishers took  on the sciences.  Mir published technical and scientific titles, as well as children’s science books.  MIR Publishers which handled the publishing of scientific and technical books in the Soviet Union, including translations into foreign languages, still exists, although they apparently only publish in Russian now. Although titles from the Soviet era can be found at http://mirtitles.org/

The other best known purveyors of English languages books and booklets from the Soviet Union was that of Novosti Press Agency / APN  created in 1961.

The task of Novosti Press Agency / APN – Novosti means News in Russian was  “to contribute to mutual understanding, trust and friendship among peoples in every possible way by broadly publishing accurate information about the USSR abroad and familiarizing the Soviet public with the life of the peoples of foreign countries.”

APN’s motto was “Information for Peace, for the Friendship of Nations”. It was a major international operation with APN bureaus in over 120 countries, publishing 60 illustrated newspapers – including Moscow news – and magazines in 45 languages, and as a Publishing House put out over 200 books and booklets.

novosti press agency 19870002novosti press agency 1987000571032

scannennovember2013ev0107scannennovember2013ev0211novosti press agency 19870006

According to Yuri Bezmenov a “journalist” for Novosti Press Agency, it was a disinformation and propaganda agency controlled by the Soviet non-military intelligence agency (commonly known as the KGB), and  the biggest propaganda and ideological subversion organization of the U.S.S.R.

He wouldn’t be the first co-opted “journalist” to spread disinformation in the Western world. In the field of Cold war studies there is a growing body of studies on the British state’s own contribution to what Susan Carruthers’ calls Winning Hearts and Minds in her examination of propaganda and media manipulation.  Philip Taylor’s survey British Propaganda in the Twentieth Century: Selling Democracy, Paul Lashmar and James Oliver’s Britain’s Secret Propaganda War unearths lurid ‘dirty tricks’ based on Public Record Office releases from the FO’s Information Research Department (IRD) while Andrew Defty’s Britain, America and Anti-Communist Propaganda 1945–53 closely examines the IRD and its relationship to the Americans, while an overview is explored in John Jenks’ British Propaganda and News Media in the Cold War.  But no-one would believe that the anti-communist narratives of the fifties and the media manipulation techniques faded away, just ask Colin Wallace.

With the collapse and disintegration of the Soviet Union the former state publishing companies no longer operate as they once did. Elsewhere the FLPH of Vietnam was transformed, now Thế Giới Publishers (World Publishers) is Vietnam’s official foreign language publishing house. It was established in 1957 “to introduce readers around the world to Vietnam” through publications in English, French and other foreign languages. It publishes Vietnam Cultural Window an English language bi-monthly illustrated magazine, as well as a quarterly academic journal, Vietnamese StudFLP Coversies.

China’s Foreign Languages Press (FLP) established in 1952, has published, in 43 languages, over 30,000 book titles, including the works of Party and State leaders, records of party Congresses and books providing information and commentary on China, totalling over 400 million printed copies. Beijing Review is still available on subscription with content reflective of the rising superpower that China has become. However you will not be able to order Mao Zedong’s “little red book” of Quotations, or those buff coloured paperbacks of Marxist classics that sustained western radical leftists in days gone by.


Some Progress Publishers Pdf editions

Books from Vietnam   http://www.thegioipublishers.vn/en/home/

Books from China        www.flp.com.cn



Tirana builds an Internationale (4)

After Enver

Following the fall of the Communist government in Albania in 1991 there were those who re-evaluated the historical experience coming to varying and contradictory conclusions.

The Danish Marxist-Leninist leader Klaus Riis used a letter to Revolutionary Democracy  to argue that comrades were:

“mistaken, when you state, that the struggle against Soviet revisionism on the part of Comrade Enver and the Party of Labour did not start until 1960. It is true that it did not reach its full scope before that time, that it was indirect, and often hidden by criticism of titoism and the revisionist rapprochement with titoite Yugoslavia. The PLA later stated that in this period not everything was clear to them, and that they had hopes that the Soviet leadership would mend its ways. I think, though, that Comrade Enver’s report On the International Situation and the Tasks of the Party, published in the Zeri i Popullit of February 17th 1957, must be considered a major document in the struggle against the revisionist line of the 20th Congress. In retrospect I do not think that the stand of the PLA at the Moscow meeting, including signing the joint document of 81 parties, that indeed praise the 20th Congress, is to be reproached in any way. Later on, maoism was unmasked. From Comrade Enver’s Political Diary, his Reflections on China, you can see the protracted process of solving the Chinese enigma, as he called it.”

Long-time allies in New Zealand came to a surprising conclusion:  “Enver Hoxha had been an incomplete Marxist”


Tirana builds an International4

Tirana builds an Internationale (3)

Rally for Enver

The 7th Congress set the ideological framework in its criticism, and the emphasis placed by the Albanian PLA was on an appeal to the teleological messianic goal of ‘socialist revolution’ that appeal to the worldview of some. In return, those inspired engaged in sharp ideological monologues: there was an ideological price to pay – initially, criticism of China’s strategic foreign policy, and then rejecting Mao all together.

This theme was repeated as veiled polemics, implicitly directed at China, surfaced in the first half of 1977 in a flurry of meetings that attracted a host of foreign delegations at a succession of pro-Albanian rallies occurring in Europe and Latin America. KPD/ML leader Ernst Aust, in February 1977, at the first in a series of’ Internationalist’ rallies, affirming the 7th Congress Report as “a true Marxist-Leninist document because it affirms the correct principles of Marx, Lenin and Stalin which sweep aside all deviating and opportunist trash”


Tirana builds an International3


Tirana builds an Internationale (2)

The Albanian Intervention

In light of the previously expressed judgement that “the Socialist camp had ceased to exist” (at the 10th CPC Congress in 1973), China’s inauguration of ‘Three World Theory’ was less a reconceptualisation of foreign policy on less ideologically based categories (i.e. class nature), and more a reapplication of tried and tested alliance-building strategies regardless of ideological affinity.

The genealogy of ‘The Three Worlds Theory’ suggests continuity in Communist China’s multi-polar conceptualisation of the world. There was a revival of the category of ‘intermediate zone’: the emphasis on Europe was not simply as an arena of confrontation, between the two superpowers with European states as accomplices of US imperialism, but subject to superpower domination. With the Soviet Union identified as an imperialist state, then the state-to-state relations with its “satellites” could be “cultivating outposts of resistance in the Soviet background” mirroring relations with Western European states in their alliance with the USA (Xiaoyuan 2004).

Mao’s comments to President Kaunda of Zambia saw a world system comprising of two superpowers (First World) developed industrialized nations forming a Second World, who exploited the developing countries but were also in turn exploited and bullied by the two superpowers. The Third World, consisting of the developing nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America, was exploited and oppressed by both.


Tirana builds an International2

Tirana builds an Internationale (1)

This article –posted in four parts- outlines the attitudes, developments and reasons why the early anti-revisionist expectation of a Marxist-Leninist international was not forth coming.

It is far from comprehensive in its coverage of all the factors involved – especially in terms of Albanian relationship with neighbouring Yugoslav – but concentrates on the newly emerged communist movement that looked to the anti-revisionist centres of Tirana and Beijing in the second half of the Twentieth Century.

Internet Sources can be exhaustive but these four provide an excellent beginning: without a hint of irony, one of the premier websites to maintain the work of Enver Hoxha is the Russian site, www.enverhoxha.ru. There is a Hoxha library maintained at the Marxist Internet Archive https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/hoxha/works-index.htm that is far easier to navigate,   while the Encyclopedia of Anti-Revisionism On-Line provides access to an extensive range of Albanian anti-revisionist material in the English language https://www.marxists.org/history/erol/albania/index.htm. Well worth a trawl is the website of Michael Harrison http://michaelharrison.org.uk/albania-pamphlets-and-magazines/  providing an archive of documents, speeches, magazines and general articles that were produced in (and about) Albania during its attempts at socialist construction.

Many of the articles and sources used throughout the article now have a web presence, so google them if further reading is so desired.



The struggle against modern revisionism

“Marxism-Leninism gives us the right to say our word and this law can take nobody away from us neither by political and economic pressure nor by threats or etiquettes which one fastens to us.”

(Enver Hoxha at the Meeting of 81 Communist and Workers’ parties in Moscow on November 16, 1960 )

In the early 1960s the dominant established, and largely pro-Soviet leadership expelled communists like Jacques Grippa in Belgium who sought to build a movement around the perception of Soviet Union’s rejection of Marxism’s main ideological tenets. The majority of organisations were small and isolated formed by members opposed to the ‘revisionism’ of the Communist Parties: exemplified in Britain by Michael McCreery’s Committee to Defeat Revisionism, for Communist Unity and the Kommunistisk Arbjdskrets- Communist Working Circle – led by Gottfred Appel in Denmark. Communists such as these identified with the Sino-Albanian side of the polemic largely because the arguments reflected their own concerns and criticisms of their own party leadership as well as in reaction to the anti-Stalin criticism of the CPSU under Khrushchev.

The initial wave of activists were anti-revisionists, defending an orthodoxy of Leninism and initially characterised by pro-Stalin sentiments, regarding criticism of Stalin, such as Khrushchev’s 1956 ‘Secret Speech’, as an attack on the experience of building socialism in the Soviet Union. In opposing the Soviet notion of a party and state “of the whole people”, opponents were wary of anything that diluted a “Leninist” party focused on factory-based workers in domestic politics. They looked to Albania and China and saw their own concerns reflected in the criticism made of the Soviet Union’s leadership and its policies.

Read More>>>>>>>>>>>>

Tirana builds an International1

1983 Cowley Moles

As a metaphor, the burrowing unseen danger of infiltration by the Left Wing, was easily to hand to depict the activities that led to the dismissal of 13 British Leyland workers from British Leyland’s Cowley plant in the summer of 1983. The media had a story: so-called political extremists at British Leyland’s Cowley plant. They had the individual to focus on, Stephanie Grant (dubbed “Red Steph” in newspaper headlines) who admitted she lied about her qualifications to get her job, but denied being an infiltrator.
The media interest lasted a few weeks; CowlyMOles recalls the episode and other incidents at Cowley of the last century Leninist endeavours to build an industrial base for the notion of “Old mole” has a pedigree.

In the signs that bewilder the middle class, the aristocracy
and the  poor prophets of regression, we do recognise our 
brave friend, Robin Goodfellow, the old mole that can work
 in the earth so fast,that worthy pioneer — the Revolution. 
Karl Marx, Speech on the Anniversary of the People's Paper.
from a speech delivered in london on April 14th 1856 at a meeting
to mark the fourth anniversary of the foundation of the Chartist
People's Paper. Its theme is Marx's unshakeble conviction in the
 inevitability of revolution.

That continuity was expressed last century in the  Red Mole the publication of the International Marxist Group IMG, an English Trotskyist group.

The article was scanned from “October Review” Spring 1996, a piece of nostalgia from the Maoist Left. An observation left unsaid, is that so often the contribution that those from outside of the working class want to make to working class struggles always seems to be from a position of leadership.

Of course, “hiding” in plain sight was Alan Thornett (1937- ) who worked at the Cowley Morris plant from 1959 until 1982. Thornett was a good union man. He became a shop steward in 1963 and the Transport and General Workers’ Union deputy convenor for the plant in 1967. Four years later, Alan Thornett was elected to the Midlands regional committee of the Transport and General Workers’ Union. In addition, he served as chairman of the Transport and General Workers’ Union 5/55 branch and of the Joint Shop Stewards’ Committee. mole
He was also an active Trotskyist becoming a media hate-figure in the 1970s, when he became known as the “mole” at British Leyland, being blamed for any industrial unrest at the company. He was a founder member of the Workers Socialist League in 1974 following a split from the Workers Revolutionary Party led by Gerry Healy with whom he had been associated with since 1966. A chronicler of one of the strands of Trotskyism in Britain, Thornett is the author of three volumes of autobiography: From Militancy to Marxism, Inside Cowley and Militant Years.

4. Cold War Typewriter Warrior


During the Cold War there were marginal beneficiaries to the struggle in the form of those financially supported to “fight the good fight” be it the proliferation of magazines, Study Institutes or radio stations, and spy thrillers based on communist plots. Vanity publishing is not a new phenomenon and throughout the latter half of the Twentieth Century there regular appeared cold war typewriter warriors, you could say the “politically correct” and an arms-length away propagandists for the Western cause.

Amongst the Brian Crozier, Forum World Features, Institute for the Study of Conflict, Robert Moss and Le Cercle grouping was a minor figure of J. Bernard Hutton. His was a varied career: journalist (as so many spies seem to be); foreign news editor in Moscow; press and cultural attaché Czechoslovak Embassy, London; free-lance journalist, lecturer, broadcaster, diplomatic and special correspondent, and psychic researcher.

Born July 1911 in Bohemia, J. Bernard Hutton (the pseudonym adopted by Joseph Heisler) author of books on spies and communist Soviet Russia, his bibliography claims Heisler as a graduate of Berlin University, a Czech journalist on a communist newspaper on Prague and of the Russian daily newspaper Vechernyaya Moskva. There are claims of attending the Lenin School in 1934 before Heisler fled to London 1939, anglicised his name, and served as a press attaché in Jan Masaryk’s Czech government in exile.

J (for Joseph) Bernard Hutton career as an ex-communist was that of an author of lurid tales that focussed on alleged Soviet subversive activities. He was such a prolific author of the early 1960s that J.Bernard Hutton was an incorporated company established May 1963 [Company number 00759961] earning from UK sales and beside various American editions, his work was distributed in translated editions (mainly French, German and Spanish). His early publishers were Neville Spearman Publishers, established in 1955 by Neville Armstrong, described in his obituary as “one of the last of the gentlemen publishers who produced books mirroring their own whims and tastes in a form of cottage industry”. He had been in the Intelligence Corps in India.

  1. Bernard Hutton (pseudonym for Joseph Heisler) made his name with FROGMAN EXTRAORDINARY and DANGER FROM MOSCOW, warning of the “Soviet Threat” (London: Spearman, Neville 1960.)

Lionel known as “Buster” Crabb was a British Royal Navy frogman and MI6 diver who vanished during a reconnaissance mission around a Soviet cruiser berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1956. Peter Wright in his book Spycatcher (1987), argued that Crabb was sent to investigate the Ordzhonikidze’s propeller — a new design that Naval Intelligence wanted to examine. Various theories have emerged over the years as to Crabb’s ultimate fate.

Hutton, in FROGMAN EXTRAORDINARY and a follow-up book ‘Commander Crabb is Alive’ (1968) proposed that he was captured and was taken to Russia where he became Captain Lev Lvovich Korablov in the Soviet Navy.

Hutton’s work raised eyebrows, even the CIA in-house reviewer said beware; in a review of Hutton’s books and “Without taking into account “Hutton’s” own murky Communist past–Heisler belonged to the Czech Party”, he thought :

      “……Hutton’s” efforts may be merely a pecuniary speculation by an exile fabrication mill, or they may be something more sophisticated, a product of Moscow’s cold warriors; a case can be made for either view. It is necessary in any event to call attention to the fraud and its perils.”

  …..   The story, like most such fabrications, contains no provable facts not made public in the news coverage during and since the Crabb affair. Whether or not the dossier was fed to “Hutton” by Soviet agents, with or without his knowledge, the Soviets clearly stand to gain from its publication. Soviet intelligence is shown as omniscient. It is alleged to have known the details of the Crabb operation before it was carried out. At one point there is a serious reference to the “brilliant brains of the Soviet security officers.” It is also depicted as humane: after immobilizing, capturing, and conveying Crabb to the USSR, it “rehabilitated” the frogman instead of shooting him……

Danger from Moscow is based on the device of “secret instructions,” a standard fabrication come-on throughout the existence of the Cominform which still appears in intelligence frauds. It is the classic mixture of fabrication and previously published fact…..
…. the piece consists entirely of retold news stories superimposed on “secret Cominform instructions” by which overt developments in the U.K., the United States, West Germany, and the rest of the world are attributed to “hidden Communist activists.” In a final chapter, “On the Home Front,” Hutton develops the provocatory thesis that Russia is constantly on the verge of a popular revolt against the Communist regime. …. The book  contains no real or reliable knowledge of the workings of the Communist conspiracy in the U.K., the United States, or West Germany which would be beyond the resources of the periodical room of a good library.2

CAVEAT LECTOR : Review of FROGMAN EXTRAORDINARY and DANGER FROM MOSCOW. By J. Bernard Hutton (pseudonym for Joseph Heisler).  (London: Spearman, Neville; and Toronto: Burns & MacEachern. 1960.)
6479828-M 15683769515 9780025578708-us 9780870001697-us

Indeed, Hutton continue to churn out material attacking supposed Soviet duplicity or other aspects on Soviet history including a biography entitled “Stalin , the miraculous Georgian.”

1961   School for Spies: The ABC of How Russia’s Secret Service Operates. London : Neville Spearman

1961 Stalin, the miraculous Georgian. Prefaced by Robert Bruce Lockhart.

Neville  Spearman

1962 Jack Fishman & J. Bernard Hutton .The private life of Josif Stalin. W.H.Allen

1963 The Traitor Trade The documented story of illegal trade in strategic materials with  the Communist bloc. Neville Spearman (W. Averell Harriman, Epilogue) [ 223 pages 17 photographic illustrations] The front cover of the dust-jacket: “The first ever inside story of the greatest smuggling traffic the world has ever known. The story – with fully documented cases – of the men who endanger the free world’s security by selling strategic goods to Communist countries, and of the fifteen nation war against them.”

1969     Struggle in the Dark: how Russian and other Iron Curtain spies operate. Harrap

1970   The Fake Defector. Howard Baker Ltd [A return to Crabb]

1970   Hess: The Man and His Mission. 1970 262 pages David Bruce & Watson Publisher

 1972 The Subverters: Former Czech Communist Official Reveals the Communist Plot to Subvert the West-and Spells Out, for the First Time, the Actual Techniques Being Used Right Now. New York: Arlington House Publishers

     1972     Women in espionage (1972) Macmillian (1st US edition)
 According to another writer specialising in the Cold War arts,
 “Hutton not only invented most of the case histories to which he
 referred in School for Spies, but he adopted the same approach with
 Women Spies, published ten years later, which was a catalog 
of female spies”
Nigel West, (AKA Rupert Alison, former Tory MP] in 
The A – Z to Sexpionage. Scarecrow Press 2009 p.324

J. Bernard Hutton, later became a ‘paranormal investigator and lecturer’. But Robert Moss, once a journalist and right-wing activist who specialized in anti-communist writing, turned to be a ‘shamanic counsellor’, and ‘dream teacher’ (so perhaps no change there!)

On the Other Side of Reality [Howard Baker 1970] and The Healing Power:
The Extraordinary Spiritual Healing of Mrs Leah Doctors and ‘Dr Chang’, Her Spirit Guide written with Michael Fredric Kirkman (Frewin 1975).

The description from the blurb reads:

The amazing true story of a Spirit Doctor. This strange account of a spirit doctor tells how J. Bernard Hutton, a journalist threatened with blindness, met the Medium George Chapman. A former Aylesbury fireman, Chapman claimed to be controlled by the spirit of a long dead surgeon, William Lang, a claim that Hutton viewed with scepticism and contempt. Yet when he visited the medium, a miracle happened. Cured of his ailment, Hutton investigated further. What he learned makes an astonishing and spellbinding story.

Almost believable as his tale of FROGMAN EXTRAORDINARY.