No case to answer

Terry Liddle, life-long socialist, prominent London member of the Green Party and chair of the Republican Communist Network England, has been smeared as a "fascist collaborator" by a bunch of authoritarian anarchists and leftwingers.

Such allegations have been circulating on the UK Left Network internet discussion list, but had their origins in Green Anarchist, a particularly unpleasant and paranoid little sect. Comrade Liddle has been found guilty in his absence by these would-be 'people's dictators' for having the temerity to accept an invitation to set up a stall at the 'Anarchist Heretics Fair' in Brighton last May on behalf of the South London Republican Forum (see his explanation, right).


Green Anarchist described this event as "at best ... a third positionist attempt to taint and take over anarchist/direct action politics. At worst it's a state scam to facilitate its marginalisation and criminalisation" (leaflet, undated). Either way, genuine anarchists - who of course hate all forms of democracy, including workers' democracy, considering it a form of authority and therefore an unacceptable infringement on the rights of the individual - are instructed to have nothing to do with this basically harmless gathering of eccentrics, losers and naive, but well-meaning greens.

What gives Green Anarchist "real cause for concern" is "the presence of known assets and provocateurs of the security forces amongst those attending the Heretics Fair". And top of its list is comrade Liddle himself. These latter-day witch-hunters do not specify whether he is to be burnt as a "provocateur" or merely an "asset" of the security forces, but the accusations against him are less than devastating.

Firstly, comrade Liddle is accused of trying to "set up" the Movement Against the Monarchy ("set up" as in 'lead into a trap'). No evidence is produced for this, but presumably it was enough for him to have written a letter to the Weekly Worker criticising the methods of MAM earlier this year.

The second exhibit before the kangaroo court is obviously deemed to be quite conclusive: "He's the husband of New Communist Party spy and Searchlight asset Daphne Liddle." This guilt by association, twice removed, is so pathetic, it really does make me wonder about its authors. Speaking as someone who from time to time comes across Daphne Liddle in south London selling not only Searchlight, but New Communist and An Phoblacht (I suppose her support for Irish republicanism and the IRA is a clever cover), I can only say that a less likely candidate for the job of state spy you are never likely to meet. Poor old Daphne has been selling the anti-fascist Searchlight long before the politically correct left decided it was a state tool for infiltrating them. Her uncritical support for 'official communism' is also well past its sell-by date. In truth Daphne Liddle (she has actually been separated from Terry for many years) cuts a rather forlorn figure.

The final damning piece of evidence against comrade Liddle is that, "His account of the first Heretics Fair ... claims the only fascists present were a few Distributist leafleters ... From someone claiming to be an experienced anti-fascist, this is incredible - and suspicious."

All right, so Terry missed a few others, but, seeing as they were doing their utmost to conceal their extreme rightwing antecedents that is surely excusable. Green Anarchist admits that they were disguising their views and were "obviously faking any enthusiasm for anarchism". In fact comrade Liddle was originally invited to the fair to speak on 'workers' republicanism'.

Amongst those secreting themselves at the event was the National Revolutionary Faction. This ludicrous grouplet describes itself as "ideologically a part of the post-war 'third position' phenomenon which rejects both the right and the left, while seeking new forms beyond fascism and national socialism" (interview with NRF Führer Troy Southgate The Nexus August 1998).

The leader of this four-strong threat to the working class, after describing his hatred of "Zionism", expounding his "criticism" of fascist Italy and Hitlerite Germany, and outlining his support for Gadaffy's Libya and Khomeini's Iran, was asked whether the NRF had any "particular religious preference". This was his answer:

"The NR Faction is a decidedly pagan organisation ... I myself have recently become attracted to the spiritual Weltanschauung currently being propagated by the Odinist networks ... I am also very interested in Mithraism, a Roman cult displaying some of the finer attributes of our warrior race ..."

Obviously I am taking a great risk in reproducing such depravity, and I trust that comrades who did not manage to avert their eyes in time will take speedy counter-action (reach out for your copy of Bakunin or Trotsky - quick) to avoid being irreparably damaged by having read it. But of course our guardians of the left know that they will not be corrupted. It is only those poor, ignorant members of the working class who must be protected.

Doesn't the left have anything better to do than gasp in horror at the pathetic rantings of such individuals? Or are they so lacking in confidence in their own ideas and so overwhelmed by those of the lunatic right that they can only resort to bans and witch hunts? Personally, I would not go out of my way to engage in intellectual debate with the likes of Mr Troy Southgate, but neither would I run a mile to avoid hearing his bizarre and pitiable views.

The irony of all this is that the politically correct left, in falling over themselves to stop the 'infiltration' of the state and/or the extreme right in order to prevent them trying to "manufacture conflicts" (Green Anarchist) among us, have succeeded in doing that all by themselves. Unbelievably, they want to drive comrade Liddle out of our movement. Hopefully the RCN England at its meeting this weekend will refuse to accept his resignation offer and tell the witch-hunters where to get off.

Peter Manson

Statement by Terry Liddle

Late in 1999, the South London Republican Forum (SLRF) - I convene it - received an e-mail inviting us to take part in an Anarchist Heretics Fair to be held in Brighton. The person sending the e-mail presented himself as a Social Republican, which we took to mean Social Republican as used by the left of the French Socialist Party, the term being coined by Jean Jaurès.

Between then and May material was posted on the internet describing the proposed fair as "fascist". As the authors all appeared to be anarchists attacking each other as "fascists" we thought this was merely another blow in the fractional strife endemic amongst anarchists. Furthermore, we thought the only way to find out was to go and see.

On May 6 we went to Brighton. We set up a stall and I spoke on the Whitechapel murders and the demise of Diana. Other participants included Wessex regionalists, Alternative Green magazine and Nexus, a magazine about UFOs and such. Nothing was said in the speeches or discussion to indicate any of the participants were racists or fascists.

Some young men were selling the works of GK Chesterton, a catholic distributist, and pamphlets by Aleksander Dugin. I knew Dugin had drafted the programme of the Communist Party of the Russian Federation. However, due to poor translation it was impossible to get a fix on his current politics.

We therefore agreed to take part in a second fair to be held in London in October where I was to have spoken on William Morris. Due to threats of violence the event was called off. Green Anarchist had circulated a leaflet attacking the fair as a state-directed plot against anarchism and making the absurd claims that I had "set up" the Movement Against the Monarchy and am a state agent.

There followed discussion of all this on a couple of websites in the course of which Richard Hunt, editor of Alternative Green, was alleged to be a racist and fascist. Initially, no evidence was presented to substantiate this. It then became apparent that a major player in the fair was the National Revolutionary Faction, which has its roots in the National Front and the International Third Position, from which it is a split.

It nowadays claims to be anarchist, influenced by Kropotkin, Che Guevara and William Morris. They say there are not racists and attack the ITP as fascist. The ITP says the NRF is Satanist and homosexual.

The NRF uses the slogans 'Smash capitalism' and 'Against the fascism of the right'. Its politics I find confused and confusing. The label I would use is 'anarcho-primitivist'. They seem influenced by Richard Hunt, who advocates small villages and technological regression, as does Green Anarchist, which he founded and edited. NRF wants small villages inhabited by Indo-Aryans or Eurasians (whatever they are). Hunt advocates loyalty to place, not race. At most, the NRF has four members.

As a result of requesting solid evidence for the allegations against Richard Hunt, we were accused of "collaborating with fascists". The main player in this was Dave Parks of Exeter Anti-Fascist Action. Despite assurances that the SLRF stands for working class socialist republicanism we were not believed. Indeed, for some, the more we tried to explain ourselves, the less we were believed. Our attention was drawn to an NRF text on infiltrating the left. On this basis the view was formed that we had been duped by people whose hidden agenda was to cause mayhem and infighting on the left.

By now we felt the only honourable option was withdrawal from all political activity. Accordingly we posted a message to this effect on the UK Left Network list and announced our decision at a meeting of the London Federation of Green Parties (we are both Green Party members). I sent my resignation from the Republican Communist Network to Steve Freeman, secretary of RCN England.

On November 25 the SLRF met and resolved it would go on hold until the outcome of investigations into these events. The next day the officers of RCN England met. It was decided not to accept my resignation and that I write a statement for discussion at the RCN England meeting on December 9.

The Green Party has instigated its own investigation and there may be a London Socialist Alliance investigation. I am fully prepared to cooperate with these investigations and abide by any decision they reach. What I do not want is for my error to be used to smear and witch-hunt the RCN or any other organisation I am involved in. Nor do I want it used as a weapon in fractional strife.

I feel that what started as a tremor in a thimble has assumed the proportions of a Wagnerian opera due to the activity of those who do not know me or my political record, which spans 37 years. Here I should say that as an act of solidarity at the time of the Green Anarchist and Animal Liberation Front trial I invited Robin Webb, ALF press officer and one of the defendants, onto the platform at a Workers' Republican Forum meeting. I would do the same again.

The RCN now must decide what action it takes. If it feels my error merits expulsion I will not contest that decision.

PCC statement

The Provisional Central Committee of the CPGB is concerned at the recent witch-hunting of comrade Terry Liddle on the illegitimate basis of guilt by association. We see nothing in what Terry has done which warrants an apology.

We are concerned to defend the right of free speech, particularly the right of socialists to debate with people of all political views, including fascists. Socialists oppose censorship. We have nothing to fear from open debate with our political opponents.