Corin Redgrave and Gerry Healy


The death of actor Corin Redgrave April 6 produced an outpouring of rather airbrushed eulogies in the British media. Scion of the renowned Redgrave clan, major figures for four generations in British stage, screen, and later television, Corin had made his name in productions of Shakespeare and Noel Coward and appeared in such films as A Man for All Seasons, Excalibur, and Four Weddings and a Funeral. His father was the well-known film actor Michael Redgrave. His two sisters, of course, were Vannessa and Lynn Redgrave. Corin was a lifelong leftist, as is Vanessa. The British media on his death referred vaguely but positively to Corin's fight against injustice. BBC Radio 4 said Corin Redgrave had been "looking at all forms of injustice and oppression" and was "trying to make a better world". In fact Corin Redgrave with his better known sister Vanessa were decades-long members of the Workers Revolutionary Party, a Trotskyist sect run as a mad cult by Gerry Healy.

Observer columnist Nick Cohen takes the prettifiers to task in the April 29 London Standpoint:

"The story of Corin's and Vanessa's politics is so straightforward that only the wilfully blind can miss it. The Redgraves spent their adult lives serving a repellent totalitarian party led by a rapist and a friend not of 'human rights' and 'justice', as Radio 4 pretended, but of dictatorship and terror. The supreme leader was Gerry Healy, who kept the Redgraves and thousands of others in his power by deploying the classic cult tactic of spreading paranoia and fear about everyone outside his Trotskyist sect."

Cohen concludes:

"Radio 4 cannot tell the true story of the Redgraves' politics because, although Marxist-Leninism has long gone, a part of the poison of the Trotskyism of the 1968 generation lingers in the bloodstream of the wider Left ‰ÛÓ the propensity for Jew-baiting and conspiracy theory, the shrieking dogmatism, and, beyond all that, the self-censorship, which stops a broadcaster legally obliged to be objective dealing plainly with news that reflects badly on its class and kind."

Here is Nick Cohen's full post:

The Workers Revolutionary Party at its height in the 1970s sponsored large pageants, had several playwrights in its orbit who wrote and produced plays that promoted its political line, had a sizable trade union adjunct, and published a daily newspaper, News Line. Among its most loyal supporters in addition to the Redgraves was Ken Livingstone, later mayor of London, who has been frequently accused of anti-Semitism, a charge made also against the WRP as a whole. Healy, for those who did not follow the degeneration of his organization in the 1980s, was exposed as on the payroll of Gadaffi of Libya and Saddam Hussein of Iraq, for whom his press promoted pro-Arab causes and campaigned for the destruction of Israel. In 1985 it was revealed that the two Arab dictators were subsidizing Healy's daily News Line as well as Ken Livingstone's Labour Herald, though Livingstone claimed he was unaware of this.

Healy also mounted a scurrilous campaign accusing leaders of the American Socialist Workers Party of secretly conspiring with Stalin's KGB to murder Trotsky. His organization collapsed in 1985 when a score of women members accused him of raping them. Healy, before his death in 1989, went on to found a new little cult called the Marxist Party. Corin and Vanessa Redgrave followed him even there, while Ken Livingstone gave the oration at Healy's funeral and wrote a favorable introduction to a laudatory Healy biography, dismissing all the evidence against him as a plot by MI5.

A more moderate British Trotskyist, Sean Matgamma, in 2008 told the London Evening Standard, "The WRP ceased to be a political organisation and was merely a group paid for by Islamic regimes. They were spying on dissident Arabs and Jews for Gaddafi and Saddam, here in London. The WRP was taking money from Libya to subsidise Livingstone's paper. He had an accommodation with the WRP. After they ran that piece in News Line, we said to Livingstone: 'That editorial was anti-Semitic - where do you stand on it? Should we shrug our shoulders and accept that anti-Semitism is a legitimate part of the Left?' Livingstone didn't answer." (Ken Dovkants in the 4/17/2008 London Evening Standard.)

Healy is satirized in the hilarious if in-group novel Redemption by Tariq Ali, where he appears under the name Frank Hood of the Hoodlums. Though Healy was an extreme example the propensity toward cultism and Jew-baiting unfortunately remains fairly strong among the remnants of the Trotskyist movement, some of whom have been able to convince themselves that jihadi Islamicist anti-Semites, because they hate the United States and israel, represent a positive force that should be supported.