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Sean Matgamna

Sean Matgamna began his political life as a Trotskyist in the Socialist Labour League of Gerry Healy after being involved with the Coomunist Party having arrived in England from his native Ireland.

He did not last long and soon joined Ted Grant's Revolutionary Socialist League which at that time as the British affiliate of the International Secretariat of the Fourth International. Dissatisfied with the RSL he and two others formed the Workers Fight group which grew a little before in 1968 he responded to a unity initiative from the International Socialists.

WF joined IS as a fully fledged factional grouping called the Trotskyist Tendency and continued to publish WF. In 1971 the TT and IS defused at a special conference and WF remerged into the world slightly larger than when they joined. In 1975 WF fused with Workers Power another group who had come out of IS and they became the grandly named International-Communist League and began publishing Workers Action newspaper. No one today knows why their name included a hyphen and the fusion became unfused pretty rapidly and WP left the group.

The I-CL continued, now within the Labour Party, and in 1981 fused with Alan Thornett's Workers Socialist League. The new group being known as the WSL until a broader paper was launched which they backed entitled Socialist Organiser. A Socialist Organiser Alliance was set up around the paper but soon became nothing more than the Matgamna group especially when Thornett's supporters left the grouping in 1983 to form the Socialist Group.

The SOA continued until it was relaunched as the Alliance for Workers' Liberty the current name of the tendency around Sean Matgamna. Matgamna has now led his group out of the Labour Party and into the Socialist Alliance but it seems likely they will soon leave that grouping too. The AWL and Matgamna in particular are known to hold positions on various questions quite uncommon to the Trotskyist movement as a whole. Thus they adopted, in the late 1980s, a position of describing the 'socialist countries' as bureaucratic collectivism as pioneered by Max Shachtman. They have also adopted a position of calling for Ulster Protestants to have their own autonomous territory within a united Ireland, for a 'Two State' solution in Palestine and called for self determination for the Falkland Islanders.