A Reply to FRFI
The October-November issue of
, the bi-monthly organ of the Revolutionary Communist Group (RCG) carries a letter on its letter page by one Dean Porter under the title
In it Mr Porter accuses Harpal Brar, the editor of
and of having
“lifted large chunks”
of Trevor Rayne’s article in
no. 145 on Labour’s military strategy and incorporated it into his own article on
The Military Strategy of British imperialism.
The editorial board of
gleefully accept Mr Porter’s charge and extend it further by asserting that Harpal Brar has
“on many occasions failed to acknowledge that he was using FRFI as a source”
and that he simply
FRFI material and palmed it off as his own.
Neither Mr Porter nor the editorial board of
provide any evidence for this assertion. It is, therefore, not possible to answer their charge. However, Cde Trevor Rayne, the writer of the
article in question has sent a letter to Harpal, and the portion of his letter relevant to Mr Porter’s and the
editorial board’s accusation against him reads as follows:
“You should acknowledge my article(s) at the end or in your Military Strategy article. I have marked sections that come from my research and articles. In particular, the information on 11 of the top 20 British companies being in the arms business and the figures on the number of British overseas interventions (96 and 28) cannot have come from anywhere but me – this was special research which took me hours and not a little cash to find out. Also material on Middle East arms purchases,
I get little if any recognition for what I have written from anybody and I ask you to recognise the contribution that I make”.
Along with his letter, Cde Rayne has sent a copy of the first part of Harpal’s article (which appeared in the September/October issue of
– the second and final part appears in this issue) with sections marked, which Cde Rayne claims come from his research and articles. These
sections refer to the number of jobs in British manufacturing industry accounted for by armaments manufacture and how many British multinationals are involved in the manufacture of armaments; British military interventions abroad since the end of the second world war; the amount of armament exports by the major imperialist powers, and the scale of weapons purchases by the regimes in the Middle East. Amazingly, the marked sections include references to the information and quotations from the government’s Strategic Review, quotations from Denis Healey (a former Labour defence secretary) and Tony Blair. Even more amazingly, the marked sections include references to quotations from Marx and Lenin. The list of marked sections is as long as it is hilarious.
The facts and figures referred to in Cde Rayne’s list are available as much to
as they are to anyone else, including comrades of the
is the originator of these figures, which all come from bourgeois publications, government departments and myriads of bourgeois specialist think tanks. The problem is not getting hold of this information but at times having too much of it. The comrades of the
use the same bourgeois sources without always acknowledging the same, but it would never occur to anyone to accuse them of
material from whatever bourgeois source they rely upon. The only point in giving a reference in such a case is to prove the authenticity of the figures if someone were to challenge them.
Let us just give one example. Comrade Rayne’s article on multinationals refers to statistical data without disclosing ALL the sources he relied upon. We are fully aware of where this source material comes from. Far from cavilling at him, and scoring petty points, we commended his article and, with his permission, published it in its entirety in our paper.
There is even less reason for the comrades of the
to believe that other people only become aware of the classics of Marxism-Leninism through reading
so that someone using a quotation from these classics has to acknowledge the
as the source, for no other reason than that an article in
also happened to have the same quotation. Harpal Brar is fully acquainted with the writings of, among others, Marx, Engels, Lenin and Stalin. There is, therefore, no need for him to reach for the
every time he needs an appropriate quotation from their works.
If Cde Rayne gets
“little if any recognition for what”
“written from anybody”
, he can hardly point an accusing finger at Harpal Brar, for anyone who has read the latter’s book on Imperialism would not have failed to notice the references in it to Trevor Rayne’s work. Harpal Brar continues to recognise, as he has in the past, the contribution made by Cde Rayne, which is more than the latter can claim of his fellow comrades on the editorial board of
More than that, Cde Rayne is probably the only Marxist-Leninist on that editorial board, all the others being infected, to a greater or lesser degree, with the petty bourgeois malady of Trotskyism, which cannot but leave anything they write looking like the Curate’s Egg – good in parts!
Far from wanting to palm off other people’s work as his own, Harpal Brar has rescued innumerable writers of pamphlets long forgotten from oblivion. Even a cursory glance at some of his books will convince anyone in the least honest of this.
There is no need for the comrades of the
to go around with the injured air of unrecognised geniuses. Any useful contribution by them will certainly get recognition from
and Harpal Brar. That is all we have to say.