Heiko Khoo expelled from the International Marxist Tendency

It’s not often that I’m intrigued by bicker and chatter, but today I was keen to see what all the fuss was about regarding a conversation that was taking place on facebook around a chap called Heiko Khoo, who has been kicked out of the International Marxist Tendency for apparently releasing internally sensitive information he shouldn’t have during a lecture he gave among non-insiders.

The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) for those who don’t know are an international Trotskyist movement whose chief intellectuals are Alan Woods and Lal Khan. Its history goes back to Ted Grant who was a leader of the militant wing inside the Labour Party until a split occured with those who wanted to continue to operate from inside the Labour Party parting ways with the side that eventually went off to form the Socialist Party in 1992.

On the occasions I’ve seen Alan Woods speak he has always been very adamant of his work from within the Labour Party, and his utilisation of entryism, as well as being scornful of his dismissal (he told an audience at the Venezuelan embassy that he had been removed from the party in the Blair era). This has informed my interest in the dismissal of Khoo.

For those who don’t know, Khoo is a prolific speaker at speaker’s corner and long time Marxist activist who witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall. He writes the blog China Reporting which the last post on it (here) is said to be the one which has got him into hot water with the leaders of the IMT.

According to him on his facebook page, he:

exposed the inability of the leadership to research and investigate the facts and explain developments from a Marxist standpoint […] The inability of the leadership to respond to Marxist analysis led them to begin a campaign against me over a year ago which has finally culminated in my explusion.

He also posted a circular which was sent yesterday to the IMT hierachy which reads

The following was passed at the IEC on Thursday and is enclosed for the information of all comrades. IEC Resolution on the Expulsion of HK
For many months, the International has been subjected to a systematic campaign of harassment and intimidation, organized by Heiko Khoo.This campaign, allegedly intended to “inform” the membership of the International, is in fact based on an avalanche of lies, insults,slander and disinformation. It is calculated to create the maximumconfusion, disrupt our work and demoralize comrades. These attacks on the International have been deliberately introducedinto the public domain, where they are being used by our enemies, toblacken the name of the International. The only effect of this campaign has been to cause resignations,damage the work in a number of sections and assist our enemies.In the face of gross, deliberate and repeated provocations, theInternational has shown extraordinary patience and restraint. But allthings have their limit. We have made repeated requests to Heiko Khoo to desist from his disruptive actions. He has had every opportunity to make use of thedemocratic channels of the organization to put forward his ideas. But he has not used these channels and all our appeals have been cynically ignored.These actions show a complete contempt for the most elementary norms of revolutionary morality ad discipline. The exact motivation behind Heiko Khoo’s activities remains obscure.But we can say that they constitute a deliberate and systematic sabotage of the work of the revolutionary tendency. Whether Heiko Khoo is conscious or not, such activities are indistinguishable from the work of a provocateur who seeks to destroythe organization from within. The International has the right to defend itself against sabotage andprovocation. We therefore resolve that Heiko Khoo is expelled from ourranks with immediate effect. 4 March, 2010

The conversation which has developed is mostly sympathetic epiphets and chatter about the international, but one fellow activist who is determined not to let this go is Sofia Papakonstantinou who mentions that

you got expelled because you put the IMT on danger not becuz you had different ideas. As you may know, the IMT has its own democratically elected organs. By opening up internal affairs to people -non members of the IMIT/ perhaps even against IMT- you are endangering the work of some sections. Your actions are tantamount to sabotage of the work of … See Morethe International -instead of constructive criticism channelled through the elected bodies of the organisation!

so Khoo possibly committed a breach of trust by posting confidential information on facebook. Though his defence is that he is a voluntary member and not obliged to abide by the IMT rules regarding “strictly confidential” material.

One of the replies by Papakonstantinou to Khoo’s protests at this stage was to say that non-members had the opportunity to voice their opinions at the annual World Congress, which was intercepted by a chap called Mike Cutler, who asked:

what sort of workers democracy is there going to be, when right from the start, workers and members of the founding organization get to whisper their voices and problems ONCE a year to the few in charge.

The story is long and hard to follow, especially given the fact that one instinctively imagines there is more to this than meets the eye. Of interest nonetheless, to see such a notable dismissal of an idividual from an organisation which prides itself on operating from within an established political party (an incumbent party at that) which differs somewhat to its own outlook; one would imagine that difference of opinion can be harnessed responsiby for an organisation like this (time will tell whether the dismissal was to do with leadership criticism or sensitive information – though the absence of a motion of evidence is rather peculiar), especially given the theoretical principles to which this organisation is supposedly founded upon.

I have been contacted by Mr Khoo who had this to say:

“One small error, I said as I am now expelled I have no reason to abide by their determination of what is confidential.”

exposed the inability of the leadership to research and investigate the facts and explain developments from a Marxist standpoint.