In October 1985, Gerry Healy was expelled from the Workers Revolutionary Party (WRP) on charges of sexual abuse and violence. His defenders included leading Party members Vanessa and Corin Redgrave and sympathiser Ken Livingstone. Clare Cowen was one of five Party members who secretly laid plans to challenge Healy. Now, in a tell-all book, she sets the record straight.
Cowen joined the Trotskyist Young Socialists and Socialist Labour League, later to become the WRP, as a student in Bristol in the heady days of the late 1960s. It was exhilarating; she felt in tune with major class struggles and believed her actions were making a difference. But by the early 1980s she began to question Healy’s autocratic control of the Party’s policies, members and finances.
The 1984-85 miners’ strike raised troubling questions among the members about Party policies. On 1st July 1985, Healy’s secretary went into hiding, leaving a letter exposing his decades-long sexual abuse of Young Socialists and women Party members. The work of the five conspirators was beginning to bring about his downfall.