By Tony Cliff
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Extra info for A world to win: life of a revolutionary
Chanie’s parents emigrated from South Africa to settle in Pales tine during 1945. Her father was a factory owner in Cape Town. He wanted to visit Britain to buy textiles for his factory. After getting a visa to travel to Britain he found out that he did not need this doc ument as his South African passport was valid without it. Hearing of this, I jumped at the idea of going to Britain to be his representative. It was an incongruous situation for me to be carrying an order for textiles worth £40,000 when in my whole life I had never seen as much as £ 100.
I became intrigued with the possibility of using Engels’ The Origin o f the Family, Private Prop erty and the State to interpret events described in the bible. Engels describes the disintegration of primitive communism as a result of the development of the productive forces and man’s advance of knowledge. The result was the move from hunter-gatherer society to land cultivation. This was associated with the rise of private prop erty and the monogamous family. I wrote in the thick notebook that I filled on the subject that the same process is described in the fable of Adam and Eve being pushed from the Garden of Eden for eating an apple from the Tree of Knowl edge.
We repeated the word ‘should’ again and again. One expression of this was a series of three articles I wrote for the American Trotskyist monthly New International: ‘British Policy in Palestine’ (October 1938), ‘The Jewish-Arab Conflict’ (November 1938), and ‘Class Politics in Pales tine’(June 1939). I used the pseudonym L Rock. Formally we stuck with Trotsky’s theory of permanent revolution. But this theory did not limit itself to using the subjunctive ‘should’. Trot sky did not confine himself to arguing that the proletariat of Petrograd should lead the mass of the peasantry in fighting Tsarism and capital ism, or should carry out the tasks of the bourgeois-democratic revolu tion (solving the land question, achieving national self determination of the oppressed nationalities, etc).