would like to comment on
Liam O Ruairc's piece on Saor Eire in the current
am named as one of the leading members of the International
Marxist Group who had illusions in this organisation.
As with many of my opinions in those days, that
view was based on very little evidence or investigation.
The murder of Peter Graham, who was a good friend,
affected me deeply - although not quickly enough
- and helped to give me a repugnance for conspiratorial
militarist organisations. But although I am now,
politically, very far from the Bob Purdie of those
years, I am also an historian and I would like to
correct some points in the article, on the basis
of personal knowledge.
The "privileged relations" with the IMG
amounted to the unsolicited Saor Eire manifesto,
fraternal greetings to an IMG conference and the
interview with two SE members, published in the
Red Mole. This was set up by Peter Graham, who arranged
for me to meet them at Marx's grave, in Highgate
Cemetery. It was with two SE members and was republished
by the Irish Times, with the false information
that it had taken place in Dublin. I was very surprised
to be told by them, that SE recognised the United
Secretariat of the Fourth International as the leading
body of world Trotskyism. My respondents were two
of the members who signed the letter from Portlaoise
and were, as I discovered later, on the "Trotskyist"
wing of SE. I am now sure that they were not speaking
on behalf of the organisation, but expressing their
own opinions, which were heavily influenced by Peter
Peter Graham was a rank and file member of the IMG
and therefore of an affilliated section of the United
Secretariat, not a member of the Secretariat itself.
At no time did he tell me that he was also, or had
been, a member of SE.
Peter acted as an intermediary in arranging, through
SE, for a false passport for a South African Trotskyist
and arms training for a Sri Lankan.
I was present during Ernest Mandel's visit to Dublin
in 1972. To the best of my knowledge he did not
knowingly meet members of SE, except for any undeclared
members who were also members of the Irish section
of the Fourth International. He did, after reassurances
about his security, meet members of the Official
Republican Movement who asked for a discussion with