My Search for Revolution

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 19 Dec 2019

Member Reviews

The first thing that needs to be acknowledged and stated is to praise women like Clare Cowen  who faced with enormous pressure, coercion and knowing that their lives will never be the same again are prepared to expose and ultimately bring down those men who use their position of power to  demean and violate women for their own perverted sexual and psychological needs. Whether in the world of commerce, entertainment, the aid sector or politics, many of these men felt entitled and empowered to use their positions to do what ever they wanted to do. 

One such man was Gerry Healy, an obnoxious violent bully, control freak, manipulator and sexual predator who even when in his seventies preyed on women, some of whom were in their teens. This so called heir to Trotsky and great political thinker pontificating and immersing himself in the works of Marx, Engels, Lenin and Trotsky clearly never had much time for or concept of feminism, gender equality or even basic human decency. I must admit that I'm not sympathetic to Clare's politics or possess little understanding of the Byzantium world of far left British politics with its myriad of small parties forever fragmenting into smaller factions, but despite this I found the book interesting, thought provoking and quite gripping as the narrative goes from one meeting to another where the battle to unmask and remove Healy takes place. I was even somewhat reminded of a John Grisham with the committee members taking the place of jurors. 

Claire's story begins in what was then called Southern Rhodesia and then via student days in 1960's Paris she becomes under the Svengali influence of Healy, first in the Trotskyist Young Socialists and Socialist Labour League and then in its successor the Workers Revolutionary Party. A cult like set up, Healy's word was supreme and he would dictate where Claire would work, live, befriend and even when to marry. (later deliberately breaking this up). Even sending her to the North of England in order for her to eschew her middle class persona to become more working class, this at a time when many of us actually in the working class were looking to move in the opposite direction. 

Every single waking moment of her day was consumed with the class struggle. She describes well the industrial and political turmoil of the 1970's when there were such things as coalmines, steel works and factories together with powerful trade unions. Throughout Healy would display physical and non physical violence leading to speculation that he was actually mentally ill and paranoid. He would also sexually abuse Clare but at that time she thought she was the only one, eventually 26 women would come forward. 

Sometimes this was difficult to read and one can only express anger at Healy's defenders such as Corin Redgrave who unbelievably at one point equates the condemnation of rape to middle class moralising, his enigmatic sister no better. My only regret at the conclusion was that Healy was not brought to trail but as he dead 3 years after his expulsion, presumably a broken man then I suppose some semblance of justice was achieved. A powerful read that both acts as a warning but also a testament to bravery and courage. Recommended whatever your political beliefs.
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The author wrote a great account of the personal journey they embarked on.  The honest and detailed writing made it easy for the reader to feel invested in their journey.
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