|Alma mater||University of Sussex|
Moscow State University
|Occupation(s)||Political theorist, activist, writer|
|Movement||International Marxist Tendency|
Alan Woods (born 23 October 1944) is a British Trotskyist political theorist and author. He is one of the leading members of the International Marxist Tendency (IMT) as well as of its British affiliate group Socialist Appeal. He is political editor of the IMT's In Defence of Marxism website. Woods was a leading supporter within the Militant tendency within the Labour Party and its parent group the Committee for a Workers' International until the early 1990s. A series of disagreements on tactics and theory led to Woods and Ted Grant leaving the CWI, to found the Committee for a Marxist International (soon renamed International Marxist Tendency) in 1992. They continued with the policy of entryism into the Labour Party. Woods has expressed particularly vocal support for the Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela, and repeatedly met with the Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, leading to speculation that he was a close political adviser to the president.
Woods was born into a working-class family in Swansea, South Wales and grew up in the Townhill and Penlan areas of the city. At the age of 16 he joined the Young Socialists and became a Marxist, becoming a supporter of the Trotskyist Militant tendency within the Labour Party. He studied Russian at Sussex University and later in Sofia (Bulgaria) and Moscow State University (MGU). Woods's work in Brighton for the Militant tendency established an important base of support at the university and in the town. He later moved back to south Wales, becoming the first regional full timer for the organisation. He, his wife, and two small daughters moved to Spain in the early 1970s where his well-known political stance placed him amongst those struggling against the Francoist Spain, where he worked to establish the Spanish section of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI).
Main article: Militant tendency
In the early 1990s, Woods and his mentor, Ted Grant, left the Militant tendency and its parent organization, the Committee for a Workers' International, over what they considered to be the ultraleft turn of this organisation when it decided to split from the Labour Party. The minority group, led by Ted Grant, also argued that a decline in emphasis on political education, as well as the development of a bureaucratic clique around Peter Taaffe, was damaging Militant. Grant and Woods and their supporters internationally formed the Committee for a Marxist International in 1992, which was later to be known as the International Marxist Tendency (IMT), and remained active in the Labour Party. The British section of the IMT is known as Socialist Appeal.
Main article: International Marxist Tendency
Woods was the editor for some years of the Marxist journal Socialist Appeal, published in London. He is currently a theoretician in the IMT and editor of its website In Defence of Marxism.
Woods has had meetings with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and defends the idea that the Bolivarian Revolution is the germ of the world revolution. Woods also travels and supports other revolutionary processes in Pakistan, Bolivia, the Middle East and Cuba. He is a close friend of Trotsky's grandson Vsievolod Platonovich "Esteban" Volkov, who regards Woods' work as closest to Trotsky's theories. President Chávez publicly stated in a TV broadcast that he was reading Woods' book Reformism or Revolution "in great detail", which encouraged speculation that Woods was an advisor to the President.
In 2010, Woods was subject to severe criticism, firstly by some Venezuelan newspapers and opposition political parties, like Primero Justicia, then by international media outlets, for an article (Where is the Venezuelan revolution going?) he wrote on the IMT website. He wrote it after the latest Venezuelan general elections advocating to further radicalize the Bolivarian Revolution towards "the expropriation of the commanding heights of the economy". His reply to these attacks was given widespread attention in the Venezuelan media.
In November 2012, Woods went on a speaking tour in both the United States and Canada.
In November 2015, Woods detected "embryonic seeds of revolutionary developments" in the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Party leader.
Throughout 2022, Woods wrote a series of articles on the Russian invasion of Ukraine, opposing both sides of what he describes as "a proxy war between Russia and the USA" In October 2022 he wrote:
“From the beginning, the driving force has been, on the one hand, NATO’s aggressive push towards Russia’s borders, on the other, the exaggerated ambitions of Vladimir Putin and his desire to enhance his personal prestige and his grip on power, which is closely related to it.”
Woods has repeatedly condemned the hypocrisy of western politicians and the media for failing to present the facts of events accurately, while also strongly criticising Vladimir Putin.