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The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988
Click for more by or about John Riddell.
By John Riddell
May 17, 2015 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- The following previously unpublished position paper, pulled from my archives, was written in 1992. I am posting it in conjunction with my review of Michael Lebowitz’s Contradictions of "Real Socialism". My comments raised many of the themes found in Lebowitz’s writings of that time, of which I was then quite unaware. My approach, however, gives more emphasis to the problem of economic allocation and the role of non-capitalist markets.
By Barry Sheppard
March 5, 2015 -- Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- February 21 marked the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, one of the greatest leaders of the 1960s Black liberation movement in the United States.Lenin once wrote:
During the lifetime of great revolutionaries, the oppressing classes constantly hounded them, received their theories with the most savage malice, the most furious hatred and the most unscrupulous campaigns of lies and slander.
Israel blasts Gaza. The SWP’s response to the one-sided slaughter this summer illustrates the political and moral depths to which the group has descended.
By Art Young
September 18, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- At its peak in the 1960s and early 1970s the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) in the United States was the largest group to the left of the Communist Party and a major pole of attraction for radicalising youth. It was also the most dynamic and creative Marxist organisation in the USA.
The SWP of today bears no resemblance to that organisation. It now consists of a few hundred members and supporters, many of them in their 50s and older, together with a few dozen followers with the same demographic in other countries. Deliberately cutting itself off from most arenas of struggle, the SWP has little influence and few prospects for renewal. Like most left sects, its prime imperative appears to be the perpetuation of the sect and the position of its maximum leader, Jack Barnes.
Paris, May-June 1968.
An Impatient Life, a Political Memoir
By Daniel Bensaid
London: Verso, 2013
Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: a Memoir: volume 2, Britain 1965-1970
By Ernest Tate
London: Resistance Books, 2014
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal readers can read an excerpt HERE.
Read Barry Sheppard's review of Revolutionary Activism in the 1950s & 60s: volume 1 HERE.
Reviewed by Barry Sheppard
September 9, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- These books cover the impact of the worldwide youth radicalisation that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s upon two sections of the Fourth International, one in France and the other in Britain. In both countries, this was a period of tumultuous events, including the US invasion of Vietnam and the international movement that erupted against it.
Caroline Lund at work.
By Barry Sheppard
August 25, 2014 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- Caroline Lund was for many years a leader of the US Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and for some years of the Fourth International. She and I resigned from the SWP in 1988.
In 1992 she got a job at an automobile factory in Freemont, California, called New United Motors, Inc. (NUMMI). She became an activist in the plant and the United Auto Workers locally and nationally. In 1998, she began to publish a plant newsletter, The Barking Dog.
"In the US and elsewhere, including Britain, a mass anti-war movement developed against the US war in Vietnam. By 1968, the International Socialists in the US and the IS in Britain changed their line [of neutrality between the 'two imperialisms'] and came out against the US and defended Vietnam. In the US they joined the mass demonstrations to 'Bring the troops home now!'"
Read more by Barry Sheppard HERE.
By Barry Sheppard
June 6, 2014 – Links
International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- In this two-part article I
examine the ramifications for today of the three theories of the USSR that
emerged from the Left Opposition: state capitalism, bureaucratic collectivism
and Leon Trotsky’s theory of the degenerated workers’ state. (Read more on the theory of state capitalism HERE.)
Open Marxism and the dilemmas of coherence: Paul Le Blanc's reflections on the contributions of Michael Löwy
More by Paul Le Blanc can be found HERE.
By Paul Le Blanc
September 8, 2013 -- ESSF, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with Paul Le Blanc's permission and urging -- The discovery of a wondrous continent is what it felt like when some of my closest comrades and I connected with Michael Löwy, this remarkable revolutionary Marxist intellectual and activist -- himself a blend of Austrian Jew, Brazilian, Parisian, seeming to reach out to the world in all directions, an outstanding modern-day representative of Trotsky’s Fourth International. 
The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume I: The Sixties, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (Sydney), 2005, 354 pages.
The Party, The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988, Volume II: Interregnum, Decline and Collapse, 1973-1988, a Political Memoir by Barry Sheppard, Resistance Books (London), 2012, 345 pages.
By Daniel Lopez
By Paul Le Blanc
June 27, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal/IS Network -- I very much appreciate Luke Cooper’s excellent response to my “Getting our priorities straight”. It maps out much of the common ground between us, and it offers food for thought for those wanting to move forward to build the mass socialist movement that now appears to be a possibility.
Given that agreement, and the fact that some of this simply needs to be lived through more before we can find additional things to say that are useful, I feel little need to “answer” him. But I do want to offer a few thoughts regarding my defence of Morris Stein, and related matters, in a way that I think addresses some questions posed for us as we seek to move forward together.
The poetry of dialectics
Flint sit-down strike (1936-1937). A vanguard layer of the working class, reflected in the vibrant militancy and radicalism of the massive Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
The following is a reply to Luke Cooper's "Debating 'Leninism': a reply to Paul Le Blanc", which was a response to Le Blanc's "Leninism for now". More articles by or about Paul Le Blanc can be found HERE.Click HERE to see the entire discussion between Paul Le Blanc and Luke Cooper.
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Paul Le Blanc. Photo by Alex Bainbridge.
By Luke Cooper
June 19, 2013 -- IS Network, submitted to Links International Journal of Social Renewal by Luke Cooper -- In Paul Le Blanc’s engrossing and well-argued speech at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, he engaged closely with ideas that we put across in Beyond Capitalism? The Future of Radical Politics. Le Blanc attempted to resuscitate, or at the very least contextualise, remarks by Morris Stein (real name Morris Lewit) that we had taken to be indicative of the historic problem of Trotskyism: the claim of its scattered historical representatives to have a "monopoly in the sphere of politics".
[More articles by Paul Le Blanc can be found HERE.]
By Paul Le Blanc
[This is a talk presented in London on May 31, 2013, at the Dangerous Ideas for Dangerous Times gathering.]
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal -- How can we move from capitalism’s violent oppressiveness to the economic democracy, the genuine freedom, the socialism that we desire? This question was central to the life and work of V.I. Lenin. In exploring that, I want to pin my remarks around quotations from Georg Lukács, plus an old US Trotskyist, Lenin himself, and a couple of young British activists.
February 16, 2013 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – On February 3, 120 socialists took part in a Toronto meeting to celebrate publication of Toward the United Front: Proceedings of the Fourth Congress of the Communist International, 1922, available in paperback from Haymarket Books. This 1300-page volume is the seventh book of documents on the world revolutionary movement in Lenin’s time edited by John Riddell. Riddell’s address to the Toronto meeting, below, explains the purpose of the book and the publishing project. The video of the event, filmed by Left Streamed, begins above and continues below. It was moderated by Abbie Bakan, with additional commentary by David McNally, Greg Albo, Suzanne Weiss and Paul Kellogg.
By Suzanne Weiss
January 31, 2013 -- Green Left Weekly -- Fifty years ago, on February 13, 1963, the publication of US writer and activist Betty Friedan’s book The Feminine Mystique sparked a new awakening in the thinking of women across North America. Friedan denounced the repression women suffered in the aftermath of World War II, when they were forced out of wartime jobs and convinced to accept the role of keepers of the home.
Profiteers of the market launched an unrelenting but subtle propaganda campaign to venerate women as wife and mother. This role, Friedan said, was the “feminine mystique”.
This domestic existence became, Friedan wrote, “a religion, a pattern by which all women must now live or deny their femininity”. In submitting to this concept of womanhood, women gave up their self-respect, recognition of their talents and abilities, and — most importantly — their identities. Fundamentally, Friedan said, this was a scam to sell more consumer goods to women, who were to be the major purchasers for home and family.
February 1, 2013 -- The crisis in the British Socialist Workers Party (SWP) has stirred a sharp debate among party members about the allegations of sexual harassment and rape at the centre of the crisis and about how a revolutionary organisation deals with disputes and disagreements among its members and leaders. In response to an article titled "Is Leninism Finished" by SWP leader Alex Callinicos, , author of numerous books, including Lenin and the Revolutionary Party, published the following comment on the website of the newspaper of the US International Socialist Organization.
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By Paul Le Blanc
A report delivered by C.L.R. James in presenting the draft resolution
on the Negro Question to the Thirteenth Convention of the Socialist
Workers Party (US), July 5, 1948; introduction by Scott McLemee. Text from International Socialist Review
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ORIGINALLY PRESENTED as a speech to an audience of socialists in the early days of the Cold War, “The Revolutionary Answer to the Negro Problem in the United States” is undoubtedly one of the best-known writings by C. L. R. James from his long study of American politics and culture. It appeared almost exactly ten years after the publication of his book The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution (1938). And like that great account of the Haitian liberation struggle, it has earned its place in the classical Marxist tradition as a forceful and incisive treatment of racial oppression, mass action, and revolutionary social change.
Fidel Castro with Chile's President Salvador Allende upon his arrival at Pudahuel Airport in Santiago on November 10, 1971.
[For more articles by John Riddell, click HERE.]
By John Riddell
January 6, 2013 -- Johnriddell.wordpress.com, posted at Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal with permission -- 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the US-inspired rightist coup in Chile that overthrew the leftist government of Salvador Allende on September 11, 1973. The coup was a historic disaster for working people in Latin America and globally. Socialists worldwide saw it coming. How did they attempt to counter this danger?
This article by Trinidad-born socialist C.L.R. James, written under the pseudonym J.R. Johnson, was originally circulated as an internal memorandum of the Workers Party in December 1943, under the title "The Historical Development of the Negro in the United States." It was published in 1945 as "Negroes and the Revolution: Resolution of the Minority" in New International. It was republished in C.L.R. James on the "Negro Question," (Scott McLemee, ed., University Press of Mississippi, 1996).
THE HISTORY of the Negro question and the American revolutionary movement in general, and the Trotskyist movement in particular, makes it imperative at this stage to outline in however brief a form the role of the Negroes in the political development of American society.