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SWP (USA)

Peter Camejo 1939-2008: How to make a revolution in the United States (1969)/Liberalism, ultraleftism or mass action (1970)

The tragic news on September 13, 2008, that Peter Camejo had lost his battle with cancer is a blow to all those on the revolutionary left who have been politically and personally influenced by him. As a tribute, Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal republishes two of Peter's most influential and enduring lectures, talks that continue to educate young revolutionary socialists to this day.

Peter Camejo in 2005, photo by Charles Jenks.

Peter Camejo was a longtime leader of the United States Socialist Workers Party. As a leader of the Young Socialist Alliance, the youth group associated with the SWP, Camejo was a prominent activist in the student movement at the University of California in Berkeley and in the anti-Vietnam war movement. He was the presidential candidate of the SWP in 1976. (Listen to Peter Camejo interviewed on the NBC's Tomorrow Show in 1976.) He parted company with the SWP in 1980 as its politics increasingly became more sectarian (Camejo's analysis of the US SWP's political evolution is available HERE.).

Why Washington hates Iran - free pamphlet download

The following is the introduction to Why Washington Hates Iran: A Political Memoir of the Revolution That Shook the Middle East, a new Socialist Voice pamphlet published by South Branch Publications. The entire pamphlet is available for free download from http://readingfromtheleft.com/PDF/WhyWashingtonHatesIran.pdf.

The author, Barry Sheppard, was a member of the US Socialist Workers Party for 28 years, and a central leader of the party for most of that time. In 2005, Resistance Books published the first volume of his political memoir, The Party: The Socialist Workers Party 1960-1988. The new pamphlet is a chapter from the second volume, now in preparation.

* * *

By Barry Sheppard

Peter Camejo: How to make a revolution in the United States (1969)/Liberalism, ultraleftism or mass action (1970)

By Peter Camejo

Peter Camejo was a longtime leader of the United States Socialist Workers Party. As a leader of the Young Socialist Alliance, the youth group associated with the SWP, Camejo was a prominent activist in the student movement at the University of California in Berkeley and in the anti-Vietnam war movement. He was the presidential candidate of the SWP in 1976.

Camejo made a number of visits to Australia for the Democratic Socialist Party and Resistance in the 1980s and 1990s, giving public lectures on US politics and socialism.

“How to Make a Revolution in the United States” is the abridged text of a speech delivered by Peter Camejo at an educational conference of the SWP and the YSA in New York on May 3, 1969. It is taken from the May 30, 1969 issue of The Militant.

“Liberalism, Ultraleftism or Mass Action” is the abridged text of a talk given by Camejo at a meeting in New York on June 14, 1970. It is taken from the July 10, 1970 issue of The Militant.

The DSP and the Fourth International

Introduction

On August 17, 1985 the National Committee of the Democratic Socialist Perpective (then named the Socialist Workers Party) voted to end the party’s affiliation to the Fourth International, the international organisation founded in 1938 by the Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky and his supporters around the world.

This decision, which was subsequently endorsed by the DSP’s 11th Congress, held in Canberra in January 1986, was the result of a process of rethinking within the DSP about many of the ideas it had shared in common with other parties adhering to the Trotskyist movement.

Caroline Lund (1944-2006)

By John Percy
Caroline Lund, a lifelong fighter for socialism, workers’ rights and women’s liberation, and a contributing editor of Links, died at her home in Oakland, California, on October 14, aged 62. She will be sorely missed by her friends and comrades in the us and around the world who knew her, especially her lifelong partner and comrade Barry Sheppard.

Caroline succumbed to the ravages of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (als, sometimes called Lou Gehrig’s disease, physicist Stephen Hawking being a long-term sufferer.)

Caroline was won to revolutionary socialist ideas in 1962 when she attended Carlton College, a small liberal arts college just south of Minneapolis. Caroline quickly became a leader of the swp’s youth organisation, the Young Socialist Alliance (YSA). In 1965 she moved to New York where she met and married Barry Sheppard, a key younger swp leader. From 1967, she was often on full time for the swp in a range of assignments—leading different campaigns, organising, international work and writing for the socialist press.

For a materialist analysis of national and racial oppression

By Norm Dixon

Norm Dixon is a member of the National Committee of the Australian Democratic Socialist Party and a journalist for Green Left Weekly.

In his critique of my article in Links Number 13, "Marx, Engels and Lenin on the National Question", Malik Miah (Links Number 14) charges that "Dixon presents a formalistic and schematic understanding of the theory of the national question" and "narrowly defines what a nation is and what Lenin means by self-determination, and rejects the nationalism of many oppressed peoples".

The purpose of my article was to reassert that the Marxist theory of the national question as it was developed by Marx, Engels and Lenin and definitively outlined in Stalin's 1913 pamphlet, Marxism and the National Question is firmly based on a materialist, scientific analysis of what does and does not constitute a nation.

Another purpose of the article was to alert to the consequences that losing sight of this scientific socialist understanding of a nation can lead to at the least, ideological confusion, and, at worst, support for politically inappropriate, incorrect or even reactionary slogans and demands.

Movement history: Socialists and the anti-war movement

By Gus Horowitz

This is the text of a speech that was printed in the Militant, the newspaper of the us Socialist Workers Party, on October 10, 1969, shortly before the massive anti-war demonstrations scheduled to occur in mid-November of that year. Gus Horowitz was the SWP's national anti-war director during that year and through the first half of 1970. Minor spelling and punctuation changes have been made in the text reprinted here. The introduction was by the Militant.

Introduction

On Labour Day weekend [September 1969] in New York, the Socialist Workers Party held its national convention. One of the central points on the agenda was a resolution assessing developments within the movement against the Vietnam War and the role of the SWP within that movement.

Discussion on the resolution was initiated with a report by Gus Horowitz, a member of the party's national committee and its representative to the New Mobilization Committee to End the War in Vietnam.

Interview with Malcolm X

By Barry Sheppard

This article is taken from a chapter of volume one of a political memoir, covering the years 1960-1973. Barry Sheppard was a central leader of the US Young Socialist Alliance and Socialist Workers Party during the years 1960-1988.

***

Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 19, 1925. In February 1946 he was sentenced in Massachusetts to 8-10 years' imprisonment for burglary. While in prison, he was won to the Nation of Islam, a Black Nationalist religious sect founded by W.D. Fard and headed at that time and until his death by Elijah Muhammad. Emerging in the early 1930s, the Nation of Islam was one of the groups that developed as a result of the decline and splintering of Marcus Garvey's Universal Negro Improvement Association, which had galvanised a large section of the Black community after World War I. The Nation of Islam taught a religious doctrine that Black people were blessed by God and that whites were devils specially created to oppress Black people. They called for the creation of an independent Black nation in the United States, but tended to stress that the achievement of this state would be the work of God, not human beings.

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