From the Eugene Debs archive: The New Age Anniversary: The Socialist Leader Says Support Labor Press that Opposed the War (pdf, 1922)
Ten years have passed since The New Age was launched and in this brief span of time the world in which we live has been shaken and shocked, torn and devastated; ravaged and bled as never before in its history. Every page of the record capitalism has made in that time has been written in the blood of its slaughtered victims. All previous wars were crude and dismal failures in point of slaughter as a science and destruction as a fine art compared to the Twentieth Century World War under the Christian Capitalist Competitive System. All the modern ingenuity the world afforded, all the arts and sciences in its command were employed in the highly Christianized and civilized undertaking to blow the earth to atoms, destroy everything in sight, and slaughter all mankind, save alone the international bankers and profiteer and their hireling slaves.
The New Age does not have a Wikipedia entry; the British periodical of the same name and same period does, but this is the Buffalo, New York one. Founded in 1912, it was associated with the Socialist Party of America. For more information, see this tenth anniversary review by co-editor Robert Wark at archive.org.
Nick Cohen: How the Left turned on the Jews, Standpoint. Flawed but fascinating. Some extracts:
“You cry out against Jewish capital, gentlemen?” cried one. “You are against Jewish capital and want to eliminate the stock manipulators. Rightly so. Trample the Jewish capitalists under foot, hang them from the street lamps, stamp them out.”
Ruth Fischer sounded like a Nazi. She used the same hate-filled language. She wanted to murder Jews. But Hitler would never have accepted her. Fischer was a leader of the German Communist Party. She made her small differences of opinion with the Nazis clear when she went on to say that her audience should not just trample Jewish capitalists to death, but all capitalists.[…]
The movements for Jewish self-determination and Russian Communism were twins separated at birth. The First Zionist conference met on August 27, 1897, to discuss the escape from anti-Semitic Europe to Palestine. The General Jewish Labour Bund held its first conference in Vilnius on October 7, 1897, to organise the Russian Empire’s Jews in a united socialist party. The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party, from which the Bolsheviks split, held its first conference in March 1898. Naturally, the Bund sent delegates. For liberal and left-wing Europeans of the late 19th century, no regime was more repellent than Tsarist autocracy, and nothing better symbolised its reactionary nature than its anti-Semitic pogroms. Jews responded to the terror by keeping their Jewish identity and joining Jewish socialist movements, such as the Bund, or by becoming entirely assimilated Communists, as Trotsky and many others did.[…]
Rudé Právo, the organ of the Czech Communist Party, said that Slansky and his co-defendants were “Jewish cosmopolitans, people without a shred of honour, without character, without country, people who desire one thing — career, business and money”. Communists and their supporters imagined a vast Zionist conspiracy reaching from the US Supreme Court to Tito’s anti-Stalinist supporters in Yugoslavia. For all that, they maintained that they were not anti-Semites but enemies of Zionism. They might have been modern “leftists” talking about the “Israel Lobby” conspiring to organise the Iraq War of 2003, while all the time insisting that there was nothing remotely racist about their conspiracy theories.[…]
Ralph Miliband, the father of Ed and David, dissected it well. He was a Marxist who retained the capacity for independent thought, and got into a furious argument with Marcel Liebman, a fellow Marxist Jew, at the time of the Six Day War of 1967. Miliband pointed out an essential truth: that the corrupt regimes of the Middle East needed Israel and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories to distract the attention of their peoples. “If Israel did not exist, they would have to invent it,” he said.[…]
John Ross was at the forefront of the internal struggle to ditch the industrial strategy and get all IMG members to join the Labour Party en masse and then seek to control the Left bloc within it. Supporting Ross was another key figure in Livingstone’s political career, Redmond O’Neill. At the December 1982 conference, Ross carried the day and over the next few months IMG members joined the Labour Party. A minority who disagreed with the policy of ‘deep entryism’ split away and formed its own party, the International Group which became a political irrelevance.
Despite becoming Labour members, the Ross majority still remained organised as a separate political organization. They decided to rebrand themselves as the Socialist League, and to establish a newspaper called Socialist Action. Like Militant, the group became known by the name of their paper rather than as the Socialist League. ‘The.next steps towards a revolutionary party comprise a fight for a class struggle within the Bennite current,’ said one discussion paper at the time. […]
The Socialist League/Socialist Action met for the first time as a central committee at the Intensive English School in Star Street near Marble Arch for the start of a two-day conference on Saturday, 22 January 1983. The official launch of Socialist Action took place the following morning and it first appeared on 16 March. The group’s old paper, Socialist Challenge, ceased to exist. The group’s overall revolutionary objective did not change, only the strategy to bring it about, as an internal document in January 1983 made clear: ‘…
Socialist Action believes that it will be impossible to make the transition to socialism without incurring the armed resistance of the ruling class and thereby the necessity for violent self-defence by the working class.' From the outset, Ken Livingstone was clearly an important force within the ‘Bennite current’ for Socialist Action. John Ross and comrades identified two Bennite wings: the Labour Co-ordinating Committee, a left-wing coalition within the Labour Party comprising Chartists from Briefing, and the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy, CLPD. Socialist Action identified the second wing ‘crystallising around forces such as the Campaign Group of MPs, Livingstone, the left of Labour Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (LCND)… and the constituency left…' Its slogans were now: ‘Deeper into the Labour Party!’, ‘Deeper into the trade unions!’, ‘For a new newspaper!’, ‘Defend socialist policies!’, ‘Stop the witch-hunt!’, ‘Remove the right-wing Labour leaders!'
In September 1983, Socialist Action took the decision to disappear from public view. This meant closing down the Other Bookshop and taking extreme security measures to guarantee invisibility and deniability. Two months after the decision, Socialist Action’s leadership drew up a document entitled The dissolution of the public face’. It said: ‘This is a historical fact – namely that the public face dissolved itself. This requires no public announcement but all bodies of the [Trotskyist] world movement must be informed and act accordingly.' Some members disagreed with the decision; one wrote: ‘The September meeting took a momentous decision. It voted 23 for and one against to formally dissolve our public organisation. The decision was taken on the basis of a false prognosis: that following the Labour Party conference there will be an immediate witch-hunt of our supporters within the mass organisation.'
Jim Denham on Eric Hobsbawm. Extract:
On the minus side is his persistent lack of identification with the working class (indeed, he now seems to say that it no longer exists), his “reality denial” (Robert Conquest’s term) over the Soviet Union, his shameful and evasive record over Hungary in 1956 (the Soviet invasion led Hill ad Thompson to resign from the CP while Hobsbawm remained) and his persistent refusal to come to terms with Stalinism itself. The fact that he was – and remains – a person of towering intellect makes these shortcomings less, not more, forgivable. While working class Communist Party members could be forgiven for not knowing about, or believing the truth of, the full counter-revolutionary barbarity of Stalinism, an intellectual like Hobsbawm has no such excuse. As David Caute put it “One keeps asking of Hobsbawm: didn’t you know what Deutscher and Orwell knew? Didn’t you know about the induced famine, the horrors of collectivisation, the false confessions, the terror within the Party, the massive forced labour of the gulag? As Orwell himself documented, a great deal of evidence was reliably knowable even before 1939, but Hobsbawm pleads that much of it was not reliably knowable until Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin in 1956.”
Also new at the Marxist Internet Archive (and hopefully with no dud links this time; items in bold especially recommended):
“Added to the USA History Publications Section as part of joint project involving the Holt Labor Library, the Encyclopedia of the Trotskyism On-Line and the Riazinov Library, we have completed the digitization of he remaining volumes of the International Socialist Review published by the Charles H. Kerr Publishing Co. from 1900 through 1918. Representing America’s premier Socialist journal, the ISR had the full pantheon of American revoluitonary socialist thought expressed in it’s pages, from Eugene V. Debs to Big Bill Hayword to John Reed. Presented in high resolution PDFs. Later, we will upload separate issues for each volume, starting with the volumes listed below: 1902 – 1903, Volume 2 1910 – 1911, Volume 10 1911 – 1912, Volume 11“
Added to the International Socialism Archive – 2nd Series (1991–2003):
- Duncan Blackie: The United Nations and the politics of imperialism (1994) (No. 63)
- Lee Sustar: The roots of multi-racial labour unity in the United States (1994) (No. 63)
- Peter Linebaugh: Days of villainy: a reply to two critics (1994) (No. 63)
- Peter Linebaugh: ‘To the teeth and forehead of our faults’ (1995) (No. 68)
- Dave Sherry: Trotsky’s last, greatest struggle (1994) (No. 63)
- Peter Morgan: Geronimo and the end of the Indian wars (No. 63)
- David Beecham: Ignazio Silone and Fontamara (1994) (No. 63)
- Chris Bambery: Bookwatch – understanding fascism,by (No. 63)
- Mike Haynes: The wrong road on Russia (1994) (No. 2:64
- Jane Elderton Suffragette style (1994) (No. 64)
- Chris Nineham: The two faces of modernism, by (1994) (No. 62)
- Mike Hobart: Reply to Jazz: a people’s music? – 1 (1994) (No. 64)
- Dave Harker: Reply to Jazz: a people’s music? – 2 (1994) (No. 64)
- Mike Haynes: The resurrection of Bukharin (1978) (No. 2:2)
- Alex Callinicos: Marx’s Capital and Capitalism Today – A critique (1978) (No. 34)
- Colin Sparks: Fascism and the working class: Part 1 – The German experience (1978) (No. 2:2)
- Floya Anthias: Does ‘femininity’ keep the family going? (1978) (No. 2:2)
- Colin Sparks: Fascism and the working class: Part 2 – the National Front today (1978) (No. 2:3)
- Joan Smith: Women’s oppression and male alienation (1978) (No. 2:3)
- Matt Kelly: Reply to Jazz: a people’s music? – 3 (1994) (No. 64)
- Lindsey German: Frederick Engels – life of a revolutionary (1994) (No. 2:65)
- John Rees: Engels’ Marxism (1994) (No. 2:65)
- John Newsinger: Matewan: film and working class struggle (1995) (No. 2:66)
Added to the USA History Publications Section as part of joint project involving the Holt Labor Library, the Encyclopedia of the Trotskyism On-Line and the Riazinov Library, the Left Opposition Digitization Project has started placing online the internal discussion bulletins of the early Trotskyist movement in the United States organized as the Communist League of America (Opposition)1928-1934 and then the Workers Party of the United States (1935-1936). These are the first of the entirety of the internal bulletins of the US Trotskyists through the early years of the Socialist Workers Party. Presented in high resolution PDFs.”
- Communist League of America Internal Bulletins
- Communist League of America International Internal Bulletins
- Workers Party of the United States Bulletins.