From the archive of struggle, no.86

This post follows in directly from the last in the series, with a couple more texts from the U.S. Third Camp Trotskyist scene.

 

Added to the Grandizo Munis Archive:

this was published in Socialist Action in 1939:

The seizure of power in Madrid by the General Staff of the People’s Front Government was only the logical development of the role played by the military throughout the course of the civil war. A glimpse of the functioning of the Loyalist High Command is given below in an extract from an interview with Fernando Grandizo-Muniz, leader of the Spanish Bolshevik Leninists, which appeared in La Lutte Ouvrière, organ of the Fourth International in France. Muniz was held prisoner by the Negrin Government in Barcelona until a few hours before the fall of Barcelona, when he succeeded in escaping from the doomed city.

Added to the Dwight Macdonald Archive:

  • Off the Record (1939) [This was one of Dwight MacDonakd’s regular columns in the SWP’s Socialist Appeal. (MacDonald was never a member of the SWP and was at the time also editing the Partisan Review. It says that  it says something about the SWP at that time  it’s a regular column by a non-Trotskyist.) This is a witty comment on the relationship between cops and fascists, taking as its occasion the publication of an English language edition of Daniel Guerin’s Fascism and Big Business, to which MacDonald had written the introduction. Guerin was a French socialist and at this point was one of the leaders of the new Parti Socialiste Ouvrier et Paysan (PSOP – “Workers and Peasants Socialist Party”), which had links to the POUMIST and was fraternal with but distinct from the Trotskyists.]

Added to the Jack Weber (Louis Jacobs) Archive:

  • Histadrut in Its 20th Year in Palestine (1941) [I  find this very interesting because it gives a sense of how strongly this current supported Zionism at this time. Jacobs was still as SWP member, but he was close to Shachtman and would soon leave the SWP.]

 

Published in: on January 24, 2016 at 1:47 am  Leave a Comment  
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From the archive of struggle, no.85

Gosh it’s a long time since I last did this.

I was browsing through the Marxist Internet Archive and noted a few recent additions.

SHACHTMANISM 1939-1944-1948

These texts all relate to American Third Camp Trotksyism. In 1939, its future leaders were still in the SWP, one grouping around Max Shachtman, another around Albert Goldman and Felix Morrow, and a third around CLR James and Raya Dunayevskaya. The Workers’ Party, led by Max Shachtman, was formed in 1940 as a breakaway from the Socialist Workers Party, which Shachtman had led with James P Cannon.  The WP took a more uncompromisingly anti-Stalinist line than the SWP. By 1944, James and Dunayevskaya were in the WP, which they left with their grouping (the Johnson-Forest Tendency) to rejoin the SWP by 1948. Goldman, on the other hand, had stayed in the SWP but had joined the WP by 1948, although by the end of the year, with James T Farrell, he had left to join the far larger Socialist Party of America while Morrow did not join any party.

Added to the Felix Morrow Archive:

These texts are interesting for their strong sympathy with the Jews of Palestine, seen as victims of British imperialism, and for the linking of this issue with the struggle against fascism in Spain and beyond. They also show how Stalinist forms of anti-fascism were at best partial and argue for a more militant form of anti-fascism.

Added to the Max Shachtman Archive:

Added to the C.L.R. James Archive:

Added to the new Ernest Rice McKinney Archive in the Encyclopaedia of Trotskyism On-Line (ETOL):

MIA does not yet have a biography of Rice McKinney. This is from the University of Pittsburgh’s archive:

Born in Malden, West Virginia, in 1886, McKinney, also known under the pseudonym David Coolidge, was the son of a coal miner. At different points in his life, McKinney endeavored a variety of jobs which included becoming editor of, This Month, a columnist for the Pittsburgh Courier (1932), Executive Secretary of the Unemployed Citizens’ League of Allegheny County (1933), a Social Worker, and Assistant to the Director, Kingsley House. In 1916 an oral history conducted at Columbia University resulted in McKinney writing a 116 page book of memoirs published by Harvard University, The Reminiscences of Ernest Rice McKinney. The memoir deals with the development of the National Unemployed League, depression days; organizing steel workers for CIO, membership in the Workers’ Socialist Party; upgrading African Americans in industry; Working Men’s Welfare Committees; Workers Party of the United States (Trotskyist Group) and its relationship to Communist and Socialist Parties; and McKinney’s resignation from Workers Party.

Workers’ Liberty add:

McKinney had joined the Communist Party in Pittsburgh in 1920, at the age of 24, and A J Muste’s Conference for Progressive Labor Action in 1929. With the CPLA, he joined the US Trotskyists in 1933. He had sided with Shachtman and Draper when they divided from the “orthodox” Trotskyists in 1939-40 over attitudes to the USSR’s invasions of Poland and Finland. In 1950, like others around that time, and while remaining socialist-minded, he drifted away from organised politics.

Louis Proyect adds:

In 1943 CLR James submitted a resolution titled “The Historical Development of the Negroes in American Society” to the Workers Party for discussion and adoption. It was a conscious attempt to apply Lenin’s support for the self-determination of oppressed nationalities in general to the specific problem of self-determination for black America, an internal quasi-colony.

His was a minority position. Within the Workers Party, James had been derided as an ultraleftist and an eccentric. Max Schachtman, the party leader, called James a “literary man” as a put-down. The fact that James had led study circles on Hegel and Capital was another sign that James was not a real Bolshevik. The party member most hostile to James, however, was Ernest Rice McKinney. He gave James the nickname “Sportin’ Life”, after the villainous pimp in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. (Again, I tip my hat to Scott McLemee who provides this background data in his excellent introduction to “CLR James and the Negro Question”.)

Writing for the party majority, McKinney put forward the classic “black-white unity” position of American socialism directly opposed to James’s embrace of black nationalism:

“The white worker must take the lead and offensive in the struggle for the Negro’s democratic rights…The white workers are strongly organized, they have had ages of experience and they are powerful. On the other hand, no matter how great their courage and determination, the Negroes are organizationally, financially and numerically weak in comparison with the white workers, and woefully and pitifully weak in the face of present-day capitalism…”

Added to the new Andrzej Rudzienski Archive:

I’d never heard of Rudzienski and couldn’t find much about him. This is from James Robertson in Revolutionary History:

The Shachtman WP-ICL had a journalistic collaborator, apparently a Polish emigré probably resident in Chile, who wrote on Latin American affairs under the name Juan Rey or Juan Robles. When writing on East Europe he used the name Andrzej Rudzienski, which might have been his real name.

In May 1952 ‘Juan Rey’ raised the call for a workers’ government in Bolivia, criticising the FOR, official section of the Fourth International, for tailing the bourgeois nationalist Movimiento Nacionalista Revolucionario (MNR – Revolutionary National Movement)

Whereas this is also from RH:

a series of reports written from different parts of Latin America which appeared mainly in the Workers Party newspaper, Labor Action, with increasing regularity during the late 1940s and early 1950s over the pseudonyms of ‘Juan Robles ’and ‘Juan Rey’. Why the author saw fit to change his pen name is not at all clear, any more than his real identity. But it is almost certain that he was the Peruvian Trotskyist Emilio Adolfo Westfallen (Bestfalling), a founder of the GOM, which changed its name to the POR (Peru) in 1947, who was a supporter of Shachtman.

Added to the Natalia Sedova Trotsky Archive:

This is an attack on the Stalinist-turned-Gaullist Andre Malraux for claiming some affiliation with Trotsky. The letter from Sedova is also quite hostile to Victor Serge. It doesn’t make much sense without the context, which is supplied here by Richard Greeman:

in January 1948, a month after Serge’s death, that great confabulator André Malraux launched a macabre press campaign claiming Serge as a deathbed convert to Gaullism.[7] The sad fact is that six days before he died, Serge had sent a grossly flattering personal letter to Malraux, begging the support of de Gaulle’s once and future Minister of Culture (and Gallimard editor) to publish his novel Les Derniers temps in France.[8] Desperate to leave the political isolation and (fatally) unhealthy altitude of Mexico for Paris, Serge indulged in an uncharacteristic ruse de guerre, feigning sympathy for Malraux’s “political position” — according to Vlady, at his urging. Serge’s ruse backfired. His letter and the news of his death reached Paris simultaneously, and Malraux seized the moment by printing selected excerpts and leaking them to C.L. Sulzberger, who published them in the N.Y. Times — thus recruiting Serge’s fresh corpse into the ranks of the Western anti-Communist crusade.[9]

Aside from this letter, there is zero evidence in Serge’s writings, published and unpublished,[10] of sympathy for Gaullism or Western anti-Communism — quite the contrary.

Added to the Hal Draper Archive:

Added to the Albert Goldman Archive:

  • Partition One Thing; Aid to Jews Another (letter) (1948) [Also very interesting, setting out an argument for the rights of Jews in Israel to defend themselves against the Arabs who are seen as a reactionary force, but also against partition and for a united but democratic Palestine with minority rights.]

Added to the Irving Howe Archive:

Added to the Susan Green Archive:

As well as Sarah Green, an important activist in the Third Camp scene for a while, there are pieces by two other women: Reva Craine and Mary Bell. I don’t know anything about either – if any readers do, please leave a comment.

Added to the Stanley Plastrik Archive:

Stanley Plastrik had served as an enlisted man in the infantry in France during World War II and returned there later to earn a doctorate at the Sorbonne in Paris. He later joined the faculty of the Staten Island college after teaching in high school for a time. He would later go on to co-found and edit Dissent magazine.

From the Archive of Struggle no.83: Workers Liberty special

A participant’s account of the Norwegian General Strike against the occupying Nazis. From Norwegian Worker / Labor Action.
This assessment of Richard Wright, the great black American Communist, author of “Black Boy”, and “Native Son”, appeared in the New International, late in 1941, as a review of “Bright and Morning Star”. By James M. Fenwick.
This fine declaration of faith, principles and motives for socialist action was made by the great American Marxist James P Cannon as he and 15 others prepared to go to jail for their political activities.

Tasks of Communist Education (1923)

An article by Leon Trotsky, first published in a publication of the pre-Stalinist Communist Party of Great Britain.
 Maybe the first big classical-Marxist statement on imperialism was by Karl Kautsky, in 1899, replying to Eduard Bernstein’s call for a “revision” of the perspective of Marx and Engels.
***
The Archive of Struggle, previous editions:

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For a Third Square!

What is the Third Square?

The Third Square (Arabic: الميدان الثالث‎) is an Egyptian political movement created by liberal, leftist and moderate Islamist activists who reject both Muslim Brotherhood and military rule following the 2013 Egyptian coup d’état.

The movement first appeared when the Egyptian defence minister, General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, called for mass demonstrations on 26 July 2013 to grant his forces a “mandate” to crack down on “terrorism”,[1] which was seen as contradicting the military’s pledges to hand over power to civilians after removing Mr. Morsi and as an indication for an imminent crackdown against Islamists.[2] The announcement by General Al-Sisi was rejected by a number of political groups that had initially supported the military coup, such as the revolutionary April 6 Youth Movement,[3] the moderate Strong Egypt Party,[4] the Salafi Al-Nour Party[5] and Egyptian Human Rights groups.[6]

The Third Square movement, demonstrating in Sphinx Square, Cairo (more…)

Published in: on August 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm  Comments (1)  
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Notes on Third Campism and liberal interventionism

1. Read the series of posts on Libya at Lady Poverty: 1234.

2. Read Kellie on Eammon McCann’s reminiscences in Socialist Worker of his meeting with Gaddafi in 1987.

3. An extract from Boffy’s comments at Though Cowards Flinch:

However, the problem I still have is that if you argue that workers intervnetion is alright up to a point, but given our weaknesses at the moment, there is a limit to what they can achieve, you still end up with the “Something Must Be Done” argument. The point is that sometimes doing nothing other than what you can do, which might simply be saying what should be done if workers had the power to do it, is better than doing something, which is a lesser evil.

For example, a while ago, I wrote some blogs about the AWL’s position taken from Albert Glotzer about the establishment of the state of Israel. Glotzer & ImmigrationGlotzer & The Jews As Special, and Glotzer, anti-Semitism and the degenerated workers state. Glotzer argued that the socialist position argued up to that time that nationalist struggles were reactionary and divisive of the working class could no longer hold for the Jews after the Holocaust. Jews could not wait for the working-class to come together and resolve the problem. Only the Zionist idea of creeating a separate Jewish State could address the immediate concerns of Jews. Something had to be done. It was a moral not a Marxist argument. (more…)

Marxism is the gateway to a revolutionary socialism which is thoroughly democratic and a democratic socialism which is thoroughly revolutionary

Phyllis Jacobson remembered – from New Appeal to Reason:

There are a number of remembrances of Phyllis Jacobson who played a leading role in the the creation and sustenance of New Politics, one of the most important journals of the American democratic left. Bogdan Denitch, Barry Finger, Sam Farber and others.

New Politics had two lives–from 1961 to 1975 and from 1986 to the present. It occupies a space to the left of Dissent (and to my left) and  has always been a valuable and thought provoking journal.

Joanne Landy and Steve Shalom write

“The Jacobsons did not want an editorial board of clones. They welcomed board members from a range of left perspectives that supported the basic orientation of New Politics: standing “in opposition to all forms of imperialism,” “uncompromising in its defense of feminism and affirmative action,” and above all insisting “on the centrality of democracy to socialism and on the need to rely on mass movements from below for progressive social transformation.”

If that sounds like the kind of thing you might be intersted in, check out New Politics. And if you like what you see, subsribe.

At Arguing the World: Alan Johnson on Zizek part 2 (extract below the fold); Ben Gidley on left antisemitism; Nicolaus Mills on Ivan Dee.

Ron Radosh defends Elena Kagan.

Oliver Kamm on Paul Hirst in his Communist days (provoked by Alex Massie on a Stalinist optimist).

A miscellany from The New Centrist. (more…)

Max Shachtman, Hal Draper and the anarchists

This is rather belated, but Radical Archives has published something very important to my topic, an appreciation of Hal Draper’s analysis of Stalinism in a 1956 New York anarchist publication. RA sets the context:

View and Comments was published by the anarchist Libertarian Labor League in New York City. The cover of #13 also features an ad for a “May Day Meeting” at the Libertarian Center in New York, which was billed as featuring “Speakers from the following organizations: Independent Socialist League, Industrial Workers of the World, Libertarian League, Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista, Young Socialist League and the War Resisters League.”

Little attention has been paid to the intersection between post-Trotskyist Schachtmanite Marxism and anarchism. The evolution of certain “Left Schachmanites” paralleled the evolution of other thinkers who originated in Trotskyism but moved to a libertarian socialist position. This trend was represented by groups such as the Johnson-Forrest Tendency (which included C.L.R. James, Grace Lee Boggs and Raya Dunayevskaya), Socialism ou Barbarie (which included Cornelius Castoriadis, Claude Lefort and Jean-François Lyotard) and Solidarity (UK)  – as well as individual theorists such as Dwight Macdonald, Murray Bookchin and Daniel Guerin. Other non-Trotskyist Marxists were also moving towards anarchism, including Fredy Perlman and the Situationist International.

The majority of the ISL eventually entered the Socialist Party of America. However, some members (including Hal Draper) disagreed with this move, and later formed the Independent Socialist Clubs, which then became the Independent Socialists (IS). The Revolutionary Socialist League (RSL) split off IS in 1973. Over the years, the RSL became increasingly anti-Leninist as members moved towards anarchism, and it dissolved in 1991. Later, on the same day, a number of former members co-founded Love and Rage with a group of anarchists, in particular the Revolutionary Anarchist Bowling League. In 1993 Love and Rage split between those who favored a network and those who favored a more centralized apparatus (which included the RSL members), and the later became the Love & Rage Revolutionary Anarchist Federation (LRRAF). A couple RSL members, including writer Wayne Price, passed through LRRAF and later entered the North Eastern Federation Of Anarchist-Communists (NEFAC).

Latinate

Falklands/Malvinas: My Michael Foot post the other day (he was a defender of the Falklands war) reminded me of a recenitish interesting post and discussion thread at Dave’s Place on the correct left responses then and now, including the issue of Socialist Organiser (the Soggies?) and the split in the Workers’ Socialist League. Here, for further reference, is Sean Matgamna reflecting on the issue in 2007. Here is an SPGB position, taking a kind of “third camp” between Foot’s pro-Britain and the League for the Fifth International‘s psuedo-“revolutionary defeatist” support for the Argentine dictatorship. And here, as always representing great value for money, is Nick Cohen.

Cuba: This is from Francis Sedgemore:

Orlando Zapata Tamayo (1967-2010)

“He wasn’t a murderer. He wasn’t a thief. He wasn’t a rapist. He was simply a young man who wanted a better future for Cuba.” [Laura Pollan, Ladies in White]

RIP Orlando Zapata Tamayo – plumber, democrat, dissident, prisoner of conscience.

Kronstadt: I already posted on the queer historical epic, Maggots and Men, which re-imagines the Kronstadt sailors’ story with a cast of 100 transgender actors. Here’s more from Schalom Libertad:

Watch the trailer! // Read about it.

Maggots and Men, an experimental historical narrative set in post-revolutionary Russia, re-tells the story of the 1921 uprising of the Kronstadt sailors with a subtext of gender anarchy. (more…)

Workers’ Liberty

Some features from the Alliance for Workers Liberty, some new, some from the archive, below the fold. I have already included some of these in my From the Archive of Struggle series, but, hey, you can’t have too much of a good thing! Also, further down, a small number of other articles, including Eric Lee on Trotsky and some recent pieces from Against the Current.

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Against the Current: Spain’s revolution and tragedy

The new issue of Against the Current has an excellent special section on the Spanish revolution, with peices by Alan Wald, Wilebaldo Solano and others. Contents and abstracts below the fold.

(more…)

Democratiya

I don’t know if it’s been there for a while, but I just noticed that Dissent has an archive of really nicely pdfed back issues of Democratiya. Here are some gems:

(more…)

From the archive of struggle, no.33

A quick one, extracted from Entdinglichung. Victor Serge, Marceau Pivert and others from La Bataille Socialiste, mostly in French. Socialisme ou Barbarie from 1949, in French. Various Trotskyists from the Marxist Internet Archive, mostly in English. Previous edition here. Next edition will be an anarchist special. (more…)

From the archive of struggle, no.30

Above the fold: American democratic socialists from archive.org and Russian anarchists from Libcom. Below the fold: links purloined from Ent, from assorted renegade Marxists and Third Campists. Browse the whole series here.

Archive.org:

*1905 Average Paid Membership by States, Socialist Party of America.
*Ticket of the Socialist Party of Texas, 1906.
*Socialist Party of America campaign book (1908).
*Report of the Socialist Party of the United States to the International Congress at Copenhagen, 1910 – Hillquit, Morris,; 1869-1933; Berger, Victor L.,; 1860-1929; Barnes, J. Mahlon.
*Armenian Revolutionary Federation Report in Socialist International Congress 1910.
*Report of the Hungarian Socialist Federation to the National Committee of the Socialist Party of America, May 1913.
*Patterson, Joseph Medill. The notebook of a neutral (1916).
*The congress of the labour and socialist international. (1920)
*National Convention. Socialist Labor Party. Reports, Resolutions, Platform, etc. (1921)
*Norman Thomas Socialist Party 1928 election platform.
*Proceedings of the 1962 National Convention of the Socialist Party [of America] (1962)
*Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation. Socialist platform 1960.

Libcom:

Budanov Avraam ( 1886? – 1928?1929?).

A short biography of Avraam Budanov, who fought with the Makhnovists and continued an underground struggle after the defeat of the movement.

Vdovichenko, Trofim Yakovlevich (1889-1921)

A short biography of Trofim Vdovichenko, gifted guerilla commander and one of the most heroic figures of the Makhnovist movement

Trofim Vdovichenko was born into a family of poor peasants in Novospasovka in the Ukraine. He received a primary education. From 1910 he was a member of the Novospasovka group of anarchist-communists, alongside Viktor Belash ,Vassily Kurilenko, Luca Bondarets, Filipp Goncharenko, Vladimir Protsenko and Fomenko who also all had leading roles in the Makhnovist movement later on.

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On this day: 13 September 1944

Oops. Forgot that Drink-Soaked Trots is down. What’s going on there? Anyway, have pasted the whole text below the fold.

Victor Serge, “Les Carnets (notebooks) 1944″, guest posting at the Drink-Soaked Trots.

Second meeting of the committee of the independent socialist groups, to go over the draft of the political document worked out by M.P [Marceau Pivert*]., Giron [Enrique Gironella*] and W.S. It’s a kind of very primary Communist Manifesto, going back over all the old stock phrases of its kind.

I criticise it severely, considering that this kind of text can only discredit the handful of men who are responsible for it. They listen to me with interest and inward peevishness. I say that we cannot draft these documents on the spur of the moment today, since all the terms and all the ideas are due for revision in the light of the new realities, and launched into the raging storm. Confused and rather painful debate.[READ THE REST]

At this point, Serge was based in Mexico and involved in a group Socialismo y Libertad (other members included Julian Gorkin, Fritz Fränkel, René Lefeuvre and Luce Fabbri).

*For texts by Pivert in this period, see “Everything is Possible” (1936), “Down with national unity!” (1938), “Letter to Trotsky” (1939), “The Idea of a socialist Europe” (1947). Pivert was the leader of the PSOP, the POUM’s French sister party. Gironella was a POUM leader. Both were exiled in Spain. I’m not sure who W.S. is, although I ought to. Is it Wilebaldo Saldano? I think he was in France in 1944, and this meeting was in Mexico.

See also:

(more…)

Published in: on September 13, 2009 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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From the archive of struggle, no.26

This week, a bumper edition, and a multi-lingual treat. Includes lots of things stolen from Entdinglichung, and possibly repeating one or two things I’ve already mentioned. Features the POUM, the Spanish civil war, Italian anarchists in WWII, Irish anarchists in the 1970s, German left communism, American Trotskyists in the 1930s (including Dwight MacDonald and Hal Draper), Trotsky himself, ultra-leftists on the Iraq war, and much more. Beneath the fold. Stuff in English at the top, scroll down for other languages.

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Marxist theory

1. Hal Draper’s piece on Israel posted by angelus novus at Contested Terrain (and linked to here) has prompted a very thoughtful, intelligent response by Mira Vogel, posted at Engage and Greens Engage, two excellent British left-wing anti-racist sites.

2. Larry Gambone has a couple of recent articles of interest, most notably his dissection of the myth of Lenin’s “libertarian” State and Revolution (a myth that Draper contributed to).

3. Via Bermuda Radical (a bit Pabloite for my liking), I came across Sebastian Lamb’s critique of J Sakai and his theory of “settler” racism – useful.

4. I also recently found the Notes and Commentaries, a very interesting communist blog. This article, on sectarianism and the party, is especially good. (Again, Draper is a key reference point.)

5. Principia Dialectica lay into Amadeo Bordiga and his cult here.

Below the fold: From the archive of struggle, no.22

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History, etc

News from the frontline of the workers’ struggle:

On Thomas Paine:

Solidarity Federation: Direct Action new issue, includes:

From the archive of struggle, no.22:

From the New International, April 1941 [Via Ent.]

From Socialist Appeal, January/February 1936 [Via Ent.]

Historical and archival notes

Yes, I know there are more important things going on in the world today, but here are some tidbits from the history of struggle. From the archive of struggle, no.9.

Many via Entdinlichung.

Miscellany

The ghosts who refuse to die

Wonderful post by Terry Glavin on George Orwell. (And, here, the ghost of Eric Blair inhabits Will Rubbish.)

Nick Cohen on Eric Hobsbawm and the Hitler-Stalin pact.

Isaac Rubin and Paul Mattick Junior: A three part essay by PM on the financial crisis in the Brooklyn Rail (1, 2, 3), brought to us by Will. Principia Dialectica hosted the late I Rubin in London last week.

Paul Hampton on William Morris, ecology and socialism (the sixth of a series).

From the archive of struggle, no.6

Trotsky on workers’ control (posted by the AWL’s Rebbe Sean Matgamna to hold the line against The Commune and their alleged “drift towards anarchism“.)

From Entdinglichung: some early Bolshevik Max Eastman, lots of De Leon, Serge in Dutch and more.

In the new Democratiya, Susan Green of the Independent Socialist League/Workers Party from 1949 on the third camp position.

Change is gonna come

Max Shachtman

And, from the comments thread, a link to an mp3 of Max debating Norman Thomas from the 1950s.

Published in: on February 19, 2009 at 5:02 pm  Comments (1)  
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