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June 2001 • Vol 1, No. 2 •

Maintaining the Continuity of Revolutionary Marxism

The following is the Political Resolution adopted by the Founding Convention of the Socialist Workers Organization held on May 18-20, 2001.

A little over 17 years ago, at the end of October 1983, delegates representing expelled members of the Socialist Workers Party gathered at a founding convention in Chicago. We took on the daunting task of maintaining the theoretical, programmatic and organizational continuity of American Trotskyism. The aim of our new organization, Socialist Action, was to carry on the struggle to build a mass revolutionary workers’ party based on the historic lessons accumulated by our predecessors going back to the time of Marx and Engels.

Socialist Action had a difficult existence from its formation. Its turbulent 17-year life span included five major factional struggles over program ending with our virtual expulsion at the conclusion of the last fight. Now, we must face up to the reality of our small nucleus of a revolutionary workers party—again being forced to take on the awesome challenge of maintaining the continuity of revolutionary Marxism.

We must acknowledge that we made mistakes that contributed to SA’s shrinking membership. But it cannot be denied that the main reason for SA’s decline and fall was the result of objective conditions beyond our control. Now, however, it is clear that the ebbing tide of history has slowed and has begun to reverse direction.

We have been observing the evolution of this process in SA political resolutions and newspaper articles going back to at least 1994. That was when the biggest economic boom in recent American history was getting well under way. We warned that while this boom had contributed to a more general global expansion of capitalism, it was built on a phenomenal expansion of credit that could not be sustained.

Furthermore, we warned that the enormous expansion of the productive forces would accelerate the rise in the organic composition of capital. This factor would ultimately produce a sharp decline in the global average rate of profit, which would lead to a crisis of overproduction of historic proportions.

We argued, moreover, that the longer the ruling class is able to postpone the inevitable bust that follows every boom, the more devastating it will be. And finally, we predicted that because of the enormous expansion of the supply of paper money made possible by Keynesian economic policies, the coming crisis would be expressed in two ways. The crisis will involve both a massive crisis of overproduction and a collapse of the global capitalist monetary system. That is, the crisis will combine the worst features of mass unemployment along with raging inflation.

In the following pages we argue the case that throughout the last half century of capitalist prosperity, and the resulting decline in worker combativity, US-led world capitalism has been laying the foundations for what we believe will be history’s broadest and deepest radicalization of the working class and its natural allies that the world has ever seen.

The history of Socialist Action is our history. In those difficult 17 years, it was the revolutionary program of American Trotskyism that allowed our small nucleus to play the leading role in mobilizing, on at least seven separate occasions, mass demonstrations involving tens of thousands, in opposition to American imperialist policy in Central America and the Persian Gulf.

We can still play this role, smaller though we now are, when we will, in the near future, have the opportunity to swim with the tide instead of against it.

Mass Consciousness in 1929 and in 2001

This takes us to the more important question—our future prospects. There can be no doubt that we are on the verge of a far more favorable period for world socialist revolution than ever before in world history. Even among some of the most serious bourgeois economic experts there is a growing awareness that world capitalism is headed into serious trouble.

In fact, increasing references are being made in the mass media to the similarity between the decade approaching the Great Depression of the 1930s and the decade preceding the bursting of the stock market’s “New Economy” bubble.

There is also a very important subjective factor that cannot be overestimated. We refer to the events responsible for vast changes in mass consciousness that have taken place in the world since 1929.

The American working class entered the Great Depression of the 1930s without the benefit of having experienced anything so mind-expanding as the events that occurred in the years since then.

• The first big change was this country’s semi-revolutionary labor upsurge of the 1930s and early ’40s—the broadest and deepest working class radicalization in American history. From these struggles came the mass industrial unions and all the basic rights that workers have won since.

• From there we saw the rise of the Civil Rights struggles of the 1950s and ’60s. From these struggles emerged the fight for democratic rights and the fight to eradicate racism as one of the main pillars of American life.

• Then came the mass anti-war movement of the 1960s and ’70s. It was the beginning of a rising anti-imperialist consciousness that saw increasing numbers of the American people beginning to openly challenge American military and industrial foreign policy. The American ruling class can no longer hope to advance its commercial and military interests around the world unchallenged by protesters on the streets of this country numbering in the thousands and tens of thousands today. And such protests promise to grow quantitatively in direct proportion with the deepening global economic crisis. We can also predict that as the crisis continues to undermine working class living standards, mass worker protests and strikes will add a qualitative component to the protests.

• With hindsight, we can now see how a radicalization rippled through different layers of the population in the period since 1929. The Civil Rights movement set in motion the youth radicalization that in turn merged into the Vietnam anti-war movement. Then directly out of those movements arose the women’s and Chicano liberation movements and struggles by other segments of society victimized by capitalist bigotry in general and xenophobia and homophobia in particular. Also in the 1960s we witnessed the rise of the Black Nationalist movement in the ghettoes of the Northern United States which added an extremely important dimension to the struggle against racism.

• We also saw the two sides of the African American liberation movement—Malcolm X’s Black Nationalist movement in the Northern big city ghettoes and Martin Luther King’s desegregation-oriented Civil Rights movement in the South—coming together at the same time that King had begun building momentum behind his campaign to support striking workers in the big cities of the South.

Soon after both leaders had begun to establish a collaborative relationship, Malcolm X was assassinated with much circumstantial evidence pointing at ruling class complicity. And not long afterward, Martin Luther King was also assassinated with the more open complicity of the ruling class.

Since 1929, these movements have reshaped the consciousness of the masses of American workers in fundamental ways. They are a part of history and live in the memory of tens of millions who are alive today. And while history can be concealed and buried for a time, it can’t be killed and its lessons will come to fully flowering life in the not too distant future.

The incipient and rising consciousness we speak of will blossom when masses in struggle realize that they need to know much more of what happened before, in order to know what to do next. And when there is such an urgent need to know, there always are those advanced workers and radicalizing intellectuals who will look for answers in the historical record, find them, and report their findings to their peers within the radicalizing class conscious workers movement.

On the Brink of a Major Historical Turning Point

What is most significant about all these changes in the social reality of American and world capitalist society in 2001 compared to the world picture in 1929 is this: It is the growing recognition among the peoples of the world that what lies at the root of all these profound social evils and the deadly threat to human life on the planet earth is the capitalist profit system.

This, of course, is not to say that all those who might have concluded that capitalism lies at the root of these evils have necessarily come to anti-capitalist conclusions. Not yet. While most people might concede that these evils are inescapable by-products of the capitalist social, economic and political system, they remain unconvinced that the abstract conception of socialism can work in the real world as well as it does on paper.

In other words, they do not see, today, any alternative to the capitalist system as had been seen by many during the period of the semi-revolutionary working class struggles of the Great Depression. Neither have the currently radicalizing sectors of society yet come to an understanding of the revolutionary role assigned by history to the working class.

If scientific socialism is reduced to its essential component, it is the Marxist thesis that history has fashioned the working class as the only force in society whose interests, and whose social and economic power, is capable of leading all humanity in a struggle toward liberation from capitalist social, economic and political injustice to a socialist world order.

To be sure, there are many factors obscuring the viability of this fundamental thesis of scientific socialism; not the least of which is the criminal misleadership role of the Communist, Socialist and labor lieutenants of capitalism.

These factors include the profound setbacks that the world working class has suffered in the period since the end of the 1960s/1970s upsurge of youth, Blacks, Latinos, women and other oppressed sectors of the population. Among these factors are at least 25 years in which the American labor movement has not won a major victory—with the single exception of the Teamsters’ strike victory over the United Parcel Service in 1997.

That victory, however, was negated in short order by government intervention into the Teamsters Union. Almost immediately after the victorious Teamster strike, an agency of the federal government unilaterally removed Teamsters Union President Ron Carey—who had just won reelection as president—from his post and expelled him from his union to boot. This was one of history’s most egregious violations of trade union independence and workers’ democracy. And making bad matters far worse, this major assault on the American labor movement was allowed to take place without a murmur of protest by the AFL-CIO “leaders”.

Another major negative development occurred in this period. The world was witness to the mounting series of worker rebellions in the Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe. All of these ended, however, not in a leap forward for socialism, but in the capitulation by the ruling Stalinist bureaucracies to world imperialism. Stalinism, rather than bending to the anti-bureaucratic demands of its rebellious working class, capitulated to world imperialism. This was trumpeted by the latter as the death of socialism.

This, too, contributed heavily to the defeatist mood in the workers’ movement carried by an unholy alliance of bosses and bureaucrats during the long period of capitalist economic equilibrium.

Paradoxical Growth of aAnti-Capitalist Consciousness

While factors like those outlined above have contributed to a generalized loss of confidence in the revolutionary historic role of the working class, there has been at the same time a meaningful increase in generalized anti-capitalist consciousness. This is less paradoxical than it seems.

Despite capitalism’s total control over the formation of public opinion via its monopoly over the mass media of communication, its Achilles heel is its complete lack of a convincing argument in defense of the profit system. In the last analysis, the ruling class cannot justify the impoverishment of a majority of the world’s six billion souls. This mass impoverishment is impossible to justify when it is known that the productive forces created by human ingenuity has been expanded exponentially and that the unpaid surplus labor expropriated from workers, farmers and other working members of the middle class can produce an abundance of goods and health and other services capable of satisfying all of humanity’s material needs and wants.

In the final analysis, the only argument offered to rationalize capitalist social, economic and political injustice is the age-old argument by elite oppressors that claims that “human nature” is the source of “man’s inhumanity to man.” Or, as it is most often expressed by the ruling classes and their hired ideologues throughout history: “If you were in my shoes, you would do as I do!”

But since most of us are not in their shoes, we can see and appreciate the other side of human nature, which is a product of the interconnected factors of nature and nurture—our capability of subordinating individual interests to the common interests of our social group.

We are social animals of a very unique kind. We are very conscious of our genetically-imposed drive for individual survival. But human beings learn to be socially conscious of the impossibility of the human animal to survive and prosper as individuals against the blind but powerful forces of nature. The human race has gradually increased its chances for a longer and happier life by consciously expanding the implementation of its natural instinct for cooperation. It has resulted in an ever more productive division of labor based on a steady development of the forces of production and human culture in general.

Moreover, while females of other species will risk death to save their offspring, the human animal, both male and female, is the one species whose individuals are most capable of sacrificing themselves in defense of others in its social organization—its family, tribe, nation or class. Moreover, our species is the only one ultimately capable of subordinating individual interests to the interests of the entire human race. Our kind of being, furthermore, is even, under special circumstances, capable of self-sacrifice for the preservation of other species it believes are vital to human existence.

This conception of the human race may not be widely perceived. But that is because “The ruling ideas of each age have ever been the ideas of its ruling class....”1 [and] “It is not the consciousness of men that determines their being, but, on the contrary, their social being that determines their consciousness.”2

We can supplement that profoundly revolutionary Marxist observation by noting that it is in the very nature of the material world in which we live that all things change—with the significant changes coming only after an accumulation of molecular shifts, largely hidden from human observation, which are then manifested in sudden leaps in generalized understanding. These discoveries are most often perceived and widely propagated by exceptionally acute experts in the given field of scientific investigation.

Consciousness itself is a product of the material world and is lodged in a material thing, the human brain, which is altered by accumulated experiences. There are many manifestations of quantitative changes in mass consciousness now accumulating in our heads. The latest of many eruptions by African American victims of so-called “racial profiling” is proof that beneath a surface appearance of relative tranquillity, forces are at work that make themselves visible in eruptions of mass protest in cities across the country from Los Angeles, to New York, to Cincinnati.

The Meaning of the “Anti-Globalization Movement”

Another important manifestation of rising consciousness is the “anti-globalization movement.” The latest mass expression of this phenomenon was the demonstration in Quebec City against the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA) on the weekend of April 21-22. Because we welcome the healthy idealism of youth, we have an obligation to also try clearly to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the contradictory stage of their current thinking.

The vanguard of this movement is a small minority of mostly young people who sense that the blind pursuit of profits by capitalists is the mainspring of all social, economic and political injustice. Moreover, while the demands of this movement are in direct response to the crimes of capitalist imperialism against the super-exploited peoples of the neocolonial world, the focus of their protests are not directed at imperialism as such, but at world trade.

The activists are so far unable to distinguish between the contradictory sides of globalization. On the one hand, trade is an expression of the social division of labor that knits human society together. This expansion of the social division of labor on a global scale has contributed to an expansion of goods sufficient for the satisfaction of all human needs. On the other hand, there is the expropriation of this abundance by a tiny minority of interlocked financial and industrial capitalist monopolies, trusts, and other financial institutions. This mass expropriation of wealth is then systematically distributed only to those with money to pay for the things they need for life, health and happiness—and the rest of humanity be damned.

It’s not easy, moreover, for people to understand the qualitative difference between “reforms” that favor the material interests of one capitalist against another; and reforms that favor the exploited and oppressed against the oppressor. To be sure, well-intentioned young people instinctively sense that the evils they oppose are evils of capitalism. But all too often they get caught up in the myth that imperialism is not imperative to advance capitalism, but is merely a policy that can be turned on or off at the will of good or bad capitalists.

Few understand imperialism as endemic to capitalism at its highest stage of development—a stage reached at the end of the 19th century. Since that time, the imperialist character of the world’s most powerful nations has led to two horrific world wars between imperialist camps over the division and redivision of the colonial and neocolonial world; and at the very same time a permanent state of war by world imperialism against any of its victims that dare to fight against capitalist imperialist exploitation and oppression.

At the present moment, unfortunately, even many of those who give voice to anti-capitalist conclusions, have come under the domination of the various bourgeois and petty bourgeois advocates of “humanizing” capitalism, whose main line of argumentation is that the road toward a better world can only come from an alliance between the victims of capitalism and “good” capitalists and their allies who are endowed with the mythical quality of “enlightened self interest.” This alliance is directed neither at capitalism as such, nor against imperialism, but is an alliance against “bad” capitalists under the domination of so-called “transnational” corporations and such institutions of global imperialist capitalism as the World Trade Organization.

Need it be said that most if not all corporations listed on the stock exchanges of the world are transnational? The world’s largest and most financially powerful corporate and banking institutions are completely free to invest in each other’s holdings with each aiming to take over all others via “friendly” and “unfriendly” mergers and acquisitions. But in the end, these competing giant concentrations of industrial and financial capital tend to own and control whole nations—including the major imperialist powers—and each uses its own state as a weapon against the others in their struggle for control over the world market.

And as we saw in the two world wars, competing imperialist powers consolidated into rival imperialist camps and, as the Prussian General Clausewitz famously said, economic competition is ultimately settled by other means!

Society today is only inches away from a qualitative leap in understanding that an outworn social order can be “reformed” only by its overthrow and reconstitution on the basis of a higher form of human social cooperation. In the meantime, as part of the unfolding social process, genuine reforms like higher wages and shorter hours for workers are intrinsically in diametric opposition to capitalism and its ruling capitalist class.

Moreover, every gain won by workers in struggle increases their class consciousness and raises their confidence as a class in their inherent capacity to win a final and irrevocable victory over the capitalist class and capitalism.

How We Analyzed this Movement in the Past

We first attempted to interpret the meaning of the highly contradictory movement that calls itself “anti-globalization” in an article that appeared in the December 1999 edition of Socialist Action. It was an analysis of the Seattle demonstration against the World Trade Organization (WTO). This article holds up as an explanation of this phenomenon being a stage in the process of radicalization taking place beneath the surface appearance of things. The following extract sums up our assessment of this movement at that time:

The protest demonstrations in Seattle were by all accounts entirely positive and highly significant. It serves as evidence of a rapidly increasing awareness by millions of people that the allegedly beneficent “tide that raises all boats” [capitalism’s false metaphor for a booming economy that essentially made the rich richer and the poor poorer] has not benefited the overwhelming majority of this planet’s six billion people.

The masses of outraged protesters made very clear that at least they were convinced that while the rich in their yachts are getting richer, billions of the world’s ordinary people are in a losing struggle to keep their heads above water.

The organizations and individuals that initiated and supported the Seattle demonstration list many legitimate grievances against the World Trade Organization....

In effect, those who organized the Seattle protests have sent the clear message that corporate greed is at the root of all evil. And because this perception seems self-evident to so many people, it helps explain why tens of thousands of ordinary people traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to protest in a relatively distant corner of the country....

The political thrust of these ads [in The New York Times] was clearly designed to transmit a leftist anti-establishment message. And while none of these environmentalist groups [the main sponsors of three full-page ads in the The New York Times designed to build the Seattle action] claims to be anti-capitalist, their message could have easily been interpreted as such.

The ads were evidently designed, moreover, to appeal to the incipient and inchoate anti-capitalist tendencies developing among a growing sector of the population, primarily youth. Young people are reacting against the status quo because among other things, they believe they are destined to be the first generation that will not enjoy a living standard at least equal to that of their parents.

That’s something new and real, and is a harbinger of the far deeper, class-conscious, radicalization to come....

The Strategy and Tactics of Mass Protests

There is another aspect to these anti-globalization protests that is highly contradictory. We refer to the tendency of the small but significant minority of young protesters who are focused on challenging the “forces of law and order” in the streets of cities like Seattle and Quebec.

On the one hand, it is a positive and intuitively revolutionary conception. The refusal of these radicalizing youth to accept the rules of engagement established by what they correctly see as “the enemy” is an imperfectly conceived statement of a simple truth: no positive change of any consequence can be achieved without force directed against the ruthless force of the oppressor.

But on the other hand, they do not understand that such attempts to directly defy the rules of war established by the enemy are foolish when the forces of repression far outweigh the forces of resistance.

The history of class struggle is replete with instances where masses went into battle successfully when the opposing forces were less one-sided in favor of the oppressor. In other words, the lesson of history is that if a choice exists, it’s a big mistake to violate the enemy’s rules of war unless there is a reasonable chance to come out on top. (Sometimes, of course, capitalism’s victims are allowed no such choice and can only engage in battle out of sheer self-defense.)

We can understand the reasoning of those who advocate and practice “passive resistance”—that is, injustice cannot be allowed to go unchallenged! In fact, such actions are appropriate as a tactic thoughtfully applied to the concrete circumstance. Thus, for instance, a peaceful mass protest march and/or demonstration is often an appropriate tactical expression of passive resistance.

But those advocates of passive resistance who conceive it as a strategy, mean something else in practice. Their concept of passive resistance is to make the point of resisting unjust laws by peacefully surrendering when faced with arrest. That, unfortunately, gets across another message that negates the intended one—it teaches the masses that the way to “resist,” is not to resist arrest!

That’s not a good strategy. The strategy that works is based on teaching the masses that there is indeed strength in numbers. And when there are enough numbers, the masses can successfully violate the enemy’s rules of war and resist arrest.

Ultimately, the intelligent and effective use of “passive” resistance grows over into the mobilization of masses in motion for overturning the oppressive rules of war of the capitalist class and, ultimately, the overthrow of the profit system upon which their power is based.

As we shall see, the importance of this elementary matter of strategy and tactics—that is picking and choosing how to most effectively strike out to defend and advance the interests of the working class and its natural allies—cannot be overstated. And the outcome of important class confrontations, like those of the 1930s that surely lie ahead, will depend on the intelligent leadership choice of tactics that are appropriate to the given relation of forces in each concrete situation. But there is something else that is positive about the individual acts of resistance by the more combative and courageous individuals such as we saw in Seattle and again most recently in Quebec.

There always comes a time when the audacity of the workers’ vanguard and its fighting spirit makes the decisive difference between victory and defeat. The sort of youth who are today eager to defy police clubs and tear gas, knock down fences, and in general resist the arrogant forces of capitalist oppression, will in the future be far more effectively and decisively expressed by working class youth who are fated to become the spearhead of the coming workers’ revolution.

It was such audaciously militant working class youth in the big class battles of the 1930s that almost always made the difference between victory and defeat. But the key to successful struggle is a workers’ leadership that teaches its militants that individual acts of bravery and self-sacrifice cannot in and of themselves favorably affect the outcome of class battles. Such acts must be closely integrated with, and in close collaboration with, but subordinate to the struggle of the given battalion of class struggle fighters and of the class as a whole.

Youth and the Formation of Class Consciousness

It happens now, as these words are written, that another small manifestation of an incipient mass radicalization in consciousness is unfolding largely beneath the surface of events. It has caught the attention of the bourgeois mass media. It is of no significant importance in and of itself, but in what it tells us about the molecular changes in mass consciousness steadily accumulating beneath the surface of events. It is a modest expression foretelling a shift away from the very unfavorable course of history most of us in the Socialist Workers Organization have been forced to endure for so long. The April 25 New York Times reports such an event in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Under the heading “Protesters Blooming in Harvard Yard,” the story is told of a trend toward student activists taking up the defense of low-paid workers employed by colleges over the last few decades. The report noted a direct connection with the youth radicalization of a preceding generation. The Times reports that for “seven days now, about 40 students have been occupying the first floor of Massachusetts Hall, where the university president, Neil L. Rudenstine, has his office.”

The protesters reportedly, were demanding that Harvard pay its workers a minimum “living wage” of $10.25 an hour, and vowed not to budge until the university’s position did. It would be too easy to dismiss such actions as a romantic but insignificant action by idealistic and relatively privileged students. That may or may not apply in the given case. But it is nonetheless a reflection of a very important force in the historic struggle of the working class for social change.

Student youth who, despite important changes, still tend to be the sons and daughters of the upper layers of society, including from among the relatively privileged sectors of the working and middle classes have historically played a major role in the workers’ movement. Moreover, when the more powerful sectors of the exploited and oppressed spring into action, the numbers of student youth who join the struggle on the side of capitalism’s victims tend to grow exponentially.

We saw that happen in every important struggle; from that of the workers in the 1930s, the largely working class Black struggle of the mid-fifties to the late sixties, the Vietnam anti-war movement of the sixties and seventies, and many others. Most important, we are certain to witness what promises to be the biggest youth radicalization ever when the coming upsurge of the working class begins.

The class character of students is only tentatively established by the economic position of their parents. Young people, students or not, have their whole future ahead of them. And they are too young to have lost the idealism that most young people are by nature inclined toward.

We must not forget that such notable champions of the working class as Marx, Lenin and Trotsky—not to mention countless others who came out of the middle class—embraced the working class as their own!

It’s important to understand, too, that social class is not entirely a product of one’s origin. Many workers think of themselves as middle class, and unfortunately, act as if they were not a part of their objectively-determined social class. And conversely, many of those born into the middle—and even those few individuals coming from the capitalist class—have broken with their social class and joined the working class. (Engels was a prime example, and far from the only one, of a bourgeois breaking with his class and putting a major portion of his wealth at the service of his adopted class, the world proletariat.)

While we in no way discount the far more powerful factor of one’s material existence in society, youth from the privileged layers of class society are capable of identifying their future and that of the human race with the exploited and oppressed in general, and ultimately, with the working class.

A veteran working class leader of the Socialist Workers Party and a founding leader of Socialist Action and now a supporter of the Socialist Workers Organization, tells how his father, an idealistic student youth from the middle class, was won over to the Communist Party and the working class in the 1930s. He had judged the CP to be a force capable of changing society—more specifically, of leading the working class to victory over capitalism.

He was oriented toward helping workers in struggle, not unlike the 40 students occupying a hallway on the Harvard campus. He found, as we will find once again, that workers in struggle will welcome with open arms those that wish to join their struggle and have a contribution to make. He was not only welcomed, he was chosen by the workers as a leader in the union that he and his Communist Party comrades helped organize.

That small piece of anecdotal evidence illustrates the relevance to the coming class upsurge of student activists who are drawn by their idealism into the workers’ struggle for survival in the hostile climate of capitalism. That’s why part of our proletarian orientation also includes an approach to youth—and, of course, to working class youth first and foremost.

The Harvard sit-in is noteworthy in another respect. That is in its connection with the campus activists of the sixties. The Times’ reporter notes that “one undergraduate protester said his father had been among the students outside the building back then [in a Vietnam-era occupation of University Hall in 1969].”

Thus, in this case there happens to be a very close personal connection between the radicalization unfolding today and the one in the sixties. And there can be no doubt that such connections will arise between the upcoming generation of radicalizing youth and those that preceded them going back to their grandparents and great grandparents in the 1930s.

These are only a few examples testifying to our thesis that the biggest, broadest, deepest class conscious radicalization in history is gestating deeply within the emerging consciousness of the masses today.

We are the Living Memory of our Class

We in the Socialist Workers Organization are indeed an important component of the memory of the working class. There are, of course, others that are also a part of what we are. That’s why we have taken on the seemingly impossible task of maintaining the continuity of American Trotskyism—that is still the best name for revolutionary Marxism today.

But it is not so impossible so long as we understand exactly what we are and what we are not. We are not yet even what Socialist Action was at its outset. Nevertheless, we are the carriers of something of great power and importance. We have dared—against all odds—to continue to serve as the living memory of the historic conquests of the working class and of revolutionary Marxism!

While we still aspire to be a propaganda group that acts like a mass party, we are not that yet. We are, in reality, an organizing committee for the kind of party that James P. Cannon, the founder of American Trotskyism, built. We will be able to function essentially as a propaganda group that may not, for a while at least, be able to do much more than get our ideas across to as wide an audience as we can.

Publishing a monthly magazine doesn’t mean that we won’t try to intervene in the real struggles of our class and its natural allies. Socialist Viewpoint will serve us in the same way that a revolutionary workers’ newspaper has done in the past. But our capability of acting as though we were a mass party will grow as the class struggle deepens and we recruit reinforcements to our small nucleus.

Meanwhile, the fact is that neither we nor the few left in Socialist Action can adequately circulate our respective publications using our own power. However, with a magazine, we have a much better chance of reaching out further than with a newspaper. We can do that by arranging for professional distribution of our magazine to newsstands and bookstores around the country. In fact, preparations for such distribution are already well under way.

But this substitution of a magazine for a newspaper is only a temporary expedient. We certainly intend to publish a newspaper; and given a reasonable amount of recruitment in the not distant future, we may well be in a position to do both.

In the meantime, we intend to work hard to improve the quality of our public face and for that we will need the participation of all our comrades and friends, whose importance cannot be overstated.

1. The Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and Frederick Engels.

2. Preface to the Critique of Political Economy, Karl Marx.





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