U.S. Trotskyism 1928-1965. Part I: Emergence

Left Opposition in the United States. Dissident Marxism in the United States: Volume 2

Series:

U.S. Trotskyism 1928-1965. Part I: Emergence -- Left Opposition in the United States is the first of a documentary trilogy on a revolutionary socialist split-off from the U.S. Communist Party, reflecting Leon Trotsky’s confrontation with Stalinism in the global Communist movement. Spanning 1928 to 1940, this volume surveys important U.S. labor struggles in the 1930s, early efforts to comprehend the so-called “Negro Question,” and substantial contributions to the study history and the development of Marxist theory. Also covered are confrontations and convergences with other currents on the Left, internal debates and splits among Trotskyists themselves, and repressive efforts by the U.S. government in the first Smith Act Trial. Scholars and activists will find much of interest in these primary sources.
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Biographical Note

Paul Le Blanc is Professor of History at La Roche College (Pittsburgh), has written extensively on labor and social struggles, including A Short History of the U.S. Working Class (Prometheus Books, 1999), and the acclaimed short biography Leon Trotsky (Reaktion Books, 2015).

Bryan Palmer is Professor of History at Trent University, whose books include studies of British labor historian E. P. Thompson and U.S. Communist and Trotskyist leader James P. Cannon, and Revolutionary Teamsters: The Minneapolis Truckers’ Strikes of 1934 (Brill, 2013).

Thomas Bias has served on the editorial boards of Bulletin in Defense of Marxism and Labor Standard, and is editor of the 1989 anthology Upheaval in China.

Andrew Pollack is a long-time labor and solidarity activist, author of numerous articles appearing in International Viewpoint, International Socialist Review, Labor Notes, Monthly Review and other publications.

Table of contents

Preface to the Documentary Trilogy on US Trotskyism
Acknowledgements

1 Introduction: Left Opposition in the United States
Paul Le Blanc

2 Communist League of America
Bryan Palmer
 1  James P. Cannon, Martin Abern and Max Shachtman, ‘For the Russian Opposition! Against Opportunism and Bureaucracy in the Worker’s Communist Party of America! A Statement to American Communists’
 2  Antoinette Konikow and Others, ‘What is Wrong with the Communist Party?’
 3  Leon Trotsky, ‘Tasks of the American Opposition’
 4  Maurice Spector, ‘The Cult of the “Third Period” ’
 5  Arne Swabeck, ‘United Front on Unemployment’
 6  James P. Cannon, ‘The Red Army Sings the International Sometimes …’
 7  Max Shachtman, ‘The Knife is at Their Throat’
 8  Joseph Carter, ‘Unite to Smash Fascism!’
 9  National Committee, CLA, ‘For a New Party and a New International’

3 Building Revolutionary Forces
Paul Le Blanc
 1  A.J. Muste, ‘The Workers Party is Founded’
 2  James P. Cannon, Letter to Ruth Querio
 3  Max Shachtman, ‘Marxist Politics or Unprincipled Combinationism?’
 4  Editorial, ‘Workers Party Calls All Revolutionary Workers to Join Socialist Party’
 5  Editorial, ‘The Crisis in the Party’

4 Founding the Socialist Workers Party
Thomas Bias
 1  James P. Cannon, ‘The New Party is Founded’
 2  ‘Declaration of Principles’
 3  J.P. Cannon and Max Shachtman, ‘Internal Situation and the Character of the Party’
 4  Constitution of the Socialist Workers Party, Declaration of Principles and Constitution of the Socialist Workers Party

5 Labour Struggles
Bryan Palmer
 1  Editorial, ‘The End of the New York Hotel Strike’
 2  James P. Cannon, ‘Minneapolis and Its Meaning’
 3  A.J. Muste, ‘Labor Marshalls Forces for Banner May Day’
 4  Arne Swabeck, ‘Roosevelt Steals Labor Party Thunder’
 5  James P. Cannon, ‘Deeper into the Unions’
 6  B.J. Widick, ‘Labor Unity: A New Stage’
 7  Farrell Dobbs, ‘The Unions and Politics’
 8  Leon Trotsky et al., ‘If You are Afraid, You Lose Your Independence’

6 ‘The Negro Question’
Thomas Bias
 1  The Militant, 1929, ‘Work Among Negroes’
 2  James P. Cannon, ‘Trifling with the Negro Question’
 3  Hugo Oehler, ‘The Negro and Class Struggle’
 4  Negro Question in America – Discussions with Trotsky, Swabeck
 5  John G. Wright (Joseph Vanzler), ‘Shifts on the Negro Question’
 6  J.R. Johnson (C.L.R. James), ‘Preliminary Notes on the Negro Question’
 7  SWP Resolution, 1939, ‘Self-Determination and the Negro in the US
 8  J.R. Johnson (C.L.R. James), ‘The Destiny of the Negro’
 9  SWP Resolution, 1939, ‘The SWP and Negro Work’

7 Confronting Stalinism
Andrew Pollack
 1  James P. Cannon, ‘At the Sixth World Congress’
 2  James P. Cannon, ‘Dog Days of the Left Opposition’
 3  Arne Swabeck, ‘Decay of the Stalinist Party’
 4  Albert Goldman, ‘Communists Play Follow the Leader’
 5  Editorial, ‘The Dewey Commission’
 6  Max Shachtman, ‘Revolution and Counter-revolution in Russia’

8 Political Complications
Paul Le Blanc
 1  Max Shachtman, ‘A Footnote for Historians’
 2  Max Shachtman and James Burnham, ‘The Intellectuals in Retreat’

9 Ruptures, 1939–40
Andrew Pollack
 1  James P. Cannon, ‘The Struggle for a Proletarian Party’
 2  Max Shachtman, James Burnham, Martin Abern, ‘The War and Bureaucratic Conservatism’
 3  James P. Cannon, Speech on the Russian Question
 4  Leon Trotsky, ‘From a Scratch to the Danger of Gangrene’
 5  Leon Trotsky, ‘Open Letter to James Burnham’
 6  James Burnham, ‘Science and Style’
 7  Resolutions of the SWP Convention, 1940
 8  Post-convention Reports and Decisions
 9  James Burnham, Exit Letter

10 Holding the Line: Smith Act Trial
Bryan Palmer
 1  Farrell Dobbs, ‘The FBI and the Unions’
 2  George Novack, ‘Witch Hunt in Minnesota’
 3  William F. Warde (George Novack), ‘Capitalist Frame-Up: 1941 Model’
 4  James P. Cannon, ‘Socialism on Trial’
 5  Grandzio Munis, ‘A Criticism of the Minneapolis Trials’
 6  James P. Cannon, ‘Defense Policy in the Minneapolis Trial’
 7  Albert Goldman, ‘Farewell Statement’

11 History and Theory
Paul Le Blanc
 1  Felix Morrow, ‘The Spirit of the US Constitution’
 2  George Novack, ‘Marx and Engels on the Civil War’
 3  Albert Goldman, ‘What is Socialism?’ (Lecture 2)
 4  Max Shachtman, ‘Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg’
 5  J.R. Johnson (C.L.R. James), ‘Revolution and the Negro’
 6  William F. Warde (George Novack), ‘The Right of Revolution’

Bibliography
Index

Readership

Scholars and activists interested in the history and ideas associated with the labor and socialist movements of the twentieth century, and in experiences associated with U.S. radicalism.

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