The Third Camp tradition

The two Trotskyisms during World War 2: Workers' Liberty 3/48

Tracing the development of "two Trotskyisms" through from the 1940 split to the 1944 polemic between Harry Braverman and Max Shachtman. Click here to download as pdf or read online. The pagination in the pdf is correct, but, by a mishap, the pages of the printed version of Workers' Liberty 3/48, as a pull-out in Solidarity 347, are in the wrong order. Our apologies to readers. Check the printed version with the pdf, or follow this guide: Page 2 has been mistakenly swapped with page 6, and page 7 with page 11. The printed pull-out can be navigated as follows: 1: the first page, with the...

Protest vote or independent political action?

Above: Howie Hawkins, longstanding socialist activist, is running on the Green Party ticket alongside Angela Walker Re-posted, with thanks, from the New Politics magazine website. A bumper sticker displayed with increasing resonance these days reads: “2020, any responsible adult.” This is undoubtedly the mood of Democratic Party voters as was made abundantly clear by the abrupt collapse of the Sanders momentum. The US is in free fall under a regime that represents an exceptional threat not only to democratic life but to human life itself. The need for an American socialist answer has rarely...

Herman Benson (1915-2020): no socialism without democracy

Herman Benson, veteran socialist activist and fighter for rank-and-file democracy in the labour movement, died on 2 July, aged 104. Herman was the last survivor, at least to my knowledge, of the “first generation” of “third camp” socialists – the Trotskyists who, in the late 1930s, had broken with the orthodoxy that the Soviet Union still represented some kind of “workers' state”, worthy of defence, and founded the political tradition summarised by the slogan “Neither Washington nor Moscow, but international socialism”, and which, since the mid-1980s, Workers' Liberty has increasingly come to...

Video: Where now for the US left? Lois Weiner on George Floyd protests, Biden, more

Lois Weiner on "Where now for the US left?", during the movement against police brutality, racism, and more, sparked by the murder of George Floyd; in Covid-19 crisis; and in the wake of Sanders' withdrawal from the Democratic Party primaries in lieu of Biden; and more. Introductory speach from a Workers' Liberty meeting of the same name.

Socialism and the Third Camp

Julius Jacobson (1922-2003) was a long-standing figure in the Third Camp socialist tradition. He followed Max Shachtman and Hal Draper out of the Socialist Workers' Party and helped found the Workers Party with them in 1940. Together with his wife Phyllis Jacobson, Julius founded the independent socialist journal New Politics in 1961, serving as its editor for more than 40 years. After going into dormancy in 1978, New Politics was revived for its second (and ongoing) run in 1986. This article by Jacobson, "Socialism and the Third Camp", is from the first volume of the resurrected New Politics...

The split in SDS

Across the world large and radical student movements came into prominence in the 1960s, fighting on their campus and against university administrators but raising wider political questions: opposition to the Vietnam War, opposition to the police, and opposition to capitalism. Their politics were often muddled and contradictory. In America, students organised themselves on a national level into Students for a Democratic Society. This was a serious organisation, which had 30,000 supporters by the time of its collapse, and along with the black civil rights movement became a feared bogeyman for...

Solidarity-US says “not dissolving”

You recently reported our convention’s motion to “to set up a committee to explore converting it from an organisation into an educational centre” as a kind of “dissolution”, and implied that we are “too small, weak, elderly, and divided to function as an organisation”. This characterisation is speculative and inaccurate. There was no motion to dissolve Solidarity or fundamentally alter its organisational structure at the convention. In the 2019 National Convention, Dan La Botz and other members organised a discussion around developing an educational centre for revolutionary socialism in the U...

The rise of the DSA: hopes and limits

The DSA (Democratic Socialists of America) – a group founded in 1973 as a left social-democratic splinter from the then-decaying “Shachtmanite” Heterodox Trotskyist tradition, and long with little profile - has recently grown to over 50,000 members. The DSA convention this year (2-4 August) had over 1,000 delegates, an increase from 700 in 2017. Admirably, the conference was livestreamed. It may have seemed overly procedural at points, but it reflects well on the DSA that their conference is accessible to the membership and a wider audience. The rise of the DSA offers some hope for revival on...

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