Hal Draper

Learning from the three Ls

Published on: Wed, 11/01/2017 - 13:36

Hal Draper

It was once a tradition for revolutionary socialists to mark every January by remembering the life and work of Lenin, Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht. In this 1949 article, the US socialist Hal Draper discusses the relevance of the socialism of “3Ls” for the German working class, then under the yoke of imperialist occupation, and for the American working class facing a war-mongering ruling class.

We socialists are not hero worshippers. But we have our heroes. Socialists are not hero worshippers because the very essence of socialism — far deeper than demands for specific social reforms or

From Shachtmanite Trotskyism to Anarchism: Exploring the Relationship of a Marxist Tendency to Anarchism

Published on: Mon, 07/11/2016 - 21:44

Wayne Price

This article, by the anarchist writer Wayne Price, was published in the journal The Utopian. It explores the relationship between the “Third Camp” Trotskyist tradition, with which Workers' Liberty identifies, and anarchist politics. It is republished with the author's permission. Visit the website of The Utopian here.

In recent years there has been an increase in articles, books, and special journal issues on the relationship between anarchism and Marxism.  (For example, Pittman, Dale, & Holt 2015;  Prichard & Worth 2016.) One difficulty with such discussions is that both “anarchism” and

"A clear break with the old politics": interview with Peter Frase of Jacobin

Published on: Wed, 12/10/2016 - 12:51

Peter Frase of the US socialist magazine Jacobin visited the UK from 23 September to 7 October and took part in a tour of Momentum groups and student Labour Clubs to speak about his book Four Futures: Life After Capitalism. He spoke to Martin Thomas and Sacha Ismail.

What did you think of the tour?

It was interesting to go to so many different places and see a movement which is struggling with the same sort of issues that US socialists are wrestling with after the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The difference, of course, is that here you have the Labour Party already as a framework.


Hal Draper on Israel/Palestine (1954)

Published on: Thu, 02/06/2016 - 00:36

Hal Draper

In the summer of 1954, the American “third camp” Trotskyist group the Independent Socialist League (ISL) invited Clovis Maksoud, a Lebanese-American Arab nationalist and socialist then studying in London, to publish an article in their newspaper Labor Action setting out “the position of the Arab socialists on Israel”. It was published across two editions, on 9 August and 16 August, which can be read online here and here. Maksoud also wrote a report for the paper's 7 June edition, which is online here.

Maksoud, who went on to become a distinguished Arab diplomat and who died in May 2016 aged 90

Standing against counter-revolution

Published on: Sat, 12/03/2016 - 21:01

David Finkel

The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism. The fate of the Russian Revolution, Volume 2. Edited and with an introduction by Sean Matgamna. London, UK: Workers’ Liberty, 2015. 790 pages. $30 paperback. Order here.

This review first appeared in Against the Current #182

ON JULY 23, 1939 the foreign ministers of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany signed an agreement that would be known to history as the infamous Stalin-Hitler Pact. A week later, pursuant to secret clauses in the deal, German troops smashed into Poland and on September 17 the Soviet Union invaded from the east.

The impact on global

This book is really about now

Published on: Wed, 27/01/2016 - 12:26

Ed Strauss

Ed Strauss reviews The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism

The book is an amazing textbook. As a young student in the 1950s, I was reading some of the documents which are in the collection, I was coming in at the tail-end of some of these debates; but we had nothing like this.

We could read a few older documents, but we didn’t have much published in book form. I was in the Young Socialist League [YSL], the youth group linked to the Independent Socialist League of Max Shachtman and Hal Draper, in 1954-1958. By that time, the ISL had pretty much given up on recruiting, but the YSL was still

Orthodox Trotskyism reshaped Trotsky's ideas

Published on: Wed, 27/01/2016 - 12:14

Ed Maltby

Paul Le Blanc’s review of The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism: Fate of the Russian Revolution volume 2 (Solidarity 388) is a thoughtful and detailed piece.

Le Blanc defends The Two Trotskyisms against some on the left who deride the book as pointless obsessing over long-ago spats. He is right to do it: such complaints remind one of Homer Simpson, who, warned that he’s late for English class, sneers “Pff! English, who needs that? I’m never going to England!”

The truth is that the two Fate of the Russian Revolution books are about the Trotskyist movement as it is right now. They are not

The Leningrad delirium

Published on: Tue, 13/10/2015 - 17:54

Among many other things, the new book published by Workers’ Liberty and edited by Sean Matgamna — “The Two Trotskyisms Confront Stalinism” — digs out a dramatic lurch in the “Orthodox” Trotskyist movement in 1941, described in this excerpt.

The “Orthodox” were those who stuck to Trotsky’s formula of the Stalinist USSR being a “degenerated workers’ state” while, in the 1940s, the elements in reality on which Trotsky based that formula were changing dramatically. Along the way, they lurched one way and then another, never properly assessing their mistakes.

The book argues that the “Heterodox” —

The Third Camp and the Vietnam war

Published on: Tue, 02/06/2015 - 17:08

Bruce Robinson

Martin Thomas’ article on Vietnam and the left in Solidarity 364 rightly advocates a Third Camp position opposed to both the US and its allies and the victorious Vietnamese Stalinists. However the war also posed political problems for the Third Camp socialists of the time which he does not elaborate on. These issues remain relevant and, I think, unresolved today.

A central slogan in the Vietnam solidarity movement in the UK and across Europe was “Victory to the NLF”. The Vietnamese National Liberation Front (aka the Vietcong) was formed in 1960 and became the guerilla army and political

The “Third Camp”: Hal Draper debates Ignazio Silone

Published on: Mon, 15/12/2014 - 20:15

Hal Draper and Ignazio Silone

The debate that follows occurred in the weekly paper of the Independent Socialist League of the USA, Labor Action, in January and April 1956.

Click here to download as pdf

Ignazio Silone (1900-1978) is best known today as a novelist, author of Bread And Wine, Fontamara, and other books. He was a founder member of the Italian Communist Party (in 1921); he broke with Stalin in 1931, speaking out for independent working-class politics, and moved to the right in the 1940s and 50s, contributing to the famous anthology The God That Failed (1949). Recent historians have found evidence that he was

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